Top Ten Tuesday: Who are you?!

Hello again everyone!! Its been a while since I have updated this blog, I do apologize, I even have a giant update to post about last months EOG Book Club (Spoilers: It was epic). But seeing as my brain is currently a wad of cotton-pudding hybrid, I figure I should start out with a Top Ten Tuesday to get me going. This weeks topic: “Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving (those covers or titles that don’t fit the books, a book that was totally different than its summary, or those books you thought were going to be fluff that turned out to be more serious etc etc.)” Me likey this topic! Its one where I can pick favourites or disappointments. Though in retrospect maybe I should call it misconceptions in a few places.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Spent years trying to muscle my way through this novel, but in the end Cole’s Notes’ed my way to  a passing grade. I adored both the movies, (Colin Firth have all my babies please) and was determined to read the book. About a year ago I stumbled on a cheap copy of the book (my previous attempts were from school or my enormous complete works of Jane Austen 20lb tome.) It was simple, clean, and hard cover bungee bound, which meant it could survive the various abuse it was sure to suffer during its travels in my purse. When I got it home to finally read it I was delightfully surprised that the otherwise very boring cover hid some treasure, the book had not only the novel, but several essays, graphs, and character synopsis’s that helped me to see Austen’s world in context, and know who the heck everyone was. With this new knowledge and understanding I was able to pound through Pride and Prejudice and actually enjoy it, pick out the little jokes and laugh and feel Elizabeth’s emotions.

2. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: Had heard a lot of really good things about this book, and the synopsis made it sound like it would be an engaging and thought provoking book into the mind of a mother dealing with the guilt of a son jailed for a school massacre. Opened the book, tried reading, and found myself face to face with some of the densest and (in my opinion) the most pompous writing I’ve ever read. Its supposed to be written in the style of letters, but to my knowledge no person on earth writes personal correspondence   as though they are trying to write the next great Russian novel… I was super disappointed and gave up after the first letter.

3. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham: Bar none one of my favorite novels. Bar none one of my least favorite covers… OK, there’s a cuckoo, on someone’s head, whose lying on the ground, with their eyes open, staring all creepy at you. Granted after reading the book I get the symbolism , but for a person picking up the book for the first time it looks like crazy birds are running around killing people, and while that is an awesome story, it is not this story.

4. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde: I found this book by asking around my local book store. I wanted another fairy tale retelling and had hit a wall in my search. Not a fairy tale but nursery rhyme retelling I was game to try something new. Though billed at a detective story I really didn’t expect it to have much of a mystery involved. Boy was I wrong, I have never in my life been more surprised by an ending. The twists and turns were wild and unexpected and lead me on a epic romp that I will never forget. Something I expected to be quick comedy turned into a delightfully complex mystery.

5. Mine Until Midnight by Lisa Kleypas: I apologize to the world!!! I actually liked this book!! They synopsis and cover quickly lead the observer to draw all sorts of conclusions about the quality and content of the book. It was my pick for our mandatory romance book for last months book club, I picked it cause it looked like it would be hilariously silly… not so friends, not so. The story was well thought out, and while not perfect by any means, much better then I had anticipated. I found myself getting invested in the well being of the main character and when it wrapped up suddenly, running to the book store to pick up the rest of the series.

6. Door in the Dragons Throat by Frank Peretti: Its a kids book, I read it when I was 14 because it looked interesting, and like a quick light read. It was in fact quick, light not so much, what I had not anticipated, absolutely terrifying. Frank Peretti is a fantastic suspense/thriller writer. 14 year old me did not know this, 14 year old me did not expect this, 14 year old me had nightmares that had me sleeping with the light on for at least a week.

7. Identical by Ellen Hopkins: I had read one book by this author before on  suggestion from a friend. I had greatly enjoyed the book despite my less favourable attitude towards the writing style. When I went to the book store to look into more of her titles I found them to revolve mainly around drug addiction, something that didn’t peak my interest. Then a few months later Identical came out. Nothing, and I repeat nothing could have prepared me for how this book wrecked me. Without saying too much about the plot lets just say the synopsis and cover while accurate are insufficient.

8. Secret Six – Unhinged by Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, Doug Hazelwood: Woo, a delicious comic for everyone out there!! 😀 I have had the great luck of finding a large company of nerdy comic book type friends in the last couple of months. They are amazing. ❤ I however am a nerd of a different sort, more sci-fi and manga then comics and super heroes. One lovely friend did me the great honour of borrowing a few trades of one of her favorites. It was DARK! I had anticipated the fighting and the nitty gritty, but it was infinitely darker then I could of imagined. I was thinking back to my cousins comics with Spiderman stopping kids from doing drugs and busting smugglers in Manitoba (an issue I still love and cherish). Not to say I didn’t like them, the writing was superb and the characters dynamic,  it was just so much different then I thought.

9. The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C Hines: If you’ve never read a book by this author then you are really missing out. His obvious love and care for his characters bleed through the pages, while his imagination takes you on wild adventures filled with magic and sword play. I was lucky to have stumbled onto this series by accident when trolling the science fiction/fantasy section at Chapters, their system while nice does not allow for searching by plot or theme like the magic card catalogue at the library. The cover makes it looks like silly fluff, fantasy written specifically for girls, with no real meat or substance to it. The synopsis while not horrible does nothing to dispel this myth. These characters were some of the most complex and interesting ones I had found in a long time, and the stories while they did have their share of fluff, were complex and interesting.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusack: I know, I know here it is again! 😀 And if it wasn’t such a good book then maybe I would feel bad, but its awesome so I dont… This book is marketed for tweens and teens, thus a lot of adults shrug it off as inconsequential. A person could never be more wrong. I have harped on the awesome that is this book in almost every Top Ten Tuesday because it is so well written and moving, so honestly if you haven’t read it get off your butt and get on it!


Dear Fatty

As promised, a review of Dawn French’s memoirs, as titled Dear Fatty.

Let me start this off with letting you know how I stumbled onto this gem. Netflix… Oh the wonder that it is! I was tootling around the titles, and wanted so bad to laugh. I looked at all the comedy movies they had, nothing really peaked my interest. So I looked through the tv titles, mostly dramas. I had however flagged some amazing British drama/action mini series, and the Netflix, oh lovely darling, created a category of British comedies. Ooh, and there planted in the middle… The Vicar of Dibley. ❤ I cannot sing the praises of this rediculous show often enough. The writing is both hilarious and heart felt and the actors true comedians. I adored it. Lead actress? Dawn French. 

Fast forward 6 months, and I’m running around Chapters looking for something to read. Nothing caught my eye, so I wandered over the biographies hoping to get another copy of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by  J. Randy Taraborrelli, a 545 page monster I had read, loved, lent out and never got back. The system said 4 copies were in stock, I searched the obvious places, the not so obvious places (I had worked this particular Chapters for 6 months in the past) and couldn’t find them. So I asked a staff to check the carts in the back to see if it was just recently in and hadn’t made it to the shelves. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, so I started browsing the shelves for something new. The Royals, Maya Angelou, Beck, Jimmy Carson, Doris Day, Amelia Earhart, Anne Frank, Dawn French! Ok so I’d only ever watched one of her shows, but it was called Dear Fatty and there was no putting it back!!

Dawn is very upfront about how she plans to write her “biography” and calls it her memoirs for a reason:

“I have decided to think of this book as a memoir rather then an autobiography. As I understand it, the latter means that I have to be precise about chronology and touch on all aspects of my quite-dull-in-parts life. […] Those bits would mainly be about puddings I’ve enjoyed and when I’ve set the washing machine on the wrong cycle and my quest for comfortable shoes, and the time I put a gun in a kitten’s mouth.”

The style of writing in letters I find can become annoying very quickly, but French masters it! Switching between heartfelt letters of love, to letters that make me laugh til my face hurts. She starts off with a letter to the reader, then a heartfelt one to her deceased father, the letter that follows is one of my favorites. Its a letter to her father, reminding him of the time she was 3 and had secretly wriggled under her parents bed while they were still asleep one morning. Her hand becomes stuck and she calls out for help and what follows is a hilarious account of her nude father leaping from the bed to pull her out, and her shock and dismay to see her father naked for the first time, and that he has a “vicious hairy saggy mole-snake creature” attacking the gap in his legs.

I quickly learned that the Fatty from the title had nothing to do with French’s own  “spherical” shape, but everything to do with her long time comedy partner. I was surprised however to hear her talk about herself and her body with the utmost respect. I cant recall ever hearing a bigger woman who revered her own boobs as much as she, or be completely unconcerned with her shape. It was more then a little bit inspiring. Her letter to her niece was inspiring, telling her to embrace her body, and that if one day she was curse with knockers as enormous as herself to use them to her advantage. I caught up on her life and found that she has recently lost 8 stone (112lb), an amazing feat! She is very upfront for why she did it, in an interview speaks to it being due to her desire to want to be around for her daughter as she grows up and that “I had great fondness for that other body. I knew it very well and I don’t know this one as well, not yet.” and ‘… Well I suppose I’ve always thought that that isn’t really what mattered, and yet by losing all this weight I realise that for a lot of people that is all that matters and that’s really sad. And I refuse to dislike the old body and you know, I may have it again you never know!”

Dawn skips merrily along, touching on her childhood with her family moving about because of her fathers position in the  RAF, and meeting the Queen (another laugh out loud moment), and saunters into her teen years and all the exploration and love it entailed. French describes her family, immediate and extended, with such warmth and love as they require to jump off the page (or in the case of a venomous grandmother makes her seem like more then a one dimensional villain). Her letters to her teen dream celebrities are beyond hilarious as she recaptures all those embarrassing things we all have written to our Hollywood crushes!

Throughout the bulk of the book it is made clear that Dawn has a loving relationship with her father, that he means the world to him, and many of the letters are written to him, She is also clear that at this time her father has already passed away. She makes mentions several times how she genuinely wished he had been around for key moments and key people in her life. When she finally makes it to the letter concerning her fathers death she tackles the topic with grace, humility and complete openness. We learn of her fathers deepening depression and despondency, as well as his tirelessly hard work of keeping the family afloat in a rough economic situation. The she very carefully reveals that her father committed suicide. And she isn’t angry, or at least thats how it reads, she is sad, she obviously misses him, but she understands where he was at and why he did it. She isn’t happy about it, she isn’t glad, she simply excepts that it is what she felt he needed to do. I can only imagine the time, and mental/emotional anguish that had to be mulled through to reach that point. In my opinion this letter is the one that makes the book the most profound.

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone 13 and up, and that’s only cause I’m a prude. Her language and content is mild, and I would be surprised to find anyone who would be offended, but she does with great candour the relationships and experiences she’s had as well as the very delicate topic of her fathers suicide. All in all though, if you want a book that balances hilarity and heartfelt perfectly this is the book for you. If you want to laugh til you cry, or just cry cause its needed, this is a book I would highly recommend.

Edmonton Open Genre Book Club

Good very early morning everyone!! 😀

Let me tell you a quick story! I can’t find a book club that I like! End of story! lol That may sound kind of petty, but I did a bunch if poking around and couldn’t find something that I would like to be a part of. All the clubs were about picking a predetermined book, everyone reads it, you come together, talk about the book. Not a bad idea, I for one love talking about a beloved novel with another fan. But a pre-determined book that maybe one or none of the readers might like  reminds me too much of an elementary school. Forced.

I read Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society and fell in love with their books discussions, everyone reading something different, coming together, boasting that their book is the best and trying to convince everyone else! It’s from this concept that I want to make a book club from, with one small tweak. I’d still like for everyone to read their own book, something they know will appeal to them, but within the confines of a chosen genre. That way we can all have a chance to boast and brag and read something we have a greater inclination to like in a genre we might not necessarily venture into.

The plan for now is to meet once a month, on a date to be decided by those fantastic friends on Facebook who are willing to  join me on this crazy endeavor. I would love to meet more often, and so would some of them, but life happens and not everyone has the time or opportunity to meet more often or read more then one title. We’ve made up a small list of genres that we could think up at the time, and I’m sure it will be an ever changing and hopefully growing. Please chime in if there are some we’ve missed, I know there are. Also if you want to join us please fire off comment and feel free to join us!

I’d like it if my fellow book clubbers would put together a review, that way we can share our journey as we explore new literary horizons. I haven’t told them this yet… Surprise guys!! 😀 Its by no means necessary, but something I know I am going to do, let people know whats going on! 😀 Choosing what we are reading was decided to be random luck of the draw, I numbered them 1 – 19 popped the numbers in a random number generator. Which means we are starting with romance, lol was not planning on this!! I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this, this is probably on of my least favorite genres, but all is fair in love, war, and random number generators… 😛

historical fiction
science fiction
young adult
urban fantasy
chick lit
true crime
self help
religious fiction
children’s literature
foreign traslated

Oh well! I will keep you all abreast to how things play out, and hopefully knock together a nice banner to go along with this section of the blog, Created a nice little sub-category to float around on the side, so it can be picked separately.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Non-Readers

Hey Everyone, sorry for the day late on the Top Ten Tuesday. I cant even comprehend how busy yesterday was. It was great, don’t get me wrong on that one, just zero time to pump this out. I have a little time today so I will throw this at you!

This weeks topic is Top 10 Books I’d Hand to Someone Who Says They Don’t Like To Read and is one near and dear to my heart. I’m a reader, I LOVE to read, always have. So I find it strange when people say they don’t like to read, or that they find it boring. If they’re bored, then they obviously arn’t reading the right thing. You should read what interests you!

I had a foster sister years go who wasn’t a huge reader, she simply wasn’t interested. I took it upon my self to get her interested, that is when I found out that there was a Mary-kate and Ashley Olson series of books. At this time (oh 90’s you precocious decade) the Olson twins were everywhere and were a current obsession of said foster sister. It took one book and we were off. She eventually grew to love reading and branched off into other books and interests. Now she has a college degree in Library Technology and is a Librarian… Who is awesome… I am awesome. Now with my new foster brothers it was the same process, finding something they’d like to read about, and with all the action heroes, spies and demi-gods gracing the pages of kids books it wasn’t hard. Now the youngest brother who we were told was excessively delayed by teachers is reading books two and three years above his class level. Take that teach.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that there really isn’t a set of blanket books you can throw at anyone and expect them to suddenly love reading. You have to meet them where they are at and find there interests. Therefore I am going to do 10 books and their target audience.

1. Action Adventure Teen: Unwind by Neal Shusterman – Call me crazy but growing up I loved books about girls my age doing whatever it was they were doing. I assume it is the same for everyone. This book therefore is suitable for any teenager. There is a male and female character both in their mid-teens. In a future where abortion is outlawed parents have the right to have their unwanted children unwound between the ages of 13 – 18. A five year stretch in which for any reason you parents can have you essentially farmed out for parts because, in their skewed logic, you never die, you continue to live just in a divided state. Full of action, thought provoking ideas, and little romance its a treat to read.

2. Action Adventure Adult: World War Z by Max Brooks – I really don’y like action books in general, adventure books yes. Too much shooting I think, and how can reading about people shooting off guns be exciting… I picked up this book on a whim via a suggestion from a friend and her knowledge of a pre-existing zombie love.  It was fantastic! Just enough suspense to keep me reading, but so so much as to scare me away. Plus the multiple and interweaving storylines with a cast of interesting and believable characters.

3. History Buff Adult: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – I mention this books really quick last week, barely gave a description. Its an amazing story that is very good with its facts. It focuses on a famous British comedic author and her correspondence with the people on the Island of Guernsey shortly after the end of the Second World War. The writing is both elegant and witty, the characters beautiful and three dimensional.  I’ve never had a book that made me fall in love with a character you never actually get to meet. So spectacular and amazing for the history buff and romantic alike.

4. History Buff Preteen/Teen: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
– This is such a strong book, I would honestly recommend it to just about anyone. I would love for even younger kids to read it, but the language can be kind of strong. Gives a detailed and heart breaking account of small town Germanic life during WWII.

5. Those Twilight People….: Forest of Hands and Teeth Series by Carrie Ryan – I know I rag on the Twilight people, I can’t complain I read 2 1/2 of the books in the series before I ran away. I can never go back though. I saw the light, and then found this series. Its brain crack too, I will maintain that it is better written and the characters are infinitely more developed, but it is a lie to call it a literary masterpiece.  The premise though is what grabbed me, a world over run by zombie like creatures and the civilization living on whatever land they can fence off. Throw in a little romance (or a lot)here and there and you’ve got a winning combo! 😀

6. People Who Liked the Show Lost (a good brainf***): Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner – This series was fantastic, and like it always happens, I stumbled into it when only the first book had been released, which meant annoyed anticipation between titles. This is technically a YA series but provided enough thrills, chills and nightmare fuel to keep me engaged. Teen boys locked in the centre of a maze, sent supplies and  new person by a box that lifts out of the ground. They strive to find a way out of the maze using only the best to run the maze, and only during daylight hours, heaven help you if you are in the maze once the sun sets. This book pushes to the line of insanity in the number of loops that are thrown your way, but is careful not to turn into a jumbled mess of writing you cant follow. A favorite.

7. Fairytale Freak: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire – I definitely fall under this category.  There is just something so delicious about them. We are fed them as children to teach us morals, or as a way to make a tv babysit. They are ingrained. So when we grow up what better way to pay homage then to twist them or reinterpret them. Its an engaging retelling of Cinderella from the point of view of those girls we’ve grown to hate, the ugly stepsisters. This is one of his tamer titles, so beware when venturing into his other titles as he has a tendency to include graphic (and completely unneeded) scenes out of no where.

8. Desperate TV Reality Addict: Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren – We all know someone, or are someone who is addicted to our raunchy reality tv. Those people who are famous for no reason who we cant take our eyes off of!! This book is for you, or them… or whomever. The nitty gritty of a working girl drafted into the harem of a foreign prince along with dozens of other women from all over the world. The ins and outs, jealousy and mayhem play out like a night of Jersey Shore, but in then our heroine learns her lesson and smartens up.

I’d normally add a couple for Science Fictions Nerds but myself but the only books I have in my head right now are Wyndham novels, and while they are amazing the writing style can be really hard to push through the first couple of times. So sadly I leave you with only 8 titles this time around!

Much Love ❤

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books for Book Clubs

This weeks topic over at Top Ten Tuesday is the top ten books that would make great book club picks. Its a neat topic, it intrinsically asks for books that can be talked about, that can spark conversation, and so those at the books I’m going to aim for

1. Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley – This is an amazing re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. It takes a story we know and love and weaves so many new layers in. Gives rise to discussions on changes to the original story, deemed both good and bad; as well as her interpretation of familiar and loved characters.

2. With the Light by Keiko Tobe – Some of you will know what manga is, others wont. Manga is the Japanese equivalent to a comic, vastly different then the Archie’s you might be imagining, manga spans a huge range of content and emotions, from the Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon you grew up on, to this amazing title. With the Light follows the autistic boy Hikaru and his mother and their struggles to make their way in modern Japan. This book has made me cry, and laugh, and yell. The stigmas that we associate with autism here in North America are already pretty harsh, pile on top of that the culture of perfection and conformity that is Japan and your in for an emotional roller coaster. The topics of discussion are vast, and views varied, and make an amazing read for both book clubs and individuals. The mangaka (author and writer) did an amazing amount of research and  paints a accurate, beautiful, and sad picture for us.

3. The Guests of War Trilogy by Kit Pearson – Technically a young readers title but has a great amount of detail. Evacuated from England to Canada during the second World War, Norah and Gavin must adjust to living in a foreign environment without their family. The trilogy covers the five years they live in Canada and slowly adjust, and by the last book its time for them to return home. Norah who was 10 when they left is eager to see her family and childhood home, Gavin, 5 when he left, has little memory and is hard-pressed to leave the land he’s grown to love. Differences in culture, adjusting to new surroundings, the impact of the war on children and Canadian families are all great conversations to strike up.

4. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by  J. Randy Taraborrelli – Marilyn was an icon. Whether you love her or hate her, if there’s one thing you can credit her with its never being boring. What I loved about this biography is the writers keen eye for detail and not being afraid to shock us with the truth and shine light on some of the oldest rumours, all while giving us sources and documentation along the way. Speculating on how the various influences in her life pushed her one way or another, and speculating on what could have happened if someone had just stepped in.

5. The Gurnsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer – I know this is already a book club read, but common. Just read it, WWII, letters, an author, a book club, a lovable cast, everyone read this book and talk about it. Its amazing… That is all.

6. The Thirteen Tale by Diane Setterfield – I love this book. I will be completely honest, when I first bought this book it was entirely because of how it looks… The dark beautiful cover art, the rough cut page edges. And then the story leaped out and grabbed me and never let me go. The dark and twisting tale lead me left, right and left again, ending in a way that is beautiful, subtle and completely unexpected. I’d love to book club this in parts, have everyone read half and speculate on it, then read the last half and react…

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -I am 90% sure this book is already a book club pick too, but it deserves love none-the-less. This book takes a unflinching look at a childhood spent in Germany. It introduces us to a cast of characters that you fall in love with, and a setting that is unparalleled. Not to mention a narrator like no other. This book was the second book to ever make me cry. I bawled like a baby. I think it would be interesting to see how other people react to a group of people we are told we are supposed to hate for the things they’ve done, when they find out many of them were just like us.

8. Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham – I have a huge love and respect for every title John Wyndham title I’ve read. He does science fiction in such a subtle way. I think this one would be the best of his titles for a book club as it has the strongest questions to pose. Should anyone live forever? Who has the right to share or hide such a revelation? Should only certain people be allowed ? The implications raise in this book are fascinating. Layer that on top of  Wyndham’s complex and dynamic characters and you have a recipe for success. 

9. Some Girls: My Life In a Harem by Jillian Lauren – The title jumps out at you doesn’t it? I picked up the book for just that reason. Read the back, read the first few pages and was transported. When I think of a harem, my mind goes straight to the musical The King and I and the King of Siam and his big brood. Its not a concept that had any footing in reality. So reading the book was surreal following this woman into a world of jealousy, intrigue and money. Perfect for a book club, discussing her steps leading to where she got, the relationships between the people present, all interesting topics to explore.

Hmmm, seems I can only crack out 9 for this week. I have lots of books I’d recommend in  general, and would love someone to read and squeal with, but these are really best for group discussion.

Please chime in everyone! Get on board and let me know what your Top Ten are! 😀
❤ Much Love!

More or Less: Top Ten Tuesday

Good day everyone! 😀

I found this nifty little blog meme/challenge type thing while meandering around online. I had been hoping to find some sort of  activity like this to fill in the gaps in between my review posts. Low and behold I found Top Ten Tuesdays  hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. So far the topics all seem very interesting and relate-able and there are so many other people who are participating, it will make for good reading. Swing by and check it out! 😀

This week is a freebie, which means I can make my own list about anything. I figured I would go back and pick from their huge list of topics and go from there! The topic I picked was:

Top Ten Trends You Would Like to See More or Less of

1. More: Dystopia
I absolutely adore dystopian novels. The sense of what might happen, what could happen, even more so then science fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good sci-fi too, I just find in general it focuses much more on the technology and less on the human interactions that I’m really after. Also just the the idea of a world gone wrong, when all along they thought they were right. ❤

2.More: Recognition for Canadian Young Reader’s Author
Growing up I was absolutely obsessed with Canadian children writers like Kit Pearson, and Monica Hughes. On top of being amazing writers, they brought a sense of wonder to the world around me. Just hearing my province named was a huge thrill. People should be just as familiar with names of these novelists as they are with Margaret Atwood and Robert Munsch.

3. More: Fairytale Retellings
 Oh man, don’t even get me started about how much I love fairy tale retellings!! I mean obviously Gregory Maguire with this retelling of Snow White, and Cinderella. His retelling of Oz is amazing too, not strictly a fairytale but it might as well be. Robin McKinley’s Beauty, and Rose Daughter. Jim C. Hines Princess series. Even Jasper Fforde’s Nursery Crime Division series is spectacular. Just the idea of taking  a story we all know and love, characters we thought we knew finding out something new. Seeing a whole new prospective. Just fantastic! ❤ ❤

4. More: Strong Female Lead Characters
I know this shouldn’t even be a trend, but after the wave of sub standard , spineless, and useless female leads running around in my fiction,  I’ve been in dire need of a great  strong lead heroine! There is something simply inspiring about cracking open a book and getting punched in the face with  a characters bravery and work ethic. To see them stop at nothing to reach their goal, to survive. To have  women (and girls) like Katniss from Hunger Games, Tris from Divergent,  Mary from  The Forest of Hands and Teeth, all characters that were strong and willing to fight.

5. More: Zombies
Don’t ask… After having read Carrie Ryan’s forest of Hands and Teeth I was hooked!! Its not the gore (I hate gore.) Its not the scare (I get terrified so easily.) Its just the idea of an enemy that can’t be stopped, of an enemy that you become if you don’t watch your footing? Its just fascinating.

6. Less: Terrible Supernatural Fiction
This one almost makes me sad. I really like stories with witches and werewolves,  the occasional vampire and ghoul, but with all the tripe that’s been thrown around lately I’m scared to pick up anything even remotely related. Too many bad burns of  terrible writing, terrible plots and terrible characters. If one more love triangle between a girl, a werewolf and a vampire shows up in fiction I think I’m going to explode. Think your characters through, give them proper motivation, back story and dimension. aksdljfask… just… No…

7. Less: Vague, Dark Cover Art
I remember when I could pick up a book, look at the cover and have a general idea of what that book was about, or even if was a little cryptic, I could look at it and was intrigued by the concept of what could possibly be hidden in the pages. We don’t get that any more. Its all black, with shadowed figures, swirls of two primary colours… what the crap? What is this book about? I don’t even want to know. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but how can I judge a book if I can’t even stand to flip to the first page.

8. Less: Stories About Abuse
I’m not even going to post any cover art for this one. I love a good biography, its true that so many times truth is stranger then fiction. And in the case of this wave of abuse tales its even more terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are people who have gone through a lot, who have endured incredible pain and abuse, but I have no desire to read about it. Its different if its part of a greater picture, someone who was abused who grew up and founded a home for abused children, a politician or actor who overcame their circumstances to be more then a victim. Its the books that sit there and say here is all the crap I went through, I didn’t grow, I didn’t break out and use my experiences to help people,  I’m just writing this books so you can know. I  mean no disrespect to these people, I get that sometimes just leading a normal life is a huge accomplishment for them, and that writing out your experiences can be incredibly helpful, but that is stuff to be shared with therapists, and other survivors, not the entire world.

9. Less: Diaries of Socially Awkward Kids
Oh my goodness… this is more a pet peeve then anything. If there is one thing I get, its being made fun of as a kid. Its not fun, it pretty much sucks. I love a good underdog story, root for him til the very end. You can do it buddy! But for real people? The endless stream of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries… Ok I get it, not popular children putting their thoughts down, 90% of the time in rude, sarcastic and just plain mean ways. Why are we teaching kids that its ok to be mean and hateful, so long as your not one of the popular ones?

10. More: Books That Make Me Laugh Out Loud
Wanted to end this on a happy note after those last four entries of ranting! I don’t know one person who doesn’t love to laugh. Laughing makes a person feel all over amazing, to giggle and just feel silly for a moment is the most amazing thing! I wish there were more books out there that could make me laugh. I’m currently  reading Dear Fatty, by Dawn French and there hasn’t been a chapter yet that hasn’t at least made me snicker somewhere in it. Most of the time I have to find my laughs from the awkward romance found in my Manga, so its nice to read a good wordy book and still get that good chuckle!

Well, I really enjoyed that!! I sincerely hope you did too!! I encourage all my blogging friends to take this one, I’d love to get your prospective too!

❤ Much Love

The First of Many, The End of an Era

I’ve been waffling back and forth about what to write about for the first official entry. I’ve mentally skimmed my bookshelf, mulling over this title and that. Its like trying to pick who will be your best friend for the day, it will make the others angry. And if there is one thing we mustn’t do, its make the books angry. I lovingly stroke their spines and come back to reality. I am at work, listening to the Wailin’ Jenny’s, the hustle and bustle of the rest of the workplace moving around me. I look to Doctor Pink the Dinosaur, he is no help, he is an idiot. I turn to my army of Cyber men, nothing there either, that’s the problem with a hive mind. I twirl my very cool sonic screwdriver between my fingers, and obviously stop typing for a time as twirling and typing are incompatible.

It really is a debate in my mind over whether I should start with an old favourite like the one I spoke about briefly in the opening, or if I should turn my hand at a new gem. At the same time I wonder at the excessive amount of time its taken me to conjure the will (patience, guts, vocabulary) to finally put pen to paper, or rather fingers to key board, and get my passion on the page, figuratively. It really is a busy and jumbled place in my head, I do apologize for going on. And since I cannot locate a new read that I think will be stimulating enough to take an entry, I will choose an old friend and get the two of you thoroughly acquainted. (Though keep your eyes peeled, I’ve started the hilarious memoirs of Dawn French. I cant wait to finish so I can share the hilarity!!)

And so I bring to you one of my first loves, Awake and Dreaming. It marked the first time I picked up and enjoyed something other then the sugar and lolipop everything is going to be ok, childhood brain candy I’d been munching on. Ironic actually now that I look back it. A book about breaking away from the fantasies of perfection, with a main character who also read sugar and lolipop books, who steps up and faces reality.

Awake and Dreaming is written by Kit Pearson, and it was through her that I grew to love and adore literature. It was also the first time I took any stock of who was writing my books, I flipped to the back and was astounded to find out that she was not only Canadian, but had spent part of her time growing up in Edmonton. This fuelled by passion for Canadian authors, and lead me eventually to hunt down Monica Hughes, who became another favourite, but I digress. I had found a book, its cover beautiful and mysterious to me, its author local, its pages new. I cracked it open and fell in head first. Here was little Theodora, living in run down Vancouver apartment with her neglectful mother, being ignored and mistreated by her classmates because of it, and escaping into books filled with perfect families. It is not a perfect existence but one that Theo knows, one she is familiar with. This is all thrown into the wind when her mother tells her she is being sent to live with her Aunt in Vancouver.

On the ferry to Victoria, Theo encounters the Kaldor family. They seem as perfect as the families she has spent so much time reading about and imagining. She follows them and befriends them, they spend their time running back and forth across the deck making games and adventures out of the air. Then as they see the new moon rise they each make a wish, Theo closes her eyes and wishes with all her heart,  I want to be part of this family. She opens her eyes to see her mother pounding angrily down the deck towards her. She utters her  wish out loud in desperation, “Please! I wish I belonged to this family right now!”

Next thing we know our darling Theo wakes up surrounded by a dream world, a dream very specific to her. A cozy warm bed set, a floor littered with toys and clothes and bags, shelves filled with books and photos and treasure. Surely this cant be real, it must be a dream, but here she is, living happily with the Kaldor’s. Eating breakfast, going shopping, attending school, learning to ride a bike, going on adventures on their mountain, and lazy afternoons in the grave yard. It is perfect, everything she ever wanted, ever expected from a perfect family. She is, for the first time, happy. And then she starts to fade away… Slowly at first, they cant hear her voice, forget that she’s there, until she’s invisible all together. In a tantrum of pain and confusion, Theo’s head begins to throb, and the world slips into darkness.

Cruel reality wrenches her back, she is on the ferry, the world bustling around her just as though it never changed. No time had passed, her weeks with the Kaldor’s evaporated, and yet there were the memories. They arrive in Victoria with little pomp, and Theo is given over to her Aunts care. School starts, and a new life unfolds. School is awkward, and Theo slowly begins to make friends and take stock of her surroundings. In a fit of whimsy and determination Theo sets out in a search for the Kaldor’s, and finds them living in the same home, with the same pets, and same children, only with none of the gloss of dreams. What follows is a beautiful story, filled with new expectations, friendships, tears and a ghost.

Looking back I can see why this book appealed to me so much. It was the first book that carried real emotions. I remember the anger I felt at Theo’s mom for treating her so bad. The tightening of fear and sorrow in my chest when Theo started to slip away. The joy and the triumph of Theo finally standing up for herself. It was a book that taught me that while dreams are worth chasing, the world is still very real. This book was the first of many books that would follow me into adulthood, and marked the end of an era. The end of using books just to hide, and using them to learn.

I hope that if you pick up this book it will look into you as much as it did into me, and that it would spark a new interest in all the amazing authors Canada has to offer.

❤ Much Love