First Line Fridays: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

“The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate, is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can rule them all.”

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (2016, Penguin Random House Canada)

The opening lines of of Trevor Noah’s memoir is a perfect introduction to the story of his childhood growing up in South Africa. The anecdotes told in this book reflect both his humour and the experience of so many South Africans during the time period described. An interesting read for both South Africans and non-South Africans alike.

What do you think of the introduction to Noah’s memoir? Would you continue reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books and her One Line Friday challenge.)


First Line Fridays: I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

“The trouble with me is, I can’t let things go. They bug me. I see problems and I want to fix them, right here, right now. My nickname isn’t Fixie for nothing”

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella (2019, Penguin Random House Canada)

The opening lines of Kinsella’s latest novel introduces us to Fixie, the main character. Throughout the novel we read how she continuously works to fix things and how she allows opportunities to pass her by because of this. And yet she has a chance to grow and to learn when to let things be. I enjoyed Kinsella’s latest rom-com and if you enjoy reading this genre, you will too. If you want to know more, you can read my review here.

What do you think of the introduction to the main character? Are you curious about her?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books and her One Line Friday challenge.)

First Line Fridays: All The Wrong Places by Joy Fielding

“So tell me about yourself,” he says. He smiles what he hopes is a sweet smile – neither too big nor too small, one that hints at a wry, maybe even offbeat sense of humour that he thinks would appeal to her. He wants to charm her. He wants her to like him.”

All the Wrong Places by Joy Fielding (2019,Penguin Random House Canada)

Fielding begins her novel with a description of the online predator that plays an important role in her story. I like that right from the start the reader knows his intentions – and that he deliberately plans to ensnare women.

I loved this fast-paced thriller. If you want to know more, you can read my review here.

What do you think of the introduction to the online predator?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books and her One Line Friday challenge.)

First Line Fridays: Freefall by Jessica Barry

“Breathe. Breathe.

My eyes open. A canopy of trees above. A flock of birds stare down before taking flight.

I survived.

He may have, too.

I have to see. I pick my way through the wreckage on bare feet.”

Freefall by Jessica Barry (2019, Harper Collins Publishers)

The opening lines of this novel left me with so many questions:

  1. Where is she?
  2. Who is after her?
  3. Did he survive?
  4. What happened to cause the accident?

From the first line of this novel, I wanted to read the pages to find out the answer to these questions. ( If you are interested to learn more, you can read my review here.)

I continued reading. Would you?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books and her One Line Friday challenge.)

Top 5 Books I want to Reread

Remember that time when you were a child and would reread a book you loved MANY times? As an adult, I enjoy rereads as well – but on a less frequent basis. Today I will share with you 5 books on my shelves that I have enjoyed in the past and would love to reread sometime soon.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This novel is my all-time favourite classic. No matter how many times I read the book, or see the movie, I am swept away by the story. I love the humour in it too and always smile at the character Mrs. Bennett. Pride and Prejudice is not just a love story. In the novel, Austen also makes a commentary on society and the prejudices we have about people.

TThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

My Favourite Fantasy novel of all time is The Hobbit as well as The Lord of the Rings. The time has come for me to once again enjoy this story. I picked up an edition of this story from Scholastics and hope to read the story again this year. Of course, after reading this one, I would need to pick up The Lord of the Rings!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowlings

I have started a reread of the Harry Potter series this year. So far I have enjoyed the illustrated editions of the first two novels in the series and soon I hope to enjoy the third. In the meantime, I enjoy the presence of the book on my shelf. I have already had a look at the illustrations and they are beautiful.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations was the first story I read by Dickens . I enjoy his writing – the intricate characterisations and storylines. It has been a while since I have read any of his work and I think it is time to enjoy once again the story of Pip and Miss Haversham.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I read Wuthering Heights first year at university when we studied Gothic literature. I have forgotten the minute details of Heathcliff and Catherine’s story and have a yearning to revisit it. Hopefully I will get to it this year but, if not, it is waiting for me on my bookshelf.

Have you enjoyed any of these novels? Would you reread them?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Bionic Book Worm and the Top 5 Tuesday challenge. This week we are listing the top 5 books we would like to reread).

Top 5 Mind-Blowing Thrillers

I enjoy reading a good psychological thriller – the twistier, the better. I love the nail-biting tension and the unexpected surprises left for me by the writer. I have some novels on my bookshelf that I picked out for this post with no hesitation.

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Karen Hamilton’s debut novel kept me on the edge of my seat. I could not believe the obsessive nature of the main character and I had to see what she would do next – and whether she would get away with it! This twisty story is well written and I cannot wait to see what this author will write next.

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

This novel is a story that would make an excellent film – and I was excited to learn that the rights to the story have been bought by film makers. The story – which touches on mental health issues – had some unexpected surprises within its ages. I loved it! Finn is another author who has published only one novel thus far.

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of my go-to writers for thrillers. She adroitly teases the reader and takes you along the unknown path right until the end of the story. Pieces of Her is her last published novel and I am looking forward to her next.

I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillan

Gilly MacMillan is another author that I buy with no hesitation. Like her other novels, I Know You Know is a twisty story with a surprise ending and one I did not see coming. I cannot wait for her soon to be released novel that will be available this year.

All The Wrong Places by Joy Fielding

The most recent novel by Joy Fielding confirmed why this author is known for her thrillers. There is not one novel of hers that has disappointed me. The new story has cleverly used the theme of online dating to explore a possible danger. Loved it!

Have you enjoyed any of these thrillers, or authors?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Bionic Book Worm and the Top 5 Tuesday challenge. This week we are listing the top 5 mind-blowing thrillers).

Top 5 Books I Predict Will Be 5 Stars!

Sometimes you know you are going to love a book – or hope you do – based on the storyline and the reviews you have read. At times it is a go-to author that never disappoints you. Currently I have 5 books on my TBR pile that I predict will be 5 star reads. Why haven’t I read them yet? I am waiting for the time when I can read uninterrupted and the best time for that will be during my summer break.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

I want to read this story for so many reasons: the inclusion of China’s rich culture, the promise of a strong female protagonist, the beautiful artwork on the cover of the novel. There has been a lot of positivism surrounding this novel on social media – so much so that the hard copy of the book was sold out online on the first day in the US. Unbelievable, isn’t it? I was happy that I had pre-ordered my copy. 🙂

The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

This fantasy novel caught my attention the first time I heard of it: the unusual title intrigued me and the story of a young woman finding the strength within herself captured my interest. This novel is the first of a duology and I am tempted to wait for the second before I delve into this one.

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

A fight between siblings and a girl who seeks her own way. This novel is yet another fantasy that I read a lot about on social media. The cover of the novel is also arresting and I am hoping that the story within it is as well.

Enchantee by Gita Trelease

An historical novel about Paris? I am in! I saw a lot of buzz about this story on social media as well but, to be honest, I am always drawn to stories of Paris – such a beautiful city rich with history. I have learned a bit about the time period of this tale and I look forward to seeing Trelease’s input on it.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

This novel is a huge one and quite heavy – definitely a book to read at home! I have only read good things about the story and, as a reader of fantasy fiction, I look forward to reading a tale with an adult slant on it. Filled with dragons and chaos, this novel promises to be enthralling.

I am hoping that these novels do not disappoint. Only time will tell.

Which book on your TBR pile do you predict will be a 5 star read?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Bionic Book Worm and the Top 5 Tuesday challenge. This week we are listing the top 5 books you predict will be 5 star reads).

Top 5 Romantic Reads

I chose my top 5 romances by looking on the bookshelf that holds all my read books. My fingers moved towards books that I had read in the past year – or even further back. There is even one in my stack that I read a number of years ago and which may need to be reread soon. 🙂

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I picked up The Hating Game from the library and I loved it so much I had to get my own copy. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, the two main characters of the story, begin by hating each other and show it through a set of rituals that they perform each day. Slowly different feelings start to seep through and their relationship begins to change. The novel is definitely an original story that I had never read before and is told with a sense of humour. I laughed often while I was reading – and even now I am smiling as I think of it.

Confessions of a Tinderella by Rosy Edwards

I read this book after listening to many stories of Tinder dates
told by our son at the dinner table. The story centres around a character named Rosy Edwards (yes, the author 🙂 ) and her experiences dating via the app Tinder. Hilarious! And totally believable. I finished the book thinking that I am glad I am not on the dating scene!

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

This novel was sold to me as soon as I learned that it was a Pride and Prejudice retelling. Jalaluddin does justice to my favourite Austin story as well as adds her own flavour to it. The story is set in Toronto and centres on the Muslim community.

One Day in December by Josie Silver

I read this romance in December last year along with a group of readers who are in the bookstagram community. The novel is a beautiful, heartbreaking story that spans ten years of Laurie and Jack, and all their missed opportunities to find love together. Will they eventually be together? You will have to read the story to find out. 🙂

Sofia Khan is not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

This novel was the first one I had read centred around Muslim dating a number of years back. Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents for her liking. Then her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene and, with the encouragement of her friends, begins her research. Not only did I find this novel interesting from a cultural point of view, but also funny to read.

Which Romance novel would currently be among your top 5?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Bionic Book Worm and the Top 5 Tuesday challenge. This week we are listing the top 5 romance books).

Top 5 books set in your country

This week for Top 5 Tuesday, we are sharing the books that are set in our countries. I have chosen to talk about books set in my country of birth, South Africa. The books I am sharing with you are ones that I have read even though I no longer have copies of them.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

This book is Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. I read it about a decade after the first democratic elections in  South Africa and it describes Mandela’s life from childhood up until the time he became the first black president of the country. I found the description of his life from the time he was released from prison interesting as those are the moments that I lived through in my life as an adult living in the changing country.  

The Last Trek, A New Beginning by F. W. de Klerk

De Klerk was the last president of the National Party in South Africa and he was the one who oversaw the release of Nelson Mandela. It was under his leadership that the beginning of change began in my home country. I read this autobiography after Nelson Mandela’s and it was interesting to compare the two experiences – and to read history from a different viewpoint. 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

This book is another autobiography but this time of a comedian who was born during apartheid and grew up mostly in a post-Apartheid South Africa. When reading this memoir, it was interesting to compare his upbringing with what I had myself experienced as well as with what I had observed when teaching at a school after the first South African democratic elections. I loved, too, that his sense of humour permeates the writing. I am curious to know whether non-South Africans would understand many of the references that I did as a South African-born reader. 

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

This novel was one of the set books that I read when I was at university and it is one that resonated with me. It is a deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, this novel is one of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man. While doing research for this post, I saw that the book had been published with a newer edition. It is time, I think, to consider re-reading it. 

The Covenant by James A. Michener

This is an epic tale of adventurers, scoundrels, and ministers set in the South African wilderness. From the Java-born Van Doorn family tree springs two great branches: one nurtures lush vineyards, the other settles the interior to become the first Trekboers and Afrikaners. The Nxumalos, inhabitants of a peaceful village unchanged for centuries, unite warrior tribes into the powerful Zulu nation. And the wealthy Saltwoods are missionaries and settlers who join the masses to influence the wars and politics that ravage a nation. This novel is a story of courage and heroism, love and loyalty, and cruelty and betrayal, as generations fight to forge a new world. I read this book over 25 years ago so I cannot remember the details – but I remember being swept away with the epic nature of the story. Not only does Michener tell his story, but he throws in a bit of South African history too.

Other South African Authors

There are many other South African-based stories that I have read in the past. However, I am unable to remember the titles of the books. Some South African authors of note are: Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing, Olive Schreiner, and J. M. Coetzee. 

Have you read a story based in South Africa? If you have please share the title and author in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Bionic Book Worm and the Top 5 Tuesday challenge. This week we are listing the top 5 books in your own country).

Top 5 Book Spines

I love seeing the books I have set out on my bookshelves. Their colours are aesthetically pleasing to me – especially those books that have beautiful covers and spines. I have noticed that a number of new releases are competing with some of the older copies on my shelf. And the spines of Fantasy books? Sometimes they have no competition from the other genres.


I fell in love with this spine from the first moment I saw it on Instagram. The beautiful orange contrasts well with the blue. The hint of a dragon across it definitely adds to its beauty. When I received my pre-order, I saw that the spine looked as beautiful in my hands as it did on social media.

ENCHANTEE by Gita Trelease

I love anything related to Paris – a city I have spent a year in and that I loved visiting. This beautiful spine highlights the colours of the French flag and seems to fit perfectly the story within. I have not read the book yet but the spine will encourage me to pick it up when I am in the mood for something French related.


From the first moment that I read the synopsis for this book, I knew that I wanted to read it. What a bonus when I saw the beautiful cover – and the spine certainly looks attractive amongst the other books.


The Magnus Chase books all have beautiful spines. My daughter has the entire collection on her shelf and they look stunning together. I have put the first in the series on my TBR shelf as I have been curious about these stories for a while now.

NIGHTBLOOD by Elly Blake

The spine of the third book in the series by Elly Blake looks absolutely stunning next to book 1 and 2. The Frostblood Saga is yet another series that I am hoping to read during 2019. I had the opportunity to hear Elly Blake speak last year and could not resist getting to know her more through her story.

I know I will get to read these beautiful books sometime but, until then, I will admire their beauty on my shelf.

Which book spines are among your favourite?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Bionic Book Worm and the Top 5 Tuesday challenge. This week we are listing the top 5 books that beautiful spines).