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 😀 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 💭  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? 💁


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 😂 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