Sunday, 18 July 2021

Booktuber of the month

 Hi Everyone

It has been a while since I gave you a Booktuber of the the month.  Reason being that many of the Booktubers started to sound the same.  They presented to me the same content and reviewed that same books.  I wanted to see a Booktuber giving me what they were passionate about.  Reading what they wanted to read and being able see that in their content.  

I found one!

Introducing - *e m m i e *

I have to showcase her today because she has in this video.....  'Anne of Green Gables' by L. M. Montgomery.  She is girl after my own heart.  When I listen to her passion for what she is reading and how she goes so deep into the novels, I can't help but want to hear more from her. 

So, *e m m i e* keep reading and bringing us more videos and stay true to what you bring us.  

And to everyone else, click on the link above and take a look in at what she is bringing the world.  You may like her and I am sure she will inspire and teach us all to look deeper into the novels we are reading.

Happy reading

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Anne of Avonlea

 Author: L. M. Montgomery

Hi Everyone,

I have been so blessed to be given the opportunity to read some really old books!  Now, when I say old I mean a treasure! This one was published in 1926.  I have read it and been transported in time.  In more ways than one.  To hold and read this book, knowing the owner and their age; knowing the story behind them receiving it: knowing the joy that they got from reading; knowing... just knowing the history I hold in my hand, is a gift.

Then there is the history written on the pages. It's like being transported back 95 years to a time well before mine.  I read this seeing Anne and her friends living in a totally different time to ours but also knowing that in some aspects things have changed very little.  The world around us is continually changing and so are people, but reading this I and see people unchanged in many ways too. There was a certain connection still available to today's reader, that I grasped with every breath. I feel like I have been on a roller coaster ride between the 'Oh No!' moments and the 'shear laughter' moments, and there was even a moment that I wanted to cry.  

I was taken by the importance of good character.  Considering this was a children's book in it's time, I was impressed by how much I myself, learnt of the expectations of good character which was placed within the writing of this children's book.  There was not one perfect person in the story, but good character was defiantly intertwined within the pages.  I am sure just reading these books would have had children learning of the moral and social expectations of their time, and they were interesting to read about.  

I was also intrigued by the age in which Anne started teaching. Sixteen. I think of our sixteen year olds today, they are still the student and still have a few years of education before them.  Anne was a first year teacher and she took on the challenge like a professional. Sometimes we think we have come so far, but reading 'Anne of Avonlea' I am left questioning some things? That has to be a sign of a book worthy of being called a Classic.

As I finish the final pages I am reluctant to put the book down, knowing that I put down more than a book.  I put down a book full of history and memories.  In between the tattered cover lies thick pages entailing more than Anne's story, it tells of history.  I am left thinking that there is more history in these books that the history text books can show us.

Lucy Maud Montgomery (1974-1942)

A school teacher and minister's wife, Montgomery became a writer of popular juveniles almost by accident. Asked to prepare a short serial for a Sunday school paper, she drew on her girlhood memories of Prince Edward Island to produce the enormously successful 'Anne of Green Gables' (1908), to which she wrote six sequels.  Her ventures into adult fiction were not a success.

Taken from: Benet's Readers Encyclopedia - Fourth Edition

- 'Anne of Avonlea' is book two of the 'Anne of Green Gables' series

Happy reading

Monday, 5 July 2021

Worthy of Repeating


Hi Everyone,

I hope you all find the joy in reading.  It took me too many years to discover that there was a joyous world in the imagination that a book gives us.  Today, we all deserve the simple pleasure that a story can bring.  If there is a child you know who struggles to read.... read aloud to them. It is a gift that they deserve.  

It's fast approaching the school holidays again, so I set a challenge for the holidays:

  1. Take your kids or a child to the library
  2. Read aloud at least one book - even a picture book counts, they don't take long to read
  3. Enjoy some reading time for yourself - you're important too

Happy reading

Monday, 28 June 2021

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

 Author: Unknown

This edition: a verse translation by Keith Harrison

ISBN: 978-0-19-954016-7

Grammar Fix It! Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 

Author: Pamela White

ISBN: 978-1-62341-177-0

(Institute for Excellence in Writing)

Hi Everyone

I have two things here for you today. 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' is a book I studied, a few years ago now, and it still remains a treasure piece of literature in my mind. Now I am taking a student on a literary journey, using the novel and this curriculum.

Let's start with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Written in the 14th century, by an unknown author, and this gem of poetry which still graces our book stores, universities, schools and homes today.  Now that to me says "Must Read!".  This is the second time that I have read this and I still loved every bit of it.  I have a confession to make... I love poetry and verse. That said, I may be a little bias on the fact  because this is a long work of poetry.  It could be called a story or it could be called poetry.  Whichever way you look at it, I without a doubt encourage you to pick up a copy and try it.  

When I first got handed a copy I was far from convinced.  I probably wouldn't have read it if I didn't need to write an essay on thing.  Today, I am thankful that I have enjoyed reading it for a second time.  It re-opened my eyes to a genre that often goes left on the back of shelves, neglected.  I would love to see a world of this genre re-opened up, for this generation to enjoy.  Then again, maybe there is more out there that I am to discover, so if anyone knows of some modern versions of poetic book then please let me know.  I want more!

You will find many resources online to accompany this book such as Spark notes and of course there is the one I am highlighting here for you today - Grammar fix it (if you live outside NZ then try ).  Of course there is a good write up over on Wikipedia and if you put 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' into Youtube there are multiple links to videos and reviews. 

To Grammar Fix It...

What exactly is Grammar Fix It?

It is a curriculum that takes the student through 32 weeks of fixing grammar using a story.  In this instance, 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' is used.  Each week there are four days of a couple of sentences that need correcting.  Each one is clearly written in the student book.  The teacher book has a copy of each student page along with notes and corrections.  In the back of the student book there are flash cards which can be cut out; an excellent glossary; a completion certificate.  By the end of the year the student has a corrected story of their own - Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  

I like to use the curriculum along side the novel as a supplement course in grammar and English. The student gets a taste of the novel, poetry, analysation and grammar - all in one when used together.  Fantastic.

Grammar Fix It comes in 6 levels and this edition is the 6th level.  

Overall, 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' remains a brilliant piece of literature in my views. I would highly recommend experiencing the read if you can pick up a copy.


"Middle English poem in Alliterative verse written by an unknown called Peral Poet.  The poem is one of four (possibly all by the same writer) which appear in a single manuscript of the collection of Sir Robert Bruce COTTON.

Perhaps the greatest single Arthurian legend in English, this masterpiece of Middle English writing concerns the ordeal of the ideal knight, Sir Gawain. ... Into the midst of New Year festivities at King Arthur's court burst a green giant on horseback.  he dares any of Arthur's knights to chop off his head on condition in one year he be allowed to return the blow... "    Taken from: Benet's readers Encyclopedia - fourth edition"

Happy reading

You will find Sir Gawain and the Green Knight also within Ambleside curriculum and Sonlight curriculum.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

The Colour of Magic

 Author: Terry Pratchett

ISBN: 9780552124751

Hi Everyone

I became interested in this book when a friend's husband told me I had to read this series.  I had heard about it 20 odd years ago when a work mate read the series and waited religiously for the next book in in the series to hit our city bookstores.  Hence, when all of sudden out of the blue the series was being talked about again, I thought it was about time I took a look at what all the interest was about.  

I started by looking at Goodreads to see if it really was worth my time. There were 20,234 reviews! As for the ratings:

  • 5 Stars - 36%
  • 4 Stars - 26%
  • 3 Stars - 21 %
  • 2 Stars - 5%
  • 1 Star - 2%
Pretty good ratings if you ask me πŸ˜€

So I thought, "Why not give one a go?"  I headed on over to Sir Terry Pratchett's website  to see what else I could find out (Okay I know, I often do my homework on books before I read them).  The webpage is certainly worth taking a look at.  You will find information about Terry Pratchett, his characters and find a real gem of information about his books. 

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book.  I found it so refreshing to read a book that made me feel like a kid again. The language was great, I like a book with rich language rather than the average dumbed down language that can be jammed in between two covers.  Not this one! I enjoyed the way the words tumbled from the pages.  I enjoyed imagining what the world upon the back of a giant turtle would be like (come on, you have to agree that it is a bizarre idea to come up with in the first place). The characters were just as imaginative. How often to do you find chests with heaps of legs that manages to drag you back into the story from time to time.  And... what about the idea of a circum-fence surrounding the edge so that they don't fall off the edge of the world πŸ˜‚

See my point?

It was like reading a fantasy book from my childhood.  Only, I am an adult and this is a book written for us adults.  And, once again they are being read all over the place.  A classic if you ask me.  

There is one problem...

This book is book 1 of 38. How do I even start to find time to read 38 books all on the Discworld?

Challenge me and I will give it a try, I just can't promise how long it will take me to complete the challenge. 

So here we have it, the verdict is out.... This is worth picking up and trying.  Go on, see for yourself.


In the beginning there was… a turtle.

Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different.

Particularly as it’s carried through space on the back of a giant turtle.

It plays by different rules. But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land.

Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard…

The Discworld novels can be read in any order but The Colour of Magic is the first book in the Wizards series.

Happy reading

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Worthy of repeating


Hi Everyone

I am reading a book by Charlotte Mason and this grabbed my attention.  I like the way it is written and the thought that it quietly provoked.  I put it onto my worthy of repeating list because somethings just need to be repeated and not lost within the covers of a book.

The weekend is fast approaching so I wish everyone a great weekend.  This weekend is Mothers Day here hence a shout out to all the great mum's who are doing the best they can.  

Enjoy your weekend and happy reading

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Half Life

 Author: Jillian Cantor

ISBN: 9780062969880

Hi Everyone,

What if we could write the story of our life as reality and how it could have been if we had just taken the other path?

Have you ever thought about how things would have been if only you had taken the other path?

Said "Yes" where you said "No".

Or, not got on the train and moved to another part of the world but stayed with the one person you really loved?


Life is full of options and we are often left analyzing the "what if's".

Jullian Cantor has written such a novel that answers the "what if" to Marya Sklodawska.  She could have stayed Poland and lived a life way different from the life she lived in Paris and in this novel she does both.  You will read chapter by chapter the parallel happenings of her life in Paris had she got on the train, and her life in Poland had she not got on the train.

I was gripped into both stories.  I had the "No!" moments, where I thought "What are thinking?" and then was enticed back into the supportive reader who agreed with her choices.  It was a roller coaster ride as I flicked from chapter to chapter and one life to the other.

It was a fantastic read like none other that I have encountered.  It was the most brilliant concept put into written word and I want more novels like this one.

I was left questioning the choices I have made in my life.  I have journeyed many options and chosen many paths that I may or may not chose now that I am older and wiser.  As I lay the book down each night I was left thinking about our parallel opportunities and the options that we take.  I came to the end of the book, and the end of my own questions, and agreed that Maria (Marya) chose the right path at the right time and so have I.  Life is a journey of possibilities and we make choices that make the journey interesting.  I wonder how many times Maria wondered about her choices? I still have many to make, but so far life's choices have put me on a journey that I am happy to have taken.

If you get the opportunity to read 'Half Life' then pick it up and take the journey with Maria.  Take the journey with yourself too.


In Poland in 1891, Marie Curie (then Marya Sklodowska) was engaged to a budding mathematician, Kazimierz Zorawski. But when his mother insisted she was too poor and not good enough, he broke off the engagement. A heartbroken Marya left Poland for Paris, where she would attend the Sorbonne to study chemistry and physics. Eventually Marie Curie would go on to change the course of science forever and be the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.But what if she had made a different choice?

What if she had stayed in Poland, married Kazimierz at the age of twenty-four, and never attended the Sorbonne or discovered radium? What if she had chosen a life of domesticity with a constant  hunger for knowledge in Russian Poland where education for women was restricted, instead of studying science in Paris and meeting Pierre Curie?

Entwining Marie Curie's real story with Marya Zorawska's fictional one, Half Life explores loves lost and destinies unfulfilled--and probes issues of loyalty and identity, gender and class, motherhood and sisterhood, fame and anonymity, scholarship and knowledge. Through parallel contrasting versions of Marya's life, Jillian Cantor's unique historical novel asks what would have happened if a great scientific mind was denied opportunity and access to education. It examines how the lives of one remarkable woman and the people she loved - as well as the world at large and course of science and history--might have been irrevocably changed in ways both great and small.

Description taken from: Book Depository

Book available from Book Depository

Happy reading

Friday, 23 April 2021

Worthy of Repeating

Hi Everyone,

Here is a little quote that I hope every one of my student do.  Believe that you can and do the best that you can.  You are only competing against yourself and becoming better than you were yesterday.


Happy Reading

Sunday, 11 April 2021

The Gravity Inside Us

 Author: Chloe Frayne

ISBN: 978-1-5248-6324-1

Hi Everyone

Even though you are an ocean,

you could pour yourself out 

and there would still be 

some people 

who would see nothing

but a half-empty cup of sand.....


To read the rest of this poem you will need to get a copy of The Gravity Inside Us.  It will be worth the investment.  I know, I love any poetry so maybe I am not the best person to be telling you that this book is worth the investment.  The thing is.... I only review what I believe πŸ˜€ and I have enjoyed every part of the book.

The first section remains my favorite.  Most of poems captured my imagination and left me thinking, which is what all good poetry should do.

The middle selections of poems I would recommend taking your time reading.  I read them one after another one morning over breakfast and then found that I spent the rest of the day a little sad-ish.  It could have just been the day but the poems got me thinking of people and events from my past, whereas the first selection had left me pondering life.

The last third of the book perfectly wove every ounce of the book together and I was left pleased to have been given a copy of The Gravity Inside Us.

I think I will always enjoy poetry and I am thankful to my year 13 English teacher for introducing me to genre and the treasure that every word holds.  I was given gift by that teacher (unfortunately I don't remember her name, I can still see her but her name is gone).  She showed me how to take piece of literature and read between the lines.  Before being introduced to poetry I hated reading.  That particular teacher gave me one genre of literature that I could love and treasure for the rest of my life.  

Anyway..... before I go any further down my schooling years, I will give credit to Chloe Frayne for the words, metaphors and thoughts that she has connected together into beautiful pieces of poetry for the world to enjoy.


From rising Australian poet ChloΓ« Frayne comes her newest poetry collection, The Gravity Inside Us.

Gathering inspiration from a life of travel, hope, long-distance relationships, healing, and adventure, Frayne invites readers into her world. The Gravity Inside Us is an ode to whatever it is we carry that pulls us in and out of place, and speaks so insistently of fate. Through writing about her own experiences, this book is a reach into that space.

Happy reading

This was available from: Book depository

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Think Like a Monk

 Author: Jay Shetty

ISBN: 9780008386429

Hi Everyone

I came across the author of 'Think Like a Monk' one afternoon while I binge watched Youtube rather than TV.  A book was waiting for me but it was one of those nights that if I had picked up my book I would have gone to sleep - Youtube was my next option.  Jay Shetty had a voice that grabbed my attention.  He spoke with joy and passion.  I was drawn to what he had to say.

It led me to the fact that he had book.

Light bulb moment ~ and I was listening to his audio book.

I will start by noting that I am pleased that I took the audio book option for this book because having Jay read it to me felt like it was a conversation.  I needed the conversation to come from someone and not myself.  I highly recommend listening to this one rather than reading it.  The benefit of obtaining a hard copy book of this title would be the ability to highlight content.  I have thought about that one... I think I would like to have the book and highlight in a different colour each time I re-read any chapter because each time I re-read I believe it would be for a different reason and outcome.

Okay, what did I take from this reading? 

Now that I go to write, I realize that there is so much!  The best idea is to take what Jay Shetty notes we will learn and make notes of my 'take homes' from each idea.

Train your mind for peace every day ~ This was a good one.  When I get up in the morning, I like to get up earlier than everyone else and get my breakfast. I did like to read the news headlines on my phone, check out any subscriptions to ensure I wasn't missing anything, and the other normal morning things that we all tend to do.  Now, I get up and have my breakfast (I love breakfast it is the best meal of the day), I take time to sit in the quiet, reflect what the day may hold and how I can present the best me to the world for the day. Then I read until it is time to face the day.

Learn to stop living based on people's opinions and start living on your terms ~ Okay, this is going to take a while to prefect but I am willing to start.  It is not something that I have major issues with but I know that I can do better.

Remove negativity and overcome toxic relationships and habits ~ This is a process that has been happening all by itself over the last couple of years.  I have to agree with Jay Shetty on this one. It is so easy to keep people in your life that are just... toxic. The thing that hit me most is that sometimes you don't even realize that the relationship is based on time rather than growth and encouragement, friendship and understanding. Not an easy thing and don't be ruthless but... worth thinking about, especially if the person has already distanced and you can't let go.

Heal your anxiety, fear and pain from the past ~ When I searched this one, I came back to the idea that there was a lot to be happy about with my past and I choose to continue to remember those times.  I am one of the lucky ones that had a Mum that talked to me; a lot.  I love her for that.  Maybe I have already dealt with more than I know or maybe I have faith that everything is for a reason.  Whatever my maybe's I am happy to remember the good, especially the talks with my mother (all you mum's out there, talk to your children they will remember).

Uncover your true passion and purpose ~ I believe I have, at least for this time of my life.  For any of you reading this, uncover your true passion and run with it... you owe it to the world.

Create effective morning and evening routines that transform your daily habits ~ I am a routine person and if you aren't then find a routine! It is much easier on your mind to have a few routines in your life, it is just one less thing to have to think about πŸ˜‰

Stop overthinking and procrastinating and train your mind to focus ~ I am a work progress on this one.  I don't tend to procrastinate but I do think about everything and not only for myself but for everyone else as well.  I am a fixer! Well, at least I use to be - as my kids get older I am realizing that I don't have to think for them any more - phew!!

Put aside your ego to clear the path to success ~ Something we can all work on.

Develop an impactful gratitude practice that goes deeper than a list ~ The more that I think about what I have to be thankful for the less I think of anything as an issue.  There is something good in most things if we look.  Sometimes it is after the events that we can see what there is to be thankful for but there is more than we see when our mind is shut.

Find and develop true compatibility in relationships ~ When you delve into this idea remember that all relationships are about both people not just you πŸ˜€  

There we go! That was a lot.  As you can see there is plenty to sink your mind into with this book and I am sure you will find something worthy of putting this on your reading list.


Jay Shetty, social media superstar and host of the #1 podcast On Purpose, distills the timeless wisdom he learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life.

When you think like a monk, you’ll understand:
- How to overcome negativity
- How to stop overthinking
- Why comparison kills love
- How to use your fear
- Why you can’t find happiness by looking for it
- How to learn from everyone you meet
- Why you are not your thoughts
- How to find your purpose
- Why kindness is crucial to success
- And much more...

Shetty grew up in a family where you could become one of three things—a doctor, a lawyer, or a failure. His family was convinced he had chosen option three: instead of attending his college graduation ceremony, he headed to India to become a monk, to meditate every day for four to eight hours, and devote his life to helping others. After three years, one of his teachers told him that he would have more impact on the world if he left the monk’s path to share his experience and wisdom with others. Heavily in debt, and with no recognizable skills on his rΓ©sumΓ©, he moved back home in north London with his parents.

Shetty reconnected with old school friends—many working for some of the world’s largest corporations—who were experiencing tremendous stress, pressure, and unhappiness, and they invited Shetty to coach them on well-being, purpose, and mindfulness. Since then, Shetty has become one of the world’s most popular influencers. In 2017, he was named in the Forbes magazine 30-under-30 for being a game-changer in the world of media. In 2018, he had the #1 video on Facebook with over 360 million views. His social media following totals over 38 million, he has produced over 400 viral videos which have amassed more than 8 billion views, and his podcast, On Purpose, is consistently ranked the world’s #1 Health and Wellness podcast.

In this inspiring, empowering book, Shetty draws on his time as a monk to show us how we can clear the roadblocks to our potential and power. Combining ancient wisdom and his own rich experiences in the ashram, Think Like a Monk reveals how to overcome negative thoughts and habits, and access the calm and purpose that lie within all of us. He transforms abstract lessons into advice and exercises we can all apply to reduce stress, improve relationships, and give the gifts we find in ourselves to the world. Shetty proves that everyone can—and should—think like a monk.

Retrieved from:

Happy reading

This was available from: Book depository and Whitcoulls

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

And Then...

 Author: M. H. Clark

Illustrated by: Alexandra Ball

ISBN: 979-1-935414-71-1

Hi Everyone

Before I get into anything else today, I need to let you know of a fantastic cafe in Windsor, Invercargill (New Zealand).  If you are traveling, you need to drop in there for lunch or afternoon tea.  If you live close by, then make it a local stop when your out and about.  It has the most fantastic staff, divine food and books!  Books!  I know.... what can be better, a place that gives a great cuppa, friendly welcome and has the most beautiful books, notebooks and gifts to browse.

I'm going to be going back regularly to collect most of their books.  I haven't seen such a range of beautiful books on display for long time - and I use to work in a book store, so I have seen a fair array of beautiful books.

The gem I picked up last week was, "And Then... Story Starters - 20 Imaginative Beginnings".  Lets start with the presentation. It looks like a book, but you open it to be presented with a box format full of 20 cards. The outer casing is solid and well put together, so for anyone contemplating purchasing one, I think you would be making a lasting investment. Every card is sturdy, so I think they will last the test of time.  Every card has a gorgeous illustration that captures your imagination before you even start to read it. .

And then... on every card there is a start to a story.  I am impressed with the story starters.  They are clever and intelligently worded.  I pick one up, read, and want to start writing.   No wonder the box claims to be for ages 4 to 100. I think any one reading these will have their imagination wonder off to somewhere else.  

Definitely an investment piece to my collection!

And... there were two to choose from so I guess I will be getting the red collection as well πŸ˜€


Tell me a story...

A long story, a short story, a story that takes place in a faraway land, a story right here at home, a story filled with bright colors and mysterious characters and all kinds of unexpected things.  The story starters in this collection are your keys to new worlds; no matter how many times you use each one, you'll never end up in the same place.  And just like a journey in a new land, there's no right or wrong way to wander; your imagination always knows exactly what to do.

And Then... is a collection of 20 beginnings.  What will the endings look like?  It's up to you.  Each of the cards in this box has a tantalizing start to a story you'll want to finish.  After the "And then..." it's up to you to decide what happens next.  With stories of underground tunnels, hot air balloons, and un-school buses, there's plenty of creative inspiration for everyone.

Tell a different kind of story - one that encourages self-expression, creativity, and confidence.  Whether you use these story starters at bedtime, on the road, or in the classroom, there's no limit to the possibilities.  Just open the box, and then...

Happy reading

This was available from: Bliss cafe and gift shop

Friday, 12 March 2021

How To Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale Carnegie

ISBN: 9780207158797

Hi Everyone.

Who else is finding that this year is going extremely fast?  We are heading into Autumn here which I often find quite a relaxing and rewarding time of the year.  It still brings beautiful days of sun shine; cold frosts that seems to bring a clean freshness to the air; and then there are the days of rain that keep me inside and enable me to find an excuse to pick up a book.

I have been reading loads of great books over the summer.  I haven't blogged them all.... why?  Because I have been so tied up teaching my wonderful students! All of which I am extremely grateful to have  breeze in and out of either our Zoom meetings or my tutoring room. 

So what have I been reading?

Interesting enough, this book I picked up by chance.  It popped into my Youtube recommendations and I was reminded of my days working at Whitcoulls (one of NZ's book stores).  When I worked at Whitcoulls it was one of the biggest book store chains in New Zealand.  Now it has changed ownership and is a 'One stop gift shop'.  Not quite like the old days but still a good shop.  Anyway, 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' was a top seller in my days at Whitcoulls and I never actually read it.  I thought the title sounded a little self absorbed.

I was wrong!

I read this in wonder πŸ’­

The principles are actually really good.  They make you look at how you listen and treat others people. How could I have missed this little gem of a read.  Maybe it was the title or maybe I wasn't ready to read it.  Different place and different time; now I pick it up and become so absorbed in the literature and kindness of the author's principles. 

He connected each idea and added a reminder from time to time extremely well throughout the book, which keep me reading and remembering each idea as it built on the the concepts along the way.  I was reminded of the great mentors I've had, who showed me that listening and respecting other people was the greatest gift that we could give to relationships, be they the local dairy assistant or employer, an employee, friend or family member.  We all need to read this book as a reminder of the old 'treat others as you would like to yourself be treated'.  There is the added reminder of how written language communicates in more ways than we often realize - remember when we use to communicate with each other via written mail πŸ˜‚ the days when we sent a letter rather than an email, text or a Zoom link. Actually, I quite pleased that we can communicate so quickly.... and now I am reminded of the importance of how that communication (or lack of replied communication) may influence or even effect the other persons day.


Even writing this gets me thinking again about how we communicate with each other.

Have you not replied to or simply forgotten (or forgotten on purpose!) to reply to a message lately?  Think about it.... how hard is it to communicate.  Let's all take a simple look at how we influence each situation, for the good or bad, through our communication.  

This book is worth reading.  Look past the title and have a little look inside, there are some great little principles that are worth thinking about.  From time to time we can do with a reminder of how our communications influence even little things in someone else's day and our own.

Happy reading

This was available from: Book Depository and Fishpond

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

The Bad Luck Lighthouse

Author: Nicki Thornton
ISBN: 9781912626304

Hi Everyone

I love the library more now than ever at the moment.  As my love for different genres has widened, I find a new gem (or today, 11) just begging me to take it home.  I have taken a real liking to the shelf with the 'new books'.  Some of these I have noticed, are actually older titles but the library obviously has a new copy.  When I get them home and finally decided which one I am going to start with, I feel like I have been shopping at the bookstore.  I especially like the new books when I have requested they purchase a title, when they come in I know am reading that particular book first.  There is nothing quite like a new book and I can admit that I enjoy the newbies, even if they have to be sent back in three weeks. 

The Bad Luck Lighthouse came from the 'new books' stand at our library.  I found so much to think about in this book.  It is quite interesting what you can learn from a simple book.  Don't stop at the classics, I find there is something between the pages of every book if we are willing to sink beneath the surface and actually ponder what  is happening. This includes children's books and children reading them should be encouraged to think about what they are reading, between the lines, looking at anything that grabs their interest

Actually, I say throw away the multi-choice tests and fill in the gap sheets for books at schools and talk about the books.  When I say talk about them I don't mean ask questions that have an answer. Ask questions that need a conversation, an opinion, and a little thinking about characters and life.  If I had been shown how to think in these ways, about the events in a book as a child, I would have liked reading so much more - I may have pick a book up and read it.  There you go confessions of a student past.  I didn't read at school!  In fact I spent years saying I hated it!  With a passion!  Come on all you adults out there, if we stop testing the kids with random right/wrong questions and just have a conversation maybe more kids might like what they encounter. Maybe or maybe not, after all it is just my opinion.  An opinion from a childhood non-reader.

Today I read everything.  I have lots of catching up to do.  Lots of pondering the happenings between the pages of books from every age and every genre.  Fun!  

Fact: Never give up on a child.  They may not enjoy reading now but there is always time.  Enjoy reading for them and to them, they deserve to hear the story.  By hearing the story, one day they may just be an avid reading.... Never give up.

Back to the book at hand 😁  What was just a story became a brilliant piece of literature.  

It was in the suspense category and there was plenty of that.  I could have put it in the mystery section too but the librarians labelled it 'suspense'.  This was also a book with plenty of magic.  It was a book that showed people can often be more than you see. I feel that everyone had either a personal secret, a secret identity, a secret life, or simply didn't know what they had to offer and that had to be brought to the surface too.  It was like judging a book by its cover only to find the inside was nothing that you predicted.  Every character evolved in some way as the book progress.  No-one seemed to be who I thought they were.  Secrets unraveled everywhere.  

This may be a children/juvenile fiction book but from this book there are so many talking points and avenues that one can take a conversation down.  As you or you children read it, think about it.  Think about what we can hide from the world.  Think about what how your kids or yourself judge others without really knowing the real person below the surface. I am sure if you open your mind as you read this you will see so much more in the mystery and suspense.  And, it's actually a really good read. Enjoy the friendships and the magic.  Enjoy the journey.


Welcome to the bad luck lighthouse

In solving the mystery at the Last Chance Hotel, Seth has discovered a world of magic. Swept up in a new case at Snakesmouth Lighthouse - the murder of eccentric owner Mina Mintencress - he is determined to prove himself.

With the help of his cat, Nightshade, Seth must put his new-found magic to the test. Can they unmask a sinister sorcerer... before it's too late?

Happy reading

Friday, 14 August 2020

We Were Liars

Author: E Lockhart

Hi Everyone

The weekend has arrived!  I guess it depends on when you are reading this, but as for me right here, right now, it is the weekend!  And what a week it has been as our country was placed back into social restrictions.  Along with social restrictions there comes more reading time πŸ˜€ and the sun has decided to show up (we are in winter) so I will be heading to the garden to start preparing for the onset of spring.  Sound like a good weekend?  

This week I finished We Were Liars. Once again it is a book that has been waiting to be read.  There is one bonus to staying at home more and that is picking up the books that have been waiting for me here.  Who else can admit to the ever increasing TBR lists and books that are already waiting but you just can't help adding one more; maybe just another couple too...

Okay, to the book at hand.

I quite enjoyed this one.  It was an easy read, which was quiet refreshing.  I put the book down a couple of times and had a little smile at the language as I recalled my adolescent years and some of the conversations my friends and I had, and the places we congregated.  Rubbish, useless conversations that at the time had so much meaning but now I just smile and have a little giggle at the thought.  I recalled summer holidays when we took our friends with us or I joined another family and tagged long with them.  I guess you could say I became a part of the book from time to time, hence it has to be put into the 'good read' pile.

It was the ending that really got me thinking.  When the truth was finally remembered.  The twisted outcome shocked me.  I didn't see it coming, at all.  The thing that got me the most was that Cadence hadn't set out to hold back truth.  She had an accident - or had she?  Trauma?  Even as I sit here writing my thoughts on this book, I go into deep thought about how many lies we all hold, hidden.  Hidden not just from the those around us but even from ourselves.  Cadence had no recall of the images she dug out in the final pages.  In our final pages what are we going to recall?  I know as things come up in my adult life, I recall one more little thing that I unknowingly hid away, even from myself.... memories forgotten to protect this child at the time.  Fortunately I had a good childhood, so my little hidden dramas are easily dealt with.  But as I pondered Cadence's memories, I thought of all the things many people trap in their hidden child, so deep inside that it is literally lost; for how long though?

I know this is deep thinking when it was such a simple read πŸ’­  But that is what reading some of the classics has done to me.... I'm ruined!

Anyway, if you want a simple read that might just make you smile along the way and then give you a twist that will make you go 'What?!' in the final pages then this book is for you.  

And, if you read some book along the way that you find gets you thinking like some do me, then leave me a message recommending I too put it on my TBR list - the list is NEVER too long.


A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends - the Liars - whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Book depository

Happy reading

Monday, 10 August 2020

The Sailing Ship Tree

The Sailing Ship Tree

Author: Berlie Doherty

ISBN: 9781846470448

Hi Everyone

Here we have another book finally read that has been waiting to be picked up for months.  I purchased this book from Young Reflections off one of their sale tables.  Hence, I am not sure that they will still have it but it is well worth taking an afternoon out to browse their shop, it is one of my favorite education stores.  

The book description grabbed my interest first.  So I thought it only respectful to include the description part way through my written thoughts this time around - 


This is the story of the Big House by the Mersy and the people who lived there.  In particular the twins Walter and Dorothy, whose father is the butler; Master George, the desperately lonely son of the wealthy owner; and Tweeny, the little maid treated hardly better than a slave.

In a way the house belongs to all of them, though the lives of the servants and masters couldn't be more different.

When disaster strikes and Master George needs help, the four children find refuge in the branches of a beautiful chestnut tree in the grounds of the house and three create a daring plot to help him escape to a new world.

Did it live up to my first impressions?

I have to admit that it didn't grab me within the first few pages, so I put it down.  For quite a few months I struggled to pick it back up.  But, I am extremely pleased that I did pick it back up and start reading again.  Maybe I wasn't in the right mood the first time; or maybe it was a slow starter; either concept is possible but once I manage to find myself landed inside the pages there was no way I was closing the book.

I have no idea how big there sailing ship tree was but my imagination made it into something big and wonderful.  Not in fantasy way, rather in a vision of a really old tree that wanted as much company as the children.  It seemed like a place I would have gone to hide and feel safe and powerful.  For different reasons each child loved the tree right to the end.

The story was inter-twined with history and full of unexpected situations.  There was a part that I admit to being shocked by the twist in plot, but it did all work out in the end.  An ending that made the whole book seem real.  I envisioned the final pages with precision in my own little mind.  How the author wanted me to see it is beyond my knowledge but I give her credit for how she finalized it.

When I had finished this little gem, I went searching for information about the author only to discover her web page Berlie Doherty . On her page you will find out about how she came to write the book, an interesting read in itself.

Well, I have students due any minute so I will have to leave you all with a little homework for yourself:

  1.  Find out where you can get yourself a copy and read it
  2. Take a look in on and find out about the making of this story and the author.  It will be well worth the time

Happy reading

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

The Glimme

The Glimme
Emily Rodda & Marc McBride
ISBN: 978-1-86291-957-0

Hi Everyone,

I purchased this book over the Christmas holidays because of the cover and the pictures inside.  It is one of the most wonderfully presented novels I have ever come across.  There is 376 pages of well written text and amazing pictures to accompany it.  I just had to have it purely because of the presentation.

Six months later and I thought I would pick it up and see what the story told. I could be a little bias here because I enjoy both fantasy and children's genre, so if you are like me... you might need a copy for your bookcase too.  I enjoyed the journey that Emily Rodda took me on.  There were times that I had to stop and think about what character was taking the limelight, and I found that at times I was wanting the story to go a little faster.  I expected the housekeeper to turn up in the Glimme world but to my surprise she didn't, rather there was quite a twist at the end in which she was drawn back into the plot.  The end was in fact, very well written as it connected each character back into their rightful places while leaving a little speckle of unexpected which didn't leave the story in a state of 'normal/regular' old story line.

My favorite characters were the giants.  I would have stayed with them right there on the pages.  They were a breath of fresh air placed into the story and I applause Emily Rodda for including them in their rightful place.  They made me smile and keep turning the pages to see if they were still with me in the pages.

Now, for you to get a good idea of this wonderful gem of a book I have included the following youtube clip which was put on youtube by Children's Book Council of Australia.  It is a reading of The Glimme by Emily Rodda.  You will get a glimpse of the pictures that adorn the pages and an idea of the story.

While I was watching this clip I thought I would check out the Children's Book Council of Australia (click link to check it out too).  It is worth checking out, there are a few good reviews and readings on their page.

There we go, you now have two assignments...
  1.  Pick up a copy of The Glimme and read it for yourself
  2. Take a look at The Children's Book Council of Australia's youtube page


Finn's life in the village of Wichant is hard.  Only his drawings of the wild coastline, with its dragon-shaped clouds and headlands that look like giants, make him happy.

Then the strange housekeeper from a mysterious clifftop mansion sees his talent, buys him for a handful of gold and then reveals to him seven extraordinary paintings.  Finn thinks the paintings must be pure fantasy - such amazing scenes and creatures can't be real!

He's wrong.  Soon he is going to slip through the veil between worlds and plunge intothe wonders and perils of the Glimme.

Happy reading

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Across the Face of the World

Across the Face of the World
Author: Russell Kirkpatrick
ISBN: 9780316003414

Hi Everyone

Today I bring to you another one of the books I had picked for me from our library.  I have to warn you that this book is a big one, with 671 pages, so it might take a while to read.  I have to admit, that out of the 10 books the library picked for me, I opted to read this one first because of the cover.  I know! Don't judge a book by the cover! But, I am just one of those people who are attracted by a book cover.  So to all you budding authors out there, make sure you make the cover interesting.  One type of book cover that just doesn't draw my interest, but seems popular at the present, is those with the title printed one word per line right down the cover - stop it!  I want to see some imagination on the cover before I open it.  If you can't put something interesting on the cover then how can I expect something interesting inside the pages? πŸ’


Back to the topic at hand....

This book is the first in a trilogy which I should have taken note of before I got half way through and was totally hooked to the plot.  I will be reading the next book in this series because I can't stop at the end of this one, it was just too good.

I would say that to a degree this book reminded me a little of the 'Lord of the Rings' series.  And no, I am not going to even try to compare the two mainly because I have yet to be convinced I that I even like the Lord of the Rings - I tried reading it once and just couldn't see the hype, but may try again one day because the set does sit on my bookcase.

The best thing about this book was the descriptive writing of the scenes.  I took a look at some other reviews (about half way through reading the book) and found some people didn't like the map making descriptive aspect of Russell Kirkpatrick's writing.  I did.  I envisioned the journey with clarity and precision which in turn made me feel a part of the book.  I turned page after page to see where the characters would be taken, where they would meet again, and where/when they would meet their triumph or doom. 

I could put this book into a "just another generic plot" category and in some ways I would be correct.  But, there is still that little thing grabbing me to continue reading the second in the series, so it must be a good read.  Why?  For me it was the descriptive writing rather than the average 'he said, she said, they said' gabble that adorns many books on the market today.  Give me vision in the pages so I can enter the world that has been created by the author!  This is what 'Across the Face of the World' gave me. 

Stay tune in and I will get the next book from the library and tell you whether I continue to find this trilogy worth  of reading.

Happy reading

This was available from: Fishpond

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Odd Boy out - Young Albert Einstein

Odd Boy Out - Young Albert Einstein
Author: Don Brown
ISBN: 9780547014357

Hi Everyone

I'm sitting in the sun writing this post.  It is the middle of winter and the sun is streaming through my window.  Amazing! 


'Odd Boy Out - Young Albert Einstein was in the 'book bag' that I got from our library during our lockdown.  This book bag initiative is a brilliant resource to be taking advantage of while it is still on offer.  

So, here is how it works:
  • You head online to the Invercargill library - try your library and see if it is available there too.
  • Click on my 'book bag' and fill in your library card details etc
  • State the kind of books you like
  • Answer when would you like to pick them up
  • The library will fill a bag of 10 books picked just for you
  • Turn up to the library entrance and your bag will be there with your name on it awaiting you
  • Read
  • Read
  • Read
  • Return six weeks later
    • Brilliant!
I asked for a couple of picture flats to be included in mine for with my students.  This was one of them.  A couple of my students have read it with me and we have had great discussions throughout reading it;  great for comprehension.  We even had to stop and seek more information from Google because the questions that have arisen have had us seek more about the lad that grew to adorn the history books.  

Any book that gets my students asking questions and has them researching beyond its pages is a fantastic book in my opinion.  For such a little book, I am impressed by the questions that arose and the discussions that evolved.  

I cannot say that I loved the illustrations this time around, but they did suit the book.  They suited the era of the information and they didn't distract the young readers from the information.  I question if my students would have asked so many questions if the illustrations were bright and in their faces, hence I feel the pictures suited the purposes a living book.

I notice that Don Brown has written a number of books that outline historical events and characters.  I will look into whether our library has any of them and take a journey through history via picture flats if they do.  Keep looking in to see what I find.  In the meantime, I will be returning this copy to our library soon if you want to reserve it.  I have included a link by which you can purchase a copy for all of you that can't find a copy at your library.

Yes, I think our libraries should be used and used often.  Let's get our little ones back to the library.  My kids loved their weekly trip to the library when they were little.  My daughter would bring home a huge bag of books every week and then weeks later get out the same books because they were yet to be read πŸ˜‚ To this day she loves the library (she finishes reading them now).

Happy reading

Available from:

Friday, 29 May 2020

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett

Hi Everyone,

It has been a long time since I last submitted a review for you all.  It has been quite a year as I am sure you will all agree!  Through all this - whatever you want to call it - there is always an opportunity to learn something about life.  My country has been in lockdown just like many of you out there.  I found myself at home (a place I love to be) and being made to remain in this quiet place.  It was so quiet without traffic, even though I live out in the country.  I heard birds singing like never before, I saw horses running that I had walked past daily but never noticed playing, I felt a calm all around that is hard to explain.  In all that calm there was no library open!  But.... I have a Kindle.

I opened my Kindle and went searching for a classic.  Why a classic? I have no answer except that for some reason this past year I have discovered a new world of literacy in the pages of a good classic.  My search led me to The Secret Garden.  I remembered how much I loved the movie and clicked 'buy'.  A choice I have not regretted since.

When I started reading I thought about all the links to the world we are in today.  Mary lives in India where she is looked after by everyone but her mother.  This is not to say that we don't look after our children today as of course we do, but I have noticed that many people have opted not to send their little ones back to school or day-care here yet where prior to our lockdown it was almost a given that I'd send my kids to day-care, kindergarten and school.  Then, they had an outbreak of Cholera and Mary was sent to live with her uncle.  Hence, I thought 'interesting' and kept reading.

Oh my goodness was I in for a treat.

Mary was a little ratbag, to say the least. Talk about being an entitled little brat.  Then she finds Colin.  What can I say about Colin, he is worse.  Now don't be too quick to judge these little ones! They are only 10 years old and know nothing else of the world other than that which the adults have shown them, or rather in this case - not shown them.  

As Mary explores the outside world of the garden and finds the secret garden that dwells within, she is transformed.  As the garden is weeded and loved, so too Mary is weeded and transformed.  She finds a friendship in Dicken, who is such an adorable wee lad, and learns a simple thing called kindness.  Mary and Dicken introduce Colin to the world beyond his bedroom walls and he too transforms.  

How many of you have been transformed through all the changes around you.  In my country there is by far more little acts of kindness happening and I hope that it grows just as it did in Mary, Colin and the garden.  

One of the things that really sparked my interest was the way in which they found words played a pivotal part of what happened.  Every word and thought created an action and reaction.  I hear this flicked around the place loads and found it of great interest that a kids book from 1911 (109 years ago!) acknowledged it.  They also put emphasis on the importance of fresh air, play and good hearty natural food in their improvement of health.  I sat reading thinking "Come on! They are still studying this but knew about it all naturally back in 1911?)  

So, I was left thinking "How far has the world come".  We have another pandemic.  We are acknowledging more and more that our thoughts and words have an effect (do a search and see all the new books entering the market on this topic).  We are constantly saying that we lack vitamin D and need to get outside more.  They knew all this, as a natural fact, over 100 years ago and it was naturally written into a children's book!

Maybe we should all go back and read the old children's books.  Or, at least try reading a classic there is a wealth of knowledge to be taken from these pieces of literature.

Is that enough to get your interest sparked?  Try reading a classic, I for one am going to read more of them, now that I have discovered a world from the past that actually wrote some good stories.

Happy reading