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The Summer We All Ran Away by Cassandra Parkin

September 1, 2013

Chapmans Peak

A view on Chapman’s Peak

I received the Summer We All Ran Away a while back, but I only managed to finish it recently due to two reasons. Firstly, I haven’t had much time to read lately and secondly, I found the book difficult to get into. I think I reread the beginning two or three times. It was only once I got to the third or fourth chapter that I became hooked on the book. After that I could not put it down and finished it over a few days.

The story is sent in a beautiful, but unfinished mansion. The mansion is filled with secrets and it is owned by Jack Laker, a superstar musician who is misunderstood by his agent. The story set in the present summer with flashbacks of when Jack last lived in the house.

In the present day, Jack’s home is inhabited by a group of people who have one thing in common; they have nowhere else to go. Each person ran away from either society, religion, their family or from their fears.
Over the course of the summer the secrets of the mansion are uncovered and we learn more about the socially outcast inhabitants. The characters are intriguing, flawed and for the most part, well developed.   The storyline is good, but I didn’t like the structure of some of the sentences.

Out of five I would give this book a 3.8, not quite a four, but it deserves more than a 3. The main reason for this rating, I did not like the ending. The next part is a SPOILER ALERT.

It has a happy ending and as someone who normally loves happy endings I felt disappointed. Honestly I felt that it had so much more potential, then it ended with the predictable route, it has an average happy ending where everyone gets what they want. Nevertheless, The Summer We All Ran Away is a very promising début for Cassandra Parkin.

You can buy this début novel by Cassandra Parkin on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received The Summer We All Ran Away by Cassandra Parkin for review from Legend Press via Netgalley.

Books

New Years Resolution Update Part One

June 26, 2013

Bookshelf

Half the year is passed already so I thought I’d give an update on my New Year’s Resolutions. This post is solely focusing on my first part, which was focused on the books I wanted to read. My Goodreads goal was to read 30 books this year and having read 17 books so far, I am well on my way to reaching that goal. I haven’t read any of the books on my original list yet, but I will soon.
One book you will not notice on this list is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. After loving the film, I was certain that I would love the book as well, but sadly that is not the case. I downloaded the novel on my Kindle so I didn’t know how long it was and at that time I was not aware that Les Miserables is one of the longest novels that were ever written. Normally I read two or three books at a time and while reading it I read and completed 15 other books, so that just shows how much I struggled with it. It’s not that it’s a bad book it’s just really drawn out. Maybe one day on a really long bus ride or flight I’ll get back into it.
Anyway so onto the books I have read, I’ve written short reviews and rated them. The order that they’re listed is from most recently read.

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Confessions of a Shopaholic, Shopaholic takes Manhattan and Shopaholic ties the knot by Sophie Kinsella – 3 Stars for all three. These books are light, fun reads. Great to read while wearing a face mask and a foot soak.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume – 4 Stars. This is an amazing book and the only reason I didn’t give it a 5 is because I didn’t like how Bru’s storyline ends because he was one of my favourite characters.

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Dollhouse: A Novel by Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian – 1 stars. Don’t judge me for reading this book. One of my lecturers always said ‘In order to for you to know what bad literature is, you need to read it.’ That’s not exactly what she said but it was such a long time I can’t remember the exact wording.
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice – 2 Stars. The content of this book is very disturbing and I gave it 2 stars because Anne Rice is a good writer and not because this is a great book.
Under a sapphire sky by Susannah Bates – 3 Stars. I enjoyed the storyline but it’s an average book. It’s one of the books that I won from Exclusive Books.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Short Stories by Truman Capote – 5 Stars. I absolutely loved these stories by Capote. The one’s that stuck with me is Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Diamond Guitar.

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett – 4 Stars. I really enjoyed reading this. I read it before watching the film, and as much as I love the film, the book is better.
Cathedral by Raymond Carver – 4 Stars. Cathedral is another book that I was supposed to read for my undergrad studies. It consists of short stories so I only read the ones that we did in class. So this time I read all of them and although some of them are weird, it’s overall really enjoyable.
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer – 1 Star. I already expressed my views on this book.
RSVP by Helen Warner -4 Stars. One of the books I won from Exclusive Books. Looking back I would probably change my rating to 3 or 3.5 stars. I really enjoyed RSVP, but it’s not brilliant.

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Wheat Belly by Willaim Davis, MD – 2 Stars. Very disappointing, although the author raises some good points, he constantly repeats. It doesn’t convince me that I should change my diet to gluten-free.

To the moon and backby Jill Mansell – 4 Stars. I absolutely love Jill Mansell and it’s her novels that made me realise I love British Chick Literature. This is a well written novel and although it is a light read, it’s really emotional as it also deals with the death of the protagonist’s husband.
The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – 5 Stars. I loved this book because I felt that I could relate to Charlie so much. Written in the format of letters this novel tells the story of a wallflower, Charlie and how he blossoms as an individual.
An obedient fatherby Sharma Akhil – 2 Stars. An average book by an average author. The storyline was good (it’s about corruption and rape in India), but I don’t think it was executed properly.

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Life of Pi by Yann Martel – 3 Stars. I enjoyed the book, but I expected my mind to be blown, needless to say it wasn’t. In terms of content, the book is better than the film. I will admit the film had amazing CGI but I’m referring to the storyline not being as good as the book.

I’ll have another update on my other resolutions soon.

Have you had any reading resolutions? How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions so far?
Books

Custom Kindle Covers

March 25, 2013
Earlier this month I purchased a Kindle cover off ASOS. It was my first time purchasing from them. The cover I chose is not custom, but it is pink. Although I found some nice covers in a few local stores, I could not find a single pink one. The only other times I’ve purchased from an international seller, it was small items and they arrived earlier than I expected so I thought all international mail is. Turns out that’s not always the case and combine this with the illegal strike at the Post Office in Gauteng, I’d be lucky if I receive my parcel sometime in April, that is if it doesn’t go ‘missing’, which has happened to a parcel of mine before. Fortunately that was a small item.
While I’m waiting for my Kindle cover to arrive, I done some online browsing and found these cool custom kindle covers.

Handmade Kindle Cover by artsci
Handmade Kindle Cover by artsci

Ship Wheel Leather Cover by Joe V. Leather
Ship Wheel Leather Cover by Joe V. Leather

Genuine Black Napa Leather Flip Open Book Style Carry Case Cover for the Kindle Fire
Genuine Black Napa Leather Flip Open Book Style Carry Case Cover for the Kindle Fire by MiTAB

Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray Book Cover
Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray Book Cover by chicklitdesigns

 Nancy Drew The Secret of the Wooden Lady
Nancy Drew The Secret of the Wooden Lady by retrograndma

Peacock Feather Case
Peacock Feather Case by 8daysoftreasures

The Book of Infinite Pages
The Book of  Infinite Pages by ReviveGifts

I would really love to make me a cover from one of my favourite books. A Nancy Drew version would be perfect as I loved reading the series during my teens,  but I just cannot bring myself to destroying a book that I love. I love the colour pink, so I can’t wait for my ASOS cover to arrive!

Books

My 2013 New Year’s Resolution Part One

February 4, 2013

By now you’re probably sick of reading the 2013 New Years resolutions of every blogger in the blogosphere. If you are sick of them, try reading this instead.

You may ask why I am doing my resolutions now, since New Year’s day has long passed.  Well this is just what procrastinators do. Also research has shown that people who start their resolutions at the end of January or February are more likely to achieve them. I’ve been doing this for the past three years, and I’d actually completed some of my resolutions, unlike other years when my success rate flat lined at zero percent. The first year that I tried this, I completed 12 resolutions out of 20 something goals.

The secret to completing your New Year’s resolutions is to make them realistic and attainable. For instance, instead of saying ‘Eat more chocolate,’ it should be ‘Eat a chocolate bar every day’ and you know that I’m down with that. That being said, here’s the first part of my New Year’s resolutions.

Books

Read 30 Books.
Last year on Goodreads, I set the goal of reading 20 books. Two months in  I forgot about that goal and my Goodreads account. Suddenly August arrived and I realised I barely read any books for leisure. This does not include blogs, magazines, newspapers and texts for my research. I ended up reading only 14 books. So far this year I’ve already read 4 books and I am currently reading two books, Les Miserablesby Victor Hugo and Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. I’m really struggling with Les Miserables, but I will complete it. Here are some of the books I will commit to reading this year:
The 30 Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudrea.

Read a book by an unknown and self-published author.

Read one popular book that is poorly written and has terrible grammar. This is a toss-up between Twilight by Stephanie Meyer or 50 Shades of Grey by EL James. Just so that you know, I’ve tried reading both books before. With Twilight I managed a page and 50SG I managed a paragraph. This is going to be a challenge.

Read at least one book from a South African author.
Read an Afrikaans book. I picked up two Afrikaans books during my dash. I’m most likely going to study my Afrikaans to English dictionary while I read it.
Read more classic books. This includes Anna Kareninaby Leo Tolstoy, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.
Read more books from Jill Mansell. I’ve read two of her books before Perfect Timing and To the Moon and Back. Her books are fun and light reads.
Read House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski and The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. House of Leaves is not available on Kindle and I want a hard copy of The Casual Vacancy.

These are some of the books I want to read during the course of the year. If I read at least 3 books a month, I will easily reach my goal. I was going to post all of my resolutions but I didn’t want to bore my readers with a long list.
Do you plan on reading more this year? Let me know in the comments what books you want to read.
Books

Exclusive Books 1 Minute Red Trolley Dash

January 28, 2013
If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed that I won a 1 minute Red Trolley Dash from Exclusive Books. You could not have missed it, I was tweeting about it like a crazy person. Basically I could get any books from their Summer Sale shelves for free, provided that I grab it within one minute. I managed to get just over R3000 worth of books.
I had a vague idea, what I wanted to get, and once I knew the layout of the sale section I knew what I was going to do. Half way through my minute, I had grabbed all the books that I wanted to get for others, I panicked and just started grabbing books. I ended up not taking two books that I actually wanted, but oh well I’m happy with my stash.

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 I was really in need of a dictionary, especially when my mom and I play Scrabble so I’m glad that I was able to get one. What was once a whole book, our old dictionary consists of at least three or four big pieces with a dozen pages that are loose. Also checking for definitions on line with our mobiles can sometimes be so slow. These photographs do not show all of the books I managed to get.
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I also took some kiddies books for my younger cousins and niece. They all loved it. My one cousin read her book finish while we were still at their place. Her brother also had their older sister and I read the books I got him. I also grabbed some books for my brother and parents. 
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Thank you to Exclusive Books and the team at Walmer Park. Albert, Grant and the rest of the staff were all helpful and kind. Also follow Exclusive Books on Twitter as they’ll be announcing their next Red Trolley Dash very soon. Also their Summer Sale is still on and their prices are unbelievably low.
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