It was really sweet waking up to two blog awards this morning, with another one from a couple of weeks ago still waiting to be addressed. So before I put it off any longer, I would like to thank two wonderful bloggers for nominating me for three awards! But because I have three award nominations of my own to now nominate to others, I think it’d best to only nominate five blogs for each award, in order to not laden you all with countless blogs.
On May 9th, Tales of Lyélle nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you so much!
Here’s how this award works:
Even though I’ve already given you facts about myself from my last award, I’ll give you 11 more.
Now here are the questions I’m to answer:
These are the 11 questions I’m asking my nominees to answer:
And here are my 5 nominees:
Just this morning My Little Book Blog nominated me for the Sunshine award and the Versatile Blogger award. Thank you doubly!
For the Sunshine award, the rules are as follows:
Here are the questions I’m to answer for this award:
Here are 5 blogs that make my world sunnier:
And lastly, for the Versatile Blogger award, I must:
I think I’ve exhausted you all with facts about myself, so I’m going to skip this step if you don’t mind.
But versatility in life is always important, and these are my favourite most versatile blogs:
Thank you for nominating me these three awards and congratulations to my own nominess! Please take a look at them all, as I promise you won’t be disappointed!
You only have 9 days left! Click on the link above to go directly to my Facebook page where you can enter :)
A few days ago I went to the new Value Village that opened in my neighbourhood and I was pleasantly surprised that they had a book section. For every used book-lover out there, you know this is bad news. I browsed through the books, picking out some of my most sought-after titles which were all in really good shape. I had at least 15 books that I wanted to get right then and there for a discounted price, but I had to stop myself.
At home, I have more than enough books sitting on my bookshelves, all of which I brought home with me in that same rush of enthusiasm that I felt that evening in Value Village. I have spent more than enough money on unread books, and here I am willing to spend even more on books that will, undoubtedly, collect dust on my shelves as I try to go through my collection of to-reads.
And then I got even more contemplative. Do I love to buy books for the notion that I actually will devour and treasure them, or do I love to buy books simply to say I have a large book collection? There are many people I know who have half the books I have and love each and every one because they only bought the ones they loved most from the library. Then there are people who have 3 times the collection I do and know only half of the books well enough as dear friends, and the rest are more like acquaintances.
So which am I? I only have two books shelves-full of books, which is not nearly as much as I would like in the future. I love the look of books in a home—bookworms have that air of knowledge, of secrets revealed, of many lives lived. I want people to come into my home one day and say, “Wow, look at all those books! I’m so jealous!”
But more importantly, I want to have a large collection of books that are like dear friends to me. Of course, I don’t enjoy every book I buy—I have plenty of books on my shelves that didn’t floor me, but I didn’t give them away. Those books are like extended family members who maybe you don’t get along with but feel you still have invite to family functions. They still have a place on my shelves because at one time I had hopes for them. And maybe those hopes were unfulfilled for me, but maybe my children will enjoy it or a friend of mine will like to borrow it. It’s these off chances that make me hold onto these books, making my book collection continue to grow.
Books have been my escape since childhood, and maybe, in some very strange way, they’re also like my walls. I take a book with me everywhere just in case I feel awkward in a social situation, am bored or just need to find out what happens next in the book. Heck, I even took Harry Potter with me to Disneyland! I feel protected by my books. Perhaps that’s also why I feel such a need to have walls of books surrounding me.
Maybe I’m not supposed to know why I collect books. Maybe I’m just supposed to collect them because they make me happy. Maybe I’ll never read every single book I buy (I truly hope this is not the case!), and maybe that’s okay.
Maybe I’m just supposed to thank every book that’s ever entered my life, and hold onto them as important experiences—some as best friends, some as acquaintances, and perhaps even some as enemies. But they each shape who I am, and maybe that’s why I’m meant to collect as many books as possible. For the hope that they will one day change my life or another’s.
And besides, a home just isn’t a home without books.
I don’t know about you, but in Calgary snow is falling right now. In fact, it’s been like this all day. And while I know it is April, it just doesn’t feel like it—meaning summer seems even more unlikely. But while this cold weather will probably continue for another few days, I have to remind myself that summer’s heat will one day be shining down on us and free time will be a bit more abundant than it is right now (thanks to exams and assignments due in the next two weeks).
And with summer comes plenty of reading.
My friend shared with me this website to help me choose my next great summer read—and let me tell you, it was really tough for me to choose just one answer! Many of them sound like great choices that I will, undoubtedly, read at some point. But based on my answers, it led me to Never Let Me Go by Kazuo IshiGuro. Have you read it? And if you have, would you also recommend it?
Now I’m curious about what books you all have been suggested. Click on the link here to find out what book you need to read this summer and then let me know in my comments!
Book Review #21: Feast Island
Author: Tamar Hela
Genre: YA Fiction/Fantasy
Days to Read: 1 week
Companion Tea: David’s Tea Coco Chai Rooibos
Synopsis (as taken from Barnes & Noble): Seven teenagers from Northern California are assigned a seemingly innocent group project for their Freshman English class. Little do they know, this project will take them on a journey out of this world—literally. Cantelia appears much like Earth until the kids realize magic is as plentiful as the wildlife surrounding them. What’s at stake is much more than they can fathom, especially since they are part of an ancient prophecy. A dark and evil ruler is enforcing a curse on the tribes people of Sikuku Island—the same place where the kids have been transported. Now, they must help the islanders break the curse if they ever want to see their own planet again. Join Alex and her friends as they learn there is so much more beyond their comfortable lives in Pollock Pines and its legendary lake, Spirit Lake.
My Thoughts: Back in August of last year I was a part of Tamar Hela’s blog tour to publicize her debut young adult novel. As a participant of her tour, she sent me copy of Feast Island to review as well, and sadly it has taken me this long to actually read it.
Let it be known that I still, even at the age of 21, love YA books. And I knew this was a YA book going into it, but from how I interpreted the summary, I expected the protagonist and side characters to be closer to adulthood — like around 16, the typical age of YA book. So you can imagine my surprise when I started getting into the mind of a 14 year old. But I was pleased by the way the main character, Alex, was portrayed throughout the book. The language, tone and word choices Hela used in Feast Island was very accurate for a 14 year old girl. I know this because when I used to write stories at that age, my writing style was very much like Hela’s. Sometimes I find that when authors write YA books, they tend to write maturely for young teenagers. This wasn’t the case for Hela, though, because I believed that Alex was 14. She worried about all the things I used to worry about at that age: my braces, crushes, family, confidence, etc. You could see her grow, even just a tiny bit, over the course of the book, as well as her peers. Sure, each character was stereotypical, but I didn’t really mind because I find that when people are that age, they tend to see people as stereotypes. I have a feeling though that as the books continue, Alex will learn that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to her newfound friends.
Characters and writing style aside, the plot was unique. I enjoyed the pacing of the plot even though I wasn’t altogether surprised by any of the turn of events. I loved the idea of a separate world from our own, with different cultures and languages. I’m a sucker for fantasy novels, and I was hooked to Feast Island from the start. I won’t say what all happens in the book, obviously, but I need to discuss one thing that irked me about the story. Or two things for that matter. One, I wasn’t a fan of the ultimate climax. I found myself just reading that part for the sake of reading it, but I didn’t find it believable. How could three tribes, who have done nothing but hate each other for years, all of a sudden just band together for one battle? It makes no sense that it was the children that influenced this, because they hardly did anything. There should have been more added to this — perhaps a battle that took place on the front of one of the tribes, and that tribe calling the other tribes for help but no one comes through. Then, when that one tribe suffers major losses, and the other tribes realize that they’re tribes are next, they decide to band together to save what’s left of their people. Something like that. Merely coming together to fight with really nothing leading up to it didn’t make sense. The other thing that irked me was that they went home at the end. I really would have preferred them staying in Cantelia until all their tasks are done, instead of them going home to that happy ending and, ultimately, being called back again. I would have liked to see how life would have been like for them post-war.
I do have to say, however, that I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of romance in this book. I automatically assume all YA books will have steamy kissing and love triangles from the get-go, but not this one. Thank you, Hela, for reminding us that not all young teenagers have these dramas (I certainly didn’t!) and that the story is more important than some teenage love. I know it’s coming in the next book or two, which is okay, but I’m glad you didn’t start with it right away!
Oh, and because I’m a Grammar Nazi, I have to point out that this book could have stood for some more editing. There were many misplaced commas and quotations, as well as one or two misspelled words. I cringed a lot when I came across these.
Either way, though, I did enjoy this first book in the Spirit Lake series, and I am looking forward to seeing what adventures, challenges and triumphs Tamar Hela comes up with next.
My Rating: 8/10
Book Review #20: Loved
Author: Kimberly Novosel
Days to Read: 1 week
Companion Tea: Chamomile
Synopsis (as taken from Barnes & Noble):
Kim Carlson is a quiet, optimistic dreamer when she trades in the golden fields of her youth for the busy big city streets of her future. She leaves behind a life of Sunday mass, good friends and homework for a world where skipping class, drinking, and friends who leave her alone on her birthday are the norm. On the road to building a career in the music industry and searching for true love, she instead finds loneliness, betrayal and heartache.
Just as she falls in love with the kind of man who would never break her heart and things are falling delightfully into place, everything is torn apart “like a shack in a hurricane.” Kim is faced with a choice: quit believing in the possibility of love and happiness, or fight for the woman she wants to be and the love she wants to have. Kim overcomes each setback with increasing grace and wisdom, proving that sometimes the wrong choices can lead us to the right places.
My Thoughts: You may remember back in the summer I interviewed Kimberly as a preview to her debut novel. And I was pleased to see the enchanting lady I spoke with translated onto the pages of her book.
As a backer for her book, I received a copy from her in the mail to read. Finally as exams passed and the busy holidays were winding down, I settled into Loved, anxious to see what it was all about. From the prologue, I was hooked. Having been let down at my most recent birthday party (less than half of the people who promised to come showed up), I could instantly relate to protagonist Kim’s 20th birthday party experience. Having such a low turn out to an event that means a lot to you puts everything into perspective and makes you re-think everything — am I really liked? Have I offended anyone as of late? Why doesn’t anyone care about me like they care about others? All those questions rush through your mind and it’s hard to see yourself for who you really are.
But as the story moved along, I began finding it harder and harder to relate to Kim. As each relationship began with vigour and got lost in the dust, I started feeling sorry for Kim. She put so much of herself into finding her other half, that she lost sight of who she was. I’ve never been in that type of situation before. Sure, I’ve had failed relationships — but none of them lasted longer than three weeks, so I didn’t have as much of an emotional connection to them as Kim did. As she went from guy to guy, I started feeling less and less sorry for her. There is nothing wrong with being single and being yourself, and yet she just couldn’t understand that. It frustrated me and I started dreading what she’d get herself into next. Maybe I’ve just been lucky — I’ve only had one serious boyfriend that I’m currently with — but I ended up not relating to Kim as much as I had wanted to, which saddened me. I had been looking so forward to seeing myself in Kimberly’s book, just as other readers had done, but that just wasn’t happening. I also couldn’t relate to the whole religious side of the book. I am by no means a Catholic like Kim, so when she referred to God or talked about the bible, etc., I couldn’t jump on the boat and pray with her. As much as I wanted to.
Characters and religion aside though, I loved Novosel’s writing style. She has such an easy, fluent and engaging voice, that even though I couldn’t relate to Kim, I still wanted to read. I’m also a big visual person — I often choose books based on their book covers alone, and I would have chosen this book had I come across it at a book store. It’s simple and yet inviting, but doesn’t give away too much. Novosel offers a fresh take on the age-old “love yourself” campaign, and it didn’t feel forced. It felt real. I loved the fact that the story didn’t end happily ever after; instead it had a satisfying, and yet unsatisfying, ending. Much like life. Life isn’t cookie-cutter or perfect or “happily ever after.” It’s always evolving — going from person-to-person, job-to-job, city-to-city — always bringing you one step closer to a finale. And like Novosel explains, sometimes in the end all you really need to do is love yourself.
“Unfortunately, he still hadn’t asked for my number, or a date, or my hand in marriage, and my drink was getting low.”
“I was girly and friendly and my family life was happy but many days I felt like I was on the inside what Chase was on the outside. I always believed I was a happy person with a sad soul. I felt like I had had tragedy in my life when I hadn’t. Somehow, without having experienced what he had, his scars resonated with me.”
“I thought about how the past can become so small. An entire day, 24 separate, heavy hours, becomes the size of a tiny brown leaf falling from a tree. Before you know it, a whole year is just a pile of dead leaves on the ground. The year or so I’d spent in love with Chad was starting to feel so long ago, swept away by the wind. I knew that this year would soon feel far away too.”
My Rating: 7.5/10
Read the following picture. What book instantly pops into your mind after reading Markus Zusak’s quote? And why do you think that is? For me, I think the book that has influenced me the most and had a heavy impact on me upon its completion would be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I know you know I’m a Potterhead and that there must be another book out there that made such an impact, but I can’t think of one that made me cry throughout it all, and that made me want to scream, laugh, bawl, sigh and be left in silence afterwards as much as the last book in the Harry Potter saga. Of course, I’m sure there are others but the fact that none are jumping to me right now must mean something.
Anyways, for this Thoughts for a Thursday, I want to know what book made you feel like this and why you think that that was?
There are so many genres of books out there that can peak almost anyone’s interest. For me, personally, I’ve tended to stick to the genres that make me think, cry and wish. Therefore, I generally stray towards heart-wrenching YAs and literary fiction novels.
I’m curious about what your favourite genres are and why. YA? Mystery? Erotica? Western? Non-fiction? Romance? Sci-Fi? Historical fiction? Horror? Fantasy? Chick lit (even though I despise that term)? Literary fiction?
(This meme was created by the ever fabulous The Broke and the Bookish.)
The new year is almost upon us, and with this new year comes new books to read. There are plenty of books that I’m looking forward to reading next year, but here are my Top 8 (because I couldn’t find two more books that captured my attention)!
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan – March 14
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult – February 26
Fly Away by Kristen Hannah – April 23
Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina – February 26
The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag – June 18
Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson – March 26
A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths – March 5
The Last Runaway by Tracey Chevalier – January 8
What books are you most looking forward to next year?