Wednesday, 20 May 2020

The Very Marrow of Our Bones by Christine Higdon

My latest #quarantineread was The Very Marrow of Our Bones by Christine Higdon. This story begins in the late 1960s near Fraser River, British Columbia. Two women from the town, Bette Parsons and Alice McFee, disappear on the same day. Did they run away? Were they murdered? Lulu Parsons thinks she knows why her mother is gone, but she doesn't tell a soul. The silent egg seller, Doris Tenpenny, suspects Alice's husband is involved, but she also doesn't share her secret.

Told over the span of decades, The Very Marrow of Our Bones dives into the question How do hidden secrets change us?

This novel definitely takes its time to reveal itself to the reader. I nearly put it down after the first 75 pages or so; however, I'm so glad I stuck with it as it picks up steadily and I couldn't put it down by the end. Doris' chapters kept me engaged in the beginning, and she remained my favourite character throughout.

This is a heartbreaking story that sensitively navigates abuse and loss. Christine Higdon writes so well that you will feel the pain of these characters, at times, but you also will feel their hope when those moments come. I truly loved the ending. Given that I read this during the pandemic, this story of missing mothers really made me miss my own mom, and she's only a few hours away.

If you were a fan of the books Oprah used to pick for her book club back in the day, you will quite enjoy The Very Marrow of Our Bones. It's been out for a few years, so look for it at your local library or bookstore.


Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book from ECW Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Dog Diaries: Mission ImPAWsible

Sebastian and I are getting a ton of extra reading time together in quarantine. We finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and this week we sped through Dog Diaries: Mission ImPAWsible by James Patterson and Steven Butler.

I had no idea James Patterson also wrote children's books, and this was such a delight to read! Mission ImPAWsible is the third book in the Dog Diaries series (which is, itself, a spinoff of his Middle School series). Seb and I hadn't read any books from those series before, and Mission ImPAWsible can be read as a standalone. However, we enjoyed it so much, we quickly placed a hold on the earlier books at the library.

Mission ImPAWsible follows the tale (no pun intended!) of Junior as his family plans for a trip to Hollywood. Junior hopes to go with them, but what happens when he is left behind? Junior, along with his neighbourhood puppy pals are in for an adventure.

Told from the perspective of Junior, this book is laugh out loud funny. It has a blend of text and images in the style and reading level of Captain Underpants, Big Nate, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Sebastian enjoyed it a ton! He wanted to make sure I added this warning to my review - do not read the back copy or the synopsis with your children. It spoils a lot of details from the story!

We highly recommend Dog Diaries to young readers. We even loved that a few activity pages, themed to the book, are included in the back!

Dog Diaries: Mission ImPAWsible is out now and available from your favourite bookseller.

Jenn and Seb

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book from Hachette Book Group Canada for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

The Royal We - Book Review

The world loves a good royal wedding, almost as much as they love a juicy royal scandal, and this book has both.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan is inspired by Will and Kate's love story through the couple, Bex and Nick. What might it have been like for these two to meet at university? What where some possible challenges in their fledgling relationship? What missteps might have happened along the way? Is true love worth all of the royal drama?

This was such a fun read. Bex is a bit of a mix of both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, and she has her own unique characteristics, as well. I loved her as a character, and it was easy to root for her along the way. An American moving to London to study art and then falling for a prince? I really wanted her to have her fairy tale ending. I also loved learning a few insider tidbits about royal protocols. Did you know, to avoid creating a dishy photo op for the paparazzi, royals will weight down the hems of their dresses, so they don't get swept up in the wind?

My only frustration with the story, is that I was a bit annoyed that Nick was so completely clueless as to what Bex was going through throughout the book, both when he kept their relationship a secret and again later on when he finally brought her to the palace. However, I felt he made up for it in the very end.

If you need a royal romance to keep you satisfied until the next Netflix Christmas movie is released, The Royal We is it. The Royal We is perfect for royal watchers and chick lit lovers. Book two in this series arrives this summer, so keep your eyes peeled for The Heir Affair in July.


Disclaimer - Thank you to Read Forever Publishing and Grand Central Publishing for sending me a copy to enjoy. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Sebastian: 8-Years-Old and 20 Questions

Sebastian is 8 today! Having a birthday under quarantine is definitely not ideal for an 8-year-old, but we've managed to find a few ways to make it special. One of my favourite things we did this year was a video we put together with clips of all of his friends and family sending him birthday wishes. It was so fun to watch together this morning, and I know it meant a lot to Sebastian to know that everyone was thinking of him.

Each year, we ask Sebastian these 20 questions on his birthday. This is the 6th edition of his birthday interview!

1. What is your favourite colour? pink (for the six year in a row!) red, orange, yellow, rainbow, light green 
2. What is your favourite toy? my Nintendo Switch that I got for Christmas and my Wii that I got from Derek
3. What is your favourite fruit? watermelon
4. What is your favourite tv show? Captain Underpants
5. What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch? tacos
6. What is your favourite outfit? pyjamas
7. What is your favourite game? Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Maker 2, and all the other Switch games that I have
8. What is your favourite snack? Starburst
9. What is your favourite animal? cat (for the third year in a row)
10. What is your favourite song? Wannabe
11. What is your favourite book? Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants
12. Who is your best friend? Jude, Mom, Dad, everybody in my family, my classmates
13. What is your favourite cereal? Corn Pops (for the second year in a row)
14. What is your favourite thing to do outside? play games
15. What is your favourite drink? milk and lemonade
16. What is your favourite holiday? Christmas (for the fourth year in a row)
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? my stuffy and blankets and pillows obviously 
18. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast? waffles and pancakes
19. What do you want for dinner? cake
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? a person that writes books

If you're interested, here are his answers from his 7th birthday6th birthday5th birthday4th birthday, and 3rd birthday.