Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher Part 1

Publisher: Hoover Ink
Released: 2015
Source: Personal Copy
Pages: 159
Rating: 3/5

Never Never was published in two installments, the first installment was released in January and the second will be released in May. I kept reading rave reviews, and decided I wanted a quick read and would give this a try. I started off really enjoying it. Two character’s, Charlie and Silas cannot remember anything, and both realize that their memories begin at the same time, when a girl drops her books on the classroom floor. They decide to confide in each other and not tell anyone about their lost memories. They quickly learn that they were in a relationship and try to put together the pieces of their past.

This book is told in two perspectives both Charlie’s and Silas’. Charlie goes home to a sister who has issues with her, and an alcoholic mother. Something happened between her and Silas’ family but both of them are not sure what it is. They know it was serious, because Charlie’s father is in prison due to a business situation between the families. Silas wants to protect Charlie and he wants to love her, but he doesn't know how to connect with her. Silas lives a privileged life, and tries really hard not to allow those around him to understand what is happening with him.

Towards the end of the first installment, I started not enjoying it because I felt like I didn't really get anywhere in the book. Nothing was solved or somewhat solved. I was thrown for a loop and the story line made even less sense. I really want to read the next installment because I liked both characters and want to see how this turns out. I certainly didn't love this installment as much as others, but I am intrigued.

I loved that this was published in installments. I remember a professor telling the class that Dickens novels at the time were published serially and people would have to wait and wait for the next part. Fans would write to Dickens and tell him what to do with his characters. I think reading in installments is a great experience. I’m glad we don’t have to wait too long. I really hope the ending of this part starts to make more sense and I can connect with the characters again.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Discussion Post for When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid


School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn't invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire.
Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It's a total train wreck!
But train wrecks always make the front page.

When Everything Feels Like The Movies was debated against RU on the last day of Canada Reads. Lainey was so passionate about this book, she really captured my attention. I didn't intend on reading this book because I didn't think it would be for me, but she was so passionate and emotional, I really wanted to give it a chance. I liked the book, because I recognize what Reid was trying to accomplish with the book, but I didn't think it should win Canada Reads. I think bullying, homophobia, LGBT issues are real, important and need to be addressed but I didn't think this would be the book to break those barriers.

My main issue with the book was Jude. I would start to understand him, and then he would do something that would push me away. It's definitely a defensive mechanism. The language was very off-putting, it would distract me. Lainey argued that youth do speak like this, and I agree but not to the extent of the book. I think the language puts a huge limitation on the book because I think people will have a hard time getting past it. I also want to give our youth credit and say they don't use that language all the time. They're not all out doing drugs, having sex, having repeated abortions, like its nothing. I know this story is real, but for how much of our youth. I think it will have trouble to break barriers, because it's hard to relate to. It's hard to get past these issues.

The other issues I had with this book was the fact that Jude's world was so dramatic. Probably, not the right word but his mother was a stripper, he lived in an unfinished, moldy basement, his cat was named Stoned Hairspray, Angela's abortions, everything felt so extreme to me and unrelatable for a wider audience. Also, Jude is apparently from a small town and I really didn't get that impression from the book. I kept feeling that Reid was going one step to far, it would push me away as a reader.

Lainey made it seem that if you didn't like this book you were attacking the book and I really took offence to that. I read the book because I wanted to see her points, and I do. I also think you can not like this book, but still be compassionate and support the LGBT community and the issues.

What I did like about this book is the issues that it tries to address. It's based on a true story. The relationship between Jude and his brother was so innocent and real. His mother had her faults, but you can see that she did care, but she had her own demons. You can feel Jude's pain. I think the bullying in the book was on point, and really REAL.  I also liked that this book has so much to discuss.

If you're not sure if you want to read this book. I think you should give it a try. It really is a great book to discuss and a quick read.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Canada Reads: The Inconvenient Indian// My Thoughts On The Elimination.

For those of you who haven't heard of Canada Reads, it a yearly "battle of the books." This year the theme was breaking barriers, changing perspectives, challenging stereotypes and illuminating issues.
I've been backing The Inconvenient Indian on Canada Reads since I saw it on the long list. As soon as it was eliminated, I felt so sad. This book is breaking barriers in so many ways. Thomas King brings forth issues that are important, relevant and still happening today. He's not the "angry" Indian, and he doesn't want to be.

His book simply wasn't written before, and as First Nation, and an"Inconvenient" Status Native, I learned alot. I grew up, and was educated in city schools, living in Montreal most of my life. Most of my knowledge about First Nations people came from my own research in post secondary education. My education didn't include much Native history. I never had the materials to educate myself before college and university. I truly believe The Inconvenient Indian needs to be taught, because we need to open up the doors to communicate. This book has the potential to break so many barriers, and begin to get people talking.

When The Inconvenient Indian was eliminated, I was genuinely upset and emotional but then I thought about the audience's "gasp" and realized they were just as shocked as I was. I checked Twitter, and many people were frustrated that it was eliminated. This made me hopeful, and surprised. This book was voted Number 1 online, and I realized that it's already starting to get people talking. I'm glad that Craig Kielburger debated this book, he spoke so eloquently about it. He truly gets it! I really do think this book should be in every school. This is the material that I needed in school. It's not angry, it has humor, and it opens the readers eyes. We need to change perspectives and stereotypes. We don't want this to be the "suffering Olympics" we want to educate. Education is key. These issues are real, their present TODAY!! So many people think these issues are long gone, and we're just rehashing history

I really wanted Canada Reads to be about the books, and their themes. I don't want it to be about panelists who just want their books to win. I really felt today was a strategic vote to eliminate the most popular book. I'm not going to be watching the rest of the debates, because I'm not interested in the other books. I feel like the panelists are too divided.

Did you watch today? What were your thoughts?

You'll notice that I have a new tab on my blog called "Native Literature" and this is a personal project of mine. I've been working on it for a few weeks. There's been alot of talk about "reading diversely" in the blogosphere, and I thought about it, and decided reading diversely to me, means highlighting and reviewing books by Native authors. We buy the books that we see and hear about. We buy the books that are displayed in bookstores. I want to change my reading habits, and read books that are important to me. Maybe, others will read them too.

Here is my review of The Inconvenient Indian, that I wrote in 2013.

"Thomas King is readable, relatable and he doesn’t sugarcoat the issues. It’s hard to find good historical books that are readable, but Thomas King succeeds." -Mrs Q Book Addict

Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: Inside by Alix Ohlin

Publisher: Knopf
Released: 2012
Source: Personal Copy
Pages: 258
Rating: 4/5

Inside was sitting on my tbr shelf for a long time and I decided to pick it up. I started reading it and was enjoying it but had to take a break. I had just finished “Everything They Never You” and the cast of characters were starting to weigh me down. This was another book of unhappy characters, at a crossroads in life, and I needed a break. I came back to this one when I was in the mood, and I really enjoyed it.  Sometimes you need to step away from a book and come back and I’m so happy that I did. If I would have plowed through it, just to finish it, I wouldn't have had the same experience.

Inside introduces readers to three main characters and story lines. Grace is a devoted therapist, divorced, and trying to figure out her life. When she stumbles across a man who just failed to hang himself, she immediately calls 911 and tries to help him. Once he’s released from the hospital, Grace continues to try and be there for him. She tries to ignores the strange feelings she has for him, but soon enough they start a relationship. His past is still very much a part of their present, and future. Also, an important character in the book is Grace’s troubled teenage patient who runs away to New York to get away from her parent’s and tries to make it as an actress. Grace’s ex-husband, also a therapist is trying to sort out his own life and runs away to Northern Canada.

Normally, I don’t like too many character perspectives, but I really enjoyed each character’s story line.  Each character is struggling with their own situation. Each character tries to help others but really they need to start helping themselves.  It’s interesting that both Grace and Mitch are therapists, but are struggling so much themselves. I really enjoyed that this book was Canadian, and a majority of it takes place in Montreal which is where I live. I’m so happy I stepped away and came back to this book when I was ready. I really enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend this one. This book was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters Edited by Joseph Boyden

I read this one and really enjoyed the short stories, and poems. Some I liked more than others but more importantly I want to highlight why Joseph Boyden put this book together. After yet another violent assault on a First Nations woman in November 2014, he wanted a call for action and asked fellow writers to contribute to this book. Boyden has donated the proceeds of this 100-page anthology to Amnesty Internationalization No More Stolen Sisters Campaign. This is available as an ebook and only 2.99$


Driven by deep frustration, anger, and sorrow in the wake of yet another violent assault upon a First Nations woman in November 2014, dozens of acclaimed writers and artists have come together to add their voices to a call for action addressing the deep-rooted and horrific crimes that continue to fester in our country.

Kwe means woman in Ojibwe. More specifically, kwe means life-giver or life-carrier in Anishinaabemowin, the Ojibwe language. It is a pure word, one that speaks powerfully of women’s place at the heart of all our First Nations.

These women who bring light and life to our world are in peril. Aboriginal women in our country are three times more likely to face violent attack and murder than any other of their gender. We must take concrete steps to stop this and we must do it now.

A nation is only as good, is only as strong, as how it treats its most vulnerable and those of us in danger. This book is a call to action. It’s sometimes a whisper, sometimes a scream, but we speak our words as one when we demand justice for our more than 1200 murdered and missing Indigenous women. After all, they are our mothers, our daughters, our nieces, our aunties, our sisters, our friend

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 560
Source: Personal Copy
Released: 2014
Rating: 5/5

Cress is the third book in the Lunar chronicles and it was my favorite book so far. The character, Cress is a genius hacker, imprisoned on a satellite since childhood. She’s spent a lot of time researching Cinder and hoping she can help. She’s been imprisoned by Queen Levana but desperately wants to help Cinder even though her job is to track down and help Levana. Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf are fugitives on the run. They need to stop the wedding between Emperor Kai and Queen Levana. The Prince believes this will bring peace, but everyone knows it will only give Levana more power and she won’t think twice to get rid of her new husband. When Cinder tries to rescue Cress, it does not go well.

I don’t want to give away too many details. I really enjoyed this one because the world building and character development is really coming together. We see their strengths and weaknesses, their concerns and frustrations.  The story is complex, and I can’t wait to see where the next book takes us. It’s hard to review a third book in the series, but I really wanted to write a quick review.  I didn’t realize I waited so long to read this one. I was going to read Fairest and then realized this one was still unread. All in all I’m loving this series. The pace has been fantastic. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

January-February Wrap Up

Hi everyone,

I'm going to try and do monthly wrap up posts. January I started off really slow, Caleb was sick every other week and I didn't get much downtime. February was much better. I decided to stop worrying about book goals and decided to just read and review what I feel like. Looking at my Goodreads, I realized I give most books 4 or 5 stars. 4 is really enjoyed it, 5 is loved it. If I'm not enjoying a book, I don't waste my time on it. I put it aside.

Here's what I read:

The Game Changer by Marie Landry. 4/5 Stars
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NG 5/5 Loved it!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 5/5
Cress by Marissa Meyer 5/5
Inside by Alix Ohlin 4/5
Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher 4/5
Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters 4/5

I'm currently reading: