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photo 2015-03-08 01:32
The Heroine Next Door - Zeena Nackerdien
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer - Siddhartha Mukherjee
Speak Memory: An Autobiography Revisited - Vladimir Nabokov,Stefan Rudnicki
Men Without Women - Ernest Hemingway
Of Warriors, Lovers and Prophets: Unusual Stories from South Africa's Past - Max du Preez
Zeena

Hi everyone!

 
I am so excited that my first book is finally in print.
 
My earliest memories of growing up involve sitting next to my father, as he drove a green truck filled with chattering children, to a Muslim primary school located in the whites-only neighborhood of Paarl. This prosperous South African tourist attraction and home of the Afrikaans Language monument can trace its roots of its name (Afrikaans for "pearl ') back to the description given by a Dutch colonist, Abraham Gabemma, when he saw a granite rock on one of its mountains gleaming after a rain storm. Three years later, in 1660, different Dutch settlers would give a street the same name after the oysters found in a New York river. Little did I know, as I watched my father teach overflowing classes of children the three R's (reading, writing, and arithmetic) and I learned about nature from my mother (an avid gardener), that I would one day find myself in New York City.
 
Had I been the meticulous diarist of my later years, the stories of analyzing geraniums for signs of viral infections and probing the plump, yellow flesh of loquats in a tree (while hiding from my mother for some long-forgotten transgression), would be chronicled in glowing detail and cross-referenced with comments from my brothers. Instead, in my incarnation as a writer and given the vagaries of lost memories, I chose to write a work of fiction that is inspired by people and events that I have had the privilege to witness over the years. Because I am South African by birth, "The Heroine Next Door," has a strong regional flavor, focusing on the pre-and post-apartheid era, before transitioning to the USA and Europe, and the impact of path-breaking infectious and non -communicable disease research on the lives of people in Africa. However, the core identity and relationship issues that the main character, Leila, struggles with are ones that resonate with me and hopefully with the readers. With that in mind, I plan on continuing to write about relationships, sometimes in the idiom of the religion in which I was raised, Islam, and to creatively meditate about my other great loves, including history, news (I am a news junkie) , education for all, and science.
Source: heroinenextdoor.com
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review 2014-06-16 21:35
And we're done.
Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5) - J.R. Ward

During a check-up on a critically injured gun-shot patient, Dr. Jane Whitcomb discovers three large men hell-bent on removing him from the hospital. Almost immediately, Jane finds herself abducted and held prisoner in a large mansion working as the group's personal doctor.

After reading this book I can officially say that I'm done with this series. I hate captive heroine plots and I think that's why I quickly got burned out on the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. (Three out of the four novels I read featured this trope.) I'm also tired of the cliched traits of the Brotherhood constantly being shoved down my throat. I get it, they wear shit-kickers and listen to rap therefore they're a hardcore and edgy group. I don't need it repeated to me constantly.

However, I will give it to Ward. She's not afraid to stick to her guns when it comes to maintaining previously established character traits for her heroes. Zsadist was someone who couldn't find pleasure without pain, Rhage had to sleep with a regular assortment of women for his curse, and, in this one, Vishous was heavily into BDSM. Ward didn't tone down these character kinks when it came time to feature these guys in their own books. So, even though none of those really worked for me, I give her credit for not softening those aspects.

 

I would recommend this one to fans of the series, but...I'm done.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-01-23 00:48
Why must there be an unncessary H in his name?
Lover Eternal - J.R. Ward

After killing a deity's bird, Rhage was cursed to share his body with a dragon. Keeping the dragon under control is something Rhage has to deal with on a daily basis and it often consists of having to do things he'd otherwise never do. When Rhage meets Mary, he is instantly attracted to her but the curse puts a huge obstacle in their courtship.

I really adored Rhage. However, the reason why this is getting a mid-level rating is that I can't reconcile Rhage's choice to go out and sleep with a shit ton of women while he had Mary waiting for him at home. This stemmed from Rhage needing to regain control of the dragon, so it was painted in a way that he had to go screw other women. While I will give Ward kudos for not taking an easy route, it still put a really sour taste in my mouth. I can't stand cheating heroes and I wasn't convinced that Rhage had exhausted all other possibilities, which really pissed me off. I also felt that Mary got over it way to quick. I mean he comes home from having sex with who knows how many women and she almost immediately gets over it upon seeing his sad face....really? I think she should've been a little more conflicted about that whole situation. Other than that, I generally enjoyed Lover Eternal. My only other wish is that Mary had been given more personality since she came off as a very flat character, but I'm beginning to think that's typical of Ward's heroines.

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review 2014-01-21 21:22
"The Rich Buisnessman's Reluctant Bride" or "Forced to Marry for Revenge!"
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 2 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 3 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 4 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 5 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 1 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 6 - Maki Enjoji Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 6 - Maki Enjoji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 7 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage ?!, volume 8 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage ?!, volume 9 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage ?!, volume 10 - Maki Enjouji

Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with Hokuto Mamiya, a wealthy company president, in order to pay off her father's debts. Hokuto agrees to the arranged marriage because he sees Chiwa as another step towards exacting revenge on his family for their role in the death of his mother.

 

I was annoyed with so many aspects of the Happy Marriage?! series but I just could not look away. It's highly over dramatized with so many misunderstandings. All of which, could've easily been worked out if Chiwa and Hokuto had just talked a little to each other. Their refusal to communicate was so severe that they often used Hokuto's secretary to relay information or get information about each other. However, despite my annoyance with some of the elements involved in this series, I still enjoyed reading it. The over-arching revenge storyline was engaging, but it tended to take a backseat. Most of the time, when it was brought up (with the exception of at the very end) it was only as a tool to fuel Chiwa's insecurity about her relationship with Hokuto or as an excuse to get Hokuto to be a dick.

 

But hands down, Chiwa was the most annoying thing in Happy Marriage?!. She was an extreme mary sue and such a martyr. Every decision that she makes in the series is motivated by some other character's problems or what she thinks will make someone else happy. She only has one moment at the very beginning where she tries to take some initiative for herself and it gets smacked down pretty quick. I probably could've tolerated this a little better if she wasn't crying every other page. Chiwa cried so much in this series that it inspired me to create another shelf just for her called "Why you cryin?!" I was actually rooting for Hokuto's ex-lover at one point because she not only had personality but wasn't shown bawling over every little thing that goes wrong in her world.

 

As for Hokuto, he was a fairly standard romance hero that you can find in numerous Otome games (the distant "only your love can warm his cold heart" type). I did end up liking him a lot towards the end. Even though he managed to really piss me off, because for no real reason he back hands the heroine at least twice. These scenes were like watching an old black and white movie where the hero suddenly hauls off and smacks the leading lady and no one mentions or says anything about it. Way too over the top and I HATE when authors insert this into books.

 

All in all, this was an ok read. I would recommend it if you're in the mood for something along the lines of a harlequin romance with lots of melodrama.

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review 2014-01-18 00:15
Don't Mess with Texas
Don't Mess with Texas - Christie Craig

I had high hopes for Don't Mess with Texas. It seemed really cute and I had heard a lot of good things about it, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get into it.

Nicki Hunt needs cash because she's flat broke. If she doesn't get any money soon, then she's going to lose her art gallery. After getting a phone call from her wealthy ex-husband, Nicki goes to dinner with him thinking that maybe she'll be able to overlook his cheating ways for a reunion. However he vanishes in the middle of the meal on a phone call and doesn't return. Fuming, Nicki returns to her car only to find her ex, dead and stuffed in the trunk. Nicki is immediately the prime suspect with only P.I., Dallas O'Connor believing she didn't do it.

Craig has a light writing style that I typically enjoy in contemporary romances. However, a lot of the jokes here seemed like cheap shots; such as a gassy dog and birds pooping on nurses. Dallas also didn't work for me. I think he was supposed to be an angsty character who slowly starts finding some happiness, but this just didn't work with the slap-stick comedy tone of the story. The tone made Dallas seem pouty and a bit of a tool. I did like Nicki though. She was an entertaining character and I loved her relationship with her grandmother. Despite that, I probably won't be picking up another book by Craig in the future.

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