Friday, October 20, 2023

What Defines You?

Books, Food, Activities, Thoughts, Sightings, Conversations

In other words, life.

It is said that we ‘are what we eat,’ and it is also said that, ‘our thoughts become things.’ But have you heard, or felt, the notion that our bodies imbibe what we read, see and hear? 

It’s certainly true for me, and as announced last month, I will be talking about books that have had a profound effect on me, here on the blog for the foreseeable future. 

Books really do embody the ‘read, see, hear’ criteria of our lives so we need to be mindful of what literature we consume. The three I want to mention today were heavy reads for me and deeply affecting.

Perhaps it makes a difference too, if there is a connection, however indiscernible, between reader and author. Whilst I know none of the following authors personally, I do feel some sort of connection with each.

At an author talk I attended, the interviewee spoke volumes to me about her knowledge of our local area. Unintentionally, I became invested in her stories, soaking up her history of the surrounding towns and country. Her eyes lit up as she described villages and regional settlements, which fired-up my interest. I’ve since read her latest book, All We Have is Now, and have her first book, The One, on my tbr stack. I, of course, did purchase the book of the author event, Sandie Docker’s Red Gum River Retreat, also on my ever-growing tbr stack.

All We Have is Now – Kaneana May

Long forgotten memories that we habour in our minds can eat away at our well-being if left to build up in our thought clouds.

Past hurts make us feel alone, as if others wouldn’t understand. But the truth is, once we verbalise our pain, we realise that there are many people just like us with the same hurts, just waiting to be heard, understood and accepted.

All We Have is Now, dealt with many issues of abandonment, loss, forgiveness and second chances. From family relationships, to friends, colleagues and lovers, Kaneana May covered each with sensitive empathy offering ways around our stumbling blocks in a positively impactful way. 

Hers was one of those books I had to sit back with, hug to my chest, and think. Deeply think.

It comes highly recommended, but be sure you are in a strong place of mind to read such a compassionate book of humankind and our emotions.


As a fledgling author myself, I was priviledged to present an ‘Author For the Day’ event on the Facebook group, Global Girls Online Bookclub. It was there that I ‘met’ author Emma Grey and was introduced to her heart-wrenching story. The best way she described for herself to heal was to write her story in an ‘almost-fiction’ style. This is Grey’s explanation for outlining real life events in the form of characters and fictional events.

Thus was borne, The Last Love Note. 

The Last Love Note – Emma Grey

To be transported into the protagonists life is a skill few authors possess. To imbue the protagonists emotions into the reader is a talent beholden by a mere handful of wordsmiths. Emma Grey is just such an author.

We follow the protagonist through love, devastating loss, survivor guilt, mother guilt, renewed love exploration and a reinvention of self. A rollercoaster ride of emotions. And worth every word.

Grey interspersed the heavy load with rib-cracking humour in a book that will have you reaching for tissues both for tears of sorrow and of laughter. Again, be sure you are of sound mind before reaching for this book, but please do reach for it. You will gain so much in the form of empathy, relationship insight and evolution of self.

I don’t want to give any spoilers away in any of my book musings, so I’ve intentionally been vague about the protagonists, storylines and themes.

If interested, here’s the Facebook link for Global Girls Online Book Club: GGOBC


Our roots bind us to those in our fold without any heed of our desire to be tethered or untethered. They just do.

I belong to a walking group of mostly women, mostly married, mostly Australian. An eclectic bunch. In conversation with a lady of Dutch origin we discussed our latest reads, of course! My Papa was of Dutch origin, I’m from South Africa, our roots were bound, this Dutch lady and I.

Her latest book recommendation was of the South African author, Sally Andrew. The book in question, Recipes for Love and Murder. My immediate reaction was, ugh, murder. But the draw of recipes had me drooling; I love browsing recipes, even occasionally trying some out, lol.

Recipes for Love and Murder – Sally Andrew

*sighs deeply*

I did not expect the intense introspection this author portrayed.

Our protagonist was a midlife woman who loves to cook, bake, eat. Her career turned to love advice via a recipe column in the local newspaper. But, the heartache of her past catches up with her and she finds herself drawing from her own experience to help others in similar situations. The uncovering of old wounds surfaces as she grapples to come to terms with what she had to deal with, the strength she had to find. The resolve to put it all behind her and move forwards.

Yes, there is murder involved in the story, as the title suggests, but it is manageable.

Second chance love comes to our protagonist and the resulting self-doubt is eye opening. 

The story is filled with feelings of unrequited love, angst-ridden jealousy, and the floundering emotions of new love.

The fact that I was about to embark on a trip ‘home’ to my roots in South Africa after a seven year absence, drew me to the language and recipes Sally Andrew included in her story telling. It felt like the luxury of home comforts in the palms of my hands and then wrapped around me like a warm blanket soothing my soul.

Well worth the read, showing us how to take a good hard look at ourselves and our perspective on the world, on love, and on those in our fold.


I do hope my book musings have given you pause for thought.

I recently visited our new library with upgraded tech and the most comfortable modern furnishings, and rediscovered two Aussie authors whom I’ll review next month. I can tell you, they are mind-blowing.

If you’re an author of relationship books and would like to be featured, feel free to contact me via the contact form or in a comment below.

If you’d like to hear more of my book musings on books that impact us and our world of loved ones, be sure to subscribe at the link: Creating Sparks that Last BLOG

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