Thursday, March 31, 2011

GUEST POST: Jo-Anne Richards "People often ask whether creative writing can be taught"

People often ask whether creative writing can be taught.

Duh! Can you teach piano?

People have such funny ideas about writing. They seem to think that if they just sat still for a while, an entire piece of literature would float into their brain and wait patiently to be written down.

Yet, writing is essentially no different from any other artform, like painting, sculpture or music.

Sure, some people have more natural talent than others. And some writers can be self-taught. If they read enough, they might absorb the narrative skills to give them an intuitive edge. Just as some people might teach themselves to use water-colours. Or they pick away at House of the Rising Sun long enough to play passable guitar.

But surely they’d be much better; they’d improve much faster, if they were taught the basic skills of their artform.

Singers learn to control their breath. Artists learn about perspective. Writers learn to play with point of view, or how to avoid exposition.

Writing is an artform like any other. You may be blessed with talent. But it’s not a mystical gift from the gods. It’s hard work, which involves crafting something into a form that is meaningful.

In my experience teaching writing courses, this is the most common reason would-be writers become discouraged and give up. They imagine that anyone should just naturally be capable of doing it. They think they’ll spend a few pleasant hours day-dreaming onto a page … and voila.

Writing trainers can help with the techniques that will allow you to craft something special.

We can provide creative exercises designed to take writing to a different level. We can give the narrative skills, and share our own mistakes and vulnerabilities so you don’t have to go through the grind of making your own.

But don’t devalue the process. It’s still going to be a tough process in which Oprah is unlikely to be involved.

All About Writing Courses

Jo-Anne Richards is an internationally published author, who has written four novels and several short stories. She and award-winning script-writer, Richard Beynon have recently launched an online version of their flagship Creative Writing Course, for anyone with a passion for writing – fiction or non-fiction.

They will give you the writing skills to turn your passion into print, and the personal feedback to make it publishable. They promise to be honest, but always kind. See

- Post by Jo-Anne Richards

Jo-Anne Richards is a South African novelist and journalist, who lectures at Wits University in Johannesburg. Her fourth book, My Brother’s Book, was published in March by Picador Africa. See synopsis and extract from first chapter.

Her first novel, The Innocence of Roast Chicken, topped the South African bestseller list in the week it appeared and remained there for 15 weeks.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (8) Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Published by Pan Macmillan UK

The Victorian language of flowers was used to express emotions: honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it has been more useful in communicating feelings like grief, mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen, Victoria has nowhere to go, and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. When her talent is discovered by a local florist, she discovers her gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But it takes meeting a mysterious vendor at the flower market for her to realise what's been missing in her own life, and as she starts to fall for him, she's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, and decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

The Language of Flowers is a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love

- Blurb from Goodreads

Why we are waiting for it?
What a question?  Have you read the blurb?
Not only is the cover gorgeous but the story sounds unbelievably edible...

What are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cooked out the Frying Pan by Justin Bonello

Book Display at Exclusive Books Hyde Park

Justin visits 13 professional kitchens – all beacons on the South African culinary landscape – and gets to cook with some of the most celebrated chefs in the country.

In spite of a baptism of flour, after three seasons of Cooked in Africa he’s up for the challenge and finds these culinarians warm and willing to share their secrets. Along the way he manages to lift the lid on a smorgasbord of tips and take aways that surround fine dining.

Follow the adventures of this self-confessed bush cook as he makes this giant leap and smarts up to the value of salsa verde and a good mirepoix. He’ll guide you through the intricacies of deboning a pig and quartering a rabbit and let you in on how the experts prepare dishes like potato gnocchi and dim sum dumplings.
It was a Tuesday. The 16th of November 2010 to be exact when this book plopped on my desk at work in a brown, board box – it was a squished in the middle from a long trek from Cape Town; but nonetheless the box was here. It was Justin Bonello’s new book “Cooked out of the Frying Pan”. I did a hop, skip, jump and squeal with a bonus speedy hand clap.

When I say I am huge fan, that would be an understatement; groupie is more the word. I warn you now that this review is most likely the most biased you will ever read. I love the shows (Cooked, Getaway to Africa) and loved the first book, Cooked in Africa. I lay the book open on my desk and paged through it, the pages felt as if they were made by an Ndebele Tribe in the deepest parts of Africa – they are hard to the touch, crunchy and textured as if handmade. The cover; a mesh like material cover on a wood like backing and the most appealing picture of Justin himself, looking as if he had a fight with a bag of flour.

This book is different from his first one Cooked in Africa. This one Justin heads to some of South Africa’s best restaurants and fairs against some of SA’s cooking heavy weights and in this tome he shares it with us; mistakes and triumphs – Feast your eyes and keep your cooking pots at the ready because this book will make chefs out of the most useless of cooks. There is something for everyone, the sweet tooth, the roast lover, the food couture aficionado, a bush cook, a restaurateur, or even moms in down to earth kitchens. This book sets 12 of SA’s finest against the one and only bush cook – you can’t miss out on this PROUDLY SA book.

A book for cooking, loving and paging!

Myself (Kelly), Justin Bonello & Fuzz

About Justin Bonello:

Local culinary genius, Justin Bonello is the owner of Cooked in Africa Films and host of Cooked – the popular cooking adventure show, broadcast by BBC Food. His travel series, Getaway to Africa has been showing on M-Net channel 101.

Based on the popular TV series on BBC Food, Cooked, is a unique compilation of places, spaces and flavours and combines chef Justin Bonello’s three favourite things – Southern Africa, food and friends. Bonello is passionate about ensuring that Africa’s diverse food cultures are recorded and celebrated so that future generations will be able to savour the culinary pleasures we enjoy today.

On October 1st 2009 Penguin published Justin Bonello's first book Cooked In Africa.

Justin's second book Cooked Weekends Away was published in September 2010.
For more information on Justin Bonello and his Cooked adventures click on the following link

- Review by Kelly Ansara
Follow Kelly on Twitter

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blog Hop: Follow Friday (4)

Happy Blog hop bloggers! More importantly Happy Friday!

I (Kelly) am the lone wolf today bloggers as Tarryn is off hob knobbing with big publishing names (too big to name on this blog *Wink*) - Well I hope she is? If she isn't, then we can probably find her sprawled out on her desk sleeping (and drooling for dramatic effect).

Friday presents itself like a surprise trip to the Bahamas, FULLY PAID FOR! So as we pull our legs up onto our desks and get this well deserved weekend on the roll, we at It's a Book Thing (Or just for today Kelly) bring you Blog Hop Friday...

Parajunkee's View

Question: Inspired by the inane twitter trend of #100factsaboutme, give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you.
  1. I read slowly
  2. I tend to talk/shout/moan at the characters - just as my Gran shouts at her TV soap characters
  3. I never crack the spine of the book
  4. I secretly listen to Audio books (secretly, as not to get pelted with stones by avid "Only" Book lovers)
  5. When I am irritated, sad, tired or just need inspiration I head to the nearest bookstore to roam around and it really helps to calm me down
  6. I buy far too many books than I can read (guilty pleasure) BONUS - Because it's Friday
Tell us your silly book facts?

Crazy for Books

Question: If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?

The Welsh Sisters series by Marian Keyes, though this isn't a bonefied series that runs consecutively off one another. I would still love to have my life controlled by Marian Keyes; the Goddess of chicklit.

©Books ‘r Love

What series would you live vicariously through?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

©Kate Morton 2009

About the Book

From the international bestselling author of The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden comes a brand new tale of love, mystery, betrayal and dark secrets . . .

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret.

Evacuated from London as a thirteen year old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family.
Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Milderhurst and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it . . .


Here I am again; taken aback and in awe of words on a page-sounds almost romantic.  I really love the feeling of snapping a book closed after a turbulent couple of weeks of rigorous reading.
I love the first lines of Great novels: Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Wuthering Heights and A Tale of Two CitiesHere is another one to add to the ranks.

“For it is said, you know, that a letter will always seek a reader; that sooner or later, like it or not, words have a way of finding the light, of making their secrets known.”

We tell children fantasies to spark imagination and to watch their faces light up, Kate Morton does this for book lovers; a modern day Enid Blyton.  A castle filled with ghosts of the past and surrounded in mists of myth and fantasy that you, the reader, are found gasping for breath after each chapter.  Family sagas are always tumultuous but, Morton truly gives you value for money, pages read and makes up for the rather tepid looking cover – but they say never judge a book by its cover; true to the saying.

I can attempt to explain this complicated novel; the extent to which sisters will go to protect each other, gripping guilt, family tragedy, betrayal & burning war time love. 

Edie and her mother have never been close but one Sunday a long-lost letter arrives that sends Edie’s mother into tears.  The letter is from the mysterious Juniper Blythe from Milderhurst Castle.  Intrigued, Edie sets off to find out why this particular letter that drives her rigid, unemotional mother to sobs.  So begins the unravelling of the Sisters Blythe (Twins Percy & Saffy and the youngest Juniper), their Father Raymond Blythe (author of the Bestselling classic The Mud Man) and the Castle.  When Edie learns that her mother was an evacuee during the War and taken to Milderhurst castle to live, she starts to chase the riddle of her mother’s life, the Castle and the illustrious Sisters Blythe.  The Sisters Blythe, old now, are harbouring a secret almost fifty years old; one night during a storm something happens that sends Juniper into madness.  Edie is about to find out more than she hoped; the truth of what really happened in the Distant Hours...

For all the lovers of Atonement by Ian McEwan will love, gobble up, and immerse themselves in this novel.  Coincidental circumstances make this novel truly wonderful with its intricate plot and carefully constructed characters. 

About the Author:

Kate Morton

Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland, Australia. She has degrees in Dramatic Art and English Literature and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Kate lives with her husband and two young sons in Brisbane.

Watch Kate Morton talking about The Distant Hours, here
Visit Kate Morton's website, here

- Review by Kelly Ansara

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (7) City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace.

As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.
- Blurb from Goodreads
Why we are waiting for it?
Cassandra Clare's new book in the Mortal Instruments series....
Need we say more?

About Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Teheran, Iran and spent much of her childhood travelling the world with her family, including one trek through the Himalayas as a toddler where she spent a month living in her father’s backpack. She lived in France, England and Switzerland before she was ten years old. Since her family moved around so much she found familiarity in books and went everywhere with a book under her arm. She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she used to write stories to amuse her classmates, including an epic novel called “The Beautiful Cassandra” based on a Jane Austen short story of the same name (and which later inspired her current pen name).

Cassie’s first professional writing sale was a short story called “The Girl’s Guide to Defeating the Dark Lord” in a Baen anthology of humor fantasy. Cassie hates working at home alone because she always gets distracted by reality TV shows and the antics of her two cats, so she usually sets out to write in local coffee shops and restaurants. She likes to work in the company of her friends, who see that she sticks to her deadlines.

City of Bones was her first novel.

Follow Cassandra Clare on Twitter

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Girl who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

©Stories & Sweeties 2010

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division

"That it is never too late to change the future and that high school sins can be forgiven--these are wonderful messages, but Allen's warm characters and quirky setting are what will completely open readers' hearts to this story." - Library Journal, starred review

Emily Benedict is about to find out if wallpaper can change pattern on its own, if a cake can bring back a lost love, and if there really is a ghost dancing in her back yard.


Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbour, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes; not only wishing to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever.

Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.


I discovered Sarah Addison Allen’s debut novel, Garden Spells, as a young, eager bookseller two years ago; when I still judged books (prudently) by their covers. Garden Spells was a book that opened my eyes to a new type of fiction; edible fiction. Allen’s The Time Traveller’s Wife-esque novel was devoured one Sunday wrapped up in my duvet and half a mug of cold tea at the foot of my bed. I was in love and haven’t missed a novel yet. Her next was Sugar Queen, just as succulent as the first. This one, The Girl who Chased the Moon (soon to be in paperback) will make you want to run out and buy a cake. And let’s not forget her long awaited new one due April 2011, The Peach Keeper.

The Girl who Chased the Moon is an incredibly quick read. It is no longer than 272 pages, soft cover and one of the most amazing jacket treatments I have seen on a book. I was two pages in and smitten with this author, her writing is flow-able and an almost-perfect word for this book, scrumptious.

Emily is a seventeen year old girl who has just lost her mother, so she ventures off to find her mother’s only living relative – Emily’s Grandfather, whom she has never met. Emily finds herself standing before the house of Vance Shelby, her Grandfather, in a small town called Mullaby North Carolina, a town full of oddities.

If things aren’t hard enough for Emily in a new town with no friends, she soon discovers her mother, Dulcie, wasn’t the respectable activist Emily knew her to be. Why did her mother run away from Mullaby? And why did she never mention her past to Emily?

The Coffey family, a well-off family in Mullaby has a strange and unhappy connection to Emily’s mother and no one is willing to talk about it.

Sarah Addison Allen puts forth the most magical and absurdly beautiful characters together and one of them is Vance Shelby, an 8 foot Giant – a real life gentle giant. A town full of secrets, a room where the wallpaper changes to suit the mood of anyone who walks in and there are mysterious lights jumping around the garden at night.

The house next door introduces us to Julia Winterson, a baker, who has recently returned to Mullaby. After the death of her father, Julia returns to Mullaby (the town she fled years ago) to amend the crippling debt of her father’s diner. She has a plan to pay off the debt, sell the diner and return to Baltimore, but Sawyer Anderson let her go once and won’t let it happen again. Sawyer has an insatiable sense of smell; he can smell sweet goodies baking from miles away (He calls it his Sweet Sense) and Julia is the best baker in Mullaby.

An incredibly extravagant stand alone novel about two women figuring out their past as they step cautiously into their future.

Deliciously descriptive, weaving romances have you grinning and intriguing secrets are running wild in this little town of Mullaby.

I do head a warning: make sure you have a cake baked and ready for eating because you will want to dip into anything sweet as you turn each page.

My Favourite Quote:
"...a sad sort of vulnerability was wafting from her, making the night smell like maple syrup."

Sarah Addison Allen

- Review by Kelly Ansara
Follow Kelly on Twitter

Thursday, March 17, 2011

GUEST POST: Jo-Anne Richards "Words were a sound and a taste"

Words nearly defeated me. They made me an outcast but, in the end, that was what saved me. 

My earliest memories are of the taste of words. The cool flavour of “mellifluous”. The mysterious tang of “ruminous”.

Words were a sound and a taste. I could say them, but not see them. I could hear them, but not decipher the marks on a page. As a dyslexic, I could not unravel meaning from ink on white paper.

I was a laughing stock, mocked for my idiocy, and the tears that came too readily as a result. At first the library was merely serenity. It was the smell of old covers and the comforting distance of the playground.

I learned to read eventually. It was slow. I am still slow. But I learned that it was worth it; that words can be miraculous. A picture can be seen. But words can conjure: the foetid smell of the Great Woods; the wind’s caress on spreading wings.

Words lift you from your backyard and show you life before you can discover it for yourself.

A nightingale taught me sacrifice, pressing her breast against a thorn for the sake of love. A rabbit’s wings, sprouting in the care of a woodcutter’s daughter, taught me what love can do.

I live by words. I have never conquered them - no-one could. But I respect, and love them. Working with words is not what I’d call fun, exactly. It can make you fearful. It can cause you to struggle. But it can also provide euphoria beyond our understanding. And that is worth anything. 

All About Writing Courses

Jo-Anne Richards is an internationally published author, who has written four novels and several short stories. She and award-winning script-writer, Richard Beynon have recently launched an online version of their flagship Creative Writing Course, for anyone with a passion for writing – fiction or non-fiction.

They will give you the writing skills to turn your passion into print, and the personal feedback to make it publishable. They promise to be honest, but always kind. See

- Post by Jo-Anne Richards


Jo-Anne Richards is a South African novelist and journalist, who lectures at Wits University in Johannesburg. Her fourth book, My Brother’s Book, was published in March by Picador Africa. See synopsis and extract from first chapter.

Her first novel, The Innocence of Roast Chicken, topped the South African bestseller list in the week it appeared and remained there for 15 weeks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Published by Pan Macmillan UK

About the Book:

An epic of love, hatred, war and revolution.

A huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women.

It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners. Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution.

In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, FALL OF GIANTS moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.


I am going to admit that I didn’t read this, I listened to it. The book alone is a feat matched for Hercules himself! For those avid booklovers who feel audio books are “not really” reading well pick up this gargantuan of a novel and you will be ready to baptise yourself in an endless stream of audio fiction dam.

I have only one way to describe this HUGE novel; an indulgence that can satisfy all guilty pleasures, insomniac bouts, wartime interest, history knowledge, “bodice ripper” indulgences, scandalous love affairs and opulent aristocracy. An epic love story that not only holds the reader in suspense and great writing, is simplistically complex. Complex being that this story revolves around 5 very different families; a Welsh coal mining family, a British aristocrat family that owns the coal mine, Walter von Ulrich-a spy at the German Embassy in London, 2 Russian orphaned brothers and an ambitious young American man in the service of US President Woodrow Wilson. Each of these families are about to collide as each character’s destiny begin to intertwine.

An extremely turbulent read, yanking you back and forth, up and down from America to Germany to Russia. Ken Follett doesn’t disappoint the reader with sloppy writing, brushed over details, un-climatic events, and cheesy love scenes. A LARGER-THAN-LIFE novel in both size and story is definitely the MUST READ fiction of the month for me.

I have only one issue with this colossal book...


About the Author:

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read and the sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, will be published in autumn 2007. He has since written several equally successful novels including, most recently, WHITEOUT. He is also the author of non-fiction bestseller ON WINGS OF EAGLES. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.

Follow Ken Follett on Twitter

Listen to Ken Follett talking about Fall of Giants

- Review by Kelly Ansara

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lasting Damages by Sophie Hannah

Book Cover of Lasting Damages by Sophie Hannah

Published by: Hodder & Stoughton


It’s 1.15 a.m. Connie Bowskill should be asleep. Instead, she’s logging on to a property website in search of a particular house: 11 Bentley Grove, Cambridge. She knows it’s for sale; she saw the estate agent’s board in the front garden less than six hours ago.

Soon Connie is clicking on the ‘Virtual Tour’ button, keen to see the inside of 11 Bentley Grove and put her mind at rest once and for all. She finds herself looking at a scene from a nightmare: in the living room there’s a woman lying face down in a huge pool of blood. In shock, Connie wakes her husband Kit. But when Kit sits down at the computer to take a look, he sees no dead body, only a pristine beige carpet in a perfectly ordinary room…


Let me say it: Lasting Damages has the most chilling prologue I have ever read in my short, reading-filled life! I cracked open the spine, ran my eyes over the font, took a deep whiff of the pages (I am crazy like that) and set about on a fast-paced adventure of reading.

I let out a whimper of terror as I, for lack of a better word, consumed the first page, then the prologue, the first chapter and, before I knew it, the whole book. ‘Frightening’, cannot even begin to describe the feeling that washes over you as you read Sophie Hannah’s opening chapter. Her scene-setting ties you to your seat, grabs you by the throat and waits for you to scream (in a good way). You are left with your breath caught in your throat wondering How? When? and Why?

Sophie Hannah sets up her characters in abstract (but realistic) situations that not only keep readers intrigued, but also causes them to question their motives, and broader human behaviour. ‘Psychological thriller’ is personified, or ‘Bookified’, in this tome involving one seriously traumatised lead character, Connie Bowskill.

Connie finds herself wracked with paranoia when, at 1.15 a.m. she trawls a property website in search of a house. She is looking for a specific one, and all she has is the house’s address on her GPS labelled “home”. When a picture of a dead woman pops up while Connie browses the virtual tour, she is forced to question her judgement. It’s been 6 months since the obsession with 11 Bentley Road started, on a trip to Cambridge. You, the reader, begin to ask what was she doing in Cambridge? Why this specific house? And why is this address programmed on Kit’s, her husband, GPS as ‘Home’?

The discovery leads Connie down a dark path that forces her to question those around her. Who is the murderer? Connie is dead-set that Kit has something to do with it. As the story unravels, readers are left guessing, just as the tension mounts and the characters suspect those around them. Connie is forced to realise that humans are mysterious creatures – each psychologically unique.

Sophie Hannah brings back Deputy Constable Simon Waterhouse and Detective Sergeant Charlie Zailer with an incredibly complicated relationship and stories of their own.

As Hannah’s enigmatic plot is weaved, readers are drawn into the fast-paced motion and the hunt for the killer, and why he or she did it. Readers begin to ask: Why is Connie so neurotic? Is it a setup? Is Connie the killer? Why is there something off with Kit?

I guess you will have to read Lasting Damages yourself to find out!

This is a book that will leave you guessing (and very weary of property websites!), and flipping pages like a greedy chocolate lover!

Favourite quote:

‘He stops, backs away from the locked door. He hears the same footsteps I hear – rushing, a stampede. They're here.’

About Sophie Hannah

Photograph of Sophie Hannah by Mark Mather

Sophie Hannah is the author of five internationally bestselling psychological thrillers – Little Face, Hurting Distance, The Point of Rescue, The Other Half Lives and A Room Swept White. Her novels are published in 20 countries, with more foreign rights deals under negotiation. The Other Half Lives was shortlisted for the 2010 Independent Booksellers’ Book of the Year Award. Little Face and Hurting Distance were both longlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, and Little Face was longlisted for the IMPAC Award. The Point of Rescue is currently being made for television, and will appear on ITV1 in 2011.

Watch Sophie talking about her book, Lasting Damages, here
Read the beginning of Lasting Damages, here 
To see information Sophie’s upcoming title Kind of Cruel, here

- Review by Kelly Ansara

(Note of Thanks: Thank you to Elmarie Stodart and Anika Ebrahim from Jonathan Ball for sending Tarryn & I a copy of Lasting Damages to review.  Thank you to Wesley Thompson & Tarryn Talbot for taking an editors glance at the post - You Rock!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It’s a Book Thing’s Day

There is a day in everyone’s life that stands out; a time when the marching band barges through your living room sending papers flying and a crowd “whooping” and cheering.

This was It’s a Book Thing’s Day! If it were an actor it would have its own star on the Blogger-Wood walk of fame!

Tammy February is a blogger, tweeter & fellow book-lover, that we stalked on twitter and ‘ooh-ed’ & ‘aah-ed’ at her book blog. When Tammy approached us to do an interview for her blog (The Book Fairy's Haven), we yelled, chest-bumped, skipped and hollered to the heavens in praise! We pulled a Sally Fields and gushed “She likes us, She really likes us”. Hopping on one foot we clambered to respond (shoving each other to get to the keyboard) a huge, bolded font: YES!

The questions had us thinking about what we really love and hate about publishing, what our favourite books are and what trends are running wild in the publishing arena. Tammy has outdone herself with this post and no, it isn’t because it is us that is featured (okay, maybe a little).

So without further adieu, check out Tammy’s blog post here.
Follow Tammy on Twitter - For bookish tweets, giveaways and reviews!

It’s a Book Thing is Famous...

Friday, March 4, 2011


The words BOOK and SALE in the same sentence send us into fits of palpitations and tween-ish giggles.  We were there like the proverbial “Fred Bear”, car boots empty, wallets full and ready to wade through mountains of books at Exclusive Books’ Warehouse Sale.  A drive that took us exactly halfway between each other and prices that would make bargain hoppers hop on one foot with a gleeful squeal and clap.
The crowd

Why we held hands so we would not lose each other

We ventured in ready to grab collars, snatch books and fight for titles that were truly ours!  What we didn’t bank on was that:
  1. Kelly would be late and Tarryn would be early
  2. That another 4000 other book lovers wanted cheap books and a day out.

Kelly arrived to find Tarryn's arm filled to the brim and no air-conditioning present in the vast space of the warehouse.  R50 per kilo! Madness! Tarryn had a wild look about her, charging through the masses and snatching "gems" from the metal shelves.  "I want it to be quiet, there are books behind books" she gasped, in a crazy 'fight for survival' kind of way.  Kelly on the other hand, took a step back as it to charge the bullfighter with the red cape.

If you tilt your head to the side and squint, you can just make out that Tarryn is behind those packets

Tarryn's boot still looks empty
 Rearing to go, we charged through the warehouse picking up some real, godforsaken cheap deals, full hands and empty wallets.

Kelly lies! It's Tarryn's bag

One packet Kelly? Holding back this year?

Total spending for Tarryn: R280-00

Tarryn's buy
Total spending for Kelly: R169-00

Kelly's buy
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