Wednesday 30 November 2016

We are on a Break

If taking a break is so good for us (I'm sure no justification is needed here), then why is it so hard to do?

I have resisted, ducked and dived writing this post. Because although I need to, I don't want to. And even if I tell myself it's good for me, and it'll be ok, I've resisted to committing to it here.

So deep breath, pause one last time, and here goes.

I will be taking a break from blogging for the month of December.

There, I did it. That wasn't so hard, was it? Ummm, yes it was.

And by the way, December starts tomorrow.

So, for those of you who follow my reviews, my Monday Motivations, the occasional recipe, the Sunday Sermon and the regular rant, I'll see you again in January 2017.

I'll be using the time to rest and recharge my creative energy, and yes, hopefully become a better person so that I can give more to this relationship. 😉

For those of you who are regular Ten of the Best readers, I'll publish one last post this Saturday morning, and say goodbye for a few weeks. You see, I told you this was hard - I feel like I need a last goodbye before I rest my keyboard, laptop and weary fingers. So until Saturday, and then until January.

And for those of you, who like me, find breaking up hard to do, remember this isn't forever.

And in case you forget, and get all angry that you don't know what to read next, or miss your weekly social media update feeds, I have some famous words, c/o one of my favourite Friends....

And if you're looking to reminisce while you miss me (ah, so sweet!) here are some links to some pages you may enjoy.



Tuesday 29 November 2016

A Terrible Beauty by VM Devine

A father and daughter conspire to write a novel set in Ireland. VM Devine is the pen name of Mike Mahony and Valerie Ganzevoort. After reading it, you wouldn't believe they live in sunny SA.

A Terrible Beauty is a story of the solving of a murder at Joyce's Tower. Father Luke O’Gorman returns there after fleeing a horrible incident in Nigeria where he was a missionary. Instead of escaping the emotions, they follow him home, and are echoed in his family dynamics and the tense domestic situation, getting worse by the day as the centenary anniversary of the Easter Uprising approaches. Detective Chief Superintendent Fírinne Jeffries and her team is called upon to investigate the murder that results, with the local Gardaí on full alert to the possibility of more violence and protest in the air.

I loved the setting, and the detailed scenery and history that these authors wove into the story. It was modern, realistic and also clever and classy. The telling was seamless and rich, with a great deal of research having gone into it. Lots of dialogue and action kept the pace moving and me guessing about who was going to be revealed as the gruesome killer. This mystery was refreshingly different to most in the genre, comprising much more than your average detection.

The level of detail made for a dense read - the complexity meant there was a lot of story, and this detracted slightly from me getting to know the characters better.

An enriching experience and a well-deserved 4 stars.

You may also enjoy A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George or Jo Spain's Beneath the Surface.

Look at what else I've been reading...

Monday 28 November 2016

Shake it off

Good morning fellow exercisers.

We're shaking the dust off this morning. Cleaning out the cobwebs. Brushing off the clouds of debris that have collected.

I love the way that running clears my mind. It focuses me on what's important, and helps me think of the important things. I can wake up, scattered thoughts, mind all over the place, not even sure I can run. And then when I'm done, I'm sorted for the week.

If you're anything like me, you had a break yesterday - it being Sunday, so your brain and your body has gathered a little dust.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Thanksgiving - are you kidding me?

Thanksgiving comes at the wrong time of the year. Every year. Whether it's been a good year or a bad year, by the time November rolls around, we are pretty done. 

And, by all accounts, 2016 has been a very bad year in most people's lives. Well, certainly the people I speak to. There are a lot  more Eeyores around than Winnie the Poohs. There is more to deal with, more stress, more hardship. More evil, generally. So being thankful this year isn't exactly coming naturally.

Thanksgiving is the start of the season  of hope - advent, and then theoretically, the new year can be welcomed with optimism and renewed energy.

Are you kidding me?

Saturday 26 November 2016

Ten of the Best #73

73 and counting... the ten things from my social media feeds that I didn't read this week, but they're too good to ignore completely, so I go back to find them, and then I post them right here. And share them with you, because I'm generous that way.

But wow, that's a lot of times I've done this.

And goodness, there were a lot to choose from this week.

We'll start with the children's letters to Trump. Children have always written to the President, to tell him their feelings. Here they go - click the picture, and come back for more.

Then there was that moment when Obama reminded us what Ellen did. I still weep when I see this picture.

Friday 25 November 2016

Friday Books - Things Unseen

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. So grateful to have made it through this year.

And so glad it's Friday and we can all visit each other and share our current reads.

BookBeginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday56, hosted by Freda's Voice, are where you'll find the parties, and the rules are easy - share the beginning and p56 of the book nearest to you.

My Book this week is Things Unseen by Pamela Power

And yes, he doesn't want to alert her, because he wants to kill her. Why? Well that would be telling. This is a murder mystery, and the plot is clever, leading you in one direction and then changing.

Thursday 24 November 2016

Things Unseen by Pamela Power

Things Unseen is Pamela Power's second novel. Her first, Ms Conception, was a cracker, and I read it in an afternoon.

The opening scene is a murder. A fairly gory one in the cottage of garden of an upmarket northern suburbs of Johannesburg home, where Emma is married to Rick, a renowned gynaecologist. Their friends Sophie and Gay are often seen, as is Craig, Emma's ex, and Ross, Emma's brother. 

The whodunnit takes place in beautiful Jozi, and it had me gripped. The plot is clever, and moves at a great pace. The parties, lunches, coffee and book shops are recognisable and the voices ring true. They gossip, are loud, real and quite funny too - light relief from the scariness of not knowing who to trust.

Things Unseen is very different to Ms Conception. It is darker - the evil is constantly lurking and threatening to loom, which when it does - but no, that would be telling.

4 stars


Tuesday 22 November 2016

The Steel Kiss by Jeffrey Deaver

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are old friends of mine. I have been reading their stories for a number of years. This one begins with a gory death, while Sachs is chasing down Unsub 40. But is it an accident? Never. 

In his cunning style, Jeffrey Deaver manages to convince us that this time it's different. Off to a slow start, this feels almost too layered, detailed and complex, yet you just know that you are being set up for a game where the stakes are epic, the action non-stop, and the tension gut-wrenching. 

All 480 pages are jam-packed with snide, witty remarks, smart-ass comments and observations, and great detection work. The plot is cleverly constructed, and changes direction in a sudden intake of breath. The support team of detectives and a student of Rhyme's are believable, and add colour and depth to the investigation. A modern day thriller that is very satisfying.

I was entertained in every way and relished the adventure.

A solid 5 stars

ISBN: 9781455536344

Monday 21 November 2016

On the right side

Do you have any running quirks?

Like - your laces have to be tied just right - not too tight and not too loose? Or maybe that sweatband that has to be on your left wrist? Or what about the fact that nothing must jingle in your pocket, not your keys or your money for a drink? 

And it doesn't matter how much you tell yourself that it doesn't matter, you can run anyway. It does, and you can't.

Here are some more I found.

And the ones that both of you have are even worse. Because you remind each other. I'm not only talking about the places you always walk uphill, or that you can't cross the road here, because once someone hooted at that exact point and gave you such a fright.

I'm talking about sides, people. Yes. Like you always sleep on the right hand side, you always run on the left. And it has to be so. Otherwise, it's just, well wrong.

And all that to introduce the running music today. Which has nothing to do with running, or inspiration, but it's a very cool song. It's Matthew Mole. Take yours, I'll take mine. Side, that is.

Enjoy your run today. Smile. Have fun. Otherwise, don't bother.

Sunday 20 November 2016

Faithful as a Dandelion?

It's Sunday. Time to think and be.

I was pondering God's faithfulness this morning. The old hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness" is my all time favourite, and I was listening to, and thinking about the words, and wondering whether to write this post.

The story about the hymn isn't really a dramatic one. Thomas Obediah Chisholm was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. He wrote this:

"My income has never been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now. But I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, which have filled me with astonishing gratefulness."

The flower that has the meaning of faithfulness is, surprisingly to me, the dandelion. Really? That's a bit silly, isn't it? Dandelions are flighty, fall apart in your hands, gone in a breath. Not all that faithful.


This little yellow, pesky, pop-up-on-your-lawn delight has a meaning that is noble, enduring, and much bigger than its humble and simple appearance.

Faithfulness is simple. It is easy to explain. God's faithfulness is always there. Ours, not so much. It's not easy, but it is simple. It's the every day putting ourselves in God's way, and opening our hearts to serve His purpose. One day at a time.

In a fairly ordinary life, Thomas Obediah Chisholm discovered the "morning by morning" faithfulness of God sustained him. May we find that sustenance too. Did you know you can eat dandelions? Maybe not such a misnomer after all?

Here's the hymn.

Happy Sunday.

You may also enjoy

Saturday 19 November 2016

Ten of the Best #72

Another week is over. Another week closer to the silly season, and another week for the disbelief to set in - what the actual frikkadel is happening in our world? The reaction to Trump is in, and there’s been aplenty. I’m not going to bore you with the loads and loads of posts, just the best I read, all here in one place.

This was what Zapiro published in May 2016.

This next article describes what broke my heart last week, and my sister, Yolanda Pierce, says it so well. So does Zapiro in his cartoon published on the day it all broke. If you click the cartoon, you'll link to the post.

Friday 18 November 2016

Friday Books - The Steel Kiss

Well hello everyone. Friday again. We get to link up with other bloggers and share our favourite things - books.

BookBeginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday56, hosted by Freda's Voice, are where you'll find them, and the rules are easy - share the beginning and p56.

My Book this week is The Steel Kiss by Jeffery Deaver

It's Amelia Sachs and Lincoln Rhyme. Old familiar characters that I haven't read in a few years. And she finds Unsub 40 in the opening line. Only something else happens, and she doesn't. And Lincoln is retired from crime investigations. Gasp.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

A letter to a friend

Dear Friend

How can I convince you that you, just the way you are, deserve love? That love that squeezes you so tight that you can't breathe with the intensity and clean pain. The love that makes you feel more alive, exhilarated, and also broken open and safe. The milk-and- honey sweet love that soothes you, softens you and satisfies you to the core.

Maybe I can start by telling you that when I see you I see an upright woman, so strong from the inside? You have always spoken up for your friends, and loved them selflessly. You’ve never let them down. You are the person people run to when they are in need.

I see that you are a giver. You want to help others. You have a list of things you need to buy for others, do for others, pray for others. You understand when they are needy, listen to their tales of woe, and place their desires before your own. They talk to you because you understand before they’ve even said the words, and they love you right back, even though they don't know how to say it the way you do.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This book opens with a favourite quote of mine (and I do love quotes). 

"Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are." BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

This leads to the unfolding of a story. Ruth is shaped by her past - her determined mother, her rebellious sister, and she becomes a labour and delivery nurse. She has worked for 30 years at her job, and something goes wrong at the hospital. Ruth is forbidden from treating a baby because of the colour of her skin. In court, Ruth is represented by Kennedy. This is Kennedy's first trial, she is used to attending arraignment hearings for the state defender.

Oh my goodness, I'd forgotten how much I love a great Jodi book.

Monday 14 November 2016

Sun's up - just run

That's our mantra - "It doesn't matter how slowly we run, We run." And when we're done, we say "We ran, better than..." Sitting on the couch/lying in bed/pretty much anything else we would've been doing.

This morning, since we're here, isn't it good to know we can just get out and exercise? If we go today, tomorrow will be easier. And the next day and the next.

Apparently we share this little saying with Fred Lebow, creator of the NYC marathon, who believed in running, no matter how slow, and completed 69 marathons in 30 countries.

His memorial service at the finish line of the New York City Marathon attracted a crowd of 3,000 mourners, which was, at that time, the largest memorial gathering in Central Park since the death of John Lennon.

And the song, I hear you ask. Let's keep it simple - Run, by P!nk.

No, it's got nothing to do with the kind of running that we're doing this morning. It's not even all that upbeat. But it is called "Run", and I don't know why, it makes me feel safe and happy, and that's a good feeling for us this morning. Let's go and run.

More motivations....

Saturday 12 November 2016

Ten of the Best #71

What a week that was. Aren't we all so glad it's over? On with life, hopefully with some grace, love, beauty, truth. Because we all need little more of that.

This is a cheetah speed ten of the best of what I saw on my social media feeds, because I had way too much fun (and wine) last night (don't look at me like that - Trump, Leonard Cohen, no vote of no confidence in Zuma) and I'm going for a walk soon, so let's do this people.

So where do we begin?

Probably Trump. I liked this article by Steven Boykey Sidley on the election. If you click one of the many memes I saw on the topic, you'll have his perspective on why.

And here's the worst fairy tale of them all. Told by Benedict Cumberbatch.

We need to all get out the old safety pins, and spread more love than hate, tolerance over the bigotry, and stand up for what humanity should be. 

In SA too, our leader doesn't define who we are. Hasn't for years. And we're still trying to make him go. Difficult, that. America may need a few Thulis. You can't have her, you already took Trevor Noah. Here's a Dear Mr President letter by Nape Masipa. Good stuff.

Where do we go for comfort? Here are the television shows and movies we watch, apparently. Some ideas for you?

And what about some music? Don't mind if I do. Not Leonard Cohen (sob). But some amazing grace. And beauty.

A little humour - Don't make fun of renowned author Dan Brown...

This is beautiful. And it's nature. And Julia Roberts and her friends. Feeling better yet?

I loved this recitation of The Journey, by David Whyte.

Anybody else agree with me that Emma Watson is the perfect Belle? Take a look at these pics from the Beauty and the Beast movie to be released next year.

Thats our ten. Have an awesome weekend. See you here next week.

Want some more? Here's last week.

And some older posts.

You may also enjoy some books to escape in...


Friday 11 November 2016

Friday Book Share - Small Great Things

07 _ 10 _ 2014 (4)
It's the Friday Book Share Game to help search for that ideal novel/author, created by Shelley Wilson.
Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the questions based on a book you enjoyed reading and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare
First line of the book.
The miracle happened on West Seventy-fourth Street in the home where Mama worked.

Friday Books - Small Great Things

It's Friday already. Nearly the weekend. And perhaps I'll get some reading done?

Friday also means we get to link up with other bloggers and share our favourite things - books.

BookBeginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday56, hosted by Freda's Voice, are where you'll find them, and the rules are easy - share the beginning and p56.

My Book this week is Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I love this opening scene. When you're a child, you can't tell if you got the nightmares because of the gargoyles, or whether the gargoyles were in your nightmares, and then appeared on the house. I remember that kind of terrified.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Let's buy some books

It's time. To buy the books for Book Club. Or maybe not? But - you tell me - when is it a BAD time to  buy some books?

Here are my latest recommendations from what I've read recently. I've included a brief overview here, but if you click the cover, you'll link to my review, which is a little longer. Then come back here to finish the list.

Jack and Grace Angel look perfect from the outside. He's a lawyer, defending women affected by domestic violence. She's given up her career, married him for the happy ever after. Her sister has Down's Syndrome, and they both look out for her.

Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris is enticing. Once you know what is really going on, you will race through this thrilling, horrific journey until its inevitable conclusion.

And then you'll tell your friends to read it too. All of them.

It's that good.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

After You by Jojo Moyes

This is the long-awaited sequel to Me Before You (2012), which, if you read it, took your breath away. Maybe even more than that. It's now a movie, which I plan to watch in the not-too-distant future.

Although the title is a bit of a spoiler for the first book, the author waited a good long time to write a sequel. We meet Louisa Clark, a little reminiscent of the original - down and out in London, no life, no direction and not very happy, unsurprisingly.

It's almost impossible to write this review without any spoilers for either book, so let me focus on the characters.

Lou is relatable. She comes over to your house, slouching, probably. You serve her tea (or wine), and she starts to talk, reluctantly. As you listen, you realise that her problems make yours more bearable. As she speaks, she knows the way forward, and as it comes to both of you, the revelation that life is very worth the living, even when it's shitty.

Of course, when you get invited back, you also meet her mother - a late bloomer - finding herself in her fifties, Lou's grumpy "I should be the heroine" sister, their long-suffering and insufferable father, and grandpa, who lightens things up with his version of crazy. The in-laws also entertain, as do the support group - all battling through the wild ride of life in varying states of messed-up.

Me Before You is a hard act to follow. Jojo Moyes did so with aplomb. A little slow at times, this book, served with a cup of tea (or wine) will lift your spirits and restore your hope, if not in the "happy ever after", then in the "it'll get a little better".

4 stars


By the same author...