Book Reviews

Book 17: Camino Island

Book 17 of 2018: Camino Island 🌴 by John Grisham

Well, well, well… I’ve heard a lot about Mr Grisham and his writing but this is the first book of his I’ve read. I can honestly say I wish I hadn’t had so much work to do this week because I didn’t want to put the book down! I’ve been reading at everyone opportunity.

From the first word I was hooked. There are no wasted words, sentences or, more importantly, dialogue. Everything has its place in this story and it weaves together so smoothly you don’t even notice the transitions.

One thing that threw me was the quote on the cover “the best thriller writer alive…” whilst this may be true, this book was not a thriller. It wasn’t even suspenseful. However, it was an un-put-down-able read and I love every word.

I’m using this book for my #popsugarreadingchallenge prompt ‘a story about a heist’ but it could also work for ‘story set in a bookshop’ or ‘problems society faces’ PLUS there’s tonnes of books mentioned in it… so if you read this, you’ll easily be able to chose your next read for ‘book mentioned within another book’.

Join Denny, Mercer, Elaine and Cable on this bizarrely outrageous adventure, full of wine, late nights and lives on the run…

I’m giving it 4/5 stars 🌟 and will probably pass it on to a colleague who I think will enjoy it too!

Book Reviews

Book 14 of 2018: A Gathering Light

I have another confession. I can’t even remember why I bought this book… but I’m glad I did!

Starting it on Monday, I couldn’t quite get into it. I started it thinking I would use it for the Popsugar prompt: True crime, but the story isn’t exactly based on the crime in question.

It is more about the people in the town in which the crime happened.

At page 177, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down and it took me just a couple of hours to finish it.

A young, best friend duo, Mattie and Weaver, work their way through school, fight battles with outsiders and do everything in their power to help their families, even when the odds are against them.

For me, this story, despite being true, is about family values, determination and the importance of books. The enjoyment Mattie finds in reading, writing and learning new words resonates with me so strongly, and her determination to not let other people’s opinions of her hold her back is inspiring.

I wouldn’t class this book as crime, but it does address some serious issues, including race and infidelity, based in the early 1900s.

I’d rate it 3.5 stars – I enjoyed reading it but it didn’t particularly ‘move’ me.

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book 8 of 2018 : Hopes and dreams amongst the Northern Lights

Sky Song – by Abi Elphinstone

My oh my! What a truly beautiful piece of art. This book contains so much more than just words. The magic within this book is dreams and love, friendship and bravery, family ties and determination.

Whilst I rarely ever read books like this, because I’m completely obsessed with crime, thriller and gore, I’m so glad I chose this.

As Waterstones’ book of the month, it was placed in piles around the shop and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the cover!

I would recommend this book to anyone with a hopeful heart and someone who enjoys a little magic. Two new friends will take you on a journey to save their divides kingdom, whilst making new friends along the way!

Book Reviews

Book 3 of 2018: Reasons to Stay Alive

Matt Haig, quite possibly an unintended literary genius?

I have tried, numerous times over the past 18 months, to read this book but each time ended up in floods of tears, so much so that I couldn’t read on. The book hit too close to home. I was struggling with my worst stage of depression and I couldn’t possibly read about it on top of the emotions I was dealing with.



Today, about 9 months after I feel I have finally conquered my own depression, I got through this book. I won’t lie, I cried for a good hour and a half whilst reading this. It brought up so many emotions and made them feel so raw. It was heart-breaking to read what Matt went through.

But, and there’s always a ‘but’, he got through it. Matt found things in life that helped him deal, cope and manage with his struggles and he made it. What struck me so strongly was how his, now, wife Andrea stuck by him through this entire time. I cannot even imagine how difficult this must have been for her, or for Matt, but it only signifies how strong true love can be.

Their love, as portrayed through Matt’s words, gives me so much hope.

All I can say is that if you have ever struggled in life, whether it’s with depression, anxiety, mental health issues of any kind, or not, you have to read this book. You will most likely cry, you will be moved beyond explanation, and you will be inspired.

Matt has reminded me that although our demons may always be deep within us, we can win. We can move on from our darkest days, months, even years, and be happy. Our lives will get better and we will find things that are worth living for. Both small things like flowers, universal moments like sunsets, children, love, family, and my personal favourite – books!

I am proud of myself for finally finishing this book, but I am also immensely moved by Matt’s words and cannot thank him enough for sharing his story.

I’ll leave you with the quote I most relate to from his book, about mental illness:

“To other people, it sometimes seems like nothing at all. You are walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames.”
― Matt HaigReasons to Stay Alive

Matt is on twitter at @MattHaig1

and you can buy his books in Waterstones, Amazon, and most bookstores around the world! (I strongly recommend you do so!)

Book Reviews

Book 2 of 2018: Matt Haig

Okay so, on January 1st I read Double Act and on January 2nd I finished Matt Haig‘s How to Stop Time in one sitting.

I just want to emphasize what a genius this man is with his words. It’s not that this idea is necessarily new, we’ve all thought about people living forever, but the way that this book has been written is so beautiful, heart-breakingly sad but also full of life lessons.

Be brave. Don’t take people for granted. Stand up for yourself. Don’t let good opportunities pass you by. Take care of the ones you love.

The story alternates between different centuries but focuses on the main character Tom and I couldn’t put the book down because I just had to find out what was happening next.  

Whatever I tell you will ruin the story so I will say no more, but please, PLEASE read this book.



Book Reviews

Book 1 of 2018


As soon as I saw the prompt for ‘Twins’ I knew exactly what I was going to read. 

Some of you may consider this ‘cheating’, as it is a children’s book, but it was one of my childhood favourites!

DOUBLE ACT! By the wonderful, super-talented Jacqueline Wilson

I absolutely loved the story when I was younger, as I had often wished my sister and I got on better when in reality we bickered constantly.  

For children / young teens it touches on the importance of family – sticking together, supporting each other and it also briefly deals with bullying and also the vital part of growing up – branching out on your own! Don’t follow someone else! Be your own person!

An easy read for the first book of 2018, but I loved it all the same.



Slackin’ slightly.

Firstly guys, thanks so much for your lovely comments and messages of support since I started teaching – they are all greatly appreciated!

Secondly, I apologize for my lack of posts.

I am absolutely exhausted! My lovely friend Helene stayed with me over the weekend before flying home to Lyon, so I had to play host. We spent the day in Winchester having coffee, rummaging through second hand book stores and buying friendship rings, which are gorgeous. Our day ended with a fantastic meal at a local pub in Ringwood, The Railway, which serves the best variety of burgers and pretty delicious wine. Technically, it was supposed to be to celebrate my new job offer, but since then I have turned it down.  Still, it was a lovely day!

The first two days of the week have gone by in a flash! Trying to find a job asap, trying to see my boyfriend despite him working 93248034283 hours a day and sorting out lesson plans. I’m already feeling pressured. Unfortunately, I must admit that my lessons did not go too well today. My intermediate class had covered what I had planned for them, and I wasn’t aware of this, and my elementary class seemed to run riot for no apparent reason. I absolutely love my elementary class, especially as I’ve taught them all for nearly four weeks now, but I swear to God they are giving me grey hair and wrinkles already. Fingers crossed they’ll settle down tomorrow.

Another extremely exciting thing is that the Headmaster wanted someone to run the summer newsletter this week, and as I piped up first, I got the job! It’s just a small student paper, but trying to get other teachers to ask their students to write or draw something for it has proved to be less than straight forward. So far we’ve got book / movie / music reviews and a few excursion reviews… if we’re printing it Thursday I need a hell of a lot more! (Keep your eyes pealed for the outcome…)

Finally, I’m just so desperate to read. Once Saturday rolls around I’ll be having a mega lie-in, staying in my PJs and reading two or three books. I can’t wait!