Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Trevor Noah)

bornacrime

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of a young man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

Trevor Noah is one of the comedy world’s brightest new voices, a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race, and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers in America and around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers a deeply personal, heartfelt, and humorous look at the world that shaped him.

Noah was born a crime, the son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the first years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, take him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. 

A collection of eighteen personal essays, Born a Crime tells the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. Born a Crime is equally the story of that young man’s fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother — a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that ultimately threatens her own life. 

Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and an unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a lovable delinquent making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed with only a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.


I first paid attention to Trevor Noah when he started being a correspondent on The Daily Show, and I loved him, so I was super happy when he got the gig and made it to the front desk on the show. So, when I saw a book on netgalley with his face, I just clicked “request”, eheh, without even knowing much of what it was about. Man… I’m glad I miraculously got approved for this one.

bornacrime_4

After starting the book – and reading the title a little better – I realized that the focus of this one would be about Trevor’s life in South Africa, mainly during his childhood and the consequences of the apartheid. In case you don’t know what apartheid was, it was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation from 1948 to 1994.

bornacrime_2

I don’t think most of us outside segregated countries can actually understand how a system like this would be, so while reading, and knowing beforehand about all of this – my mom DOES live in AfricaI was still shocked and saddened by the whole situation.

bornacrime_5

I think that Trevor was able to explain the system pretty well, especially how it was for him being a mixed child, because mixed children weren’t supposed to exist during apartheid… it was forbidden by law for white and black people to have intimate relations, and a mixed child was proof of exactly that, a crime!

bornacrime_3

It was really interesting to read about Trevor’s life and about his hurricane of a mother. Seriously people, his mom MADE him. It’s impressive, so impressive, and there is no doubt in my mind that the way she raised him and pushed him, brought him to where he is today.

At the same time, while telling a very serious story of segregation, poverty, etc, the book is also funny as hell. Trevor Noah writes the way he talks, so there’s humour everywhere, even in the most dire situations. And Trevor’s humour is awesome, even if inappropriate at times, eheh. I had a fit of laughter inside a plane, because of one particular even when he was about 5 years old… yeah… that was hilarious!

bornacrime_6

This was an excellent biography, I just had a couple of problems (small ones) about it. First of all, the book starts out strong, and then it gets confusing. This happens because it goes back and forth in time a couple of times, which happens a lot in memoirs, but here it took me a bit to get a grip on it, and it seemed like it could go through another round of editing, maybe?! Because it felt like it was all over the place for awhile… I don’t know… it felt a bit off in the beginning, but then the book gained speed and I loved it.

Another issue I had, and this has very little to do with the book itself, is the fact that it covers very little from Trevor Noah’s adult life. I wished that his transition from DJ to stand up was covered, or even mentioned, but it’s not. Several events occur when he’s already doing stand up all over the world, but there’s no “so, this is how it came to be” moment, and I missed that.

bornacrime_7

Overall, this was an excellent biography, with a huge focus on the South African society during and post-Apartheid. It also focus a lot on the issue of belonging, related to the effects of the segregation. I think this is such an important read! I honestly have to recommend it to everyone, whether or not you love Trevor Noah, you should read it. He talks about a reality that I think most people are not truly aware of, so read this, get informed, laugh a bit while doing it. Have fun while learning :D.

Read this one!

Advertisements

November 9 (Colleen Hoover)

november9

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.


People… I am IN LOVE with this book! Seriously, I’M IN LOVE WITH NOVEMBER 9! By the way, I listened to it mostly in audiobook, but I had a borrowed paperback to follow it on, and that’s thanks to  Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much, who lent me her book awhile back… THANK YOU! Also, thank you for “forcing” to give this one a chance, because I absolutely loved it. It’s up there with Ugly Love for favorite book by CoHo.

I don’t really know how to review this book without spoiling the hell out of it, but I’ll start by saying that Colleen’s writing is, as usually, super on point. It’s lovely, emotional, funny and so damn strong. I’m still in awe with CoHo’s writing. It’s just superb.

nov9_2

Both characters were amazing, it’s incredible how I was able to connect with them and fall in love with them since the first few pages they were in. They are just so imperfectly perfect, and I can’t help but love them. I loved that the character growth throughout all those years was very palpable and real.

nov9_5

The romance was gorgeous, and painful and hopeful, and painful, and amazing. Did I mention painful? Yeah… pretty painful, especially not good for when you’re listening to a particular hard scene in the middle of a lot of people… damn you CoHo and that awful November 9! I loved to see how much impact Ben and Fallon had on each other’s lives, even though they never saw each other. They were better people because they had each other in some way, and wow, isn’t that beautiful?

nov9_1

The plot is so twisted and so well done. I have to admit, I did know EVERYTHING that was going to happen, because when Cátia read this one a few months ago, she spoiled it for me – at my request. Still, my knowledge before hand did not take away any of my love and enjoyment for this plot. It was amazing that a story only told in one day a year, packed so much information, feelings and pain.

nov9_3

I honestly don’t know what to say more, I just want to beg you to read this one, because it’s so beautiful, and while I loved Ugly Love, I do know that that particular book isn’t for everyone. This one, though, it is.

So go read November 9.(or listen to it, the audiobook is amazing!)

nov9_4

Have you read this one? What are your thoughts on it? Did you cry like a baby too?!

The Martian (Andy Weir)

themartian

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — & even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — & a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?


Kat @Life and Other Disasters had loved The Martian a long while ago, and she had been telling me to read it since then. I got the ebook (don’t remember when to be honest), but I just wasn’t in the mood, and I kept putting it off… maybe I thought that because it was Sci-Fi, it would take me a long time to get through it? I don’t know! But then I got the audiobook, because I thought that this one would be amazing as audio, and I started it on my first day off of work, and I listened to nothing else for a whole day! I was cooking and listening. At the gym? Listening! Riding in a car with the family? Listening… to my sister’s dismay. Long story short: I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK!

On to the review now. The writing is genius! I loved how funny it was, even though the majority of the book is written in logs – and monologues can be boring sometimes – this one is anything but. Mark Watney is a funny SOB. The humour is on point! I also loved how different the narration is, depending on the POV we’re on. Mark’s POV is mostly told by logs, or emails, messages, but when the book focus on other characters, the narration changes to the third person. It’s a very smart way to write a book. I approve :D.

Mark is amazing! Seriously, he’s amazing! I love how he doesn’t panic at all. EVER! He gets a problem, he thinks about it – in a very funny way – and then he solves it. He’s awesome! 😀

I really liked the supporting characters and the various interactions between the different characters, as well as how representative this team was. The collaboration between the various teams and members was great, and it was a pleasure to read about. I might have teared up a bit when the chinese get involved, to be honest.

The plot flows supper nicely, and it didn’t feel nearly as long as the book actually is. I didn’t find this book predictable at all, and mind you, the movie has been out for awhile, I hadn’t seen it yet, but I still didn’t know where this was all going. I was just really hoping that he would be able to get out of Mars somehow, because come on… that was logical, right? I loved all the science stuff, loved it. The scientist in me was like: YES! (even though I’m not that kind of scientist, and astrophysics is not my thing at all).

Overall, I really really loved this book, so I HAVE TO recommend it to you guys. You need to read The Martian. NOW! If you don’t want to pick up the book, listen to the audiobook, because you won’t be sorry!

2016 Reading Challenges: Second Trimester Update

readingchallenges

Hello! As I had said at the beginning of the year, I’m doing 2 reading challenges: the Goodreads Reading Challenge, where I’m aiming for 75 books  and the Popsugar Reading Challenge. I’ll do a quick update here on the state of both challenges.


goodreads_read_chal

Originally I had set the goal of 75 books, and by April I was nearing the goal, being several books ahead of schedule. So then I decided to up my challenge to 125 books, and I’ll probably have to up it again, because I’ almost done with it.  So guys, what should I change my challenge to?

gr_july2016

What should I change my challenge to? 150? 175?


popsugar_read_chal

So far I’ve completed 20 of the 40 categories of this challenge – I’m halfway through!!!!

1. A book based on a fairy tale

winter_

2. A National Book Award winner

3. A YA bestseller

annaandthefrenchkiss

4. A book you haven’t read since high school

5. A book set in your home state

theHighMountains

6. A book translated to English

7. A romance set in the future

illuminae

8. A book set in Europe

spanishlessons

9. A book that’s under 150 pages

sinkorswim

10. A New York Times bestseller

carryon

11. A book that’s becoming a movie this year

MBY

12. A book recommended by someone you just met

thisisfalling

13. A self-improvement book

14. A book you can finish in a day

thegirlfriendrequest

15. A book written by a celebrity

16. A political memoir

17. A book at least 100 years older than you

18. A book that’s more than 600 pages

ladymidnight

19. A book from Oprah’ Book Club

20. A science-fiction novel

21. A book recommended by a family member

22. A graphic novel

23. A book that is published in 2016

myperfectmistake

24.A book with a protagonist who has your occupation

25. A book that takes place during summer

anyothergirl

26. A book and its prequel

brokendreams

27. A murder mystery

scandal

28. A book written by a comedian

29. A dystopian novel

30. A book with a blue cover

thetotalpackage

31. A book of poetry

32. The first book you see in a bookstore

33. A classic from the 20thcentury

34. A book from the library

35. An autobiography

36. A book about a road trip

chasingcrazy

37. A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with

tratd

38. A satirical book

39. A book that takes place on an island

extreme

40. A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

simonvs

The Rose and the Dagger (Renée Ahdieh)

tratd

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse — one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.


Oh God! This book was as beautiful as the first one! Gorgeous writing again, I could read 100 books about Shazi and her adventures, with this amazing amazing writing. It’s fast and beautiful, and colorful and I could just see and feel everything that was being described. Awesome!

I loved all the characters on this sequel, I actually even liked some characters I hadn’t cared about in book 1 – cof, Tariq, cof – and the cast of characters had expanded quite a bit. While my favorite parts were still the ones about Shahrzad and Khalid, I really liked all the other POVs in this story.

TRATD_1

The pace was fast and the plot flowed well and, again, super fast. I actually would have liked if the book was either bigger or divided in two, because I felt that some of the minor plot points and characters were a bit swept aside, and some things happened a bit too easily. Some things, such as the growth of Shazi’s powers, her training, the new characters and their motivations, could have been explored further.

I really liked that in the end the women saved the day and were all in charge of their own destinies and futures, and the men just sort of did what they told them to, eheh.

TRATD_2

Awesome book, awesome journey, I’m so so sad that it’s over… I just overall wanted a bit more.

Me Before You (Jojo Moyes)

MBY

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.


With all the buzz surrounding this book lately, I just had to read it, right? I mean, the trailer came out, everyone went crazy, so me, Kat and Cátia decided to have our second buddy read (the three of us), and it went as well as can be expected 😛 . It’s tricky to sync our three schedules, but at least it didn’t take us the whole month like with Lady Midnight 😉 . You can read Kat’s review of this book HERE.

I was surprised by how light, funny and fast the writing was. I was somewhat expecting a heavy book, but this was not at all heavy. The book flows very well, and even the very british vocabulary is easy to assimilate and enjoy. The book is mainly told in Lou’s POV, but every now and then we get a chapter from one of the other character’s POV… well, I didn’t think they were really necessary to be honest, I think they served to make those characters more likable, but they didn’t bring any additional information and feelings that couldn’t have been delivered from her POV. I think that if we had to have another POV, it would have been more useful to have those from Will’s POV, because his thoughts were the ones that Lou didn’t have access to.

mby_1

I really loved both main characters of this book. Lou was a delight to read and she had such a huge growth in this book. I really liked how she started to set the foot down on the things that she wanted and wished for, because in the beginning of the book, Lou is a bit of a doormat, and everyone steps on her, and I hated that. Will… oh Will… I loved Will. Will knew who he was and what he wanted, and that’s rare!

mby_2

I had a huge problem with most of the other characters though, and although most of them kind of redeemed themselves at some point or another, they still weren’t very likable. They were real, flawed and raw, and I guess that’s good, right? We should like real characters. But I hated that all of Lou’s family put her down, I hated that they saw her useless and made sure to tell her as much. And Pat, Lou’s boyfriend, was the worst of all… I honestly didn’t get their relationship.

mby_3

The story is beautiful and it’s definitly important and relevant. More than a romance, this book is about the right to live your life the way you chose to. It’s about Will’s decision about his life, and about Lou wanting to live hers to the best of her abilities. Before I read it, I thought the romance would be heavier than it actually was, I thought that was too bad really, but again, it was also not really the point.

The ending was inevitable, and while I liked it, I thought it was a bit abrupt. I also kind of wish that those last few days of the book hadn’t been told in Trenna’s POV, because I needed to know what was going on through Lou’s eyes.

mby_4

I did cry a bit in the end, it is an emotional read and a lovely story. But I wasn’t blown away… Still, I’m super excited for the movie :D.

Lady Midnight (Cassandra Clare)

ladymidnight

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses. 

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark — who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it? 

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.


First things first, I read this book as a buddy read with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much and Kat @Life and Other Disasters (click in their names to go to their reviews). It was the first time that we buddy read a book, the three of us, though I buddy read all the time with Cátia, and I had a few already with Kat. It was fun!!! 😀 But hey, we always have fun talking to each other. It took us a long time to finish the book, but this is a monster and coordinating 3 different reading schedules wasn’t easy.

Kat gave us Reasons Why She Enjoyed Lady Midnight – Why Lady Midnight Shattered My Heart!, and Cátia went for 10 Reasons Why Lady Midnight is Freaking Amazing. I will try to not be repetitive, because I want our reviews to complement each other.

So, I will start by saying that I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! Loved it. Despite being in the same amazing Shadowhunters’ Universe, it does feel totally different, and I absolutely loved that. I was a bit worried about this, because a 5 year gap is not that big, but with a totally different setting and family dynamics, The Dark Artifices separates itself super nicely from The Mortal Instruments.

Little things like the fact that Emma and Julian drive, she runs outside, the use of technology, the institute feels like an actual home… PERFECT! And all the pop culture references?! AMAZING!

The central group of characters is huge and diverse and it’s brilliant! First of all, let me say how happy I am that Emma and Jules are both 17 – in the now, because that makes them the most adult couple of protagonists so far (because Clary was 15 when TMI starts… too young!). Despite being young, they are adults, and that opens the door to a lot of things, and I think that is fantastic.

I loved all the main characters. The Blackthorne have already become my favorite set of siblings, and love them all. I think it’s amazing that Cassandra Clare brought diversity into this book, in several forms: we have Cristina and Perfect Diego for one hand, Mark Blackthorn for another, and then there’s Ty. OMG TY!!! Ty is perfect, and this book has the most amazing message in regards to autism. It’s fantastic the way Julian shows how nothing is wrong with his little brother, and gives him time and space to process things his way. *well done Cassie*

Also worth noting is the complexity of each character, even little Tavvy. The more the book advances, the more we know, and still, it is not enough. Secrets still exist, things will collapse, people are broken, and I need more.

I thought the conflict and the “bad guy” and its motivations were pretty well done, how everything was woven together throughout the book. I’m curious to see where it will go on the next book, and how the other 2 elements of the story will intertwine with this.

Lastly, this book broke my heart. I love Julian and I love Emma, and I’m not seeing a way out of their situation, and that is heart-breaking. I was glad that the parabatai thing was explained, I was not happy about it though…

It was awesome to see the characters from the previous two series make some cameos – I love older Jace, I hadn’t even realized how much I had missed him! And also… JESSA!!!! ❤

This is so far my favorite book in the Shadowhunters‘ Universe. Julian as dethroned Jem as my favorite guy. And Emma is my favorite leading lady… 😉