Centre for Kids who can’t Read good and Wanna learn to do other good stuff too

by HughVanCuylenburg, Victoria Helen Stone

Let’s not make a habit of this …two posts in two nights.

*seductive whisper* People will start talking about us.

I feel like writing and I guess this time I’d better make it about reading. Even though, I’m technically not reading much…not because there aren’t some ahhhhmazing books to read right now (yes amazing books, I see you), but because of everything I discussed in my last post.

Ummm by the way, the title of this has nothing to do with what the post is actually about. I’m trying something new, where nothing makes any sense. So have yourself a merry little Christmas, a very merry unbirthday to you and keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel. 😉

But who doesn’t love Zoolander? and if you don’t we can’t be friends.

How do I fight the short attention span, lazy, crazy, coronavirus version of myself right now?

I have a plan.

It’s all about accountability and I heard somewhere (a podcast and some books – sources remain nameless) that when you are forming a new habit if you put it out there to the world you are more likely to follow through. So I’m compiling a list of books I’m reading/have read/need to review to make sure I bloody do it.

There are some fierce competitors I tell you and one review in particular I can’t believe I’m holding back from you. I’ll start there because it’s extremely important to me and I bang on to everyone who will listen to me about it.

The Resilience Project – finding happiness through gratitude empathy & mindfulness

Hugh Van Cuylenburg

I love this book. The resilience project is not just a book – they build resilience in children through education programs, offer live events, present at sporting clubs and do corporate talks also.

Hugh is the founder and I have seen him speak live. I love the resilience project so much that I bought the audio book and the kindle version, have a wellbeing journal and a t- shirt. It’s safe to say I’m a super-fan and it means a lot to me. I listened to the audiobook a very long time ago and it was a situation where I wanted to be able to give the best review I could and wanted it to be perfect, so much so that I delayed writing the review. I do this when I love things a lot – to people too – many times have I not kissed/gone home with someone I reeeeallly like. Why? because I’m stupid. If the resilience project was a man I had a crush on I’d be flirting, pretending not to flirt, giving suggestive looks and praying that they notice me. The review is coming and hopefully by now I have the balls to do it justice.

Problem Child

Victoria Helen Stone

I’m reading this one right now. It is hard to believe my pathetic excuse for motivation has had trouble continuing with it – it bloody fabulous so far and I have the biggest girl crush boner ( don’t have a bone – but if I did…) for the author. Apologies…things have gotten sexual now.

I’ll tell you why:

  1. She wrote Jane Doe and this is more Jane (where I have an even bigger crush on the character Jane because she is a sociopath who reminds me of Dexter and I wish I was her)
  2. She is great I follow her on Twitter and love it
  3. Problem Child has allllllllll the things I love – Jane is so perfect. Strong, emotionless. I. want. to be. her.

I’ve highlighted half the god damn book on my kindle because Jane’s lines (Victoria’s words) are fucking phenomenal this time around. I need to finish the book and get a review to you ASAP. *public service announcement – the review will contain large excerpts of the book, (the man hating parts) hope this is legal.

P.S – love you Victoria. Jane is a GANGSTER.

Also – my heart is large and it appears I even have room for psychos and for some reason Henry Higgins comes to mind – (character from My Fair Lady folks – do your research – or Pygmalion if you are especially creative 😉 ), who I also love and adore – why? because he’s a prick mostly and I have a thing for pricks. In my head I’m singing “just you wait Henry Higgins, just you wait!” Ok, that has nothing to do with the book but the narrative of Henry’s “never let a woman in your life” and “why can’t a woman be more like a man” – makes me want to punch him in the face – Jane Doe style. But what Jane does is better, so much better. By the way when I say Henry Higgins – I mean Rex Harrison. He is my fave Henry. Review coming as soon as I finish the book.

*whispers* I also love Henry Higgins. I may have daddy issues.

Ok that’s enough.

I know. It’s only two books and there are so many more I want to tell you about – but small steps ok?

I have the writing bug, so lets see what happens.

About Victoria Helen Stone

Victoria Helen Stone, formerly writing as USA Today bestselling novelist Victoria Dahl, was born and raised in the flattest parts of the Midwest. Now that she’s escaped the plains of her youth, she writes dark suspense from an upstairs office high in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. She enjoys summer trail hikes with her family almost as much as she enjoys staying inside during the winter. Since leaving the lighter side of fiction, she has written the critically acclaimed, bestselling novels Evelyn, After; Half Past; Jane Doe; and her latest Amazon Charts bestseller, False Step.

Too long between Drinks

Yes, yes, yes, yes. It’s been far too long between drinks. I realise I’ve had an obvious absence from my blog. I’m still reading (although not as often as I would like lately). I’m a little behind on my reviews. My book blogging plugin is not working as my paid membership on WordPress has expired. I know. Excuses.

I’m also very well aware the Goodreads Choice Awards are currently underway and I’m not even close to blogging about it yet. Have no fear, I have voted for my favourites and highlights of my blog. It’s no surprise or coincidence that some of my best reads of 2019 make an appearance in the nominations. Stars such as Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen, My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing and Life Will be the Death of Me by Chelsea Handler. But more about Goodreads Choice Awards later…

My blog might look slightly less…structured because I’m currently not intending on paying for WordPress. This may change in the future, but for now, it’s a shambles.

I wrote this some time ago and now even more time has passed and I’m out time, out of date, out of whack. I’m going to be extremely gentle with myself about this. Complete feather touch…because there are bigger things to worry about than a blog. So here it is. I paid for the damn thing because I miss it. However poorly written it is. Oh the irony! A book reviewer who can’t write…luckily, I don’t write I just read and put my thoughts down.


There they are.

Anyway….vengeance, back with it ( as an aside, I thought it was vengence, but it appears that’s not the word I’m looking for)

Book Review – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Book Review – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane MoriartyNine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Published by Flatiron Books on November 6, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Women, Family Life, General, Thrillers, Domestic
Pages: 432

I finished this one last week, but because I have a case of the cold/flu germy germs, I haven’t been able to focus on reading and/or writing till now. I read a few reviews about this book before reading – even though I was already convinced I’d find it interesting when I had a read of the blurb.

The reviews weren’t great. A few of them were indicating that ‘nothing happens’ and there is ‘no story’. I don’t think this is the case. A fair bit happens, but obviously the focus is on building up the characters and the story to the peak point.

Yes, it’s a little slow moving… which I actually think a lot of Laine’s books are to be honest. What Laine does very well is her characterisation and these characters certainly had personality. I think this book would actually be great as a movie adaptation. As usual, there is the underlying humour in Liane’s writing (which I love) and the characters were very varied, which made for an interesting read. Of course, there is more to everyone than meets the eye and you get to go deeper with each one.

This is not a thriller, it’s more of a drama and if you like a slower pace and a lot of different characters you will enjoy it. I also enjoyed that it was set in a wellness centre and all of the preconceptions about the centre were amusing and as I expected.

Not as good as Big Little Lies, but interesting…

It could have gone to darker places and I would have welcomed this, but, it was still entertaining.



“If three characters were good in Big Little Lies, nine are even better in Nine Perfect Strangers.” —Lisa Scottoline, The New York Times Book Review

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.


About Liane Moriarty

Liane’s most recent novel Truly Madly Guilty was published in 2016 and also debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller list. Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, together with their respective production companies, have once again partnered to option the film and TV rights.
Liane’s youngest sister Nicola Moriarty has also written three wonderful, gripping novels, Free-Falling, Paper Chains and The Fifth Letter.
Liane is now a full-time author. She has sold over 14 million copies of her books worldwide and her novels have been translated into thirty-nine languages.
She lives in Sydney with her husband, son and daughter. When she’s not writing she can be found reading, demanding coffee, clutching her forehead and occasionally falling to her knees on the soccer field sidelines (the grief, the joy, the drama!) demanding chocolate, skiing like she’s thirty years younger than she is, recovering from skiing injuries, doing the school run, walking around the block to avoid writer’s block, talking to old friends about getting old, listening to her children explain the wonders of MineCraft, watching TV series far too late into the night and reading, which has already been mentioned, but deserves a second mention.

Pile O’ Books

It’s Sunday night and I really wish I had finished a book for a review but I haven’t. I was out living life this weekend and had much needed catch ups with friends and mother/daughter day (also much needed).

This slight set back is not going to stop me from writing a new blog post though. I’m still going with ‘Parkland’ and ‘Sister’ and have almost finished both – love them, reviews to come 😍 – but another challenge awaits me…


Pile O’ Books in their natural habitat, sunning themselves atop my subwoofer in the beautiful surroundings of my living room

Oh the horror!!!!!!

The cruel truth is… my list of TBR’s is out of control since I found my beloved street library AND a book swap at work (which I have been raiding like a starved dog).

Of course, these books aren’t including the books yet to be read on my kindle. I’m just not sure where to start, but I do know one thing… it seems I may have mastered the art of reading two books at once!!!

My kindle is now my public transportation reading only and the physical books I have acquired are my bed/couch/bath time reading material. So it’s kind of a nice mix to be able to do both. I actually never thought I would reinstate my love of reading a physical book again, but turns out we are soul mates. You can’t deny our bond.

Do I need anymore books right now? No. Is that going to stop me from browsing my street library on the weekends? Again, a solid no.

You never know what wonders await you.

Right. As I’m currently in the bath (no rude thoughts now) and ‘Sister’ is patiently waiting for me to continuing reading and perhaps finishing it, I will end it here.

The gift that keeps on giving

I’ve talked about it before, very recently, that it is such an honour to be sent books to review and I really appreciate it when authors ask me to review a book, even it’s not really my preferred genre.

Even more lovely, is receiving the physical copy of a book in the mail, all the way from the US. I’ve also said that I enjoy reading books on my kindle rather than physical books, but there is something about reading the physical copy of a book when it is gifted to you. This is the first actual book I have been sent and it is rather exciting.

I’m looking forward to reading Craig M Dial’s Bully Brother. Memoires and biographies is another of my favourite genres (aside from thrillers). At the moment I’m reading Educated by Tara Westover, which is also a memoir. So I might need a break from the genre before reading Bully Brother. It’s also such a personal experience and I think when an author is sharing that much of themselves, I need to give it my full attention. To be honest, Educated is almost taking it out of me emotionally. I’ll be reading a thriller next. Not sure which one yet…that will be a suprise.

Books really are a gift. When you recommend them, lend them buy them or borrow them. I think that’s what I love most about books and reading. The ideas and stories can be shared and through the sharing comes enjoyment. I enjoy the book and I want everyone else to read it and know what I know. It’s like a shared secret. Except I have the opportunity to share that secret with you. 😉

Sleeplessness makes for more reading (and blogging) time

Coming to you live from my bed where I should be sleeping…

I’ve had a few sleepless nights recently, which is unlike me. Usually I just lay down at 9:30pm and I’m off to sleep before I know it. I’ve had a few things on my mind of late.

The great thing about this is that I have more time for reading and blogging and I’m utilising this time for both. The You Tube meditation vids were just not cutting it for me.

I wanted to give you a general update, so you don’t feel neglected and to let you know where I’m at because I fear I may have given you a couple of false promises (sorry in advance).

The January wellbeing thing:

I know I promised you a wellbeing theme in January, with some reviews of self-improvement books and recipe books. I have not forgotten about this, it is still coming – just probably not in January…I have a few things in the works and up my sleeve for future blog posts. But yeah, you keep that January spirit alive until I get to it, ok? We actually need to look after ourselves all year round not just in Jan.

Authors reaching out to me:

I’ve had some authors reach out to me directly to review their books. I think this is incredibly flattering and I’m very grateful that authors would trust me to read and give an honest review for them. Plus I love reading – so we all get something out of it right?

I’ve been a little slack at getting back to some people, but I really will try to. If the genre/storyline of the book doesn’t appeal to me I’m going to be honest and tell the author it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t review just anything, I need to have some interest in the topic or story to be invested in reading and reviewing the book.

Thank you to the authors who have reached out and sought my review and trusted me in that process. I have a great one coming up…well…tonight!

Regularity of posts:

No one has specifically complained to me about this, but I am aware I may not be posting as frequently. Believe me I would like to post more often. I’m just a handicapped reader. Ha ha ha. I am a slow reader and I really like to immerse myself in a book and process it. I like to take notes whilst I’m reading and highlight important sections where I love the language and/or feeling evoked and might want to use it as a quote in my blog. I like to note down my first impressions of the book, details about the characters, the overall feeling I have whilst reading and if that changes and notes about the author too. I do a bit of research about the book and the author. This level of perfection takes time and probably slows my reading down a little more. I don’t mind because I love it, but it does mean the reviews take a little longer to be posted.

I actually wrote this last night and fell asleep! Sooooo, blogging also appears to cure my intermittent insomnia. There is much more to come. Stay Tuned.

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine Steadman

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine SteadmanSomething in the Water by Catherine Steadman
Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 5, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Psychological, Women
Pages: 352
Format: eBook

Fan – tas – tic.!!!

On my list of favourites and I have already been blabbing about it and recommending it to others. So they might find this post boring.

I want to start off by saying, what a talented woman. Not only a great actress, but clearly an amazing author also. This is Catherine’s debut novel and I had heard about it a long time before reading. I actually wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it. Catherine captured my attention straight away and I wasn’t disappointed by the events that followed.

Something in the water is part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club ( I thought it was just Oprah who had one of those?) Word on the grapevine is that Something in the Water is going to be made into a film, produced by Reece and I am front and centre at that movie. You know how excited I get about books being adapted to the screen. I’m not going to lie, I did imagine Reece as the protagonist, Erin, whilst reading. This book would make an amazing movie.

The book was also nominated in the Goodread’s Choice Awards in the best mystery and thriller category. I would have definitely voted for this one had I read it before voting ended.

There may have been a brief moment in time at the start of the book where I was impatient and I wanted things to move along a little faster, but that was just me being greedy, because I was spoiled when the action began. It just didn’t stop and any feelings I had about a slow pace were quickly forgotten.

There were also possibly some eye – rolling, sickening, romantic sections, whereby I had to strategically swallow my puke whilst reading on the train. Again, all is forgiven here, because the plot is by no means just a mushy, love fest. It is thrillaaaahhhhh personified.

The Best Bits

  • The story is from Erin’s perspective – I loved hearing just from Erin, I admired her as quite a strong woman and an enjoyable character to follow
  • Heart racing plot – what a page turner after the discovery in the water! It really does change things for the couple and the pace of the book
  • There were step by step instructions on how to use a Glock 22 – for those innocent types, this is a gun. I was smiling ear to ear when reading this…hey, no judgement, a girl has to know these things
  • The juxtaposition of Erin’s world making a documentary about criminals and her own world about to drastically change and mirror that of her subjects – thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the book, some great characters introduced here too

In summary:

You need to read this one. You.just. do. If you don’t, you will be watching the movie, loving it and then I’ll be screaming “I told you so” from the rooftops. Which is something I quite enjoy doing by the way….

I’m prepared to cop it if you don’t like it too. I will stick my neck comfortably on the line with this one. It’s my fave of 2019 so far (and once again, I’m late to the party on this one – don’t be like me…)


If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?   Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .   Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?   Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .   Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?   Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.


About Catherine Steadman

Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She is known for her roles in Downton Abbey and Tutankhamun, starring alongside Sam Neill, as well as shows including Breathless, The Inbetweeners, The Tudors, and Fresh Meat.

In 2017 Catherine will feature in political thriller Fearless and new BBC comedy Bucket. She also has appeared on stage in the West End including Oppenheimer for the RSC, for which she was nominated for a 2016 Laurence Olivier Award.

Friday Night Delights

It’s Friday night here in Australia (believe me when I say I have international readers) and my grand plan was rest and relaxation.

What better way to relax than a bathtub, surrounded by candles, a glass of red wine and my kindle?

Rhetorical question. We all know the answer to the above.

It was actual bliss though. Nothing but the sound of a clock ticking in the other room. No phone, no other distraction. My favorite way to read. It was lovely to disconnect from everything for a few hours.

It prompted thoughts about social media, media in general and technology in general. It’s difficult to escape. It stresses me out (I don’t watch the news and some people think this is weird), I just need to disassociate from everything sometimes and then I come back feeling recharged. I do wonder if there are more people who feel the way I do.

Is retreating a reward for you too and if so, what does this tell us about ourselves, the world and everything around us?

I’m also well aware of the irony that I am using technology to communicate my thoughts right now and will most definitely share it on social media.

I was in the tub longer than I thought and had those delightful skin wrinkles. They don’t bother me at all because I know I’ve completely disappeared in my own little bliss world. I really do love my bathtub more than many many things. I have considered that I may be part mermaid.

Of course I did the face mask, face treatment, body scrub, foot scrub … can I get any kind of other scrub because I want to be buried in it. Yes, I know how to do this pampering stuff properly.

I know what you are really interested in, this is a book blog after all…

I was reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. If anyone has read this (and I’m sure many, many of you have – I’m tremendously late to the party on this one, forgive me) – you will know that it’s not exactly gentle, light reading. The topic matter is a tad distressing. Of course I like it, but it’s not usually something one would read to relax.

Regardless, I am very relaxed and there will of course be a full review of Nineteen Minutes. All I can say at this stage is that I’m enjoying it but it’s not easy to read. It’s challenging, upsetting and frankly, such a courageous topic to write about. School shootings. I’m very glad it was written – I say this before I’ve finished reading but I appreciate everything Jodi has done with it so far (40% read on my kindle). It makes me angry about guns in the US and lack of gun laws in the US – but I will silence myself on this for now. Watch out for my review – it may contain profanity, not about the book, but the topic that we all wish wasn’t a topic or a reality.

On that note, I leave you. Take some time to relax, look after yourself and think thoughts.

10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards

Have you voted???

There are several important votes to be made of late (in the US anyway) and the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards is currently taking votes in lots of genre categories.

I always love to browse Goodreads for book recommendations and I think the Choice Awards is a good way to acknowledge those wonderful authors who write the books we love, as well as get ideas for the next fantastic read.

Voting is now in the semi – final round so it’s getting close. Please check out the link below to browse the categories and cast your vote!

Voting Schedule 

Opening Round Oct. 30 –
Nov. 4
Semifinal Round Nov. 6 – 11
Final Round Nov. 13 – 26
Winners Announced Dec. 4

Best Mystery & Thriller

Of particular interest to me was the Best Mystery & Thriller category, where I have read the the most books in any category. I am most excited about the book I voted for, The Wife Between Us – by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen, being in the semi final round of voting. I also enjoyed The Woman in the Window – A.J Flinn & Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeny and I’m so glad they made it to the semi final round. I’m very exited to read Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman  as I have heard great things about this book. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone also looks incredibly interesting to me from reading the synopsis.

Best Horror

I also had a browse of the Horror category, where I voted for Zoje Stage’s Baby Teeth, loved it and recently reviewed and am happy to see this book is also in the semi final round of voting. In this category, I am most excited to read Ian Reid’s Foe (again, heard great things, also in relation to his other novel, I’m thinking of Ending Things).

Best of the Best 

There is a new category, Best of the Best, with some amazing reads. I had read quite a few of these and I found it very difficult to choice one to vote for. I voted for Room by Emma Donoghue, but unfortunately it did not made the semi final round. There are so many great books in this category though, its going to be a tough one!

Best Memoir/Autobiography

Of course I browsed all the categories. I can’t always be thrilled or terrified. Sometimes I like to be inspired or motivated.  Another favourite category of mine was the non fiction and biographies and memoirs categories. Again, including a lot of books I hadn’t yet read, but am very well aware of and very much want to read – I see you Educated by Tara Westover.

I encourage all and any readers to take a look. Browsing Goodreads at any time is a great way to find awesome books and the reading community is lovely.


When life gets in the way of reading

Sometimes life gets in the way of reading.

I’ve just had surgery on my knee. I thought this would be a great time to catch up on reading, watching shows on netflix and relaxing. There has been a little netflixing and reading, but because of the medication I’m taking my ability to focus is limited.

I start to read and I just drift off. Perhaps the sleep is needed right now for recovery. I just thought I’d still have some brain power to be able to focus. I’m also excited to read the book Ive just started – The Affair by Sheryl Browne. The Affair is off to a great start and I’m already hooked, but I find I’m having to take it slowly.

It’s also a little difficult to get comfortable. Laying on my back can hurt my knee after a while, but it’s also a gamble to lay on my side. I’m hoping in a few more days I’ll be in a little less pain. My ability to concentrate will be improved. I’ll be back to my reading and blog loving self.

Today’s post is a little different. I think it’s good to acknowledge that sometimes things get in the way. Sometimes circumstances aren’t exactly what we expect. It’s ok. We all have days or moments when we are a little off. Right now my body needs time to repair. I just didn’t expect my mind to take a break too.

I’ll be back before you know it.


Hunter taking care of me.