Wednesday 10 April 2024

Lifes Too Short to go ***ing Slow

 Lessons from an epic friendship that went the distance

Author: Susan Lacke

Hi Everyone

I wasn't sure what to expect from the description of this book. I couldn't tell if it was fiction or non-fiction, so had to do a little digging to find out. It turns out that this is a memoir and non-fiction. It also turns out that this is a page-turner that will have you soul-searching.

I plugged into this at an event that I was running. I like to listen to audiobooks while I run, it's relaxing, and I listen rather than think of the distance or the pain 😁. So that morning I looked for a little inspiration and tuned in to Lifes too short to go *** slow. I ran down hills while listening to Susan be told to bike faster, work harder, and that she could be better. I heard her talk of Iron Man challenges and I took every piece of information and ran harder myself. Then the turning point of the book came when Carlos fought his own battles. Susan and Carlos tell their own stories along the journey and the book gives every reader an insight into the value of friends who inspire and push each other to be all they can be, no matter the challenge or pain they have to endure along the way.

Inspirational to say the least.  This book will be listened to more than once by me!


Susan and Carlos were unlikely friends. She was a young, overweight college professor and a bit of a trainwreck juggling a divorce, a pack-a-day habit, and hiding empty boxes of wine under her bed. He was her boss, an Ironman triathlete, with life figured out. She was a whiner, he was a hard-ass. He had his shit together, she most assuredly did not.

Trash-talking workouts, breakdowns, and a devastating diagnosis this heartwarming story of training buddies reveals a deep and abiding friendship that traversed life, sport, and everything in between. Their journey reveals the inspiring power of sports and friendship to change lives forever.

Amusing and poignant, Life’s Too Short To Go So ***ing Slow is about running and triathlon, growth and heartbreak, and an epic friendship that went the distance.

Happy reading

Monday 1 April 2024

Today's Quote


Hi Everyone

Just a little reflection from a book I am reading, The Boy from Gorge River - From New Zealand's remotest family to the world beyond.  Keep looking back in for my review which will be coming soon.

Happy reading

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Be Useful Seven Tools for Life - Arnold Schwarzenegger

 Author: Arnold Schwarzenegger

ISBN: 9781529146547

Hi Everyone

When I look at Be Useful Seven Tools for Life - Arnold Schwarzenegger on Goodreads I am told it belongs in the following categories:
  • Non-fiction
  • Self-help
  • Biography
  • Memoir
  • Philosophy
  • Business
  • Autobiography
Let's start analysing these and see what I come with.

Memoir and autobiography 

Definitely a yes for belonging in this category. Most of the book centers around Arnold Schwarzenegger and where he has come from, what he has achieved, and who he has become.  I spent my most informative years watching Arnold Schwarzengger on the big screen and our TV screen. Movies like 'The Terminator 'were the most captivating and thought-provoking movies of the generation. The lines he spoke were flicked around in conversations all across the school grounds. Arnold Schwarzenger was one of the best.

So when I picked this up, it was his story I was interested in. I had no idea how much Arnold had done in his lifetime. He is living proof that if you put hard work into what you want to accomplish then you can get the results. It is worth the read just to know all that he has achieved.

Quote - " I'll be back" - Terminator 
And Arnold Schwarzengger keeps coming back with something new for us. Time after time.


Not really. This is Arnold's story told by Arnold.


If you want inspiration then this is a good read. Don't read this if you want a quick fix though. You will be told to work! Work! Work! You have 24 hours in a day, Arnold Schwarzengger tells us. If you want results then pull up your socks and use them. Stop scrolling and wasting time. You know how you are wasting time... sort it. If you want results then put the time in. Make the time. Get up early. You get the picture.

Quote - "Selling your vision means being open about what you're trying to achieve and telling your story in such a way that it is perceived in the most positive light possible by the people you need or want to get a yes from. Your customers, in other words" - Page 119


Be Useful. Arnold was ingrained with this as a child and has taken it into his adulthood. With good results. As you venture through the book you will see that it ends with the same concept put differently. He calls it -  breaking the mirrors. Helping others is what the book ends with. Take your usefulness out to others near and far. That is the foundation of his philosophy but not nearly the end. 

He starts the book with - Have a clear vision and ends the book with - breaking the mirrors. The whole book is a philosophy book. From having a vision and working hard, to taking it to the world. Every chapter has something to take from it.

I had to start the book again just to highlight and tab the pages. I got 118 pages in and decided this needed to be annotated. It didn't matter who else was going to read this book, I was going to get every little piece of inspiration from every single paragraph. 

Quote - "...everything good, all great change, starts with a clear vision" - Page 4


If you are willing to read this book not just by turning the pages but by reading every paragraph and then taking a moment to reflect, you will find this deserves more than a self-help category. We can all read self-help books. They line the shelves of every library and bookstore. There is a market out there making millions from our need to be told what to do. 

In my hand, I have a book that will tell me in Arnold's written word to... Get clear with your vision. Never think small. Work your ass off. Sell, sell sell. Shift gears. Shut your mouth, open your mind. And, break the mirrors.  They are chapters!

If you want inspiration and someone to tell you to do the work, then you know what book to pick up. You will get something from this book.  I don't know what that is for you. But you will get something.

Quote - "Use it or lose it. These words apply to so many areas of life, they should be considered a law of the universe" - Page 216


If there is one unavoidable truth in this world, it's that there is no substitute for putting in work.

There is no shortcut or growth hack or magic pill that can get you around the hard work of doing your job well, of winning something you care about, or of making your dreams come true.

People have tried to cut corners and skip steps in this process for as long as hard work has been hard.

Eventually, those people either fall behind or get left in our dust, because working your ass off is the only thing that works 100 percent of the time for \ 100 percent of the things worth achieving.

Happy reading


Monday 18 March 2024

Today's Quote

 Hi Everyone

A little quote from my 'Kitty' (yes that is her name)

Autumn has arrived and we have been snuggling in enjoying the beginning of the season. As the weather changes to a colder air, the books come back out and so does Kitty. 

Happy reading

Wednesday 13 March 2024

The Race Against Time

Adventures in Late-Life Running
Author: Richard Askwith
ISBN: 978178729525
Hi Everyone

Every time I go away on holiday, I have to purchase a new book. It is a tradition that cannot be denied. Of course, I am amongst other things a 'runner'. I have been since I was 10 years old and I will be for as long as my body allows. 

This book caught my eye because Richard Askwith was asking the question "Why do some runners seem to be untroubled by age?" I don't know about anyone else, but I am finding that the people around me and the internet have a belief that the older we get the more we should sit on the couch and admit defeat. Take a look at mid-life on any platform and you will find a few that say "go for it" while the rest say things like: don't do cardio you will gain weight; cardio will up your cortisol (well so will sitting around eating the cake that I do instead of running); exercise this much or that much or this little.

NO! I'm done with all this nonsense.

Running and in fact any form of exercise, is the best way for me to de-stress. I wish I had known this about myself years ago as the world around me got busier. I tried to slow down - people told me I should - they were wrong. 

Get outside and run! If you can't (we aren't all born to run) then walk, skip, hop, dance. The options are endless, just find the things that light you up like they did as a child. And stop with all the 'I need to exercise antics"..... call it "Play" like you did as a child. It is all the same thing but if you call it "play" then it is much more enjoyable.

Anyway, this book is full of examples of people continuing to run way beyond the expected:
  • Angela Coson, winning another gold at seventy-five
  • Charles Allie, running 400m in under a minute on the eve of his seventy-fifth birthday
  • Alan Carter, racing to world championship gold at eighty-one
And how about Ilda Keeling, 104 pictured doing press-ups at 104 years of age.

Come on, don't use the I'm too old to start excuse either. Many of the people in this book started running in mid-life.  I tell you this book is inspirational in many ways. I am impressed by the easy-reading language, the photos, and both Richard Askwith's journey and the people he met along the way as he sought to find the answer to his questions.


Richard Adkwith, a long-term running enthusiast, was sunk in mid-life despair. Plagued by injuries and demoralized by failing strength and speed, he was on the point of giving up for good. first, though, he wanted to solve the mystery: why do some runners seem to be untroubled by age?

The result is a thrilling life-affirming quest, culminating in a transformative adventure at the World Masters Athletics Championships. Colourful, informative and inspiring, The Race Against Time offers a resounding message of hope for any runner who has felt their joy in their sport fading as they grow older.

It is a story of cold science and heartwarming resilience; of champions and also-rans; of sprinting centenarians and forty-something super-athletes barely touched by age. Its heroes are experts and enthusiasts - scientists, coaches, runners - from many countries, each with a different story to tell. What unites them is a belief that you don't have to take growing old lying down.
This is a book for anyone who has ever felt the healing power of running. A moving account of one man's journey from despair to hope, it is also an exhilarating guide, showing how timely adjustments to lifestyle and training can slow the effects of aging, while sheer human spirit can, if you are lucky, keep you running happily and healthily, all the way through life's later decades. 

About the author:

Richard Askwith has been a journalist for over forty years. He has written six previous books, including his modern classic on fell running, 'Feet in the Clouds', which won the Best New Writer category at the British Sports Book Awards and was shortlisted for the William Hill and Boardman Tasker prizes. He is now one of the UK's most celebrated writers on sport. 'Running Free' was short-listed for the Thwaites-Wainwright Prize, and his evocative biography of Emil Zatopek, Today We Die a Little, was shortlisted in the Cross Sports Book Awards. 

Happy reading

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