Saturday, May 31, 2014

Halfway Update: Audiobook Challenge 2014


I have been having loads of fun with my Audiobook Challenge.  

I originally signed up for a medium level as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get to listen to all my favorites – who knew there were so many audiobooks out there!  So I chose Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15 but up to today I have already listened to 25 books.

I will have to upgrade to the highest level -  My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30+.  I think I might just be able to make it!

You can still join The Book Nympho and Hot Listen’s challenge here.  Come and join all the fun!

My favorite listens so far this year are:

  • The Martian by Andy Weir (15/02/2014)  - review here
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (27/02/2014) - review here
  • Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (17/05/2014)
  • Where'd you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (21/05/2014)








What has been your favorites so far?  Any suggestions?

You can follow the growth of my list here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #2

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise.  Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too.  Come and share anything you want with us today.

1.  My Jack Russell baby girl suffers from separation anxiety.  Whenever we leave her, she starts crying.  My neighbor says she cries for 8 hours straight!  I am out of ideas, nothing seems to help.  Wish I could quite my job and stay home with her.  I hate to see her in this state!


2.  I am not enjoying Monica’s Story as much as I hoped.  I am having a harder time dealing with the affair that I thought I would.  Monica’s is not a innocent.  Before her affair with Bill Clinton, she had another affair with a married man . . . not the best idea . . . but I am going to keep on listening.  Even if she did not make the right choices, she still deserves a second chance.  And the way she was treated and manipulated so that others could get their way . . . but I believe in karma . . .

sex scandal

3.    What is it with Wordpress blogs . . . I can’t leave comments!  It drives me crazy!  But Google is your friend . . . googling for an answer right now!

4.  This past week I tried to get more involved with fellow bloggers, so you might see my comments popping up here and there.   I need to get into a rhythm though, it is hard keeping up.

5.  I have a hard time feeling sorry for strong, healthy people that are able to work but don’t and then expect food parcels so their children don’t starve . . . what happened to me?  I used to be such a pushover for the less fortunate.

6.  I am playing FORGE OF EMPIRES online.  It is a real-time game where you run your little city through the ages.  I have hit the Early Middle Ages and am enjoying it loads although you have to wait a lot – everything happens in real time, so sometimes building something can take 3 hours.  Lots of fun.  I am not real good at computer games but this one is right up my alley.

7.  This week, I saw reviews of THE THREE by Sarah Lotz everywhere!  It sounds amazing – I love scary books!  I am so sad that I missed it on NetGalley!  I will have to get a copy when my finances allow.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Armchair BEA: More than words

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Design by Amber of Shelf Notes

Armchair BEA have loads of topics this whole week and I am sure I am going to be reading loads of blogs!  I am only going to be participating in one or two discussions here on my blog although you will be seeing my comments everywhere!  Audiobooks are near to my heart, so let’s get to the first topic.

One of today’s topics is More Than Just Words:
There are so many mediums that feature more than just words and enhance a story in a multitude of ways. Examples may include graphic novels and comics, audiobooks, or even multimedia novels. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just the words and use other ways to experience a story. Which books stand out to you in these different formats?

I was surprised to find audiobooks mentioned in line with comics and graphic novels in the little intro above.  I have never really thought of audiobooks as anything else than “reading with my ears”, but I guess their statement is correct.  Audiobooks bring so much more to my own reading experience than just words.
A good narrator can keep me listening even if the book itself is getting lost in it’s own words.  I have kept listening many times when I would have been throwing the book across the room if I had held it in my hands.
I have also enjoyed many different genres when reading them would not have kept my attention.  An example would be THE NIGHT CIRCUSblack-1 by Erin Morgenstern. This was a very different novel that was much enhanced by being in audio form.  The written word might not have held the same allure for me.

If a good narrator can keep me listening, a great narrator can push the book even higher in my book gushing love opinion.  Some books are just made for this format.  There is nothing like getting weird looks when you suddenly burst out laughing sitting all by yourself in a restaurant.    I have recently discovered memoirs and biographies which I am sure is just because of my audiobook love.  ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK by Piper Kerman had me spitting out my coffee once or twice Smile

Also audiobooks have been a godsend for me in the last few months.  I have been in a position where just sitting still reading a book, seemed like not taking advantage of life enough.  (crazy, I know).  So multi tasking has been my salvation.  While my eyes and hands have been occupied, my ears kept listening to the words spilling out of my headphones.  It is amazing what books can do to smooth the hard bits of life.

So what do you think?  Do you love audiobooks as much as I do?  Or are you more into comics or manga?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Armchair BEA: Introductions please

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Design by Amber of Shelf Notes

Today is the first day of Armchair BEA and it is all about introductions.  We received some questions to introduce ourselves, so let’s get started:

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?
I blog from Cape Town in the beautiful South Africa.  We get overlooked a lot when it comes to bookish events, so I am loving being able to join in the fun online.  I have always loved reading and it was just a natural progression for me to get into blogging.  My first blog was more about life in general especially my love of cross stitching and my Jack Russells.  Looking back I can’t really remember what made me take the leap into book blogging but now I have been blogging on and off for a few years.  Unfortunately life gets in the way a lot.  Especially now that I am working again.   I have never really been able to commit to blogging very day.  But I am hoping to learn a lot from my fellow Armchair BEA’s this yearI want to expand from just reviews into discussion posts as well.   I want my blog to be a fun place to be.    

Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. -- so we can connect more online. 
Reviews from all media.  Be prepared . . . "and stuff" will be added :)
Twitter: @allthedaysof
Facebook: Just Reading For Fun . . . and stuff

Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers (doesn’t necessarily have to be book blogs/bloggers).
I follow a load of bloggers and two of my favorites are:
Krysta from My Life in Food
Bob from The Guilded Earlobe

Share your favorite book or reading related quote.
Oh my goodness, to choose only one . . . these days you find loads every day passing through your Facebook newsfeed.   This one is a favorite.


Image from Big City Life

What book would you love to see as a movie? 
One of my favorite books so far this year, is THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir.  McGyver in outer space!  Andy is one of the success stories that many writers only dream about and now the movie rights have been bought by one of the huge movie studios.   Way to go, Andy!  We are going to see THE MARTIAN on the big screen!  But who will play the star role? 

So on with the expo!  I hope to meet you all in the following few days.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

{Movie} Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan

Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Based on the worldwide best-selling book series.

My thoughts:
I have not read the Mortal Instruments books and at first I had no interest in seeing the movie but when your choices are limited . . .
So I wasted a few hours.  And against my better judgment, I enjoyed it.  I don’t usually enjoy fantasy movies (I love fantasy books but not movies) but I was immediately drawn to the lead character, Clary. 

Everyone knows what the story/series is about, so I won’t say more than the blurb above.  The acting is not brilliant but the cinematography is beautiful and there are some amazing special effects.  Clary and Jace are both beautiful people (as are their co-stars my bookish friends pointed out).   So there is a lot of eye candy both in the world and the people.

Just don’t expect too much and open your mind to some mindless fun.  This is the perfect cold weather movie.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #1

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise.  Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too.  Come and share anything you want with us today.



1.  Listening to Where’d you go, Bernadette at the moment and loving it.  I am not a big contemporary novel fan but this has popped up with great reviews everywhere.  So I had to give it a try.
(I had a hard time keeping a straight face today so that someone would not guess that I was listening to an audiobook.   Sometimes it is necessary to keep that secret Smile  )


2.  Next up will be Monica’s Story.  I have always felt sorry for Monica and the way she was treated while Bill Clinton walked out of the “situation” without a spot.  Looking forward to see what is said especially since a recent CNN spot quoted her saying that even after all this time, she is still unable to get a job – the incident still haunts her.  “You will not be a good fit in this company . . . “  Gender equality???? 

3.  TV wise South Africa is far behind the rest of the world.  We do have puindexblic TV but really . . . let’s not even go there!  The only watchable TV we have is cable TV (called DSTV) which is  extremely expensive and totally useless.  These past few days I have been flipping through the 100+ channels and there is nothing to watch!  How can you show the same movie every day!  I mean really, you can’t miss it for 31 days in a row, can you!

4. The Oscar Pistorius trial is huge in South Africa and I follow all the discussions, analysis and debates religiously at night when I get home from work.  My personal opinion is that once again fame and money has provided a judgement that would not be given to you or me.  Life seems so unfair sometimes.

5.  I wish I loved my job . . .

6.  Drove behind a car today with those little sensors in the bumber for reversing . . . would they start beebing if I drove to close behind them? That would be awesome!  Just saying . . .

7.  Armchair BEA starts next week – are you taking part?  This is the first

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time that I will be taking part and am very excited.  Will see if I can get my “introduction” done for Monday this weekend Smile

Sunday, May 18, 2014

{Movie}Review: Exam


Exam (2009)
Starring: Colin Salmon, Chris Carey, Jimi Mistry, Luke Mably, Gemma Chan, Chuk Iwuji, John Lloyd Fillingham, Pollyanna McIntosh, Adar Beck and Nathalie Cox.

Eight talented candidates have reached the final stage of selection to join the ranks of a mysterious and powerful corporation. Entering a windowless room, an Invigilator gives them eighty minutes to answer one simple question.

My thoughts:
I am enjoying a good run with “indie”low budget movies.  Exam was recommended to me a while ago but I only got to watching it yesterday. At first when I saw the exam room (the one scene of the whole movie), I expected a horror-type movie but this was all psychological thriller.  Eight candidates are in the final stages of a job interview in a dystopian world run almost entirely by pharmaceutical company.  They have to answer only one question but no-one can figure out what the question is.  And the tension starts running high.   

Unfortunately the ending did not quite live up to the tension of the movie.  For an hour and half we debated the good and the bad and then in the last few moments everything is resolved . . . it almost felt like they ran out of movie.  But don’t let the abrupt ending keep you from enjoying the build up.   This was a good movie! 

Are you taking part in Armchair BEA?

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Design by Amber of Shelf Notes

Are you taking part in Armchair BEA this year? 

Even though I have heard about Armchair BEA, I have never really taken notice more than just reading a blog post here and there on a followed blog.  But blogging is not getting any easier for me.  I have been blogging on and off for a few years but life seems to get in the way a lot.  I need to make a change so that I can enjoy my hobby more.  Even if it is not posting every day, I want more than just book reviews.  I want discussions.  I enjoy reading other blogs that have more than just book reviews, so I want to join that crowd.   I am hoping that Armchair BEA will open my eyes a bit.   I am looking forward to all the tips and advice that I am sure will be there.  Because although Armchair BEA is about books, but it is also about blogging.  I need to educate myself if I want to enjoy it more and more.

Go and read the FAQ and learn more . . . hope to see you there!

And this is one of my favourite songs that has been book-a-fied (copied from the Armchair BEA blog)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

{Movie}Review: The Tall Man


The Tall Man (2012)
Starring:  Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland, William B Davis

This film is about a legend that has been started by the town folk of Cold Rock. Since the children in the town have been going missing, people have said it's an entity known as 'The Tall Man' who has been taking them. Julia Denning ('Jessica Biel' ) is the local nurse whose husband died years earlier. She is soon personally involved as her child is taken. She tries to track down where the child is taken, but finds that there's more to what's happening than she knew. The towns-folk start to turn on her and the truth comes out. But there's still more to the story--who is 'The Tall Man'? And what is the truth behind the disappearances?

My thoughts:
This movie started out very slowly.  Everything was so bleak.  What a sad life the citizens of Cold Rock had fallen into.  Since the mine closed down, life has been pretty bad for everyone in town. Stores are closing down or abandoned.  Everything (and everyone) is run down, dirty or broken. Money is tight or non-existent.
Julia, a trained nurse, has stayed on even after her husband, the beloved town doctor, has gone. She is trying to keep the town going. But children are going missing. More and more rumors are circulating about "the tall man", the one everyone believes are stealing the children.
One of the best aspects of this movie is that it will take you completely by surprise with it’s plot twists.  So no spoilers from me!  This is a movie that you have to go in blind.  And when all is revealed at the end, you will want to start a debate with your friends about the ethics of it all.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

{Audiobook} Review: Code Name: Verity


 photo codename_zps744ec3bb.jpg

 Code Name: Verity
 by Elizabeth Wein
  Code Name Verity #1
Genre: Historical Fiction,
World War II
Date Read: 27 February 2014
Reading with my ears
Narrator: Morven Christie,
Lucy Gaskell
Unabridged audio - Length:
10 hours 07 minutes

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

My thoughts:
What an unusual experience this book was!  This was once again one of those books that I went in blind.  Maybe I should make that my standard way of choosing books.  I seem to find a lot of my 5 star reads this way.  Or maybe I should just keep away from others’ reviews so that I don’t get influenced and then be disappointed by their views.  That happens to me a lot!

But to the book. Code Name: Verity is a story of World War II told in two parts.  In part one we meet Verity.  She has been captured for looking the wrong way when crossing the road.  Her first day as a spy and she is captured for just crossing the road!  Now her life is in the balance and she has two weeks to tell her captures everything she knows.  And she will.  She will give them all the names, all the details, all places she can remember - everything.  Because Verity is only a girl named Julie.  A girl who wants to live.  But reality is cruel and often intrudes her reminiscing.   She is convinced that there is only terror in her future and maybe she is

The second part shows us all the events through the eyes of her friend, Maddie.  Maddie is a spunky girl that just wants to fly.  She will become one of the many civilian woman pilots that helps in the war effort.  She is a great pilot even trying to save her friend as her plane is coming in for an unavoidable crash.  Maddie is taken in by the French Resistance and hid in a barn while she remembers all the events that led up to her and Julie’s flight into enemy territory.

It is hard to say any more than this without giving away spoilers, so just let me say that Julie and Maddie stayed with me long after I listened to the last sentences.  I am once again amazed at how brave people can be even if it is just to go on living . . . Life is not always just about the joyous moments, sometimes it is just having the courage to open your eyes for one more day.

I think the subject matter is very serious for Young Adult and I would suggest it to older readers.  Also listening to the audio version is a great plus for this book.  Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell takes you right into the reality of Maddie and Julie’s circumstances.  A great combination.

I would love to hear what you thought about Code Name:  Verity.  I am ready for the second book, Rose under Fire.

My Album 37-005


Monday, May 5, 2014

Author Guest Spot by Julianne Alcott


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Today I want to introduce fellow South African and author, Julianne Alcott who is visiting my blog.  Julianne’s new book, The Ripmender, will be released tomorrow and we are all so very excited.  To celebrate, Julianne has shared some of her thoughts below.  Enjoy!

Boys aren’t the most important thing in the world, even though they feel like it sometimes!
By Julianne Alcott

I love writing love stories. I love reading love stories. I love being in a love story myself!  So my novel The Ripmender might be a sci-fi action adventure for young adults, but it’s primarily about a boy.
A very special, unusual boy.
Cathy has had a crush on Nathan Jake for four years. It seemed like an impossible crush, because she is an ordinary girl from a tiny town in South Africa, and he is an internationally famous American rock star. The chances of them even meeting each other are practically zero!
And then he becomes part of her life, in a way that she never expected. And do all her dreams come true? Of course not, because this is life, and this is love, and both of them can be painful and agonising and heartbreaking.
Boys! Those impossible, strange creatures from another planet, who can make us feel like we are soaring on clouds of happiness, or make us wish we could crawl under our duvets and never come out again.
And it doesn’t get easier. Boys are just as puzzling when they are men. Dating is just as confusing when you are forty.
But it also feels just as amazing, when the guy you really really like looks at you and says, “You are so beautiful! I love you so much.” Then you feel like you can conquer armies, climb mountains and do all your maths homework, even though it sucks!
I think the trick here is to not make them too important.
As girls we tend to revolve our whole lives around the latest guy.  The relationship affects everything; what we wear, how we feel, what we think about. If things are going well, we are happy and cheerful, but if we are hurting because of something our special guy did, then our whole life seems to be painted with a grey brush.
We don't try a new shampoo, and then base all our thoughts and needs on whether it is a good shampoo or not. Of course the relationship we have with our guy is important, but if we make it the most important thing in our lives, we are going to be stressed, and end up being all crazy.
Yes, that guy is amazing. We love the way his hair curls at the base of his neck. We love his brown eyes and his smile. We love the way he looks at us. But it’s a whole lot better if he is just one part of our lives, and not everything in our lives.
I am trying to do that at the moment! I’m trying to concentrate on writing this blog, and not let myself pick up my phone and tell him that I miss him. I’m going to stop thinking about him and finish writing this. And then I’m going to work on my assignment and my next book, and then go and spend time with friends this afternoon.
Boys aren’t the most important thing in the world, even though they feel like it sometimes! If we can get that balance right, we can work on our own hopes and goals in life, instead of spending time dreaming about the next kiss. And when the next kiss does come along, we will be strong, happy girls who can love our special guy all the better, because we are the best we can be at being ourselves.

Julianne Alcott is the author of The Ripmender that will be published by Wordsmack Publishers on 6 May as an e-book.

Ripmender final cover
The Ripmender by Julianne Alcott:
"In the real world, your idol usually ends up in rehab or, even worse,
at a wedding altar in some tacky Vegas chapel. What they don't do is
tell you they are from another planet... Just my luck!"
Cathy Slater dreams of meeting the love of her life ... teen rock
sensation, Nathan Jake.
He is adored by millions, while she has trouble even fitting into her
own family! Although he is a tutor at her university, there is no way
she can compete with the packs of worshiping fans constantly
surrounding him.
But then fate intervenes and her life changes forever when she
stumbles onto Nathan's biggest secret... She wasn't meant to see what
he can do ... what he is ... Now there's no going back.
Who are the Ripmenders and what is their purpose here on Earth?
Follow Cathy across the galaxy as she uncovers the truth about the
shady organisation behind Nathan's secret. Can she ever truly
understand the mystery behind the man she loves? ... Or will an enemy
from the past ruin everything?

To pre-order, go to:


Juliannne Alcott lives in Durban, South Africa, where she works as a school librarian by day and writes young adult novels by night. Her latest book, The Ripmender, is a young adult sci-fi romance and will be published 6 May 2014.  She gets a kick out of creating plots that give her interesting things to research. “I have rubbed stinging nettles onto my arm, visited a mall in a borrowed wheelchair and eaten boiled leaves, all to make my stories more real.” She has a blog: and is on Twitter: @JulianneAlcott
You can also stay up to date with her latest book, The Ripmender, here: