Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Through the Fire by Shawn Grady

The best way to describe this book is to say that it has a 2 star beginning and a 4 star ending. I decided to meet in the middle for my final review.

I wasn't really sure where the story was going for the first half. Everything seems to jump around and it didn't feel like a plot was coming together. But, around page 200 it started to jive and the last 100 pages definitely caught my attention.

You can tell the author was (is?) a firefighter. Lots of fire jargon that was interesting, but then it got old quickly. The whole thing felt a little repetative through the middle, but by the end I was hooked and was anxious to find out what happened.

I loved the fact that I had no idea who the arsonist was right up to the end. Normally I can catch on to these things.

All in all, this was a good read. The beginning wasn't great, but the end made up for it and I enjoyed it enough.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Close to Home

Although Canada decided not to put our forces in Iraq, we’ve had boots on the ground in Afghanistan since 2002. Until more recently the conflicts in Iraq have unfortunately tended to overshadow the efforts of those fighting elsewhere in the world. What’s important to remember is that the men and women of our military, regardless of where they posted/deployed, are signing their lives away, prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary. This is something I have always believed... but it really hit home for me today.

Pte. Kevin McKay, who is from my hometown, was killed by an IED while on foot patrol outside of Kandahar City on Thursday May 13th just two days short of his return to Canada and his family. Of course, when I heard this news it saddened me as much as any of the other fallen soldiers we hear about on the news. I think about what their last moments of life were like, their families and friends, and I can’t help but wonder when it will be enough.

Kevin,  his convoy travelling The Highway of Heroes from CFB Trenton, was repatriated on May 16th. The Highway of heroes is the BEST example of every reason I am proud to be Canadian. For those who don’t know, it is a stretch of highway 401 the leads from CFB Trenton (where our fallen soldiers return home) to Toronto. For several years now, when a fallen soldier returns home, proud and thankful Canadians, emergency personnel and anyone else who wants to give thanks, lines the highway and bridges by the hundres or thousands, waving their Canadian flags to say goodbye and pay respects to the hero. It is the most beautiful display of patriotism I have ever seen.

I saw the coverage on the news that night and again I was sad, as I always am, but still, it hadn’t fully hit me.

Today, while running some errands on my lunch I saw many people walking the streets of downtown in suits and dresses, wearing poppies, and realized that today was the day of Kevin’s funeral. I saw a large group of people walking towards me clearly coming from the funeral. As I got closer, I realized they were all teachers from my high school. It all sort of hit me in a flash; teachers from my high school, same hometown, age 24… Kevin McKay. I quickly returned to the office and pulled up a search of Pte. McKay’s picture and background. Sure enough, it was the same Kevin McKay who had been just 1 year behind me in high school. It hit me like a ton of bricks to the chest.

I hadn’t been friends with this boy, and I wouldn’t even call him an acquaintance… but my school wasn’t that big. All I can think about is how for 3 years I would have passed him in the hall, perhaps stood behind him in line, and never EVER though he would later become “that local soldier who died in Afghanistan”. We’re not a military town, so it’s not something you think about or are prepared for. I’ve never had a soldiers death hit this close to home before and it really affected me. It made it seem real and it made me realize just how young these people who are fighting to maintain our freedoms really are. I wish I had put the pieces of the puzzle together earlier and I would have attended his funeral to pay my own personal respects.

I have a lot of opinions on the various wars going on around the world, on Canada’s involvement (or lack of) in them, and on the politics behind them. But the one thing I remain firm on is that regardless of whether or not I support the war efforts from a political point of view, I will always support, and be forever grateful to the men and women in our military. This is more true to me today than it’s ever been. I will be forever grateful to the boy who I passed between math and science class, the boy who I bumped shoulders with in the hall, the boy who had some of the same teachers and friends I did… the boy whom I never thought would die in protection of my freedom. He didn’t even know my name, but now I know his and I will never forget it.

Rest in peace soldier. And thank you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My TBR Pile

I haven’t been able to do a lot of reading in the past week and a bit- actually I’ve done a ton of reading, but it was for school so that doesn’t count- and I’m falling way behind on my TBR pile. I thought I'd do a post about what’s coming up because I’m excited to get to them.

Right now I’m about 100 pages into Through the Fire by Shawn Grady. I won this book on GoodReads ages ago (I think back in November) but I didn’t actually receive it until the end of March. I’m finally getting around to reading it now. It’s ok so far. I’m about 100 pages in and it hasn’t grabbed me yet, but it’s not bad.

Next-up… Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins! My friend Crystal over at Crystal Clear Reading had an awesome giveaway for a signed copy of this much talked about book… and I won! I originally planned to put down Through the Fire and spend a night flying through Hex Hall, but the guilt got to me and I decided to wait and finish one before I pickup another. I can’t wait though!

Also sitting waiting patiently for me is Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green. I have mixed feelings about this book. I had no desire to read it for the longest time until I discovered vlogbrothers and thought “I have to read anything and everything John Green has ever written” and immediately ordered my own copy of WGWG. I anxiously awaited its arrival and squee’d when it hit my mailbox… and it’s still sitting there. My husband even picked it up and read it (and loved it) but for some reason, I just haven’t felt like starting it. Strange right? So, I’ve decided for sure that it will follow Hex Hall.

Counting the books I have on hold at the library along with the stacks of unread books on my shelves at home, the last thing I needed to do was place a Book Depository order. But I did. Because my birthday is coming up and so I made my husband pay for the order as my birthday gift

On there way to my house as we speak are:

Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz- the sequel to Deadly Little Secret. Although I thought the first was just “good” I wanted to continue with the series to find out what happens.

The Line by Teri Hall- I LOVE dystopian novels (think Hunger Games, The Giver, Unwind etc) so I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book. Unfortunately, my library doesn’t have a copy, nor do the have intentions to get a copy. So I finally broke down and ordered it.

I also pre-ordered:

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce- I don’t know what it is about this book, but I’m dying to read it.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater- I really enjoyed Shiver and have heard raves about the Linger ARC’s being passed around so I’m pretty excited about this one too.

So that’s it. With our plans cancelled for this coming long-weekend, I’m taking the Friday off any way to get caught up with school (yes… I’m already behind). So hopefully that will leave 3 days where I can get through a couple of these books. Can’t wait!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

This is a low 3 star rating. The story was interesting overall, but it was lacking somehow. I think this was meant for a somewhat younger YA audience. There's very little detail or character development and I think that's what makes it hard to love the story.

I did enjoy it though, and I found it to be a very quick read. I wish the author would have gone a little deeper because I think it could have been a really engaging story. Perhaps this is just not one of those YA books meant to be enjoyed by an older crowd.

I think another issue that bothered me was the similarities to a certain 4 installment YA Vampire series. Now, I have to admit that I am the first person to get angry when every book under the sun is compared to Twilight, but I have to say with this one, some of the commonalities were difficult to overlook.

All in all, this book was just good. I will continue with the series to see what happens, but I'm not in a rush and will likely wait for the paperback to come out.

Looky what I got!!!

I did my taxes last week and figured out how much of a refund I would be getting.  I had planned on putting the money right onto my credit card, but I really needed some summer clothes.  I've been buying cheap the last few years because I've been losing weight, but the problem is that they only last a season.  So, this year, my shorts fom last year still fit, but I needed all new shirts and I wanted some cute dresses that work for the office and for everyday.

So, my credit card has been getting quite the work out while I wait for the cheque to come in.  I've also had to buy my textbooks for summer semester and put the deposit on my bridesmaids dress for my SIL's fall wedding.  Poor M/C... I hope the refund cheque comes soon because the increased balance is totally stressing me out!

Anyways, I ended up with a new shirt, 4 dresses for work, 1 for an upcoming wedding and 1 for my girls night tomorrow, as well as 2 pairs of flats (1 ballet and 1 sandal) and THESE...

The most fabulous pair of Betsy Johnson peep toe heels.  They fit perfectly and are so comfortable and I cannot wait to wear them out dancing tomorrow.  I loved them so much that I had to get a dress to go with them.  Hehehe.... I'm so bad.  They are currently sitting up on display on the bar in our living room. 

I threathened my dog with her life if she chewed them.  Not that she's a shoe chewer regularily, but I thought it was a fair warning considering the only pair of shoes she's ever chewed were my absolute favorite and most expensive pair.  I cried when I found them.

So..... I'm feeling totally guilty about racking my cc balance up, even though I know that the money is coming to pay them off (which I will absolutely put right on my cc for those of you in doubt), but I needed the clothes, the textbooks and the bridemaid dress so it had to be done.

Now I just need a pedi so my toes look cute when I wear my new shoes.  Love!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Just Want You To Know- Kate Gosselin

I really and truly am a fan of the Gosselins.  They are the only television family that I ever watched or cared about I think that they are very misunderstood and I feel bad for them a lot of the time. I don't agree with all of the decisions they make, but I don't agree with all of the decisions ANYONE makes, including myself.

It was nice to revisit the family after what seems like such along time and again, I found it nice to be able to picture an event actually happening or actually "see"/"hear" a story play out, knowing the kids and their individual personalities as I do from the show.

My only complaint was that this book was incredibly repetative. Several of the stories brought up are ones that Kate has already told over and over either on the show or in different television appearances or even in this book alone. I didn't really feel like I came away with much new information.

All in all, I get it. I get that she wants to record these things for her kids and that's what's important to her. I'm just not sure that I will bother reading any of her future books. It wasn't overly engaging this time around.

I did really enjoy reading her letters to her children as well as getting a little more insight into Kate's past and family life. It's a part you don't often her about so I was interested in that aspect of the story.

I think any fan of the show who wants to read this should. It's a quick read so even if you don't love it, it's easy to get through. But I definitely didn't enjoy it as much as Multiple Blessings.