#TBT Review: Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Aslanea

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Category: Adult Fiction

Published: January 2005

Read: March 2014

Score: 3/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) ‘Girls of Riyadh’ captures the trials and tribulations of a middle-class society quite unlike our own and blows the lid off all our preconceptions of Arab life.

Review: This was an interesting book that I am glad I read but will probably not read again. It is a story about four different women who is from Saudia Aribia or lives there now. Being someone who has never traveled there or known anyone from this particular country I can’t say for sure if it’s an honest telling but I can say it’s an interesting take on a different culture and society which I will never be  a part of. I do know people who are Arab but I was unable to ask them if they can vouch for this book or not.

Each story is different and follows the women through a part of their life. New love, going to school, going to America are some of them.

Some of the stories are great, as the women who find love and go to school have wonderful and fulfilling lives and are happy. They set their own rules and do what they want to do and makes their dreams come true. Despite their dreams being different from each other.

The story of the women who went to America bothered me a lot. I know this much happen a lot but it was still hard to read. Her husband turned out to be super abusive and she had a child and came back to her parents but because was getting a divorce and had a child she was an outcast and unloved and considered below everyone. I could not even imagine what it’s like to be like this and it hurts to read about despite it probably being true.

This was a story that was well written despite the content and I think it’s important to read and learn about other cultures despite not agreeing with them. I feel this is a good book to read now as with what is going on in the world and the views that are expressed about cultures like this one.

I will not read it again but I am glad I read it once.

YOU WILL LIKE THIS STORY IF YOU LIKE: Different cultures, stories about women, stories about different women, fiction like The Kite Runner.

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Review: Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

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Category: YA Fiction (Teen)

Published: October 2008

Read: December 2016

Score: 4/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

Review: This was a great read to kick off another holiday season. The perfect part about reading this book is that when I started to read it, it actually started to snow where I live. It was a pretty picture to go along with my book. I have also never read any of these authors (I know not even John Green) and was excited to check out a bit of their work. 7201c0d4401ed6af670b5986412cc751

I am a huge fan of short stories and these did not disappoint. The book consists of three stories from each author. They are all set to the back drop of a HUGE snow storm hitting a small town. When they talk snow storm they are talking, white out and can’t drive anywhere snow storm. Stop a train snow storm! They are all connected as only stories set in a small town where everyone knows everyone can.

blizzard-011You start out with The Jubliee Express by Maureen Johnson. It’s about a girl Jubliee who is on her way to visit her Grandmother in a quick last min trip and get’s stranded in said small town when her train breaks down. She meets Stewart who lets her come to her house to stay. Minus the never go anywhere with a stranger thing that bothered me it was a cute story where two people who don’t know proper romance love meet, and well…the rest I am sure you can figure out. They are both strong characters and mesh well together.

The second story is by the famous John Green, A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle. I must say I LOVED this story by far. I found it funny and action packed and great characters. You meet one who’s catch phrase “Ass Hat” is used throughout and I must say I noticed I was saying it myself as I was reading this book. It’s a cute story of three friends trying to make their way to the waffle house because there are cheerleaders stranded from the storm. To teenage boys this is a really big deal. Chaos ensues as different groups try to make it there in this storm. Hence the humour throughout the whole story. For my first John Green story I was impressed and loved it. From this alone I would read another one of his books. 7502878b29ed67ed816baf4b1323c75a

The last story if about Addy, in The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle. I didn’t like this one so much and this is why I gave the book a 4/5. I found the main character very whiny and I couldn’t stand her at all. I know the story was about her and getting over her “me me me” attitude but it was hard for me to get over it. It wasn’t  a bad story but it was annoying and I found myself just struggling to get through.

For a teen book it is what you expect. There was talk of sex and some drugs but nothing hard core. It would be a good read for the younger to the older teens, and a great little book full of Christmas spirit. It is all based around Christmas eve and morning so that is the nice part about it. I would recommend this as a stocking stuffer or a great gift for any teen girl or anyone who loves quick short romance stories without the heave PDA.

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My Board Book Recommendations

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As a soon to be second time parent and with lots of people i know having babies I thought it was about time I did a list of what I think are great board books. I have also noticed that a lot of people are giving books instead of cards for baby showers. So if you’re in a stitch and need to find a good one check out this list.

There are books you wouldn’t normally think of but are gems in themselves. I know the classics are always good go to’s but these are also good choices 😀

BEDTIME 

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Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin 

This is a cute little book. It’s not too long and not so short you’re looking for another one. It’s good for both boys and girls and the illustrations are very beautiful. It’s about the different animals that take you to your dreams and how you get there. It’s one of the favourites I read with my son nightly. If you’re looking for a good bedtime book this is my pick. It’s beautiful in both words and pictures and would be a great addition to your bedtime routine.

INTERACTION 

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Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter

This is a book that first came out as a 3-5 book but was turned in to a board book and its super cute. It’s part of the interaction books where it get’s your wee ones involved and they will have just as much fun as you. It’s not long book  and the illustrations are simple but it’s still great. My son loves this one and will push the “button” and shake the book when needed. If you likes these books that get’s this involved this is one for you as it will start them on the path to these kinds of books and when they are older, and a bit more gentle on their books you can bring in some of the 3-5.

COUNTING  

9780670060306 Corduroy’s Day by Don Freeman 

This is a great counting book and not one you can find in most book stores, so it might have to be ordered online. It’ counts up to 10 with things like what Corduroy has for breakfast, playing with trucks and having cupcakes with friends. It’s short and sweet and the illustrations are rich and full of color. It’s a take on a classic and a great way to start counting things with the little ones.

ABC’S 

51NehYp+G-L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_My First ABC, a DK Book

There are a lot of books like this out there and we have most of them but this one is great. ABC books are fun but I find the best ones are the ones with actual pictures. This helps them connect the letters with real life items and with great wonderful pictures this is my big book. There are a few items per letter which also helps. I find the best pictures are the animals and they are clear and precise.  

FUNNY 

7e36a7cf3f77d509da5b8e80113e2bd6 Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein

This one is a super funny book. A Dinosaur that just wants a kiss but some things turn out bad…like you accidentally eat a bug you were trying to kiss. It’s one you can enjoy reading out loud because of the different voices you can use and get the kids involved as well. It’s a short but fun book and the illustrations are fun as well with the main dinosaur being super cute. This one is great for both boys and girls and one you won’t find is being given by a lot of other people.

FUNNY BONUS 

amon001 Another Monster At The End Of This Book by Jon Stone 

This is just like the first classic Monster at the End of the Book but this time with Elmo included. It’s funny and stays true to the classic. Simple illustrations and a comic book form of writing. If you little one liked the first one make sure to pick up the 2nd. I also recommend this as a “book as a card” gift as it’s cute and can be again used for both boys and girls.

ANIMALS

a373d89f1d11eb00e4bf5a864ea641fbTHe Babies and Doggies Book by John and Molly

Last and not least is this little gem. This was given to my son as a gift and he loves it. I have heard, and don’t quote me on this, but it’s good to have books with real life pictures of babies as it makes it more interesting for the wee ones. this is a book that compares babies and doggies and what they do…like eating and playing and sleeping. There are all kinds of dogs and different babies of all kinds of ages and backgrounds. It’s fun and it rhymes and it’s a great little story. Especially if you’re a dog lover this one has to be in your library.

 

So these are my choices for books and I hope they help you in some way. I am in love with board books and I have so many but it’s totally worth it when you help a kid read. I am also a big fan of them for gifts and think you can pair a book with any gift to make it magical. 

If you have any to add let me know 😀 I’d love to hear your opinion on what your favourite board book might be 😀 

 

Organizing Book Shelves

Hello Everyone!

I have spent this weekend organizing my book shelves down stairs. We are turning the big room we have in to a play room/library. So a place I can hang out with my son, which is super exciting. It’s a lot of work thou and it’s amazing of how many books I actually have. 0ae02e99-fdec-4060-955c-6e12a8a72abe

There are some things I have realized about this process. I have way to many books. I know I am surprised I am actually saying this but it’s true. I am in need of at least two more shelves. I get so many books I actually had a ton of doubles. There are a lot of books that looking at them now I realize I would never read them, not that they are bad but because I don’t have time and they just don’t appeal to me. It also takes forever to organize. Even if your books to put away are already in alphabetical order.

So it’s done for now, I am waiting for more book shelves to finish. I have Adult fiction to go starting at M. It looks fabulous and I am super excited we are getting somewhere. It’s also important to point out that I have left room for more books…because in reality that is SOOO going to happen.

d0f76931-1f76-4977-ae03-27f412438747So here are a few tips to use when organizing your books:

-Make sure you have a plan of action. How are you going to organize? I do Alphabetical by last name, but some people go by genre, and sometimes even by color (I have to applaud these people I could not organize this way).

-Be honest with yourself, are you really going to read this? Even if it’s five years from now make sure you want to read it or it appeals to you because otherwise it’s just going to sit on your shelf and take up space and collect dust.

-Make sure you donate anything you don’t want. Books are gold and if your reject book helps someone become a lover of reading than all the better. Do not recycle or throw them away.

-You can stack them up or put them side by side, or go crazy and do both. Makes for a better catch of the eye.

-Your going to get hurt. The books will fall  on you, you will have paper cuts and bumps and a few bruises. Do not keep hand sanitizer closer because this will only worsen the pain. Remember, this too shall pass.

-Keep space for more. There will always be more. 54f2a19c-f919-4908-a3fd-859c1f47f014

-Put the kids books where they can reach them and pick out their own. I am waiting for the day that this happen with my son.

-Be prepared, it is a workout, and will feed as such when you are done.

These are a few good tips to start with. I am sure there are many more but these were my go to all weekend. I am hoping to get shelves soon and get it finally finished. The best part is when you are done, it’s the greatest feeling of the world. I can’t wait to sit down there and look at all my BOOKS 🙂

New Years Message From Novel Pathways

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As we end another year we must reflect on what the past has brought us. Good, bad and books. You must take what has happened and hold it dear. Let it shape you and from you in to an even better and bigger human being.

Life is full of trials and love and hope and loss. That is life and I wouldn’t take it any other way. With the bad you always get the good and vice versa. It’s all how you handle that.

One of the ways I handle things is by reading. I find I can escape to whatever world I am reading about and be there for a while. Come back out and face the world with a new perspective.

This is what is great about a New Year. You can start fresh, have faith that this will be the year that brings nothing but health and happiness and love and lots of amazing books. I always believe everything happens for a reason and remember with the bad always comes the good.

So on that note, have a happy and wonderful new year. May it be all that you deserve. May you read many good books and find the one that is your favourite. May you share those with me so I can also read the ones you love and we can share in that 🙂

Happy New Year, Happy 2016.

A Guide to the Best Books for Gifts 2015

Here is your official/unofficial guide to the best books to give for the 2015 season. Books are the best gift for many reasons. I think you should always give one book as a gift…if not you should start and this list will certainly help you.

There are so many to choose from but here are just a few suggestions. I chose ones I have read and ones that I have not but have heard good (first hand) reviews on. To put more than two or three choices would take all night.

So I hope you enjoy this helpful list and happy shopping.

Board Books 

downloadThe Monster At the end of This Book: A Sesame Street Book 

Why this is a good gift: This is such a cute book and it’s a classic. I remember reading it when I was a kid and that was long enough ago to make this a classic. It’s funny and interactive and will get your child involved in the reading part. This should be  part  of every child’s library.

 

 

download (1)Hi! by Ethan Long 

Why this is a good gift: I purchased this book for my son a while ago and it is one of his favourites hands down. It’s so colourful and have so many different animals that its super cute in many ways. It’s very simple, with each animal saying hi but sometimes that is all you need. My son would sit there and look at it and say Hi to all the animals and also make some of the noises. I highly recommend this one for little ones as it’s helped my son talk and it’s one that will stay with us forever.

3-5 Storybooks 

41SX5j4uJWL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ Ninja Baby by David Zeltser 

Why this is a good gift: This is a very recent book so I am sure that not a lot of people will not have it in their library and so it would be a wonderful addition. It’s all about Ninja Baby getting okay with being a big sister. A situation a lot of kids need help with (and it seems like a baby boom is happening in  2016 so more kids than ever need this help). It’s cute and easy to read and a great introduction to older books for kids.

517B0TkmvXL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_The Good Little Book by Kyo Mclear 

Why this is a good gift: This is a personal favourite of mine and I have gotten it for my son for Christmas (don’t worry he doesn’t read my blog yet so he won’t find out). It’s about a “good little book” that a boy finds and it helps him start to read and fall in love with reading. It goes with him everywhere till he looses it. Than one day he see’s the good little book with another child and see’s that the book is happy and the girl is happy. There are beautiful illustrations throughout this book and it’s a great theme and story.

6-8 Age Range Books, Early Readers 

download (2) Galaxy Zack by Ray O’Ryan 

Why this is a good gift: This is a great starter series for both boys and girls. There are pictures throughout but it’s advanced enough the kids will feel like they are reading a chapter book. It’s about a boy (Zack) who ends up on another planet and is the alien which is a funny twist on the usual alien on our planet story. Cute and funny it’s a big series so if they love it you can always get the rest and keep them reading.

61p4ux4rjiL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale 

Why this is a good gift: This is a great power female story for little girls. It’s about a princess but she’s also an evil fighter and is the princess in black in secret. She goes out and fights the evil and protects her kingdom. Again, lots of pictures which are very colourful. Great starter, and there are two in the series so I recommend you get both, they are equally good.

9-12 Age Group 

51u643G2a9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz

Why this is a good gift: This is a book that I have read and recommend all the time. It’s good for those kids that are not very avid readers. There is a Disney channel movie that is a sequel to this book and so it’s something they can look forward to when they finish. It’s funny, action packed, and just plain good read. It’s all about the offspring of the evil villains from fairy tales. So characters most of us already know. It’s a great twist on the classic fairy tale.

Stitch-HeadStitch Head by Guy Bass

Why this is a good gift: This is one of the best-selling books in Europe. It’s funny and cute and all around a good story, plus there are pictures. It’s about a little Frankenstein boy who goes out to help other monsters and creatures become better people. What a great message right!? There are at least 5 books right now and each equally good. This is especially a good choice for boys.

Teen

18655355Stone Rider by David Hofmeyer 

Why this is a good gift: You don’t come across a lot of books in the teen category that are for boys. This is one of them and I can tell you from a first hand read that this is a great book for boys and one I always recommend at my work. It’s about one boy who looses everyone in his family and must go out on a ride to try to get off of earth. If you win you get a pass to sky base. Earth is a waste land now and that is the “promised land”. Not a lot of romance and sex so it’s great for teens.

18304322Dumplin’ By Julie Murphy 

Why this is a good gift: Every teenage girl (or even boy) needs to read this book. It is one of the best books I have ever read in the teen category. It’s about Dumplin’ who is a bigger girl living in Texas full of beauty pageants and boys and highschool. It’s about learning to love yourself before you let other people love you. About being who you are and being proud of it no matter what size you are.

Adult 

THE QUEEN OF TEARLINGThe Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

Why this is a good gift: When I talk to people and they talk about books they talk about this one. It is a hugely popular book and is loved by anyone who reads it. It’s good for both men or women who love a good fantasy novel. There is also a second one which is fun, you could get both 🙂

51ETKpUBQzL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh 

Why this is a good gift: This is a great contemporary novel for adults. I have read this one and loved it so much I contacted the published and got sent her other book. It’s a beautiful story of a women having to suddenly be a mother to her children because her parents leave. Children that she has not been a mother too their whole life. It’s sad and sweet at the same time and if your person you are buying for are in to these kinds of books I highly recommend this one.

TheMagiciansThe Magicians by Lev Grossman

Why this is a good gift: This has been called the Harry Potter for adults. I have yet to read it but as a huge Harry Potter fan it is for sure on my list to read. It’s also being turned in to a t.v. series so it’s a great idea to get a book for someone who can watch the show after. It’s a win win that way. Honestly there isn’t much I can say when I describe it to Harry Potter.

US_cover_of_Go_Set_a_WatchmanGo Set A Watchman by Harper Lee 

Why this is a good gift: It is by a person who is a classic! Everyone at some point has read To Kill A Mockingbird. This is set after that story, about 20 years in the future. You get all the same characters and places and emotions and love. There was some issues  over this book but still it’s by an author that will never put out a book again (we think).

 

So this is my recommendations for what books will be good. If you have any to add please let me know. I hope this helps make you shopping better, as this time of year it’s hectic and stressful as is. fireplace-christmas-tree-gifts-favim-com-486602

Finishing a Book: Seven Stages of Grief

imagesWe have all been there. You read a book so much it changes your life. It is such a good book you can’t stop talking about it, you dream about it, and you can’t wait for the next one to come out. It’s one you can re-read over and over again.

So we all know what it feels like to finish that book. How it hurts and how you feel like you are never going to be the same again. The true book lover has been there many times before.

The following is an explanation of the stages of grief we all go through when we finish that once in a lifetime book.

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 STAGE 1: Shock/Disbelief 

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The book is over. What happened, happened and you can’t believe it. If you are reading it at home or even in public, you look up from the pages and realize everyone is still going on with their lives but you are currently getting over a trauma. You can’t believe what happened, you can’t believe it ended that way. You also don’t think you can ever get over it.

This is normal. It has changed your life, and this could be good or bad but it’s been changed. You will be thinking about it for days. Even once in a while blurting “WTF” because of the disbelief on the conclusion.

STAGE 2: Denial

It has happened but you don’t want to believe. Maybe there will be another book in the series? Maybe the author meant to do something else? Maybe the author was held at gun point and told they have to end it this way, which doesn’t make sense, instead of putting things the right way as they should have been. How can this happen?

No one knows why these books end the way they end. It can hurt but it can’t be changed. Honestly, it’s written down it can’t be changed. Unless you write you own ending and post it on the internet but I wouldn’t suggest this because you can be sued.

STAGE 3: Bargaining

Is there any way you can change things? Go on? Maybe if you pretend if you didn’t read the book than you can go on like nothing ever happened. You can write the author and ask him/her to change things to make it better.

There are many things you should be able to do to fix what has happened to you. Your traumatized and you want it fixed, so making a deal to change it is the obvious solution. Probably won’t work but no harm in trying.

STAGE 4: Guilt

Usually for this stage its guilt about how you are feeling regarding how you are feeling. How could a book make you feel like this? You feel silly and frustrated at this fact. People who don’t read books…or good books, do not seem to understand these feelings.

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You could also be feeling guilty for not reading it faster, or sooner than you did, or guilty for spending so much time thinking about this book and reading this book that you let the rest of your life slip away.

STAGE 5: Anger

Now we have hit the anger stage. This is the scariest one of all and everyone should proceed with caution when dealing with a person who is going through this stage. There may be items thrown, swearing, and name calling. This is all a normal part of this stage, although it sucks for everyone else around. I would recommend not having children around for this stage. You mad that the book is over and it ended the way it did. Angry that you have to wait a lifetime for another book in the series, this happens to all fans of Games of Thrones.

Remember this stage too shall pass. You have to get it out. When you hold the anger in it will make you feel even worse and you might explode. Which will be gross and will make you even angrier. So let it out.

STAGE 6: Depression

This is the saddest stage. Depression is no laughing matter and this stage needs to be taken serious. Symptoms will include all of the above, plus a bunch of other ones. Such as headaches, tiredness, emotional, and loss in interests. There could also be many other symptoms associated with this stage.

You are sad that the book is done, and over. Your depressed about what happened or how affected you. There could be many reasons the book affects this stage for you.

STAGE 7: Acceptance/Hope  hope-2-570x379_5b2a74a98dc194118606e13bfb555bea30e30e32

This is the last and final stage. This is the happiest one and the end of our stages. You are finally feeling back to normal. And maybe…just maybe you have found another book to read to take your mind off the one that just traumatized you. There is hope for you that you will get through this and life will go on. You will forever be changed because of what you read but there is hope that things will get better and you can….dare I say it….be happy again!

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There will always be these books that affect us this way. I say at some point reread them again, you can appreciate how wonderful the story is but not be so traumatized because you already know what has happened.