Friday, February 26, 2010

Summer of My German Soldier- Bette Greene

Flashback Friday was started over at Lovely Little Shelf (the awesome book blog of an NBC friend of mine). It’s a chance to revisit some of our favorite childhood reads and talk about why we loved them.

I first read the Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene in the 9th grade. I remember being excited about it right away because I’ve always been drawn to stories centered around WWII.

GoodReads Description: This 1973 National Book Award finalist tells of a 12-year-old girl who befriends a Nazi soldier, who is imprisoned in a World War II camp in her small hometown in Arkansas

Further summary- I decided to write a tiny summary of my own since those supplied on GoodReads and Amazon are completely inadequate. The story follows 12 year old Patty, an American Jew, during WWII. A turbulent home life causes young Patty to have very little self-worth, but that all changes when she meets Anton. Anton is an escaped German POW who Patty hides in her father’s garage with the assistance of the families “help” Ruth. The story follows the struggles of Patty and Anton, whose relationship grows despite their religious and cultural differences, during one of the most turbulent times in US history.

The themes in this book are important and heart wrenching and I think it’s an important book for high school students to be exposed to. You deal with everything from race issues, child abuse/neglect, religious beliefs, the morality of war, death and family responsibility to first loves, acceptance and tolerance.

There is so much depth to this story and I hope it’s one that will continue to be mandatory reading for all high school students.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margarat Stohl

Huh. What to say about Beautiful Creatures? Having literally finished it minutes ago, I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about this book overall.

First things first; it was too long. Much longer than it needed to be because many parts were really slow and, in my opinion, not integral to the story. I often found my attention wandering. That being said, I did find many individual parts incredibly enjoyable, especially the last 100 or so pages, which made the book worth the read.

The story was definitely unique and the male POV was very interesting although I’m not quite sure I fully believed that it was a male voice during certain events.

The relationship was really well written and I really believed in the connection between Lena and Ethan. I also really enjoyed Lena as an individual character. She was very… “emo” and I bought it. And Amma? Everyone needs an Amma in their life. All of the secondary characters and plot lines were interesting and I totally dug the setting. I love the new-old south- stuck in their ways and happy about it.

As for the ending, it didn’t at all turn out how I expected. That’s not necessarily a good thing though. I was hoping for a resolution that would leave this story as a singular book. Unfortunately, it’s wide open to continue on. I finished with a feeling of being left with a lot of loose ends.

Although it took me a month to finish this book (stopping once to get a short borrow library book finished), I did enjoy it enough. If/when the sequel is released, I will certainly pick it up and I would recommend this book to any paranormal romance fans as it’s definitely a unique story that doesn’t feel like the “same old”.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Lookie what I got!

Chic Fit Geek gave me the “Beautiful Blogger Award”…. I’m so excited and honored! She’s got a great blog and great taste in books (and I think she’s going to blow her 2010 reading goal out of the water)!

Thanks for thinking of me and my little blog Chic!

The Rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Pass the Award on
3.Contact Blogs and let them know you gave them an award
4. Write something about yourself

My Winners:

Our Life Experiment- my absolute favorite blog to catch-up on. Mama Edmo gives a unique and always honest take on raising her adorable boys Boston and baby Marshall. I’m always excited to see the most recent update and pictures!

Unexpectedly Expecting- although this Dental student and Mom doesn’t have much time to update anymore, I’ve followed her from pre-surprise pregnancy to now. She witty, honest and has the most adorable little girl.

Lovely Little Shelf- a rockin’ book blog. This girl has great taste in books, writes awesome reviews and she also started Flashback Fridays…. something I look forward to every week. I think she’s already been given this award… but I had to send her some love too.

Something about myself:

1. I’ve had my tongue pierced 3 times (and no, I don’t currently have it pierced)
2. I LOVE sky-diving
3. I’m a hockey fanatic
4. I embarrass really easily
5. I’m opinionated to a fault

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flashback Friday- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Flashback Friday was started over at Lovely Little Shelf (the awesome book blog of an NBC friend of mine). It’s a chance to revisit some of our favorite childhood reads and talk about why we loved them.

There’s nothing I love more than a good adventure book… a struggle for survival that keeps you turning the pages and desperate to find out what happens. I believe my love for this type of book started with Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. In the 5th grade my teacher picked this up for a read-aloud and from very early on we (the whole class) were hooked! You end up on an emotional roller-coaster with Brian and the stories of what he does to survive are fascinating. It’s a great story about human spirit.

GoodReads Description: On his way to visit his recently divorced father in the Canadian mountains, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is the only survivor when the single-engine plane crashes. His body battered, his clothes in shreds, Brian must now stay alive in the boundless Canadian wilderness.

More than a survival story, Hatchet is a tale of tough decisions. When all is stripped down to the barest essentials, Brian discovers some stark and simple truths: Self-pity doesn't work. Despair doesn't work. And if Brian is to survive physically as well as mentally, he must discover courage.

It’s a definite must-read for kids who love adventure and a great choice for reluctant readers. It’s the type of book that you can’t stop reading until you know how it ends.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Reunion with my Running Shoes

This mornings run = FAIL.

At 6am this morning, I laced up for the first time in 5 and a half months.  It was bad..... really bad.... for many reasons: First, my iPod was dead so I had no music or timing device. Second, I was in the wrong leggings and as soon as I started running, they started falling down.  Third, it's Febraury in Ontario which means the road conditions and temperature (not to mention the lack of daylight until 7:30am) are less than ideal for running.

After only 3 blocks I was winded so transitioned to a brisk walk to recover.  I adjusted my pants and picked up to a run about 5 blocks later (yeah- 5 blocks- I was really motivated) only because my legs were getting cold.  That run lasted about 3 blocks and then I just gave up and dropped back down to a brisk walk for the rest of the route. 

So yes- I still got my exercise in, but I really wanted to have a good run to get me back in the swing of things. I miss running... I just don't miss the early mornings. My legs were freezing by the time I got home and then were itchy like CRAZY when I had jumped in the steaming shower.  I'm not giving up though.... tomorrow morning I think I'll get up and start 30DS and then do another walk (or maybe a run if I can find some substitute pants and the conditions are ok). 

I'm determined to become that girl who works out every morning again.  I feel like a schlump lately and I know it's the lack of exercise that's causing it. 

I can't wait for spring.


I had absolutely no desire to see this movie.  I thought it looked stupid,  too sci-fi and too"out-there" for my taste.  We finally went to see it on V-Day after hearing such awesome things about it.  I had to know what the fuss was about.  I have very few things to say about this movie... so I'm going to keep it brief.


I went to bed thinking about it and woke up still thinking about it.

I wish I was blue.

The story, the effects, the visuals... INDESCRIBABLE.

If you haven't seen this yet, go NOW!  Do yourself the favor and see it on the big screen the way it was meant to be seen.


Sizzle by Julie Garwood

I went in to Sizzle with... well, lets call it an open-mind. Althought I enjoyed them enough, I wasn't overly impressed with Fire and Ice or Shadow Music (JG's most recent releases) so I didn't want to get too excited over this one. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it.

I really like Lyra as a character and easily rooted for her from page one. Strong, driven and courageous, but still sensitive, is exactly how I like my FMC's.

I do have to say that I didn't totally buy into Sam. There's very little development for his character IMO. I did however think he was hot and by the end of the book (read: rugby scene) he had me.

This book of course followed the same story line that most JG books (and most romantic suspense do) but I knew that going in and I like it. That's why I read them. I loved the links back to previous characters and I'm really hoping we get to hear Sydney's story soon. I love me some Buchanan brothers.

A really fun and quick read... classic JG and one that I'm sure I'll re-read in the future.  My guilty pleasure!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Giant LINGER Giveaway (so excited)

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We Are More- Shane Koyczan (Van 2010 Opening Ceremonies)

you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we've got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world's anthem has been
" been there done that"
and maybe that's where we used to be at
it's true
we've done and we've been
we've seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say "eh?"
and yes
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you're welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like "someday"
someday we'll be great
someday we'll be this
or that
someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
" keep exploring... we are more"
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it's true
Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"
so don't say "been there done that"
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it
we made it be.
is that we didn't just say it
we made it be.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Revisiting an Old Friend- Shadow Dance by Julie Garwood

Julie Garwood ranks as as one of my favorite authors.  As I've mentioned before, I don't rank my books/authors based on their writing style or what "genres" are generally considered to be acceptable as favorites, I rank them in terms of the level of enjoyment I get out of the book.  My favorites shelf contains YA fantasy, general fiction, paranormal romance, classics, dystopian YA etc etc etc.  So... although most write JG off as "romantic fluff" or even "trashy romance", I still love her books and own

That being said, I've been dying for a reread. I've read each of my JG books 3-5 times each, but I went through all of 2009 not picking up a single one (aside from Fire and Ice which was released at the end of 2008 which reading it for the first time).    I missed them and I needed a JG fix but I have so many new books on the go and waiting for me with so little time for personal reading that I knew it wasn't going to happen.  So I swung by the library and picked up Shadow Dance on audio.  I LOVED IT!  I promptly put myself on hold for about 4 more JG audio books and I can't wait for them to come in.

A contemporary romantic suspense, Shadow Dance follows the story of Jordan Buchanan and Noah Clayborne.  If you've read any JG (even her Westerns or Scottish historical fiction) you might recognize those last names and you should.... they're all linked. 

I love this story, and although it's not my favorite of her contemporaries, it's still incredibly enjoyable.  You're rooting for Noah and Jordan the entire time and Noah ends up making your heart melt.  There's excitement and passion and... well, just everything that a romantic suspense should have (if you catch my drift). I love the links back to previous books and characters and the historical intrigue.   

I'm so happy that I decided to go through the again.  Re-reading books that are favorites like this one is like revisiting an old friend.  There's something comforting about it and I can't wait for the others to come in at the library.

FlashBack Friday- Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Flashback Friday was started over at Lovely Little Shelf (the awesome book blog of an NBC friend of mine). It’s a chance to revisit some of our favorite childhood reads and talk about why we loved them.

For this week’s edition I’ve chosen Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. This story is really special to me because a) it’s just a really sweet/heartwarming story and b) it’s one of the books that I read with my Mom, chapter by chapter every night until we were done. We’d get comfy in my bed and take turns reading out loud and c) it was one of my first experiences with a literary love story- something that I still look for in the books I read today.

GoodReads Description:  MacLachlan, author of Unclaimed Treasures, has written an affecting tale for children. In the late 19th century a widowed midwestern farmer with two children--Anna and Caleb--advertises for a wife. When Sarah arrives she is homesick for Maine, especially for the ocean which she misses greatly. The children fear that she will not stay, and when she goes off to town alone, young Caleb--whose mother died during childbirth--is stricken with the fear that she has gone for good. But she returns with colored pencils to illustrate for them the beauty of Maine, and to explain that, though she misses her home, "the truth of it is I would miss you more." The tale gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.

This is definitely a book I’m going to have to find for my personal library. I hope to be able to share it with my kids just like I did with my Mom.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Please be patient- I'm making some changes to my blog. 
It's gonna be a mess for a while.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jersey Boys Toronto

Sherrrrrr errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyy bab-yay-bee… Sherry Baby”…. If you haven’t guessed, Bub and I (along with FIL and SMIL) went to see Jersey Boys this past Saturday in The City. It was a really cute musical following the story of Frankie Valli (“and that’s Valli with an I because Y’s are bullshit”) and the Four Seasons. We really enjoyed it and seriously didn’t realize how many Four Seasons songs I actually knew.

I’ve seen a lot of musicals, including On Broadway, Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway productions, and I can’t call Jersey Boys a favorite, but it was still very enjoyable and I would recommend seeing it if it’s somewhere near you.

I think I’m in lurve with the actor who played Tommy DeVito, Daniel Robert Sullivan. Clearly, his jersey accent was for the show, but there was something about his attitude and charisma that I couldn’t take my eyes off of, and I’ve been thinking about him since. To be truthful, he’s not bad to look at either. I’d like to see him in a different role so I can tell if his charisma was through the character (Tommy) or the actor (Daniel).

We saw an alternate for Frankie Valli, actor Aaron MacKenzie, who did a fantastic job. I didn’t know there were enough people in the world who could sing in the range of Frankie Valli, to have several productions of the show running around the world. This guy hit it though, and sounded just like him. Since I didn’t know the lead and because Aaron did such a great job, I didn’t mind seeing an alternate at all. In fact, for whatever reason, Bub and I seem to end up with an alternate or an understudy I most productions that we see. We saw the Sound of Music in August and we saw Maria’s understudy (she was great- apparently better than the lead) and the last time we saw the Phantom of the Opera (my all-time favorite) the lead for Christine Daae got sick at the beginning of the production and the understudy stepped in mid-way through the show (again- after you got used to the sudden change, she did a great job). I’ve never been disappointed seeing an alternate.

All in all, the staging was very cute and well done, the use of the songs was great and the cast was incredibly talented. I give it 4/5 stars and, although I wouldn’t rush to see it again, I’m so happy that I go to go and would recommend that everyone who enjoys theatre to take and afternoon and go see it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Flashback Friday- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Flashback Friday was started over at Lovely Little Shelf (the awesome book blog of an NBC friend of mine). It’s a chance to revisit some of our favorite childhood reads and talk about why we loved them.

The timing of my first Flashback Friday post couldn’t have been more appropriate because just today I received one of my favorite books of all time in the mail. It’s a book that I read for the first time in the 6th grade for a book report and have been in love with ever since.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is the story of a young girls struggle in war-torn, Nazi occupied Copenhagen, Denmark. Written with classic Lowry beauty, the story sucks readers in and gently gives young people an insight to the struggles of the Jewish population and horrors of Nazi occupation during WWII.

This, along with 2 other of Lowry's books that I will save for future FBF posts, are the reason I consider her among my favorite authors.

Goodreads Description: Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated". Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life.

And I’m not the only one who loves this book. It has been awarded several awards including A “School Library JournalBest Book of the Year and John Newberry Medal- the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for Children. It was also an ALA Notable Book.

No matter your age, if you are a book lover and haven't read this.. do it.  It's an incredible story.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Europe... here we come!

Okay... so it may be years before we actually get to Europe but I figure it doesn't hurt to start planning now.  There are just so many places to go and landmarks to see that there's no way we can do it all in one trip.  This means careful planning, pro/con lists and enlisting the help of friends to narrow down the list.

I know that I must see Dublin.  Those who know me likely know why.  My on-going love affair with Guinness is no secret and therefore no trip to Europe would be complete without a trip to the Storehouse in Dublin

Another must on my first European vacation is a stop in Edinburgh.  Why Edinburgh you say?  Well because.....



So we'll likely make it a UK trip.  If we plan well, we can boot across the Chunnel to Paris for the day but I wouldn't be heartbroken if that didn't happen.  Rome, Venice, Amsterdam and Athens will have to wait for a whole seperate trip or 2 I suppose.

I'm not picky.  I don't need upscale hotels and 5 course meals.  I just need a clean place to sleep (because who will be spending any time in their hotel anyway) and edible sustenance.  And a camera.

Can't wait!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The first book the ever made me cry.

Old Dan, Little Ann and their boy Billy.  This trio will forever have a very special place in my heart as the main characters in Wilson Rawls novel "Where the Red Fern Grows".... the first book the ever made me cry.  I was in the 6th grade when I read it for the first time, and I still consider it a favorite of all time.

My day just got a whole lot happier because my very own copy of WTRFG just arrived in the mail today.  I <3 The Book Depository!! 

I seriously can't explain how excited I am to re-read this!

Go Canada (& Flames) Go!

I was a happy, happy girl on Friday night. The authentic Olympic hockey jersey my hubby bought me arrived. I can’t wait to rock it during the games.

I think it's fate that my boy Iginla wears # 12, which just happens to be my favorite number as well.  I got to watch him get 4 points on Saturday night, the first 2 of which brought his career points to NINE HUNDRED!!! :) 

I <3 Iggie!

Bub's been pretty good with my newish love of all thing Flames.  It hurts, I'm sure, that I don't share in his Leafs love, but I just can't bring myself to do it (and I'm NOT at all happy about the Phaneuf trade).  I think he's just happy to have me excited about hockey again.  Can't friggin' wait for the games!