Category Archives: book review

#Book Review: Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One by @HHBasquiat

When it comes to sarcasm, there is a fine line between rude and witty. That line is even harder to walk when it comes to writing. Helena Hann – Basquiat and her co-conspirator Penny seem to have it down to a fine art. This is what I enjoy most about the writings of this author. She seems to be able to take everyday situations and turn them into enlightened forms of sarcastic humor.

memoirs-one-cover

Her memoirs have a sense of ‘je ne se qua’. Sophisticated and artistic pop culture commentary. Relatable stories, which seem to be inspired by real life. The blurb on the back of the book explains it well:

“Most – okay, some – of what follows is true.”

It was really hard to believe that a man (since the Author uses a female pen name) wrote some of the more painful stories, stories which seem too feminine of an experience. Perhaps men and women are really not very different after all.

Among my favorite in the collection of memoirs is the one titled:

Gotta catch ‘em all! (the modern young woman’s guide to choosing friends)

Sincerely, if you were to buy the book to only read that particular chapter it would have been money well spent. It is an excellent piece of sarcastic commentary on how shallow our society seems to have become. How labels have replaced human beings and us as a society seem to take offense with everything.

I recommend this book for anyone and everyone. It’s something a little bit different. Most likely it is not like anything you have ever read before. Defiantly something that will make you think about the world we live in. It’s charming, it’s painful, it’s fiction, it’s fact.

I give this a five out of five stars.

You can read my review of Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two here, which I would also recommend to everyone.

Find it on Amazon.

Find it on Goodreads.

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Author Blog:

 About the reviewer

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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African Me and Satellite TV by @jorobinson176 #BookReview

African Me and Satellite TV is a novel by South African born author Jo Robinson. The story line is a prime example of Robinson’s love of writing about human frailty.

african-me-satellite-tv-cover

The story takes place in modern-day Zimbabwe (after Morgan Tvangirai’s party merged government with ruling party led by Robert Mugabe 2009 – 2013).

After years of depression, the heroine, Suzette Herzog is faced with two very dangerous racists. After a series of events, this married couple makes it their life’s mission to destroy Suzette.

It is unfortunate, but true that such people do still very much exist in the region today. As someone who lives in Southern Africa, I find the plot and characters to be very realistic.

Other characters in the book were also very entertaining and well thought-out.

The issues of human rights and animal cruelty form part of the main plot and large chunks of the book are dedicated to this topic as viewed from the point of view of Suzette.

Apart from a few easily overlooked typo’s the language flows effortlessly. Overall the book was an enjoyable read, which also made me think about the issues we face in the region.

I recommend the book for anyone who wants to read a genuine African story. If you enjoy stories of triumph of the human soul then this would be your book.

I give the book 3 out of 5 Stars.

Links:

Find the book on Amazon here.

Jo Robinson blog: africolonialstories.wordpress.com

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About the reviewer

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho – Writers Quote Wednesday

During the A to Z challenge in April, I discussed how important inspiration is in maintaining our mindset. This is why I want to join in today’s #beWoW or Writers Quote Wednesday blog hop. This hop is all about writers quotes which inspire us. Instead of simply giving an inspirational quote, I would also like to discuss and review the book from which that inspirational quote comes. I have recently finished reading “Veronika Decides to Die” by Paulo Coelho.

Paulo-Coelho-quote-be-crazy

“Be crazy! But learn how to be crazy without being the center of attention. Be brave enough to live different.”
― Paulo CoelhoVeronika Decides to Die

I picked up this book for two reasons.

  1. I thought reading up on how an internationally bestselling author handles the subject of suicide would be good for my own book research.
  2. I have read books of this author before and felt I needed something in his style of writing to get myself into a more positive thought pattern.

Set in Ljubljana, Slovenia – Veronika is a twenty-something with a steady job, no lack of admirers and loving parents. One day she decides to end her life, for what seems to be utter boredom with life.Her suicide fails and she wakes up in a Mental Health institution called Villete. There she finds out that the pills she took to end it all, have damaged her heart. She has mere days to live. In the week that comes, she goes on a journey of self-discovery.

In “Veronika Decides to Die,” Author Paulo Coelho questions the meaning of madness. Reading you find yourself pondering the mundane aspects of the every day. Is following your dream really so crazy? Or rather, is conforming to society’s norm not the death of your spirit?

“Haven’t you learned anything, not even with the approach of death? Stop thinking all the time that you’re in the way, that you’re bothering the person next to you. If people don’t like it, they can complain. And if they don’t have the courage to complain, that’s their problem”
― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

In true Paulo Coelho fashion, the writing is poetic and expressive. It tends to be somewhat verbose if you are not yet accustomed to his style. Sometimes it feels like the author is breaking out into a spiritual sermon, all in the disguise of fiction. This makes it a somewhat slow read.

The story is loosely based on events in the author’s own life. In the afterword, the author tells you how the book touched the life of his readers and fellow countrymen. Reading a passage from the book helped one senator pass a law, which was being held back the previous ten years. This law forbids “arbitrary admissions into mental institutions” in Brazil.

“Veronika Decides to Die” gets a 5 out of 5 Stars from me. Despite its wordiness, I found the book to be genuinely inspiring.
Just check out some of the readers favorite quotes in the YouTube video below.

 

About the Blogger

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Amber Wake – Gabriel Falling by @PSBartlett and @RonovanWrites – a #book review

Have you ever enjoyed book so much –you absolutely needed to tell everyone about it? This is one of those books. Stating the obvious: I enjoyed reading this Historical Adventure by authors PS Barlett and Ronovan Hester. Amber Wake – Gabriel Falling, follows the journey of Gabriel Wallace a Royal Navy Captain. Betrayal and corruption led this dishonored captain on a journey to piracy and revenge – all in the name of the crown, queen and county – set in 1705.

amber-wake-pic

The story itself could easily be turned into a movie. The authors give you an action packed scene after the next. You can hardly wait to turn the page. This story tied in well with the other books in this series, all, which I’ve also read – and think, are highly recommendable.  The difference between this book and the other’s being that this one is set in a man’s world, told by a man. Women do not play much of a vital role in this story except for making the life of our hero difficult.

I loved reading this hero, as he clearly is a man of honor. The emotional conflicts he endures throughout his revenge set mission makes for interesting reading. The relationship between him and his second in charge is a good example of such. We also find a boy Adam in this story. Gabriel seems to have taken up the father roll to Adam, which makes for some endearing scenes. The main characters are very well-developed and complex.

As this is an Indie publication, it seems necessary to comment on the well-formatted and overall well-edited book. The rich usage of the English language was a delight to read. Exquisite. Some real care was put into the actual word usage. The language also fit the period of the tale.

Overall, my personal opinion is that the authors PS Bartlett and Ronovan Hester did an excellent job writing this book. But don’t take my word for it, read the first chapter here or check out the kindle sample on Amazon. I dare say if you enjoy action packed adventure with swords and fistfights you will not be disappointed.

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Find it on Amazon.

P.S. I bought my kindle copy of this novel on Amazon for US$2.99.  The thoughts and opinions expressed with this review, are my own honest reflections on the book.

About the reviewer

Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Star Children in the Sands of Time

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then I’m from Saturn. Do you ever get this idea, that you are so strange that you may actually be alien? If you identify with what I’m on about here, then you may be a “Star Person” or what some like to call born a “Star Child”.
The term “Star Child” is a spiritual concept that the individual’s soul did not originate from earth, but rather from another planet or realm. Star Children are a gifted bunch of people often displaying talents associated with a sixth sense. They have been incarnated on earth for a purpose of shifting earth’s energy to a higher level and generally making this place a better homeland for us all.

There are three types of Star Children.

  • Indigo Children
  • Chrystal Children
  • Rainbow Children

These terms originated from the different colors of these incarnated E.T’s aura*¹.

Star-Children-in-literature
Star children in literature:

Whether you believe this eccentric theory or not, it defiantly makes for some creative plot lines in literature or writing. This is something author, Jo Robinson did with her Sci-Fi / Fantasy novel series “Shadow People – Book One” which she has now renamed “The Sands of Time”. The protagonist of her tale Natalie is a Star Person, who goes on an epic journey that leads her to re-discover her soul’s origin on another planet. Much of the book was plotted along the “Star Child” incarnation theory. Since Jo Robinson wrote this novel in the panster*² type fashion during the NaNoWriMo*³ challenge, I don’t know if this was intentional or not. Robinson has a wonderful talent for writing. The English language seems to flow effortlessly onto the page she writes. It’s a book I’d recommend to anyone fascinated by the “Star Child” idea.

Read the Amazon excerpt by clicking on the picture:

Sands of Time - JC Robinson


In the Sands of Time
You will find the Star Child line
Odd in its own rhyme.

When I read this week’s Ronovan Writes Haiku challenge words “Star” and “Child”, it dawned on me, that the term “Star Child” was familiar.
You can read the above Haiku poem as follows:

In the Sands of Time, you will find the Star Child line. You will find the Star Child line, odd in its own rhyme.

Side Notes:
Note *1: The energy field surrounding each person is called an aura and has its unique color, which can only be seen by gifted individuals or special cameras.
Note *2: “Panster” is the word referred to when a writer sets out writing a novel without doing much planning.
Note *3: “NaNoWriMo” stands for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place each November. The challenge is to write fifty thousand words in one month.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

FIND HER IN ALL THESE PLACES:

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Set sail in a pirate tale – My review of Jaded Tides by @PSBartlett

Come let author P.S. Bartlett take you on an adventure – on the high seas. Climb aboard her book “Jaded Tides”.

jaded-tides-front-cover

“Jaded Tides” is a Historical Romance Adventure by P.S. Bartlett. It is the latest in her “the Razors Adventures Pirate Tales” series. Bartlett first published the book “the Blue Diamond” which takes place further down the line to this “Jaded Ties” book.

“Jaded Tides” takes place after the adventure set out in “Demons and Pearls” – where we are introduced to the heroines’ Ivory Shepard’s first love – Captain Rasmus Bergman (Big Red). While the book is certainly a fast-paced adventure on the high seas, it is also a passionate love story. I liked Rasmus in “Demons and Pearls” – I completely fell head over heels in love with him right along with the heroine, in  “Jaded Tides”.  Jaded Tides takes Ivory and Rasmus on an adventure to save some young women who have fallen prey to the sex slave trade.

And if I am correct in my assumption, after reading the first chapter of the next installment (although this is a prequel – can I then say next installment?) (co-authored with Ronovan Hester) out in February Amber Wake” takes a closer look at Rasmus’s tale, which is certainly one I wish to read – Right. Now.

 

It is hard to write a review on this book without remarking on the others in the series, but it should be obvious that I really, really liked this book right along with the rest of the series. It is wonderful when an author manages to write a series, which grows in strength. I love reading series because you already have set of characters, which you know and love.

Herewith also comes the problem. I know as an author it may be necessary to advance the story, but for a reader it is plainly painful when an author kills off one of his or her darlings. This has not happened – yet.  Having read “the Blue Diamond” it is something; I know that will happen somewhere down the line, perhaps in the next installment or the one thereafter.

That knowledge puts one on the edge when reading this book. I kept on wondering – when it will happen? I do not know if this was intentional by the author or not – but it is the affect reading this series is having on me. I would call it nail biting.

The aspect I enjoy most in this series is that the protagonist is a strong willed and powerful female. I like it when women don’t conform to societies expectations. It makes me want to say – “BOOM, way to go my sister!”

Trying not to give away too much here, but “Jaded Ties” ended a bit on a cliffhanger. I defiantly want to know what happens next. I want to see Ivory kick some pirate behind (although she is more likely to get herself into a sword fight – but you get the picture) in the next installment or in the one thereafter.

Is “Jaded Tides” a book I’d recommend? – YES.

Is “Jaded Tides” a book one could enjoy reading without reading the others in the series first? – YES, “Jaded Tides” is a very exciting tale all on its own.

However, I would recommend reading “Demons and Peals” first. It gives “Jaded Tides” so much more substance.

Jaded Tides gets a very exiting 4 out of 5 stars from me.

 

You can find out more about the series and  Author P.S Bartlett’s on the links below:

Links

Author site: http://psbartlett.me

Jaded Ties on Amazon

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PSBartlett

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PSBartlett

 

In addition, simply because I absolutely love this trailer – check this out too: