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Coffee at Little Angels Review and Giveaway (along with some other goodies)

November 6, 2017

I’ll be upfront. I doubt I would be able to do an unbiased review on Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter, the blogger behind the travel blog Passing the Open Windows. Cause I think she is an amazing person and I am fortunate enough to call her a friend. Granted, I had bought an ebook copy of Coffee at Little Angels and read it before I befriended Nadine, so I will nevertheless try to be unbiased.

Port Elizabeth Blogger and Author of Coffee at Little Angels, Nadine Rose Larter

Coffee at Little Angels review

The story takes place in an unnamed small town. Seven childhood friends, who are now in their twenties, are reunited after the death of one of their friends, Phillip. Now grown up, they don’t have much in common anymore and they have many unresolved conflicts between them, that have been simmering over the years. The only thing that currently links them and brings them together, is the untimely death of Phillip.

The story is written from the point of view of all eight characters Sarah, Kaitlyn, Caleb, Maxine, Grant, Melanie, Josh and even the dead man himself, Philip. There are a number of flashbacks and each individual’s story is entwined. Coffee at Little Angels is very much a character-driven story.

Most of the characters were interesting, except Sarah (many of the reviewers on the book’s Goodreads page like Sarah). Her character annoyed me to extremes, she was always so needy and perfect, and in some parts, I felt like she was making Phillip’s death all about her. Nevertheless, the other characters personality’s made up for Sarah’s perfection. If I had to pick a favourite character it would have to Maxine. I feel that she had the most character growth in the book and as a character, I feel that she is a good person, without being perfect.

The book took me through a range of emotions. While reading, I felt happy, sad (I may or may not have cried a bit at some points), annoyance (mostly at Sarah, occasionally because of Melanie) and even anger. At the end, I was furious.  But I’m not going to spoil the ending for you, you’ll have to read it yourself.

All in all, I give Coffee at Little Angels, 5 out 5 stars. To purchase a copy, you can contact Nadine on her site or alternatively you can purchase the ebook version on Amazon. I loved this book so much, I’ve bought a copy for a friend and bought one for you guys. Nadine has also been awesome enough to sign this copy.

Coffee at Little Angels giveaway

Some extras

I’ve added some extras to the book. I had been gathering some stuff for a giveaway but never seem to get around to getting all of the items. So I thought these would be the perfect addition to the book.

Caribbean Tan Tan in a Can

I had gotten this tan in a can in one of my #ECMeetup goodie bags. As a Coloured person, I tan naturally quite easily. All I need is 15 minutes in the sun (unfortunately I turn red in my cheeks just as quickly). Although I’ve heard many amazing things about this product, I’m sure one of you guys can put it to better use.

Colour Pop Supershock Highlighter in Wisp

Guys do you know how much I love this highlighter. I seriously contemplated keeping this for myself as a backup, but instead, I’ve decided to share the love. This is my go-to highlighter, I have a huge pan showing in mine. The only thing that I don’t like about it is that I have to use my fingers to blend it as it doesn’t work with a brush.

Enjoy Flirty Fun Hand Cream

Enjoy products are pretty awesome and they’re pretty affordable as well. I’ve used the Enjoy body wash in Flirty Fun before and I loved the scent. It smells like sweets, those heart shaped ones with quirky sayings such as kiss me written on them. Their creams are also pretty good.

Essence lipgloss

Essence is an amazing brand and I love most of their products. Which is why I popped in two of their lipglosses (I forgot the names), but it’s two pretty reds.

Giveaway

This is not a sponsored post. The winner will receive a signed copy of Coffee at Little Angels along with the aforementioned beauty products.

Before entering the giveaway,  read the terms and conditions for competitions on OSI.

To enter the giveaway complete the list below. Each point is one entry in the giveaway. None of the steps is mandatory, so you can only do the entries that you’re comfortable with.

To enter do the following:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Books

JT Lawrence Grey Magic review

February 9, 2017
JT Lawrence Grey Magic review

In terms of reading for leisure, 2016 hasn’t been a good year. In total I read a whopping 2 books, hence the lack of reviews on the blog. I read Coffee by Little Angels by Port Elizabeth author Nadine Rose Larter and the new Harry Potter book. This JT Lawrence Grey Magic review will be short, as I don’t want to write about any spoilers (or at least any big spoilers).

Due to my reading hiatus, I struggled to get into this book. I literally carried the book everywhere with me, in an attempt to read it. When the cover started peeling and a chunk of pages fell from the spine, I knew that it is now or never. So when I went on an impromptu trip to East London in January, I took the time away from distractions to read and managed to get it half way done. I managed to finish the book on another road trip to King William’s Town.

JT Lawrence Grey Magic review

Raven is a thirty something, modern witch living in Gauteng. She has a website and a very active twitter account. She’s a modern witch who runs into trouble with the law.  She’s kind of hardkoppig, (afrikaans for stubborn), which leads to a lot of her misfortune. If she just had to listen to people, she would have spared herself a lot of misery. But at the same time,  there wouldn’t have been a storyline if she did and she wouldn’t then have grown as a person.

I feel like this book should come with a warning for adult content. The scenes pop up unexpectedly and are quite explicit. Seeing that vampire and witch stories are currently quite popular among tweens and teens, one might pick up Grey Magic.

Without revealing too much of the story line, this is my review of the book.

For a copy of Grey Magic and JT Lawrence’s other books, check out her website. Check out more book reviews here.

Books

Download audiobooks for free on these sites

November 30, 2015
Download audiobooks for free

I only discovered the appeal of audiobooks earlier this year.  For the most part I listen to them when driving, as it takes thirty minutes for me to drive to work. Legal sites with good quality content where I can download audiobooks for free are not very common. On these sites you can download audiobooks for free and as far as I am aware they are all legal. I have personally used each of them and can say that the audio quality is good and for the most part, the narrators speak clearly and portray good emotion with the characters. When I say three of the best sites to download audiobooks for free, it is my opinion, after all this is my blog…

Librivox

Librivox hosts free public domain audiobooks. All of their books are recorded by volunteers. You may find that some books have multiple versions with various narrators. I would suggest first listening to a piece of each version before settling on which one you will download, as different narrators will set different tones and some versions may be a dramatic reading with multiple readers. Most, if not all, of the books that are read, are in the public domain, so you will find many classics such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Check out Librivox here and I recommend this dramatic version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Overdrive

It’s free to listen audiobooks on Overdrive, but it is dependent on whether you’re a library card holder of one of the libraries it supports. Readers from The Bay will be happy to know that the Nelson Mandela Bay Library hosts it’s electronic library on Overdrive. It is also has videos and ebooks that can be booked out. All items can be booked out for seven days, you can renew your booking, but it is dependent on whether the book has been reserved. Check out the online Nelson Mandela Bay Library and I recommend listening to I Capture the Castle by Dodi Smith.

Loyal Books

Books Should Be Free is now known as Loyal Books. It is easy to navigate and contains mostly classics. The nice thing about this site is that the audiobooks can be streamed or downloaded in a number of different formats. I recommend listening to The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.

Image via Pixabay.

Books

2015 Goodreads Challenge

August 10, 2015

I enjoy reading, but since going into the working world, I’ve found it somewhat challenging to read as often as I used to. Goodreads has an annual reading challenge, where at the beginning of each year you set an amount of books that you would like to read. The last time I attempted this challenge, which was in 2013, I set a crazy amount of books (30 books) and only managed 20. This year I decided to one again participate in the challenge, but set a realistic goal of 12 books, which would be one book per month.

Eight months into the year, I’ve read 12 so in essence I’ve completed the challenge. This is partially due to the fact that I’ve started listening to audio books. They’re not the same as reading a book, but I’ve found them quite enjoyable and a welcome change when I don’t feel like listening to music during my 30 minute drive to work. Here’s a list and short review of each of the books that I’ve read so far.

Doctor Sax by Jack Kerouac
I picked this book up on a whim at Bargain Books. Despite being a thin book, I find Kerouac’s writing rather complex, so it took a while for me to read. It is about Kerouac’s alter ego, Doctor Sax, which he had as a child. The story is a mixture of fantasy and realism, best suited for die hard Kerouac fans. I rate it 3 out of 5 stars.

You against me by Jenny Downham
This is one of the books I won in Exclusive Books 1 Minute Red Trolley Dash so it has been sitting in my bookshelf for a while. The book deals with sexual assault and I enjoyed the way Downham navigates around a difficult and complex situation. The main characters of the book, Mikey and Ellie are in a very peculiar situation, Mikey, whose younger sister, Karyn, is a victim of sexual assault and Ellie, whose older brother, Tom, is accused of sexually assaulting Karyn. Initially Mikey and Ellie end up friendly to one another to assist their siblings in the rape case, but they end up falling in love. Ellie plays a central role in the case, the information she has, can potentially destroy Karyn or her brother’s life. I may or may not have cried while reading this book. I rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The first time I read this book was so long ago that I could not 100% accurately recall the complete storyline, particularly the ending. I downloaded the dramatic version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on Librivox (it’s free and as far as I know, legal for us in South Africa). The dramatic version is very entertaining. If you’re going on a road trip with children, I suggest downloading it to help keep them entertained. I rate it 4 out of 5.

Leaving by Karen Kingsbury
Wow this book is a bore. Leaving is the first book in the Bailey Flanigan series and I bought it along with the second book as a gift for my mom. Well she never read either. She enjoys Francine Rivers’ books and a lot of people who enjoy her books also enjoy Kingsbury’s work. So I thought she’d like it. The book was just lying in the bookshelf, gathering dust so I picked it up and boy, was it boring. I can sum this book up in one sentence. Bailey Flanigan is perfect and perfectly boring, the End. I rate it 1 out of 5 stars and will not recommend it to anyone.

Yes Please! by Amy Poehler (audiobook unabridged)
As a comedian, Amy Poehler is hilarious. There were many mixed reviews on the written version of Yes Please! So I decided to try out the audio book. She reads the bookshelf, with some assistance from various other people. In the audio book she really brings out her character and although I was entertained, it does not make me want to read the written version. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars

Gingham Mountain, Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy (The Lassoed in Texas series)
The Lassoed in Texas series consists of three books and each book features a different woman. I picked up the third book in the series, Gingham Mountain, at CUMBooks for R15. It was cheap and I was looking to read something different. This story is about Hannah Cartwright, a schoolteacher who is determined to prevent a farmer from adopting orphans to work on his farm. I enjoyed Gingham Mountain so much that I downloaded the Lassoed in Texas boxset (it was cheaper) onto my Kindle. The first book in the series, Petticoat Ranch, is about Sophie Edwards, a widow with four daughters who ends up marrying the identical twin brother of her dead husband. Weird I know, but the rest of the story is rather interesting. Calico Canyon is the second book in the series and it tells the story of Grace Calhoun, a schoolteacher who is fired from her position due to the six sons of Daniel Reeves, and due to the backwards rules of the time, she ends up marrying Daniel. As the titles suggest, the series is Western Romance, but it has a biblical theme to it, but it’s not the main theme of the books but considering that I bought it at a Christian bookshop it should not be a surprise. The books were fun easy reads. I rate each book in the series 3 out of 5 stars.

Best White and Other Anxious Delusions by Rebecca Davis
Read my review of Best White here, where I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (audiobook unabridged)
When I downloaded this audio book, I vaguely remembered some reviews I watched on Youtube that mentioned Never Let Me Go, is a really good book. It’s a good thing that I did not recall that it is a science fiction novel and I did not read the book contents before downloading, or I may have never listened to it. Never Let Me Go is possibly the first science fiction book that I willingly read (in high school we read some science fiction stuff, but I cannot recall what it was as it did not interest me and to me The Hunger Games felt more like fantasy than science fiction). The book tells the story through the eyes of Kathy, a student at the boarding Hailsham, but Hailsham is no ordinary boarding school. Early on in the story I noticed that Kathy never mentions anyone’s parents or going home for vacations, but that because the children at Hailsham do not have parents and no home, for they are clones. That’s right clones, but not any clones, they are created for the sole purpose of being donors, and not your regular blood donors and organ donors who give their parts after they have passed on. Nope, your parts are extracted while you’re still alive and if you’re a good donor, you can go through three or four donations, which is a euphemism for death. This audiobook is so poignant and it is a well told story. If you’re like me, someone who doesn’t have a keen interest in science fiction, but would like to just try out the genre, this would be a good book to start with. Actually, even if you’re not interested in trying science fiction books you should read this. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (audiobook abridged)
I Capture the Castle is one of those classic books that everyone is supposed to have read at some point in their adolescent lives. I listened to the abridged audiobook a few weeks ago and the story is told through the diary of the protagonist, Cassandra Mortmain, who lives with her writer father, glamorous step-mother and siblings in poverty in a rundown castle. It touches on a number of issues that many go through when they go from being a teenager to a young adult (unfortunately living in a rundown castle is not a common issue for most teenagers). I enjoyed it so much that I would like to read the written version, just not right now. There’s too many other books I still need to get to. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

The Raven Saint by MaryLu Tyndall
After enjoying Gingham Mountain I went back to CUMBooks and purchased The Raven Saint, which is also the third book in a series (the Charles Towne Belles series) and also a mere R 15 (on a side note, publishers and bookstores I see your sales tactics). This book is about the daughter of a British governor who gets kidnapped by a French mercenary. The religious theme in this book is more apparent and although I enjoyed it, I don’t think I enjoy it to the extent to also purchase the first two books. I rate this book, 3 out of 5 stars.

Just because I’ve read the amount of books that I’ve set out for the year, it does not mean that I will stop trying to finish a book a month. I’m currently reading the first book of The Lord of the Rings, the I’ve read it before in high school, but to be honest I do not remember much of it as I found it too much of a challenge back then. I’m glad I decided to give it another try as I am really enjoying it this time around. I only managed to read the second LOTR book, The Two Towers, a third of the way before giving up. I think I might tackle it again in December or early next year. I also plan on beginning Alex van Tonder’s This One Time in the next few weeks. What books are you currently reading? Do you have any good suggestions?

Books

Best White and Other Anxious Delusions by Rebecca Davis

July 5, 2015

Best White and Other Anxious Delusions

Rebecca Davis is a South African journalist who has written for various publications, and is known for her witty coverage of the Oscar Trial. When the trial began I first followed Rebecca, Barry Bateman and various other journalists on Twitter. After a while I decided I was too heavily invested in the trial and unfollowed her and the rest of the journalists. This did not last long as I soon followed Rebecca and Barry again, but not the others. Barry provided minute by minute coverage, but Rebecca’s tweets and daily articles were by far the most interesting.

When she announced that she will be releasing a book, Best White and Other Anxious Delusions I knew I had to get a copy. As soon as it was released I went around to various book stores in Port Elizbeth and none of them had a copy (shame on them). A week or two later I was about to order a copy on line, when I found one by chance in CNA. Although I have loved reading from a young age, I never paid full price for books. I always got them via the library, on sale or second hand at markets. Also for the most part I only download free or discounted Kindle books. So at R249.99, Best White is the first book (with the exception of text books and books that I had to buy for university) that I paid full price for. That is how excited I was to get a copy. Now onto the review.

Best White is a collection of essays, wherein Rebecca masterful covers a variety of topics, including issues such as the future of reading, women’s struggles, race relations and Africa’s cultural history. Rebecca’s writing has a witty style and the tone varies from essay to essay, but one thing remains consistent, she never becomes preachy. Between fits of laughter, I found myself nodding in agreement to many of her statements.

As some of the essays are autobiographical, we get to learn more about Rebecca. She relates that she worked as a packer in a fruit factory and what I found very interesting, the time she worked as a pseudo member of a dating website. In the entertaining essay ‘A Royal Encounter’, she writes about the time she was invited to a party at Buckingham Palace, where she met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, before proceeding to get royally wasted. Way to go Rebecca.

I would describe each essay as bite-sized. They were quick to read, which I found really convenient, as these days I don’t have long periods of time to read. I enjoyed being able to finish an essay in less than 15 minutes. Some of my favourite essays are ‘Women, Fire and Dangerous Things’, ‘Don’ts for wives’ and ‘Desperately seeking Mandela’.

Naturally I gushed to everyone who would listen about how amazing this book is, but after one session of discussing it with a co-worker I stopped. The thing is, she wanted to borrow my copy after I finished reading it. I do realise that this is incredibly selfish of me, but I don’t want to borrow my copy to anyone. You see, I can be very obsessive when it comes to my books, particularly books that I enjoy. If anyone had to look at my bookshelf, they would think that I had not read this book. There’s no creases in the spine, no dog ears or stains. It still looks brand new. Through experience, I know that other people do not share my obsession with keeping my books neat.

I give Best White five out or five stars. Support Rebecca and our local industry by buying a copy.