Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Boeke Books

I did a post last week on the Exclusive Books Boeke list.  Needless to say that when this box arrived at my desk on Friday (My Birthday) I was greeted with a bomb of shredded paper and books - what more could a girl ask for on her birthday!

No doubt, I'll be busy as heck in the next couple of days getting through these babies.
I'll be posting reviews here and with Tamarin du Toit over at I Want a Dodo, so keep a look out!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Author's Pie: Lily Herne

Oh but I have a great pie this week - ZOMBIE PIE! Yup, you heard (or is it read?) me... Zombie Pie, straight out the oven with The Mall Rats creator (or should I say creators) Lily Herne.

Lily Herne, the pseudonym of mother/daughter writing team Sarah and Savannah Lotz, authors of South Africa’s first YA zombie apocalypse series, Deadlands. Sarah is a screenwriter and pulp fiction novelist who, among other things, writes horror novels under the name S.L. Grey with author Louis Greenberg. When she’s not studying screenwriting at the University of East Anglia, Savannah can be found hunting Orcs in Azeroth.

Find Lily Herne on Twitter and Facebook

A Big ZOMBIE-FIED hug and thanks to Sarah and Savannah for taking part in Author's Pie!

1. What inspired a Zombie infested Cape Town?

Sarah: George R Romero and Lucio Fulci’s zombie movies left an indelible and not entirely healthy impression on me when I was a child, and I’ve been obsessed with all things zombie ever since. Quite a few of my early short stories feature a shambling walking corpse of some description (therapy is probably in order), and when Savannah and I decided to collaborate, writing something zombie-related was my first choice (albeit not Savannah’s). Savannah and I live in Cape Town, so it was a no brainer to set Deadlands in the city, gleefully destroying the infrastructure but perversely leaving the Canal Walk mall intact. After all, zombies and malls go together like biltong and beer. That said the Mall Rats series is less about the walking dead and more about how society might react to the aftermath of a devastating event.

Savannah: I wanted to do werewolves but mom overrode me.
Sarah: Werewolves aren’t scary though – look at Taylor Lautner. And Benecio del Toro for that matter.
Savannah: Point taken.

2. Deadlands (Book One in the Mall Rats series) had a great thread of underlying subtle political themes, was this intentional? And why did you feel it important to include?

Savannah & Sarah: Our main intention was to write a fast-paced, locally based, entertaining read. However, I doubt there’s a single writer of dystopian fiction who isn’t inspired by the current political landscape and we’re no different. For example, in Deadlands, the Resurrectionist party (the religious/political organisation that worships the dead and oppresses Cape Town’s survivors) was partially inspired by the deeply troubling Tea Party movement in the States.

3. Death of a Saint was a true character building novel, who was your favourite character to write and why?

Sarah: Ginger, the wisecracking Brit. As he’s continually reffing movies and comics, he’s a legitimate excuse for me to include pop culture references in the narrative. If I do that in my other writing, I get slapped on the wrist.

Savannah: Ash is gradually replacing Saint as my favourite character. In the first book, he was too sulky emo-style hipster for my liking. However, after we gave him a hard time in Death of a Saint and revealed some of his back-story, he became a more rounded character. It helps that I’m in charge of writing his narrative in the third book, so I have full rein to make him seriously cool. It sounds like a total cliché, but our characters really do write themselves, dictating the action and often surprising us.

4. What was the last book you read?

Sarah: Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Savannah: The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett.

5. If you could invite any author over for dinner who would it be and why?
Sarah: Gah. So many. I’m lucky enough to be friends with some amazing SA writers, but they’d probably only come over for dinner if I promised not to cook (I’m a rubbish chef). It’s no secret that I’m a massive Stephen King fan, so he’d be near the top of the list, but if I could bring an author back from the dead for dinner it would be Philip K Dick. PKD and King are among the authors I read as a child whose supreme story-telling skills made me want to be a writer.

Savannah: Douglas Adams. I know he’s dead, but I reckon he’d be the coolest zombie ever, and then I’d have a chance to pick his brain.

Lily Herne's Books

Deadlands (Book One in the Mall Rats Series)

One thing about the Deadlands, once you've been out there, surrounded by the dead, the living aren't anywhere near as scary ...

What if the people you love are not who you think they are? What if you have a destiny that no one knows about? When seventeen-year-old Lele de la Fontein and her brother are forced to move to the city enclave to live with their estranged father and bitchy, war-hero stepmother, she has no idea her world is about to implode. Stuck in a school run by the Resurrectionists -- a fanatical sect who worship the sinister, all-powerful Guardians -- Lele dreams of escape. But she's trapped. No one can survive in the Deadlands, the shattered remains of Cape Town's suburbs, without being turned into one of the living dead. No one, that is, except for a renegade group known as the Mall Rats. But who are they? And are they the answer to Lele's prayers, or is she about to find herself in more trouble than even she can imagine?

Death of a Saint (Book Two in the Mall Rats Series)

Secrets. Everyone has them. But what if your secret is something so unthinkable that you can't even admit it to yourself?

Exiled from the city enclave for crimes against the Resurrectionist State, teen rebels Lele, Ginger, Ash and Saint -- aka the Mall Rats -- are hiding out in the Deadlands, a once-prosperous area now swarming with the living dead. With the sinister Guardians breathing down their necks, the Mall Rats face a stark choice: return to the enclave and try to evade capture or leave Cape Town in search of other survivors. But what if the rest of South Africa is nothing but a zombie-infested wasteland? Will they be able to survive on the road if all they have is each other, or will their secrets tear them apart? After all, only Lele knows the shocking truth as to why the dead leave the Mall Rats unscathed -- knowledge that she can't bring herself to share. And she's not the only Mall Rat harbouring a dangerous secret ...

Lily Herne is published by Penguin Books South Africa. You can get your copies of Lily Herne's books off Exclus1ves.co.za (don't forget to sticker them).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Exclusive Books Announces Boeke 2012

It is that time of year again, when the Boeke gets announced, Publishers feign delight and readers flock to counters to nibble, dabble and bicker about who the winner will be.

According to the Press Release, the history to the Exclusive Books’ Boeke campaign is an unforgettable one. The Boeke Prize first began in 1995 as a tongue-in-cheek take on the celebrated British Man Booker Prize. The South African ‘Boeke’ celebrate top English fiction published in the preceding year. The books can provide for light, fun reading or can be appropriate additions to academic literature. The winning book can also be rather controversial having seen strict criteria being applied in the last few years. In all respects, the Booker Prize embodies the stiff British upper lip that is so revered in the UK, and the South African Boeke pokes fun at this, while at the same time still remaining a celebration of literature.

So drumroll please, here are the nominees ...

Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison

Ahalya Ghai is just seventeen when a tsunami rips through her Indian village. Ahalya and her sister Sita are the sole survivors of their family. Destitute, their only hope is to find refuge at a convent in Chennai, many miles away. A driver agrees to take them. But the second they get into that car they are doomed - the two sisters are sold. Ahalya doesn't understand why any man would pay so much money for them. She will soon find out. On the other side of the world, Washington, D.C. lawyer Thomas Clarke witnesses the kidnapping of a young girl. Struggling to cope after the death of his baby daughter and the collapse of his marriage to Priya, he takes a sabbatical from his high-pressure job and accepts a position with the Bombay branch of CASE, the Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation. He is now on a path that not only involves saving himself and his marriage, but the lives of Ahalya and Sita Ghai. A Walk Across The Sun is about cruelty and loss. It is about family and survival. And ultimately it is about love, and the immeasurable strength of the human spirit.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

'It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophes are always different - unimagined, unprepared for, unknown...'

What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day becomes night and night becomes day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on an eleven-year-old girl, grappling with emotional changes in her own life..? One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-day life must go on. Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. 

He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone.

All he knows is that he must keep walking. 

To save someone else's life.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

A stunning debut novel about a lighthouse keeper and his wife and the moral dilemma they face. For fans of The Island.

Would you accept a chance for happiness even if it wasn't yours to have? This is a story about a lighthouse keeper and his wife, who live on a lonely island with just seagulls, stars and buffeting winds for company. It's about a tiny baby and a dead man in a boat that drifts ashore one April morning, and the apparently harmless decision made that day. More than anything, it's a story about right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same.

The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya

A visceral, unforgettable novel about one of the defining events of our age.

Following a desperate night-long battle, a group of beleaguered soldiers in an isolated base in Kandahar are faced with a lone woman demanding the return of her brother's body. Is she a spy, a black widow, a lunatic or what she claims to be: a grieving sister intent on burying her brother according to local rites?

As she persists, single-minded in her mission, the camp's tense, claustrophobic atmosphere comes to a boil as the men argue about what to do next.

The Watch takes an age-old story - the myth of Antigone - and hurls it into present-day Afghanistan. The result is an unputdownable, deeply affecting book that brilliantly exposes the realities of war. It is also our most powerful expression to date of the nature and futility of this very contemporary conflict. 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Marriage can be a real killer. 

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

So which one would you vote for?

The list is narrowed down by Exclusive Books’ booksellers selected on demand in store, receiving a good amount of reviews and what is most talked about. At the end of the promotion there will be two winners announced: a Judge’s Choice and a Reader’s Choice, which will be revealed at the Boeke Prize 2012 awards event in September.

Follow Exclusive Books

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Confessions of a Book Whore: Series of Unfortunate Books ...

A trend that is acting like the crazy aunt who keeps shoving homemade cookies in your face; so you take the first one to be polite, the second one you indulge yourself but buy the 8th one you are wiping chocolate stains off your mouth, swiping crumbs off your lap and looking guilty at the dog who wanted one. You think to yourself “Crikey, I didn’t eat all of those biscuits, did I?” – Yes you did, you glutton!

The crazy aunt sees how much you gobbled and as all crazy aunts think “Ha! Let me fatten this pretty little thing up” and hands you another tray of the ‘nibbles’ and your stomach says with its hands on its hips “Oh hell no! Put another one in my mouth and I’ll show you who runs this ship and blow the cannons!” 

This is how I feel when it comes to a series of books. Like this overeaten glutton with tight jeans and that retching feeling punching my throat. I love a good series that keeps me out of trouble and head-meet-wall-bashing boredom as well as those epic tales that shape childhoods, Harry Potter anyone? But with the publishing world feeling the pinch, it feels that every Tom, Dick and Aunty Matilda are writing prequels, sequels and every equals known to man to make a book brand. I don’t think publishers do it on purpose, they do it to please the demand – they are companies after all.

So we ask the question, why are series/trilogies of epic proportions (G.R.R Martin, People!) so popular? Is it the need to recreate Potter-fever? Do readers like the hug and tug of waiting of a new book and then knowing there’ll be more? Do we really want more of the same thing? 

I like the sturdy knowledge that a book will come back with familiar faces (well in my head) and intriguing plots, but I have had enough. I am bored to death with the same story... Boy meets Girl. Girl/Boy is mutant/vampire/ghost/angel/confused/or just needing sex but keeps it a secret. Girl/Boy finds out deep dark secret. Dark Forces ensue. They Kiss. Good prevails. Evil dies... or so we think. And boom in approximately 300 pages you have a build up to a secondary sequel and an anti-climatic ending and cried blood, sweat and tears. 

The series bug has become like the book-to-movie bug where every book worth reading was made into a movie. Every bookworm’s nightmare is the announcement ‘Camera’s rolling on the set of insert book’s title here’ – they howl, beat their chests and fling the tome across the room! I have started harassing booksellers, yelling at them teary-eyed “IS THIS A SERIES? PLEASE GOD SAY NO!” as I grab them by the collar shaking them.

I just don’t have the drive or inspiration to settle down with a book part of a series, I have a full-time job and degree and by no means do I want to give my life to years of waiting and needing for a character and plot. I need a book to be done with it; rip the band aid off, let me howl, scream and gnaw my fingers on one book and that is that! I like my hair; I don’t think it could survive another Harry Potter-like series; in a good way.

COME ON GUYS! Who is with me!?



*carries on reading Book one of a series*

Friday, August 10, 2012

Author's Pie: Sean Newman

Sometimes you have sweet pies and sometimes you have complicated flavour pies... This weeks pie is a convoluted and intricate pie; one on intrigue and secrets...

Sean Newman began working for Lolly a year before his death and became his confidant. He lived the Teazers brand and became integral in not only the day-to-day operations as media, marketing and public relations manager, but also as a keen observer of everything that really happened. While others wrote about the Teazers lifestyle, Newman lived it.

You can find Sean on Twitter

About Sean’s co-authors

Peter Piegl was the editor of Playboy South Africa until mid-2011 and is the writing power behind the book. Piegl brings a critical and textured approach to the book.

Karyn Maughan is a legal journalist at eNEWS in Johannesburg with a degree in psychology. With a keen eye for the forensic details, Maughan examines the facts. She’s no stranger to controversy and the dark side of the human psyche.

Biographies taken from Jacana Media Website


1. When did you know you had a book? What was the moment that you said “This story needs to be a book?”
Living the life I did and being so integrally involved in the murder case of Lolly Jackson can be a huge burden, as a spokesperson it is your job to disseminate a story that is favourable to your brand and employers. That story is not necessarily the truth though and I found I was going to braai's and functions only to be bombarded with questions on if I was telling the truth, inevitably the "What is the real story" question would come up constantly. I found myself retracting from social occasions in case I said something wrong to someone and it ended up in the newspapers the next day.

After I left Teazers, I began to remember a lot of what I had buried deep in my mind, the memories would come in the strangest of places and times and it was then that I decided the only way to truly move on was to let go of the story and finally share it. My doctor had me on sleeping pills because the project kept me awake most nights with my mind spinning but strangely the moment the manuscript was handed in I didn't need them anymore. As clichéd as it sounds by writing the book I had finally freed myself and given the story to the public, that and saved a fortune on therapy.

The hardest part of making the decision was coming to terms with how I thought Lolly would have felt, in the end it dawned on me that he just wanted people to know him in life, good or bad he just wanted recognition. It was a lot easier when that clicked because in death I felt he would want the same, he wouldn't care as long as people still spoke about him.

2. How did you choose your two co-authors: Karyn Maughan and Peter Piegl? (i.e. Their writing background, reputations etc?)
Karyn had been one of the many journalists whom I had dealt with during the days and weeks after the murder, she was always there and strangely we formed a friendship under the hardest of circumstances. I learnt very quickly that she could be trusted, but most importantly she was there to listen, often calling just to see if I was okay. That in itself meant a lot to me as she did not always chase the story (she often did) but would also stop to check if I was coping and if she could help me in anyway.

We formed a very strong trusting bond and it was without question that I would ask her to be a part of this journey; after all she is one of the most respected journalists in the country.

The problem was that we both have very different writing styles; I lean towards the emotional while she is very strong on the factual news approach.

So to combat the "my style is right" argument we decided to bring in someone to work with us both, an independent person that had not worked on the story at all.

Peter was in the news at the time as he had left Playboy and I decided to read some of his writing, it intrigued me and gave the texture I was looking for. We were both mature enough to know we had to put this in the hands of someone who could not only bring our writing together but also manage us through the process, who better than a magazine editor that lives on deadlines.

Peter was at first a little reticent but after a meeting he committed more than I could ever have expected of him in terms of time and skill. At one stage we spent two weeks in a one bedroom flat in Durban writing nonstop, he never backed down once and we finished the first draft.

He proved very quickly that as a co-author you can have no better, his work ethic is beyond anything I have ever seen, which in itself was brilliant as it became a competition between us to finish.

As a team we had ups and downs but in hindsight the success of this project was solely based on the amazing support I got and that is thanks to choosing two people that committed to my story and helped me realise my dream. I would not change them for the world.

3. If the book became a movie, who would play you?
I am a firm believer that this story belongs to South Africa and would love to see it made through a locally based production company, it has all the elements needed to bring it to life and with that in mind it is my view that you don't need the whole "Hollywood" tint put on top.

So if I had to choose someone then it would be Brandon Auret, he is an accomplished South African actor that has a wide variety of experience under his belt. I loved his performance in Hansie and would be overjoyed if he took the role.

That said stranger things have happened so who knows I could get what I want sometime down the line.  

4. Are there any other books making in the turbine from you?
Peter and I are busy with a book on Glenn Agliotti at the moment, more of a personal story from his side. We want to go deeper and look at how things can spin out of control, where the line sits and at what point do you cross it.

I think this is going to be fascinating as we uncover the layers underneath the story we all know, the great thing is Peter has a degree in psychology giving us an edge on how the story will be portrayed.

We also have in our possession a very rough manuscript dealing with a Rambo type character, someone who was a gang member and was forced into the Vietnam War instead of prison time. It promises to be a real eye opener dealing with raw human nature.

Dealing with other peoples stories is far harder because it takes a lot more research than we had to do with Lolly and therefore we need to allow ourselves time to get to know the characters and be in a position to accurately portray them and their history.

We really pushed ourselves to the limit with Lolly and this time want the luxury of working through it, while at the same time Peter is building a social media consultancy and I am busy with a number of huge events as I have taken up the position of Marketing Manager for Platinum X entertainment which owns Sexpo, The Last Man Standing Tournaments and The XS Music Festival. So there is a lot of work to be done in between.

5. Name one book that changed your life?
The one undeniable pleasure I have in life is reading and therefore would never be able to justify one single book being the life changer. I am a firm believer that books are there to heal, help, grow and fascinate. They will never betray you nor will they deny you time with them.

The fact is every time I pick up a book it is like going on a journey, the visual you create is always going to be something different that the person sitting next to you reading the same book that is what makes it so intimate and personal. Any good book has a lesson it is up to us to grasp what means something to us.

It has been amazing to watch what people have taken from When Fantasy Becomes Reality and put out there on social media sites (Twitter); it is often the one quote you felt was not worth putting in all that love.

I read a lot of non-fiction works, often preferring it over fiction as the lessons are there it is up to you to go and find them.

If I may be so self indulgent let me give you five books that I have enjoyed of late:
The Last Rhino - Lawrence Anthony (A true South African Hero) 
Mud Sweat and Tears - Bear Grylls (A very humble man, attended his motivational talk and was blown away)
Year of the Gherkin - John Dobson (A laugh a minute book that will have the tears streaming down your face)
The Gruffalo's Child - Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Nothing better than reading to your daughter at night, this is her current favourite)
Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson ( A true visionary and somebody whose products I cannot live without) 

Sean’s Book

When Fantasy Becomes Reality: Lolly Jackson

(Co-author’s Sean Newman, Karyn Maughan & Peter Piegl)

The Lolly Jackson murder case – a mix of elements that has grabbed the public’s imagination. Fast cars, fast money, murder, revenge, missing millions and smashed up Teazers clubs. With kilometres of newspaper headlines and a growing body count, the insatiably curious public is still no closer to the truth. 

Amidst the confusing reports, money laundering on a grand scale, SARS investigations and the mafia-like killings, Jacana Media brings you the inside story. 

The book opens on the night of Lolly’s murder and is a personal, inside track into the reality of Lolly’s private and business lives, never before made public. Intimate and detailed, it provides the reader with a fascinating view of a world that previously could only be imagined.  

Published by Jacana Media

Get the book at your nearest
Exclusive Books store

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Maine by Courtnay Sullivan

About the Book

For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano at night. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials “A.H.” At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.

As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.

By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.


What happens when you send three generations of women to a family house in Maine? 

Alice, an eighty something grandmother and mother; Maggie, the youngest, has just discovered she is pregnant; Kathleen, Alice’s daughter and Maggie’s mother, is the black sheep of the family and hops on a plane when she discovers Maggie is pregnant; and Anne Marie, Alice’s daughter-in-law and mother in her own right stuck in a marriage that she doesn’t want. You mix this together with lies, skeletons and a family house (that was won in a bet during the war) that web the reader through a very interesting plot.

The story of the Kelleher family is more than your average story of overcoming secrets. Sullivan gives her characters a sense of realism in the face of adversity. These four women have always had tricky relationships with each other and when reunited at the family holiday house in Maine (a cottage with 3 acres of beachfront expanding before it – stop swooning!) they are all forced, to put it as a cliché as I can, to face their demons.

Sullivan gives the reader a look into each of these compelling characters by presenting them rotating perspectives.

Maine isn’t written to be the book that has you settled in it immediately, in fact, I found this book a tad frustrating in the beginning, and it seemed tedious and drawn-out. But (and this is a HUGE BIG BUT THAT DOES NOT LIE) once Sullivan has all her characters in one place the plot redeems itself and you find yourself drawn to each character.

A book not to be confused as a beach read or some Chick Lit. It’s a Jodi Picoult on steroids; a voice that sings to the deepest part of a woman’s heart, this book will grip you by the throat and scream the truth into your face.

Worth a spot on a bookshelf across the world!


About the Author

J. Courtney Sullivan is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Commencement and Maine. Maine was named a Best Book of the Year by Time magazine, and a Washington Post Notable Book for 2011. Courtney’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Men’s Vogue, and the New York Observer, among others. She is a contributor to the essay anthology The Secret Currency of Love and co-editor of Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Find the Author

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Confessions of a Book Whore: Get Stuck In with Exclusives Online Stickers

When I think Stickers, I think furries, shinies and glowies – yup the terminology of a Grade 0 to Grade 5’s vocabulary that shows the expertise of trading and buying stickers on the playground.  

But now my playground has changed and I fear that my colleagues would cast me aside for ‘mad’ if I ever offer my sticker book for trading to them. So bravest be Exclusive Books online to create, what the world is calling Social Bookselling, a really cool programme called STICKERS.

We all know that I have made my dent in the stickers programme – loyal as loyal can be, I was set free in a jungle where I could rate books (Easy hey?), earn smileys (Yeah, challenge) and in turn for so many smileys earned I get discounts (There is a GOD!).

The way of online bookselling and empowering the customer is upon us, so watch this video on how to STICKER your way to greatness (or awesome discounts).

The first of its bookselling kind compared to the grumpy-overtired-booksellers that you are greeted with when approaching the counter (What? I have been one of them!) This is a breeze! I can conveniently share the books link and my review link all in one tweet and poof – like Harry Potter descended upon my computer and declared Winguardium Leviousaaaa – I have 5 smileys. Oh but because Exclus1ves online is that proverbial rich aunt, they extend the courtesy of giving Fanatics members more smileys for their rating and sharing.

Its revolutionary people!


Lood du Plessis, Deputy Loyalty Manager at Exclusive Books, said:

Stickers put’s a customer in control of the specials they see online. I have noticed two types of people who enjoy Stickers. In my mind I call them “hoarders” and “sharers”. Hoarders (like me) earn smileys ad nauseum and build up a collection of personal discount stickers. The Sharers, on the other hand, get a group of friends together to trigger the 24h public discounts.

Stickers gives users the chance to familiarise themselves with the website, whether or not they purchase from it on a regular basis. It also ensures that more people become aware of special offers because of the frequency that they visit the website.

Personal Discount Sticker
So with all the excitement, I do have to sit back and see how this impacts the online shopper – oh who are we kidding, increased online activity is becoming a reality for pestle and mortar bookstores. If you are me you roam bookstores for the fun of it, and because this is a confession, but for convenience make purchases online.  

So not only are they ‘paying me in smileys’ to rate, share and sticker books that I love, but are you going to give me that raised eyebrow at my childish whims of stickers? STICKERS IS FUN, like your first time at Gold Reef City; let loose on any ride your thrill-seeking self sets it eyes on

Great – Exclusives Online have achieved the online version of Fanatics for the end user (Cue Applause!). But, oh it’s a very small ‘but’, how are online media going to harness this piece of paradise? “Come on EB, give us HTML widgets and coding so we can showcase our stickered books”, she calls from the protest outside the Head Office.

5 Star Rating Sticker

But for now, you can check out the T&Cs on Stickers here, and don’t forget to sticker some books while you’re there!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

About the Book

From the creator of the national bestseller It's a Book comes a timeless story of family history, legacy, and love.
Grandpa Green wasn't always a gardener. He was a farm boy and a kid with chickenpox and a soldier and, most of all, an artist. In this captivating new picture book, readers follow Grandpa Green's great-grandson into a garden he created, a fantastic world where memories are handed down in the fanciful shapes of topiary trees and imagination recreates things forgotten.
In his most enigmatic and beautiful work to date, Lane Smith explores aging, memory, and the bonds of family history and love; by turns touching and whimsical, it's a stunning picture book that parents and grandparents will be sharing with children for years to come.

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What I thought

I absolutely love Lane Smith's work. His stories are funny, witty, sometimes sarcastic (See The Big Elephant in the Room) and have a sense of intelligence that we should be imposing on children (thinking about more than what is on the page). A twentieth century Dr Seuss if you will. Grandpa Green is an extremely evocative tale of memory, family history and adoration, plus the illustrations are just amazing - so add it to your collection of children's books, NOW!

You can get a copy of Grandpa Green are your nearest Exclusive Books

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue

About the Book

Funny, free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated, ambitious Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clair’s housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls who know nothing of class differences and scholarships could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie is now a talented, if underpaid, pastry chef who bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death. Julia, a successful businesswoman, is tormented by a painful secret that could jeopardize her engagement to the man she loves. When a chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, they must overcome past hurts and a mysterious saboteur or risk losing their fledgling business and any chance of healing their fractured friendship.


Have you ever wondered how you eat a cupcake? Is it a calculated dissembling? Or do you merely devour the cupcake faster than it takes for you to breathe in?

Me? Well I eat it mouthful by sugary mouthful, devouring the miniature cake like it’s the first and only I’ll ever get to eat.

This book had me at Cupcake...

Meg Donohue presents her characters like cupcakes in a bakery window. They lay about displays for you, the reader, to devour. A quick read of decadence, you get swept up in the story of Annie and Julia. Sisters, if you will, until rumours tear their friendship apart during high school. Now almost ten years later, Julia is engaged to the perfect man, Annie works as a pastry chef. Things get exciting when they decide to open a cupcakery and are forced to deal with past, present and future

While they begin grapple with the things that happened between them new dilemmas crop up making this book my book of the month

It took me a mere two days to finish this book, with Donohue’s easy, witty and laugh-out-loud (though not slapstick) style of writing as she sets the reader at ease conversing through cupcakes, stringy pasts and friendships regained.

Oh, have I mentioned the cupcakes! The descriptions this woman puts forth on a page will make you think that a cupcake will bring the dead back to life and initiate world peace! So have one or five at the ready.

A book for the winter months, and hey, you’ll have the extra padding to hide a cupcake or two!


About the Author

Meg Donohue has an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Dartmouth College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in San Francisco with her husband, daughters, dog, and a weakness for salted caramel cupcakes.

Find the Author
Website | Twitter | Goodreads


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