Friday, 19 January 2018

Hollow city

Hollow City
Author: Ranson Riggs

Hi Everyone,

I really enjoyed the first book, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and I have now finished Hollow City which is the second book in this trilogy.  I kind of cheated and listened to this one, but I am so pleased I did.  The audio was fantastic.

The narration of this audio made the book was just perfect for bringing alive the characters.  I would have done this in my own little mind, but in this case I think the audio did a better job than I would have.  I give credit to the presentation of the audio version which I purchased through Kindle as an add on to the book.

Now to the plot.  Also fantastic!  I have enjoyed both books and where the author is taking me is unstoppable.  I have to read the next one too, I can't be left stranded now.

The presentation is also something that gives this trilogy life.  The characters are very unusual but the pictures, which look like photographs, enable the reader to envision the characters the way he has.  Very clever!  And as for these peculiar little kids I am impressed by the imagination behind the creation of each one.  They all fit into the plot in their own unique way.

Overall, a series I am pleased I didn't disregard, like I was tempted to when I first came across it.  I have enjoyed this book even more than the first, and the movie.


This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine's island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises. Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

Description taken from:

This was available from: Book depositoryAmazon and Fishpond

Happy reading

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #2)

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The fellowship of the ring

The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
ISBN: 978-0-261-10235-4

Lord of the Rings Part 1

Hi Everyone

I have finally finished The Fellowship of the Ring.  Like any classic, it has a lot of depth to the plot, characters, and world building.  I often felt like I was reading and reading but going nowhere, only to be suddenly taken by world and characters again as I travelled through he pages with Frodo and his hobbit friends.

The world which J. R. R. Tolkien develops, is the captivating asset of this novel.  The story is about a hobbits journey as he tries to destroy the ruling ring of power but I found the world being developed around him, as the author started the hobbits journey that proceeds in the next two novels, intrigued me more than the plot.  I have watched the movies and I can't help but watch the world behind those either.

I loved the characters.  It all started with The Hobbit... I could read about the little hobbits and never grow tired.  I thought the dark riders were a little dull.  In the movies they seemed to be much more lively, dark, and scary.  I didn't find this matched up with my imagination while reading the novel.  I  often find it interesting that 10 people can read a book and all get a different vision.  We all watch the same movie on screen but not so in our heads while reading.  This was the case for me when it came to envisioning the hobbits, dark riders and wizards.  My head just didn't go the depths of character creation which the movies did.  So, if you read this and envision the characters different from the movies, leave me a comment I would love to hear how you imagined them.

Overall, a good read.  A long read!  But a good solid classical novel.  Just like any classic I have picked, they far out weigh the language, structure and style of today's books and I had to keep reading till the end to get a fill grasp of the plot. I have the next two books here to read, but I will take a break from the Middle-earth for a while and read some of the lighter books awaiting my eyes.


In the sleepy village in the Shire, a young hobbit is entrusted with an immense task.  He must make a perilous journey across Middle-earth tot he cracks of doom, there to destroy the Ruling Ring of Power - the only thing that prevents the Dark Lord's evil domination.

Thus begins J. R. R Tolkien's classic tale, which continues in The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

This was available from: Amazon, Book depository and Fishpond

Happy reading

Monday, 8 January 2018

Traitor - The case of Benedict Arnold

Traitor - The Case of Benedict Arnold
Author: Jean Fritz
ISBN: 978-0-698-11553-8

Traitor: the Case of Benedict Arnold

Hi Everyone,

I have had a fantastic Christmas break and holiday!  I have biked, walked, and read my way through the last 10 days and it was just brilliant.  So, there will be a few updates coming your way as I take in all that I have been reading.

I finished this just before I headed away on my summer break.  It is part of the Sonlight Curriculum program which I am always impressed with.  So when I picked this one from the list awaiting my reading, I was a little sceptical.  

What was that come, did I over come my scepticism?

Actually, by the end I did.  It started off good and my boy quickly wanted more.  I got half way through and got a little stuck on the length of history; my son didn't he was still enjoying it.  Well, some people's history is not shortπŸ˜ƒ and it doesn't read like Benedict Arnold left his mark on history over night.  In fact it reads like quite the opposite.  He wanted fame and acknowledgement but never got it to the degree that he demanded.  There was actually a few places that I agree with him, he was short changed a little.  That was until he crossed over and went to the side of treason instead.

It was actually quite good to read this side of history.

What I do like most about the Sonlight Curriculum is that they base learning around 'living books', that is novels not text books.  This is where I struggle a little with Jean Fritz writing, this book included.  From time to time I felt like I was reading a text book.  But... It did just remain on the novel side.  Jean Fritz seems to writes in depth history novels for kids/young adults, and I have to give credit to the author because although it did seem a little text booky, my son loved it!  Jean Fritz writes for kids/young adults, and accomplishes good results with that audience, this book included (in our house anyway).


Benedict Arnold always carried things too far.  As a boy he did crazy thing like climbing atop a burning roof and picking a fight with the town constable.  As a soldier, her was even more reckless.  He was obsessed with being a leader and the hero in every battle, and he never wanted to surrender.  He even killed his own horse once rather than give it to the enemy.

Where did the extremism lead Arnold?  To treason.

This was available from: Amazon

Happy reading

Friday, 22 December 2017

Let's eat

Let's Eat
Author: Nadia Lim
ISBN: 978-0-47340-018-7

Hi Everyone

Here is my latest recipe book investment and it hasn't taken me long to fall in love with it.  


This books ticks the boxes in many ways in our house...
  • It's full of healthy recipes.  Okay there are a few that aren't 100% good for you but we all need a little of these treats especially with Christmas about here. But over all there are 100+ recipes and most are on the healthy side.
  • Allergy awareness.  Most recipes have DF (Dairy free)/GF (gluten free) stated on each page.  But to add to my happiness they have substitutes for each where possible.
  • The pictures!  I am a picture girl.  My recipe collection must all contain pictures and if possible a picture for every recipes.  Box ticked πŸ˜€
  • Hard cover - perfect. 
  • No dust cover - these just annoy me they end up tattered
  • Ribbon - some one should create their recipe book with more than one ribbon because we all need to highlight several recipes sometimes 😏
Oh yes...  the recipes I have tried so far, especially the bountiful bars, are delicious!

So, do you still have a present to get someone?  You don't have much time left 😢 I recommend this one for anyone who can never have too many recipe books.


Here are over 100 favourite recipes that I cook over and over again for friends and family, including everyday healthy meals and more indulgent 'special occasion' dishes.  You're guaranteed plenty of happy cooking and eating with the likes of pumpkin pie pancakes, my Malaysian chicken rendang, comforting meatball and chicken bakes, jelly-tipped ice creams, plum and white chocolate short cake, delicious, colourful salads and healthier baking.  There are no fancy, hard-to-find ingredients or tricky techniques, just recipes that will make you proud as punch when you bring them to the table.  All the recipes have nutritional analyses and there are lots of gluten-free and dairy-free options.  Enough said, now lets eat!

This was available from:  Whitcoulls, Paperplus, Fishpond and Book depository

Happy reading

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Today's quote

This quote is special in many ways because I believe every child blooms in their own time, when given someone who encourages them and believes they can along side them.

Happy reading

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Twenty-five December Lane

Twenty-five December Lane
Author: Helen ward
Illustrated by: Wayne Anderson
Narrated by Imelda Stauton
ISBN: 978-1-84011-684-7

Twenty-Five December Lane

Hi Everyone

Here is a precious little Christmas book for you to read to any little person.  Actually you can put on the audio CD and listen along with them.  

I've read this book with my students and we have all enjoyed it.  Now I have just listened to the Audio CD, so I could give an honest opinion, and I am impressed!  It is so well read and the music is just perfect, I was transformed into the story.  I think I have just been shopping at 25 December Lane.

What I like the most about this book is the words.  I love good words!  I love poetry especially when the words entice me.  This book isn't a piece of poetic rhyme but it is a piece of play with words that I find genius.  Often children's books come with basic vocabulary and it can make them a little dull to read; easy but dull.  The language in Twenty-five December Lane is descriptive and tantalising to the tongue and ear. I was able to see, hear, and feel every page in the book by the vocab.  

Here is a page from the story:

The toys continued to roll and
scuttle into the enormous sack.  
They rattled and pinged
and squeaked and whistled
until the floor, and ceiling,
the long, long counter and every self
was cleared into the bulging sack
as if by magic.
The girl looked on in dismay.
"Oh please," she said,
"Not that one..."

Overall, I have enjoyed every bit of this book.... The story, illustrations, language and the CD narration.  It is a complete package of joy.


It was the strangest shop she had ever seen, and she couldn't recall having seen it before.  As she pushed open the narrow door, a bell on a spring rang. A little breath of Christmas slipped past her, and into December Lane and up to the dark grey clouds...

This was available from: Book depositoryAmazon, and Fishpond

Happy reading

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Priscilla and the great Santa Search

Priscilla and the Great Santa Search
Author: Nathaniel Hobbie
Illustrated by Jocelyn Hobbie
ISBN: 978-0-316-08347-8

Priscilla and the Great Santa Search
Hi Everyone

I went to library to see what I could pick up for reading with my students and I came home with a couple of great little books.  I have to comment that there were not a lot of books at the library which had story that didn't revolve around shopping, presents, and Santa.... Interesting. 

One that I did bring home had the most fantastic illustrations. We spent more time picking things out of the pictures than reading the book πŸ˜€.  But the story was also very well done.  The most distinguishable aspect I liked about the writing of this story, was the rhyme.  Four lines to each and a rhyme pattern that stood out and made it a great teaching point.  The first two lines rhymed, then the last two lines rhymed.  Above all though, the story remained interesting; a very clever piece of literature.

Although this will appeal to girls and boys, it is very girly and of course me being a girl I loved it.  I laughed at the pictures and enjoyed the plot right to the final page. 

So, I think you really should look at some of the pictures to see what I am talking about:


See, aren't they just brilliant!
I smiled the whole way through.

There we go the start of my Christmas reading and I know they are children's books, but that is what Christmas is for! Reading to children!  Enjoying a good book, especially one you can smile through, and just spending time together.


When Priscilla and her best friend Bettina eagerly join the other holiday shoppers to see Santa at the mall, they realize they are looking at not one, but several fake Santas! The girls are inspired to head to the North Pole in search of the real Santa Claus.

Will the Fifty-Year-Storm keep this curious duo's biggest holiday wish from coming true? Priscilla and the Great Santa Search captures all the magic of Christmastime and the spirit of a child's fascination with the almighty Santa Claus.     
Taken from: Amazon

This was available from: AmazonBook depository and Fishpond

Happy reading

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Today's quote

Hi Everyone

It is getting closer and closer to Christmas, and at times we can get busy running around the circle instead of looking to the middle of it and knowing where to sit in a hard to find quiet space.  I have found through the past few years of the 'ultra busy' time in my life, that without finding that quiet space things fell apart - and that's not always pretty 😁.  So, as we approach this Christmas, I recommend you stop in the middle and ask the why's of what you are doing.  A simple question to ask, but without knowing your 'why' it is much harder to reach your ultimate goals.

There you go my little thought for the day to go with my favourite poet's quote.  I think Robert Frost will remain my favourite poet for a long time yet, as his poems and quotes always make me think beyond his written words.

Happy reading

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Higher ground

Higher Ground
ISBN: 1-84458-581-6

Stories inspired by the courage and hope of children who survived the 2004 tsunami disaster,
written by best selling authors

Hi Everyone,

Here is yet another book that has been sitting too long on my bookcase.  'Higher Ground' will rock the very seat you sit upon as you read the stories of children who survived this disaster.  I remember clearly this event as I sat with my toddler and baby over Christmas 2004 watching the total loss of life going quickly up and up beyond belief.  These stories are those of children who didn't watch the events via television, but rather watched the event unravel before their eyes.  They searched for parents only to never find them.  They searched for reality in a live nightmare.  They had a story to tell and this book does it for them.

I read story after story to become teary eyed time and again as I do when I hear the sadness and fear behind the words.  This book is amazing.  There are illustrations that only children can create, they also tell what the words cant.  

I know this event was a long time ago but to these kids it will still be like yesterday.  These stories should be heard, read and never lost. I still sit mind drained as I ponder over what I have just read.  If you get the chance pick up a copy of this book and read.  Never let this event be forgotten, too many people died and those who survived had their lives changed. 


Incredibly powerful stories about children's experiences of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami. Features stories by many of today's best-known authors. Donations from book sales will go to charities active in child welfare. Massive marketing and publicity campaign. A powerful anthology of 18 stories focusing on the experiences of children from all regions affected by the tsunami of Boxing Day 2004. Each child's story, retold by a different well-known children's author, is followed by a short update of the child's progress by the aid-worker who gathered details of story. The book is positive, inspirational, and forward-looking. It tells incredible stories of bravery and survival and looks at how the global aid effort has affected the children involved. An introduction explains what happened in in December 2004 and a map shows the areas affected. The global aid effort is also described, explaining to readers how their charity donations have helped. The charity organizations involved (Unicef, Save the Children and others) have provided the photographs that illustrate book. - Taken from Book depository

This was available from: Book depository and Amazon

Happy reading

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Bridge to a distant star

Bridge to a Distant Star
Author: Carolyn Williford
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6703-5

Hi Everyone

I have had this book sitting on my bookcase for far too long.  I kept looking at it thinking, 'I must read that sometime'. But, I always managed to be given another book and I have no self control when I am given a book... I just have to open that book and take a peek, then you know what happens, the book is finished.  

This time I walked past my book case and the book practically yelled at me "Hay, about time you picked me up.  So, feeling sorry for all the neglect I had shown this little gem, I picked it up and settled down for a good read.  And, a good read it was!  

It is based on the tragic collapse of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on May 9, 1980, but the characters, time and incidents are purely fictional.  The first and last chapters are about the bridge, but the rest of the book revolves around several characters/families.  I found the way the characters stories were presented an interesting concept of writing.  Normally when I have read a book like this the chapters have jumped from one setting to another and back again.  This book was different as it told one characters/families story and left them heading for the bridge, then told the next complete story and left them heading for the bridge, and so on.  I almost found myself feeling like I was reading different books, or short stories, but they all connected in the final chapters.  It was very cleverly thought out, and I enjoyed the journey.  

I'm please I finally picked this book off my shelf.  It didn't deserve to spend so long ignored, poor little thing.  But now I have found a place in my heart for this book and will hand it on to others to enjoy also.


As a storm rages in the night, unwary drivers venture into Tampa Bay's most renowned bridge.  No one sees the danger ahead.  No one notices the jagged gap hidden by the darkness and rain.  When the bridge collapses, vehicles careen into the churning waters below.

In that one catastrophic moment, three powerful stories converge: a family ravaged by their child's heartbreaking news, a marriage threatened by its own facade, and a college student burdened by self-doubt.  As each story unfolds, the characters move steadily closer to that fateful moment on the bridge.  Searching for grace they face the storms of their lives that loom as large as the one waiting above the bay.

When these characters come together in Carolyn Williford's gripping story, they collide with the transforming call of Christ: deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.

This was available from: Book depository and Amazon

Happy reading

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Booktuber of the month

Hi Everyone

Technically it is the 1st of December here today so I am a day late!  But... for many of you it is still November so I am going with the fact that maybe, you will all just like a Booktuber to look in on πŸ˜€

This month I want to highlight Hannah from Beginning to bookend, I like the variety she reads and the maturity that she brings to her clips.  In the clip above, she talks about how she can manage to read so much in a month.  Like me, she reads across a variety of genres and age groups.  This draws me to listening to her.  When I find someone who posts across genres and age groups, I find them interesting.  They bring a variety to the book world and a certain honesty.  To me, it shows that they read for the joy of reading not just ratings on the Web.  Hannah brings this to the Booktubing world and hence, I highlight her today so that if you want to swing over to check out booktubers you will find someone who brings a unique variety to the Booktubing world also.

As Christmas will quickly sneak up on us now, as we all bounce into December as the next few hours tick by, I hope you will all find some great books to give/read this Christmas. 

Happy reading

Friday, 24 November 2017

Today's quote

Hi Everyone,

Sorry I have been a little slow on the posts in the last couple of weeks... Exam season!  It is nearing the end of our school year and the young people all have exams, and end of year assessments/tests, so I have been busy with extra tutoring, exam nerved students, and helping to encourage and support the kids with their individual goals.  It has been quite a few couple of weeks, but we have all made it through and all seem to still be able to smile.  All the kids have worked so hard to get to where they are this year and I am proud of every single one of my students.

As we near Christmas the sun is continuing to bless our days here, so we can all enjoy the days off and the longer nights with friends and family.  I have a couple of books finished and ready for reviewing so I will get to work and write my responses to each one very soon for you.  I hope you all have a good book ready for the Christmas break.

Happy reading

Monday, 20 November 2017

Unbearable Lightness

Unbearable Lightness
Author: Portia de Rossi
Read by: Portia de Rossi
ISBN: 9781743105634

Hi Everyone

For years I watched the TV programme Ally McBeal and grew to love every character in their own little way, little did I know of the people behind the acting.  Isn't it funny how we like a character and they take it on as the person behind the character as well.

So, flicking through Bolinda Box for an audio book lead me to Portia De Rossi's autobiography.  It started off as any normal celebrity ideal story.  She starts as a model and then progresses to TV.  She diets right from the start.... as one would expect.  

But, what progresses through out is the most outstanding truth of bulimia and anorexia that I have ever heard.  Some of the extremes left me gasping for air.  I couldn't believe the extremes she went to without even realising she had a problem.  She still thought she was in control and needed to lose more weight.  

I have watched movies of the sort before, but I think this was real and honest.  I admire her for telling her story it can't be easy to put oneself out to the world, especially when your in the lime light for being a 'particular' way.  

Well worth reading, but if you have a girl with such an issue I would recommend reading this yourself first and analysing the content.


"Breathtakingly honest, brutal and beautiful."  —  Jonathan Safran Foer
"A cautionary tale, an inspiration, and a triumph."  —  Publishers Weekly
"A stark, well-written portrait of how de Rossi lost control of her life as she became consumed by her struggle for perfection and acceptance."  —  The Washington Post 

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work - first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blonde, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviours and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

Happy reading

Description taken from:

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Her Christmas Chance

Hi Eveyone

Well here is is a little treat for all you who enjoy a little romance book here and there.  I really liked this one.  Bella and Chance were the most unusual couple I have read about for a while. but they where also the most brilliant pair together.  To read a book with the main character having a disablility really made this book a winner for me.  Bella captured my heart as she was unique, sincere, honest and alive, all that the same time.  As for Chance, he had been in prison and really wasn't considered right for Bella.  There wasn't a lot let out about the why's of his story until near the end.  This kept me guessing but I could tell there was more to him.  Because I thought there was more to Chance, I found Bella's family really annoying!  You think the cat was a problem? I thought the cat was the least of Bella and Chance's problems 😺

Then again the cat did add interest to the sitiuation and I did really like him.  

Overall this is a beautiful romance where you are left thinking that everyone has more to them than what is first preceived. Even the cat!

Happy reading

Will her cat ruin her Christmas chance for love?

Bella Tallahan has always hidden behind her twin sister, Tally. She was born with cerebral palsy and even though she has finished college, she lives vicariously through her sister’s adventures.

It worked, until her sister married writer Lucky Lenigan, and Bella developed a crush on Lucky’s brother—a bad boy with a shady past.

Chance Martin made one mistake growing up—one that landed him in prison. After his release, he spends his days restoring antique furniture and his nights alone.

When Mr. Klutz, Bella’s fat tabby cat, wreaks havoc in the furniture workshop, Chance confronts Bella and finds himself with a dilemma. He’s not the right kind of guy for a woman with disabilities, but at the same time, he can’t get her out of his mind.

Will the trail of destruction left by one naughty cat bring Bella her Christmas chance for love? Can Chance rise above his past and convince Bella that she is truly worth loving? Or will the secret he is keeping horrify Bella enough to send her back into hiding?

Author’s Note: Although part of the Christmas Creek Romance Series, Her Christmas Chance is a complete and standalone story. Bella Tallahan appears in a previous story, Lucky in Laguna, where her sister Tally Tallahan meets and falls in love with Lucky Lenigan.

A Christmas Creek Romance Series
Book 1: Holly & Gordon, Deck the Hearts
Book 2: Bella & Chance, Her Christmas Chance

Audiobook also available

Available to buy from...... 

"I loved this story! Rachelle Ayala is a powerful writer" - Francis Cristina

"WOW!!!! I absolutely fell in love with this story. This book is emotionaly heartfelt." - Bookworm K

"A perfect heart warming christmas story to read & cherish. I recommend reading this sweet christmas story as you will not be disappointed." - Sophie Koufes
Above reviews from

Also available in A Christmas Creek Romance
Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series.
Deck the Hearts (A Christmas Creek Romance Book 1)

Deck the Hearts (A Christmas Creek Romance Book 1) by [Ayala, Rachelle]
Opposites attract and sparks fly in the delightful small town of Christmas Creek.

Holly Jolly lives for Christmas. It’s the only time of the year, as far as she’s concerned. 

Gordon Gills doesn’t need a reason to hate the holiday season. He doesn’t see the point. 

Gordon returns to the mansion he inherited and finds Holly making a mess with her Christmas decorations. Unfortunately, his great-aunt’s will stipulates that he must make merry every Christmas if he wants to keep his inheritance. 

Holly is determined to infect the grouchy Gordon with every dose of Christmas cheer she can muster and show him what Christmas is really about. 

Will Gordon prevail and turn Holly into a Grinch, or will a sprinkling of Christmas magic show Gordon that there’s no fighting love, especially when it’s wrapped up in a gorgeous redheaded package of jolly holly?

Available to buy from ...

About the author
Rachelle Ayala is a bestselling author of dramatic romantic suspense and humorous, sexy contemporary romances. Her heroines are feisty and her heroes hot. She writes emotionally challenging stories but believes in the power of love and hope. 

Rachelle is an active member of the California Writer's Club, Fremont Chapter, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.

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