Friday Meets 28 October 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

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

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Hey Guys! Missed me much? I sure missed you. No, I did not turn into a mermaid in the gorgeous, clear waters of Mauritius. I'm still mostly human. Just been a bit under the sea weather the past couple of weeks and whenever I feel like surfacing, I really just want to be where the people are. Especially the ones with books.

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So let's talk books!

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 managed to read all the books listed on my previous Friday Meets (decades ago, I know - that's why I linked the link) and I am almost done with The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel. This book has seriously mixed reviews. From haters to lovers and quite a number of head-scratching and what is going on here reviews. So far, just over 50%, I am absolutely in love with this novel. Or rather, these three stories. It is written in three parts and each part is a completely different story. 

The following passage might be a bit long, but it is just sooooooooo gorgeous, I have to share it: 
Basically 56%: 
25472815"Why storytelling over history-making? I think it's because, once more, Jesus seeks to benefit us. A story is a wedding in which we listeners are the groom watching the bride coming up the aisle. It is together, in an act of imaginary consummation, that the story is born. This act wholly involves us, as any marriage would, and just as no marriage is exactly the same as another, so each of us interprets a story differently, feels for it differently. A story calls upon us as God calls upon us, as individuals - and we like that. Stories benefit the human mind. Jesus trod the earth with the calm assurance that he would stay with us and we would stay with him so long as he touched us through stories, so long as he left a fingerprint upon our startled imagination. And so he came not charging on a horse, but quietly riding a story.

Lets join Gilion @ Rose City Reader now 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.

Seeing that it's Image result for halloween words weekend, I will chose between the following two novels:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (The cover I've used is sooooo creepy)
Deadly Decision by Regina Smeltzer (The cover also gives me the creeps. Especially the two children in the right hand corner....)

28439775"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."


"Let me tell you right off, I don't believe in ghosts. I never have and I never will. Not good ones, anyway. But some things are hard to explain. If you have ever considered getting involved in the occult, you need to hear my story. It may change your mind. - Bill Iver"

As always, I will also be joining the Book Blogger Hop (how cool is this graphic! I really DID miss out this month) 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: You've been invited to a costume party and the theme is classic literature characters, who would you go as?

My answer:   Without even having to think about it, Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. She is the creepiest, scariest, most-nightmarish-evoking character ever. 

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Thalk to me!

What are you reading over the weekend?
What classic literature character will you dress up as this Halloween?

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The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

28389305Title: The Other Einstein
Author: Marie Benedict
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication date: 18 October 2016 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 304
ISBN:  9781492637257
Mareli's rating: 3 stars
Recommend to: Lovers of historical fiction and strong female characters
Description: A vivid and mesmerizing novel about the extraordinary woman who married and worked with one of the greatest scientists in history.
What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.
In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever. Goodreads

First of all, a big thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks Landmark and the author, Marie Benedict for presenting me with an early copy of this marvelous novel. Quite similar to Marie Benedict, I started this novel with even less than "commonplace understanding" of Albert Einstein. Of course I know what he looked like and he is very famous for something called "E=MC2". The best way I understand that, is according to the first photo. But let's face it, it will be an awesome name for a rap-band. 

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Never really bothered to read up on his personal life. I knew he was married and somehow remembered that he had children, but I have never heard of Mileva Marić. How terribly sad. When I received my copy of The Other Einstein, I went visiting my good old friend, Google, immediately. (note: As you know, I love books that are infinitely google-able, The Other Einstein sure is!) 

Who was the lovely lady and clever physicist who will only be remembered as Albert Einstein's first wife? What role might she have played in the great scientist's discoveries? In The Other Einstein Marie Benedict introduces us to Mileva, a fascinating scientist in her own right and not just a footnote in the famous Albert Einstein's story. 

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Mileva Maric and Albert Einstein
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Mileva with Eduard and Hans Albert 
Not as unknown as I presumed her to be either. When a stack of love letters between Albert and Mileva were discovered in the 1980's, Mileva and her role in Albert's theories were the center of much debate in the physics community. These letters, written between 1897 and 1903 when Albert and Mileva were still university students, hinted at a number of collaborative work between the couple. 

I really enjoyed the way Marie Benedict colored in these rather blank pages. How much of it is fact and how much is fiction, really doesn't concern me at all. I think every reader can decide for him- or herself if they want to enjoy this story with a nice cup of tea or with a few grains of salt.

The purpose of The Other Einstein is not to diminish Albert Einstein's contribution to humanity and science, but to share the humanity behind his scientific contributions. The Other Einstein aims to tell the story of a brilliant woman whose light has been lost in Albert's enormous shadow.

- Marie Benedict

This was an enjoyable read with good writing and the focus was mostly on Mileva and her struggles and accomplishments and not on the science itself. Mileva was torn between family life and science and this was particularly well portrayed.  I will vouch for The Other Einstein and will recommend you enjoy this one with a nice cup of tea. 

More reviews on The Other Einstein:

Chapter Adventures
Flashlight Commentary
Angel Erin


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It's Monday! (Oh gosh, really??) What are you reading? #4

Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? This weekly feature is hosted by Bookdate and it's a great way to get your reading week sorted. All you need to do is: 

  • Tell us what you are currently reading
  • What did you finish reading last week
  • What do you plan on reading next
  • Add your link to the linky provided by your host
  • Visit the other bloggers who also deal with terrible Mondays, but still find the time to prioritize their reading schedules
  • Make sure to read really awesome books in order to increase the above mentioned bloggers' stress levels by adding even more books to their TBR list
  • Pop a Rescue for your own nerves or pour a glass of wine and get reading 

Hello darlings, I'm back. How are you? 

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Yes, I've been back from holidays for over a week, but I struggle a bit to get back in the swing of things. But we can talk about that at a later stage. Holidays were good, but I didn't read even half as much as planned. I have not been feeling all that well over the past couple of weeks and reading does not bring the comfort I so trust-worthily bestowed on it. But I can't stay away from the blogosphere any longer. My strict Protestant upbringing does not allow any more absent days. 

So let's see what I managed to accomplish on the reading front lately:

Recently Finished:

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Sirius by Jonathan Crown This was such a great read! I enjoyed it immensly and will highly recommend it to just about any and everybody. Review

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter Also a great read, but definitely not recommended to any and everybody. Not for the faint hearted. Reader discretion will be adviced. Review

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict One of those lovely Google-able stories. Review to follow.

Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie Do I sound like a crazy person if I say Agatha Christie always makes me feel better? Honestly. I might not be able to stomach a lot of reading lately, but Agatha Christie always goes down nicely. 

Indiscretions of Archie by P.G. Wodehouse Audio recording read by Mark Nelson. Loved it. Had a good laugh and as we all know, laughter is the best medicine. 

Currently Reading:


All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders I strongly suspect that one actually has to feel well to truly enjoy this one. I'm about 70% done and am a bit lost at the moment. Enjoyed the first 50% a lot though.

Cross my heart hope to read: 

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Deadly Decision by Regina Smeltzer I still have this on my Netgalley schedule for October. Really loved the cover (especially the two hazy boys in the top right corner. Creepy). Guess I need to start reading. Probably tonight.

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel I've carried this one over from my Book Club for 3 months already. Will it be a carry over once again, or do I just give up? I still have a few days to decide.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson No, I haven't read it before. So weird, I know. This is on our South African reading group for October and I nominated it. So somewhere, somehow - it has to be read. 

I think that's more than enough from me today. I will try to do a bit of blog hopping and say hi to you all, but if I don't get to you - please don't let it bother you. It's not you, it's me. Really. 

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Wishing you all a great week ahead!


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Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Sunday, October 9, 2016

"A sophisticated and chilling psychological thriller of dangerous secrets, cold vengeance and unexpected absolution"

24959571Title: Pretty Girls
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publication date: July 2015
Pages: 688
Mareli's rating: 4 Stars
Goodreads Description: Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia's teen-aged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Reader discretion is advised. Some scenes will not be suitable for sensitive readers.

When Claire's husband is suddenly and violently killed at the same time a young, pretty girl goes missing, Claire is forced to be reminded of a horrific family tragedy that happened 24 years ago - the unsolved disappearance of her sister, Julia. The family was torn apart and the only one who never lost hope was Sam, their father. He still talks to Julia in beautiful written letters that provides a real heart-felt element to the novel. Claire reconnects with her estranged sister, Lydia, and together they start to unravel what really happened to Julia and their whole family.

I know there has been numerous discussions on the blogosphere regarding whether books should come with age restrictions and warnings and I haven't really participated in many of those discussions. Enter Pretty Girls. For the first time in a long time, I wasn't the first one to read the it book in my Book Club. In fact, I was basically last in line to take the Pretty Girls home for a bit of company. The upside of this, I was pre-warned. Although most of the ladies in the Book Club gave high praise to the stand-alone psychological thriller, the general consensus was that it was graphically scary and creepy. Honestly? I didn't really scare me, but the creep factor that an industry as described in this book can actually really exist and people can get that sick - sky rocketed in my estimation. 

As a former psychology student, I will forever be a huge fan of the psychological thriller. There is no thrill like the chill down your spine when you finally figure out Whodunnit. Another point to Pretty Girls. You know who did it rather early in the novel (oh, you didn't? But my husband figured it out by just telling him what's going on. Oh gosh. Now I'm scared of my husband)

Another point in favor was the character development in this novel. Both Claire and Lydia are introduced with their "masks" well in place. As the novel develops, the masks slowly come tumbling down and we see the two ladies for who and what they truly are. 

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Pretty Girls is not recommended for the faint of heart, in fact, it contains some of the most graphic violence I've ever encounter in a book. If you can handle the graphic content and are just looking for a good thriller with a few unexpected twists, Pretty Girls will be right up your alley.  


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Sirius by Jonathan Crown

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Novel about the Little Dog who almost changed history

29430653Title: Sirius
Author: Jonathan Crown
Published by: Scribner
Publication date: 04 October 2016 
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 247
ISBN:  9781501144998 
Mareli's rating: 5 stars
Recommend to: Animal lovers (especially for dashing fox terriers), lovers of historical novels (WWII)
Description: Berlin, 1938: Sirius, a dashing fox terrier, lives a charmed life with the German Jewish Liliencrons. But, with the rise of Nazism, the Liliencrons decide to leave Berlin for Hollywood.
Sirius takes his destiny into his own hands with the kind of melancholic mirth exclusive to his breed. He becomes a celebrated film star and circus performer, friend to Rita Hayworth and Cary Grant. But, when a magic trick goes wrong, Sirius ends up back in war-torn Berlin. Never one to despair, he finds himself in the Führer's headquarters as Adolf Hitler's lap dog... and an informant for the resistance. Goodreads

What an absolute delightful book. Levi is a fox terrier and the last survivor of the Third Reich (a bit different from the one you know), the much-loved family pet for the German Jewish Liliencrons and the ever faithful companion to a tree. When all those bearing a Jewish name were threatened in 1938, the family changed Levi's name to Sirius. This sparks the beginning of a destiny written in the stars. 

One night, Nazi troops storm Berlin and begin to search houses. Sirius alerts the family, and they manage to flee to Hollywood. In his new home, Carl Liliencron becomes a chauffeur and Sirius befriends everyone from Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant to Rita Hayworth and Jack Warner. 

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He is renamed Hercules and becomes the biggest canine movie star in unrecorded history. Professor Liliencron renames himself as well and the family lives as comfortable as those who escaped and survived the war possibly could.

Only he who transforms himself survives. 

The greatest canine Star is soon picked up by the Greatest Show on Earth and Sirius travels with the circus where he becomes an even bigger spectacle to behold. But as circus tricks do tend to go wrong every now and then, Levi/Sirius/Hercules soon finds himself back in Berlin where lo and behold, he is renamed once again. 

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"Hansi! Where's my doggy?"
Little does Sirius know that he’ll soon have to perform his most difficult acting role yet, when through a series of exceptional events as World War II unfolds, he winds up at the right hand of Hitler himself. Can Sirius overcome his greatest fear (Führer) and help the German resistance and reunite with his family and his beloved tree? After all, destiny is written in the stars.

Sirius is one of those wonderful books you read with a constant smile stuck on your face. This is a must read for all animal lovers and it will definitely make it into a few Christmas stockings this year. Jonathan Crown's writing style is witty and he gives a clever, compassionate and great voice to one of the smallest heroes of WWII. It might be fictional, but I prefer to believe in heroes like Sirius. This story was dictated to Jonathan Crown by his own dog, Louis, who just so happen to be the grandson of the one and only Sirius. Louis told his family history to Mr Crown who simply just recorded it. If it was Louis' story, I might have had a few doubts, but seeing that it is a story told by his grandfather - it has to be the truth. Did your grandparents ever told you a tall tale? Of course not.

Special Thanks to Netgalley and Scribner for an advance reading copy of this delightful book.


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