Sunday 3 March 2024

The Girl and the Clockwork conspiracy

 Author: Nikki McCormack

Narrated by Grier Cooper

Hi Everyone

I first started to listen to this on Audible and for some reason, I didn't continue with it. I can't remember my reasoning but I obviously wasn't ready for reading/listening to it. 

Well, I came across it in my archives and decided to give it another go. I couldn't remember a reason for not continuing with it, so it couldn't have been that I hated it. I plugged it back in.

And really enjoyed it!

It was a little predictable but in a refreshing way. 

I got extremely annoyed with Lucian's brother, he drove me nuts. Em, I didn't trust at all but was that valid (you will have to read). As for Macak... now he was my favorite character. Everyone else just played their parts as I expected and I enjoyed following their journey.  

I particularly like that this book could be read by all ages. I would consider it to be a young reader novel but having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I listened while I walked and I listened again while I was domesticated at home. It was narrated just perfectly for listening while I worked/walked. It was the perfect distraction from domesticated chores :)

So yes, I recommend 'The Girl and the Clockwork Conspiracy' for when you don't want a heavy long-winded book. Or when you want to block out the quiet. I think you might just enjoy it like I did.


Maeko hasn't been long away from the gritty London streets and she's already learning that her new "civilized" life comes with its own challenges. She has to dress proper, eat proper and be a proper lady. She can't even talk to a boy without a chaperone. She's got proper coming out of her ears. If not for her feline companion Macak, she might go mad.

Her one hope for some freedom and excitement comes when the moody detective, Em, asks her to be an apprentice. But that apprenticeship comes with a price. She must agree to spy on Macak's owner, Lucian, the wealthy businessman and inventor whose life she saved.

Everything changes when Lucian's brother dies in an explosion while visiting Lucian's home in the heart of London. The Literati--a powerful group vying for political control of London--say it was murder and Maeko is on their suspect list. With Macak at her side, she must turn once more to her allies, Chaff and Ash. They will have to brave city streets torn by rebellion and conspiracy to find the truth.

Happy reading

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Todays Quote

 Hi Everyone

I love this!  I just have to share it.  I'm reading  Be Useful - Seven Tools for Life and on page 63 this took over my whole mind. I pondered this for at least 10 minutes before picking the book up again. Then I had to put my book down again just to share this thought with you.

My review of Be Useful - Seven Tools for Life will be coming your way soon.

Happy reading

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Someone We Know

 Author: Shari Lapena

ISBN: 9780525557654

Hi Everyone

A simple read this time.  

I can't say I loved it but 'Someone We Know' was a pleasure to read or in my case - listen to. It is one those - who did it - novels that will have you flicking your suspicions from one character to the next. Very well done. it did keep me listening and making my own viewpoints as I read along. 

But for me, I found it kind of predictable too much. 

The opening introduction made me wonder if I could keep reading or if it was going to be a little too much for me. The rest of the book was a standard kind of read that you would pick up and read on a quiet afternoon or weekend. 


Maybe you don't know your neighbors as well as you thought you did . . .

"This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much. . . My son broke into your home recently while you were out."

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses--and into the owners' computers as well--learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they're telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

In this neighborhood, it's not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide . . .

You never really know what people are capable of.

From: Goodreads

Happy Reading

Tuesday 6 February 2024

The Book That Wouldn't Burn

 Author: Mark Lawrence

ISBN: 9-780008-456726

Hi Everyone

I picked this book up Paperplus (our local bookstore). My daughter took it from my hands and stated it was now one of my Christmas presents. 

It turned out to be one of my best Christmas presents!

The twists and turns; the time travel beyond anything I have read; the connections that I didn't expect; and the things I just simply didn't see coming. What more can I say about this book to make you find a copy. I have already looked into the date and calendar noted it, for the release of the second book in this trilogy. 

I was drawn in by the unique imagination of this author. The plot hooked me in and sent me on a rollercoaster through a city, a library, and the lives of Evar and Livira.  I am very impressed by the plot of this one.

So what are you waiting for? Go find a copy and start delving into the trilogy. Take the journey with me, Evar and Livira, and see where it takes us


A boy has lived his whole life trapped within a vast library, older than empires and larger than cities.

A girl has spent hers in a tiny settlement out on the Dust where nightmares stalk and no one goes.

The world has never even noticed them. That's about to change.

Their stories spiral around each other, across worlds and time. This is a tale of truth and lies and hearts, and the blurring of one into another. A journey on which knowledge erodes certainty, and on which, though the pen may be mightier than the sword, blood will be spilled and cities burned.

Description from: The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence | Goodreads

Happy reading

For private tutoring

Sunday 4 February 2024

Worthy of Repeating


Hi Everyone,

This is taken from 'The Book That Wouldn't Burn" by Mark Lawrence.  I am really enjoying this book... review will be up soon.

Happy reading

Monday 29 January 2024

The Dictionary of Lost Words

 Author: Pip Williams

ISBN: 9781925972597

Hi Everyone,

I had no idea what to expect from this book. I don't think I even read what the book was about. In this case, it was the title that took my eye first.

So then, what was the come of a book read totally by random choice?

I enjoyed every minute of it! Absolutely brilliant piece of literature.

There is a warning that comes with this purely because some of my followers are younger. That being that some of the words found by Esme are 'colourful' if I could put it that way :)

The whole point of 'The Dictionary of Lost Words' was that the choice of words being put in the Oxford English Dictionary were analyzed, and these words used by the women of the time in different social levels were being left out, eliminated, unheard, and lost. 

Esme collected these words and hid them in a trunk. It started with a single slip and ended with a whole lifetime of collected slips. The outcome of Esme and the slips are written in this historical fictional novel. Everything is interwoven so brilliantly that I continued to turn the pages and grew to envision Esme and her friends amongst the back-drop of the era.

Brilliant, just brilliant.


In 1901, the word ‘Bondmaid’ was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it.

Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the ‘Scriptorium’, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word ‘bondmaid’ flutters to the floor. Esme rescues the slip and stashes it in an old wooden case that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. While she dedicates her life to the Oxford English Dictionary, secretly, she begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.

Set when the women’s suffrage movement was at its height and the Great War loomed, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. It’s a delightful, lyrical and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words, and the power of language to shape the world and our experience of it.

Description taken from:

Happy reading

Saturday 30 December 2023

Today's Quote


Hi Everyone,

So this is the first page of a book I was given for Christmas.  Let's see how this one turns out.

A review will be up when I finish. Let's hope it's a page-turner.

Happy reading

Tuesday 12 December 2023

The Cost of Daydreams

 Author: Melissa Bergsma

ISBN: 979-8808529748

Hi Everyone

I have had this book for a while now but poetry is something that you don't just read, you absorb and ponder. You listen to sounds that the words make and you make pictures and possibilities for the language, sounds, and metaphors. Then, and only then, will you find a world of language play within a poem

If you have been following me for a while you will know that I love poetry of all sorts. Old and new. I had the right teacher when I was 16, who brought poetry alive. I don't know how they did it, but from the first poem that they handed me, I was hooked line, word, and sinker :)

Melissa Bergsma reached out and offered me a copy of her book "The Cost of Daydreams". I could have quickly read it and written my first impressions but that is just wrong in so many ways. This author has poured imagery and sounds onto 200 pages. Isn't it worth the time to give credit to a poet and read the peoms over and over until they are absorbed into ones mind. Until you can envision the language as the picture and stories hidden beneath every sound. 

The thing I like about Melissa's poetry the most is the sounds her peotry makes. Each word is created to be in the exact placement. I was enticed by her use of language more than the content in each poem. That isn't to say that each poem doesn't show me a picture, because they do. It is just that Mellissa Bergsma has a way with words and sounds that when gathered together it take you to another place beyond your everyday reading.

I encourage everyone to pick up a poetry book this Christmas. If you are not a poetry reader then try taking the risk, you may just enjoy the challenge. A challenge that I ask you tackle in depth, and rather than read take the time to absorb each word, line, and stanza.


In this comprehensive collection of poetry, you are immersed in a world of exploration and mischief, discovering that shadows are nothing to fear and pain is often the scalpel that carves the strongest of people. There will be gut wrenching truths, adventure, loss, imagination, and an epic love that pulls at the very core of her existence.
Dip your toes into a land of magic and beauty, losing yourself in the study of the sky’s embrace, as words reverberate across your skin. You’ll be left looking at the world differently, seeing the art (and maybe a touch of humor) in everything around you.

About the Author:

Melissa resides in a quaint town in southern Michigan with her husband, their two boys, and a spirited Boston terrier. She enjoys exploring many different styles of poetry from conversational, to abstract and everything in between. While keeping to her passion for rich imagery and unique metaphors, she finds the spark of hope inside even the darkest of corners.

Happy reading

Wednesday 6 December 2023



Hi Everyone,

There has been some great work put in this year by all my students.  Some of the work was way beyond their comfort zone but everyone has put in 100% and the results have shown.  We have students who have achieved their internal assessment credits for NCEA and are waiting for their exam results to come through. Students that have been given awards at their school prize givings. And, let's not forget the homeschoolers who don't get school awards but they too have given the year 100%. 

Well done each and every one of you.  Great work!!!

Happy reading

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teacup

 Author: Andy Sagar

ISBN: 978-1-510-1094803

Hi Everyone

It has been a long time since I last posted! It seems like a long time since I got to sit down with a book in hand and read with depth enough to write.  It has been a busy year for my students with many of them taking NCEA (my country's senior-level exams). Hence, life has been students,  more students, and adventure in between.  Yes, I remembered to add in a little adventure, like cycling the West Coast Wilderness trail and Otago Rail trail in New Zealand.  It is a beautiful country and there are many ways to see it.

Now that the school exams are finished and there are only two more weeks left of school for the junior levels and primary-aged students, I have books lined up and I will get some read ahead so there will be plenty for you to look in on here. 

So to Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teapot...

Of course, this is another book that was purchased because of the cover. Never tell me that a cover is not important because it is the most important part of any book. It is what makes me pick it up in the first place. Boring covers are left on the bookshop shelves when it comes to my shopping. I try to be practical but I just can't help purchasing colourful attractive covers!

This one has not let me down. I am nearly finished and I have decided to review it early. With only a few chapters left and an evening where I feel like writing, it is time to give my review.

From the very first page this grabbed my attention. It is full of just the right amount of suspense balanced with friendship, mishaps, and laughter. The imagination in these pages is brilliant, it amazes me that authors can come up with these ideas and keep them flowing from chapter to chapter like this.

I became attached to more than one character as they all seemed to play their part in the story. Many books give me one or two characters to lean on but this one gave me an entire book family to hang out with and brew up magical tea :) 

I am happy for any one of my students to pick up this book and have full confidence that they will enjoy it. There is more than one in this series and I am seriously thinking that they will need to be added to my bookcase too. 


Yesterday Crumb has always felt cursed by the fox ears she was born with. Forced to work in a circus, her origins are a complete mystery. But when she's recused by Miss Dumpling and her magical, walking teashop, Yesterday learns she's a strangeling who's lost her magic.

Surrounded by fantastical customers, a flying teapot-turtle and incredible spells, Yesterday rediscovers her powers and finally starts to fell like she might belong.

But a mysterious figure of darkness is working hard to ensure her new life comes crashing down - and it all starts with a deadly shard of ice in Yesterday's heart...

Happy reading

For private tutoring with Richelle

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Maddigan's Quest

 Author: Margaret Mahy

ISBN: 1-86950-602-2

Hi Everyone

This book has been on my daughter's bookshelf for quite a while. I have always wanted to read this one. Recently I noticed it once more and it beckoned me to take it in my hands and read it. After all no book should be left unattended for too long on any bookshelf.

I was quickly transported to a world that has been left destroyed and in chaos since the 'Chaos'. Garland, her family, and the travelers of the Fantasia group travel from place to place, putting on shows to earn their living. And, they also have a mission to get a converter to Solic. This in itself isn't too hard, but incorporate the inclusion of a deadline date and three new members (who aren't as they seem), tracked by two men from the future, and you have a plot that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.

Nothing and no one is as it/they seem!

It is no surprise that this novel's plot is extremely well thought out, the characters well formed and engaging, and the world-building done to perfection, when we have an author such as Margaret Mahy.

Margaret Mahy (1936-2012) wrote more than 100 picture books, 40 novels, and 20 short stories. New Zealanders and the rest of the world have enjoyed these picture books and novels for decades. This is only one piece of work that graces her masterpiece list. So much so, that it has been produced as a TV series.  I have below, a link to Margaret Mahy's Wikipedia page and a link to an easy-to-read Biography page which will be beneficial to my younger audience (and students) that check in on what I have been reading.


Wikipedia link to Margaret Mahy - Wikipedia - Margaret Mahy


In a time not far from our own, a colourful group of travelers brave the twisting tricksy landscape of the Remaking after Chaos ripped the world apart. They are the magicians, clowns, trapeze artists, and musicians of Maddigan's fantasia, healing the injured land with their gifts of wonder and laughter. 

Garland Maddigan, the 12-year-old daughter of Ferdy, the Fantasia's ringmaster, has made the trip before, but this journey offers frightening new challenges. Three mysterious children join the Fantasia and the sinister strangers who follow them become a dangerous enigma as Garland slowly unlocks their secret origin.

Happy reading

Friday 21 April 2023


Author: George Orwell

ISBN: 9871785996313

Hi Everyone

Since being made to study the Classics and analyze them down to the last sentence, I have developed an enjoyment for the richness of their writings. George Orwell's - 1984, has been on my bookcase for over a year now so I thought it was time to read it. I was avoiding reading this during the pandemic because political views ran rampant and I didn't want my enjoyment of reading a novel to become a look into the government's ways of handling a situation like the pandemic, which our generation has not had to handle before. 

Although 1984 could be read as a politically based book, I found myself seeing it like many young adult books on the market. One that comes to mind is 'Divergent', there was even a movie that followed the book. I read 'Divergent' and went to the movie. Both novels grounded themselves on the ability of a higher structure to control the foundations of their society. Like 'Divergent', 1984 had me locked into the character's life. There was one part in 1984 that I closed my eyes because I could see the happenings too vividly in my mind.  This is an example of excellent 'show don't tell' writing which puts this novel into the masterpiece of literature category.  No wonder it has become a classic.

I made the mistake of looking up reviews on Youtube only to find myself adding 'A Brave New World' to my reading list.  There are debates all over the internet, debating these two books and which one... whatever the debate. How could I not add another book to my reading list? Hence, I have spent the last week listening to an audio reading of 'Brave New World' - I will put up a review for that one soon. It was in listening to 'Brave New World' while '1984' was still fresh in my mind that I found myself reflecting on 'Divergent'. These books together could make many fantastic essay questions.

I would encourage anyone reading these books to read them for enjoyment, not to find political arguments to serve one-self's reasonings. To read a great novel is to find enjoyment and/or self-reflection. I for one have enjoyed all the dimensions that '1984, Divergent, and Brave New World' bring to our world of reading.


Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. 

Arguably the 20th-century's most famous novel, 1984 is a dystopian study of political tyranny, mind control, paranoia and secret mass surveillance.

Set in Oceania, the ultimate totalitarian state, it describes a society tyrannized by a ruling party led by Big Brother. In the furtherance of eradicating all expressions of individuality, people' lives are constantly monitored. Telescreens are everywhere, helicopters hover around buildings, spying through windows, and the Thought Police are constantly on alert.

Despite the threat of severe punishment, Outer Party Member Winston Sith takes a break from his job rewriting history. At home, in the one corner of his apartment that is hidden from the telescreen, he sits down to write a diary.

The cultural impact of George Orwell's masterpiece continues to resonate to this day.

Who was George Orwell?

According to Benet's Readers Encyclopedia 4th ed:

(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.... Orwell was known as a superb prose stylist who took a lucid, documentary approach to fiction. His Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters (4 vols) appeared in 1968.


For my review on Divergent follow this link.  It dates back some time now but still gives you a little view of what I thought when I originally read it 😁   Divergent

Happy reading

Sunday 9 April 2023

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency

 Author: L D Lapinski

Hi Everyone

Here is a series worthy of every young reader's time.  I have now made my way through reading all three in the series.  In book 1 you will meet Flick and her friends while you discover the worlds within a store full of suitcases.  It is an interesting concept that I was quickly dragged into wanting to purchase all three books to have them available for my students to borrow from my tutoring library.

Description: Book 1

Welcome to the Strangeworlds Travel Agency where every suitcase transports you to a different world. All you have to do is Step inside...

When 12-year-old Flick Hudson is invited to join the secret Strangeworlds Society, she's thrilled - but quickly realises that something isn't right in the magical multiverse. Blizzards are hitting in the middle of summer, entire city streets are disappearing, and one suitcase leads her to a world that has been completely abandoned.

Soon, Flick is breaking all sorts of society rules and pushing the very limits of magic to try and figure out what's going on. But will she be able to fix things before all the worlds - including her own - vanish completely.

Pack your bags for a magical adventure!

Flick is now a badge-wearing member of the Strangeworlds Society, so when an urgent summons arrives from the world of The Break, she and Strangeworlds guardian Jonathan immediately hop into a suitcase to take them there.

The Break is a flat water world, filled with unpredictable mer-people, mysterious water creatures and enormous ships sailed y frightening pirates. And it's shrinking. The edge of the ocean is coming ever closer. The people of The Break need to leave - and soon.

But how do you sail a ship through a suitcase? Or rescue a Mer-Queen the size of a blue whale? Will Flick and Jonathan be able to find a way... before time runs out?

This is the third book in the Strange Worlds Travel Agency series of books. All the characters come together from the previous books to stop the Seren. It is high action and adventure through the final suitcases and to save the entire multiverse.  It is an adventure well worth embarking on with Flick and her friends in which many answers will be discovered.

I have made my way through all three books now and highly recommend them for all young readers.


Since Flick Hudson joined Strangeworlds, she has faced more danger than most other people see in a lifetime. But nothing has prepared her to learn that the entire multiverse is at risk, under threat from a mysterious group called the Serne.

The Seren are on a hunt for the most powerful suitcase of all. A suitcase that some simply call: The Final Doorway.

It's up to Flick and her friends to find this suitcase first. But their journey will take them to ever more perilous places and reveal troubling secrets about the travel agency itself. And worst of all, there's no guarantee that all of them will survive...

Happy reading