Monday, 22 May 2017

We are Young

It's morning. Monday morning. And what are we planning today? I don't know about you, but I'm starting with some exercise. 

I'm going to hit this hard, get out into the beautiful autumn morning, and run faster than I've gone before. Because that's what we do on a Monday morning. Especially when the weekend has been too good, too full of wine, food and song, and I know I need to get the arms pumping, the feet hitting the pavement and the lungs filling with fresh air.

Join me? Come on. There are so many benefits to this. Most recently, I've been reading how exercise counteracts the effects of aging. In fact, the older you are, according to the latest study, the more effect it has.

The truth is that today is the youngest it's possible for you to ever be again. Now is the time. Let's get up and hit the gym/treadmill/pavement so hard it shakes with the intensity.

Of course, we need some music. What was I thinking? Here it is. Fun's We Are Young. Because we are. And we can do this.

We are young
So let’s set the world on fire
We can burn brighter than the sun

So if by the time the bar closes
And you feel like falling down
I’ll carry you home tonight

Here's another Monday Motivation some people liked - Can this get better?

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Ten of the Best #93

Good morning! It's a beautiful day where I am, and it's going to be a fabulous weekend. Hope you've got some fun lined up too.

But before we get to that, while it's still dawning on us, lets catch up with the week, the news, the funny things, the music, the stuff on our timelines, that we didn't get to during the week.

Stephen Fry (attempts to) explain(s ) the Trump phenomenon? The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. But is he preaching to the choir?

Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert finally agrees with Trump on something. Here's a summary of all the latest news in the U.S. - and there's a lot. Bored of Trump? Me too, keep scrolling, there's lots more news today.

Across the Atlantic, Macron appoints a cabinet in France. And half are women. Bravo.

In SA, we heard a lot of news about violence against women and children, which got us all talking. Here is Mzwandile's chat with Eusebius about wanting to kill his partner, which is long, but excellent.  And click the pic for what Eusebius wrote about victim blaming. Amen.

Some good news from SA. There are so many good things about this - it's true, it happened here, and it has a happy ending.

I enjoyed this article  - Healthy habits that we think are toxic.

This from Twitter - the words associated with he/she most commonly in writing. See what lots and lots of data can tell us...this is shocking. The picture says it all, actually.

Maddie waiting for the beat to drop. Except that parents didn't adjust her seatbelt correctly, and that's what everyone pointed out in the comments. But the video is cute anyways, now that you know the parents KNOW how to do the seatbelt, you can watch in peace.

Speaking of singing and dancing in cars, there's a new carpool karaoke. I think I've missed these. This is long, but I loved it - it has some real funny moments.

This is funny, pedestrians answering Miss USA questions...

There was lots of Mother's Day on our timelines, but this won, for me...

And the bonus bonus post... those inventions that we need. Now.

Have a wonderful weekend, peeps. I'm going to.

Friday, 19 May 2017

How We Found You by JT Lawrence

Kate and Keke, Seth and his clever cronies are back, four years later, in Johannesburg. Now that twins Silver and Mally are creating havoc, as only four-year-olds can, it feels like a happy family living the happily-ever-after in modern, waterless Johannesburg, with healthy dinners delivered by drones, driverless cars, and bots to do the menial tasks.

Paradise in this concrete jungle? Except, well, when the kids go missing, they’re probably not playing, because there is a crazy cult that is out to get them. Or is that just a kink in Kate’s brain, tweaked from the pills she pops for her synaesthesia, PTSD, or general sense of paranoia. 

Feeling overwhelmed yet? You should be. This is a high adrenalin, wild speed car chase kind of book. And for this chick who doesn't really do futuristic (I’m really going to have to stop saying that) novels, this author is compelling me to read more than my fair share. 

Once you start reading JT Lawrence, you can’t stop. Her writing is crack, whatever the genre. It’s not just that you can’t put the current book down, it’s that you just want more, and more, and then some more. Adding to that desperation, she cheekily ends with a cliffhanger that leaves us all hanging, if not quite off a cliff, then certainly onto our seatbelts for the next part of the ride.

I love Kate, our unlikely, doesn’t-cope-with-life-and-not-ashamed-of-it heroine. I can’t wait to read more of her. If you haven't started, begin with Why You Were Taken. I’ll hazard a guess you’ll be up to date in the series by the end of a weekend.

A fab 5 stars from me.

You may also enjoy Why You Were Taken, or for a little diversion, The Underachieving Ovary, also by JT Lawrence. Or what about Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough?

More books...

Friday Books - How We Found You

Friday comes around more quickly than it ever has before. Is it that I'm busy? Or is this true for everyone. The days fly by faster. Every Friday with a sigh that I'm not doing more reading...

BookBeginnings, hosted by Rose City Readerand The Friday 56 - hosted by Freda’s Voice both host sites for Friday link ups, where we discover more books, and make friends. Both involve sharing excerpts from a current book - the beginning and - you guessed it - page 56.

I've got a cracker this week. (Click the cover for the Goodreads blurb)

I know JT Lawrence from The Underachieving Ovary, and the first book in this series - Why You Were Taken, and I love her writing. "A rabbit hole quilled with xlinks" is a new favourite quote of mine - just brilliant!

Go on, what's not to like?  A futuristic novel, set in my home city - Johannesburg. A tense, gripping page turning thriller,  great writing and loads of fun. Review just posted.

Oh, and did I mention that for a short while it's 99c on Amazon? (So is the first one, if you're anal like me, and you have to do these things in order.)

Have a lovely weekend, and hope you get some reading done. Tell me what in the comments, and I'll pop over.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton, mother of two young girls, is confined to hospital following surgery that results in complications. Her mother, who hasn't seen her for years, comes to sit beside her bed. For five nights. They reminisce.

It is difficult to describe the emotions that this little, yet powerful book evoked. I connected deeply with Lucy. The relationship between mother and daughter is gently examined, like layers of tissue paper being lifted carefully off a delicate crystal chandelier. Love, and life, are not perfect. Yet there was a degree of restoration, balming healing that floated up through the beautiful words off every page. They talk about old times, old friends, family and home, and I was hooked.

Lucy's story is not the happiest. Looking back at it through her mother's eyes shows it up from her adult perspective in an even worse light. Yet she has survived, taking the hand life has dealt her and playing it well.

An evocative read - don't attempt it if you're having a bad day.

4 stars

ISBN: 9781400067695

You may also enjoy 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George

A Great Deliverance was my first Elizabeth George and the first in the Inspector Lynley series. Now, every time I am in a second hand bookshop, I look for the next. There's something so right about reading a crime-detection novel in a gently worn state. You just know that someone else has had a cuppa, glanced out over the garden, maybe even smoked a cigarette (yes you can tell from the book) whilst figuring out the very same case that gorgeous Detective Lynley and homely Detective Havers are solving before your eyes.

This was discovered in Margate, of all places. And I settled down, in a comfy spot to time travel to the Scottish Highlands, where a number of actors and hangers-on are gathered in a drafty old house and dun dun dun...the playwright is brutally murdered in the dead of night. It feels a little like a murder mystery weekend. Enter the detectives and the forensic specialists, and some highly ranking police, and you just know there's so much more to this story.

I enjoyed this one, perhaps not as much as A Great Deliverance, but if you're looking for a great murder mystery, with an excellent plot, setting and well known characters, you can't go wrong here.

Onwards and upwards to Well Schooled in Murder. Only I've just discovered that I should've read A Suitable Vengeance first, so maybe that should be next? 

4 stars

ISBN: 9780553284362

You may also enjoy PD James - A Certain Justice, or A Terrible Beauty by VM Devine, or what about Jo Spain's Beneath the Surface?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Finders Keepers by Belinda Bauer

Aaaah. Belinda Bauer doing what she does best. Children disappearing. In Exmoor. Left behind is a note. A post-it note - "You don't love her."

The guilt, shame, fear and anger felt by those so "accused" hangs over Exmoor like mist. Detective Jonas Holly must find this elusive snatcher, before another child goes. But where?

We've been here before. The scene was set in Blacklands, with the disappearance of young Stevie. Then Darkside. We know the people, and where they've come from, which makes this more fraught, more desperate, the stakes higher. And although this is a standalone, that is why you really should read those other two books first, in order.My favourite part of this book is the children. Belinda draws them so beautifully. I loved them, held them, feared for them, laughed at them as I read this book. But a word of warning - there is a dark and evil monster out there, so cruelty and horror abound. If you don't like to read that stuff, skip this, or even better, skim those parts.

I love the humour and wit dancing in every scene too. It lightens the mood and sparkles like the gold light edging the clouds.

I'm so glad I read this, and so sad I'm done with this trilogy. I loved every word.

5 stars

ISBN: 9780593066904

You may also enjoy The Shut Eye, also by Belinda Bauer. Or what about Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton?

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Ten of the Best #92

Happy weekend everybody. Where I am it's cold and getting colder. And that's not just all the news feeds. It's the weather. Seriously though, you guys need to cheer up a bit. Wherever I looked for inspiration, fun and laughter, music and happy days, I found Trump, SA is going down the tubes, and articles on depression and suicide. Miserable lot, aren't we?

So I cast my net wide and deep, to find the funny, and try and lift us all out of the doldrums. There was some. Trevor Noah on Trunp firing Comey was first up.

James Corden called it like this - oh well, someone had to.

When I first saw it all breaking, I thought of all the comedians rubbing their hands with glee, thinking they'd never been so lucky. Then I saw that the new SNL promo is out.

Spicey. Is. Back. aka Melissa McCarthy. Imagine my face when every single clip "Isn't allowed in your country". So what's a girl to do? Resort to twitter, that's what. Here it is. Sean feeling pretty. Click the pic, and I hope you'll get the Twitter feed.

I don't know if this is true, or old, or just fake. It doesn't look fake. And it definitely shows who's the least cleverest of them all. No spoilers from me...

Parent tweets. These always make me cry/sigh almost as much as laugh.

And these design fails... I couldn't get past page three, but there were loads, and all good.

Some MTVAwards you may have missed...I thought some were great awards.

This is from a while ago, but it made me giggle - the Irish girl on the Graham Norton show. 

And we do need something beautiful to read. Time does not heal all wounds by Omid Safi. Sad, but true.

You know when you see there's a collection of Prince Philip's gaffes, that they're going to be gasp-worthy. From that perspective, this didn't disappoint. But from others, oh my goodness, it was so disappointing.

We've done ten, but how about some uplifting music to end with? I know, a choir. Girls. Singing Bohemian Rhapsody. Like you've never heard it before. Enjoy it. I did.

The Frensham Madrigals, everyone.

Well that's all for now. I'm signing off, wrapping up warmly and heading to the Kingsmead Book Fair today. Have a happy weekend, wherever you are.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Friday Books - Behind Her Eyes

Friday again. Already? Time to do things other than work. Well perhaps. The weekend is looking rather busy, so we'll see.

BookBeginnings, hosted by Rose City Readerand The Friday 56 - hosted by Freda’s Voice are the hosting sites for the Friday link ups, where we discover more books, and make friends. Both involve sharing excerpts from a current book - the beginning and - you guessed it - page 56.

What am I reading? Well, I'm so glad you asked. It's 

That certainly hooked me. So whoever this is, has clearly had some problems. But who is it in the "NOW"? 

I know you want to read it now. I'll say no more. Except to ask about the covers. Because I really loe them both. Which is your favourite?

I'm enjoying quick, thrilling reads. So I can get completely engrossed and forget about everything else for a while. This ticked all the boxes. Here's my review.

What're you reading today? 

Thanks for visiting. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank

Do you ever feel like a quick, lighthearted read? Sort of like a little packet of jelly babies before bed, or popcorn at the movies.

That’s exactly what I needed. I’d been reading quite a lot of thrillers, and before that, heavy books - thought-provoking, worthy and interesting. Wonderful, but I needed a reading binge.

The Substitute is the stuff nightmares are made of. Megan Vandemeer is on her way home to a wedding organised by an overbearing mother. Only she hasn't quite picked up the courage to tell them that Jay no longer her fiancĂ©, since they broke up. She tells enough of her story to a handsome stranger on a plane, then passes out. Guess what happens? Use the title if you’re not sure…

I picked this up free on Kindle. (Click the pretty cover for link to free version - hope it lasts!) And it was everything I was looking for. Also, when you’re looking for this kind of book, it’s easy to also attract bad writing. Here, nothing grated me. Maybe a little too much repetition of facts I’d heard before, and some overused phrases, but all in all a happy read.

A predictable, yet a little different and interesting plot. And just what I was looking for.

Denise Grover Swank, I’ll see you in a few weeks, for another cocktail - pink and pretty, tasty and delicious.


More reviews


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton

"Keep telling yourself it's only fiction... as you read this sensational thriller. Are you scared yet?"

That's the teaser from the blurb. And it's so accurate. Yes, even the word "sensational". Here, it fits.

I’d been avoiding Lacey Flint. I dont know why. I think maybe I was scared (dead scared - ha ha) that I’d love her too much, there’d be like 34 books int he series, and I’d lose myself in them and miss all the other wonderful book opportunities there are for me to read. Silly that.

I’ve fixed my little problem. I do love Lacey Flint. There are only 4 (sob, why so few) books in the series, and I’m going to read the first one now, and then the rest in order, like I should have done in the first place.

This is the second in the series. At Cambridge, students are committing suicide. Not abnormal, that. Just average, if you’re dealing with the usual stresses and strains of being a student. Except that, the numbers are not average, or even slightly above average, they’re off the charts. Especially for women. And the resident counsellor - psychologist Evi Oliver - believes there is something weird going on. Enter Detective Lacey Flint, an undercover student, working with Mark Joesbury. Only Lacey doesn't know the half of it.

This book is brilliant - ok, sensational. I experienced the nights, looking up at the creepy cathedral spires, cloaked in evil intent covering dastardly deeds committed by who? And how? And where? The uncovering was deeply satisfying and there was humor throughout. Sharon Bolton, you genius, I loved this. And I love it when the title of the novel is just so …well right, and then right again, and again.
An enthralling clever, dark book.

5 stars

ISBN: 9780593064153

You may also enjoy Sacrifice, by Sharon Bolton. Or some Belinda Bauer - try The Beautiful Dead, or what about The Breakdown by B.A. Paris?


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Clever that. To make the potential downfall of the book a spoiler of such epic proportions, that if you’re a reviewer with a conscience, you can’t hold forth about what part of the book didn't work for you.
But I’m going to try to be cleverer. You see, it didn't work for me. And I am going to do this without spoiling the book. I promise you.

Behind her eyes is about relationships. It’s a thriller, psychological and gripping. Meet Louise, a single mom to Adam. She has a fun night out, lets her hair down, hooks up with David. David turns out to be her new boss. And married. To Adele. Louise meets Adele, and unexpectedly, becomes her friend. We see from Adele and Louise’s points of view, in the first person, with some flipping back - to “THEN” from “NOW”, which I liked the simplicity of. I enjoyed the writing. It wasn't too much, and it didn't tell all. Lots of dialogue with Sophie, Louise’s friend, and a lovely unsettling feeling, as you realise how strange David and Adele’s relationship is.

Yet, the plot reveal, the twist that no one saw coming, the denouement, the final whistle, was something so…out of character, out of the ordinary, that it made the whole book lose a little shine for me. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen it all before, and Sarah Pinborough had to really push the boundaries, the result of which I don't think will be to every reader’s taste.

So if, like me, you manage to get to read this without someone spoiling it for you (and people will do it inadvertently, so stop them talking about it) then you should hold the ending very lightly. Appreciate the book for what it delivers and try to forget about the “OMG” ending. Then, when it comes, you can go and find everyone who tried to spoil it for you, and tell them what you really think.

4 stars

ISBN: 9781250111173

You may also enjoy The Breakdown by B.A. Paris. Or what about Peter Swanson's The Kind Worth Killing?

Some more books.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Set fire to the rain

Do you ever half wake up in the wee hours and hear that soft relentless rain, or the piercing cracks of thunder with the snaky shaky flashes of lightning that you can see even through closed eyes? Or maybe you can just feel them? Doesn't matter, you know they're there.
It makes me smile, snuggle down and think - oh yay, no running in the morning.

Only it usually stops, or at least breaks enough for me to still go. Or, I could just get wet...Imagine that. But usually, I don't.

Please don't say you can't run in the rain. So many runs have been stolen from us that way. This week, if that happens, and you can't stand the squelchy shoes, the dripping hair or the soggy shirt, why don't you try a walk? Yes, with an umbrella and yes in the rain.

Because there is no stopping us. We are doing this exercise thing. Whether we run, walk or swim, we're getting fitter, stronger, and nobody is going to stop us.

Makes me think of some music to get us going. Adele's "Set fire to the rain". How about that?

If like me, you're going to run anyway, let's go so fast, that the downpour just steams off us. I bet you've never sung this song that way. I'm going to.

I set fire to the rain,

Watched it pour as I touched your face,

Well, it burned while I cried

'Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name

That's me, screaming out your name - come on, we can do this!

Happy running.

More Monday Motivations

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Ten of the Best #91

Morning all you wonderful people. I'm so glad you joined me this morning. It's time to catch up on all the stuff we couldn't se this week, because we were too busy, or supposed to be too busy. I raided all your timelines, and have rounded up the best of the week here.

Breaking news...You know it's bad when you get the news this way, from the comedians. Seriously a new health bill was passed in the US. Warning: this isn't that funny.

John Cleese is spending time in America lately. And he had this to say... 

The Pepsi ad wasn't worth sharing, it was so bad. The Heineken ad, which is kinda showing Pepsi what they should've done, is far better. Take a look. (Yes, there is s link to that other one in this, too, in case you missed that too - where have you been?)

Friday, 5 May 2017

Friday Books - The Breakdown

It's Friday again. At last. Time to do things other than work. Hopefully read, but I will be quite busy this weekend, so maybe not. 

BookBeginnings, hosted by Rose City Readerand The Friday 56 - hosted by Freda’s Voice are the hosting sites for the Friday link ups, where we discover more books, and make friends. Both involve sharing excerpts from a current book - the beginning and - you guessed it - page 56.

What am I reading? Well, I'm so glad you asked. It's 

Do you feel the crackly tension in the air. Well, it's going to get worse. Cass is on her way to her little home, tucked away in a remote corner of the woods...

I'm still on my quest for quick, thrilling reads. So I can get completely engrossed and forget about everything else for a while. This ticked all the boxes. Here's my review.

What're you reading today? 

Thanks for visiting. Have a great weekend.