Monday, 30 October 2017

My Favourite October 2017 Releases

October was a banner month for book releases! Not only was it my own personal publishing debut, The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life With Boys was released during the same month as some of my other favourites for the year.

A Newfoundlander in Canada by Alan Doyle - Alan Doyle (frontman from Great Big Sea) is back with a second memoir about his first experiences off the island of Newfoundland as he travelled in the early days of Great Big Sea. You can see my full review here.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine - An engaging thriller about a girl who manipulates to get the life she's always dreamed of...with a twist. Check out my review here and read chapter one here.

The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life With Boys by Various Authors - 35 mom bloggers have gotten together to each tell you a hilarious and/or heartwarming story about being a boy mom. You can read more about it here. Plus I'm one of the contributors!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by JK Rowling (Illustrated Edition) - I love these illustrated editions of the Harry Potter series. The art and beauty in these books are second to none. Jim Kay's art is such a gift to the Harry Potter world.

Brooding YA Hero by Broody McHottiepants (Carrie DiRisio) - This is a satire novel that lovingly pokes fun at the young adult hero in the very best way. A hilarious look at the YA tropes that we equally cringe at and love.

The Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - Earlier this year I read my first Hazel Gaynor novel, The Cottingley Secret, and loved it. I have a soft spot for historical fiction, Paris, and romance, so a book with all three is bound to make it to my TBR pile.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak - An eclectic family is stuck in quarantine over Christmas. Tensions rises and secrets are revealed. This is on my TBR list for December!

Everything is Awful by Matt Bellassai - I love Matt Bellassai's "To Be Honest" video series, so I can't wait to read his book. I'm sure it will be just as hilarious!


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Little Red Canoe - October 2017 Review

Little Red Canoe is a new Canadian children's book subscription box designed to "create reading adventures to engage kids and get them excited about spending time outside."

Sebastian just joined Beaver Scouts, and I thought that, continuing along that theme, he may really love the Little Red Canoe box and the inspiration it has to offer.

He was so excited to receive this box, most especially because the box itself was so decorated!!

Little Red Canoe has three age groups to choose from for their subscription boxes: 0-2 (Happy Wanderers), 3-5 (Little Explorers), and 6-8 (Young Adventurers). Here is what was included in his Little Explorers box:

* a copy of "In the Red Canoe" by Leslie Davidson (illustrated by Laura Bifano)
* an "In the Red Canoe" bookmark
* a note from the author
* a letter from the illustrator
* a Colour-Me nature postcard
* five twig pencil crayons (sustainably crafted) in a canvas bag
* a children's book quote card
* a "So Many Books So Little Time" postcard
* PLUS an additional surprise (just for fun!)  - Sebastian's surprise was a notebook.

My five-year-old LOVED the pencil crayons and colouring postcard. I couldn't even take any pictures before he got down quickly to work. "Read me the book while I colour, Mommy!"

The boxes are personalized to the children receiving them, and the hardcover books are such a special touch to this book box. 

A new book box theme is released for each age group every two months. The cost is $29.99 for one box. Then there is a 10% discount for 3 months, and a 15% discount when you subscribe for 6 months. Shipping is extra. 

I'm sure I got more out of the author and illustrator letters than my little guy did, but overall the value is pretty close to the cost of the box. If you have a little one that loves being outside, Little Red Canoe is the perfect gift!

Visit their website to see their November and December themes! They are currently offering a 10% Halloween discount on all orders placed before October 31st.


Disclaimer - We received a complementary Little Red Canoe box for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are true and entirely my own.

Monday, 23 October 2017

The Unofficial Guide To Surviving Life With Boys

Sometimes our dreams whisper to us so quietly we pretend not to hear them because we think they can never possibly come true. That is exactly how I feel about having been invited to participate in this project. Earlier this year, the amazing bloggers from #LifeWithBoys reached out to see if I'd like to contribute a story to their anthology about boy moms. Honestly, I actually thought it was an accident and they had meant to message someone else. After my initial shock, I was so delighted to become part of this fantastic book.

The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life with Boys is a collection of hilarious and heartwarming stories about what it's like to be a boy mom written by a group of fabulous bloggers. From injuries to sweet cuddles and everything in between, you will love this book about being in the boy mom trenches.

It will make you laugh, maybe make you cry, and certainly give you all sorts of good feels about the special bond that exists between a mom and her son.

Plus, my story is about the time Sebastian asked what a vagina looks like, so......there's that :)

I sincerely hope you read and love this book. I know for me, there are certainly stories in here that spoke straight to my experiences as a boy mom. The ones that leave you saying to yourself, "Yes! That's exactly how I feel."

The stories are the perfect length to read between handing out bandaids and reading about dragons. I would even say you don't have to be a boy mom to enjoy the stories of motherhood in this book. The experiences shared are relatable for any mama.

Plus, if we ever meet up in real life, I can even sign it for you (‘cause now I’m famous lol.)


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Beautiful Bookmarks

This bookmark I received in a previous Novel Editions box, and it's one of my favourites! It's the perfect size for mass market paperback novels.

A beautiful wooden bookmark. The quality is excellent. I use this one often. It's a book blogger favourite:)

A beautiful peach and pink bookmark with hand drawn calligraphy.

Jane Austen quote bookmark ($6.47)
A beautiful letterpress bookmark with a Jane Austen quotation. Both sides of this bookmark are so lovely.

Marilyn Monroe ($10.32)
A beautiful silhouette bookmark from the classic Marilyn Monroe film The Seven Year Itch. Perfect for any film lover!

100% Merino wool. The softest bookmark you'll ever see!

I'm cheating here because this bookmark isn't for sale, but you can get something even better -  Brooding YA Hero is an entire book that you can order for tons of gems like this one. For anyone who loves young adult literature, Brooding YA Hero is a must read.


Monday, 9 October 2017

The Questions Google Thinks My Blog Can Answer

This month my little blog turns 4! One of my favourite curiosities with blogging are the Google search terms that have led people to my little corner of the internet. Some make sense, and some I'm still trying to figure out. Take a look:

naked at the wedding day
I can't possibly imagine (or I can, but's pretty strange) what someone was looking for with this search term. I can assure you, I haven't written any blog posts about being naked at weddings. I did once put together a post with my favourite pictures from my own wedding day. I'm naked in exactly 0 of them.

seraphine maternity canada
This one was easier to figure out. A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me my favourite places to buy maternity clothes in Canada. Séraphine does ship to Canada, and their clothes are beautiful, so I included them in my list.

abm happy life
#abmhappylife is a commonly used hashtag on Instagram for A Beautiful Mess whenever you want to share something joyful from your day. The one thing I've blogged about from A Beautiful Mess is a review of their Happy Mail subscription box. It's perfect for stationery lovers and reasonably priced (though it temporarily paused for rebranding until 2018).

non cheesy anniversary gift
My list of non-cheesy anniversary gifts for anniversaries 1-5 is probably one of my most viewed blog posts of all time. I still stand by every single one of these ideas.

oh my gauze
This was a search term I noticed recently, and I am stumped. I have no idea which post of mine would have popped up in this search result. The Internet is weird.

spiderman birthday party on a budget
Yup. We did this. For Sebastian's second birthday we did the Spiderman thing. I'm pretty proud of our crafty spider web ceiling if I do say so myself :)

when i'm gone: a novel
I do a lot of book reviews, but for some reason or another, my review of When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker seems to be the most searched.

chemo angels program
Chemo Angels is a fantastic free organization, that I'm so proud to be a part of. They pair chemo patients with "angels" or "buddies" and the angels mail encouraging notes and gifts to the patient throughout their treatment. Read more about it here.

books for babies 0-12 months
I love a good round up post, and I do have quite a few of them on my blog. The one I made with my favourite books for babies is visited often.

breastfeeding fanfiction age play 5h
Oh man...I have no idea on this one. Is it a book idea? I'm so curious. What were they looking for? Did they find it? I do have a post about breastfeeding here. I'm not a huge fanfiction reader so, I'm really not sure about that one, but I'm a book blog, so it's not entirely a stretch I suppose. As for the end, I'm still not sure...I have a post about toys for babies, and another about toys for toddlers. Nonetheless, this one leaves me scratching my head.

a splendid messy life baby list
Once upon a time I did put together an enormous list of what to buy for baby. I suspect someone I know personally must have been having a baby to google both my blog name and "baby list" together in the same search term :)

splendid nait
A close friend of mine had a rare condition called NAIT, and so it made her pregnancy very challenging. She put together a guest post for my blog to share her experiences and offer hope to any other mama out there that may be experiencing the same struggle.

Well, that's it for now! Thanks for all of your continued support with A Splendid Messy Life!

PS - I totally stole this post idea from Unremarkable Files. You should absolutely see what kind of weird questions Google thinks her blog can answer. She has some gems over there!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

A Newfoundlander In Canada by Alan Doyle - Book Review

While Alan Doyle's first book, Where I Belong, was set primarily in Petty Harbour and St. John's, Newfoundland, his newest release spans from one Canadian coast to the other.

Beginning in Newfoundland, the chapters of A Newfoundlander in Canada are divided into different Canadian provinces. The reader travels with Doyle as he shares stories and anecdotes from his first experiences off the island on the road with Great Big Sea.

Many of the stories are laugh out loud funny and woven among them all is the theme of home and identity. Doyle presents a kind of birds eye view of how the vastly different parts of Canada are still very clearly still part of the same family. It was beautiful to read.

One thing I have loved about both of Alan Doyle's books is that he easily develops a connection with his readers. You get the sense that he is right beside you with a pint of beer telling you about his amazing adventures on the "mainland". On the back of Doyle's first book, actor Russell Crowe is quoted saying, "I feel like I've lived another's life." This holds true for A Newfoundlander in Canada as well.

I have been fortunate enough to have travelled quite a bit in Canada, and I have been to many of the places, and even some of the specific bars, Doyle mentions. That definitely made this book feel extra special to me. Newfoundland itself, however, remains on my bucket list.

A Newfoundlander in Canada is certainly a must read for any Great Big Sea fan, though you do not need to be familiar with their work to enjoy this book, most especially if you are Canadian. It is available for preorder now and comes out on October 17th.


Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of A Newfoundlander In Canada from Penguin Random House Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.