Book Review: Black Rose by Nora Roberts (In the Garden #2)

Black Rose by Nora Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I read “Blue Dahlia” about a year or two ago so I’m not sure why I decided to pick this up when I barely remembered the first book.
All I did remember was the ghost of the Harper Bride and I was curious to know more about her.
So I picked this up with a vague recollection of book one but surprisingly I enjoyed this book.
Roz Harper is a single mother and businesswoman, running “In the Garden”. She has hired Dr Mitchell Carnegie to help her discover who the Harper Bride really was.
The first time I picked up this book, a year or so ago, I couldn’t see anything of interest between Roz and Dr Mitch which is why I didn’t bother reading this book.
But I pushed through and sure enough, a cute story came through.
Roz is reluctant to give in to another relationship especially after two marriages. But when her creepy, gold-digging ex-husband returns to torment her, it is easy to see how different Mitch is from him.
But as Roz considers the possibility of starting anew with Mitch, the Harper Bride is determined to stop her.
I thought we would learn more about the Harper Bride and her history and I was left feeling pretty disappointed. What does she want? What would it take to free her? And why is her behaviour escalating?
I’m hoping those questions would be answered in the last book.
This was a fun read that had me up till the early hours of the morning



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Book Review: The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane by Nora Roberts

The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane by Nora Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I loved this book so so so so so much!
This follows the last two MacKade brothers- the respectable Sherfiff Devin MacKade who has had a crush on Cassie Connor since forever and Shane MacKade who is determined to be the last MacKade bachelor until he meets a gorgeous academic who changes his mind.
Devin wants Cassie but knows that she is still fragile after her divorce from her abusive, scumbag husband. But when rumors start up about the possibility of parole, the MacKades rally to ensure that Cassie remains protected.

Shane MacKade reluctantly opens his home to Rebecca Knight who is studying paranormal activity. He is attracted to her but refuses to commit as he is the last remaining MacKade bachelor, a title he wears well.

These two stories were my favorite from the series. It was sweet and romantic and I couldn’t read fast enough.
The only thing that irritated me was that my copy was in tatters (it was secondhand) and pages kept falling out as I read it. Not a fun experience and it definitely took away from the book but I love these pairings and these plotlines.



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Book Review: The Pride of Jared MacKade by Nora Roberts

The Pride of Jared Mackade by Nora Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Jared MacKade pops in to his new neighbor, Savannah as a favor to a friend.
Her estranged father has passed away and left her some money.
Savannah wants nothing to do with the money or the nosey lawyer who brings her news of it. But when her son starts spending more and more time on the MacKade ‘s land, Savannah finds herself
attracted to Jared MacKade.

This was a pretty quick read that I enjoyed. It’s a fun romance and I liked the element of Savannah and her son having trouble trusting Jared. It felt realistic but also it was handled pretty well with a really heartfelt scene.
It was also great to see Rafe and Reagan again (They are so cute!) and their tiny but close-knit community.
This series might have me craving small town romances.
Definitely give this series a go if you’re looking for a quick and sweet read.



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5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Start a Book Blog

I love my blog. Usually. Sure there are some moments when I’m stumped for content ideas and want to tear my hair out but most of the time I am pretty proud of what I have created. That being said, book blogging always feels like something I fell into rather than consciously going into. And with my years of experience I want to share 5 reasons why you SHOULDN’T start a book blog.

  1. Free Books– First and foremost. Free books. Whenever I mention I have a blog, the first thing people want to know is if I get free things. In fact I remember drawing out plans for a book blog back in ninth grade before an exam with the sole intention of getting free books. The blog never even got started but don’t be that person. Getting free books for a blog is so far off in the future that you are better off not starting a blog at all.
  2. It is hard work– Coming up with content is tough especially if you’re looking for non book-reviews content. Yes your blog can focus on just reviews but everyone does that. You want to stand out. You NEED to stand out.
  3. If you’re a bookworm, this is an expensive hobby– Here, ladies and gentleman we have the real reason I fell into book blogging. To justify my bookworm habits. No I’m not obsessive about books and fictional characters. I’m just a book blogger. For the longest while, my book blog was used as an excuse to purchase more and more books. Now I’m sitting with 3 shelves of unread books and instead of reading them, I’m watching Netflix. (They look at me with judgement in their spines and I can’t stand it).
  4. It is incredibly time-consuming– You need to generate content ideas, get graphics, draft posts and edit. Then you need to promote on social media- preferably different platforms so your work gets exposed to a different audience. I’ve been sitting here for two hours just preparing this post (and okay, occasionally checking Whatsapp but my point stands).
  5. There can be some ugliness– Trolls hating on your feed, copycats duplicating your work and passing it off as theirs and even authors just being downright shady in some cases. Google it. I don’t even want to go there but I remember a story of an author tracking down a book blogger’s physical addreses (What the ACTUAL fudge?)

In life, nothing and no one is perfect. I will always say that you should start a book blog. It’s an amazing experience provided you’re doing it for the right reasons and you know what to expect.

Do you have a book blog? Feel free to leave your link below!

Book Review: The Return of Rafe MacKade by Nora Roberts

The Return of Rafe MacKade by Nora Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The town is set abuzz when bad boy, Rafe MacKade returns home. Newbie, Regan doesn’t understand the fascination. Sure he’s gorgeous but what’s the big deal?
As a kid, Rafe had a reputation as a troublemaker. Now he has returned home and plans on building an inn.
When Rafe meets Regan, he is instantly intrigued by her. It certainly doesn’t hurt matters that she runs an antique shop and he is in need of furniture for his new business venture.
It isn’t long before the two of them are involved in a casual relationship.
But like most of Nora Roberts books, casual doesn’t last long and when someone in the town decides to go after Regan, Rafe will do whatever he can to protect her.
I loved that this book was about more than just Regan and Rafe. There was an entire town of characters and I enjoyed getting to know them.
If you’re looking for a small town romance, give this a go.



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Fiction Friday: Book Review- When You Wish Upon a Rogue by Anna Bennett

When You Wish Upon a Rogue by Anna Bennett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Miss Sophie Kendall is the head of the Debutante Underground, a group of women who come together to discuss their lives and the advice column, The Debutante’s Revenge.
Their group needs a new place to meet. Somewhere in town that is busy enough for them not to be noticed but big enough to fit all of them.
Sophie finds an abandoned shop that is perfect for her meetings. But she also finds the shop’s insomniac owner, Henry Reese.
Henry Reese is instantly taken by Sophie and her bright manner. However Sophie is already engaged to someone else- an engagement she is unable to break as her family desperately needs money.
Henry and Sophie make a deal- she can have the shop for her meetings if she spends one night a week with him.
Nothing romantic- he just needs her help to sleep. Sophie agrees and sets a few ground rules to protect both her reputation and her heart. But as they spend time together, it is clear that they are both falling for each other.
I am going through a bit of a historical romance funk so I was surprised at how easily I took to this novel.
Sophie and Henry have a playful sort of relationship which I adored seeing. I kept rooting for them to get together, her family’s finances be damned.
This was a great read and I cannot wait to pick up the first two books in the series.



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Fiction Friday: Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Soundless by Richelle Mead

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I’ve had this book for about four years and somehow never picked it up (seriously, what AM I doing with my collection of books? Such a waste).
“Soundless” tells the story of Fei who lives in a village where the people mine precious metals in exchange for food from a mysterious source down the mountain where they are trapped.
When the story begins, people in the village are starting to lose their sight. Once a person loses their sight, there are left to beg for food in the town square.
When their food rations are shortened, the villagers are outraged but try to work harder to mine more metals.
One night, Fei wakes up and realizes that she can hear. But she is the only one in the village who can.
Fei teams up with her childhood best friend in an attempt to obtain more food for her villagers. But along the way, she has to battle treacherous cliffs, corrupt leaders and the fear of her own people.
I tore through this book in one setting (which surprised me because like I said, this book has been sitting untouched on my shelf for years).
I loved the story of Fei and her village and I especially enjoyed the wonder she experienced once she was able to hear.
If you’re looking for a quick fantasy read, this is definitely one to try.



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5 Useful Skills You Pick Up as an English Major

English majors are always portrayed as struggling to find a job. While majoring in English may not be the best idea financially (especially in South Africa and especially now), there are some handy skills you pick up that you are able to make use of in any job.

Graduation
  1. Reading (and actually understanding what was read)- This sounds like something so simple but you would be surprised at how many people cannot read. It’s not that they never learnt or lack the ability. Their minds are incapable of reading and making sense of what it is. As someone who works in Customer Care, this drives me crazy and leads to lots of (unnecessary) back and forth emails. Another perk related to reading is that as an English major you probably developed the skill of speed-reading. Yay you!
  2. Research Skills- Always necessary in any field whether you’re looking for information that is academic in nature or even just information on basic skills such as Microsoft Office.
  3. Effective communication- As an English major, you learn how to communicate effectively via both verbal and written communication.
  4. Working with deadlines- Being an English major means learning how to manage large chunks of work in a short amount of time. Since graduating uni, I always say that deadlines are not a thing for me. It’s now a habit for me to get things done before deadlines.
  5. Understanding other’s point of view or opinion- As an English major you learn that 1) there is never one correct answer and 2) how to see things from other people’s point of view.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Alyrra is a princess with a cruel family who take delight in tormenting her. When a King comes to visit with the intention of marrying Alyrra to his son, Prince Kestrin. No one understands why he wants stupid Alyrra instead of someone prettier with a richer kingdom.
Eager to be rid of her, Alyrra’s family encourage the engagement and plans are made for Alyrra to leave home.
On her way to her betrothed’s Kingdom, Alyrra is robbed of her identity by a sorcerer who wants to kill the royal family.
Forced into the role of a goose girl, Alyrra is pleased to not have to follow the rules of court. Her days are her own and she can do what she wants with them.
However the more time that she spends as a commoner, the more faults she begins to find with the kingdom and it’s twisted view on justice.
It isn’t long before Prince Kestrin seeks her out, suspicious about his wife-to-be and her personality which seems selfish and spoiled (not at all like the “honest” woman he had expected).
As Alyrra learns more about Kestrin and his kingdom, she is forced to make a decision between her old life and new.
I loved that this book was about so much more than romance. Alyrra has to chose to either live the free life she wanted as a goose girl (and risk leaving thousands of people at the mercy of a justice system that does nothing to help them) or take up her role as Princess and make a difference in other’s lives.
However as much as I did love that this was more than romance, I was sad that I didn’t get the happy ending that I expected. I loved reading “Thorn” and devoured it in a day, sacrificing sleep and food to finally get to the ending.
The writing was good and the world building was brilliant and easy to follow.
This book left me wanting more and I really hope that there is a sequel.



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Life in the Time of Corona

My alarm goes off at 5:20AM. I ignore it and drift back to a half-asleep state. It doesn’t matter if I’m late. There’s no traffic. My mother wakes me up at 5:30AM and this time I finally get out of bed.

I stumble to the bathroom with my eyes half-closed and pick up my toothbrush. I brush my teeth with one hand and with the other I check the news sites for anything related to Covid-19.

This is an everyday routine. This is our new normal. When we went back to work three weeks ago, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to adjust after more than a month at home but surprisingly it took me a short while to accept our new world.

I leave home at 6:50AM, careful to ensure that I have a freshly washed mask. Our company provided us with three black ones but I have been starting a collection of infinitely more colourful options.

Once I get to work, it’s time for our temperature check. The drive to work is only twenty minutes but I make sure to arrive early just for the temperature check. The lines can get long and I hate waiting even with social distancing.

The lady checked my temperature, has me sign attendance and then sanitizes my hands. I still have to go in the building and press the button for the lift which still creeps me out. The lift reeks of disinfectant but all the same, I am careful not to touch any part of it.

When I get to my desk, it is either already cleaned or in the process of being cleaned. Desks are cleaned daily and the entire office has a night cleaning with extra strong chemicals (allegedly. I’ve obviously never seen these people but I feel pretty good about our cleaning routine).

I sit down at my desk and use the sanitizer given to us by management to clean my hands again after using the lifts. I start up my pc and make small talk with the staff.

We are all spaced apart on the floor and if anyone is approaching you for conversation, masks are required.

There is a limit on the number of staff allowed in areas such as the kitchen and seating areas (the same goes for stores).

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s a pandemic going around. We have adjusted to the rules pretty well.

Life has been going on as normal. Sure you can’t see friends and family nor can you touch them.

But you can go to work, go to the store and almost live your life as normal.

It makes me wonder was I wrong in freaking out when this all started? It has been 3 months since we were first hit with the virus. Our numbers are 20 000+ confirmed cases and 300+ deaths. All things considered it seems like South Africa is handling the virus relatively okay.

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