ARC August 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Welcome to the 4th Annual ARC August - All August, all the ARC's. This is proudly hosted by Read Sleep Repeat.

So what is ARC August? No, it's not just Another Reading Challenge, which I happen to be very bad at. But a girl can always try. ARC August is a way to read all the ARC's filling up your Netgalley and ARC shelves. Past or future ARC's, printed or electronic editions, it doesn't matter, just read them.  

The rules are very simple: each week in August a linky will go up @ Read Sleep Repeat where you can share your progress. At the end submitted books will be confirmed, so you must review them somewhere. Either on your blog or on social media. If submissions can't be verified you may be disqualified, so make sure to say something, somewhere.

Seeing that I haven't done anything annually here, my ARC list is still very short. I've only registered on Netgalley last month and almost jumped through the roof when I was approved for my first request. I don't have a clue about Netgalley ratio's, but anything that can go up, must be good. Most of the time. Except for blood pressure and the petrol price. 

I have four books on my current Netgalley shelf and one requested reading from a South African author. 

I am listing the following 3 ARC for this challenge: 

Front Cover 1284085 25412415

I'm sure that I will get through these in August, as long as I do not get distracted by any other books. I solemnly swear to stay away from Netgalley for the next 30 days. Like I've said, a girl can always try.

Please share your ARC August books with me, I promise not to get tempted. A girl can really always try. 


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The Sunday Post - 31 July 2016

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a post to recap the past week on your blog, tell everyone about books and things you can showcase and share news for the upcoming week. Remember to link your post and to visit others who have linked up.

When I was young, we had this really cool add on tv "The end of the month salticrax". Dumb and Dumber and me never knew that salticrax is proudly South African! I've used this add for my Friday Meets on Friday and was quite surprised that nobody thought my "end of the month toppings" were clever. Gmpfff. Until my husband pointed out that most of my readers do not know the add, or salticrax, and will thus not understand.  


Okay, I get that. But I still love it! (Salticrax and the add) Today I am on my very last salticrax and NO toppings. This week's Sunday Post-salticrax is thus dry and unimaginative. 

Featured Inkspots

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday really is my most-fun, favorite link-up! Every week I think: 

"Now this was the most fun ever!" 

and then the next week comes along and uhmmm, I'm just having more fun. No really, this past week's Top Ten Tuesday was the greatest! 

To Do or not to Do? Ten books that inspired me to do/not to do something new.

Cover Characteristics

Schools I've posted this one rather late in the week and featured boarding schools in South Africa (fictional and real ones).

Friday Meets

Friday Meets  Yes, the one with the salticrax

Posts worth mentioning

London Based spec Fic Tales posted by Sarah Higbee over at Brainfluff. I don't read a lot of fantasy, but I've always enjoyed novels with a London setting. It feeds my dream of vising London one day. She's listed a few really nice fictional novels that I would like to read. Maybe one day on the plane on my way to London.... 


I've entered the August leg of the Comment Challenge 2016 and I am partnering up with Kayla over at Kayla's Nook Corner. Excited to get chatty with her over the month of August.

Comment Challenge

Reflections on Ink


As you may recall, this was my first ARC ever received on this blog. I've enjoyed it so much, but it took my hours to post my review. I was and still am very scared that I messed this up and will never ever be asked to review a book again. Ever. 

Is this normal or is it just me??

Me Thinks

Oh I have plenty of thoughts here, but not so much on the literacy side. 

What's happening this week?

Hopefully there will be time for reading as we will most probably be standing in a long queue on Wednesday for the local government elections. I will post the following during the week as well:

  • July's Ink stains
  • August Library Card
  • Book Haul (oooh can't wait to go shopping!!)
  • Weekly memes: Top Ten Tuesday, Cover Characteristics, Friday Meets and I will try to do the Thursday Quotables again.

Thalk to me!   

What were you up to this past week and what are going to be up to this coming week? Please don't climb any ladders and disappear into thin air. Like Froelich. 

Wishing you a great week!


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Froelich's Ladder - Everyone's gotta live Someplace

The devilish parts:

Title: Froelich's Ladder
Author: Jamie Duclos-Yourdon
Published by: Forest Avenue Press
Publication date: 09 August 2016
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pages: 248 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-942436-19-5 (Paperback)
Description: Froelich nurses a decades-old family grudge from his permanent perch atop a giant ladder in this nineteenth century madcap adventure novel. When he disappears suddenly, his nephew embarks on a rain-soaked adventure across the Pacific Northwest landscape to find him, accompanied by an ornery girl with a most unfortunate name. In their encounters with Confederate assassins, European expatriates and a general store magnate, this fairy tale twist on the American dream explores the conflicts between loyalty and ambition and our need for human connection, even at the highest rungs. Forest Avenue Press
Mareli's rating: 4 stars
Recommend to: Readers/believers/tellers of Tall Tales

Froelich's Ladder is a Tall tale/Folk tale set in the Oregon Territory and features an eccentric cast of rather believable characters and grazing clouds. 

Note: A 'Tall tale' is an account that is fanciful and difficult to believe. Normally accompanied by the following facial expressions and large amounts of liquor: 

One of the similarities between fairy tales and folk tales is that living quarters are never questioned. Whether it's a beanstalk, a tower, a peach or a shoe - we accept it as appropriate living arrangements. 

In this delightful tale, Froelich finds himself perch atop the fourth largest ladder in the world, built by himself and his brother, Harald. After a feud between the two brothers regarding the two most fought over issues in recorded history (1. Who's in charge 2. A woman), Froelich jumped on his high horse, or in this case his high ladder, and could not be persuaded to climb down - come rain or shine. 

Seeing that he was normally a bit under the weather, he maintained a large herb garden between the rungs for all his ailments. As the forest grew between the two brothers, they ended up relying on the only means of communication between them, TAP. Borrowing from Morse code, they used thumps and vibrations to form combinations of words. Until one day Froelich literally disappears into thin air (aka the clouds).

An element you find in folk tales, but not in fairy tales is that you can't always rely on magic to solve your problems. Sometimes you have to rely on the little grey cells. Enter Harald's two sons. When Binx one morning informs his brother Gordy that the weight of the world on his shoulders seems to be lighter, Gordy decides to embark on a quest to bring his uncle home. 

Gordy's clever mind and wit gets him through a number of difficult situations. His journey interlaces with two spunky young women. One with a terribly unfortunate name who dresses like a boy pretending to be a girl at a later stage again and a girl who escaped from a locked tower who's reputation was the only currency she had left, except for her I.O.U. 

In this nineteenth century Pacific Northwest landscape they encounter Confederate assassins (meet Dumb and Dumber), European expatriates and a store magnet who believes in the one-tenth men. 
"You have to wonder whether it's the chicken or the egg with these people. Whether they become arseholes after taking power, or if being an arsehole had everything to do with it."
In a Wild West populated with immigrants, skittish Civil War veterans, a circus menagerie and a couple of murderers, will they be able to find their "happily ever after" in this tale of the American dream? 

More importantly, will Froelich manage to escape the hungry clouds and finally get to bury the hatchet and lay the ladder down?

This was a fast-paced, clever witted novel that I enjoyed immensely. The underlying theme of alienation was played out well throughout the novel. It reminds the reader that we will always need to reach out to one another through whatever means and in whatever language. 

After all, they sure did need each other in order to survive the Wild West. 

About the author: Jamie Duclos-Yourdon is a freelance editor and technical expert. He received is MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. His short fiction has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Underneath the Juniper Tree and Chicago Literati and he has contributed essays and interviews to Booktrib. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Froelich's Ladder is his debut novel. Jamie Duclos-Yourdon

Special thank you again to Laura Stanfill (publisher) for giving me the opportunity to read and review this novel.  

Froelich's Ladder will be launched on the 9th of August and Jamie will be touring nationally (US) and should you be fortunate enough to be in the region of the below mentioned locations, try to pay him a visit and learn more about his amazing debut novel.

You can find more reviews on Froelich's Ladder @:

Should you wish to ad your review to this link, please send me a link in the comment section and I will gladly ad it. 


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Friday Meets - The End of the month Salticrax

Friday, July 29, 2016

It's the last Friday afternoon of a rather long and tedious month. The toppings on my Salticrax are thinly spread and unimaginative. Mweh - let's just leave the toppings. Who cares? As long as there's still some wine and a good book to read. 

Meet me on Friday @ Friday 56 for a bit of Book Blogger Hop to kick-start the weekend with Book Beginnings.

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice. For this date, you will need the following:
  •  Grab a book (Yes, any book. But it might get you to your other Friday activities a bit quicker if you just grab the book you are currently reading)
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader
  • Find a sentence or two (your other Friday activities might determine this)
  • Post it!
  • Remember to post your link on Freda's Voice and to visit the other guys in the linky.
  • And don't forget to list the title of the book and the author as well.

I've highlighted Froelich's Ladder  last week on New Beginnings and for a change, I actually did start reading it immediately. This is such a fun read! It reads like a folk tale/fairy tale with the most amazing characters and characterization of things you would never think of characterizing - like clouds. 


" What was the worst thing that could happen to him - he might be expelled and die a little sooner? Planting both of his hands on the cloud's downy surface, he cautiously supported his weight. "Farewell my hungry friend," he said, while crawling forth. "I'm glad not to have been your meal. In time, I hope you can flourish. But should you die, at least the weather will improve just a little. " 

I'll hopefully be finished with this one by tonight and will review tomorrow or Sunday. My very last salticrax of the month need to have an extravagant topping.  

Wait! Before you run off for your Friday drinks -   

Remember to join Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings. Share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading (or just take the one you grabbed for Friday 56) and share it. You are welcome to also post your initial thoughts on the sentence and your first impressions of the book. Remember to also post your link to Rose City Reader and to visit the other City Readers! If you use another book as the one used for Friday 56, remember to include the title and author.

The man in the wrinkled white suit stuttered across the square like a wounded finch, the soles of his shoes strapped to the uppers with black electrician's tape, his zipper frozen at quartermast. He wore dark wire-rimmed glasses. His name was Desmond Farren.

I've started this book on Tuesday afternoon and immediately knew that I will have to take time to read this one. No knit one skip one reading here, for this book, you need to put time aside. 

Book Blurb: The Farren family has been a plague upon Philadelphia's most dangerous neighbourhood, the Devil's Pocket, for generations. There, row after row of tumbledown houses hide dark secrets - none darker than Billy, youngest of the Farrens. Afflicted by a syndrome that means he can't recognise faces, Billy must use photographs to identify his family - and his victims. And when their lives have bled away, he takes a final, gruesome picture for his wall. But what is the meaning of the horrific ritual Billy enacts with every murder? And is there any connection to a childhood event Detective Kevin Byrne has buried so well it's hidden even from his former partner Jessica Balzano?

Book Blogger Hop
I will also be joining the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Ramblings of a coffee addicted writer. Every week they will pop a question that you need to answer. Post your answer to your blog, enter your post to the linky provided, make yourself a cup of coffee and go visit the other blogs in the list. 

Today's questions: Do you give books as gifts?

My answer:  

I think I might be confused here. Do you mean that there are other gifts to present to people besides books? 

My mother taught me that you must give someone a gift that you would really like to have, that way the gift will come from the heart. And I always want books. Unless it's my husband presenting - then it must come in small boxes with pretty wrappings. 

So yes, I will say my number one gift-to-give, is a book. Unless it's to a friend or family member who doesn't like to read. There's only about one or two of those dysfunctional creatures in my habitat. I normally present them with some sort of food or liquor. If you don't want to stuff your brain/heart/whole-being, stuff your mouth.   

Thalk to me!

What are you reading over the weekend?
Do you give books as gifts? 

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

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The Companionship of Harold Fry and Queenie Hennessy

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 

Kindle edition. Read between 26 April - 05 May 2016.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Paperback. Read between 07 - 24 July 2016.

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We were a tall,married man who was kind
and a short, single woman who loved him.
It was better to eat sweets and sing backwards
than risk unbalancing the small thing we had.

"This may come to you as some surprise. I know it is a long time since we last met, but recently I have been thinking a lot a about the past. Last year I had an operation on a tumour, but the cancer has spread and there is nothing left to be done. I am at peace and comfortable but I would like to thank you for the friendship you showed me all those years ago. Please send my regards to your wife. I still think of David with fondness.
With my best wishes"

And so, with the pink letter, their journey ends. And once again, begins.

Harold's Pilgrimage 
Recently retired Harold Fry, receives a letter from his old friend, Queenie Hennessy, who he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply. Inspired by a chance encounter, he changes his mind and decides to deliver his message in person to Queenie. He is convinced that as long as he keeps walking in his yachting shoes, Queenie will not die. 
He was no more than a body that housed a walk. 

Over 600 miles away, Queenie is dying in hospice.

Queenie's Journey 
Queenie thought her letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong, it was just the beginning. When Queenie discovers Harold Fry is walking across England in the hope of saving her, she is shocked. How can she wait? She explained to him that she's dying. A volunteer at the hospice suggest that Queenie should write again - only this time, she must tell Harold everything. 
Harold Fry is walking. But in another way, even though you're here, even though you've done your travelling, you're starting a journey too.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was Rachel Joyce's first novel and was published in 2012. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy was published in October 2014. These books are thus listed as Harold Fry #1 and Harold Fry #2 But this is not a book and its sequel, these two books are companions. To quote the author, Rachel Joyce: "What I have written is a book that sits alongside Harold Fry. They really should come that way - her in the passenger seat, him in the driving seat".

As Harold walks across England, he meets a number of strangers who stir up memories, flashbacks - often painful - from when his marriage to Maureen was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father and of his shortcomings as a husband.
He understood that in walking to atone for the mistakes he had made, it was also his journey to accept the strangeness of others. 
As Queenie Hennessy is writing her letter, we soon realize that her point of view on Harold is completely different. She loves him from afar and promises herself not to get involved in his life. Do not unbalance the small thing we have. But fate in the form of David, Harold's wayward son, intervenes. A strange attachment grows between Queenie and David. Being an old Cambridge student herself, she borrows David some books. In return, he steals from her and he manages to increase the heartache she already has to endure. But she loved him still. 
Sometimes you can love something not because you instinctively connect with it, but because another person does and keeping their things in your heart take you back to them.

During certain parts of both these novels, the story becomes more than Harold's walk and Queenie's letter. This is also about the people Harold meets on the journey and how they all experience life very differently when you walk through it. It's also about Queenie's fellow hospice patients who become her friends and the nuns who lovingly cares for them, especially Sister Mary who types out Miss Queenie's letters. 

The last chapter and epilogue of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy brought a twist in this remarkable journey of Harold Fry and Queenie Hennessy that left me sobbing until I couldn't see out of my eyes. It will stay with me for many years to come. It also made me realize the importance of remembering that what made you love and laugh in the first place. Even if nobody else knows or remember - it is important that you do. 

Both these novels received a solid 5 star rating from me. 

Note: I will highly recommend to read these books simultaneously. If I could go back and read them like that, I most definitely would.   

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Cover Characteristics - Schools

For this week's Cover Characteristics, we are featuring Schools

Cover Characteristics is a weekly meme hosted by Sugar and Snark. Every week they give us these gorgeous themes and then you have to pick 5 covers featuring that theme. If you want to participate: 
  • Pick your covers 
  • Post it to your blog
  • Share your post's URL in the linky provided by Sugar and Snark
  • Go and check out the other guys who also posted! (This might influence your current TBR list a great deal.)

I've been out of school long enough to be able to say: It was the best days ever! Today I'm going to take a trip down memory lane and feature two schools that inspired me to attend boarding school and one school that I know inspire a large number of boys in South Africa to go to boarding school. 



Maasdorp was a fictional boarding school for girls and was first published in 1932. The series was written between 1930 and 1960 by Stella Blakemore and these are still very popular amongst  young Afrikaans readers. It features Kobie Malan and her friends (nicknamed Kobie and the three musketeers) and once you've stepped inside Maasdorp, you will never forget it. The original series consisted of 16 books but it has been condensed to 12 books a couple of years ago.


 Image result for Jong doktor Serfontein  

The Maasdorp series was so popular that Stella Blakemore decided to write  an equivalent, but featuring a boarding school for boys this time. Under the pseudonym Theunis Krogh, she brought Keurboslaan to life. This series grew to be even more popular than Maasdorp. Mainly due to one reason:  Doctor Roelof Serfontein.

In the first book of the series by Theunis Krogh, we meet this dashingly handsome young man who got lost near the border of Swaziland. Incidentally, the struggling boarding-school Keurboslaan was close by and he got rescued by the fairy-crazed, elderly principle of the school. Doctor Serfontein, a world renowned author of novels no simple-minded person could ever understand, decided to stay at this mediocre school as vice principal. Under his very, oh so very capable hands, he turns Keurboslaan into one of the best schools in the country. The influence he has on the boys attending this school and his personnel, will change their lives forever. Not even to mention the influence he had on me..... This series consists of 20 books and I have read all 20 year in and year out, every year for at least 10 years. 

Note: Unfortunately, both these series' are only available in Afrikaans. But it really is a very easy language to grasp. You can learn to speak Afrikaans while reading these. Honestly. 

Spud (Michaelhouse)

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Spud features the boarding school, Michaelhouse. Noticed that I did not say fictional boarding school? Because it isn't. Michaelhouse is a full boarding school for boys founded in 1896. It is located in the Midlands of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. 



Spud  is a series of 4 books that captures the humor of life in a boarding school through the diary of John (Spud) Milton. 

The story begins on the first day of Spud's life in the private boarding school and follows his years and experiences with the often eccentric characters found in a school environment. His very-close-to-dysfunctional family are also a big feature in these novels. 

Note: Yes, these novels are in English and if you didn't know, there are even a movie staring John Cleese. 

Thalk to me!

What books featuring schools are your favorite?
Did you attend boarding school or only wished you had? 

Please share your favorite covers featuring schools with me! 

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Top Ten Tuesday - To Do or not to Do?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Today's Top Ten Tuesday - Ten books that inspired me to do/not do or learn something new

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish  where they provide a prompt and other lovers of list-making (me! me! me!) join in with their own top ten list. Feel free to have less than 10 or more if you need to at times and put a spin on the topic if you need to. Just please link back to The Broke and the Bookish  if you are participating. Link up with your BLOG POST (not your blog) in the linky provided and remember to pay it forward!

To do

1. Do learn to use some of the spell words in Harry Potter as very effective swear words. 

Do also ensure that your facial expression and tone of voice are in correlation. 


2. Do clap your hands as often and as quickly as you can. 

Of course you are allowed to stamp your feet as well, but maybe rather try the happy dance. Go on, clap your hands. Tinkerbell will stay alive if you do. Oh, and of course you have to say the words: "I do believe in fairies". And believe it. Just say it! (Should anyone disobey you, just refer back to point 1.)


3. Do know how to do the following (as per example of Louisa Clark in Me Before You):
  • Make an entrance
  • Make a really good cup of tea
  • Wear bumble bee tights paired with flowery shoes
  • Smile. Always


4. Do learn to cook jam. 

I've read this in Afrikaans and I am going to be presumptuous and translate my favorite quote from this book in my own words: Cooking jam is an act of hope. It means that you know the sun won't always shine, but you prepare for the darker days ahead. 
Trivia: All the members of my family got a lovely jar of home-cooked jam the Christmas of 2011.

5. Do pick up every little seed and pod you see. 

Keep it in a tin close to your heart. Ask not for your ashes to be scattered when your time has passed, but the content of your tin. Have daily conversations with Mister God until that time arrive. 

6. Where possible, do wear a hat.

"If you want to get ahead, wear a hat."
"Wearing a hat gives you authority over someone who isn't."

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Not to do

7. Do not have your portrait done

I'm not entirely sure, but it does appear that having your portrait done might have the same effect as turning into a vampire. It beautifies you to such an extent that you are utterly irresistible to woman and man alike. Unfortunately, it also turns you into a self-centered, whining little shit. My suggestion will also be to not take too many selfies. It might have a similar effect in the long run.


8. Do not be late to pick your child up from school.

It might also be advisable to maintain a good and healthy relationship with your mother-in-law. Maybe you should cook her some jam for her next birthday? And make sure you know every nook and cranny of her house. Literally. 

9. Do not offer to do an interview with a handsome entrepreneur as a favor to your sick friend. 

Do rather offer to phone in and re-schedule her interview. Or offer to make her some chicken soup, or even better - some toast with home-cooked jam. Offer her a really nice cup of tea (you've mastered the art of that by now) and a good book. If she still persists you must go and do the interview, refer back to point 1. Swear at her in moderation, but do not go to that interview.

10. Should you be planning a train journey and you happen to spot a short, little man with a waxed mustache and patent leather shoes, or a white-haired elderly woman with sharp eyes anywhere on the station - do not get on the train. 

Image result for david suchet as poirot Image result for miss marple

Do avoid the (Murder on the) Orient Express at all costs (although I really, really want to) and do not take the 4:50 to Paddington. Wait for the next train. 

Thalk to me!

Any useful tips you picked up here today?
What books inspired you to do/not do something or acquire a new skill?


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