The Joy of Doing Nothing

the joy of doing nothing.jpgThe Joy of Doing Nothing: A Real-Life Guide to Stepping Back, Slowing Down, and Creating a Simpler, Joy-Filled Life

160 pages
Expected Publication: December 5, 2017
Average Rating on Netgalley 4/5 stars
Average Rating on Goodreads 3/5 stars

Book Blurb

Fight back against busyness and celebrate the pleasure of doing nothing in this new guide that helps relieve stress and increase happiness in your life.

In The Joy of Doing Nothing you’ll discover how to step away from everything you think you have to do and learn to live a minimalist life. Rachel Jonat shares simple strategies to help you stop over scheduling, find time for yourself, and create moments of calm every day. You’ll learn how to focus more on the important aspects of life, such as family and friends, and scale back your schedule to create more time in the day to care for yourself.“

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

My Thoughts

Burn out is OPTIONAL. If you feel like your schedule of activities is dictating your life and you have no control over your time, then it’s time to take a step back and have a good, hard look at your calendar. Take back the power of setting boundaries. The philosophy of doing nothing is about self-care, finding clarity, restoring yourself, feeling more content, being more productive, reducing stress, and so much more. Jonat shares thoughtful advice on how to take control of your time by saying “no”, and disconnecting from tech. There is a difference between doing nothing and procrastination. Procrastination is simply putting things off, while taking the time to do nothing is actually taking mindful breaks.

Teaching yourself and your children the art of stillness will benefit all of you physically and mentally. There are many studies which show how slowing down improves health, and even helps to fight disease. Jonat includes a great how-to guide on teaching children how to do nothing and I’m really excited to see the results for my own kids.

The Joy of Doing Nothing has some fantastic tips on how to take control of your time in order to find some peace. I was once addicted to my phone and social media. I was checking my messages, emails, and social media notifications constantly and I felt ridden with anxiety. A couple of years ago I decided to spend less time on my phone, and more time in the present with my family and friends, writing, reading, knitting, or just plain relaxing. I have to admit, it was HARD. The phone was an addiction for me. I was caught up in the idea that being busy meant I was important. I often hear people almost bragging, or competing about just how busy they are and whoever is the busiest wins. One day something clicked and I realized that is not right and it was contributing to my anxiety big time. I used to suffer from SEVERE anxiety. I used to worry for my entire day. Since reducing my phone time/social media time I almost immediately felt more peaceful. My brain started  to slow down.

In January 2017 I made the decision to spend less time watching TV, and more time reading. I bring a book with me almost every where I go, so if I have a little bit of free time I read a few pages instead of looking at my phone. I also started going to bed earlier so I can read 30 minutes before sleep. I used to wake up a million times a night and felt exhausted every day, but now I sleep through the night at least 7 hours and I feel AMAZING.

I have also made changes to our family schedules so we have more time to just BE. I like that the weekends are usually a time for my kids to relax and play with toys, read, write, and colour, instead of rushing around to sports and other activities. My youngest has had less outbursts at home and at school. My oldest has actually said that many classmates have complained to her about their busy schedules and she’s happy that we have lots of relax time in our calendar.

Even though I’ve already been unplugging and making changes to our schedules I still found a lot of value in this short book. There were some great tips on how to use my time, especially “fringe time”, to my advantage in order to find more peace and enjoy life.

I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. This would make a great Christmas gift to someone you love, especially to yourself! ♥ ♥ ♥

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Talking With Your Child About Their Autism Diagnosis: A Guide For Parents {Spoiler-Free Book Review}

Talking with your child about their autism diagnosisTalking with Your Child about Their Autism Diagnosis: A Guide for Parents

NonFiction
Expected Publication: November 21, 2017

GoodReads Blurb

As a mother of two children on the spectrum, with over ten years’ experience as a psychologist specialising in childhood autism, Raelene Dundon has all the tips you’ll need. In this concise book, she sets out case studies, examples and resources that will equip you to make your own informed choices and help your whole family to live well with autism. Part One provides ways to tell children of different ages and development levels about their diagnosis, including photocopiable and downloadable worksheets designed to help diagnosed children understand autism, and gives advice on what to do if they react in a negative or unexpected way to the news. Part Two explores the pros and cons of sharing the diagnosis with others, including family, friends, school staff and your child’s classmates, and guides you through what to do if others don’t understand or accept the diagnosis.”

My Thoughts

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and Edelweiss, for allowing me to review.

Talking With Your Child About Their Autism Diagnosis is an informational book that highlights why, how, when, and what to tell your child about their Autism diagnosis. Dundon shares common parental reactions to a diagnosis (and how to deal with feelings), what to do if a child uses Autism as an excuse, and also what to tell family, friends, and teachers about their child’s diagnosis. She includes an abundance of resources, such as downloadable worksheets and a list of helpful books, videos, and websites.

I highly recommend this short book to EVERYONE, not just parents of children who have been diagnosed with Autism. I believe that the more we all know about it, the better we can share facts and provide support to children we know.

About The Author

Raelene Dundon.jpgRaelene Dundon

“Raelene is the Director of Okey Dokey Childhood Psychology in Melbourne, Australia. She is a registered Psychologist and holds a Masters Degree in Educational and Developmental Psychology. Raelene has extensive experience working with children with developmental disabilities and their families, as well as typically developing children, providing educational, social/emotional and behavioural support.

Raelene has worked extensively in early childhood intervention settings, schools and private practice, and works with preschools and schools to provide individual student and staff support, as well as running social skills groups for students. She regularly presents workshops for parents and professionals on topics related to supporting children with special needs in the classroom and in other settings, and has recently presented at an International Autism Conference in Edinburgh, as well as conferences in Brisbane, Sydney, Cairns and Melbourne.

Raelene is also the mother of three children, two of whom are on the Autism Spectrum, and draws on both her personal and professional experience to provide support and guidance to families and carers.”

ARC Review: A Bold and Dangerous Family – Spoiler Free 🇮🇹 🔫 👩

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and Edelweiss for allowing me to review.

A bold and dangerous familyA Bold and Dangerous Family: The Remarkable Story of an Italian Mother, Her Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Fascism

Expected Publication October 3, 2017
Non-Fiction, 20th Century History
Nominated for The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction Longlist
“The acclaimed author of A Train in Winter and Village of Secrets delivers the next chapter in “The Resistance Quartet”: the astonishing story of the aristocratic Italian family who stood up to Mussolini’s fascism, and whose efforts helped define the path of Italy in the years between the World Wars—a profile in courage that remains relevant today.”
Caroline Moorehead uses letters, family interviews, and photographs to tell the story of the Rosselli family and their courageous actions during the first three decades of the 20th Century. Amelia, a girl who grew up in Venice, triumphed through many hardships to raise her three sons who grew up to become extremely involved in Italian politics. They refused to allow Mussolini and his squaddristi to deter them from standing up to fascism, which ultimately had an enormous impact on Italian history.
Amelia was born in Venice January 1870. She had an extremely lonely and tough childhood. After her father’s death Amelia moved to Rome with her mother when she was 15. She met her future husband Giuseppe Rosselli in Rome when she was 19. She gave birth to her son Aldo in 1895, Carlo in 1899, and her third son Sabatino (Nello) in 1900. In 1903 Amelia moved to Florence with her sons after Giuseppe and Amelia separated. She spent her time writing poems, short stories, and articles for magazines. As an extremely vigilant mother she was sometimes perceived as harsh. In 1911 Giuseppe fell ill, Amelia went to look after him until his death later that year.
There was incredible political tension in Florence at this time. Amelia became extremely involved with fighting for women’s rights, in particular education. In May 1915 Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary, and Amelia’s son Aldo left to join the war. Sadly he died and she opened a home for children of soldiers who had no mothers and named it after her son, La Casina di Aldo. Her other sons Carlo and Nello went to war, thankfully both returned safely in 1920.
Benito Mussolini took advantage of a broken Italy, created the Fascist Party in 1919, and a military unit called “The Black Shirts” to silence anti-fascists like the Rosselli brothers. Moorehead provides a detailed account of the action-reaction relationship between Mussolini and the Rosselli family over the next two decades. I had never heard of the Rosselli family before reading this book, and am grateful to have gained that knowledge.
My favourite part of the book was reading about Amelia. The book started with her being the star of the story, but as her sons become more involved with politics her thoughts and actions become less visible. This book is obviously well-researched, and it should have interested someone with a minor in history, but I was often bored and feel like it would have been better if useless information was omitted. I debated not finishing this book, which is something I don’t do very often (there are only maybe 2 or 3 books that I started and haven’t finished). It was the title that drew my attention and made me think this would be an exciting historical account of a “dangerous” family, but in actuality it’s extremely dry and academic.
That being said, I do feel like there are many readers who would love to learn more about the Rosselli family and their impact on Italian history. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy WWI and WWII history, especially if you’re interested in learning more about Italian political history during that time period.

 

Caroline Moorehead.JPG
“Caroline Moorehead is the New York Times bestselling author of Village of Secrets, A Train in Winter, and Human Cargo: A Journey Among the Refugees, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. An acclaimed biographer, Moorehead has also written for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, The Times, and The Independent. She lives in London and Italy.”

August TBR

Dress Codes for Small TownsI’m writing this blog post on Tuesday, so by the time this gets posted on Thursday I will probably have read Dress Codes for Small Towns.

Harper Collins kindly sent me a free digital copy for review.

Dress Codes for Small Towns

by Courtney Stevens

On Sale AUGUST 22nd, 2017!
http://www.harpercollins.ca/9780062398512/dress-codes-for-small-towns

Faking Normal author Courtney Stevens delivers a contemporary realistic John Hughes-esque exploration of sexual fluidity in the small-town South.”

Remnant Population

Remnant Population

By Elizabeth Moon

I’m on page 168 and will be finishing this after I read Dress Codes for Small Towns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lightning ThiefThe Lightning Thief: Graphic Novel

By Rick Riordan and Robert Venditti

My daughter borrowed this one from the library and said it was really good, so I’m hoping to fit this read in before it’s due back.

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By J.K. Rowling

I’ve been reading the Harry Potter books aloud to my kids, started this one awhile ago. Lately, they’ve been more interested in reading to themselves (growing up too fast). I’ve renewed it from the library so will be reading this tonight before bed with the munchkins.

 

 

 

Drawing of the Three.jpg

The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2)

By Stephen King

I re-read The Gunslinger last month and quite enjoyed it, so on to the next book of the series. The movie comes into theater on Friday, August 4th, 2017!

 

 

 

 

A bold and dangerous family

A Bold and Dangerous Family

By Caroline Moorehead

I was kindly sent a free digital copy for review.

On Sale October 2017

“Renowned historian Caroline Moorehead paints an indelible picture of Italy in the first half of the twentieth century, offering an intimate account of the rise of Il Duce and his squaddristi; life in Mussolini’s penal colonies; the shocking ambivalence and complicity of many prominent Italian families seduced by Mussolini’s promises; and the bold, fractured resistance movement whose associates sacrificed their lives to fight fascism. In A Bold and Dangerous Family, Moorehead once again pays tribute to heroes who fought to uphold our humanity during one of history’s darkest chapters.”

Dead Girls and Other Stories.jpg

Dead Girls and Other Stories

By Emily Geminder

I was kindly sent a free digital copy for review.

On Sale October 2017

“With lyric artistry and emotional force, Emily Geminder’s debut collection charts a vivid constellation of characters fleeing their own stories. A teenage runaway and her mute brother seek salvation in houses, buses, the backseats of cars. Preteen girls dial up the ghosts of fat girls. A crew of bomber pilots addresses the sparks of villagers below. In Cambodia, four young women confuse themselves with the ghost of a dead reporter. And from India to New York to Phnom Penh, dead girls both real and fantastic appear again and again: as obsession, as threat, as national myth and collective nightmare.”

What’s on your TBR this month?

Truth or Dare #BookTag

Questions are down below so you can copy/paste. Be sure to share the link for your Truth or Dare Book Tag in the comments! I tag anyone who would like to do this tag 🙂

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

I’ve had Ramona and her Father on my shelf since 1989.

Ramona and her Father

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

lonely hearts hotel

 

Current Read: The Lonely Hearts Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tapestry of Tears

 

 

Last Read: A Tapestry of Tears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outlander

 

 

The book I’ll read next: Outlander

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

girl-on-the-train

 

Over 1.1 million ratings on Goodreads, with an average rating of 3.88. I didn’t HATE it. I don’t think I HATE any book, that’s a strong word. It’s not that I disliked The Girl On The Train, it just didn’t live up to the hype for me.

 

 

 

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

A Suitable Boy.jpg

 

A Suitable Boy, it has a great rating on Goodreads and sounds like a great read, however, it has 1474 pages, making it the longest book on my TBR at the moment. I’d love to read it, but not sure when I’ll be able to make that kind of commitment haha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. What book are you saving for retirement?

See question 4. LOL

6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?

Wait till the end!

7. Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

I always read all of the notes and acknowledgements. It’s an interesting glimpse into the author’s support system.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Miss Peregrine from Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children because it would be kickass to be able to change into a bird and fly.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)

I was introduced to The Wheel of Time series by a friend while attending University, so when I think of those first books we read and discussed together it always brings me back to then.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

The book from question 1…is a book I borrowed from the library of my elementary school…but never returned. *SHAME*

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

I love to give books away…I try to find a book that I think they would like, can take something from, will make them laugh, or is pertaining to something they are going through at the time.

12. Which book has been with you most places?

The book from question 1 again…I’ve had it when I lived in Labrador, Newfoundland, British Columbia, and Ontario.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Shakespeare! I disliked it in high school, but when I read it in University for an English course I really liked it a lot.

14. Used or brand new?

Both, but new books do smell fantastic.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Not yet, but I have two on my shelf that I bought at a library sale.

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Little-Women-bookcover.jpg

 

I loved the book Little Women, but the movie was even better. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the movie. I just love it so much ♥♥♥♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

I own about 15 cookbooks, and every single one of them make me hungry!

RockRecipesCVR_FA_WEB

 

Rock Recipes is one of my favourite cookbooks. I was born and raised in Newfoundland, so I love to make “Newfie” meals.

 

 

 

 

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

My Dad and I share similar book taste, and Oprah has great book recommendations.

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

Dragon Teeth

 

I highly doubt I would have ever picked up Dragon Teeth to read. It was recommended to me by Netgalley, and have to admit I enjoyed every chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post the link to your Booktag in the comments! Or answer the questions in the comments 🙂

QUESTIONS:
The questions:
1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?
2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?
4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
5. What book are you saving for retirement?
6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?
7. Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?
8. Which book character would you switch places with?
9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)
10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.
11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?
12. Which book has been with you most places?
13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
14. Used or brand new?
15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?
16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?
18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

April Reading Wrap Up

Books I read in April 🙂

library of souls

Library of Souls
by Ransom Riggs

“The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.”

My review for Library of Souls

 

murder by family

 

Murder By Family
By Kent Whitaker

Kent Whitaker’s story of how an unknown assailant opened fire on his entire family, killing his wife and teenaged son, and how his heart-wrenching decision to forgive begins a journey toward redemption and faith when he discovers that the one responsible for the attack is his other son.

My Review for Murder By Family

 

Turning

 

Turning

By Jessica J. Lee

At the age of 28, Jessica Lee–Canadian, Chinese, and British–finds herself in Berlin. Alone. Lonely, with lowered spirits thanks to some family history and a broken heart, she is ostensibly there to write a thesis. And although that is what she does daily, what increasingly occupies her is swimming. So she makes a decision that she believes will win her back her confidence and independence: she will swim fifty-two of the lakes around Berlin, no matter what the weather or season. She is aware that this particular landscape is not without its own ghosts and history.

My Review for Turning

The Only Child

The Only Child

By Andrew Pyper

The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist radically reimagines the origins of gothic literature’s founding masterpieces—Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula—in a contemporary novel driven by relentless suspense and surprising emotion. This is the story of a man who may be the world’s one real-life monster, and the only woman who has a chance of finding him.”

My Review of The Only Child

 

Dragon Teeth

 

Dragon Teeth

By Michael Crichton

Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet against his arch-rival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition.  But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. William is forced to join forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions.  With this extraordinary treasure, however, comes exceptional danger, and William’s newfound resilience will be tested in his struggle to protect his cache, which pits him against some of the West’s most notorious characters.

My Review for Dragon Teeth

A Tapestry of Tears

 

A Tapestry of Tears

by Gita V. Reddy

Set in the early nineteenth century, A Tapestry of Tears is about female infanticide, and the unmaking of tradition. If a woman gives birth to a female child, she must feed her the noxious sap of the akk plant. That is the tradition, parampara. Veeranwali rebels, and fights to save her offspring.
The other stories span a spectrum of emotions and also bring to life the varied culture and social spectrum of India. Woven into this collection is the past and the present, despair and hope, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Click here for my review of A Tapestry of Tears

 

 

 

 

The Goodreads Tag #BookTag

The Goodreads Booktag

I watched Peter Monn’s Youtube video doing this tag (his video is below).

I tag anyone who would like to do this tag – link yours in the comments! 🙂

Add me on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/amandadroverhartwick

Questions are below to easily copy/paste.

1. What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

Turning

Turning by Jessica J. Lee

“Through the heat of summer to the frozen depths of winter, Lee traces her journey swimming through 52 lakes in a single year, swimming through fear and heartbreak to find her place in the world.”

At the age of 28, Jessica Lee–Canadian, Chinese, and British–finds herself in Berlin. Alone. Lonely, with lowered spirits thanks to some family history and a broken heart, she is ostensibly there to write a thesis. And although that is what she does daily, what increasingly occupies her is swimming. So she makes a decision that she believes will win her back her confidence and independence: she will swim fifty-two of the lakes around Berlin, no matter what the weather or season. She is aware that this particular landscape is not without its own ghosts and history.

Expected Publication Date: May 4th, 2017

2. What are you currently reading?

man-gone-down

Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas

In May 2014 I started reading this book, but stopped at page 246. This January 2017 I decided that one of my goals for this year was to start from the beginning and actually finish it. I’m on page 195. *hangs head in shame* I really need to pick this up again. Perhaps if i just focus on reading one chapter at a time I can get through it.

 

 

 

 

 

The Only Child

 

I started reading The Only Child by Andrew Pyper on April 8th, and am 47% done. LOVING this one so far.

Expected Publication Date: May 23rd, 2017

The publisher kindly sent me a complimentary copy for review.

 

 

 

 

 

3. What was the last book you marked as ‘TBR’?

Harry Potter The Prequel

 

The Harry Potter Prequel is an 800-word story written by J. K. Rowling, and was published online on June 11th, 2008. Set three years before the birth of Harry Potter, the story recounts an adventure had by Sirius Black and James Potter.

 

 

 

 

 

4. What book do you plan to read next?

Dragon Teeth

 

Michael Crichton, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Jurassic Park, returns to the world of paleontology in this recently discovered novel—a thrilling adventure set in the Wild West during the golden age of fossil hunting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Do you use the star rating system?

Yes, but I have a really hard time deciding what to rate a book.

6. Are you doing a 2014 Reading Challenge?

I’m doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2017 and I’m also doing a few more challenges on Goodreads:

Let’s Turn Pages Challenge

A to Z Challenge (Location Edition)

Dewey Decimal Nonfiction Challenge

7. Do you have a wishlist?

Not really. I have some books in my cart at Chapters website, Amazon.ca website, Bookoutlet.ca, and a TBR. But not an official “wishlist”.

8. What book do you plan to buy next?

Hmmm…I’m slowly buying all the books in the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I’m also keeping an eye out for Stephen King books. I want to read the unread books on my shelf before buying more. (hopefully, haha!)

9. Do you have any favorite quotes, would you like to share a few?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“Unless you have been very, very lucky, you have undoubtedly experienced events in your life that have made you cry. So unless you have been very, very lucky, you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.” ― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”
Stephen King

“Sometimes, making the wrong choice is better than making no choice. You have the courage to go forward, that is rare. A person who stands at the fork, unable to pick, will never get anywhere.”
Terry Goodkind, Wizard’s First Rule

10. Who are your favorite authors?

Stephen King

Robert Jordan

Marissa Meyer

Veronica Roth

J.K. Rowling

Ransom Riggs

Sandra Gulland

William Shakespeare

J. R. R. Tolkien

Lisa Genova

George R. R. Martin

11. Have you joined any groups?

2017 Reading Challenge

ReadingRealm ReadAlong

County of L&A Libraries – Online Book Club

Monthly Recommendations

BooktubeSFF Awards

Fiction Writing

The Book Bound Society

 

THE QUESTIONS:
1. What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?
2. What are you currently reading?
3. What was the last book you marked as ‘TBR’?
4. What book do you plan to read next?
5. Do you use the star rating system?
6. Are you doing a 2014 Reading Challenge?
7. Do you have a wishlist?
8. What book do you plan to buy next?
9. Do you have any favorite quotes, would you like to share a few?
10. Who are your favorite authors?
11. Have you joined any groups?

Spring Reading #BookTag

I tag anyone who would like to completely this booktag! Be sure to link yours in the comments 🙂

 

1. What books are you most excited to read over the next few months?

The Only Child

 

I’m currently reading The Only Child by Andrew Pyper and loving it. The publisher kindly sent me an Advanced Reader Copy to review. Expected publication is May 23rd, 2017.

The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist radically reimagines the origins of gothic literature’s founding masterpieces—Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula—in a contemporary novel driven by relentless suspense and surprising emotion. This is the story of a man who may be the world’s one real-life monster, and the only woman who has a chance of finding him.

Dragon Teeth

 

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton was another e-book sent to me by the publisher for review. I’ll be reading this after The Only Child. Expected publication date is June 1st, 2017

The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

A Tapestry of Tears

 

After Dragon Teeth I’ll be reading A Tapestry of Tears by Gita V. Reddy.

Set in the early nineteenth century, A Tapestry of Tears is about female infanticide, and the unmaking of tradition. If a woman gives birth to a female child, she must feed her the noxious sap of the akk plant. That is the tradition, parampara. Veeranwali rebels, and fights to save her offspring.
The other stories span a spectrum of emotions and also bring to life the varied culture and social spectrum of India. Woven into this collection is the past and the present, despair and hope, and the triumph of the human spirit.

 

2. What book most makes you think of Spring, for whatever reason?

The Hobbit

 

Bilbo sets off on a great adventure in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, going through incredible changes leading him to become an unlikely hero.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rosie Project.jpg

 

 

No idea why, but The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion reminds me of Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. The days are getting longer – what is the longest book you’ve read?

Lord of Chaos

 

Lord of Chaos (Book 6 of The Wheel of Time) written by Robert Jordan. 1011 pages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. What books would you recommend to brighten someone’s day?

momswhodrinkandswear

 

Moms Who Drink and Swear by Nicole Knepper is hilarious! Highly recommend this read 🙂

 

 

 

 

5. Spring brings new life in nature – think up a book that doesn’t exist but you wish it did. (eg by a favourite author, on a certain theme or issue etc)

Harry Potter The Prequel

 

J.K. Rowling did write an 800 word Harry Potter prequel, but I selfishly want more LOL A whole book, or shall I be so bold as to ask for a trilogy about Harry’s parents growing up as children attending Hogwarts, then becoming adults, leading up to the first Harry Potter book?

 

 

 

 

6. Spring is also a time of growth – how has your reading changed over the years?

As a young child and teen I basically only read fiction and school-required books. While attending University I read only fantasy and required reading for school. Now, in my mid-thirties, I read many different genres, and this past year has been my best reading year since I was thirteen years old.

7. We’re a couple of months into the new year – how’s your reading going?

Since January I have read 23 books, which is already more than the number of books I read ALL of last year. 🙂

8. Any plans you’re looking forward to over the next few months?

Well, now that I’ve been reading a lot more the past six months I’ve decided to get back to writing two stories that I’ve been working on for awhile. I’m hoping to finish them this year, and look into getting published.

My “To be read” list is getting completely out of hand. Once I finish all the books that I received to review, I will be reading all of the books on my bookshelf that haven’t been read yet, then tackling all the unread books on my KOBO before I delve into my TBR list. That’s the plan HAHA!

 

Tag questions:
1. What books are you most excited to read over the next few months?
2. What book most makes you think of Spring, for whatever reason?
3. The days are getting longer – what is the longest book you’ve read?
4. What books would you recommend to brighten someone’s day?
5. Spring brings new life in nature – think up a book that doesn’t exist but you wish it did. (eg by a favourite author, on a certain theme or issue etc)
6. Spring is also a time of growth – how has your reading changed over the years?
7. We’re a couple of months into the new year – how’s your reading going?
8. Any plans you’re looking forward to over the next few months?

Turning: a year in the water #bookreview #spoilerfree

Turning: a year in the water is a beautiful, extremely unique, autobiographical nature-memoir written by Jessica Lee. It will be released May 2nd, 2017.

Turning.png

The publisher kindly sent me a complementary digital proof copy for review.

“Through the heat of summer to the frozen depths of winter, Lee traces her journey swimming through 52 lakes in a single year, swimming through fear and heartbreak to find her place in the world.”

Jessica swims in 52 lakes throughout four season in Germany, we are given flash backs to her childhood living in Canada and Florida, brief time spent time in London before her divorce, and then to Berlin, Germany to work on her dissertation in environmental history. As she explains the physical changes of each lake through the seasons, she is undergoing her own emotional transformation, washing remnants of self-doubt, letting go of the feeling that you are not where you’re meant to be, and also learning to not fear being alone.

Reading this memoir brought me back to my own memories swimming in lakes while growing up in Labrador. She successfully expressed the strange, opposite emotions lakes impress upon us – intense beauty, stillness, quiet, but also scary unknowns lurking below while you stare hard into the dark depths.

I often find story without dialogue slightly cumbersome, however, Jessica deflty carves her way around the story, providing description of all sense for the lakes, trees, environment, food, and German people, completely making up for the lack of dialogue. We are also given some interesting tidbits of German history concerning the war, reunification, and even some German words.

The only thing I didn’t like was how abruptly it ended, not because of how the story ended, but because I wanted to keep reading 🙂 I could read her writing for hours and hours.

I recommend this book to those who like the outdoors, swimming, are interested in Germany, and to anyone who wants to push themselves to face their fears.

Jessica Lee is a badass winter swimmer, with a PhD in Environmental History.

Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee’s profile picture on Goodreads

Follow Jessica Lee on Twitter

 

Murder by Family #BookReview #SpoilerFree

Murder By Family: The Incredible True Story of a Son’s Treachery and a Father’s Forgiveness written by Kent Whitaker is not a book I would have normally chosen to read. In fact, the only reason I borrowed it from the library is because of it’s Dewey Decimal number 248.86 – because I’m part of a reading challenge on Goodreads called “Dewey Decimal Non Fiction Challenge“.

Murder By Family may be a short, quick read, but it packs a punch on your emotions. This story is a non fiction, true crime, written in the form of a memoir by the father of the Whitaker family, Kent.

Kent Whitaker feels that with the help of God he was able to forgive his own son,Bart, for murdering Bart’s mother and brother. Even though I’m not a religious person, I did enjoy this book. My eyes teared up at the thought that someone could possibly forgive someone for killing almost their entire family. I don’t know how Kent Whitaker managed to keep moving forward, and support his son Bart throughout his trial and conviction.

As a reader I quite enjoyed reading a story focused on the theme of family, and forgiveness. It caught my attention quickly, and I was looking forward to learning more about Bart, and find out what motivated him to want to kill his whole family. Sadly, I did not get to learn about that. We got to learn a bit about how Bart had fallen off the rails, but I would have loved to hear more about their child hood, and know about signs or red flags that made Tricia and Kent worry about Bart’s mental health.

I also had a hard time following the timeline, there was a lot of jumping around as Kent was writing this story. For example, he talks about the first Christmas after the murders, and the first New Year’s Eve, but then jumps back to mid-December.

There were also a few instances when I felt like Kent was enjoying the attention he was receiving after the murders, and I had a hard time relating to someone who could go out to a concert just a few months after his wife and son have been killed and have a good time watching a band. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure I’d have a much harder time living a normal life for a hell of a long time after something like that. Perhaps it was his forgiveness that helped him move on so quickly.

The story was also extremely focused on Bart, and Kent supporting Bart even after he was charged and it was blatantly obvious that he had been the mastermind behind the murders. It felt almost, like there was no emotion, or heart-breaking sadness over losing his wife and youngest son – or at least, it wasn’t written about much in this book.

Bart, AKA Thomas Bartlett Whitaker, has been on death row since March 23rd, 2007. While doing a little research about this book, and the Whitaker family, I stumbled across a blog, which has posts written by Bart Whitaker. I found his posts more interesting than his father’s book, and reading his words are giving me some insight as to what he was thinking and feeling.

In summary, I’m currently still debating whether I will rate Murder By Family two or three stars on Goodreads. It’s probably a two-and-a-half, not for the actual writing, but for the story, and the inspirational message Kent Whitaker shares about forgiveness. I recommend this one to anyone interested in true crime, or who would like to be able to learn more about how forgiveness, and to anyone interested in religion.