Monday, 31 January 2011

It's Monday, what are you reading?

It is Monday again, so that means we share what books we have been reading and will be reading for the next week.
I have actually had a reasonably productive reading week this week, and in fact looking at my list for the month I have  read 11 and am halfway through no 12 and 13. Not too bad considering work, school etc. I have just received my course work for this year so this will slow down a bit. 
This week I have read:
  • No, I dont want to join a bookclub: by Virginia Ironside: - I enjoyed this but it was not as funny as I expected it to be.
  • A cat called Norton by Peter Gethers: thoroughly enjoyed this, it was very sweet and I will definitely keep an eye out for the next 2.
This week I am reading:
  • Duncton Quest by William Horwood (half way through)
  • The Hobbit by J. Tolkien ( just started)
If I get through those I have 11 books on my To be read pile, so no shortage of reading material. Pop on over to Sheilas blog for more inspiration.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Other secrets by Farida Karodia

This is another book that had been on my bookshelf for a while and I never got around to read it. Once I started I could not put it down.
The book is set in the Eastern Cape of South Africa from around 1960 onwards. It tells the story of an Indian family in a predominantly white town. It is told from the perspective of the youngest daughter, but does touch on all the other family members, as well as various other people they come into contact with. (I could not find an online revue although it is available on Amazon)
What I liked about it: Having family in the area I could really imagine the life and the kind of people in her story, so I could relate to it. The book covers a bit of everything, childhood,  family, friends, trauma, happiness, friendship, loss and love. It is extremely sad in some parts and yet there is a lot of happiness as well. It really explores the relationships between Meena and her mother, grandmother and sister, and the undercurrents running through those relationships, which I guess most women can probably relate to. There are a few, quirky characters, Daniel, the half-mad illegal immigrant being the most noticeable one. Also, apart from the boy who rapes her sister, even the bad characters have some good points to them.
What I didn't like: I found it a bit slow.
Would I read it again: Probably but not for a while.
Would I read another book by the same author: Yes

I have been absolutely man (or should that be girl) down this week. Unfortunately I had to go to work but spent most of my home time asleep. This morning I  finally admitted I needed antibiotics and went to the doctor and to be honest after only 1 dose I am feeling better already. My computer has hardly been on since Monday! Anyway here are my answers to the questions this week, which I really enjoyed.

1. If you had $1,000 to donate to a charity, which would you choose?
Probably the (human) childrens home where I adopted our kitten from, since they are seriously underfunded and need so much. Otherwise it would have to be the SPCA.

2. Snow days: Do you welcome them happily or are they a pain in your butt?
Well, I would actually love a snow day. It never gets cold enough to snow. In fact the last time it snowed in Durban was in 1933 and there is even some doubt as to whether it was actually snow! We just have BOILING HOT, EXTREMELY HOT, Very hot, Hot, or Warm weather lol. Add in extremely humid and you have some idea of the sauna like conditions that are our summer. As for winter well that is the best time of the year. Sunny, dry days where it often gets up to 24-25C in the daytime and usually only goes down to about 15 at night. Coldest is about 5-6 and that is maybe once per winter. I have experienced snow a few times in other places, but my daughter who has just turned 13 has NEVER seen snow. I would love for her to experience it. Although it does snow in various places fairly near here we have never been there when it snowed. When I was in the UK I loved the snow, but I must admit when everything shuts down for a few days it does get a bit tiring.

3. What talent did you wish you had and why?
I wish I could draw/paint. I am fairly creative but cannot draw at all. When Brenda was small she used to say: "Draw nicely mummy" So that tells you my drawing ability. With scrapping/cardmaking it would definitely be useful to draw a bit more than a stick figure!

4. Are you a news, politics or celebrity gossip junkie?
Actually none of them but if I had to choose I would say news. I rarely watch TV and watch the news even less rarely. I do listen to the radio on the way to work and it is on most of the time in the house. I find politics boring and celebrity gossip I can take or leave. I do read the internet news on my home page and also find reading some of the comments enjoyable, although sometimes frustrating.

5. What is your favorite "cocktail"? (Are you a beer person, a kiddie cocktail junkie, or perhaps your more the "Cosmo" kind?! Anything flies...doesn't hafta be alcoholic!)
Ahem, My name is Tracy and I am a coke addict! Although I used to drink a lot of things over the years it has come to pass that my favourite drink is coke, and I would choose that over everything else except perhaps coffee. I do like Strawberry Daiquiri, and as far as shooters go I like a Blow Job (excuse the name) which is Kahlua, Cape Velvet (bit like Baileys) and Cream. I also like Dom Pedro, which is Kahlua, Cape Velvet and icecream made into a milkshake. But all in all, my favourite drink is still coke!

Monday, 24 January 2011

It's Monday, what are you reading.

And so, Monday rolls around again. I cant believe how this year is flying by already. This week I have had a fairly good reading week. I have been reading a small book at work and a longer book at home and this seems to actually mean that I get some reading done. I do actually work at work, lol, but read at lunch and tea time and find it easier to have a light book that I can pick up and put down at will.
I started off with another romance book Wedding bells at wondering creek  by Pamela Thayer. 3 or 4 of these were left at work a few months ago by someone, so I thought I may as well read them.
I then read Cobblestone Heroes by Ken McCoy. This book has been hanging around at home for ages.  A very sweet story about a family living in Leeds during and just post the second World War. 
At home I have read:
Other secrets by Farida Karodia. A story about a young Indian girl growing up in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in the 60s and 70s, and her family. This book had sat on my bookshelf for ages (Can you see I am trying to clear out?) and I never got around to reading it, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Riotous Assembly by Tom Sharpe. This book actually started off as an at work one but I couldnt put it down and so brought it home to finish. I used to love Tom Sharpe at one stage and have read all of his books. Having not read them for a few years this was like picking up an old friend. He is absolutely hysterical and I actually had tears of laughter running down my face at many parts of the book. Although this one is very South African and may not be as funny if you are not, the rest of his books are just as good. I found 2 more in a pile of my dads books so will be reading them soon too.
I am now in the middle of reading Duncton Quest by William Horwood, which will hopefully be finished in a day or so.
For more great ideas of what to read pop over to Sheila's blog

Friday, 21 January 2011

Five Question Friday

I have seen this meme around a few times and meant to join in and never got around it. Anyway since Brenda is no longer going to the junior youth at our church ubt going to the senior one, I now have a bit more time on a Friday night.
The rules are that you have to post the 5 questions to your blog and then answer them.

1. Where did you meet your spouse and did you instantly know it was love?
Ok, I have no spouse at the moment, so can only talk about my ex. Well, not the most auspicious of meetings since I met him in a bar. I had met up with a few friends there and was very drunk slightly tipsy. He offered to walk me home and I told him: "Dont think I am sleeping with you" My friend was mortified, lol.
2. What is your favorite room in your house?
Definitely my bedroom, since I can go in there, close the door and shut the world out.
3. Can you wiggle your ears?
Yes, I can but only backwards and forwards, not sideways if that makes sense.  I can also touch my nose with my tongue! 

4. What is your evening ritual?
Supper, bed for my daughter and then computer for me. Tea about half an hour before bed, usually around 10pm

5. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
6 to function but 8 to be happy and function, lol

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Read me baby 1 more time

Okay, okay I know I said I wasnt going to join any more challenges, but I found this one today and since there are a few books that I would like to re-read this year, I thought why not join in. The challenge is to re-read some of your old favourites. I am going to go for Groundhog Day reader and reread 13-20 books this year.
1. Duncton Wood by William Horwood
2. Riotous Assembly by Tom Sharpe
3. Duncton Quest by William Horwood
4. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
5. The Magicians Nephew by C.S Lewis
6. The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C.S Lewis
7. The Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
8. The horse and his boy by C.S Lewis
9. Ancestral Vices by Tom Sharpe
10. Prince Caspian by C.S Lewis
11. The voyage of the Dawn Treader
12. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
13. The silver chair by C.S Lewis
14. Spud by John Van de Ruit
15. Duncton Found by William Horwood
16. The return of the king by J.R.R Tolkien
17. The eye of the world by Robert Jordan
18. The forest by Edward Rutherford

Monday, 17 January 2011

It's Monday, what are you reading?

Well, I went back to work last Monday and what a week it has been. Meetings galore, things to sort out, registration for this semesters courses and a birthday party, all meant that this was a hectic week with little time to read. I did manage to finish 2 books.
Duncton Wood by William Horwood. Years ago my sister game me the second one of this series as a Christmas present. I didnt have any desire to read it, but eventually got number 1 out the library and was hooked from the first page. I have since read all 6 and love them all. Last year I reread The Wheel of time series by Robert Jordan, so this year decided to reread this and it was like picking up an old friend!
Second one I finished was The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. I was given this book in a load of others about a year ago. I read all the others but never ended up reading this one, and now I find that it was the best of all of them. It is set in India in the 1980s and just reminds me of another time when life was much more simple. Lol, I sound like my mother. Also, we have a large Indian community here and I could really relate to a lot of what she talked about as similar to what happens here.
As far as what I am reading this week, well I have a large TBR pile including An echo in the bone by Diana Gabaldon, so will probably get started on that next.
Pop over here to see more peoples reading weeks.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

I was given this book a while ago and never got around to it. Since I decided to try and get rid of a lot of books I came across it again and read it this week.
It is about a young, orphaned girl, Sai growing up with her grandfather in a small village in India. There is a cast of colourful characters who hearken back to a time when life was simpler. They include the cook, the judge (grandfather), Noni and Lola, Sai's tutors and Uncle Potty and Father Booty. It is set at the time of a Nepalise revolution in India and describes how society is falling apart around them and yet people are desperately trying to cling to the remnants. There is also a large portion of the book set in America with the cooks son, an illegal immigrant.
What I liked about the book: The setting was so beautifully laid out. I could really imagine that I was there, this book really had the power to transport me into the story. I love the way she wrote, building up the story from Sai's childhood until the present town. How she allowed you to see a little bit of the psyche of all the characters. She also allowed you to feel empathy for both sides in the raids and riot scenes and it was very clear how some people really have no desire to be involved, but just get swept along anyway.
What I didn't like: I felt that the ending was a bit premature and there were still a few loose ends to tie up. I felt like I had walked out 10 minutes before the end of the movie!
Would I read it again: Definitely
Would I read another book by the same author: Definitely

Friday, 14 January 2011

Rules for 2011

I got sent this email today and thought I would post it on here:



1. Drink plenty of water.

2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.

3. Eat more foods that grow ON trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured IN plants..

4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.

5. Make time to pray.

6. Play more games

7. Read more books than you did in 2010 .

8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day

9. Sleep at least 7 hours.

10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.


11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

12. Don't have negative thoughts on things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.

14. Don't take yourself so seriously No one else does.

15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.

16. Dream more while you are awake.

17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes in the past, that will ruin your present happiness.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.

20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

23. Smile and laugh more.

24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...


25. Call your family often.

26. Each day give something good to others.

27. Forgive everyone for everything.

28. Spend time with people over the age of 70, and under the age of 6.

29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

30. What other people think of you is none of your business.

31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.


32. Do the right thing!

33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful.

34. GOD heals everything.

35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.

37. The best is yet to come...

38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.

39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Number 40 was to forward it on to anyone you know.

Monday, 10 January 2011

It's Monday what are you reading?

And so, Monday rolls around again. It is amazing how quickly the weeks are flying by. I have been off for a couple of weeks but back to work today.  I have had a reasonably productive week as far as my reading goes.
First book I read was called The Double Crown by Marie Heece. Review here. This book had its good points and on the whole I enjoyed it, but I can't say I loved it. It was set in Ancient Egypt and I think that is what I loved the most about it.
Second book I read was Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult. I do enjoy her books and this one was no exception. I love that they really make me think about what my own feelings about difficult situations are. Definitely enjoyed this one.
Lastly I read The Last Testament by Sam Bourne. Review Here. I really love this kind of book and this one didnt disappoint. I hope to get some more of his out the library soon. If you liked The Da Vinci code you will enjoy this.
Reading at the moment:
Duncton Wood by William Horwood - I read this series ages ago and just had a wish to read it again.
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai - had for ages and only now getting around to read it.

I do have a few more on my to be read list, but those are what I am busy with. Hope you all have a good reading week!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Christmas Bokeh

I was trying to create Bokeh before Christmas following a prompt by Shimelle. This was my favourite one of the lot.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Review - The Last Testament by Sam Bourne

Author: Sam Bourne

I have only read one of Sam Bournes books before, but it is one of my favourite (for the moment) type of books, so when I saw it in the library I had to take it.
The story: Maggie Costello is a retired mediator in international politics. She is asked to step in when the Isreali Prime Minister is allegedly nearly assasinated to attemp to bring the peace talks back onto the rail. However, when she arrives in Israel she finds that all is not as it seems.
Firstly, the "assasinator" was actually an old man with a note in his hand, who had been trying to contact the Prime Minister for days and who was then shot by the Isreali secret services. Secondly, there have since been a series of seemingly random killings and other incidents which are threatening to derail the whole process. Maggie discovers that these incidents are not as random as they seem and are all tied into a small clay tablet discovered by this old man. She eventually teems up with the "assassins" son in a treasure hunt across Jerusalem to find the clay tablet and hopefully find out what is so important about them.
What I liked:
  • the descriptions of Jerusalem and the way he set out the scene. I really felt like I was there at times
  • the fast paced adventure, I could not read at all for most of yesterday and really felt it pulling at me to see what would happen next
  • the clues/hunt: I loved the way they were given a little bit of information and had to figure it out themselves
  • the way Maggie and Uri were 2 relatively normal people without backing from any big powers and yet they still managed to get there in the end with what they had at their disposal
What I didn't like:
  • not too much really
  • I did get a little confused since there was a little bit of jumping around between 2003, the time of the book and a few weeks before that.
  • Maggie had some deep secret past which was never really discussed, I would like to have heard more about that (may have been discussed in his first book.)
Would I read it again: Yes
Would I read other books by this author: Yes

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Happy Birthday Brenda - 13 today

Wow, I cannot believe that I am the mother of a teenager! Absolutely scary. Brenda turned 13 today and is really turning into a beautiful child. The hormones have definitely kicked in, she can be moody and very frustrating, lol, but other times she is just so sweet. Last year was not a great year for her at school, mainly due to issues with her teacher and a couple of kids in her class (one of the reasons I was quiet on here). Lets hope that this year is better. We went out to lunch and then Brenda went to a mosaicing class at my local scrapbooking class. This evening we had her favourite meal for supper - Roast Lamb, potatoes and vegetables, and of course birthday cake!

School has been out here since the 12 December, and they go back on the 19 January. We had a good Christmas in fact much better than the last few. I hope to do a post on that soon!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Mystery and suspense Reading challenge 2011

So I was bloghopping this evening and came across the Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge for 2011.
This is one of my favourite genres so I am definitley going to join this. The challenge is to read at least 12 mystery novels in 2011. Should be easy enough for me, lol. What did amaze me though was the list of all the different sub-genres of mystery. Wow, I have never realised there were quite as many as that. So I aim to try a few new mystery kinds/authors as well this year.

1. The Last Testament by Sam Bourne
2. Kingdom by Tom Martin
3. Fire Ice by Clive Cussler
4. I, Alex Cross by James Patterson
5. The Genesis Code by John Case
6. Bodyguard by Suzanne Brockman
7. The Messiah Code by Michael Cordy
8. The Lizards Bite by David Hewson
9. Zambesi by Tony Park
10. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
11. Empire of Gold by Andy Mc Dermott
12. The double Eagle by James Twining
13. Dantes Numbers by David Hewson
14. City of Light by Lauren Belfaur
15. Along came a spider by James Patterson
16. Absolution by Caro Ramsey
17. Beach Road by James Patterson
18. The fabric of sin by Phil Rickman
19. The Amber Room by Steve Berry
20. Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith
21. Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer
22. Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
23. Sandstone by James Rollins
24. Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown
25. The black sun by James Twining
26. 206 bones by Kathy Reichs
27. The secret servant by Daniel Silva
28. The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
29. The Lion by Nelson de Mille
30. Break no bones by Kathy Reichs
31. The killing place by Tess Gerritsen
32. Hell Gate by Linda Fairstein
33. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
34. To dream of the dead by Phil Rickman
35. The last Oracle by James Rollins
36. Fatal Attraction by Carol Smith
37. The sinner by Tess Gerritsen
38. Theodore Boone by John Grisham
39. The lost throne by Chris Kuzneski
40. Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs

One little word 2011

I did this last year and although I did fall off the wagon a bit in the middle of the year I think I am much more organised than I was at the start of last year. Basically the concept with this is that you take one little word to symbolise how you will be living your life this year. There are a lot of places around who are doing this but I will be following on Mel's blog., one of my favourite blogs.
Choosing a word was quite difficult. Firstly I thought of Friends, with all the stress that has happened in my life the last few years I have been very bad at keeping up with my friends. Both due to time and sometimes I just havent actually felt like it. Then I thought of healthy because once again I really need to lose weight. Then I thought of positive because I feel like I have been in a bit of a negative spiral lately, and need to change that. Then that brought me on to my final word that I have chosen and that is.....................

I think that can encompass all 3, so what I want to change is the following
  • my attitude: this will encompass being positive and being more in contact with my friends, also continuing to be more organised and just getting my life in order
  • my weight: obviously lose and be more active
  • my finances: I need to make a serious dent in my debt repayments over the next year.
I have infact put a few things in place over the last few months on the finance side which will definitely continue over the next few months. But I need to start working on the others. I will use another blog for this but will post monthly updates on here!

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Double Crown by Marie Heece

I got this book from my book club a couple of months ago and havent got around to starting it. Since I have to take it back at the end of January and since I have never read this author before I decided it would be perfect for my first book for the New Author Challenge. I have always loved history and especially the Ancient Egyptians and anythign from around that time period which is the reason I chose the book in the first book.
The book centres on Hatshepsut, the female pharoah who ruled Egypt around 1500BC. It takes her from her early childhood right through her young adulthood, marriage, death of her husband and then her time as pharoah and leads right up to her final betrayal and her death. To be honest I am still trying to decide whether I enjoyed it or not, maybe on a scale of 1 to 5 would give it a 3. There were periods and things that I really loved but there were parts that seemed to drag a bit.
What I loved: All the descriptions of Egypt and the customs and rituals that she went through. It is written as if it is the Pharoahs own diary and I felt like I got into her mind if that makes sense. I enjoyed the stories of her childhood and her relationships with those that she loved.
What put me off: I felt like we didnt really get to know anybody else but the Pharoah, there was not much insight into the other characters and why they acted the way they did. (THis is partly due to the way the book is written in the diary style) Also I felt like the book kept going backwards and forwards and I was not always sure what time period we were in. I would have liked there to have been a bit more of a plot, it just seemed to be a series of events although it was obvious that it was leading up to something. The ending was also a bit odd,and left you wondering but I think it was probably the best ending in the circumstances.
Would I read it again: Probably not
Would I read other books by this author: Yes

Saturday, 1 January 2011

100+ challenge 2010

Just a wrap up post for this challenge. I didnt manage to make it to the 100, but did read 78 books this year. I think that is quite good since it is more than I have read for a while. I will be doing it this year and will definitely choose slightly smaller books! I know that may sound like a bit of a cop-out but a good portion of my books were over 1000 pages this year, so that definitely made it harder to get through them! I will be removing the list from my sidebar so am posting all the books that I read here for record purposes.

78. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan.
77. A villa of mysteries by David Hewson

76. A season for the dead by David Hewson

75. Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan

74.As sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers

73.The Last Pope by Luis Miguel Rocha

72. The other family by Joanna Trollope

71. Star Spangled Bride by Iris Johannsen

70. Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein

69. The Secret Of Excalibur by Andy McDermott

68. Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan

67. Valley of the Sun by Elizabeth Lowell

66. The Abyssinian proof by Jenny White

65. The Promised land by Chris Hewson

64. Treasure of Khan by Clive Cussler

63. Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy

62. Assegai by Wilbur Smith

61. Winters Heat by Robert Jordan

60. Golden Buddha by Clive Cussler

59. The lost daughter by Diane Chamberlain

58. Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein

57. Confessions of a Jane Austin Addict by Laura Viera Rigler

56. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

55. Who gets Fluffy by Judith Summers

54. A crowded Marriage by Catherine ALlison

53. Thin Air by Sue Gee

52. Killing Floor by Lee Child

51. Garden of evil by David Hewson

50. An echo in the darkness by Francine Rivers

49. Memories of the storm by Marcia Willett

48. A crown of swords by Robert Jordan

47. Going it alone by Claire Dowling

46. Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson

45. Twilight hour by Carol Smith

44. Nothing to lose by Lee Child

43. Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan

42. To the Blight by Robert Jordan

41. Solstice by David Hewson

40. All you need is love by Carole Matthews

39. The Lost City by Clive Cussler

38. Someone Special by Shiela O'Flanagan

37. 61 hours by Lee Child

36. The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

35. The other woman by Jane Green

34. Foreign Body by Robin Cook

33. The Tiger Warrior by David Gibbins

32. World without End by Ken Follett

31. Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child

30. The shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

29. The 6 sacred stones by Matthew Reilly

28. The widow of the South by Robert Hicks

27.The Crucifix Killer by Chris Carter

26. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

25. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

24. The Killing Kind by John Connolly

23. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

22. The third secret by Steve Berry

21. The seventh sacrament by David Hewson

20. When will their be good news by Kate Atkinson

19. Having the Builders in by Reah Tannahill

18. The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry

17. Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend

16. From the Two Rivers by Robert Jordan

15. Devil's Brood by Sharon Penman

14. Without Warning by Carol Smith

13. Remember me by Sophie Kinsella

12. Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

11. English Passengers by Matthew Kneale

10. This year it will be different by Maeve Binchy

9. Bad Blood by Linda Fairstein

8. Polar Shift by Clive Cussler

7. Little Face by Sophie Hannah

6. Making your mind up by Jill Mansell

5. The Longing by Beverly Lewis

4. The Forbidden by Beverly Lewis

3. A thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hooseini

2. The Parting by Beverley Lewis

1. The Covenant of Genesis by Andy McDermott

And now moving on to 100 books in 2011!