Thursday, May 30, 2013


Beautiful RuinsBeautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am still reeling from the sheer magnitude of this novel. Beautiful Ruins SHOULD NOT WORK, but it most definitely does! Jess Walter hurtles you through different time periods and storylines whilst introducing you to a multitude of diverse characters. It is a bit like an epileptic fit, which would normally be a recipe for reader confusion, but somehow this gifted author manages to keep it all together in the most remarkable way.

The story starts and ends with two characters, Pasquale Trusi and Dee Moray (aka Debra Moore). Pasquale, the instantly likeable proprietor of “Hotel Adequate View”, is mesmerized by the seemingly fragile Dee Moray, when she arrives at his hotel. She believes that she is suffering from stomach cancer which has forced her to abandon her supporting role in the film Cleopatra. These two characters together form the golden thread which brings together the other plots and characters in the novel. Every character, no matter how brief their appearance in the novel, is either directly or indirectly linked to Pasquale and Dee.

Fifty years after their initial meeting at the “Hotel Adequate View” the story ends with Pasquale and Dee back in Italy, but the journey that Walter takes us on between these two defining scenes can only be described as a rollercoaster ride of immense proportions!

Beautiful Ruins is an intricate weaving of disparate tales into one incredible story about life. The writing is witty and hard hitting, the descriptions are wonderful and the characters are captivating. To put it simply - I loved it!

I listened to the audiobook version of this novel, which was superbly narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. He made the novel come alive and my trips to and from work have been an absolute pleasure for the last couple of weeks. In fact, I feel somewhat bereft that I will not be engaging with the novel’s characters tomorrow morning and welcome any suggestions on what I should be listening to next!

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Friday, May 17, 2013

The Joy of Audio Books

I have, for the past fourteen years, had the wonderful benefit of a chauffeur. Most unfortunately, this is not because I am married to one of the obscenely rich, but frighteningly dysfunctional, heroes typical of the Romance books that I can’t seem to stay away from, but rather because my very functional, and definitely not disgustingly affluent husband, works for the same company as I do. Up until April this year we worked within spitting distance from each other and thus I have been driven to and from work for all these years. No prizes for guessing what I did to fill the 45 minute journey (one way) every day – that’s correct, I read!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Watching Bon Jovi live is just as satisfying as reading a good book!

Last night I had the absolute privilege of going to the Bon Jovi Because We Can Concert at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Despite the fact that we were in the "cheap" seats and Jon Bon Jovi was approximately the size of my thumbnail from where I was sitting, I was completely mesmerized by his performance, from beginning to end. What an end it was, with Jon Bon Jovi and his band repeatedly succumbing to the crowd's loud screams for MORE! I genuinely felt that Jon Bon Jovi wanted to continue entertaining us as much as we wanted him to stay on stage. The result - a three hour concert from an exceptional performer! Johannesburg was  treated to an amazing night of Rock and Roll in true Bon Jovi style.

Review Johnny Be Good Paige Toon
Revew Baby Be Mine Paige GoonAs a voracious reader, it is almost impossible for me to have a life experience that doesn't remind me of a book. Last night, the books that came to mind are part of a 2 book series written by Paige Toon, Johnny Be Good and Baby Be Mine. This series explores the overwhelming highs and lows of a celebrity singer and in true Chic Lit fashion, the one romance that survives it all. I have reviewed these books in the past, so feel free to click on the book titles or images to read my reviews of these great books.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The only disappointment in an otherwise successful week!

I have been away from home on a business trip for the past few days, launching a new project for my company. Despite the long hours and the stress of managing a project that DARE NOT FAIL, the trip was an absolute delight, thanks to my amazing travelling companions. We worked hard and played just as hard. Most importantly we laughed and laughed and laughed!