Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Apples Never Fall

 Author: Liane Moriarty

ISBN: 9781760785024

Hi Everyone

Here is my first read for the New Year.  It was a lovely Christmas present that was very exciting to receive - like any book that I get put in my hand.  I also found myself landed in hospital, followed by a week of doing little but reading.  Thank goodness I am a reader. Thank goodness I have Christmas presents to read. 

So, what did I think of my first read of 2022? 

Let's start by commenting that typing 2022 feels really weird!

Anyway, 'Apples Never Fall' is a gentle read. I really appreciated the angle which author took and that it wasn't the 'usual' outcome.  There were the twists that accompany any missing person novel.  There was the complexity of the mysterious house guest.  There was the husband, who of course had to have been hiding something.  Then there were the adult children, that could go through every emotion and argument to leave you questioning.  

It became more than a missing person mystery to solve. But for those of you who have followed my blog/reviews, you will know that I like to dig deeper than the plot and you will not be surprised.  In this novel we are given, a mother, father (husband and wife), four adult children with different personalities and hang ups, a mysterious house guest, and a tennis profession that plays into every dimension of the story. The way in which the life of each character is interwoven to their personalities via the connections of each individual (made prior to the present) is interesting, dynamic and important.  It grabbed my interest.  Especially when the details of the mysterious house guest came to light. I could say "I saw it all coming" but did I? I don't think I did. I should have!

Every character influenced the final outcome.  Every one of us influence final outcomes without realising it.  Most of the time we never see the connections.  We don't stop to think what influence today has made on any minor human being in our presence that day.  But this novel connected this very idea and bundled it up into a really good read. 

Then the ending was brilliant! I was left satisfied with an outcome and impressed by the weaving together of an ending in which, I closed the book feeling it was complete.


From the outside, the Delaneys appear to be an enviably contented family. Even after all these years, former tennis coaches Joy and Stan are still winning tournaments, and now they've sold the family business they have all the time in the world to learn how to 'relax'. Their four adult children are busy living their own lives, and while it could be argued they never quite achieved their destinies, no-one ever says that out loud. But now Joy Delaney has disappeared and her children are re-examining their parents' marriage and their family history with fresh, frightened eyes. Is her disappearance related to their mysterious house guest from last year? Or were things never as rosy as they seemed in the Delaney household?

Happy reading

This was available from:
Paperplus and Book depository

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Booktuber of the Month

Hi Everyone

It is time for another Booktuber to look into.  I have been following CarolynMarieReads for a while now and I enjoy all of her clips.  She is intelligent, bright and sweet.  I want highlight this clip in particular because she gives her opinion as to why children's literature is important, not only for the young but for all of us.  She has some very good points. 

I enjoy children's literature more every year.  I have fond memories of sitting 'on the mat' in primary school and being read aloud to.  I remember the Hobbit and The Wind in the Willows.  I think there will always be a place in my heart for children's literature hence my reasoning behind encouraging children to read.  Even when a child struggles to read - read to them.  We all need to know and keep a special place in this world for children's literature.  Carolyn will help you to see some of the qualities of children's literature in the above Youtube link.  Take a look at what she brings to the world of books.

Happy reading

Sunday, 21 November 2021

The Book Jumper

Author: Mechthild Glaser
ISBN: 978-1-250-14423-2

Hi Everyone

The concept behind this novel is fantastic. I want to be a book jumper!

When Amy Lennox visits her grandmother, she discovers the ability to book jump. What exactly does that entail? Well, she can go into the books and interact with the characters.  Just imagine that for one minute.  


Don't you want to be a book jumper?  

What would you tell some of the characters that you have read about? Now that is telling 😄😏😒😖

With being a book jumper there is the downside. Doesn't everything come with all angles?  For Amy, there was a bit of fixing up to be done. A bit of mystery to solve. A bit of background knowledge to discover along the way.  


This one comes with my high recommendations for any young adult reader, and for those of you that still enjoy books from every genre and age bracket. Don't let your reading ever be limited by your age.


Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House - But not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: Someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts - at whatever costs.

Happy reading

Friday, 12 November 2021

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Author: Kelly Barnhill
ISBN: 9871848126473

Hi Everyone,

If you want a great little read with some fantastic characters then this is for you.  It is classified as Juvenile fiction but I loved every second of it.  

It started a little slow and I found it flicked around the place, from chapter to chapter, and I had to think of where the story was heading but it didn't take long to get the flow things moving along.  By the middle of the book I thought we were well on the way of bringing everyone together and hence the ending - so I got a little excited, forming the climax in my head.  I was pleasantly surprised when they all did come together and the climax highlighted the source of the story - sorrow.


Sometimes books begin to sound the same, one after another, with the same outcomes.  This is one of the first books I've read that bring to play outcomes from hidden sorrow.  I found it really interesting and thought it an important concept to be written about and discussed in such a unique way.  This is a great way of forming talking points over where sorrow can lead when hidden and allowed to hibernate in our inner being. 

It is worthy of reading with our young ones and forming a discussion around.


A young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon must unlock the dangerous magic buried deep inside her in this epic coming-of-age fairy tale from the highly acclaimed author of The Witch's Boy. Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she's always known. The acclaimed author of The Witch's Boy has created another epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to become a modern classic.

Happy Reading

Sunday, 7 November 2021

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

 Author: Garth Nix

Read by: Marissa Calin

ISBN: 9780655698142

Hi Everyone,

I don't even how to being explaining the journey I took within these pages. I feel like the writer (Garth Nix) had so many ideas that just had to be put on paper and he bundled them all up and scattered them though out The Left Handed Booksellers of London. It went from one concept to next and I had to constantly try to keep up with all the new ideas.  


I really enjoyed it.

I liked the journey through the reality of London on one page, to a fantasy world on the next, and back to London.  I didn't find a lot of significance in the importance of the left handed and right handed concept of the novel but it did bring the magical presence into being within the plot.  Rather instead, I enjoyed the mystery behind Susan's father and the link to her mother (of whom I would liked to have been developed more rather than the dusting of knowledge we are given about her). Who was her father? Where was her father? And what did this all have to do with everything and everyone? Yes - that's what kept me reading. Splatter in the magical elements of the characters and you have quite a good read.

Even though I found there were a lot of ideas floating within the pages, it pleasantly enjoyable.  It's quite good to walk the pages of a novel with the characters, and have no expectancy rather than relaxing and enjoying the story.  This was one those books for me.  There was just enough crime, mystery, fantasy, joy, heartbreak and reality, to balance the ideas nicely.  


A Slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn't get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan's search for her father begins with her mother's possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a request of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan's. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

Happy Reading

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Sophie's World

 Sophie's World ~ A novel about the history of philosophy

Author Jostein Gaarder

ISBN: 978-0-374-53071-6

Hi Everyone

I am left amazed with the information this books carries inside.  I was taken on journey through the history of philosophy from the great Myths to the most recent of days.  I was continually amazed at what I was reading.  I have always enjoyed educational philosophy but cannot say that I have delved deeply into all the philosophers that Jostein Gaardern has presented me with now. I read with a notebook beside me, jotting down all that I wanted to look deeper into.  The great minds of the past are interesting, they are people who dared to think!  Even more so they dared to speak and write their philosophical ideas to the rest of the world. 

Here is a list of some of the chapters....

  • Myths
  • Democritus
  • Fate - The fortune-teller
  • Socrates
  • Athens
  • Plato
  • Aristotle
  • Hellenism
  • The Middle Ages
  • The renaissance
  • The Baroque
  • Descartes
  • Spinoza
  • Locke
  • Hume
  • Berkeley
  • The Enlightenment
  • Kant
  • Romanticism
  • Hegel
  • Kierkegaard
  • Marx
  • Darwin
  • Freud
  • The Big Bang

See!  A history lesson right inside a 'living book'!

Then to add to the joy of reading about all these philosophies you are given a novel about Sophie, and Hilde comes to the mystery too.  Who is Hilde? When you find out you will be questioning who is Sophie.  Quite a twist, to say the least 💁

I have only one comment to add. I was expecting more from the ending. I had all these great ideas about how the story was going to end but not the one that it ended on.  None the less, I would read it again just for the historical commentary that I journeyed through in reading it.


A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought, Sophie's World has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print.

One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: Who are you? and Where does the world come from? From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrols in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learning--but the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.

Happy Reading

Friday, 15 October 2021

Animal Farm

 George Orwell

ISBN: 978-1-78599-623-8

Hi Everyone

In just 96 pages George Orwell packs a punch not only at political influences of his time but at people and human nature. I am going to give you the historical information taken from the Benet's Readers Encyclopedia first, so that I respect the writing of George Orwell. Then I am going to give you some of the things that made me stop and think.  They aren't political findings - I'm here to encourage you to read and think, not give views religiously or politically.  This made me think more about how we as individuals do similar things to each other.

So anyway.... First.... Benet's will inform us:

Orewell, George (Pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950). English Novelist, essayist, and critic. An independent socialist in adult life, Orwell was born in India, where his father was in the civil service. He won a scholarship to Eton but was financially unable to go on to Oxford or Cambridge. Instead he spent five years with the Imperial Police in Burma (1922-27) Much of his early work was at least partly autobiographical. ... After that point, Orwell said that all his writings, both fictional and essays, were directed against totalitarianism in all forms. This commitment is manifested in his two best-known novel, ANIMAL FARM and 1984.   Taken from: "Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, A Completely Revised and Updated Edition of the Classic Encyclopedia of World Literature. 4th Edition. Harper Collins Publishers. pg762"

Now to my thoughts....

Beyond the historical influences.

We start with a little farm.  I thought it reminded me of the movie 'Barnyard'.  The animals held their meetings and had plenty to say about the farmer. It seemed like a normal sort of farm apart from talking animals.

The animals wanted better.  Sounds like most human beings.  A "the grass is always greener on the other side scenario.

Then we start to see the animals as they truly are. They think they are better, well some do and some are just following the crowd. They actually had a point. 

We all have a point. Our side of the argument. But is it always right? To the individual, most likely yes.

Let's take our ideas now to social media.

Let's make everyone believe our side.  After all we can look pretty good on social media.  We can tell our side of anything.  We can look any way we want.  

Now back to the animals. They managed to drag down animals that weren't even there; that couldn't have done what was accused. But everyone believed what they wanted to believe.

Now back to us. 

Are you getting idea?

We can be as uplifting or as nasty as we like out there.  There are options that were not available in the 1940's, to show what we think and feel about anything. Even things we know nothing about. This story has so many talking points beyond the political. It shows us how one thing leads to the next and how how everything is effecting more than the individual.

Maybe we should all take a minute to little look at our own little world. Maybe even our little 'bubbles' and see just how much we are effecting or influencing each other. Is it for own good or everyone's? Sometimes our intentions are good.  I am sure the animals started off with good intentions. Just ensure that 'power' doesn't over take.... I don't know.... ?  

I hope you can see that this is a classic that has been reading material in many class rooms over the past decades. We can still ask questions and they can be more than political. We can ask questions of ourselves and how we do life in the 21 century and how we are treating those closest to us.


'All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.'

Revolution is in the air at Manor Farm after of Major, a prize boar, tells the other animals about his dream of freedom and teaches them to sing 'Beasts of England' Mr Jones, the drunken farmer, is deposed and a committee of pigs takes over the running of the farm. The animals are taught to read and write, but the dream turns sour, the puges begin and those in charge come more and more to resemble their oppressors.

Orwell's allegory of the Soviet revolution remains as lucid and compelling as ever. In beautifully clear prose, he gives us a vivid gallery of characters and a fable that conveys the truth about how we are manipulated through language and the impossibility of finding heaven on earth.

Happy Reading

Sunday, 10 October 2021

The Great Library Series

Author: Rachel Caine

ISBN: 0749024577

Hi Everyone

The Great Library series, fantastic!

I often avoid trilogies because I get to the third book, find myself side tracked by another 'want to read', and forget to go back to the trilogy. By the time I get back to the third book, I need to re-read the first one, hence I know this about myself and I avoid the problem.  

Not the case with this series! I devoured all five of the books.  I longed for the next book in the series to be returned to the library so I could have it in my hands. I flicked from page to page as though I was one of the characters needing read on just to save  lives and the world. The plot was a climatic page turner and every avenue that could have been turned was turned. Each book continued the plot with ease but remained unique to the previous one, making my need to continue even more necessary.

I could ramble about this series for hours! Honestly! Ask anyone that met me for a coffee or visited while I was taking my journey through these pages. They will tell you the whole story line - without having read a page 😄 

So does this series come with my recommendation?  You guessed it.... of course it does!

If you want to know a little more about these, has done a brilliant job of highlighting her series, including trailers.  Well worth taking a look at her site. I will give you the descriptions of each book, and then you can do the rest of the work by exploring the world of The Great Library that lies, awaiting you, in each book.

Ink and Bone

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library of Alexandria is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly--but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family. Jess has been sent to be his family's spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library's service. When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe knowledge is more valuable than any human life--and soon both heretics and books will burn..."

Paper and Fire

In Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library--and rewrite history ... With an iron fist, the Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion and in the name of the greater good forbidding the personal ownership of books. Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like what he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower, doomed to a life apart from everything she knows. Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library's deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London. But Jess's home isn't safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon Jess must choose between his friends, his family, and the Library, which is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control

Ash and Quill

Held prisoner by the Burner forces in Philadelphia, Jess and his friends struggle to stay alive in the face of threats from both sides ...but a stunning escape guarantees worse is coming. The Library now means to stop them by any means necessary, and they'll have to make dangerous allies and difficult choices to stay alive. They have only two choices: face the might of the Great Library head on, or be erased from life, and the history of the world, for ever.

Smoke and Iron


The opening moves of a deadly game have begun. Jess Brightwell has put himself in direct peril, with only his wits and skill to aid him in a game of cat and mouse with the Archivist Magister of the Great Library. With the world catching fire, and words printed on paper the spark that lights rebellion, it falls to smugglers, thieves, and scholars to save a library thousands of years in the making... if they can stay alive long enough to outwit their enemies.

Sword and Pen

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library...or see everything it stood for crumble.

This was available from: Book Depository

Descriptions taken from: Invercargill City Libraries and Archives (

Happy Reading

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Girls Made of Snow and Glass

 Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Read by: Jennifer Ikeda

Hi Everyone

I am finally addicted to the world of audio books.  It has taken me long time to learn how to simply listen to the words penetrating my mind via my ears, rather than the busy talk going on in my own mind.  I still love to sit down with a book in my hand, but I now see a place in my world for audio books.  I am constantly surprised at how much I can achieve while listening to one.  I find it a release from the chores needing done; I find it a joy when I go for a walk; I enjoy listening to someone else's voice telling me a story.  I have become a better listener to the people around me because I have learnt to listen rather than think about how to answer or give my point of view.  In the days that we are living right now, I think it is important to listen to each other and it is just as important to be able to quieten our own thoughts for just a little while. Audio books are a great way to do so.

The good thing about audio books is that they are click away and free when you connect to the library via 'Libby' or 'Borrow box'.  You can also access free audio books from 'Librivox'. We have a library of audio books right at fingers so we can learn to listen.  We expect our children to listen to the people around them but as adults I think it easy to lose the art.  I remember clearly, listening to read-alouds at school and now I find the same pleasure in hearing a good story.

Anyway.... to Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Brilliantly read! I was enticed by Jennifer Ikeda's clarity and voice.

The story line was awesome! Definitely different! And the plot evolved at a continual pace which kept me wanting to know what came next. As I write this I find it really hard to explain my thoughts without adding in 'spoilers'. So, I guess you need to take my word for it and read or listen to a copy.  

I have to add in that I enjoyed Nina (step mother) and Lynet. They both carried their own burdens to the degree that I found them quite similar.  I friended both of them as I listened to their stories.  My heart reached out as I discovered their inner needs that aren't that much different to all of ours.  They may have been characters playing their part in a plot, but they had a lot to teach us, especially if you listen to their hearts. Again, if say much more I will need to add in 'spoilers'!

It's like listening to fairy-tales as a child, then listening to one now that I am grown-up.  Young adult books are fabulous for enabling us to continue evolving our imaginations. That's the only way I can explain this book and the experience I got from listening to it while I worked my way though my adult chores.


At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone - has never beat at all, in fact, but she'd always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king's heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she'll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen's image, at her father's order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do - and who to be - to win back the only mother she's ever known...or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything-unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Happy reading

Today's Quote


Tuesday, 28 September 2021


 Author: Homer

Translated by Stanley Lombardo

Introduction by Sheila Murnaghan

ISBN: 978-0-87220-352-5

Hi Everyone

I am going to give this five stars because I believe Homer deserves it.  As for this translation I was pleasantly impressed.  I understood the translation easily and the introduction was well written.  

First, I will comment on the translation.  I found it to be an easy-ish (because when was the Iliad an easy read) translation.  I connected well with the language and enjoyed the plot.  I would like to look at a classic edition to analyse and comment on how correct the translation was, but as a first reader of the Iliad I enjoyed this translation.  I have to admit that I needed to photocopy the main character list from the back of the book and highlight in three colours the Trojan's, Greeks, and Gods.  It was the only way that I could keep up with all the characters for the first quarter of the book.  There are multitudes of characters in the beginning sections of this epic!  Once I had the characters organised the rest of the reading flowed much easier.  Now my copy of the Iliad will remain in my hands because it is well annotated. To open a well annotated book means the book was well read and enjoyed.  

I got utterly annoyed with Achilles! Was I meant to or did he just wind me up the wrong way?  That is a question I will forever be asking myself as I continue to absorb my thoughts of Iliad's plot.  For now, I remain with my first impression, "he annoyed me!".  He acted like spoilt brat and had now remorse over the raging war until it involved one of his friends - that he sent out there!?! I told you; he really got on my nerves.

The rest of the characters played their parts well. I connected with each of them. The Gods made the story more than a 'war' story. The outcome was realistic and well finished.  The story is not necessarily for the faint hearted, it a graphic piece of writing in places. Overall I ended up being pleased that I had endured to the end, it is a great piece of classical literature.

Now to the Introduction. It was clear and well set out.  It gave me a good insight into what I was about read.  This introduction will serve the purposes of any student studying the Iliad.  The only issue that I had, is that by the end of it I felt I had actually read the book.  Is there any need to read the book as a student when the introduction explains the whole story?  Maybe this is what some students need, hence study the introduction.  As for me I mainly wanted to read the Iliad so I may have been better off skipping the introduction to the end.

I found the 'Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia -  A completely Revised and Updated Edition of the Classic Encyclopedia of World Literature' a fantastic asset to accompany the reading of Iliad.  It gave a simply low-down of each chapter which kept me on track with where the plot was heading.

Do I recommend the reading of Iliad? Yes I do. I think that it worth at least attempting once in a life time. I also recommend reading it with a pen/pencil and highlighter and annotating while you read, it helped me to connect to the characters and plot. If I hadn't ruined my copy with all my highlighting and notes then it would have just be a book that was read because 'I should' rather than a piece of literature that I am pleased to have picked up and read well.


"... accurate, idiomatic, fast-paced and highly readable. Its sustained flow will enable students and other contemporary readers to enjoy the poem's narrative, similes, and speeches and should help them to engage critically with its central ethical problems. Sheila Murnaghan's lucid Introduction instructively situates the epic in its historical and cultural contexts, elucidates its representation and critique of traditional heroism, and calls attention to the main interpretive problems it raises for ancient audiences and modern readers" 
- Seth Schien, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of California Davis

Happy reading

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Booktuber of the Month


Hi Everyone

I have been enjoying 'For love of classics' Youtube channel for a while now and I find her very enjoyable to watch.  Most of her book hauls and reviews cover classical literature.  I like the way that she manages to make 'classics' sound like a new piece of literature.  No matter what she is reviewing I always end up thinking, "I must read that".

Well, if that isn't a good enough reason to check out her Youtube channel, then you really need to take a look at this clip.  She has two young ladies helping her bring to you some children's books.  They do a fantastic job and they made me smile the whole way through.  Together they made reading sound like sound so much fun.  

These two young ladies might just get to help bring you more children's books in the future if you give them a little support.  Lets keep the kids encouraged and take a look in on the choices they have shared.

Great work ladies!

Happy reading

Friday, 27 August 2021

Echoes of War

 Author: Tania Blanchard

ISBN: 978-0-7553-7928-6

Hi Everyone

Within the first few pages, I was walking along side Giulia Tallariti as read every page with expectation.  She was strong character with a strength and determination that surpassed the expectancies of women in her era.  She was meant to submit to her father, then be handed over to marriage to do the same with her husband.  This may seem like a rigid thing in the world we live now, but it was a normality in 1935.  We cannot judge what was normal in the 30's with what is normal today, there will be many things from or 'normal' that will be judged in 90 years as wrong too.  In the first chapters Giulia's father made me so angry, but when he's examined with the rest of the story, I see he was playing his part, not only as a character but as a historical figure. 
Once I got past the expectations of historical literature and the characters, I journey along side Giulia as she determined to live her destiny. I know this book is fictional but there were many times that I put the book down and thought about the lives we live today, in comparison to Guilia and her family...
  • An ever evolving world war
  • Arranged marriages
  • Arranged/acceptable occupations
  • Family expectations
  • The dynamics of the medical system
  • No internet - they used written correspondence
Physically the same world that I live in, but the dynamics are extremely different today.  In some ways we have travelled very little and in other ways we have travels in extremities!  I couldn't help but be placed in Guilia's shoes as I became so absorbed into the book.  She was strong and determined and in many ways I am too, but when I look at the road she travelled I realise the difference. Her hurdles were caused by the people around her, mine are often self-inflicted hurdles.  The world offers women way more opportunities than they did in 1935 but do we always take them?  Guilia was could have portrayed as a victim yet she walked every day fighting for what she believed and endeavoured to help as many people as she could. She didn't live in a victim mentality, rather she lived her 'best life' all the way. This is where I found her character's greatest strength.  I know I was probably meant to see the world around Guilia, but I found myself seeing the quiet battles inside her the strength in which she took on the world with grace and dignity.

Guilia wasn't the only character that surprised me.  Her first husband was a gentleman and I appreciated him being written into as such a character.  I liked that after seeing her father, I could transition to seeing the men in the story were going to be given conflicting characteristics.  You have to read it to see all the different characters and what they bring to the story.  They all have their unique part to play in telling and showing of what this time in history was like, not just people like Guilia but also people like her father, mother, sisters, brothers, all the men and all the women.  They all played their part in bring this piece of historical literature together.

Brilliantly writing piece of writing.  Thank you Simon and Schuster, along with Netgalley, for giving me a copy to read. 


Set in Mussolini’s Italy amid great upheaval, this is the story of one woman’s determination to find her place in a world that men are threatening to tear apart. Another heart-rending novel inspired by a true story from Australia's bestselling author of The Girl from Munich.

Calabria, Italy, 1936

In a remote farming village nestled in the mountains that descend into the sparkling Ionian Sea, young and spirited Giulia Tallariti longs for something more. While she loves her home and her lively family, she would much rather follow in her nonna’s footsteps and pursue her dream of becoming a healer.

But as Mussolini’s focus shifts to the war in Europe, civil unrest looms. Whispers of war are at every corner and her beloved village, once safe from the fascist agenda of the North, is now in very real danger.

Caught between her desire to forge her own path and her duty to her family, Giulia must draw on the passion in her heart and the strength of her conviction.

Can she find a way to fulfill her dreams or will the echoes of war drown out her voice?

Happy reading

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Book Haul!

Hi Everyone

We are in lock down again here!

But before lockdown I went on trip to Dunedin with my lovely daughter.  We did loads of shopping and I have to admit that she needed to drag me out of Dunedin's University Bookshop, twice! You don't have to be a university student to shop there!  Next bonus - they had 15% off everything 😃.  This shop is the most beautiful bookshop that I have been into - ever.  Yes I have to say - ever.  I long to take a stroll around some of the bookshops that I have seen on the internet but that is not going to happen anytime soon (hopefully one day though), so yes, it is I loved every moment of being there.  I could have taken up a comfy seat and made myself at home for the day.  Of course my daughter probably could have too because in reality she almost out did me shopping wise, I just took longer 😂

So, what did I come home with?

Iliad - Homer 

I have been wanting to read this one for a long time.  Let's hope that I enjoy it.  I am looking at it wondering what I have done! Oh well, I am up to the challenge.

Ex Libris - Michiko Kakutani

I couldn't resist this one.  It was the first to be in my arms and it never got put back down.  It is a beautiful book.  I have no regrets keeping this one.

On writing - Steven King

I picked this one up and then put it back down. Then I picked it back up, second guessed it, and put it back down. Then I saw that it was in Ex Libris and decided I actually 'needed' it, and picked it back up and kept it 😄

How to write like Tolstoy - A journey into the minds of our greatest writers

Richard Cohen

This one just took my interest.  I judged a book by its cover and took it home

~ I also went Young Reflections in Invercargill ~

These ones are for my students to read, analyse, converse over and enjoy:

Little people big dreams - Audrey Hepburn

Written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Illustrated by Amaia Arrazola

Some of my students have read this one already and it has their approval

The wise little girl 

Written by Alexander Afanasyev

Illustrations by Alice Sinkner

A beautiful early reader that had to be added to my collection

Dinostars and the planet plundering pirates - Ben Mantel

How could I not have this in my collection, it makes me smile.

Out of Bubblo

Written by Jill Eggleton

Illustrated by Rod Kiely

Okay, I only got this because of the pictures 😁  I am always drawn in by illustrations! The story is good though and so far my students like it just as much as I do.

And I am done!  

Now to go read them. There has to be some benefits to being in lock down.

Happy reading

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Mrs Chippy the Cat

 Author: Susan Brocker & Raymond McGarth

ISBN: 987-1-77543-708-6

Hi Everyone

Who is Mrs Chippy?

Mrs Chippy is Chippy McNeish's tomcat that journeyed on the Endurance with Shackleton and his crew to the Antarctic in 1914.  Based on the true story of the expedition, your children will enjoy this picture book as they not only learn about a much loved cat but also they ships experience as it got trapped in the ice of Antarctic.

Not only will they enjoy a lovely story book they will learn a little history.  At the back are photos of the real Mrs Chippy and Chippy McNeish and an extra snippet of history.

I have read this now with quite a few of my young students - or rather they have read it to me - and they are so many talking points to encourage the comprehension of the reader.  Not only have we read the story, we have had to venture further and look up the ship and the crew to see what else could be found.  The avenues for extra learning, from just one little 'picture flat' book, are enormous.  The opportunities to stop and talk whilst encouraging the comprehension of the young reader are immense.  This book has been a great investment to my reading collection.

I recommend books like this one, simply for the history and extra avenues that you take as your young reader enjoys what they see as a enjoyable little story book.


Mrs Chippy, trotting along the ship's railings, was the first to spot the pack ice. It spread out before the endurance like floating white chunks of a gigantic jigsaw, penguins and seals watched the ship from the ice floes as they sailed by, and whales and orca popped up to spy on them...

This is the tale of Mrs Chippy, a tom cat who was a loyal and loved companion to the crew on Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition to the Antarctic aboard the Endurance.

Mrs Chippy was the best mate of the ship's carpenter, Chippy McNeish. A statue of the cat lies on his grave in Karori Cemetery, Wellington.

Happy reading