Pointe by Brandy Colbert – YA Book Review

Pointe crop

Pointe was one of those books that you know you’re going to love before you’ve even finished the first page. It felt like coming home, the writing warm and soothing. This did not stop the story from packing a powerful punch. The blurb and hype surrounding the story tried to prepare the reader, but I am still reeling in shock…

Despite a slight slump at the conclusion the story was dramatic and delivered just how I like it – rich smooth writing and a plot revealed in short bite-size pieces keeping the reader on their toes.

I like to describe the books I read in words summing up my emotions and thoughts as I read. This story floated between beautiful, sad, gritty, lonely, tough, mesmerising, shocking, wistful, longing…

Theo’s repetitive thoughts swirling through the story were both frustrating and realistic. She reminded me a lot of myself at the same age, so desperate for love that I sought it in all the wrong places.

Go and get this book! Read it, share it and let me know what you think. 5 Star

Recommended age: 13+


Title: PointePointe
Author: Brandy Colbert
Publication Date: 4 August 2015
1st published April 2014
Publisher: Speak
Source: Purchased
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Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor. 

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

I am thankful for libraries.

In every new town we move to one of the first things I do is register with the local library. When I look back over the places we have lived, I remember each library so vividly I could probably find my way around them in the dark. I guess it’s no wonder I became a librarian myself!

There have been big libraries and small libraries, in one case it was a library caravan, but here’s just one place we lived in where there was no library and that’s a tiny little village in the centre of Sumatra, Indonesia. When we lived there I had to beg and borrow and steal books. I loaded my suitcase with books on return from every trip home to South Africa, I paid exorbitant prices to ship internationally (I didn’t know about Book Depository then), but best of all was Singapore. From big brand bookshops to my favourite second-hand bookshop tucked away in a side street, I was in heaven.

We are returning to that little village in Indonesia and this time I am older and possibly wiser. There will be Book Depository, there will be Kindling, there will be Audibling, there will be begging, borrowing and stealing… and I know that I will never feel that desperate, sick feeling of having nothing to read next. That feeling when you long to read, but know if you do your book will be finished and there is nothing lined up to replace it. I never want to experience that again.

As a school librarian for the last ten years, I have had access to more books than I could possibly ever read, but in preparation for the big move I have resigned and found myself back at the little library in our tiny South African town.

Walking in, after shielding my eyes against the harsh orangey yellowy glare, I was surprised to see how popular it was. (read: I walked in, tripped over a table leg and brought down a whole display stand causing mayhem). I wondered over to the YA section and although it is just one tiny bookshelf I was really impressed to see the titles are pretty recent. Go our library!

What’s your local library like? Do you use it? Have you ever had that awful nothing to read feeling? How did you deal with it? I’d love to hear from you.

An insider tip – the better the borrower statistics the better chance the librarians will be able to get more funding to buy more books. So wherever you live, support your local library, if you have one, and remember to say hi and thank you to the librarians who make it all happen.

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These Books Should Be Adapted to Movies


I love movies almost as much as I love books. Okay that’s not quite true, but I do like movies. A lot.

These are the books I can’t wait to see adapted to film…


Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor 

This book will remain one of my favourite reads forever. Rich and memorising with unique, enchanting characters.

Once upon a time a little girl was raised by monsters. But angels burnt the doorways to their world and she was all alone…

Do I want to see them on screen? Yes and no. . . The story line full of complex, interweaving layers and I would be so heartbroken if the movie was a disappointment. But I’d still watch it. I think.


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 

I adore WWII books and movies, and this story is one I am so glad I read and would watch the movie over and over again if it was made. I need this movie. Where’s my fairy godmother?

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. . . 

I can’t say much because I don’t do spoilers but don’t miss this book. It may start a little slowly, but it doesn’t end that way… Read it now before the movie is made.


Across the Universe by Beth Revis 

I don’t really like Sci-Fi but every now and then I am blown away. This story was totally unexpected with unpredictable with twists and turns. I loved the whole series and hope it’s adapted to movie.

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder. 


The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

A local South African hero, this true story deserves to be seen. The beautiful African bush and the graceful and intelligent elephants would look so good on screen.

He was the herd’s last chance of survival – notorious escape artists, they would all be killed if Lawrence wouldn’t take them.

I have no idea why it’s not a movie. No elephant actors you say? What about elephant puppets, it worked for the stage production of War Horse…


Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr 

Beautiful and frightening, this Faerie world overlappings our human world. Beware – follow the rules or things will never be the same again.

Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries. 
Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.

There are just not enough Fae movies – at least not dark, sinister ones…


Reckless by Cornelia Funke 

Another brilliant, magical and dangerous world. Find it through a mirror… If you dare.

Dark magic will turn the boy to beast, break the heart of the girl he loves, and cause chaos to rule forever….

Woah! Yes. Please.


The Ruins of Gorlan – Ranger’s Apprentice #1 by John Flanagan

Ranger’s Apprentice is one of the most popular series in our school library. Readers of both gender aged from ten to eighteen fight over the battered copies. The books have been read more often that they can last and the pages are literally just holding on with a lick of glue.

The Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people.


Mice by Gordon Reece

This psychological thriller is quirky and full of dark comedy.

On the eve of Shelley’s sixteenth birthday, an unwelcome guest disturbs their peace and something inside Shelley snaps.

I loved it and it would translate to screen so well.


Defiance by C.J. Redwine 

A fast paced plot, a strong, feisty female protagonist and a dragon that puts all the dragons that came before to shame. What’s not to love?

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, they discover a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.


Banished – The Blackhart Legacy #1 by Liz de Jager 

Another fast-paced fantasy, this time with a feisty heroine and an enchanting Faerie prince. Add betrayal and treachery and this would make a movie worth watching.

Sworn to protect, honour and slay. Because chaos won’t banish itself…


These books should be adapted to movies…. What do you think? 

Would you vote for any of these or do you have the perfect book for a movie adaption? I would love to hear about it.

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Top Ten Tuesday is created by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week Theme is Book To Movie Adaptations.

Everyone Sees the Ants by A.S. King – Book Review

Everybody sees the ants crop

An incredible story which bravely tackles difficult subjects such a bullying, human failing, despair and betrayal. These topics are all tackled sensitively and maturely with enough hope scattered throughout to keep me enthralled.

By continuously criss-crossing the fine line between reality and fantasy Ms. King took this book from good to great.

Don’t miss this book!4 Star

Recommended age: 14+

Title: Everyone Sees The Ants  Everybody sees the ants
Author: A.S. King
Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Library

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Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?    — Extract from Goodreads.com

I have never really paid attention to how many books an author has written – unless it’s to work out the order of a series (this is not always as easy as it sounds). I have to admit though I am a little sceptical of very prolific authors… who has the time? But debut authors – awesome, especially if they have a fresh original voice.

Debut Books I Can’t Wait To Read

The Debut Top 10 collage

I love the sound of these books and really hope I can get my hands on them soon. Realistically though, with the sorry state of the South African currency it may be a long, long wait. Unless my fairy godmother suddenly pays attention. (Hint hint!)

What do you think? Are you lucky enough to have read any of these?
Any recommendations?

Please Don’t Tell by Laura Tims

Expected publication: 24 May 2016

Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.

What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

Expected publication: 22 December 2015

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. 

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Expected publication: 5  January  2016

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won’t open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

Published: 5 March 2015

Carmel has always been different. Carmel’s mother, Beth, newly single, worries about her daughter’s strangeness, especially as she is trying to rebuild a life for the two of them on her own.

When she takes eight-year-old Carmel to a local children’s festival, her worst fear is realised: Carmel disappears. Unable to accept the possibility that her daughter might be gone for good, Beth embarks on a mission to find her.

Meanwhile, Carmel begins an extraordinary and terrifying journey of her own, with a man who believes she is a saviour. 

After the Woods by Kim Savage 

Expected publication: 23 February 2016

One year ago, two best friends, Liv and Julia, were attacked in the woods by a paroled predator. In an attempt to save Liv, Julia was left behind while Liv escaped.

After spending three days in the woods trying to escape her abductor, Julia was rescued. She only remembers what happened in the woods in terrifying flashbacks.

Now, on the eve of the anniversary of the attack, a body is found in the woods. This discovery rips open fresh wounds between the two girls as the truth about Liv’s role in the kidnapping is revealed.

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Published: 24 March 2015

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Expected publication: 5 April 2016 

On the eve of a fateful war, New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she sinks deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspect neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. But, once hired, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious female-only Nazi concentration camp.

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

Expected publication: 22 March 2016 

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

Expected publication: 26 January 2016

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin 

 Published 14 April  2015

Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days—the day of his senior prom.
Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle—as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. (Though he’s not totally sure—see, first hangover.)

His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters. . . . Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a chance to get to know fellow bloggers. This week Theme is Debut Authors.

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill – YA Review

All Our Yesturdays crop

Another book where the premise is better than the actual story. Luckily there were a few exciting plot twists so I could at least drum up some enthusiasm to finish.

These are the reasons I didn’t like this book:

·         A promising plot, but poorly executed

·         A very weak ending.

·         Annoying characters… I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to shake Em. OMG, JUST DO IT!!! Melina is irritating, but Em is…. just frustrating.2 Star


Recommended age: 13+

Title: All Our Yesterdays All Our Yesturdays
Series: All Our Yesterdays #1
Author: Cristin Terrill
Publication Date: 1 April 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Purchased
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Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn’t happened yet. 

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture – being kept apart, overhearing each other’s anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There’s no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It’s from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that’s about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

Halloween – The Scariest Books I’ve Never Read

In my teens I devoured horror books, with Stephen King’s Pet Sematary topping the list of the scariest books I’ve ever read.

But with my transient reading tastes flowing through fantasy and currently solidifying into contemporary I haven’t opened a horror book for a while.

If I was going to read a scary book this Halloween which one should it be?

Halloween Collage

House  by Frank E. Peretti & Ted Dekker 

Enter House – where you’ll find yourself thrown into a killer’s deadly game in which the only way to win is to lose… and the only way out is in.

The stakes of the game become clear when a tin can is tossed into the house with rules scrawled on it. Rules that only a madman—or worse—could have written. Rules that make no sense yet must be followed.

One game. Seven players. Three rules. Game ends at dawn.

Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

When a young family move into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and light-hearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House.

At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable noises and self-closing doors, but Hill House is gathering its powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own…

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The terror began unobtrusively. Noises in Regan’s room, an odd smell, misplaced furniture, and icy chill. Small annoyances for which Chris MacNeil, Regan’s actress mother, easily found explanations. The changes in eleven-year-old Regan were so gradual, too, that Chris did not recognise for some time how much her daughter’s behaviour had altered. Even when she did, the medical tests which followed shed no light on Regan’s symptoms, which grew more severe and frightening. It was almost as if a different personality had invaded the child.

Desperate, Chris turned from the doctors to Father Damien Karras, a Jesuit priest who was trained as a psychiatrist and had a deep knowledge of such phenomena as satanism and possession. Was it possible that a demonic force was at large? If psychiatry could not help, might exorcism be the answer?

Night Chill by Jeff Gunhus

Jack Tremont moves his family to the quiet mountains of Western Maryland hoping to leave behind a troubled past and restart his life. Instead, he finds himself caught up in a nightmare when his daughter Sarah is targeted by Nate Huckley, a mysterious and horrifying stranger driven by a dark power that will stop at nothing to possess Sarah.

When Sarah goes missing, suspicion falls on Jack and he must uncover the secrets of the small mountain town of Prescott City and face the evil secret hidden there. As he digs further, he learns the conspiracy reaches more deeply than he could have imagined.

Finally, he will have to face the question, What is a father willing to do to save his child? The answer? Anything. Anything at all.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell

The neighbors all whisper about the two sisters who live on the hill: It’s Blanche Hudson who lives in that house, you know. The Blanche Hudson, who starred in big Hollywood films all those years ago.

Such a shame her career ended so early, all because of that accident. They say it was her sister, Jane, who did it–that she crashed the car because she was drunk. They say that’s why she looks after Blanche now, because of the guilt. That’s what they say, at least.

Brother by Ania Ahlborn

Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.

But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place…

The Hand That Feeds by Michael W. Garza

How far will a parent go to keep their child alive?

John and Angela Mason’s lives are brought to a tormenting halt when their ten year old son is reduced to a lifeless shell. John watches his wife slip into madness as his son rises from the dead. He realizes they must escape the terrifying infection in order to survive but how can he choose between the insanity consuming his wife and the undying hunger of his son.

An appetite for death will come in one form or another and it will be left to John to decide on the hand that feeds

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

Haunted is a novel made up of stories: twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you’ll ever encounter.

They are told by the people who have all answered an ad headlined ‘Artists Retreat: Abandon your life for three months’. They are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of ‘real life’ that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them.

But ‘here’ turns out to be a cavernous and ornate old theater where they are utterly isolated from the outside world – and where heat and power and, most importantly, food are in increasingly short supply. And the more desperate the circumstances become, the more desperate the stories they tell – and the more devious their machinations to make themselves the hero of the inevitable play/movie/non-fiction blockbuster that will certainly be made from their plight.

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a chance to get to know fellow bloggers. This week Theme is Halloween.

Hannah Spannah Coco Banana

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour – YA Book Review

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour crop

This is not a typical love story…

Beautifully written, this story of two almost-strangers who get to know each while driving across America, breaks from the usual, stereotypical road-trip story where the couple start off hating each other before they fall in love. In contrast, there was an easy friendship between Roger and Amy from the start.

Like a scrapbook, the memorabilia collected on the way brings life to the story, while the shared secrets and playlists allow the characters to shine through.

With unexpected tenderness and humour, the story unfolds in small bites allowing the reader to savour the experience.4 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour  Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publication Date: 3 May 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
1st Published: 4 May  2010
Source: Library

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Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.  — Extract from Goodreads.com

This is What Happy Looks Like – YA Book Review

crop 1 This is What Happy Looks Like

A sugary sweet, light-hearted book. Fun, but predictable with a weak, disappointing ending.

The one redeeming point in the story is the exposure of the paparazzi, who deserve all the bad press they get for their invasion of privacy. Although the producers and buyers of ‘skinner’ (Afrikaans word for gossip) magazines are just as bad – ensuring the paparazzi get paid for their trash.3 Star

Recommended age: 12+

Title: This is What Happy Looks likeThis is What Happy Looks Like
Series: This is What Happy Looks Like #1
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publication Date: 2 April 2013
Publisher: Headline
Source: Library

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If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?   — Extract from Goodreads.com

Happy Birthday Roald Dahl!

Happy Birthday RD

I love Dahl’s wacky humour, and as a family we collectively agree that our all time favourite Roald Dahl book is the audio edition of The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me narrated by Hugh Laurie.

It’s an experience nobody should miss so gather your friends and family together for this one – it’s too funny not to share.

RD Audio

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