Tuesday, 22 December 2015



If there is one thing I have learnt this year it is 'growth begins with gratitude'.  It is not what others can do for you; it will never bring happiness.  They will never add up to your expectations.  At times, I wonder if they have any idea of my expectations.

You can search for happiness in endless things but with out growth we become stagnant.  When we become stagnant nothing good follows.  The more I look for things to be grateful for the more I see the beauty in the little things.  In the buttercups of my life.

When I was a little girl, my teacher would send my class for a run around the school grounds.  I loved running, but the buttercups and daisies were more interesting.  Us girls would sit and make the daisy's into chains and the buttercups would glow under our chins as we laughed over who 'liked butter'.  As I got older, the buttercups became weeds.  Every week I mow them down.  Every week they have the strength to poke their heads back up and grow again.  As I walked down my driveway the other day I stopped and took the above picture of the buttercups in my driveway.  The weeds that need to be chopped down.  I saw beauty in the picture.  I thought of the strength behind the small flower and thought of how I am no longer grateful for their beauty as I was years earlier.

I thought of the people in my life, the buttercups that are mowed down without knowing.  Those people have a strength we should all be grateful for.  Each week they turn up.  Each week they put on smile and help. 

I am grateful for all the buttercup people.  The people who have laughed with me when they wanted to cry.  The ones who made me coffee when they were tired.  The ones who encouraged me when they really needed the encouraging.

Who are you grateful for this Christmas?

Merry Christmas everyone!  I am grateful to each of you that look in every week, making my reading and writing a joy.

Happy reading


Monday, 21 December 2015

Life of Fred

Life of Fred
Author: Stanley F. Schmidt, Ph.D.

Hi everyone,
Today I bring to you my favourite curriculum for the year, 'Life of Fred'.  The kids have loved working their way through the story of Fred a six-year-old genius who teaches.  It sound's like an impossible concept, but the kids enjoyed it.  Now this is no little kids curriculum; it goes right up to teaching linear algebra.
How often do you hear, "Why do we have to learn this I will never use it anyway?"  This is exactly the question that led me to the purchase of this series.  I was able to teach algebra, but I could not answer how it would be used.  Life of Fred does this in a fun way, through a story.  At the end of each chapter, there are questions to try, and answers.
I liked the way this captured the thinking of the kids.  I also like that it is a complete series.  So often I have been able to get primary aged books, but secondary curriculum lacks.  As you can see from the following list, there is good follow on from book to book:
Life of Fred: Fractions
Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents
Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology
Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics
Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra
Life of Fred: Advanced Algebra
Life of Fred Geometry
Life of Fred: Trigonometry
Life of Fred: Calculus
Life of Fred: Statistics
Life of Fred Linear Algebra
I have been using this curriculum in addition to Saxon Math this year, and it has been a great extension to the kids math.  I know of others that are using it as a stand alone curriculum and are finding it good without the addition of Saxon.  The reason I have done both is because Saxon math works with the kids I am teaching.  The reason I added 'Life of Fred" was to answer the questions of why would algebra be of any use in the real world. 

Happy reading

This was available from: Amazon, Stanley Schmidt, Engaging Minds, and Life of Fred math

Friday, 18 December 2015

Taking Tiffany

Taking Tiffany
M K Harkins
ISBN: 6456984532454

This novel was refreshing to sit down and read at the end of each day.  I enjoyed the richness of the characters as they lived in a world that could give them everything yet they all still desired everything else.  Although Tiffany had all the money one could envision, she still had a spirit about her that made her likeable.  I hate it when I read a novel with spoilt rich young adults, but this one went beyond the normal plot with Tiffany wanting to live a normal existence within her world. 

Angela was another character that I found myself connecting with.  She seemed to have issues beyond imagination, yet I liked her.  In fact, I would say she made the story for me.  I loved the way her hardness disappeared but not in a predictable manner.

The connection between Angela and Tiffany didn't unfold to later in the book which left me guessing and I can't tell you if I guessed right or wrong without spoiling the book.  You will have to pick up a copy, along with a coffee, and read it.  I am sure you won't be disappointed it has just enough of everything: love, drama, suspense, action and mystery.

Thank you to NetGalley for supplying me with a copy of this novel to review.


Young socialite, Tiffany Thompson, seems to have it all, everything but love, that is. Guarded since her high school boyfriend’s betrayal, she wouldn’t recognize real love if it hit her over the head. Unless it’s a can of paint, and successful financier Todd Jameson is behind it.

Todd fell hard and fast for Tiffany a year earlier, but, unwilling to risk his own heart after a college sweetheart shattered it, he avoids Tiffany and vows to keep his distance. Fate has other plans, however, and changes both their minds.

But not everyone is happy with their budding romance. Unbeknownst to either of them, a vengeful enemy stands in the shadows with plans to take Tiffany, and Todd is in the way.

Halfway around the world, Angela Bartholomew, a former foe in Tiffany’s circle, is serving a year-long sentence as a volunteer in a Romanian orphanage in payment for her lying, manipulative ways. That or be disinherited by her parents. The spoiled debutante is determined to get home at all cost, but Fate has plans for her, too, and Angela is not prepared for how her life will change.

Will love conquer heartbreak, or will greed and revenge ruin all three lives?

Happy Reading

This was available from: Amazon


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Worthy of repeating

Hi everyone

This morning I woke up, jumped out of bed (sorry I am a morning person) and sat down with my breakfast and emails.  Marie Forleo regularly inspires me or gets me thinking and this morning was no different.  I have placed her posting below for you watch.  I think she makes some good points about how we spend our days working when we want to spend time doing the things that are really important to us.  It is all about choice.  Sometimes I think I have no choice as the demands around me expand.  In reality, I do.  I just have to breathe.  I am sure I forget to do this sometimes!  Come on guys, who out there goes about their day and hardly takes the time to breathe, I can't be the only one! 

As we enter into the holiday season, first off take the time to breathe.  At least, take enough time to realise you are breathing.  It is so important to relax and realise you are alive, you are a person, and you are worthy.  Then look around you.  See the family and friends.  If you have little or no family then what friends have become your family.  If you feel alone... it's a lie!  Just shut your eyes and see what stands in front you, it may surprise you to remember the people you haven't phoned this year.

All the best
Keep reading and smiling

Special thanks goes out to Marie Foleo for staying true to herself as she inspires people to be all they can be.  Your video clips are always fun and informational, keep going girl!

Marie Forleo's youtube channel link:

You can also find her at:

Monday, 14 December 2015

The old lady who loved to read

The old Lady who loved to read
Author: John Winch
ISBN: 1863884610
Picture book

Hi Everyone
I had trouble finding where to get this book from so if you can find somewhere that I can link below let me know in the comments.  I got this from the library so try your libraries if you can't buy a copy.

The pictures are full page beautiful colour.  The story is simple and enjoyable.  What I liked most about this story was the fact the lady thought she should move house to get peace and quiet so she could read.  Life proved to be just as noisy and busy as the city.  It's the old tale of life isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.

This story is a brilliant way of showing children that what we wish for isn't always what we want.  The animals will attract any child as they are characters in themselves in each picture.


The old woman thought that when she moved to the country she would have plenty of time to read.  But she soon found that each season brought other tasks to keep her busy...

John Winch, who lives in the outback New South Wales, lovingly depicts the ups and downs of rural life.

Happy reading

Saturday, 12 December 2015

the ship of sight and the hand of shadow

The ship of sight and the hand of shadow
Author: Brydie Walker Bain
Pages: 209


Thanks to Brydie Walker Bain for sending me this book, I got to experience the second adventure of Nat and her friends as she travelled throughout New Zealand to complete a task or die.  This book follows after 'The Secret of Sinbad's Cave' and the adventure continued without disappointment.

This book has a lot of Maori place names, just like the first book did.  In the back is a glossary that will help any reader who stumbles over the words.  I read this aloud to my kids and I stumbled over the pronunciation but that is only because I knew what they should sound like.  This book is one that should be read in all New Zealand schools as they venture to include Maori as part of the curriculum dynamics.  What I liked most were the places Nat and her friends ventured to places I recognised, throughout the North Island of New Zealand.  The scenic adventure included rivers, waterfalls and the ocean, all of which are in part what makes New Zealand such a beautiful country.

The adventure and fantasy continued to impress me.  There was more fantasy in the first novel but, the adventure in this novel was greater.  The friendships were close and the dialogue between the characters re-enforced this, making it a great middle read of friendship and adventure. 
So, for all you teachers in New Zealand, this book should be on your class shelve.  Pick up a copy and include it into your class reading for 2016.


A phone call before dawn launches Nat Sheppard into a world of intrigue that leaves her fighting for her life. Entrusted with a sacred task that must be completed within two phases of the moon, Nat and her friends race up New Zealand toward Cape Reinga. But the ruthless villain they outwitted last holidays is hunting them, and she will do anything to stop Nat completing her mission.

This was Available from Amazon


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Worthy of repeating

Hi Everyone,

Summer is here!  Now I know that many of my followers are waiting for snow but I got to walk in the beautiful sunset of this photo.  To finally head to the beach, with no wind, was amazing.  To arrive there and walk in the quiet, that the scene presented, was tranquil after a day keeping everything under control. 

When I opened my mail the next morning, there was a quote stating 'Close your eyes and see'.  Now quotes are there to make us think.  To seek deeper past the distractions of everyday noise.  I had seen the beauty of the sunset, in the heat I had long awaited.  Had I heard past the noise?  Past the distractions of the day?  To be honest, no.  I had enjoyed every moment with my family, walking in the tide yet the noise still drained some of the peace. 

I love to sit, quietly and clear my mind, listening past all distractions.  I am learning to do this, and I recommend it to everyone.  When I sit in my own space, I hear my dreams.  I block out any worry and listen deep within.  I find peace in myself rather than seeking it from others.   I hear myself rather than hoping someone will just hear me and listen. 

Are you worthy of being heard?  Start by shutting your eyes and hearing yourself.  Your dreams and passions.  If you don't want to hear you, then why do you expect others to find you worthy of hearing?  You hold treasures beyond imagination, you just have to shut your eyes and hear, you!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Animal Soup

Animal Soup
Author: Ian Whybrow & Teresa Murfin
ISBN: 978-0-439943-05-5
Picture book

Hi Everyone
This has to be one of the brightest, imaginative picture books that I have picked up in a while!
I remember the joy of alphabet soup when I was a child.  We mainly had rice in our soup, but when we got alphabet pasta it took soup to a new level of enjoyment.  The author of 'Animal Soup' has taken this imagination and placed it into a brilliantly illustrated book.  The placement of the pictures versus text enhances the story and read along effect.  I have to give this book top marks for presentation and language.
Each page rhymes, yet the rhyme doesn't overtake the story like some narratives do.  I read this book to some kids then went back over the narrative to seek out the rhyme.  They enjoyed the exercise, and I will use it again when teaching.  We giggled at the concept of the story and enjoyed each accompanying illustration.  I will be taking this book from shelf to couch, to classroom.
Hold on to your witch's hat - it's time for some animal magic!
Oliver loves his Animal Soup, especially when the animals come to life...
Watch out for elephants, whales and crocodiles in this spectacular soup adventure!
This was available from: Fishpond, Book Depository and Amazon


Friday, 4 December 2015

Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia
Author: Katherine Paterson
ISBN: 0-140-36618-0
Pages: 141

I have always enjoyed the movie that is based on this book.  It screened here a couple of months ago and upon raving about it, my sister handed me the book to read.  It is such a cute little paperback novel.  I thought I would have it read in no time, so decided to read it aloud to the kids.  Well, don't be deceived by size.  This book took quite a bit of reading.  I put this down to it being a classic.  All classics seem to have depth in the language which make reading aloud different from modern novels. 

Did it match up to the movie?  No.  I still like the movie more.  This is the first time I have liked a movie over a book.  I suppose it had to happen sooner or later.  That being said though, it is a lovely story of friendship.  The movie was based more on the happenings in Terabithia.  The book was based more on friendship.  It was Terabithia that grabbed my imagination in the movie and I thought the book lacked this. 

If you want a book on friendship for your kids, this is worth the read.  It does come with loss though, so this may be something you want to consider before choosing who to read aloud to.  My kids enjoyed it.  They thought the book had its merits but still enjoyed the movie more.  I think this book is best read to and by those who haven't seen the movie.  It is a good, traditional classic that hasn't lost its spark or interest in today's modern world.
'We need a place,' Leslie called to him, '...just for us.'
It was Leslie who invented Terabithia, a secret kingdom on an island across the creek.  Here Jess is strong and unafraid.  so when something terrible happens, Jess finds he is able to cope better than he could ever have imagined.
A powerful, moving story about friendship.
This was available from: Amazon, Fishpond and Book depository

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Worthy of repeating

Hi everyone

I have a few things to repeat today.  First is I have a Facebook page for you to connect into.  Search read learn and shine, and it will give you another way to connect into my reviews.  Also, check out my twitter by clicking the link in my side panel.  It's great connecting with you all, so please link in.

The next thing is the Goodreads 2015 votes are completed. Look in on your Goodreads and see what won.  Did you vote?

Now to what I found interesting and thought-provoking this week. I have no idea where this came from other than the fact it was sent to me on my Facebook page by a wonderful friend. This friend is the greatest of people at lifting others up.  I love the people in my life that don't spend all their time running others down.  In fact, I have left behind the people who spend their time degrading others.  There is only so many people one can help in life, and the rest needs to be done by the individual.  I have heard the odd friend comment that it is a good thing to set people straight.  Yes and no.  To the benefit of the person, with grace and love, then yes.  But you had better be a really good encouraging friend before you pick holes in someones life just because it doesn't measure up to your thoughts.  To use your words to support and encourage a friend, will grow the individual and the friendship more than you can imagine.  I don't understand why we put people down other than the inner issues we hide.

Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to be all you can be.  You are free to dream.  You are free to seek those dreams.  Find the people who will encourage you and help you.  Then do the same for someone else.  One person at a time, one friendship at a time.

Friday, 27 November 2015

BookTuber of the month

Calling all BookTubers!  Would you like me to check out your channel?  Then leave a comment below and let me know about you.  Each month I search the world of BookTubers to see what is happening in the book review world.  There are the ones that I have watched for a long time, but what about all you new people out there.  It would be nice to highlight some of the newbies,  we all deserve a chance when we are starting something new.  So here is your chance.  Flick me a comment and your link and I will take a look.  You never know, you may just make it onto my BookTuber of the month list.
This month I have chosen Riley Marie.  I have no idea how long she has been doing her reviews for but she looks fresh and young.  Good on Riley for telling us all about the books she has been reading.  I enjoyed her honesty and her reasoning's.  Keep on reading and reviewing, Riley.

Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Iu1V64MVlc

Happy Reading!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Worthy of Repeating

Hi everyone

This week I would like to share a quote from verybestquotes.com that touched me.  I have led a good life.  I have little regrets.  I have tried more than my best at most things in life.  Good friends and great family are ever present around me. 

Does this mean that I will be happy when my life flashes before me?   It got me thinking about the things I don't do and the things I never got to say.  Maybe my biggest problem is being too busy.  I miss the things I would like to see flashing over and over before my eyes.  The gentle smile of the friend I never took the time to say hello to.  This is partly because I was shy at the time, partly due to being tied up in my world and then there is the speed of life.

It is the unspoken things that I think I will regret the most.  The friendships I missed just because,  and the phone calls I didn't make when a text was quicker.

Quotes are good for getting you to think.  What will flash before your eyes?  Will it make you smile or will it just scare you?  We never look at ourselves but maybe one day we will.  I want to be happy with the picture painted of me in time to come.  I want to make a difference in the lives around me.  I would like to think I have inspired someone in just a little way.

Go on, make a difference today.  Make someone smile.  Inspire and uplift someone.  You will feel better for it, and you will like the picture painted of you one day when you get no say in what someone else thought of you.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Valley of Chaya

Valley of Chaya
Author: Tracey Hoffmann

Hi everyone,
When I first got this book I was only able to find this book in Ebook format.  I am so pleased to see that it is now available in print.  I have this on my Kindle shelf, but it needs to be lined up on my bookcase too.  This is the best book I have every come across addressing the issue of human trafficking.  The lengths the family goes to, to find Charlotte makes one want to cry.  The bond that Charlotte makes with one little girl is immense.  The result of the abduction brings an ending that will challenge your moral thinking.  If you have an e-reader then add it to your wish list, or better yet get it. 
I have a problem now.  I have just noticed that there is a second book in this series.  Eli: Valley of Chaya - Book 2, has been added to my Kindle.  Now I need more reading time!  Roll on Christmas holidays and summer, I am going to sit in the long awaited sun with my Kindle in hand.
The best way explain what this book is about is by reading the blub:
Deceit, corruption and forced prostitution are words that never crossed Charlotte's mind as she finalized arrangements for a trip to India. Her travel partner pulls out at the last minute and Charlotte's father steps in forbidding her to leave alone. Failing to persuade her brother Eli to join her, Charlotte slips away under the cover of night setting off a chain of events that would change her life forever. Snatched from her world on the streets of Mumbai young Shanti now faces unspeakable horrors. Her short life had always been one of hardship but she'd always felt protected and loved by ten-year-old Ashok, her only family. Where was Ashok now? Would he come for her? Why was this happening? Eli and Ashok are determined to rescue their sisters from the dark world of human trafficking. Will their courage and love be enough to bring them home or will they find more than what they were looking for?
Happy reading.
This was available from: Amazon, Fishpond and Book depository

Monday, 16 November 2015

Worthy of Repeating

Hi everyone,

I joined in with some authors and publishers today in a writers panel.  It was awesome to meet these great people.  It was interesting to hear their journey's through the publishing world.  The dynamics of publishing ebooks, printed books, family reunion books and blogs.  The view from the publishes side of the printing and all the extras people don't always take into account before seeking publishing.  It was also interesting to hear how each person set out to write their books.  I teach children how to write and there seem to be so many rules and structures to learn.  Then you listen to authors and their writing follows passion, character formation, instinct and the enjoyment of the journey.

There was the argument of ebooks verses print, as everyone has their own a view on what's best.  I like to have the option of both.  There is nothing like a new book, a coffee, chocolate and a lie in on a day off.  Then again, when you are delivering children from after school activity to the next event, there is a place for the kindle to be tucked quietly inside my handbag.  The kindle enables me to take the characters everywhere I go.  They travel quite happily never complaining (out loud anyway).

I now have a few extra books on my 'to be read list'.  I am especially awaiting the arrival of Syd and Max Head to Bluff.  This book is connected to my family in just a little way and will have to gain a place on my bookshelf.  Syd and Max books is a series of picture books based around the Southland area in New Zealand.  If you can get your hands on Snail Mail then you are in for an artistic treat inside a children's book.  These books will be added to The Ship of Sight and the Hand of Shadow, that Brydie Walker Bain has kindly sent me a copy of.  Keep checking in so I can let you know about each one as I read them.

Anyway, this lead me to this weeks Worthy of Repeating.  I found this over at freelargeimages.com.  There are lots of quotes on their site, free and able to be used for wallpaper on your PC.  As I enjoy poetry and quotes I couldn't resist this one.  We spend far too much time dwelling on the past rather than writing the next chapter.  After all what is it that you want to be remembered for?  Why keep reminding everyone of the things we cannot change rather than showing them the greatness we all hold somewhere inside.  Start writing the next chapter and make it greater than the last... your worth it.


Friday, 13 November 2015

Hello from the Gillespies

Hello from the Gillespies
Author: Monica McInerney
ISBN: 978-1-921901-81-2
Pages: 518

Hello from the Gillespies
Every year Angela sends out a letter to a hundred friends and family.  Every year the letter tells of all the shining events her family has encountered.  Now, come on... we have all received these shining portrayals from friends and families over the years.  Now we received them everyday over Facebook.  Well, this year all goes wrong.  Angela has been suffering from headaches and has the burning desire to tell the truth.  And the  truth she tells.  Upon reading her email she decides to delete it and start again.  That's when it all happens!  The email doesn't get deleted and her husband kindly sends it (without first reading it). 
The book is based on the email and the events documented within.  It made me laugh to imagine the whole situation.  I know I should have been open mouthed but sometimes you just have to giggle.  What a stupid thing to do in the first place.  The lives of each character carries events that make the book readable and enjoyable.  I liked every character, connecting in different ways with each situation as they grew through the moments. 
I enjoyed the way the blurb twisted the events.  I thought.... but ... (cant tell).  If you want a book for the holidays, that are fast approaching us again, then this is a good choice.  It's light hearted and enjoyable.  It's long but  not hard to read.  Check it out.
Here is the blub:
For more than thirty years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-year letter titled 'Hello from the Gillespies'.  It's always been cheery and full of good news.  This year, Angela surprises herself - she tells the truth...
The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be.  Her husband seems to be having a mid-life crisis  Her grown-up twins are having career meltdowns.  Her third daughter, badly in debt, can't stop crying.  And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.
Without Angela, the family would fall apart.   But when Angela is taken from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together - and pull themselves together - in wonderfully surprising ways..
From the best selling author of 'The house of Memories' comes a funny and heartfelt novel about miscommunication and mayhem in a family like no other.
This was available from:  Fishpond, Book depository and Amazon

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Writers talk...

Hi Every one

An opportunity to come meet me.  I will be part of a writers panel event in Winton, New Zealand on 17 November.  There is a range of writers from authors to bloggers and I have been asked to join them.  I would love to meet some of my followers, so if any of you are in the area, come introduce yourself. 

While you are in the area, I highly recommend you take a look in Country Matters and With Grace.  They are two of my favourite shops.  Reading and shopping... now there is a good day for any girl.

Happy reading.


Monday, 9 November 2015

Worthy of Repeating

Hi everyone

This weeks Worthy of Repeating came to me through social media.  This one spoke to me loudly.  I explain and apologise for everything.  Now, I do mean everything!  Never on earth, could it be someone else that should come to me to do the talking.  No.  I explain far to much to keep everyone happy.  For goodness sake it may just be time to stop and let someone else do the explaining.  Maybe that way we all get to not only talk, but also think and listen. 

Yes listening, now that is another subject.  How much do we all really listen.  Not just have a coffee and hear what we want.  I mean really listen.  There are so many people out there suffering from depression.  What if someone listened, really listened, before depression set in?  The world seems to be in such a hurry.  There is family, friends, work, study, social media...  No wonder we feel there is need to explain every action, when we are connected to everything, yet nothing all at the same time.

Now stop and think.  Why do you explain so much?

Then stop and think.  Are you hearing what others have to say?  People in your life are important.  Love them and care for them.  Listen not just to what you want to hear.  Try it, maybe even for just one day.  Consider it a challenge.

Keep smiling


Friday, 6 November 2015

The girl on the train

The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
ISBN: 978-0-857-52232-0
Pages: 320
The Girl on the Train
Ever thought of who might be watching you?  That innocent person passing by each day, what do they know of you?  What kind of life do others see in you actions, while not knowing you?
Each day we look into other peoples worlds.  These are the worlds they want us to see.  What world are they actually living beyond what they want us to know.  We put on faces when we open the door to the outside world.  Us women are really good at it.  We put on a pretty dress, shoes from the growing platform in our wardrobes, and make up to cover every blemish.  We smile and know just the right things to say.  We are socialised this way from infancy.  Schools mould us.  Friends influence us.  Work places structure us.  Then we enter our world at home, where we take of the makeup and shoes and relax with a book. 
This book shows the secrets behind three families, linked in ways that will twist your mind.  The girl on the train sees the perfect side, from the safety of the carriage.  She hides her own misfortunes and drinks away the pain.  Lost is her perfect world, as her ex-husband lives with his new family covered with smiles and beauty.  The couple viewed from the train, are her vision of perfect.  She creates their world, through the window of the train and her imagination.  All is a shattered as the train stops, for just an instance, and she sees... (SPOILER!)

This book is written as a diary, of all three homes.  It took me a while to get into the structure of this one.  I have to admit the first few entries confused me, as it skipped from one person to the next.  Then I realised each person was writing their own diary entry.  It is not just one persons entry.  Once I got head around this idea, the book was really good.  The twists and turns; the annoyance I developed for each character along the way; the sorrow I felt for them also grew.  Then, I had to keep reading to find out the connections and answer all the questions.  So many questions were needing answered by the end of the book, there was no way I could put it down. 

If you pick one up off the shelf, keep reading.  I was tempted to put it down, but I'm glad I didn't.

Here is the blurb:

To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I'm doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.  Just goes to show.

Every day the same

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning.  She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens.  She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses.  'Jess and Jason', she calls them.  Their life - as she sees it - is perfect.  If only Rachel could be that happy.

Until today

And then she sees something shocking.  It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough.  Now everything's changed.  Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar.  Now they'll see she's much more than just the girl on the train.

This was available from: Fishpond, Book depository and Amazon




Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Worthy of repeating

After a week of exams, I had to have a laugh at this one.  It gives one point to the boys and one point to the girls.  It is always interesting to see the impact punctuation can make.  Thanks to the friend that sent this one through to me.

Well exams are through for this semester.  I am redecorating the house this week.  I enjoy decorating and craft, so I am going to grab the chance while I take the next couple of weeks for a bit of relaxation.  There will be more time to finish some of my TBR pile, keep looking in and I will keep you informed with what is being read.  I also have a speaking event coming up which I will put the details up for, so if any of you out there are in the area you can come meet me.

Happy reading and keep smiling

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Booktuber of the month

Hi everyone

October is almost over, that means that Summer is just around the corner here.  It also means that it is exam season.  Speaking of which I have just spent the morning sitting one of mine, 2 to go and I am finished.  Yes finished for ever!  No more exams!  Can you tell how happy I am about that. 

Anyway, to my Booktuber of the month.  This month I am highlighting:

Jesse the reader

I like his style.  His enthusiasm is catching.  I find myself sitting with my kindle and goodreads link at hand as I catalogue new TBR for myself.  I particularly enjoy his bloopers at the end.  I would like to see more tubers highlighting the bloopers, they are so much fun to watch and you get a glimpse at the reality of filming.  I have been watching Jesse's reviews and TBR's for a while now.   Take a look in and see what he is reading, especially if you enjoy young adult books.

Here is the link to Jesse the reader https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDPo9-NZFNi2Gwe8LnlvAUQ

Monday, 26 October 2015


Author: Rachael Craw
ISBN: 978-1-922179-63-0
Pages: 425

Racheal has done it again!  She has written a sequel to Spark that was just as gripping as the first in the series.  I hate it when I start reading a trilogy only to find that I should have stopped with the first book.   Stray only left me wanting to turn page after page.  I am eagerly waiting for next year when Rachael Craw plans to produce the third book in this series, Shield.
What made this book so readable?  The characters were intense.  It was as if I was in the room with them.  There was plenty of action to keep the suspense of the next chapter leading me to read just one more page, before I went to sleep.  Problem being, it was never enough and one page lead to another hour of reading.  The plot was very interesting.  How on earth do writers come up with such ideas?  I can only wish I had just a little of such an ability. 
Now in my opinion this series would make a fabulous movie.  I enjoyed the Insurgent series.  I enjoyed the  Insurgent movies (I was a little disappointed in the Divergent movie).  Now this series I am enjoying by far more.  I would be the first in line for movie tickets if this ever made its way into the theatres.
Here is a peak at the book through its blurb:
Evie is a shield: designed to kill in order to protect, and the Affinity Project have finally come for her.  But Evie isn't ready for the sinister organisation to take control of her life, her body, her mind.  She isn't ready to follow their rules about who can live and who must die - not when it condemns the innocent.  She has one option: risk losing everything and everyone - including Jamie - and run.
This was available from: Fishpond and Amazon


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Worthy of repeating

I love this quote.  It has the weirdest of wording but it says it so extremely well.  Will it ever out date... I think there will always be a place for Dr. Seuss and there will always be a place for this quote.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

A casualty of grace

A Casualty of Grace
Author: Lisa Brown
Pages: 235
Publication date: 30 September 2015

Product Details
Hi Everyone,
Want curl up with a book and a box of tissues... Here's the book for you.  Want a book you will struggle to put down... Here's your book. 
I have never read a book that I cried so much!  Maybe I am a bit too sentimental.  But this boy went through more then physical abuse.  He went through unlimited emotional abuse from every angle.  I felt the boys grief, pain, anger and disbelief.  The grace he had was amazing.  The adults, on the other hand, needed to have their brains examined.  How can people treat children in such a way, yet it happens.  Even in today's world, it happens.  Now that is an issue in itself that you should not get me talking about!  Lisa Brown touched the very core of an issue that effected many orphans.  She wrote a novel that transported me into the very inner being of the young boy as he had his mother die and set out to protect his brother and maintain their need to remained together.  As they faced the grips of adults in a world that couldn't and didn't protect them... I read, grieved and cried, through each chapter.
I got up each morning and got my family ready for the day, got my breakfast and opened this book.  From there I kept checking the clock and reading just a little more.  Then a little more.  The clock ticked by and I had to put it down.  Come lunch time I usually take the liberty to get in some exercise.  Well, not able to help myself the book was opened instead.  Now ask anyone and they all know how much I like my exercise time,  I always have.  But no, I sat with flavoured coffee and went back into a life of a boy who needed someone to gather him up and give him a home that contained some love and security.
Grab a copy and some tissues.  I doubt very much that you will be disappointed.
Happy reading.
Here's the burb:
Oliver and Simon are young brothers who are unexpectedly orphaned, and they suddenly find themselves alone in the world with nobody to care for them. Now, all they have is each other, and the threat of being torn apart becomes painfully real. The promise of a good home together in distant Canada eases their fears, but it is a promise that is destined to be broken.

After being separated from Simon, fate delivers Oliver to the Pritchard farm, where Liza Pritchard, a woman struggling with her own fractured and afflicted life, sees in Oliver the family she so desperately wants. But Oliver has to contend with her husband, an angry and violent man, and he can’t see past the terrible life he has been thrust into. Both Oliver and Liza have much to learn about faith and forgiveness, and together they embark on an emotional journey that will change each of them forever.
This is available from: Amazon


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Worthy of repeating

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.

–Henry David Thoreau


I have the pleasure of knowing a beautiful lady named Joan who is in her 90's.  She has inspired me for many years now.  She has a smile that lights up the room and I have enjoyed every moment spent with her.  This quote reminds me of Joan.  She once told me to make sure I kept reading while I was able.  She enjoyed reading but now she finds her eyes get too dry.  This is something that at my age I think little of.  I pick up a book and read.  No problems.  As a child I didn't enjoy reading and missed far to many good books.  Now I read to make up for lost time.  But how much time do we have?  Well, Joan knows not to take it all for granted.  Joan tells me to read while I can.  She misses a good read but her eyes wont let her. 
This is what I read into this quote as I think of Joan... A very special lady.


Monday, 12 October 2015

Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential

Mindset how you can fulfil your potential
Author: Dr Carol S. Dweck
ISBN: 9781780332000


Before I venture into telling you what I think of this book, I would like to repeat what the blurb contains.  To get a full idea of what a treasure this piece of writing is, it's the only way I can completely give Carol Dweck's book its full justice.

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research, achievement and success, has discovered a truly ground breaking idea-the power of our mindset.
Deweck explains why it's not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.  She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn't foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success.  With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals-personal and professional.  Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.

Now with that said, to my review.  This book is a must read for all teaching students.  As for teachers and parents, I highly recommend taking a look within the pages of this book.  It is a treasure trove to the power of our brain.  I have taken quite an interest in the brain and the capabilities we as humans have, to adjust our thoughts.  Once, we were thought of as being fully developed and unmalleable by adulthood.  Now science knows better.  Thanks to technology, we can now take a look inside our brain and see the workings of our mind, as we scan every detail.  I find this just amazing.  Dr Carol S. Dweck has taken mindsets into the classroom and beyond.  She takes a look at praise, and how we are setting young minds to become locked into particular beliefs of their capabilities.  I praise my children and encourage them, every parent should.  Now I look deeper and encourage growth in other areas rather than just the visible strengths they have at that time.  Everyone grows and changes,  As adults we are capable of change if we so desire.  Are we locking our children into systems that mould them to be one thing rather than changeable?  We live in a fast moving, quickly changing world.  Our children need to be able to grow and adapt.  A growth mindset is what I want for my children and every child that I teach.  The ability be able to dream and make happen.  To question how can I make this happen?

Now I am fully aware that there are limitations beyond our self.  Limitations and barriers that are not always ours.  These can hinder were life directs us.  But without the ability to think and envision what do we have and what limits do we place on ourselves?  To not be believe in growth leaves one stagnant and broken.  A growth mindset is a necessity in todays world, where technology is changing all possibilities right before our eyes.

I love the capacities of the human brain.  I love the capabilities and dreams of a young child.  One who sees others walking and tries to stand; then steps but falls; yet stands again against all barriers as their mind knows little of failure.  Where does that child in all of us disappear to as we struggle with the world and its words of limitation placed upon us each day?

So with that deep thinking... Pick up her book and step into the world of mindset.  Take a look at the mass of youtube clips arising on the net.  Then think, dream and make possible.  Your changeable and very capable,  Your a human not a machine :)

Here is a youtube clip of Carol S Dweck speaking.  I have taken it from youtube to give you an idea of her message.  It was posted by happyandwell.com.au so cant take any credit for it.  While you are there you might find some of their other clips interesting too.


This book was available from: Fishpond, Book depository and Amazon




Saturday, 10 October 2015

Worthy of repeating

Hi everyone,

I love quotes! I especially like a good book quote.  Here is one I enjoyed this week from over at goodreads.com

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.      


It was written by Herman Melville on October 3, 1860.  Herman Melville was the author of the classic Moby Dick.  Wouldn't it be great to still be re-quoted over 150 years after writing/speaking something.  Now there's something worth thinking about!  I wonder if my words are thought of even five minutes after thinking them :)

Happy reading

Friday, 2 October 2015

The secret of Sinbad's cave

The secret of Sinbad's cave
Author: Brydie Walker Bain

Product Details
This story started with excitement as one of the kids falls through the roof into a secret room.  I thought was a brilliant start to what continued to be a great read.  When the kids discover a map they set off to find Sinbad's cave and hopefully the promise treasure.  Nat becomes part of a mystery to locate treasure left to her in a past determined inheritance.  The story is full of action, mystery and magic. 
The dimension of Maori heritage is well intertwined within the pages.  Now for those of you who live beyond the dynamics of New Zealand, there may be little knowledge of Maori people.  New Zealand is a wonderful multi-cultural country.  The first nationality to New Zealand was the Maori people.  Then followed the British of which the Maori's formed a treaty.  Throughout the years the country has transformed and grown, now being the home of many cultures.  Maori forms a large part of the New Zealand culture, and along with that remains many of their legends.  This is the first story that I have read which intertwines Maori language and heritage into the pages of a chapter book.  Brydie Walker Bain has done a fabulous job in doing this, creating a story of magic and mystery.  At the back of the book, is a Glossary of Maori Words to make reading easily understandable.  There isn't a huge amount of Maori words presented, so don't be scared of reading it.  If you read this on a Kindle many of the words should be in the kindle vocabulary system.
Brydie gave me a copy of this book and I am pleased to have been given an opportunity to read it.  There was a bit of everything in the pages.  A fantail bird that becomes Nats protection; hidden lands that only Nat can experience; caves that hold secrets... and treasure; adventure, mystery and suspense in every chapter.  Family and friends that endure everything together to make the impossible happen. I am looking forward to opening the pages of the next book in the series, The ship of sight. 
This was available from: Amazon

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Book tuber of the month

Hi everyone

I thought I would give you an insight into my favorite book tubers.  Each month I will give you a new book tuber to take a look at.  These tubers inspire me to keep reading.  I like to flick on a reviewer and take a look at what they have read for the month.  They often have 'to be reads'  and 'book marathons'.  I watch them and add new books to my Goodreads shelves.  Seriously, my Goodreads shelves just keep growing.  They seem to have minds of their own! 

This month I am giving you 'The little book owl'.  I have been watching her reviews for a while now.  She must read all the time!  What I like most about this book tuber is her variety and the fact that she consistently places new videos to her channel.

Little Book Owl

My choice of book tuber for October
Take a look and happy reading :)

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Vietnam Diary

Vienam Diary
Author: Mark Wilson
ISBN: 978-0-734-1274

Vietnam Diary

 My son got this from the library just so I could read it and blog it.  It was a good choice.  It is a good presentation of the effects of the Vietnam war on family and boys in general.  Leigh and Jason are two brothers.  They are typical boys of the time, including spending much of their time together.  Leigh's friends get called up for service but go into hiding. When Jason is called up he decides to go and serve.  Leigh is angry.  It was quite good to see this side of war written into a children's book for today.  Many of our boys don't understand the effects of such an event.  Computer games and nerf guns are full of strategy and excitement.  I see the men presented in movies as being portrayed as taking off on adventure too.  In reality these young men must have been far from excited as the war took over the nations.  That is the reason I liked this book.  The boys were against war.  Their friends had gone into hiding.  Beliefs were expressed.  Yet Jason still ventured of to serve for his nation. 

The pictures are expressive giving each page feeling.  Different from beautiful graphics that I adore in children picture books but they tell the story with feeling, sometimes more so than the words.  They are perfect for such a story. 

For any boy, like mine. that enjoys computer games and movies yet still enjoys running around with his mates outside with the nerf guns... This book is for them.  It is more than history presented in a picture book.  It is the presentation of the emotion behind each boy that went to war all those years ago.

This was available from: Fishpond and Amazon


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

An Introduction to the New Testament and the Origins of Christianity
Author: Delbert Burkett
ISBN: 978-0-521-00720-7
Pages: 600
An Introduction to the New Testament and the Origins of Christianity (Introduction to Religion)

There is quite a bit of reading in this one!

This was a text book for one of the university papers.   It was really interesting to look at the details of Christianity.  To look at the history of writings.  To think of the people involved.  To examine the communities.  Where were the scrolls found?  What did the towns look like?  All things that had never crossed my mind.

That was until this paper was presented them to me.  To study education, you really should look also at the people you will be teaching.  Ethnicity, race and religion all make us different, but really we are all people.  I don't want to be one that lives with judgement and prejudice.  Taking this paper made me look at the people involved in the writing of the bible.  I had seen programs on TV but compared to historical photos... there is no comparison.
Taking this paper involved a lot of study.  They didn't go light on us at all.  But I am glad I had the chance to look historically upon events that have shaped communities for centuries.  There is a heap of writing in this text but I am sure you won't be disappointed in the history you will devour picking it up.

This was available from: Fishpond, Book depository and Amazon.
Although this is available in kindle format I don't recommend it in comparison to the printed book.  This is because of the pictures.  There really is value in seeing the photos on paper.  Your decision though.

Happy reading

This was available from: Fishpond, Book depository and Amazon.