Day 17: The First Book You Can Remember Reading On Your Own.

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This is probably the first book I ever read on my own. Don’t ask me why I started with the third one, but I’ve never read the first or second. I did, however, read the next 10-15 books before I stopped reading. I loved the Magic Treehouse series. It was a large part of my childhood. If you haven’t ever read one, consider picking one up for you child, or for yourself, or even for you future child, because they’re actually pretty educational and have fun adventures in them. This was my first, and also my favourite, of the series, though I also liked the one about Shakespeare.

What was your first, independently-read, book?

Day 16: Your Favourite Genre

It honestly depends on what’s being written at the time or what’s big. After Twilight, I was really into paranormal novels and they were being published in excess at that time, then I read Cinder and got into novels retelling fairy-tales. After I got over that, I got really into New Adult contemporary novels, due to Easy and Slammed. However, since then, the NA genre kind of let me down with the quality of the books. While they still seem to be big, I’m more picky about which ones I read. Now, I’m reading mostly contemporary romance novels, both NA, selectively, and YA, so I guess that’s my favourite at the moment.

Here are some upcoming contemporary romances that are coming out soon:

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Breakable by Tammara Webber

Breakable by Tammara Webber

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti

Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti

I am also REALLY looking forward to Colleen Hoover’s novel Ugly Love, which comes out in August. But there’s no cover yet, but definitely look out for it.

What’s your favourite genre and what are some of your favourite books in that genre? I’d love to check them out!

Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

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Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before [#1]
Author: Jenny Han
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them — all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved— five in all. 

When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

First off, thank you Simon and Schuster and GoodReads First Reads for the ARC !

Second, this is my first time reading anything by Jenny Han, even though I own all her books, even the ones that are half hers (the pile continues its growth). While I’ve heard good things, I’ve never been quite sure of her books (my sister enjoyed them, but also said that there’s something missing from her novels). Honestly, though, I wasn’t disappointed by her books – if anything surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

The concept of this novel was great. I really liked the whole idea of these love letters, getting sent out into the world, seen by the eyes of those who were never meant to see them. I also was pleased to see that it wasn’t just romance focused, but also family focused. There was a lot about sisterly relationships, parental relationships, and romantic relationships and I think that Han did a great job of integrating them with each other.

That being said, I didn’t love Lara Jean’s voice in the novel. Everyone else was, for the most part, believable, but Lara Jean’s thoughts streamed through like that of a hyperactive 13 year old. I understand that she was supposed to be the floofy, head in the clouds kind of character, but my goodness. By the time I found out that she was a junior in high school (i.e. was in grade 11), I had checked back multiple times, wondering if her age had been mentioned previously because she wasn’t as old as I thought she was supposed to be. Turns out she was. As a character who lost her mother at a young age, and was given the joint role of taking care of her little sister, she really didn’t grow up faster. She also had an unhealthy obsession with her older sister. Margot this, Margot that, I was quite tired of Margot by the end of this book and she was only there for maybe an eighth of the novel. Margot was also a condescending, control-freak type sister who I really didn’t enjoy reading about, though at least she acted her age…

Also, while I’m all for books that star characters that are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. (I mean, I’m a Chinese-Canadian obsessed with J-Pop, K-Pop, and J/K/M/C/T-dramas, I am down with diversity), Han pushed it a lot in this novel. I got it, her family is half-Korean, half-American. But I’m reminded of that fact every few chapters. I love the diversity, but I wish that it was less forced, less… just less.

Aside from the juvenile narrative, I did enjoy the scatterbrained-ness of Lara Jean. The narrative seemed like real thoughts, as she kept jumping back and forth: this happened and then, oh! remember that time when, -back to the present-. It was realistic, in that sense, as we really don’t pay that much attention to detail in real life, unless we make a conscious effort. That was definitely something I loved about the narrative. Also, with regards to Lara Jean’s character, I did like that she, for the most part, faced the whole letter issue head on.

Moving past the MC, I really liked all the other characters. Peter’s character development throughout the story was nice, sweet, and relatively subtle. Josh was very… up and down with his decisions and feelings, but all in all, I have to say that Kitty was my favourite character. For a 9-10 year old, she was basically the voice of reason within this novel. I liked her relationship with everyone, how she was a fluid character who went with the flow, but still had a great personality and voice in the novel. I also love Lucas, he made me happy, even though he was rarely seen in the books, he made for a great friend.

The plot began with Lara Jean’s life. Readers get to understand who Lara Jean is, what her family dynamics are like, who her friends are, and where all her relationships stand, in the first few chapters, before the letters get sent out. I really liked that, as it gave me the opportunity to be eased into her life and become comfortable with it before the drama began. Something that I really liked though was that she didn’t get with the person I thought she would be with at the beginning of the story. The plot evolved and the characters evolved as the book progressed and it was nice to be pleasantly surprised.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. Was I blown away? No. I agree that something is missing like a satisfying, we-all-lived-happily-ever-after end, but I can’t figure out what it is. Overall, Han’s writing is great, though her MC needs to mature a few years, I really liked the way the story was told and the thoughts conveyed. While I feel like this book doesn’t need a sequel, I’m interested to see what Han does in P.S. I Still Love You. Also, I’d just like to mention that I quite like this cover, especially with the detailing in the title, with the whole permanent marker look. It really caught my eye when I first saw it.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.18/5

ARC obtained via Simon and Schuster Canada via GoodReads First Reads.

 

Book Blast: Quality Snacks

Book CoverTitle: Quality Snacks
Author: Andy Mozina
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Driven by strange ambitions, bungled love, and a taste for – or abject fear of – physical danger, the characters in this collection enact the paradox in the concept of a quality snack: the dream of transmuting the mundane into something extraordinary.

Andy Mozina depicts high-stakes performances to gratify both deep and superficial needs: A man experiencing a career crisis watches a 74-year-old great grandmother perform aerial acrobatics at the top of a swaying 110-foot pole. A troubled young man tries to end his father’s verbal harassment by successfully hunting a polar bear. Desperate to find a full-time job, a pizza deliveryman is fooled into a humiliating sexual demonstration by a couple at a Midway Motor Lodge. And in the title story, a flavor engineer at Frito-Lay tries to win his boss’s heart with his strategy to reposition Doritos from snack food to main course.

Advanced Praise:

“Andy Mozina is a magician. I can’t think of a species of masculine folly – whether guilty rebellion, or panicky narcissism, or dependency disguised as tyranny, or anomie passing as glib enthusiasm for new lines of an employer’s tortilla chips – whose vocabulary and broken inner self Andy Mozina has not deftly conjured up for this collection. And he is as funny as he is wise.”
– Jaimy Gordon, National Book Award-winning author of “Lord of Misrule”

“Andy Mozina’s dark comic Midwestern genius thrills and troubles me, and I want more of it. Each of these stories is a philosophical puzzle, and each is a strange adventure to the foreign land that is another person’s mind. Through his plainspoken narrators, Mozina takes us farther than we meant to go – to the edge of the Arctic Ocean, to Elvis’s bedroom, to the terrible confusion at the heart of every human relationship. I love this collection.”
– Bonnie Jo Campbell, bestselling author of “Once Upon a River” and National Book Award finalist for “American Salvage”

About the Author:Andy Mozina

Mozina grew up in Brookfield, Wisc., a suburb of Milwaukee. He studied economics at Northwestern University and later attended Harvard Law School for a year. He earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University. He moved to St. Louis where he completed a doctorate in English literature at Washington University. Finally, after graduate school, he moved to Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1999 to teach literature and creative writing at Kalamazoo College.

Mozina’s first collection, “The Women Were Leaving the Men” (2007, Wayne State University Press), is the winner of the 2008 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Fiction and a 2008 finalist for the Glassgow/Shenandoah Prize for Emerging Writers. He is also the author of “Joseph Conrad and the Art of Sacrifice”

Mozina now lives in Michigan with his wife, Lorri, and daughter Madeleine

Author Website || Twitter || Facebook || Goodreads ||Amazon || Virtual Tour Page  

Quality Q&A:

Of all the stories in “Quality Snacks,” which one is the most personal to you? Or is choosing one short story sort of like choosing a favorite child?

“Self-Reliance” is probably the most personal because it’s about the need to accept the most embarrassing aspects of yourself. The story’s pizza delivery man takes mortification to an awe-inspiring level, and I can relate to that. Plus I used to work at a pizza shop, which makes this one border on abject autobiography.

Is it true that you started some of the stories in “Quality Snacks” more than 20 years ago? Which ones, and how did they evolve over time? 

“Overpass” began in 1989. At this point, I experience it in my mind as a memory from my own life. I knew how it would end when I started it, but it took me a long time to imagine the protagonist’s life and family relationships on the day the story takes place. “Pelvis” started with an anecdote Dennis Hopper told about Elvis on Late Night with David Letterman. The arc of the story and a lot of the narrator’s voice came quickly, but fine tuning her language took a while.

So, we have to ask: What’s your favorite snack food?

If there were no health consequences, I would eat taco-flavored Doritos for all of my calories. But in fact, I hardly ever eat Doritos any more—except sometimes when other people buy them. Now I make a custom trail mix that I pack into two-ounce baggies. I’ve evolved.

How did you go from studying economics and attending Harvard Law School to pouring yourself into creative writing and fiction?

I wrote for a humor magazine in college, and I kept writing while I was in law school. Law can be a fine career, seriously. It was probably stupid to drop out of Harvard Law, but I just wanted to read and write fiction.

Are you working on another collection?

Yes, I’m starting a new collection built around contemporary images of wayward Americans—9/11 truthers, a guy who peddled mortgage-backed securities before they collapsed, an engineer on the BP drilling rig that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico. I’m interested in the mindsets of people who are normal-seeming and also spectacularly off-base in some way. I’ve also just finished a novel about a harpist taking an orchestra audition. Artists can be a little off sometimes, too.

Book Tour:

Watch out for the upcoming book tour for Quality Snacks, starting April 25th, 2014 !

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Review: The Here and Now

18242896Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Dystopian Sci-Fi
GoodReads

Synopsis:

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

That genre is a mouthful, but that’s as close as I can possibly get for this book.

Contemporary: It happens NOW. Well, technically two weeks from now, but close enough. It’s current. Cell phones are used, the world hasn’t ended, it’s all good.

Dystopian: Prenna is came from the future, or at least one strand of it. The world was near its end before she left, everyone affected by a plague of unknown original that was carried in mosquitoes (very much like West Nile, but worse).

Sci-Fi: Prenna and a select group of people have traveled back in time to fix the future and prevent the plague.

This was an extremely interesting story. The plot was full of surprises, but also presented some interesting ideas. In this novel, we get a glimpse of the future, or well, multiple versions of the future. The only thing is, they’re not as futuristic as we assume they’ll be – no flying cars, no crazy techno computers (though there was a mention of a supposed Apple invention, which I could definitely see Apple, or even Google, inventing in the future). It was doom and gloom up ahead, one an economic issue, another a eco issue, also relating to the evolution and adaptation of people and animals to a new, less green, planet. I loved this concept because it’s something that is real and relevant to us today. As one person, we don’t see the decline in the world – where the ice caps are melting, the weather is becoming more random and unpredictable, as well as violent. We close our eyes to this. My hope is that this book helps open those eyes and maybe cause a shift in our society.

The overall set up of the time immigrants vs the time natives was also interesting. All the rules and restrictions, as well as the stories of those who didn’t survive the trip or didn’t survive the rules really helped set the ball rolling, giving readers something to compare to when judging the magnitude of Prenna’s decisions later on in the story.

In addition to my love of the plot, I really enjoyed reading about these characters. Prenna was a worrier, but it wasn’t annoying. It was more of exercised caution than mental takeover. It was nice reading the book from her point of view. She found beauty in the things that no one ever notices anymore; one could say that she actually stopped to smell the flowers. She was amazed at how bright our world was, and couldn’t comprehend our wish to stay inside and play with our games and gadgets. However, for a supposed genius, her actions are very impulsive, and lack calculation. Also, she has little care or worry for the repercussions of her actions on the people around her.

Ethan, on the other hand, was helpful, supportive, and just a tad bit boring. He was basically everything that was needed to move things along – a tracker, a hacker, a future-world famous physicist – you’ve got them all with Ethan. Have to say though, he was nice enough, but his character lacked depth, and I know next to nothing about him, even though I finished the book already.

One thing that bothered me more than anything was that they are playing with time. If you play with time, the things from the future should change, no? Like newspapers, and people? Wouldn’t all that go wonky or snap out of existence? Maybe it’s just me, but the fact that there’s a bunch of futures is cool, but wouldn’t one shift change a bunch of other things? Maybe I’m being picky, but time travel books and all is a finicky subject.

Also, they had a tight deadline – what, two or three days – to save the world from one version of the future. However, they loiter and linger on the beach for a day, learning card games and drinking illegally. It was so out of place in this book that it just didn’t work for me. Again, this brings around the whole relationships in YA novels and how there’s just too much emphasis on them. The story could’ve worked without all that, seeing as there wasn’t really THAT much to begin with. I don’t know, Ethan’s whole role in all of this was just a little unrealistic.

All in all, I’d say that this book is a must read, if not for the overall story, then at least for the ideas presented. It is a real eye opener to all the problems our world is facing, whether politically, economically, socially, or environmentally. It’s amazing how well Brashares captures our world in less than 200 pages, giving us a snapshot of our lives and showing us where we all are, and where we should be. Oddly, instead of reading this book to escape, I’d say read this book to see what you’re missing, to realize that there’s more to life than electronics and odd gadgets. However, the story did have its holes, which is hard enough to cover in a long time traveling series, let alone in this one, fairly short novel.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.37/5

eARC obtained via Random House Children’s via NetGalley

Review: Sea of Shadows

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Title: Sea of Shadow [Age of Legends #1]
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy

Synopsis:

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

This book was very much the beginning of something. I really enjoyed the idea of the story, the action, and characters, however, it was just that, the beginning.

The plot went fairly slow, beginning with an introduction to the twins and the overall idea of the exiled, then moving into a fair bit of action, and then just as the world was getting interesting, everything just seemed to stop. For most of the book, we lay in wait as the twins travel across the wasteland with their designated love interest – separately – and then have a moment of action here and there, and then again nothing. I’ve only read Armstrong’s Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies, and so reading this book, I felt like all the romance was rushed and very predictable. Much of the time was spent focusing on these relationships too, which irked me, as I’ve found her past YA novels to be much more puzzle based, figuring out what was going on, romantic distractions left for later on in the book. I’m hoping that the second book will have more of that feeling.

That bit aside, I loved the concept presented in this novel. The whole Keeper and Seeker idea, where these twins are so connected. It’s great seeing a novel semi-based around a sibling bond. In addition, I liked the whole idea of legends coming to life. The moments when those creatures made their appearance were truly captivating. I’m trying really hard not to spoil anything, so this is sounding extremely vague, but trust me, the concept and creatures really make the novel interesting.

While they were fairly contained, there were in fact a number of action packed parts to the novel. They were intense and gripping and left me wanting more. They really helped build the relationship between the love interests, and while I wish there was a little bit less of the whole hearts beating fast idea, the attacks and surprises kept me guessing throughout the novel, wondering what exactly waited for both of them around each bend.

I also liked that we got to see two very different personalities come to life. We have Ashyn, ever cautious and unsure, and Moria, hot-tempered and kickass. It always amazes me how Armstrong can create such unique characters, allowing them to have their own voice, but also letting them come out of their normal mindset in times of distress or worry. I like knowing that the strong character isn’t always totally collected, and that the quieter character has the potential to be something greater, someone stronger. Gotta say though, I enjoyed reading Moria’s parts more than Ashyn’s.

All in all, this novel was interesting, due to the concept, the characters, and the moments of action. However, the romance, or the slow construction of it, kind of turned me off of the story, though, come the next book, I’ll probably be wishing for more of it. On another note, it was nice that Armstrong stepped away from the whole Darkest Powers/Darkness Rising concept. While I loved them, it’s great knowing that she still has more than just one world to write about. I’m definitely excited to see what Armstrong has in store for us in the next novel, as much of it was set up in this book, I’m waiting for the big bang. I’m just hoping that she can deliver.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.61/5

eARC obtained via DoubleDay Canada via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Wishes

Today, we’re revealing the cover of Wishes by Molly Cochran!

Are you ready ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TADA ~

 

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Title: Wishes [Legacy #2.5]
Author: Molly Cochran
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Eager to party, Katy Ainsworth and her friends go on a lighthearted “fairy hunting” expedition, expecting little more than a good time. But when Katy actually encounters one of these magical creatures (in the guise of a cynical, sarcastic teenager) who insists on granting her new master’s every wish, Katy’s world turns upside down until everything she knows seems to be tumbling in a terrifying and uncontrollable freefall.

Pre-Order Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks

About the Author:Molly Cochran

Molly Cochran, author of the teen paranormal romances LEGACY and POISON, has written 26 published novels and four nonfiction books under her own name and various pseudonyms. Her books include New York Times bestselling novels GRANDMASTER and THE FOREVER KING, coauthored with Warren Murphy, and the nonfiction DRESSING THIN, also a NY Times bestseller. She has won awards from the Mystery Writers of America (Best Novel of the Year), the Romance Writers of America (Best Thriller), and the New York Public Library (Outstanding Books for the Teen Age).

SEDUCTION, the third installment in the Young Adult LEGACY series, is scheduled for release on December 2, 2014 from Simon & Schuster. Two novellas in the series are also coming in 2014: WISHES, due April 29, and a Halloween novella, REVELS, tentatively scheduled for September release.

Molly has lectured extensively and has taught writing at the college level as well as at a women’s prison (where she was NOT an inmate). She also writes a blog on writing technique which appears on her website.

She lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Website || Facebook || Twitter

Excerpt:

When Katy wishes in a carnival fortune-telling booth that her unromantic boyfriend would become more demonstrative, she has no idea that her wish will come true. . . and that she’ll wish it hadn’t!

It was Mabel Bean’s fortune telling booth, which was a nice surprise, considering I could have picked the fake tattoo tent or the All Things Cammo booth. The place was cool and dark inside, and smelled like cookies. Mrs. Bean was dressed like a gypsy, with a headscarf and large hoop earrings, but she was still the soft, comforting presence she always was.

“Katy, dear!” she said as if she were simply delighted to see me. Mrs. Bean was always like that. It was what made her so nice to be around. “Please sit down. Would you care for a treat?” She held out one of her famous cookies.

“Er, thanks,” I said, sitting down uncertainly. I looked over my shoulder in case Peter was behind me, but of course he wasn’t. He’d probably been caught up with his phone call, and hadn’t given me another thought.

“These are great,” I mumbled, my mouth full.

“You look glum, sweetheart,” she said. “Can I help?”

Mrs. Bean was an empath, like my great-grandmother. She could literally feel my pain. I didn’t want to lay that on her, but I knew I couldn’t lie to an empath, so I said, “I don’t think so, Mrs. Bean. It’s just dumb stuff. Boyfriend stuff.”

“Ah,” she said. “But that’s not dumb stuff at all. The whole festival of Beltane celebrates love.”

“Yes, well . . .” I assumed a world-weary pose, draping my arm across the back of my chair. “Maybe love is overrated.”

She smiled. “Oh, no, Katy. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. But like all powerful forces, it can be destructive. Love can hurt.”

“I guess,” I said, feeling myself tearing up again. “But does it have to hurt so much?”

I lay my head on my arms across her wobbly little table, which gave way under my weight. A crystal ball that had been precariously balanced on a little rack rolled off. Mrs. Bean caught it before it hit the floor, but pulled off most of the tablecloth in the process, revealing a particleboard disk that had been set atop a milk crate and was now rolling away. The remains of my cookie went flying, too.

“Gee, I’m sorry,” I said, jumping up to help put things back in order again. In the process I hit Mrs. Bean with my elbow and accidentally pulled the scarf off her head. “Oh, God,” I said as I tripped over the milk crate and struck one of the poles that was holding up the tent. One side of it collapsed, trapping me under the canvas.

“Katy!” She finally pulled me out and held me like a baby in her chubby, comforting arms.

“Look what I’ve done!” I wailed. “I can’t do anything right!”

“Nonsense,” she cooed in the midst of the destruction and chaos I’d generated. “Jonathan will have everything fixed in a minute. Just calm down.”

“O . . . Okay,” I sobbed.

“You’re going to be fine.”

I nodded, although that was just to be polite, because I’d wrecked her tent. I really didn’t feel as if I’d ever be fine again.

“Now,” she said, holding me at arm’s length and giving me a big dimpled smile, “tell me your wish.”

“What?” I wiped my nose with my sleeve.

She pointed to a cardboard sign behind what had been the table. It read Wishes $2.

I figured she wanted to get rid of me, and I couldn’t blame her. “World peace, “I muttered. “I wish for world peace.”

“Come now, Katy,” Mrs. Bean said. “What do you really want?”

I felt my bottom lip trembling.

“Yes, that’s it,” she prodded. “Go ahead.”

“I . . . I wish Peter would pay more attention to me,” I blurted out.

There, I’d said it. Childish, selfish, and silly as it was, that was what I really wanted more than anything in the world. More than world peace.

“Now, doesn’t that feel better?” Mrs. Bean asked, dabbing my eyes with a handkerchief that smelled like baked goods.

“I guess,” I answered. “I’m really sorry—”

“Katy!”

Mrs. Bean and I both turned, startled, at the loud male voice. It was Peter.

“Uh, hi,” I said.

He barreled toward us, kicking things out of his way. Then he threw his arms around me and kissed me passionately.

“Well,” Mrs. Bean said with some embarrassment, “it seems your wish has come true.”

I couldn’t answer because Peter’s lips felt as if they were glued onto mine. I tried to push him away, but he wouldn’t stop. “Good heavens, Peter,” Mrs. Bean said at last. “Some restraint may be in order here.”

“I can’t help it, Mrs. Bean,” he said, crushing me against him. “I love her.”

“Er . . .” I began, but I could barely breathe, let alone talk.

“Well, all right.” Mrs. Bean looked uncertain. “But do you think you could demonstrate your affection elsewhere? I have customers waiting.” She steered Peter out of the tent, with me draped over his arm like a coat. “And perhaps you might tell Jonathan about the, ah, damage . . .”

As soon as we were outside, Peter bent me backward until I was nearly horizontal and kissed me again, his fingers clutching my hair.

“Oh, never mind,” Mrs. Bean said, trotting past us and waving to my family, who were all still nearby. “Jonathan!” she trilled, waving to the carnival hanyman. “I need some help with my tent!”

Jonathan strode over with his toolbox, glancing at Peter and me curiously as he entered Mrs. Bean’s tent. By this time Peter had released me from his embrace, but I knew I probably looked very weird, with wild hair and lipstick smeared all over my mouth, just like Peter’s. I could see my great-grandmother staring, horrified, at the two of us.

End of Excerpt

WISHES will be available for $1.99 at all e-retailers beginning April 29

Pre-Order Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks

World’s Biggest Bookstore Closes

March 30th marked the end of an era.

This past Sunday, the World’s Biggest Bookstore, located in Downtown Toronto, closed its doors for the last time.

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The once overflowing shelves laid barren, even a week before closing.

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Except for Chris Hadfield’s shelf. There were WAY too many copies of his book. (And sorry I didn’t tell all of you about the closing sale, I’m a horrible person, I know.)

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(Colourrsssss ~ There were a lot of these types of books, too.)

While technology can never truly replace print books, they are definitely moving in that direction. In our society, we rarely look at tradition. Instead, we focus on convenience: which one is lighter? what takes the least amount of time to pack? which one will I always have with me, no matter the size of my purse/bag? all in all, which one is more convenient?

Nothing beats a gook old, hard copy novel, but even I have to admit that I’m caving into the ways of technology. While reading books on my cell phone (despite it’s miniature screen) is more convenient, I enjoy reading hard copies more. Plus, authors get more from a hard copy (or at least I hope they do for the price I’m paying).

That’s another thing that’s lost in technology. A lot of people these days pirate movies and download illegal copies of books and cds for free, without giving anything to the author. This sucks, because really, authors put time, effort, and their heart into their books, and people take advantage of that. Authors are losing money, publishers are losing money, record artists, movie producers, studios – everyone in the Arts is LOSING MONEY. It’s great that you get to keep yours, but people do this for a living so you can enjoy it. So you can take a break from reality and step into someone else’s mind, even for just a moment. The least you can do is support them.

These days, so many things get lost because of technology: profits, tradition, appreciation; all for convenience.

The World’s Biggest Bookstore is now gone, that’s just one closure in the many to come. Buy books, support the author. Even if it is the ebook, it’s better than nothing. If you want anyone to keep writing to make a living (i.e. publish books for sale), then you have to show them that they are appreciated, that there is a demand. That in the end, they’re not doing this for nothing; they’re being heard.

This is the end of the era, but don’t let it be the end of a literary cultural tradition.

Disclaimer: I sound a lot smarter than I actually am (at least I think I do), but here it is in short: buy books. Ebooks, hard copies, even discounted novel. Anything and everything helps keep the industry alive and flourishing. Unless you want to see it all disappear, keep supporting authors and publishers alike.

All in all, do things the legal way.

Update: Chapters Festival Hall, another large store located in Downtown Toronto, has also announced that it was be closing – on May 30th, 2014.

Day 15: Your Favourite Type of Nonfiction Book.

I would have to say memoirs. Of the ones I’ve read, the authors tell their story in odd and quirky ways. Some of my favourites include:

10569Title: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Author: Stephen King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2195289Title: I Was Told There’d Be Cake
Author: Sloane Crosley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1044355Title: When You Are Engulfed In Flames
Author: David Sedaris

Aside from memoirs, Psychology pieces, texts, and books are also of interest to me.

Day 14: The Environment You Most Enjoy Reading In.

Honestly, I like reading everywhere. On the bus, in class, on the couch, when I’m on lunch at work, at my desk, before bed. Give me a book, and it won’t matter where I am, I’ll read it.

Generally, I have to read when I don’t have friends around. Physically or technologically. If I go on Skype, I’ll get distracted. If I’m reading on my phone, and trying to hold a conversation with my friends through text, yeah, the book’s not going to be read. Same with if I’m around friends. If I’m hanging out in my living room in residence, and they sit down near me, we’ll just start talking, whether it’s about the book in my hand, a class we had, or the newest k-pop scandal, again, there will be no reading done.

So environment wise, I guess any setting will do, but I just can’t be in a social environment (even when I’m alone, which is hard, darn technology). If I am with people and I need to get some reading down, then I’ll turn my music up and put my earphones in and read. Otherwise, I get distracted WAY too easily.

1280px-Inside_YRT

My bus !

sample-classroom

A classroom I frequent at UWaterloo

What’s environment do all of YOU like to read in ?

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