Fiction Friday: Book Review- Black in White (Quentin Black Mystery #1)

Black In White by J.C. Andrijeski

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I read this book many many years ago (I think maybe it was when it first released) and I was appalled by it’s audacity to be a part of the series.
However I have slowly been collecting the ebooks as they go on sale (I have four already) and figured it was time to dive back in.
I didn’t remember much of this book besides the fact that I had a huge crush on Quentin Black so rereading this was a pleasure.
Miri Fox is a profiler for the police. She is damn good at her job however when she mets Quentin Black she is unable to read him as well as she could anyone else…and there’s the matter of Quentin being able to speak to Miri in her mind.
The secrets to Miri’s success is that she is a psychic. While she has an idea of her power, she doesn’t go around advertising it.
But Black’s arrival into her life introduces her to a whole new world that she never knew existed.
This is a murder mystery but honestly I am just here for Miri and Black.
They are adorable. I ship them and yes the murder mystery is pretty compelling. But I am a girl who just wants to see her ships sail.
If you enjoy fantasy. definitely give this series a go.

Book Review- Boyfriend by Sarina Bowen

Boyfriend (Moo U #0)

Boyfriend by Sarina Bowen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I received a copy of this book in exchange for a free review.
Abbi has had a crush on Weston for a while now. Nothing major- just a small silly harmless crush. So when she sees him hang up a flyer advertising his services as a fake boyfriend for Thanksgiving, she jumps at the offer.
Weston is surprised when his mystery date turns out to be the attractive waitress from the team’s regular hang-out spot. But a deal is a deal and she promised him a delicious meal with all the trimmings.
However sparks fly during their own fake date and it isn’t long before Weston and Abbi eventually get something going between them.
I absolutely loved this pairing. Weston and Abbi are adorable. They both have their own baggage and family secrets but I enjoyed being able to see how they fit into each other’s lives so well.
This was a fun, light read that I devoured in one setting. Definitely give this a go!



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Fiction Friday: Book Review- The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani

The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In the spirit of full disclosure you should know that:
1) I got impatient and ordered an eBook copy a week after requesting this book
2) I did not finish this book because I saw a spoiler online and then I myself skipped to the end of the book to check said spoiler.
Yes I am a book-ruiner. I accept my fate.
Anyway, “The Theft of Sunlight” is just as compelling as “Thorn”. Like “Thorn” I was unable to put it down. In fact if it wasn’t for the spoiler and my forward, page-skipping ways I would have enjoyed it. I definitely did enjoy the 200+ pages I read and I will be going back to finish this book as soon as the next one is written.
Intisar Khanani’s writing is magical and her worldbuilding is incredible. If you are a fan of fantasy novels, definitely give this one a go



SPOILER ALERT

It has a cliffhanger ending. That is the part that ruined the book for me. That and the strong violence






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Fiction Friday: Book Review- Christmas Fairytales by Nora Roberts

Christmas Fairytales (The MacGregors, #7)

Christmas Fairytales by Nora Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Meddling Daniel MacGregor has grown tired of waiting for his grand-daughters to marry and give him great-grandbabies. So he cooks up a plot and finds nice healthy males from “nice healthy stock” (his words not mine) for all three of them.
It’s hard not to admire Daniel and his schemes. He carries them off SO WELL!
I loved that each character in this book was so different and you could really see how their background and family shaped them.
I have been following this series from the very beginning and it was so good to see characters from the earlier books pop up again.
I flew through these stories and really enjoyed myself.
If you’re interested in a light read I definitely recommend this book.



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Fiction Friday: Book Review- A Reckless Match by Kate Bateman

A Reckless Match by Kate Bateman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I don’t care how much of a book slump I am in. I am always down for a Kate Bateman book. “A Reckless Match” follows two feuding families.
The reasons why they’re feuding are not really clear but their dislike has been passed down to the kids and that’s where the story begins.
Maddie and Gryff show up for their families annual “pledge of goodwill” meeting. The two of them have been enemies since they were kids and that hasn’t changed.
Until they uncover a smuggling plot and team up to stop the smugglers. Soon the two enemies are sharing passionate kisses and spending nights together- all to bring the bad guys to justice of course.
Kate Bateman writes books with strong-willed heroines, swoon-worthy heros and a plot that just drives you to know more. This book is no different.
I enjoyed “A Reckless Match” immensely and cannot wait to read more about this feuding family.



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Fiction Friday: Book Review- Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Best friends to lovers is the worst trope in human history, IMO. That being said, THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!
Avery and Declan have been friends since college and now live together. They share the same friends and spend most of their evenings together.
When Avery is involved in an accident, Declan is wrecked with guilt. He was supposed to be with her in the car but he blew her off for a one-night stand.
Declan dedicates himself to helping her recover and keeping her company while she is stuck at home.
Declan and Avery get closer than ever as he helps her heal and soon they realize that their feelings might be more than just platonic.
So again, like I said. Worst trope ever but Helena Hunting does it SOO good.
The friendship between Declan and Avery honestly seems platonic at first and I was like “eeww” because I couldn’t see them falling in love.
Basically their feelings surprised me as much as it surprised them. I loved how the evolution of their relationship just seemed so genuine.
This was the book that brought me out of my book slump and I am so glad for it. If you’re a fan of romance, this is the book for you.



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Welcome to the Real World: First Job Problems

By day 3 of my data capturing job, I grew bored of training and they offered to let me capture on my own. So I agreed. My typing speed as a writer meant that I was one of the fastest capturers on the team. In fact it wasn’t long before management started questioning how and why the new girl was capturing faster than the old staff.

My typing speed combined with my introverted ways did not win me any fans. By the end of my second week word got out that I was a college graduate, drove myself to work and had gotten the job because of my aunt who worked in the company. I could feel everyone silently judging me.

Some of the staff didn’t like me because of how fast I worked. Some didn’t like me because of my aunt and a large chunk didn’t like me simply because of my degree. I was confused. I knew I was privileged to have had the opportunity to study further. But I also knew that my degree meant nothing. I worked as hard as I could to prove myself as a serious employee. People thought I was just there to pass the time. While data capturing may not have been my dream job, it was a job I had wanted and it was a job I worked for. I was grateful nonetheless.

Despite the dirty looks that I saw tossed my way on the daily, I pushed through and tried to focus on work.

The manager who hired me tried to get me to understand the importance of getting to know the people in the other teams but as a recent graduate I didn’t get it. I was there to work. Why did I need to make friends with people who definitely didn’t like me?

The lady I worked with decided to toss me into the ocean and sent me to sit with a different team. At the time I was uncomfortable being surrounded by strangers but it wasn’t long before the new team made me feel comfortable and I started to come out of my shell. Eventually I made friends with my co-workers and work got much more bearable.

I understand now that getting to know the people you work with is so important. I wish I had known that back then. There were tons of people who I ended up becoming close friends with. These were people that originally I was intimidated by or just didn’t make an effort to connect with.

What lessons did you learn from your first job? I’d love to know below.

Welcome to The Real World: The Sweet Smell of Nepotism

Shortly after my disastrous call center stint, my aunt contacted me to see if I would be interested in a data capturing position at the company she worked at. This would also be at a call center but I felt a tiny bit better about the fact that it wouldn’t be a sales position.

I went for the interview and could tell the managers interviewing me were skeptical of hiring me. I had a degree and to them that seemed to mean I would leave the job at the first opportunity that came my way.

I knew this was a lie simply because no opportunity seemed to be coming my way but I worked hard to show them how sincere I was about the job.

I got the position and started the next week. I was overjoyed. Except for the tiny problem that I needed a day off for graduation. I tried to push my starting day back by a week. They refused. I offered to start the day after graduation. They refused. I explained that I needed to get my graduation gown and attend my graduation ceremony. They offered me one day off which seemed ridiculous. It was like they were saying that either I attend the graduation or pick up my graduation robe but I couldn’t do both.

Eventually I ended up taking the day unpaid but I was sulky for the actual graduation. I hated that I would lose a day of pay for a degree that didn’t even get me a job. I had to ask my family for a job. I felt let down by the system. Why did we push high school students to study further if finding a job was so tough? The graduation ceremony just felt like something that I needed to push through to get back to my normal life. I didn’t even get proper pictures with my parents since we didn’t know that we would need to pay extra to take pictures with them.

Cranky and annoyed at the entire university system, I returned to work the next day, ready to continue with my new job.

I didn’t know it at the time but that was the start of me allowing everything in my life to be consumed with work.

I loved my job, the environment, my co-workers. Everyone was helpful and friendly. I instantly fell comfortable. For the first few days anyway. But that’s a story for another day.

The right job is supposed to also be a right fit for you. If it doesn’t feel good, it’s probably not the job for you.

August Book Haul

Okay I know technically August is ending but I received these books in August so I thought I’d share.

I’ve already started reading “The Theft of Sunlight” and it’s soo good.

Life Update: My Personal Experience of the KZN Unrest

I want to blog. I really do. But this is a fun, light-hearted book blog and I feel like it seems insensitive to just jump into discussing books with everything that has happened in South Africa recently.

I’ve deactivated most of my social media sites due to racist comments and threats but I still feel like I need to say something about the KZN unrest. So this is a piece I wrote during the first few days after we tried to return to normal. I’m still not completely okay and there are several things that trigger my panic attacks again. But mental health is a process so I’m trying to give myself the time and space that I need to heal.

It was the night of 11 July when I first heard the gunshots.
Naively I passed it off as fireworks even though something in my stomach warned me that something bigger was coming.
But President Cyril Ramaphosa had promised us that there was nothing to be afraid of. That the threatening messages on Whatsapp meant nothing.
The whole thing started off as a #FreeZuma protest, a protest to free former president Jacob Zuma. But somehow, somewhere, things escalated quickly.
The next day, 12 July 2021, I woke up to the news that the roads were blocked and a few industrial warehouses were broken into.
There was no police presence anywhere. So the looting continued throughout the day. I was at home with the background noise of explosions and gunshots.
Our desperation grew. As the voicenotes threatening violence continued, the communities decided that they would ban together in order to prevent a repeat of the 1949 Riots. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durban_riots))
So each community got together, came up with community watches and patrols to ensure that no one outside the area would go in and endanger the community. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Surely if you lived in the area, it made sense that you would be in that area. If you didn’t live in the area, it was pretty suspicious that you would be there considering most people were either hiding in their houses of patrolling. 
Later on, the government would go on to call this a repeat of the apartheid times. That by asking people where they were going or why they were in a certain area, it was racist.
It wasn’t done to be racist. It was done to ensure the community- regardless of race and colour- was protected as a whole. That only people from your community was in the area.
The President came and gave another speech. It meant nothing to us. Houses were being broken into (there’s even videos on Tik Tok), people were being shot and even kids weren’t spared.
And that is where my story begins. 
On the night of July 14th, we heard that someone had tried breaking into one of the houses on our road. (This was later revealed to be someone from outside the Phoenix community who got into the neighborhood because he said that he lived here. So the community patrol let him through). There was a multitude of gunshots and the dogs on our road went crazy. 
The shootout lasted for about 2-3 hours. The police managed to catch one guy but the others escaped in their van.
I was in bed, covered with a million blankets and trembling nonstop. Since the whole unrest started, my body was always so cold. I felt like a part of me had died inside.

I stayed curled in the fetal position, scared out of my mind, crying silently and mentally asking God to end it all. This was no way to live. Why wouldn’t anyone step in and save us?

But I knew the answer already. While the shootout was occurring in my neighborhood, several other neighborhoods were also under attack all at once.

By the time the shootout ended, some part of me had died. I had basically moved from living in constant fear to accepting that eventually I would die. It was just a matter of time.
No one deserves that kind of fear or that kind of hopelessness. But like I said, neither the government nor the police was anywhere to be seen.
They said that they had sent the army but we hadn’t seen anything.
By the end of the week, the army did eventually arrive and things were slowly calming down.
And that was when the Media started reporting on the Phoenix Massacre. 
The Phoenix Massacre refers to the many Africans that were killed in Phoenix. These people deserve acknowledgement. Their families deserve closure. All families and all victims of the Massacre deserve justice.
But the way the Media tells the story, the people from Phoenix are dangerous and violent. The Indians went after the African people in a racist-fuelled rage.
Both Indians and Africans were killed. There were drive-by shootings done by African people. There were Indians who refused to let Africans living in Indian communities go home.
There was racist tendencies on both ends. But I stress. It wasn’t all people. It wasn’t everyone in a certain race group. Not every person killed every person and those who murdered ought to be brought to justice. 
Right now there’s threats to the Indians all over social media and that’s ignored. The same way the government ignored the Whatsapp messages at the start of this unrest.
We’re warned that when the Indian kids return to school, they will pay for those who were killed.
The media has painted the Indian community as a bunch of killers. Now racist people who were looking for an excuse to attack have found one.
Indians and Africans are disappearing. But there’s nothing said about that in the Media.
The Phoenix Massacre is still being investigated (as it should) but there’s no mention of justice being brought to those who instigated this violence.
There’s no efforts to repair the relationships between Indians and Africans.
I work in an environment with people of various race groups. And honestly work is the only place I feel safe.
I spend my days at home, wincing and being startled by every little second, worried that someone is going to attack me. Driving to work I’m scared I’ll be the latest victim of a drive-by shooting.
Jacob Zuma still needs to re-appear in court. There’s rumors circling on social media that this isn’t over. Unlike the last time, I’m not going to ignore the grapevine. But I’ve been living every day in fear.
This is our new normal. And it terrifies the shit out of me.

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