Wednesday, 12 December 2018

New Erotica For Feminists - Book Review



I am so excited about this one! I discovered New Erotica For Feminists on Instagram recently, and I immediately reached out to Penguin Random House Canada to see if they would send me a review copy of this excellent book. 

If you love romance, comedy, and feminism, this is 100% the perfect book for you. New Erotica For Feminists is a collection of short "erotic" stories where all women get their happy ending - equality.

To give you a flavour, here are a few of my favourites:



When I read this one out loud to my husband his reaction was, "That sounds like the perfect date, actually."

I also especially loved the rewrites to the stories of Adam and Eve and Romeo and Juliet. New Erotica For Feminists is a small, little book, but it packs a big punch and sends an important message: civil rights are sexy.

I hope you pick this one up when you see it out and about. It would make the perfect stocking stuffer!

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

One Day in December by Josie Silver - Book Review

Guys, I wanted to love this book. It is a @northernlightsreads book club pick, a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, a Book of the Month December selection, and it is very highly rated on Goodreads.

One Day in December begins on a snowy December evening under lamplight. The main couple, Jack and Laurie, have wonderful chemistry, and I am a serious sucker for happy endings.



I wanted to love this book.

I should have loved this book.

But I didn't.

Told in alternating perspectives between Jack and Laurie, this is a love at first sight story. Jack and Laurie share a moment at a bus stop and then don't see each other again for a year when Jack begins dating Laurie's best friend.

What follows is 10 years of terrible timing and broken hearts.

We all adore cheering for true love to overcome all obstacles; however, the obstacles in this novel meant that other innocent people spent years of their lives being half-loved because these two couldn't be honest with them, with each other, and especially with themselves.

For me, One Day in December dances uncomfortably close with the line of betrayal, which is never romantic, even if you are a OTP. Which is, really, too bad; I actually kind of liked Jack. Though, I found Laurie a frustrating character to root for. 

Ultimately, this novel romanticizes emotional infidelity, and I am not here for that. I feel as though the author could have used other tools to keep Laurie and Jack in each other's lives without involving the best friend.

Sigh.

If you pick this book up and love it (because I have a seriously unpopular opinion on this one), I hope you enjoy! Though be warned, it may not be the perfect romance for all readers.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a complementary copy of this novel. I wish I had enjoyed it more!

Monday, 19 November 2018

GMorning, GNight by Lin-Manuel Miranda - Book Review

While I haven't yet been able to see a Hamilton production (gasp!), I still have so much love for Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter. Social media can be a catalyst for emotions of negativity and not enough-ness. Thankfully, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Twitter account is a bight light in what sometimes feels like dark noise.

Awhile ago, he started beginning and ending his day on Twitter with little pep talks. Phrased for us, but written also for himself, these short bursts of encouragement will fill your cup as you take on, or recover from, whatever life brings you. (Side note - Lin-Manuel Miranda was an English teacher once upon a time, so to all of the educators in the house, I'm sure he feels us!)



Now you can get many of these inspiring tweets all in one place with GMorning, GNight! little pep talks for me & you. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and illustrated by Jonny Sun (who is Canadian! 👏👏), this little book is charming and heartwarming, and your heart will be so happy you've picked it up.


No matter how you spend your day, whether it's in an office, or home with your little ones, or in a classroom, GMorning, GNight will be a meaningful and calming addition to your morning and evening routines. I know it has felt that way to me.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory - Book Review




This spring, I gushed over The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. It is such a fresh and fun romance, and I immediately fell in love with the characters. Carlos is one of those characters. We meet him in a "best friend" role in The Wedding Date, and he now has his own story in The Proposal.

In The Proposal, the action of the story begins right in the first scene. Nikole is on the receiving end of a very surprising, very public, and very unwanted marriage proposal. Fortunately, Carlos is nearby to help her save face, and also turns out to be the perfect rebound!

Those who are familiar with The Wedding Date will experience Jasmine Guillory's same bubbly writing in The Proposal. I loved the genuine build up between Carlos and Nikole; however, my favourite thing about Jasmine Guillory's books is the diversity. Her novels feature characters who are black, latino, asian, LGBTQ etc. She writes representation well, and that alone is an excellent reason to try out her novels.

The Proposal wasn't the best romance I've read this year (the conflict/miscommunication used in the always-temporary-breakup-scene was pretty cheesy, even for me), but it was funny, uplifting, silly, and sweet which is really all I need my romances to be. The Proposal is available now wherever books are sold; however, I'd say it's one to pick up at the library if you can :)

xo
Jenn


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

Monday, 15 October 2018

Bibliophile by Jane Mount



Bibliophile by Jane Mount may just very well be the most beautiful book on my bookshelves.

If you're not familiar with Jane Mount, she is the creator of the Ideal Bookshelf. She paints extraordinary bookstacks and book covers that allow us to admire our beloved books in a new ways and challenge us to try out titles that we may not have otherwise noticed. I ordered the Paris Ideal Bookshelf for myself this week. She even makes custom bookshelf prints, so you can have your own personalized ideal bookshelf!

Bibliophile - An Illustrated Miscellany is Jane Mount's latest book, and it is such a gem. This beautifully illustrated book is full of bookish trivia, quizzes, and people, along with the most interesting bookstores and libraries from around the world. Throughout the book you will also find her signature bookshelves with some of the most popular and compelling titles for every genre imaginable. Every single page in Bibliophile is overflowing with colourful literary information and images.

 


I love that this book is judgement-free about what people enjoy reading, and I've been savouring Bibliophile, working my way through it slowly. Bibliophile is a fountain of joyful bookish information, literary facts, and recommendations. Any book lover will be truly enchanted by this wonderful collection.

But be warned - reading this book will cause both your TBR and your bucket list to multiply tenfold. If you're okay with that, I'm giving away a copy on Instagram this week. Enter over here.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of Bibliophile courtesy of Raincoast Books. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, 8 October 2018

My 2018 Halloween Picks from Etsy


   


I love fall. Cozy socks, hot tea, apple-picking, scarves, cardigans, big books, and fireplaces. These are a few of my favourite things. Summer is relaxing, but autumn is beautiful. Etsy is one of my favourite places to search for seasonal decorations. They have curated some wonderful Halloween-themed selections on their blog and here are a few of my own favourites:


This printable is budget-friendly and 100% adorable.



I have a weakness for beautiful tea mugs, and I think this is going to be the next one I add to my collection!


I have a banner very similar to this that we hang up in our house every halloween. It's such a beautiful addition to our living room.



I'm not a huge costume person at all, but I could totally see myself wearing this cute shirt on Halloween.



Cozy plaid scarves are my jam. This one is stunning (and on sale!)



This trio of pumpkins is the perfect addition to your fall decor! 



Soft, cozy, warm socks are a cold-weather staple of mine. These would pair perfectly with tea, books, and pyjamas.



This pillow cover would look beautiful on your sofa or on your porch. It's also on sale :)

I hope you are enjoying this wonderful season. It's Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, so I've been eating my weight in apple crisp and turkey. #worthit Happy fall, friends!

xo
Jenn

Monday, 1 October 2018

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy - Book Review

There is a chapter in Anne of Green Gables where Anne Shirley and Marilla Cuthbert are chatting about Gilbert Blythe and his father, John.

"What a nice-looking-fellow he is," said Marilla absently. "I saw him in church last Sunday and he seemed so tall and manly. He looks a lot like his father did at the same age. John Blythe was a nice boy. We used to be real good friends, he and I. People called him my beau."
Anne looked up with swift interest.
"Oh, Marilla -- and what happened?"
Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery

Marilla of Green Gables is Sarah McCoy's answer to that question. What did happen with Marilla and John? What was Marilla like as a young girl? What was Matthew like as a young man? How was the stage set for Anne to be such a perfect fit into their family?



Prequels are interesting. It's a little strange to read a book when you, essentially, already know the ending. I know Marilla and John Blythe do not have a happily ever after together at the end of this book, yet, I cheered for them anyways.

Despite my wishful and romantic thinking, Sarah McCoy takes us on another journey with Marilla Cuthbert. Yes, we learn the answer to Anne's question above, but we also learn that Marilla had many other gifts to share during a time of significant political unrest and that her strength of charachter helped others in profound ways during her time before Anne.



It was so lovely to be back in the world of Avonlea. Marilla of Green Gables has the carefreeness of the Anne stories we all know and love along with the emotional weight of them. I did not expect that this book would make me cry actual, real tears, but that's exactly what happened. Twice. Sarah McCoy does a wonderful job of capturing the voices of our beloved characters without endeavouring to copy L.M. Montgomery's writing style.

If you love Anne of Green Gables, your heart will be so happy you picked up this book. It is the story you didn't know you were waiting for, but will be so delighted you found.

Marilla of Green Gables is out October 23rd, 2018. Look for it wherever books are sold!

xo
Jenn


Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of Marilla of Green Gables for review purposes courtesy of Harper Collins Canada and William Morrow. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, 24 September 2018

The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Pregnancy Without Losing Your Mind



Last fall, I was published in the anthology The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life With Boys (edited by Tiffany and Lyndee from the blog #LifeWithBoys.) I wrote a funny story about the time my son asked me what a vagina looks like. When Tiffany and Lyndee were seeking submissions for a pregnancy anthology, I knew I had a story to tell here as well, albeit on a very different note.


The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Pregnancy Without Losing Your Mind is not your typical pregnancy book. There are stories in here that do talk about crazy pregnancy symptoms and there are some pieces of advice; however, more importantly, this book purposefully highlights just how unique and different each pregnancy actually is. More often than not, if you get pregnant, there will be a "thing" you have to deal with. And your thing, may not be the same as your other pregnant friends.

In this book, you will read the stories of 35 mamas (and one papa) about their "things." The good, the bad, the ugly, the hilarious, the hard, and the ultimately joyful "things" we went through while bringing little babies into this world.




My story is one of the more serious ones. It's about what pregnancy can feel like after multiple miscarriages. I've written about my story in bits and pieces, but this is the first time I've put my whole journey in one place. I cried multiple times writing and editing this piece, and while I will always love the vagina story, this one is much closer to my heart.



The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Pregnancy Without Losing Your Mind will hopefully make readers laugh and smile and understand that while we each experience pregnancy in different ways, we are all in this together.

You can purchase a copy for yourself (or for any upcoming baby showers you need to attend!) on Amazon. It's available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

Thank you always for your ongoing support, and I sincerely hope that whoever finds this book in their hands feels just how much all of the authors are cheering them on.

xo
Jenn

Monday, 17 September 2018

My Favourite Books With a 500+ Page Count

Even thought it's been a million degrees this September, so it doesn't feel like fall quite yet, one thing I love about autumn is curling up with books the size of beasts. I think I prefer big books over shorter books anytime of the year, but something about cooler temps makes holding a huge book feel even cozier.

I love getting completely lost in a story and going on a long journey with the characters. I want to be completely captivated in their world. I cheer them on and cry with them and never let them go. It's also why I probably love reading books in series so much as well.

Here are nine of my favourite books with a page count cresting 500 or more (and two others I have on my TBR!)



A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - If there is one book from my required high school reading that I will always remember, it is this one. Owen Meany is one of my favourite literary characters of all time. He will make you laugh, and cry, and question what you believe about fate.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - The paths of a German boy and a blind French girl collide during WWII. This is a side of World War II historical fiction that is not often told, and I loved it so much. All the Light We Cannot See is a powerful novel about the innate goodness inside of people.

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne - The Heart's Invisible Furies follows the life of Cyril Avery. I love the structure of this book; you meet Cyril during his outrageous birth story and again every seven years. Set in Ireland when homosexuality was still illegal, Cyril is often at the mercy of fortune and coincidence throughout his life. A compelling read and tale of Ireland from the 1940s to today.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - A young, poor girl is sold into a high-end geisha house in Japan. She transforms into one of the most popular geisha of her time and reveals a world of full illusion and power struggles. A fascinating read, and the movie is also very well done.



The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - This is definitely my favourite Kate Morton novel. Two women, generations apart, try to solve the same haunting family mystery. The Forgotten Garden is a sweeping tale across two continents. I also love the special book of fairy tales which gives this novel a story within a story feeling.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - An untraditional love story with a romantic time travelling librarian. This novel is a testament to the power of never-ending love.

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman - A collection of Neil Gaiman's non-fiction work. While it was trickier for me to connect with some of his pieces on older science fiction works, I absolutely love his essays on libraries and reading life.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - If you follow me on Instagram, it's no secret that I love Sarah J. Maas. She is the author of two fantasy series, and I adore them both. Of all of the books I've read from her, A Court of Mist and Fury is my favourite. She is no stranger to BIG books and fantastic world-building. Her upcoming release, Kingdom of Ash, is clocking in with a page count of 992!!

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - I sincerely have never been able to answer the question, "What is your favourite Harry Potter book?" because I really find them all enjoyable. Though, one of my top picks is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire because I love the tournament in the book. Which Harry Potter novel is your favourite??

On my TBR:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - I feel like I am the last book blogger left who hasn't at least tried the Outlander series. I suspect I will love it and am determined to read it this winter!

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas - I don't know much about this one, but it came in a subscription box of mine earlier this year, and I love books about books!

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz - This is an Agatha Christie inspired crime novel I also received in a subscription box. There is a story written within this story, so that sounds interesting!

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielweski - My sister gifted this book to me last Christmas, and apparently it's a terrifying and strange story told in basically every format you can think of. Some of the pages are regular text, sometimes it's a play, sometimes it's footnotes, etc. I have no idea what to think of this one!

What are some of your favourite door-stopper books?
xo
Jenn


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Brain Quest Canada Giveaway!


Do you remember the Brain Quest card decks? I absolutely had these when I was younger and loved them. Now, there are even more products in the Brain Quest line. We had the Pre-K Workbook a few years ago, and it was the perfect level for Sebastian before he started kindergarten.

This month, Brain Quest is releasing its newly revised Brain Quest Canada card set (5th edition). If you're not familiar with the Brain Quest card sets, each package includes two decks of cards with trivia questions and answers. The decks are attached to prevent cards from going missing, and the quality of the cards is high so they can endure frequent use from little fingers.


The new and updated edition of Brain Quest Canada is for Grades 5 and up and covers every aspect of Canadian history and culture in 1,000 questions and answers through seven categories: Notable Canadians, Geography, Arts, Science, Pre-1867, Post-1867, and This 'n' That. Brain Quest Canada is curriculum-based and teacher-approved. You can test your knowledge on everything Canadian, from the Indigenous Peoples to Sidney Crosby, as well as Sasquatch, Horseshoe Falls, the Great Lakes, caribou and grizzlies, Mounties, and the Canadian Shield. It's all about Canada, it's all about learning, and it's all about fun!

Sebastian has been in love with his Weird But True Canada book from National Geographic and was excited to play around with these Brain Quest Canada cards, even if the questions are a few grades above his level. I suppose that means we just need to pick up the Grade 1 set next for him :)



Brain Quest Canada would make an excellent addition to any home or classroom back to school shopping list. I'm taking my set to use at school with my students this week!

Thanks to Thomas Allen & Son, I have one set of this brand new, revised Brain Quest Canada to give away! Please enter through the Rafflecopter below.

Giveaway ends on Monday, September 10th at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I was sent a complementary set of Brain Quest Canada cards for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting - Book Review




The Good Luck Charm is a new, delightfully fun romance from Helena Hunting.

Ethan broke up with Lilah, his best friend and high school sweetheart, just as his hockey career was taking off. Convinced it was the best for both of them, he ended things, and terribly at that. Eight years later, his hockey game is not what it used to be, and Ethan is traded back to his hometown. However; he's never forgotten Lilah and how amazing they were together. Ethan wants Lilah back in his life. But is it real? Or is it just to help his game? And once his game improves, is he just going to leave again?

Told in alternating points of view between Lilah and Ethan, The Good Luck Charm brings together first loves and second chances. Early on while reading this book I wrote a note to myself that said, "Ethan needs to grovel more." I did not want Lilah to give up on her dreams just because Ethan was back in town. Even Lilah worries about this because she at one point says, "I fear my heart remembers loving him more than it remembers how he broke it."

In the end, I really enjoyed how their story came together, and I devoured this book in less than two days. It is a quick, funny, sexy read that will leave you wishing you were Ethan's good luck charm 😉!

I love that the tagline on Helena Hunting's website is "stories to get in bed with" because that is exactly how I would describe this novel. This was my first book by Helena Hunting, and my first sports romance, but it certainly won't be my last.

The Good Luck Charm is out now and available wherever books are sold!

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of The Good Luck Charm courtesy of Hachette Book Group Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Building My Empire with Pipsticks+Workman


September means many things: cozy scarfs, pumpkin spice lattes, and, of course, new school supplies. My son begins Grade 1 next week, and we recently went shopping for his school supplies. He's still pretty little, but I think he had fun picking out the new markers and pencil crayons he's bringing to his class.

As a teacher, I also love fresh school supplies in the fall. Even if I always feel a bit nervous and frazzled about the upcoming school year, it's amazing how something small like a new notepad can make you feel like an organized rockstar! Thomas Allen & Son sent me a gorgeous set from the Pipsticks + Workman gift line, and the timing is perfect!



Pipsticks and Workman collaborated to create the funnest planners, notekeepers, and sticker books in three different themes:

1. "for the Daring...." This set is fun and bright, with energetic designs - perfect for the list-keeper.
2. "for the Dreamer..." This set is colourful and inspirational - perfect for the creative spirit.
3. "for the Driven...." This set features a more pastel colour theme and fun motivation - perfect for the goal-tracker.

When the Driven set arrived at my doorstep, I immediately felt that excited, butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling we all loved when we were back to school shopping.




The planners are designed encourage creativity, goal-setting, and fun! I still use a physical planner every year. The calendar app on my phone is perfect for checking my availability when I'm out and about, but I still find that there is a lot of power in keeping a physical planner. Not only for my family's scheduled "things" but also for making my to-do lists each day, and this planner definitely has enough space for that!



Here are a few of the characteristics in the BUILDING MY EMPIRE planner that I love most:

  • The horizontal spread - I personally prefer this to vertical ones.
  • The YAY circle each day is a place for you to give yourself a sticker if you meet your goal that day. I use it for exercise. 💪
  • The weekly quiz question - A throwback to those magazine quizzes we used to do!
  • The addtional mini weekly calendar at the bottom of each spread - This week I used it to plan out my social media posts, and I also think it is a great space for meal planning or a gratitude journal.
  • It begins now! - This planner runs from Aug 2018 - Dec 2019 so you can use it right away!
  • The monthly "CURRENTLY" page - I love this page! Each month you write down what you're currently watching, reading, planning, etc. I think these pages will be so fun to reread at the end of the year.
  • The stickers - 6 full pages of stickers are included that will take you through all of the different seasons and holidays.



While I will keep my planner at home, this GREAT THINGS INSIDE notekeeper is coming to work with me right away. I just posted on Instagram that I have a weakness for beautiful notepads and journals, and this one is no exception. It's a nice size (5 x 7), hardcover, and comes with two pages of stickers, so you can reward yourself when you finish something from your list 😍. What makes the Driven notekeeper unique is that the pages are all colourful grids which are perfect for list-making and goal-tracking. As you can see below, mine is already getting broken in with my massive back to work to-do list for the next week....no reward stickers yet! lol




Last, but certainly not least, is the THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT sticker book. I used to collect stickers in albums when I was younger, and it's so exciting to have another whole book of stickers just for me (and not my six-year-old!) The sticker book comes with 20 pages of stickers and a handful of postcards. I use cards like these whenever I see a co-worker could use a little note, just to brighten their day :)



The whole Pipsticks+Workman line allows you to be organized like a grown-up, but tap into your creative energy and feel like a kid again at the same time. Adulting is hard enough; we absolutely deserve to have some fun while we do it! And if you'd like to get ideas and see how others are using their planners, you can do a quick #pipsticksplanners search on Instagram!

To check out the whole Pipsticks+Workman gift line of planners, notekeepers, and stickerbooks, and peek inside each, you can visit their website.

Each item is sold separately from Amazon (and shipping is free!)

For the Driven

  

For the Dreamer

  


For the Daring

  

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I was sent these items courtesy of Thomas Allen & Son for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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