Today I am thankful

I am lucky enough to work in a school library in South Africa, not only because so many of our schools are not privileged enough to have a library. But sometimes I forget how fortunate I am. I tend to be drawn up in my dream of where I would like to take our library, only to be inhibited time and time again by financial constraints. I often look around the room just seeing the ‘if only’ and forget how far we have come in the seven years I have been working here.

This week was ‘Back to School’. In our corner of South Africa, January and February are stifling hot and humid and during these months our library is particularly popular for its ice-cold air conditioning. Add that to students returning from their six week summer holiday  desperate for something new to read and you can see why my first week of the year is always busy.

I needed someone to wake me up… New to our school he arrived one lunch break, stopped in the doorway and exclaimed WOW! Wow… He went on to explain that the school he came from did not have such a big library. He asked for a particular book, one of our more popular titles and as I handed it to him he clutched it so hard to his chest I was a little concerned we may never see it again! His old school didn’t have this series, and he couldn’t wait to read it…

Needless to say this student made my week, and probably my month… I look around our library and I am thankful.

Small indie bookshops vs. online retailers

In recent news France hopes to pass a law banning free shipping offered by online book retailers in a bid to protect the small physical bookshops.

French senators pass ‘anti-Amazon’ law to protect small retailers

What is your opinion? Should governments endeavour to save small indie bookshops or is it inevitable that large corporate businesses will eventually take over this industry, especially as eBooks increase in popularity?

I live in a small rural community, where the only book shop available is a small branch of a large chain. While my personal purchases are largely digital, I do buy the majority of our library’s physical stock online, and yes I would definitely miss the free shipping! Without it our library would contain fewer books and lack the diversity our students deserve.

Having said this there is one indie book seller who would be sorely missed. She travels around South Africa with her vehicle stacked to the hilt with a wide range of books, dispensing encouragement, advice and friendship to anyone lucky enough to meet her. I owe basket full of gratitude to Audrey of ‘Hedgehog Books’ who has over the years given me invaluable advice. Her product knowledge is phenomenal and it is this, along with her enthusiasm, that makes her the success she is! Thank you Audrey 🙂

To contact Audrey  at Hedgehog Books email:

The Knife that Killed Me by Anthony McGowan

The Knife that Killed Me by Anthony McGowan

Knife that Killed Me

A dark, brutally honest story with a message, a very strong message that the level of violence can escalate within seconds when a weapon is brought into the mix.

It is possible that the knife that kills is not only the knife in hand, banished as a weapon –  but also the one tucked away in your pocket, carried for security, to use if necessary. For it is this ‘in case’ weapon that makes the carrier hyper aware of danger, possibly more likely to attack when a more passive response may have been sufficient to defuse the situation.

This is not really the type of book I enjoy reading, violence and bullying that I would rather pretend never happens. But it does…  to someone. Every day.4 Star

Recommended Age: 13+

The Knife that Killed Me

Author: Anthony McGowan
Publication Date: 11 October 2011
Publisher: Simon & SchusterKnife that Killed Me

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Paul Vanderman could be at any normal high school where bullies, girls, and annoying teachers are just part of life. But “normal” doesn’t apply when it comes to the school’s biggest bully, Roth—a twisted and threatening thug with an evil agenda.

When Paul ends up delivering a message from Roth to the leader of a gang at a nearby school, it fuels a rivalry with immediate consequences. Paul attempts to distance himself from the feud, but somehow Roth keeps finding reasons for him to stick around. Then one day Roth hands him a knife. And even though Paul is scared, he has never felt so powerful. — Extract from

Crushingcinders On Naming Your Blog


Naming Your Blog



Crushingcinders: What’s in a name? How do you choose a name for your blog? I was looking for something unique, but relevant.

The name Crushingcinders originated one day a few years ago when CrushingcindersI needed a password for an email account. At the time I was frustrated with the world’s fixation on the perfect woman and wished I could flatten any ‘Cinderella’ princess! The words popped into my head and made me laugh.

The name stuck with me and feels comfortable and as I love complex ‘messed-up’ characters in books I thought it would be the perfect name for my blog.

How did you come up with your blog’s name?

This post was inspired by a post on Choosing the Perfect Blog Name by Cheri Lucas Rowlands. Thank you for the prompt Cheri!

From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer

From What I remember crop
From What I Remember is told from the perspective of four different characters whose voices are heard in alternating chapters this story ripples with adventure, fun and emotion.

The two main characters, who are not only from opposite sides of the social divide but have totally different personalities and outlooks, find themselves thrown together in a whirlwind while unexpectedly (and illegally) crossing the Mexican border. The supporting characters are no less entertaining and this story unravels their secrets as their lives are revealed layer by layer.

Expect to be drawn into the turmoil, flung about and come out the other side with a smile.5 Star

Recommended Age: 12+

Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Publication Date:
7 January 2013 (first published May 15th 2012)
Disney-HyperionFrom What I

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KYLIE: Mexico? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger??
— Extract from

This is a light-hearted comedy which I absolutely loved! But don’t be fooled into thinking its just candyfloss – this story has unexpected depth…

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