The Book Club Blog

Books for any occasion and other life stuff

Two in One

In case you hadn’t noticed by my reading habits that I am inclined to genre hop. I am not bound by style, age or creed. If the concept, or story line intrigues me, I read it. The more interesting and unique the better but what I particularly love, is some homegrown fiction.

We have a range of superb South African authors in our midst and, I believe, more coming out of the woodwork than ever before.  I have been lucky enough to have been asked to review a couple of books over the last few months, and while my reviewing has been a little slow, my reading has been on track. So, without further ado, the last two SA fiction books I have read and my honest opinions:

When I lost me – Claire Lagerwall

A self published author, Claire has written a Christian Fiction novel based in Italy and The Eastern Cape. Two such vastly different parts of the world which lends a beautiful contrast to the characters lives. Catherine, disillusioned with God after a battle to conceive, feeling lost and hopeless she leaves Sicily and boards an aeroplane to South Africa. Rebecca and Nathaniel are farmers in the Eastern Cape of South Africa when one day a mysterious threat shrouded in suspicion forces them to confront the truth of their farm land.

This book was a fast paced, edge of your seat quick and easy read with relevant conversational topics and I really enjoyed it. Would I recommend it? Yes. One thing which I did notice about this book is that is written in such a way that any nationality could read this book and not be intimidated  by the the subject matter, or setting. It is a beautifully written stand alone novel.

Fancy giving it a read? Head on over here to purchase yourself a copy. Remember books make good gifts too.

{Photo courtesy of Claire’s FB page}

Next up:

Libertalia – Mel Lewis

Quest for Land

Lost Fortunes

The End of an Era

The Libertalia Trilogy is a South African middle grade/young adult novel whose covers I adore!  The series has Africa in its pages, reminiscent of Miranda Sherry’s Black Dog Summer(highly recommended if you haven’t read it yet) but for the younger reader.

The story is set in a boarding school in the Eastern Cape and follows the story of 4 teenagers, Karabo, Willian, Mzi and Isla. I found the portrayal to be an apt description of of the diversity of friendships in a South African school, showing differences between cultures in a sensitive manner, yet also their similarities. It was true to life, and while this may only be me, I adore stories about The Ancestors Call, and Sangomas. I love how the author shows the the difficulty Karabo feels when she discovers she has been called to this life, how to place it into her ‘normal’ life and how through the books she matures and makes peace with her destiny.

The last book was my favourite as over the series the characters mature, and you can see them growing, making peace with their differences while keeping their friendship bonds strong. This series is an easy to read, fast paced and uniquely South African adventure series.

Thank you to both authors for the opportunity to read and review their books. I am honoured to have read them. Your voices are loud and proud. May there be many more books to come.

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When words collide

First lines. Opening sentences. The story begins.

Is there anything more satisfying than a good opening line, with words that whet your appetite and tantalise the tastebuds of your story soul? A sentence that marks the beginning of the journey you’re about to embark on, evolving into a paragraph that entices you into a brand new world. A story created just for you.  Stories resonate, some make you angry, or sad, or sob. Sometimes, you just have to share your thoughts on a particular book and how it makes you feel.

Enter: The Giver of Stars by Jo Jo Moyes.

It was bought for our bookclub last year, we each get a turn to host. The host purchases their selection of books, and we take turns to read them. So, I waited patiently for the copy of  The Giver of Stars to make its way to me, and then at the end of Feb, it was my turn. But I also had a copy of Grown Ups by Marian Keyes to read. Choices, choices! What to read first when both were clamouring for my eyeballs?  So I did what I always do and I read the first few pages of each book.  I could feel a certain energy emanating off the page of  ‘Stars’ as if the author was speaking directly to me through her characters. Her voice was loud and clear, and she kept my attention on a book I think she needed to write.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book is such a relevant read in our day and age. And while the book was set in the late thirties, the entire premise shows us that some things haven’t changed in regards to a partriachal society. Granted there is a definite process presently taking place, where women are beginning to speak up and take back their power, but not everywhere. There are still many women who are beaten into submission because they go against the ‘rules’.  Still many women who are silenced because of societal norms. But this book shows us what happens when we DO stand up, speak up, to show our truth, and what can happen if we don’t. What I adored about this book is that ALL the characters were portrayed so damn well. The men, and women. Because not all men are alike. Neither are woman.There was a sentence in the book, which I failed to write down, but it inferred that “women realise they are weaker than men when they are hit. But only until they (the women) strike back.”  It really resonated with me. It made me remember that I am brave.

The female characters are a diverse and accurate portrayal of individuals who believe they are alone, but when one woman inspires a group, they are beyond powerful and great changes occur, which is SO relevant in our world today. The story shows the power of community, of women on a mission, of living one’s truth, no matter the cost. It was a simple reminder that we all have a choice. The decisions might not be easy but we always, always have a choice.

I’m not going to give you a piece by piece breakdown of the book, suffice to say, you should read it.  I went in blind. All I knew was it had something to do with a mobile library in America, and was based on truth. (In fact, my initial thoughts were ah, not so sure about this one… ha, right, turns out it’s a five star relevant read,  I should NEVER judge a book by its cover…) Which is all I’m going to give you. Go read it, I really don’t think you will be disappointed. Then google it. But read it first.

As for JoJo Moyes, I think this is her best book yet. Relevant. Authentic. Brave.  A beautiful exploration of being a women amidst societal expectations.


The Book Butterfly

What is it?

The newest in South African book services, the book butterfly allows for hands free reading. Oftentimes, a product will arrive on the market which in theory sounds great, but in practise, leaves rather much to be desired.  I was emailed a rather amusing letter from the creator of the Bookbutterfly, asking if I would like to try one out. I am all for trying new things, especially if it has anything to do with books, and considering that my 10 (almost 11) year old daughter Loves all gadget type products, I knew that even if it didn’t work for me, she would love it. So, I said yes, send me one, let us give it a go.

Well, what a hit. From the moment it arrived (in the school holidays so my daughter was here when the parcel arrived), until now, it has been extremely well used.  She loves it. At bedtime, she supports her book in the holder, rests it on her pillow at just the right angle to allow a side lying position, at lunchtime, she has her book in front of her and hands free for eating. She loved setting it up, and the fact that it comes with a little light to assist in night time reading was just the best.

I have managed to pry it away from her bedside, once her lights are out, quietly sneaking into her room to take it and use if for my own bed time reading. It is fabulous if you have weak wrists and holding heavy books is not an option. It has been cleverly designed to allow ease of turning pages, clear little wings which hold the book open but do not interfere with the printed word and, if you choose the book light option, you have an extendable lamp to read by in the dark.

I thought the cutest thing was that the Book Butterfly is designed to look like a butterfly, and I do believe you even have the option of choosing your own wing colours.

I think this is a great invention for anyone who loves to read. And children who love gadgets. It is a functioning product which I know we will get much use out of. For cook book enthusiasts who utilise recipe books, it will also be a great help in keeping the page open where you need it, and out of the way to avoid getting sauce splatters on your immaculate pages…;-)

A proudly South African product, you can contact Trevor or you can find your own here.

Happy Reading!


A Reader’s Sabbatical

I am a Pilates teacher and Massage teacher by profession.

I aim to keep my knowledge of the body on point, on track and up to date by doing various courses, both online and in real life. In between that I work, I write, I mother, I drive my little person to her favoured extra murals, and then come bed time, I want to forget about the real stuff and dive into a fantasy land of someone else’s creation. Even if it is only for 5 minutes before my eyes slide shut.

But a couple of days ago, while massaging my clients particularly tight traps, contemplating how busy life is and do we ever really take the time to rest, and how we abuse our bodies until they say no more, and the connections between mind and body. How the body stores its emotions, how it has a story to share if only we are willing to listen to the words it speaks. If only we could understand what it is trying to say.

Which then brought to mind all the books on my bookshelf on the mind, body, spirit connection that are begging to be read, and re-read and how it would be so truly delicious to be able to take a sabbatical away from work in order to read. Research. Without trying to fit it into life, instead it is life. To find some of the answers that flit through my thoughts on a daily basis. And how great it would be to then pass on that information to souls also wanting the answers, because even though the answers we seek are so personal, they are truly universal too.

So, in the new year, I am going to take a reading sabbatical and read the books on my bookshelf. The universe has a funny way of providing us with exactly what we need at exactly the right time. So, Universe,  Please may I have a month of paid leave to read and research for work.  And then while we are at it, could I have a month off to write too?  I am asking. Out loud. On social media. How can the universe ignore that?
reading nook

photo courtesy of pinterest

I did take a sabbatical at the beginning of this year, which was truly wonderful and well timed. So, I think a yearly sabbatical would do wonders for my soul.

Have you ever taken a reading sabbatical?

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The Underachieving Ovary by JT Lawrence




I received a review copy of this book from cupcake mummy(Thanks!) in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book, it was raw, honest and real and I enjoyed Lawrence’s writing. She really manages to pull you in to her story without much hardship on her part. The story of her infertility and desire for a child is  heartbreaking until finally after much hardship, she is blessed with pregnancy and new life.

This is not a usual subject for me, as I have never had infertility issues, I have no idea how it must feel to desire a child so much that nothing and no one can stand in your way to conceive. I know of people who have, I have ready some books about it, but it can never make me understand to what extent these feelings can crowd a person out and fill one with despair. I thank Lawrence and Albertyn(So Close) for writing their stories, for sharing the heartache, heartsore and yet heartstrong feelings, and words with us so we can have an inkling as to what they went through in order to conceive.

They are strong women.

Read this, it is pretty compelling. Written in journal format, dark humour and TMI in equal parts,  it requires you to read because you really want to know if they succeed in getting pregnant or not. From the back of the book:

Let me put it this way: If Helen Fielding and Marian Keyes were to go through IVF, and use Caitlin Moran as a surrogate, this book would be their baby.

JT Lawrence is South African and has a good few books out, I do believe I will have track down some more and see if they are as good as this one. Check out her website here.





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Lemongrass Hope – a review

Wow! You have to read this book.

I was approached by the author – Amy Impellizzeri – to see if I would be keen to read her book, and I am so very glad I said yes.

Lemongrass Hope is a book about life, about the decisions we think are wrong, about how we can live in the past for ages without even realising it and how one should really take life by the horns and live it. I found that this book resonated with me as I used to wonder quite often wether the choice I had made was the right one, and if there might be something ‘better’ out there, a while ago, I came to the realisation that it is how we face our life, and our decisions that make it. Our attitude to our choices and the decisions and how we approach life. Are we positive? Or do we constantly think that the grass is greener on the other side? I think that if we live in that constant state of wanting something which we don’t have we loose the joy and fundamental truth of living in the now. And I do believe that Amy has managed to pass this sentiment along beautifully.

So, while I am waxing lyrical about a book you haven’t read yet, or possibly even heard about, let me get back to basics and tell you what it is about.

Kate is struggling with family life and love under stress in the here-and-now when her fate is changed with a rather unique idea and she has the chance to change her destiny with the meeting of her soul mate in a different time and place. Her decision will change everything but gives her a chance to ‘go back to her wrong turn’. What does she do? Well, that my dear people, is the story so I won’t tell you here but suffice to say that the idea behind it is unique and really does make you think about your own ‘wrong turns’ and if you would, in fact do it differently.

This is a magical book where realism hits time travel hits love story and I do believe will resonate with a large portion of woman, moms and even those of us struggling to combine what we have with what we thought we would have.

Read it, it is lovely and unique. Amy’s writing pulls you in and just when you least expect it, hands you a twisty turn which suddenly has you engrossed instead of just enjoying and wondering where the story is going, at just the right part!

The book is due out in October 2014, and when its here, I would highly recommend it. Put it on the list for your book club.

If you would like to know more about Amy, you can check out her website here

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

If you haven’t read this book yet, Do!

This is a beautiful, thought provoking and poignant story of what happens when one day you decide to embrace life. Harold Fry does just that, without really thinking about it all. After receiving a letter in the post from Queeny Hennessy one morning, he writes back and goes to the post box to send it off. Though his journey does not stop there. He carries on walking with the thought that if he walks, then Queeny will live longer. And so starts Harold’s walk to Queeny.

But this story is so much more than that. It is about loss and love and emotions and soldiering on even when ones belief in ones journey begins to wane. It is about support from unlikely places, from unlikely people showing the goodness inherent in most of us. That is not to say that there is not a little bit of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ and basic human flaws showing themselves throughout but done in such a way that you can but only understand.

I loved this novel, I think it is well worth a read and just goes to show that you never know what is just around the corner, how we can be become so mired in our inability to change that one day, one just has to.

Read it, I don’t think you will be disappointed!

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Books for my daughter on her birthday

My little bookworm turns Five today!


 And what would a birthday be without books? 

I found them at the Exclusive Books Sale for a fraction of the full price, which is always a bonus…


YUMMY: My Favourite Nursery Stories


LETTICE – The Birthday Party


Guess what we will be doing at bedtime!

And don’t forget you can still enter our give away here! It really is an Awesome book and I recommend any one who lives in SA to read it. Leaving a comment automatically enters you into the give away!






The Earth Hums in B Flat – Mari Strachan

I bought this book with my Christmas Book Voucher from Exclusive Books. I loved the name of the book and after reading the first page, I was hooked.

Gwenni Morgan is not like any other girl in this small Welsh town. Inquisitive, bookish and full of spirit, she can fly in her sleep and loves playing detective. So when a neighbour mysteriously vanishes, and no one seems to be asking the right questions, Gwenni decides to conduct her own investigation. Mari Strachan’s unforgettable novel was one of the most acclaimed and successful debuts of 2009. It is a heart-breaking and hugely enjoyable story.

Heart breaking is an under statement. At times in this novel, I felt like my heart was being squeezed when reading how Gwenni’s mother treated her, it all comes to a fore at the end of the story and sort of makes sense, but as a mother myself, there were times when I wanted to knock some sense into the woman.

Gwenni is a lovely child, a child, full of wonder and what makes a child so very beautiful and innocent and joyful and I loved this character. This is an easy albeit a little of a slow read, but I can promise that it is very worth the small amount of effort that you may require to get started.

Have you read it?

Do you agree with my thoughts?

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Wool – a review of sorts

Wool by Hugh Howey is a thoroughly intriguing read! I loved it, and read it in two days, luckily it was weekend, so had some reading time to devote to it.  The story behind the author and the book is here.

Please read it, interesting and though provoking, especially if you have read the novel.

If not, Do! If I had known it was classified as ‘sci fi’ I probably wouldn’t of picked it up, but it is way more than ‘sci fi’, it is a post apocalyptic novel with echos of our present and truly unputdownable. My words will not be able to do it justice.

Suffice to say, the next instalment is due out soon and looks like even a movie in the future! One, I have to admit to wanting to watch if and when it does!

Have you read it?

If so, what did you think? 

Are you as taken with it as I am or not really?

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