The Coffee Booktag

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I found this book tag on Bookerly’s Youtube Channel and thought it would make an interesting blog post 😉  Book tags are a fun thing where we categorize books based on creative questions or topics.
Questions 1. Black- name a series that is tough to get into but has hardcore fans.

girl-on-the-train

I know there are thousands of people who loved this book, but I’m not one of them. I gave it 3 stars, it was OKAY, but just not amazing for me.
Question 2. Peppermint Mocha- name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.

Lunar Chronicles

I’m going to go with The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, I don’t know why, I just feel like they are a great Winter series to read, plus one of them is called “Winter”. Cinder was published first, but there are a couple prequels coming out soon. I have read Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, and Stars Above but haven’t read some of the others.
Question 3. Hot Chocolate- what is your favorite children’s book?

Charlotte's Web

It was the first chapter book I read, and I have re-read it I don’t know how many times. Absolutely love this one ♥

Question 4. Double shot of espresso- name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

truly-madly-guilty

I read this pretty quickly, I was on the edge of my seat, heart pounding – I needed to know what happened at the BBQ!! LOL
Question 5. Starbucks- name a book you see everywhere.

Furthermore

I see it at stores, Booktubers talking about it. A great Middle Grade read.
Question 6. That hipster coffee shop- give a book by an indie author a shout out.

Motherhood by Lindsey Williams

Gotta go with my girl Lindsey! ♥
Question 7. Oops! I accidentally got decaf- name a book you were expecting more from.

Poisonwood Bible

Average rating on Goodreads 4.02, over 550,000 people rated it…but I gave it 2 stars.
Question 8. The perfect blend- name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying.

small-great-things-hc-400w

Some gut-wrenching, heart-squishing parts…but adorable parts…full range of emotion reading this one.

If you do this booktag post the link in the comments below! 🙂

Here are the questions in case you’d like to copy/paste:
1. Black- name a series that is tough to get into but has hardcore fans.
2. Peppermint Mocha- name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.
3. Hot Chocolate- what is your favorite children’s book?
4. Double shot of espresso- name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
5. Starbucks- name a book you see everywhere.
6. That hipster coffee shop- give a book by an indie author a shout out.
7. Oops! I accidentally got decaf- name a book you were expecting more from.
8. The perfect blend- name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying.

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The Stonekeeper (Amulet Book 1) #spoilerfreebookreview

The Stonekeeper, graphic novel by Kazu Kibuishi, has a great story, beautiful illustrations, and fantastic characters. It’s the first book of the Amulet series, which has seven books so far, and apparently the author is working on book eight and nine. This series is great for about eight years old and up – there are some intense scenes where the father dies (happens in the first few pages so not a spoiler), so might not be appropriate for every one.

Emily, her brother Navin, and their mother Karen move to Emily’s great-grandfather’s house just outside the city called Norlen, two years after Emily’s father, David, died in a car crash. Emily’s great-grandfather Silas Charnon disappeared, leaving behind an old house filled with secrets. Emily finds an amulet – spurring a fast-paced adventure to Alledia, an alternate version of Earth, that is filled with monsters and robots. My favourite character is Miskit – a cute little pink bunny robot. My kids are ten years old and almost eight years old, and both enjoyed these books so much that they have read each book at least two times. I’m also looking forward to finishing the series – and reading books eight and nine when they are published.

the stonekeeper

 

Furthermore by @TaherehMafi #SpoilerFreeBookReview

Furthermore is an imaginative Middle Grade Fantasy novel written by Tahereh Maf, New York Times and USA Today best selling author. The whimsical words, character and environment descriptions all helped to build an amazing world that would host the story of Alice, a twelve year old colourless girl in a colour-filled world. Like many of us, Alice feels like she doesn’t belong, and struggles to fit in.

Furthermore

“The sun was raining again. Soft and bright, rainlight fell through the sky, each drop tearing a neat hole in the season. Winter had been steady and predictable, but it was quite poked through now, and spring was peeking out from underneath it. The world was ready for a change. The people of Ferrenwood were excited for spring, but this was to be expected; they had always been fond of predictable, reliable sorts of changes, like night turning into day and rain turning into snow. They didn’t much care for night turning into cake or rain turning into shoelaces, because that wouldn’t make sense, and making sense was terribly important to these people, who’d built their lives around magic. And squint as they might, it was very difficult for them to make any sense of Alice.”p.3

Alice has been collecting bangles to wear on her arms and legs for over three years, thirty eight months to be exact – one bangle for every day since her father left. Alice Queensmeadow teams up with Oliver Newbanks to help him with his task he was assigned after his Surrender. He agrees that if she helps him, then he will help her find her father. Alice leaves her mother and three triplet brothers to go on an adventure with the boy she doesn’t really like all that much, Oliver, who has the gift of persuasion, and the ability to know the most private secret of every person he meets. However, Alice has made a bond – as long as she doesn’t tell a lie, she would never be fooled. Together they travel to an strange land called Furthermore.

Kids around ten years old and up would enjoy this book – that being said, keep in mind I am thirty five and I thoroughly enjoyed this book 🙂 I would love to read more books about this wonderful world.

Futhermore on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28110143-furthermore

Follow the author Tahereh Mafi on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4637539.Tahereh_Mafi) and check out her website http://www.taherehbooks.com/

 

 

This Savage Song #spoilerfreebookreview #borrowathon

This Savage Song, published in 2016, written by Victoria Schwab, New York Times Bestselling Author, was my choice for the “recommended to me” challenge for Borrowathon. It’s been twelve years since The Phenomenon – when something strange started happening; if someone did a bad thing their shadow would take on a life of it’s own, turning their soul red, and creating monsters.

The story begins with our strong female lead character, Kate Harker, burning down the chapel at St. Agnes Academy – her sixth school in five years. She’s the daughter of Callum Harker – Governor of the North Verity City.

It’s been six years since the truce between North and South in Verity City. Four years since August, the Sunai monster, woke up.

Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul

August, with marks on his body, counting the days since he’s killed, wants nothing more than to be good. He, his brother, and his sister, are all monsters who work with Henry Flynn, the “governor” of South Verity City.

I thought it was creative to have the book divided into verses:

Monster, May I?
Monster See, Monster Do
Run, Monster, Run
Face Your Monsters

This story reminded me of Romeo & Juliet – except less romance and more monsters. While reading it I thought to myself, “this would make a great movie”. After “googling” it, I learned that Sony bought the rights to make the movie and casting is currently underway. I quite enjoyed this read, and will definitely check out the next book in the series.

Shooting Creek and Other Stories #spoilerfreebookreview

Shooting Creek and Other Stories is a somber collection of dark, twisted short stories by Scott Loring Sanders. Shooting Creek contains fictional, yet authentic, stories of people trying to solve problems, no matter what the consequences may be. Dead-beat dads and kick-ass women doing bad, money-motivated things.  “Frank’s Beach”, a story of a man who ran from his past, only to find himself in trouble after finding the body of a dead woman on a beach. Is it karma chasing him down, attempting it’s revenge after what he and his cousin Mickey did so many years ago? Johnny and his mom Patricia attempt to bury their revengeful secrets in the woods of “Pleasant Grove”. My favourite spine-tingling story, “Moss Man”, tells the story of a man driven by the strongest force of all – love.

shooting creek

I was sent a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher, Down & Out Books, via Netgalley.

Shooting Creek is expected to be published March 27th 2017 by Down & Out Books

 

Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiance As a KGB Spy in America #spoilerfreebookreview

Brand new book – Published yesterday, March 21st, 2017!

Author: Jack Barsky Foreword: Joe Reilly Contributor: Cindy Coloma

Albrecht Gerlinde (AKA Jack Barsky) discloses his memoir as a Soviet Union spy living undercover in America. Through his extraordinary experiences we learn that it is our relationships that determine who we are, and who we become. We are given answers as to how someone becomes a spy in the first place, intensive training they receive, what their life is like living undercover, and what happens when they are caught. I felt heartbroken reading about Albrecht’s upbringing, and can’t imagine how it must have felt to abandon everyone he loved in order to serve his country in what he thought was a heroic mission acting as a spy. Deep Undercover is a riveting, page-turning, fascinating, poignant adventure. If you like the Bourne movies, and great spy novels, you’ll love this. Happy reading!

deep undercover.jpg

Book Blurb:

One decision can end everything . . . or lead to unlikely redemption.
Millions watched the CBS 60 Minutes special on Jack Barsky in 2015. Now, in this fascinating memoir, the Soviet KGB agent tells his story of gut-wrenching choices, appalling betrayals, his turbulent inner world, and the secret life he lived for years without getting caught.

On October 8, 1978, a Canadian national by the name of William Dyson stepped off a plane at O’Hare International Airport and proceeded toward Customs and Immigration.

Two days later, William Dyson ceased to exist.

The identity was a KGB forgery, used to get one of their own―a young, ambitious East German agent―into the United States.

The plan succeeded, and the spy’s new identity was born: Jack Barsky. He would work undercover for the next decade, carrying out secret operations during the Cold War years . . . until a surprising shift in his allegiance challenged everything he thought he believed.

Deep Undercover will reveal the secret life of this man without a country and tell the story no one ever expected him to tell.”

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Undercover-Tangled-Allegiances-America/dp/1496416821

 

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.

#Borrowathon TBR

Borrowathon Round 2 starts TODAY and ends Sunday, March 26th Midnight.

Use the hashtag #borrowathon

For more info about Borrowathon visit: http://fiveleveninety.blogspot.ca/2017/03/borrowathon-round-2-information.html?m=1

 

I’ll be reading:
1. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi (try before I buy)
Furthermore
2.The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet #1) (graphic novel)
the stonekeeper
3.Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America Jack Barsky (new to me author) Will be published March 21st, 2017
deep undercover
4. This Savage Song by  V. E. Schwab (Recommended to me)
This Savage Song
5. Shooting Creek by Scott Sanders (favourite color on cover: blue)
Will be published March 27th, 2017
shooting creek
6. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs (involves a library)
library of souls

Downstream: Reimagining Water #spoilerfreebookreview

I learned A LOT reading Downstream: Reimagining Water. I graduated from University almost thirteen years ago with a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Sociology/Social Cultural Anthropology. I used to devour as much information as I could about history, people, cultures, environment, and had a keen interest in Indigenous people, particularly Canadian Native people. I myself am part Mi’qmaw, and love learning more about our history, traditions, and our part in saving the environment – including water. So when I was sent an advanced reader copy by Wilfrid Laurier University Press to read this new book, I felt a full-circle kind of moment – right place, right time. Know what I mean?

This anthology, compiled by Dorothy Christian and Rita Wong, discusses what water means to Indigenous people, how we relate to water, and suggests that one way for government to improve relations with native people is to use water as a bond.

Displacement and redirection of water with dams has devastated Indigenous peoples’ ability to thrive.We also have many First Nations communities under water advisories – which means their water is not safe to drink – and that is mainly due to pollution caused by companies, such as mining and oil companies.

The ocean is the primary life support system of our planet. Our small, harmful actions add up. Are we really paying attention? “Humbly approaching water together opens up new possibilities for democracy, peace, and relationship”. (page 12)

If you’re interested in watching documentaries with more information Christian and Wong have provided a list – a few they shared are Land of Oil and Water, H2Oil, For the Love of Water, and Downstream.

Here are the some of the important articles shared in Downstream anthology:

Planetary Distress Signals by Alanna Mitchell
“Humans are changing the basic chemistry of the global ocean”

Water by Lee Maracle
“We do not own the water, the water owns itself. We are responsible for ensuring that we do not damage the water.”

Interweaving Water: The Incremental Transformation of Sovereign Knowledge Into Collaborative Knowledge by Michael D. Blackstock
“Embracing humility will release the energy used to protect and rationalize current academic and political sovereignty and redirect it to the intensive next step: interweaving”

Water and Knowledge by Astrida Neimanis
– discusses Hydro-Logics

Excerpts from an extremely moving poem entitled “A Child’s Fable” by Baco Ohama was shared.

Water: The First Foundation of Life by Mona Polacca
– shares the story of the Hopi-Havasupai people of Southwest Arizona who were greatly impacted by uranium mining, and also talks about the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.

From our Homelands to the Tar Sands by Melina Laboucan Massimo
“Only when the last tree has died
The last river been poisoned
And the last fish been caught
will we realize we cannot eat money” – Cree Proverb
Melina said, “What we see is an Indigenous way of life being overtaken by intensive oil and gas extraction. Where there once was self-sufficiency in the communities in the region because there was clean air, clean water, medicines, berries, and plants from the Boreal forest, we now see this changing with an increased dependency on social services because families are no longer able to sustain themselves in what was once a healthy environment.”

Keepers of the Water by Renée Elizabeth Bédard
– shares the story of the Water Walkers

Water Walk Pedagogy by Violet Caibaiosai
– shares her story of how her water walk impacted her

A Response to Pascua Lama, a poem by Cecilia Vicuña

Moving With Water by Alannah Young Leon and Denise Marie Nadeau

Bodies of Water by Seonagh Odhiambo Horne
I particularly enjoyed the discussion of dance choreography, breathing through motion, and the movement of water is air bodies as we move. Understanding this fluid movement will help us understand the movement of water on Earth.

Upstream by Cathy Stubington

Ice Receding by Basia Irland
– Eco art involves art that addresses environmental and sustainability issues

Tsunami Chant by Wang Ping

Listening to the Elders at the Keepers of the Water Gathering by Radha D’Souza Dene

Coastal Waters in Distress From Excessive Nutrients by Paul J. Harrison
– discusses our nitrogen footprint, and ways to reduce it

Bodies of Water by Janey Lew

Permeable Toronto by Janine Macleod

Saturate/Dissolve by Larissa Lai

Bring Me Back a poem by Janet Rogers

Some of the information shared in this anthology is heart breaking, and scary – but I am hopeful that if we can all work together and put the environment first we may be able to scale back the damage we’ve done to our beautiful earth.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about our connection to water, and would definitely recommend adding this to your school library.

 

 

 

The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention #spoilerfreebookreview

Meredith Maran’s newest book, a fresh-authentic-inspiring autobiographical memoir, was released today, The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention. It talks about life’s biggest themes: friendship, divorce, marriage, love, healing, human rights, loving the place you live, aging, plastic surgery, alcohol, grief, happiness, and never being too old to try something new. I laughed, I cried, I devoured this novel in half a day. I was sent a DRC copy of this book by PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press & Plume for review. Because I have an advanced copy, I cannot share my favourite quotes -but I will say there were many. I loved the many different characters we met, and Meredith’s journey through her trip from glass empty to the glass half full.

the new old me.jpg

Here’s a book blurb from Penguin Random House website:

“After the death of her best friend, the loss of her life’s savings, and the collapse of her once-happy marriage, Meredith Maran—whom Anne Lamott calls “insightful, funny, and human”—leaves her San Francisco freelance writer’s life for a 9-to-5 job in Los Angeles. Determined to rebuild not only her savings but herself while relishing the joys of life in La-La land, Maran writes “a poignant story, a funny story, a moving story, and above all an American story of what it means to be a woman of a certain age in our time” (Christina Baker Kline, number-one New York Times–bestselling author of Orphan Train).” http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/536258/the-new-old-me-by-meredith-maran/9780399574139/

I recommend this book to all women of any age, and would love to hear what you think of it!

Happy Reading,

Amanda

 

The Cozy Life: Rediscover The Joy Of Simple Things Through The Danish Concept Of Hygge #spoilerfreebookreview

I first heard about Hygge a few years ago, but with the recent surge in interest throughout social media I decided to pick up a book about Hygge from my local library. The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Pia Edberg is a short book published in 2016 that is a great introduction to Hygge. (pronounced HOO-Gah).

Back Blurb: “In today’s world, we’re constantly rushing from one thing to the next and are struggling with information overload. We’re more disconnected from ourselves and our loved ones than ever before. Rediscover the joy of the simple things through the Danish concept of Hygge in The Cozy Life. This book will inspire you to slow down and enjoy life’s cozy moments!

  • Learn about the Danish cultural phenomenon of Hygge, and the secret to why Denmark is consistently rated the happiest country in the world
  • Embrace the little things and take simplicity and minimalism up a notch
  • Add Hygge into every aspect of your life with practical examples and tips
  • Say goodbye to the Winter Blues and live a healthier, centred life

This charming little book, filled with hand drawn illustrations, beautifully addresses that yearning we all have for a more authentic life, created by ourselves instead of external forces.

What’s stopping you from living a more meaningful and connected life?”

The Cozy Life

The author, Pia Edberg was born in the tiny city of Nykøbing Falster, Denmark, and later moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. She shares her memories of growing up Hygge, including recipes for food and drinks.

Pia EdbergPicture taken from Pia’s website http://www.piaedberg.com/

Hygge is defined as the Danish concept of coziness, or homeyness. It is both a noun and a verb. “The art of creating warmth, comfort, and wellbeing through connection, treasuring the moment, and surrounding yourself with things you love.”

I’m a bit of a “foodie” and love to cook homemade meals, so the recipes shared in this little book intrigued my taste buds, especially Ebleskiver

ebleskiver

Pia also shared instructions on how to made your own “Dream Pillow“, which I’ve never heard of before and would love to make one.

We also got a little advice on decluttering, something I’ve already been doing for a few years now as a way to calm my mind.

My kids and I are taking the 30 Day Hygge Challenge that the author shared in this little book – Day one is to take a relaxing bath. Sounds great to me!

I highly recommend this little book to everyone – Happy Hygge! 🙂