Friday, August 18, 2017

Discussion: Making Notes While Reading

As a fanatic reader and book blogger I loved reading book discussion. And since I also love having my own book blog I decided to post a book discussion myself. So join me on my little book discussion journey and let’s have some fun! 

Writing reviews isn’t for everyone. And as a perfectionist I’m always trying to find new ways to improve my reviews. But I always find it hard to find a new way of writing reviews that works for me. Now, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been writing my reviews as soon as possible after I finish the book. This means that I sometimes write them late at night, sometimes the morning after, before I go to work and sometimes a day after I finished reading the book. 

When I started my blog I tried writing notes about the books I read. But I kept wondering what I needed to write down, which took my mind of the actual reading. And at times I forgot writing notes completely. I would finish my book, and I tried to write some notes then. Which didn’t really work because why not write the review immediately right?!

But still, I think writing notes while reading a book you’re reviewing is something that works if you do it the right way. Especially with names. I’m so bad in remembering names, that it would definitely help me out if I wrote the names down. So should I only write names down? What is the right way for making notes?

Do you write notes while reading your book? And do you have a method for it? 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review 'Johannesburg' by Fiona Melrose
6 December 2013. Johannesburg.

Gin has returned home from New York to throw a party for her mother's eightieth birthday; a few blocks away, at the Residence, Nelson Mandela's family prepares to announce Tata Mandela's death...

So begins Johannesburg, Fiona Melrose's searing second novel. Responsive to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, the story follows a polyphonic course across a single day, culminating in a party and traces the fractures and connections of the city.

An irascible mother, a daughter trying to negotiate her birthplace and the people from her past, a homeless hunchback who takes his fight for justice to the doors of a mining company, a mining magnate, a man still haunted by his first love, the domestic workers who serve this cast and populate the neighborhood, a troubled novelist called Virginia - these are the characters who give voice to the city on a day hot with nerves and tension and history.

Johannesburg is a profound hymn to an extraordinary city, and a devastating personal and political manifesto on love.

The Facts:

Publication Date:
August 3rd, 2017
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Available at:

My Review:

Last year I read Fiona Melrose’s first book ‘Midwinter’. I loved that book, so when I received a review request for Fiona’s new book ‘Johannesburg’ I knew I wanted to read this book. And don’t you just love the cover of Fiona Melrose’s book?! I think they are magnificent. 

‘Johannesburg’ takes place at December 6th 2013 and is centered around the lives of several different characters. Why December 6th? On that day Nelson Mandela's family prepares to announce Tata Mandela's death. And in Johannesburg we read about the moments in a view persons lives. 

Well, I finished reading this book over a week ago and somehow I just wasn’t able to write this review earlier. I always try to write my reviews as soon as I finish a book, but with this one I just couldn’t. Since I loved ‘Midwinter’ I really hoped to love ‘Johannesburg’ as much, but I didn’t. Not because the writing was bad or something. No Fiona Melrose’s writing was just as good in this book, as in her first. But I just couldn’t connect to all the different characters.

In ‘Johannesburg’ we read about the life of several characters. And just like I always do, I had a lot of trouble separating all the different characters, especially in the beginning. I re-started reading this book two times, but still I found it hard to keep everyone apart. And in the end I just couldn’t connect to all the characters as much as I would have liked.

This book was definitely a nice read, but not as great as I would have liked.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Fiona Melrose was born in Johannesburg but has spent the majority of her adult life in the UK, first in London and then in East Anglia. She moved to Suffolk to concentrate on her writing and it is there that Midwinter was conceived. Previously Fiona has worked in academia, NGO's, public affairs and as an emerging markets analyst. She continues to keep a foot in both continents and is currently spending the majority of her time back in South Africa where she is completing her second novel.

For more information please visit Fiona’s website. Or visit her on Twitter and Facebook.

I received this book from the Little, Brown Book Group in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My Favorite.. Thing About Summer

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it.. The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive. For more info: My Favorite Meme.

There is one thing I look forward to all year. It’s in the summer time, and it’s something I can long for when it’s winter and cold and dreary. My Favorite Thing About Summer is definitely sitting on our balcony in the sun, my husband sitting next to me, our cat lying at my feet, birds signing, a nice drink, and a nice book in my hands. Yes!! There is nothing better than such a moment.. and during the rest of the year, I dream of that moment. Sigh..

Unfortunately the summer this year hasn't been all that good and there haven’t been many moments where I was able to sit on our balcony. And when the days are good, it’s mostly too hot for us to sit out there. (I know it’s a luxury problem, but still.) We are definitely looking forward to having a home with a nice garden someday. 

But for now I would be happy with a nice summer day, not to hot and not to cold.. and not having to work on that day would be nice too! LOL!!

What is your favorite thing about summer?

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Review 'A Justified Bitch' by H.G. McKinnis
It takes a guilty bastard to make a justified bitch.

When a severed finger shows up on her doorstep in a seedy section of Las Vegas, Helen Taylor does not freak out. She’s already crazy, as evidenced by her junk-stuffed house and its ever-growing population of cats. There’s also Bobby, her long-dead husband. Helen talks to him regularly, and Bobby talks back.

The finger and the brutal murder it reveals are more than a hoarding cat lady with a phantom husband can ignore. Helen’s a suspect, and she ends up in jail. Summoned by the detective on the case, Helen’s sister Pat arrives from Phoenix with two teen-age boys in tow.

While Helen is AWOL from a mental facility, another gruesome murder is discovered. Pat, the boys, and the detective struggle to separate fact from insanity, but it takes power beyond the ordinary to bring the truth to light.

The Facts:

Publication Date:
August 8th, 2017
A Las Vegas Mystery #1
Mystery, Crime
eBook, Paperback, Audio
Available at:

My Review:

When I first read the book description of ‘A Justified Bitch’, I was immediately curious about this read. I love mysteries and the fact that this book had a confused main character just spoke to me. So I was super happy when I received the email that I could read and review this book.

First of all, I love this cover. I’ve read that most people don’t seem to like this cover, but I seriously love it! I love how the orange grabs your attention, and it just makes me want to start reading. I think it’s a very strong cover, and it was definitely the first thing that made me want to read this book. It’s different, and not like any other cover I’ve seen lately. Definitely a strong starting point for me.

Overall I enjoyed reading ‘A Justified Bitch’. From the moment I started reading, I knew there was something more to this book. The main character Helen Taylor, finds a finger in her back yard right before the police arrives at her neighbors home. Helen’s neighbor is brutally murdered, and it appears Helen might be the only one who has seen something. But the thing is, Helen is talking with her husband.. her dead husband! And Helen doesn’t seem able to give a ‘normal’ answer.

That is the moment Helen’s sister Pat receives a phone call from the police asking for her help. But Pat hasn’t spoken to Helen for years, and she is shocked to find out how Helen’s life has turned out. 

I loved how mental illness played a huge part in this book. As a nurse, I enjoy reading books where people aren’t all ‘normal’. Especially since there are so many people with mental illnesses out there. In real life, I do get in contact with people with mental illnesses and I enjoyed reading how Helen coped with her illness.

The down part about this book for me, was that I really expected more of a mystery novel than ‘A Justified Bitch’ really was. I felt like this book was much more about the mental illness part, and the way people react to it then it was a mystery. It wasn’t necessary a bad thing, but I just expected something different. I also felt like this book was a little slow at moments.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Growing up in Las Vegas, H. G. McKinnis saw above ground atom bomb testing, and cruised the strip on Saturday nights. Currently she works in entertainment dressing the occasional nude. She is also learning new skills and venturing into the convention industry. McKinnis enjoys writing stories about the off-strip events that locals live with and tourists never see.

For more information about H.G. McKinnis please visit her website.

I received this book by Smith Publicity in exchange for my honest review.
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