Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Holiday Reads

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie - and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book! Seriously, it is quirky and cute and, I guess, a reminder of that well known saying "What/who we want is not always what/who we need". This is a perfect holiday read :)

In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses, Claire and Dora Williamson, came to a sanitorium in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to undergo the revolutionary “fasting treatment” of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters. But within a month of arriving at what the locals called Starvation Heights, the women were emaciated shadows of their former selves, waiting for death. They were not the first victims of Linda Hazzard, a quack doctor of extraordinary evil and greed who would stop at nothing short of murder to achieve her ambitions. As their jewelry disappeared and forged bank drafts began transferring their wealth to Hazzard’s accounts, Dora Williamson sent a last desperate plea to a friend in Australia, begging her to save them from the brutal treatments and lonely isolation of Starvation Heights.

In this true story - a haunting saga of medical murder set in an era of steamships and gaslights - Gregg Olsen reveals one of the most unusual and disturbing criminal cases in American history.

Mkay, this was probably a strange choice for a holiday read. It was very heavy. Very. And fairly long. And generally quite upsetting. Yet again people are dreadful and take advantage of others. And what was worse, it never felt like anything was ever done and justice just didn't really feel like it prevailed. This is NOT a feel good story. But, it is still a fascinating read, although the second half tends to drag far more than the first.

Local politics get nasty when a new mayor is elected and Diane Fallon is replaced with an incompetent crony as head of the crime lab. But just as she's adjusting to life without murder, the newly appointed chief of police and the mayor are shot dead. Back on the job, Diane sees, but can't quite believe, the evidence damning the former chief of detectives as the shooter. Someone with plenty to gain intends to get away with more than murder, and as the investigation reveals an ever-widening web of corruption and treachery, Diane realises that no one is safe - least of all her.

Ah, yes, another Diane Fallon. I liked this one too. It feels like they're getting better ... although there is still (predictably) someone out to specifically get her (which is getting a little tiresome for me). But I enjoy all the characters so will continue with the series :)

* This book is part of the Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation series: One Grave Too Many (2004), Dead Guilty (2004), Dead Secret (2005), Dead Past (2007), Dead Hunt (2008), Scattered Graves (2008), Dust to Dust (2009), The Night Killer (2010), One Grave Less (2010)

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event - an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.

With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

Shew. This is actually a great series! I enjoyed the first one and I really like how the series was continued ... instead of following on, it was the same scenario. But told from another perspective, of someone living in another place.

And, honestly, I think this one was far more hectic and harder than the first one. These books have made me think about what it might be like with a world wide catastrophe. We're certainly not ready or prepared ... I have no idea what I'd actually do. It's a scary thought!

* This book is part of the Last Survivors series: Life As We Knew It (2008), The Dead and the Gone (2008), This World We Live In (2010), The Shade of the Moon (2013)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

15 weeks, 4 days

So I figured you were probably due a preggie update ... unfortunately, I literally have nothing much to tell. Once again, I assume all is progressing well and as it should. Next scan is next week. Am hoping that since I'll be 16wks by then, we'll be able to find out the gender (!) Eep. Both excited and nervous for that.

Although I have successfully (I think?) adjusted my mind to accept either. It really is true that all you actually want when you're pregnant is a healthy baby. I still have my fingers crossed for a little girl.

Also, my belly has popped out. Now I actually do look pregnant. It was a little disconcerting when it happened (on holiday) ... I definitely felt like it was too soon! But I did some googling and it sounds like a fairly common concern. And since I know for sure that there is definitely only one in there, I'm not too concerned. Hey, and I've had no other symptoms so if this is my pregnancy "side-effect" so be it.

But random people (while we were on holiday) are now asking when I'm due ... it's weird. Haha.

Yesterday I was so pleased that a friend of mine had passed on her preggie jeans to me since I desperately needed them. My jeans still fit and I can close the button ... but honestly, they are no longer for sitting down in - haha. I think I'm still gonna need to find my own pair of preggie jeans now tho, my friend is much slimmer than me usually so these are a bit of a squeeze (although the waist band makes it totally worthwhile!).

Monday, October 27, 2014


We are home! But the holiday blog posts might take a while ... I only actually finished writing my actual diary entries yesterday :/ I was generally up-to-date till the last 2 days. And I did manage to get round to downloading the photos off the camera ... but I haven't even looked thru them yet!

Slacker, I know. You'd think that getting back before midday on Friday would mean I'd be super organised and ready to go this morning. But ... well ... nope, not really.

Friday was functional, we unpacked, did laundry, napped ... things like that. Saturday was relaxing. Lazy morning, breakfast out and then some grocery shopping. We braaied for dinner and I forget what we spent our afternoon doing.

The Trucker was supposed to go to cricket on Sunday but because of the rain it was cancelled. So instead we had breakfast at home and took Pepper to Walkhaven for the first time. She LOVED it! Luckily after her bath at home she then passed out for the rest of the afternoon :)


Was fantastic to catch up with all the animals again. Missed them. And thankfully neither of them were annoyed with us for disappearing for 2 weeks ... Gypsy was back under my duvet in the middle of the night on both nights. Awe.

On Sunday evening The Trucker made us Beef Rendang. It was amazeballs. Seriously. I am too spoilt. Leftovers for lunch today, score!

Righto, I have over 400 emails to sort thru now ...

Friday, October 10, 2014


Haha, the title is a nod to a joke a friend of mine made about our imminent trip to Turkey. Tomorrow, as it happens, is Turkey Day! Tonight we say Goodbye South Africa and tomorrow we arrive and start our 2 week holiday.

I'm surprisingly nervous. I think since I did my usual Holiday Itinerary for my folks & gran ... and I saw how busy this trip is actually going to be. Even tho we thought we'd sort of take it a little easier, what with The Trucker's ankle strapped and me being pregnant and all. Then I saw how busy we'll be ... Oh my.

But I am still looking forward to it. I need the break from work. Although I may come back more exhausted than I'm leaving - haha. At least we have 2 full days back home before we have to come back to work!

Plus it is probably our last overseas holiday in a while ... so I definitely want to make the most of it. Plus, I get to tick off 2 things on my Life List! So I'm kinda nervous excited.

What else. It's been another quiet week at home in the evenings. But, yesterday I got home to see The Trucker had arranged 3 guys to come and finish our Patio roofing! OMG. I love how it looks. So thrilled with how it came out ... except for one weird bent piece of bamboo :/ But still.

Have a fabulous 2 weeks guys and I'll see you here when I'm back!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Random Kak 2 by Trevor Romain

The hugely popular Trevor Romain is back with more random memories about growing up in South Africa in the 70s and 80s.

In this follow-up to Random Kak I Remember about Growing Up in South Africa, he offers a humorous and unique take on some of the sights, sounds and experiences that have made living in this country so inspiring. Remembering what it means to be South African has never been as lekker as it is in this illustrated memoir of a colourful past.

Mkay so Penguin kindly sent me a copy of this book. I think I may even have requested it to review ... it looked and sounded like the sort of books The Trucker seems to have a lot of, less like ones I'm more likely to pick for myself.

It was rubbish. Okay, it wasn't completely devoid of entertainment. I think I read it in one sitting in an hour. The only bits I liked were the "South African words" cause they made me smile as I know and remember so many of them. The longer "stories" were completely arbitrary and I didn't find them amusing or entertaining at all.

I thought it might've just been my sense of humour, but The Trucker wasn't impressed with this book either. When they named it "Random Kak", it wasn't an understatement. I reckon I'll prob give this to Daddio to read and perhaps he'll enjoy it ... but it's not something I'd go out an buy for anyone I know

* This is one of my Featured Book Reviews, sponsored by Penguin Books.
Read more here.

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