Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Sebastian: 7-Years-Old and 20 Questions



I cannot even believe we have a seven-year-old. Here's our annual interview with this growing monkey!

1. What is your favorite colour? pink (for the fifth year in a row!) and red and yellow and white and orange
2. What is your favorite toy? my new poop emoji that I got from Valentine's
3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries and apples and watermelon
4. What is your favorite tv show? Scooby Doo (for the second year in a row)
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? ice cream
6. What is your favorite outfit? footies (for the third year in a row)
7. What is your favorite game? talking about Plants vs Zombies 4 and playing Plants vs Zombies 2
8. What is your favorite snack? ice cream 
9. What is your favorite animal? cat (for the second year in a row)
10. What is your favorite song? Captain Underpants movie theme song
11. What is your favorite book? Captain Underpants
12. Who is your best friend? Jude and Connor
13. What is your favorite cereal? Corn Pops
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play (for the second year in a row)
15. What is your favorite drink? milk (for the second year in a row)
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas (for the third year in a row) and my birthday 
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Scooby 
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? birthday waffle pancakes
19. What do you want for dinner? tacos (for the second year in a row)
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? book writer

And here are his answers from his 6th birthday5th birthday4th birthday, and 3rd birthday.

xo
Jenn

Monday, 29 April 2019

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne - Book Review

After I read The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne last year, it quickly became a lifetime fav. I was delighted when Penguin Random House Canada sent me a review copy of his next release, A Ladder to the Sky.

Following a book that received the kind of critical and commercial acclaim Furies did likely came with no small amount of pressure for the author. I'm pleased to say that, while A Ladder to the Sky is completely different than Furies, I was not disappointed!


A Ladder to the Sky tells the story of Maurice Swift, a writer who will stop at nothing (and I mean absolutely nothing) to achieve success and fame in the literary world.

Nearly all of the characters in this book are unlikeable and infuriating. Most of the time, I couldn't decide if I loved A Ladder to the Sky or hated it. It's clever, chilling, and scandalous. Watching Maurice manipulate every single person around him felt like watching a train wreck over and over and over again. However, Boyne's writing is outstanding, and I know I was feeling exactly what he intended me to feel as the reader of this novel.

I also love that Boyne gives the reader a peek inside the world of publishing. Is the volume of books published each year too high? What is the value of literary prizes? How do women carve out a voice in a traditionally male-dominated industry? At what point does an idea or experience become shared and no longer yours alone? When does ambition become manipulation? How guilty are we of sins we commit in youth or duress?

Lastly, it is interesting to read a book about a shady author after following the #copypastecris drama on Twitter earlier this year. The short version of this story is that there is a romance author who has allegedly plagiarized parts of her novels from over 90 other books written by over 40 authors (including Nora Roberts and Diana Gabeldon, to name a few). The story of Maurice Swift may be imagined, but what makes this novel so compelling is that I do not think it would be much of a stretch to turn this work of fiction into one of non-fiction.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this novel for review purposes from Penguin Random House Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick - Book Review and Giveaway



I'll never be able to think of this book without thinking of spraining my ankle. While I did try to take a picture of this gorgeous book about a library in an actual library, things didn't work out as planned (you can read the embarrassing story here). However, I did end up spontaneously being all matchy matchy with this book at a coffee shop, so I suppose the lesson here is not to over-plan life.

This is not exactly unconnected to some of the themes in The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. Librarian Martha Storm spends her life creating colour-coordinated lists and being the "go to" person for any task needing completion in her small town. From completing laundry for her neighbours to repairing decorations to volunteering at the library, Martha has dedicated her life to helping others.

One day, the discovery of an old book of fairy tales knocks her off her current course. There is a dedication in this book that indicates her beloved grandmother may not have died when Martha was told she did. Is Zelda still alive now? What other family secrets are in hiding? As Martha dives into this mystery, she discovers hidden truths about her past that may change her future.

Initially, I did not like Martha. She is a doormat in the extreme when we meet her, and I was annoyed that so many people around her were taking advantage of her desire to be helpful. The first half of this book will definitely have you evaluating how often you say, "No." in your own life. However, I grew to enjoy Martha's character more by the end. She goes through a necessary journey in this novel and comes out better for it. And the bookseller she meets, Owen, is quite charming :)

Ultimately, The Library of Lost and Found is about our personal connection to books and how stories bring us together. I have a soft spot for book about books, and this one fits that genre nicely.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I'm giving one copy of The Library of Lost and Found away over on Instagram this weekend. Check it out here!

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book from TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 29 March 2019

The Savior by J. R. Ward


Waiting for this has been MURHDER…

The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward is a staple in romancelandia. Broody, sexy vampires who protect their loved ones at all cost. It's hard not to get swept up in this series.



The Savior is next instalment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Murhder has a dark and tragic history with the BDB. When he meets a scientist struggling with her own tragedy, will they together find salvation?

Check out The Savior trailer below for more about Murhder's story:




The Savior is available for preorder wherever books are sold. You can shop directly on the Simon and Schuster website here.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me these materials and a copy of The Savior to enjoy! All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, 22 March 2019

HealthTea Book Crate March 2019 - Unboxing


Ever since Novel Editions closed down over a year ago, I've been hunting for a book box that featured excellent new releases and high-quality products. I've tested quite a few, and I've finally found one that is perfect for me!

HealthTea Book Crate is a bi-monthly subscription box that always features recently released fiction (often hardcover and signed by the author), tea, and other luxury bookish/self-care items.

My husband gifted me a six-month subscription (3 boxes) for Christmas, and I enjoyed their enchanted forest holiday box so much! I unboxed it on Instagram here.

The March 2019 box is themed mindfulness, and I love it just as much!


Included:
* The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray (hardcover with a signed book plate, plus #diversereads for the win!)
* Morning Harmony loose leaf tea by Leaf & Twig
* Happy Floral Notebook Set by Seedlings (set of 3 notebooks with a plantable belly band)
* Fluttery Mix Pencil Terrarium by June and December (set of 5)
* Breath Deeply Essential Oil Towelettes by Happy Spritz (set of 4)
* Ways To Be More Mindful art print by HealthTea Book Crate

If you're interested in learning more, visit their Subscription page for the various pricing and gift options. Their next box is in May, and it's their one-year anniversary box, so it's sure to be wonderful!

The whimsical packaging details, and the luxurious items selected make HealthTea Book Crate such a treat to open. While the cost of shipping to Canada is (understandably) high, this was the perfect gift, and I'm hopeful Rob renews my subscription for Mother's Day 💖.

xo
Jenn

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

California Girls by Susan Mallery - Book Review





If you're looking for a fun, light, heartwarming read, Califorina Girls by Susan Mallery is the perfect fit. It's the story of three sisters who get dumped in the same week....

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation... While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I quite enjoyed Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery a few years ago, so I was excited to bring California Girls on vacation this week, and I was not disappointed. All three storylines with Ali, Zennie, and Finola moved quickly and were fun to get lost in for a few days. Daniel is super dreamy and the chapters with him and Ali were my favourite. Susan Mallery writes novels that are perfect for readers to love their romances not too spicy, and I love the way she writes the banter between the characters.

The only character I didn't like in this story was the mother. I suspect she was supposed to be unsupportive and over-the-top, but I just couldn't believe that she was so insensitive towards her daughters after their breakups. Maybe I just have a great mom and other moms are actually like this? I don't know. That was the one part that kind of pulled me out of the story now and then. That being said, I still really had fun with California Girls, and would absolutely recommend it!

Bonus - I'm giving a way a copy this week over on Instagram!

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book courtesy of TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Literary Matchmaking With My Parents

I'm a big fan of Anne Bogel and the podcast What Should I Read Next?. My friend, Sara, and I even did a little literary matchmaking for each other here and here.

I thought it would be fun to try this with my parents as well.



My Mom
Books I have loved:
1. The Immigrants by Howard Fast
2. A Nurse's Story by Tilda Shalof
3. For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston

A Book I Didn't Like:
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Currently Reading:
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

My mom likes happy endings. She wants a "feel good" story that isn't going to break her heart to pieces. She also likes books that tell someone's story, especially strong women. My mom prefers novels that are set within the last century. She likes historical fiction, but not too far back.

For my mom, I recommend:
1. Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen
2. Love and Ruin, Paula McLain
3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid

Bonus suggestions: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and Where I Belong by Alan Doyle


My Dad
My three favorite books:
1)  Aztec by Gary Jennings
2)  The Memory Illusion by Dr. Julia Shaw. It sheds a whole new light on how well we think our memories are.
3)  Foundation trilogy by Issac Assimov

A Book I Disliked:
Camino Island by John Grisham. This started out as a page turner but after the first chapter, it turned into something completely different with a very lame ending.  Definitely a waste of time and money.

Currently Reading:
I'm halfway through the first book of Sapiens. I'm enjoying it but it is not something you can spend more than 1 hr at a time on it.

My dad reads both fiction and non-fiction. He likes books that offer glimpses into different cultures and eras, and he likes learning what makes people tick. He loves a compelling story and doesn't want to be bored.

For my dad, I recommend:
1. Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
2. Station Eleven by Emily St. Jean Mandel
3. Indian Horse, Richard Wagamese

Bonus Suggestions: Midnight Light by Dave Bidini, and if he was feeling really brave, Red Leopard Black Wolf by Marlon James.

Happy reading!
xo
Jenn

ShareThis