My Favourite books of 2014

My Favourite books of 2014

During 2014 I was lucky enough to read just over 130 books!
These are my favourite reads of the year…
Favourites of 2014


The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
No Such Thing as Perfect by Sarah Daltry
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
But I Love Him by Amanda Grace
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech

I would love to know which books you loved this year, please leave a comment above…




Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish at

No Such Thing as Perfect by Sarah Daltry

No Such Thing As Perfect Crop

Sarah Daltry has done it again! ‘No Such Thing as Perfect’ is a beautifully written contemporary novel that falls somewhere between YA (young-adult) and NA (new-adult). Fans of Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Fangirl’ will love this book.

College was supposed to be perfect. She was supposed to be perfect.

The seductive words of this exceptional book dance across the page, drawing me in from the very first line: “My name’s Lily and James Naismith ruined high school for me…”

I want to slow down, to make it last but I can’t. Spellbound, I fall deeper and deeper into a story that is far too close to my own. Tears fall unchecked, blurring the page but still I can’t stop.

Raw hurt echoes through the main character who finds a place in my heart as she attempts to discover herself. To fly alone. Worthy of affection. Of love. Reflections of myself break through – those awkward years of trying to fit in, trying to be the person I’m expected to be… never quite getting it right, always a feeling a disappointment…

My life is like a window dressing for a real person. But the fear that is ever present doesn’t fade…

Although I am no longer that awkward young girl, I’m still fighting an internal battle to feel worthy. I’m ignoring the inner voice urging me to lock up my feelings, and leaving a small part of me exposed, wanting to be brave enough to be me and to support an author I respect.

5 Star

Recommended age: 14+


Title:  No Such Thing as PerfectNo Such Thing As Perfect jpg
Author: Sarah Daltry
Publication Date: 11 December 2014
Publisher: October Leaves
Source: Free copy from author in exchange for honest review

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College was supposed to be perfect. She was supposed to be perfect.

For Lily Drummond, life is about following the rules. To be specific, her mother’s rules. College fit into the plan – maintain perfect grades, date the perfect guy, and live the perfect life. On her own, though, Lily realizes that she doesn’t actually have a plan. Without being told what to think and do, she keeps making mistakes.

Away from home, the perfect facade is beginning to shatter. When Lily herself starts to break, it’s the support of an unlikely friend that teaches her how much of a lie perfect really is – and how to be whole on her own terms.       — Extract from

The fact that I received this copy of this book from the author does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

The Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

The Places Books Have Made Me Want To VisitReal places

 Real Places

1. Prague from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Prague has never really been on my radar as a tourist destination, probably because travelling from South Africa is expensive and there are so many places I’d like to visit, but Laini Taylor has painted such a beautiful, historical city in my mind that it’s now one of my top places to explore.

2. Paris from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Just One Day by Gayle Forman and Die for Me by Amy Plum

I have dreamt of going to France for years, but it’s always been the countryside and small villages that I wanted to see, Paris never really appealed. It is these three books in particular that have sparked a longing to be swept up in the magic of this city.

3. Australia from In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Australia – I was almost there – while we were living in Indonesia we planned to visit Australia but life threw a curveball and we didn’t get there. Bill Bryson is at his best in this account of his journey through Australia, his dry humour hitting the mark every time.

4. Greece from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières

Greece is popular for its sunny climate and beautiful beaches, but I would love to experience the rich culture portrayed by Louis de Bernières in this significant account of Greece at war.

Fictional Places

 Fictional Places

5. Narnia from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Narnia needs no introduction…. a land I explored and retreated to often as a child and to which I return regularly, as The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is a story I love to share with my students.

6. Hogwarts from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series

Hogwarts is likely to be on everyone’s list! I wish this book had been available when I was a child, but reading them as an adult did not diminish their charm. I only wish my boarding schools were like this!

7. Lothlórien from R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings

Lothlórien… I have spent many happy hours in this beautiful, haunting Elven forest featured in the books written by one of South Africa’s ‘Hall of Fame’ authors.

8. Creepy Hollow from Rachel Morgan’s Faerie Guardian

Of all fantasy, faerie is my favourite, and of all the Fae worlds I have visited, the one I love best is Rachel Morgan’s enticing, enchanting Creepy Hollow – visit once and you’ll be back for more!

9. Mirrorworld from Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Mirrorworld is a dark and dangerous magical land – but I can’t help climbing back through the mirror for another peek….

10. Faraway Tree and the lands above from The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

The Magic Faraway Tree is a destination itself, with its unique residents and fruit-laden branches, but it is the ever-changing lands above that attached me to want to climb this tree again and again. A series of books I treasured as a child and still enjoy today as I share them with our students.



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish at

The Books that Changed the Way I See the World

The Books that Changed the Way I See the World


These three books are the ones that I will always keep close because of the positive influence they’ve had on my life.


Odette: The Story of a British Agent by Jerrard Tickell

Although admittedly at an impressionable age when I read her story, it was this book that sparked a life-long fascination with the Second World War and inspired considerable introspection where I questioned my courage (sadly lacking!), beliefs and how I perceived humanity.

 Goodreads    Amazon US    Amazon UK    Book Depository

During the Second World War, a young Frenchwoman, married to an Englishman with two young children, became a secret agent. Working in France to resist the Germans, she was betrayed, tortured & consigned to a concentration camp. ‘Odette’ tells the incredible story of an ordinary woman who proved herself to have courage & compassion.     — Extract from



Rabbityness by Jo Empson

Rabbityness by Jo Empson
I have great respect for authors who are able to capture audiences regardless of the format of their story. To those who don’t realise the power a good children’s picture book can contain, expecting greatness to come from words alone, I challenge you to pick this beautiful book. Within it you will find greatness – the type of greatness that can comfort in times of loss.

This book found me when I needed it and I continue to carry its message.

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Rabbit enjoys doing rabbity things, but he also loves un-rabbity things! When Rabbit suddenly disappears, no one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit has left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own unrabbity talents!   — Extract from


Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Reading this story was like reading about my own life. Our childhood was so similar that I felt as though I was living it again, but this time coated with the gift of time which allowed me to see the joy that fear clouded.

As a child, growing up in a county in the grips of a civil war, my overactive imagination did me no favours and I lived in perpetual fear with my weapon of choice (no judging!), a hockey stick, at my side. It is no wonder I had no enthusiasm for playing the actual game, registering instead for beginners hockey year after year!

Goodreads   Amazon UK    Amazon UK    Audible(Audio)   Book Depository  

This is the biography of Alexandra Fuller’s childhood in Rhodesia during the beginning of the guerrilla war time. It’s funny, scary, and a remarkable glimpse of a world turned upside down. 

Alexandra Fuller remembers her African childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time.  — Extract from


What you don’t know about me….

What you don’t know about me….

About Me


About me. I’m pretty new to blogging and many of my visitors have never met me, so inspired by one of my favourite bloggers, MrsDPlus3 who once wrote a similar post, I thought I would open up and share a few things about me…




  1. I am crazy about cats.
  2. I don’t like the taste of fresh strawberries – they are totally overrated.
  3. I am a qualified nurse and midwife.
  4. I was born in Zimbabwe and have also lived in South Africa and Indonesia.
  5. I married my best friend.
  6. I am terrified of snakes – yes even the harmless ones. It’s something to do with the way they move and their shifty eyes.
  7. I suffered from post-natal depression.
  8. I’d like to believe in reincarnation because I can’t believe our souls have only one chance to make a difference on earth.
  9. I love to be creative – painting and art journaling, but never seem to have enough time.
  10. The highlight of my work day is reading to the children in our school and unpacking new books for our library.
  11. I am a dreamer and reading is my way of escaping reality.
  12. I am not a morning person.
  13. I love coffee and have my first cup while I am trying to wake up.
  14. I think watching sport is boring – despite growing up in a sport mad family and living in a rugby crazy country.
  15.  I have an irrational fear of army helicopters flying overhead.
  16. I really don’t like cooking and am forever grateful for my husband’s delicious meals.
  17. I love watching movies almost as much as I love reading.
  18. I hate being the centre of attention.
  19. I am not a great fan of camping – see number 6.
  20. Despite a few hair-raising experiences with planes, I love to travel and have a wish list of the countries I would still like to see.
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