Friday, February 20, 2015

Coffee Date

So Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner had this post that I really liked titled If We Were Having Coffee..

She came up with the idea from Ashely at Your Super Awesome Life and I have to say that I really loved reading it.  I will be posting from time to time an if we were having coffee post just to let you all know what is going on in my life at the moment.

It's been over a year since I last did one of these and thought that it's been quite overdue. 

If we were having coffee...
I'd tell you that 2014 was full of ups and downs for me. We continued to try to conceive a baby and found out that IVF is our only option. IVF is incredibly expensive and we have been slowly saving. I am not going to lie, we are going to be shameless and fundraise. I don't know if this is considered tacky but if it gets me my dream then I'm willing to give it a go. We also had a few deaths in my husband's family. His younger cousin tragically died in August in a motorcycle accident. He was only 24 and it was quite a shock to all of us. Shortly after that, his grandfather went into the hospital and never made it home. To top this off, we found out my niece was not actually my brother's child. It is an extremely weird thing to be an aunt and then to not be an aunt. I have loved that little girl like you wouldn't believe since before she came into the world 2 years ago. There were a lot of legal things that went on and in the end my brother is now not involved with her. It was pretty unnerving but it's been since the end of September and slowly we are all healing. It's remarkable what people can go through and come out the other side. I keep thinking that while it doesn't make it easier in the moment, I know that I will be better for all of this. Don't get me wrong I'm not a very zen person and do my fair share of bitching and moaning but I am trying to learn how to enjoy the little moments a lot more. 

If we were having coffee... 
I'd tell you that my husband and I have been enjoying simple date nights again. What better way to enjoy each other's company than with a little Harry Potter movie marathon. For the last two weeks and into the next coming weeks, one weekend night is devoted to snuggling on the couch by the fire with some Kernels popcorn and watching one Harry Potter movie. I love introducing people to Hogwarts and I haven't seen the movies in ages. It's fun seeing the cast when they were so little. I mean look at Daniel Radcliffe now. It's also nice that we don't have to go out and spend a tonne of money to spend time together. 

If we were having coffee... 
I'd tell you that I have been struggling with friendships in my 30s. It's not that I don't have any friends or that I don't feel like I have enough. I would say that I have 3 main group of friends- my old high school girls, my husband's high school buddies (we went to the same high school but were in different groups) and my bookish peeps. When I was growing up I had a BFF. She was the bestest of friends and we spent so much time together. Probably too much time but at the time we didn't care. When I moved to Ottawa with only a year and half left of school left, we slowly drifted apart. This is one of the things I regret the most- losing touch with her- but it happens. Then I got a pretty close group of friends when I moved up here. As the years went on I found myself withdrawing at times because of my struggle with depression. And now that I am in the 30s everyone seems to have children which takes up a lot of time. That being said, I feel like I don't have a BFF, a good girlfriend that I can confide in. I feel like as you get older, friendships change and it's hard sometimes to come to terms with this. I find myself getting irrationally jealous of certain relationships that form around me. In turn, I feel insecure. As if there was something wrong with me for not being able to maintain something like this. Rationally I know that it doesn't mean my friends love me any less or that I'm any less valuable. It's just funny how these little nagging feelings can keep popping up. My bookish people, though many are much younger than me, are people that I truly enjoy spending time with. Having a shared passion for something can really bring people together. 

If we were having coffee... 
I'd tell you that I got a FitBit from my husband as a delayed Christmas gift. I am loving it. It's only been a week but it's definitely motivated me to get my ass outta the nice warm house and into some sub-arctic temperations. (Sidenote- WTF Mother Nature?!? What kind of sorcery is this -43 degree weather on a daily basis? My students need their outdoor recess so please figure out your shit. End rant.) I've been walking a lot more to try to get my goal of 10,000 steps each day. Last week I tipped the scales at 201 lbs. I HATE that I have let myself get to this weight and I want to do something about it. Since getting the FitBit I've lost 3 lbs so it's coming along slowly but surely. In high school was known as the skinny girl. I was 110 lbs (obviously not a healthy weight for a girl at 5'6) and so to me it's weird to be this big. I've never thought of myself as the big girl but it's getting to be that way. So,  I am making a change. If I know any of you and you have a FitBit let me know. I'd love to add you as a friend to help keep each other motivated. I need lots of prompting and support so I'm hoping this will keep me accountable. 

Well that's it's for now. I hope it wasn't too depressing. I have to admit that this time of year has always been a difficult one. It's when I seem to get my blahs the most and I need to remember to stay positive. I'd love to hear from you so don't forget to comment. 

Happy Reading! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

ARC Review: Her by Harriet Lane

Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publishing Date: January 6th, 2015
Genre: Adult, Suspense, Contemporary
Pages: 272 pgs
ISBN: 9780316369879
Source: received for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
You don't remember her--but she remembers you.
On the face of it, Emma and Nina have very little in common. Isolated and exhausted by early motherhood, Emma finds her confidence is fading fast. Nina--sophisticated, generous, effortlessly in control--seems to have all the answers.
It's easy to see why Emma is drawn to Nina. But what does Nina see in her?
A seemingly innocent friendship slowly develops into a dangerous game of cat and mouse as Nina eases her way into Emma's life. Soon, it becomes clear that Nina wants something from the unwitting Emma--something that might just destroy her.

My Review:

*** This book contains spoilers because I really don't know how to write this without truly discussing what happens ***

I am going to preface this review by saying that I very rarely give 1 star reviews. I usually try to keep an open mind about the book but I am finding it very difficult to do with this book. My friend Kim got me this book at BEA last June and the premise was intriguing. It is about a woman, Nina, who develops an unhealthy fascination with a young mother of two named Emma. It turns out that Nina knows Emma from a long time ago. Emma doesn't seem to recall Nina at all. 
Nina acts all creepazoid and starts doing some slightly inappropriate things like temporarily kidnap Emma's son in order to become to hero when she returns .
It is all kinds of bizarre and unsettling. 
Nina then goes on to befriend Emma in order to further try to fuck with her. Poor unsuspecting Emma is a mother of 2 who is exhausted and a little desperate for a new sparkling friend. This allows Nina to swoop in and cause drama. 
While all this is going on it is entertaining but you are left thinking- what horrible thing has Emma done to Nina to make Nina so nutso. What struck me as odd was that if Emma did something so bad then wouldn't she remember Nina? I mean I have people I haven't seen since high school and I still recognize them when I see them. It was just a little odd. 
It was entertaining to read and the book kept you reading because you wanted to find out what the catalyst in the relationship between the two was. Imagine my surprise when we find out the reason Nina hates Emma so much is so miniscule and ludicrous that it just didn't make any sense. To top it all off the book just ends in the middle of the climax. Psycho Nina decides to try to drown Emma's child. Like are you freaking kidding me? It ends with the insinuation that Emma's little boy is in the pool. Maybe dead? Maybe not? Did Nina do it? It just ends. I literally threw this book across the room. You can't end a book like this!! The whole thing just felt so odd and nothing is resolved. I say skip this book. It is not worth the $30 hardcover price that's for sure. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Chidrens Books
Publishing Date: August 14th, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary/Mystery
Pages: 336 pgs
ISBN: 9781471119163
Source: Borrowed from the library

Summary from Goodreads:
It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder...? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together- a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces. 

My Review:

Well I LOVED Dangerous Girls and thought that it was a book that too many people didn't read. I may have pushed it on a couple people and I had high hopes for this book. I was sad that it wasn't being published in Canada but that was soon squashed because I found a copy at my local library. Yay libraries! 
I read this book fairly quickly like I did Dangerous Girls but it did not live up to my expectations. This book follows two brothers vying for the same girl. At the beginning of the novel there is a fire and only one brother survives so you spend the whole story trying to figure out which brother survived and what exactly is going on. 
The buildup of this novel was nothing like the first book. This was seemed a little lackluster and definitely not as intense. It's not that I wasn't interested in what was going to happen next because I kept reading and reading quickly but I wasn't on the edge of my seat. 
I do like Haas' writing because it flows so well and the characters are interesting. For this reason, while I was reading it I was interested. 
Now that a few weeks has passed since I've read this book it's difficult to remember much. It's just not a story that sticks out in my mind. I'd say it's fun to read while reading it but doesn't leave a lasting impression. It's worth checking out especially if you read Dangerous Girls but if you had to choose one go for Dangerous Girls. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review: Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher:  Washington Square Press
Publishing Date: July 9th, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Pages: 352 pgs
ISBN: 9781476712826
Source: Bought at Chapters

Summary from Goodreads:
Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year's Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn't expected to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they've eloped.
Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met- and who doesn't even know Elsie exists.
Interweaving Elsie and Ben's charmed romance with Elsie and Susan's healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there's more than one way to find a happy ending. 

My Review:

I read After I Do by the same author, I knew that I had to read her backlist. Reid writes books that I feel that I can relate to as a 30 something and a married woman. Many of my book people are single twenty-somethings and don't read many books like this so I have to admit that after reading Forever, Interrupted I wanted to talk about it with someone. Unfortunately no one I know personally has read this wonderful story. The story is a bit of an emotional one (yes, there were tears), about a woman named Elsie who falls in love and gets married very quickly to Ben. They eloped and so his family knows nothing about her when he dies suddenly about a week into their marriage. The book is set in two different times- the time of romance and the grieving time. It goes back and forth between the two and it was kind of nice to see the progression of their relationship even though the book opens up with Ben's death. I almost feel like Elsie's character was like 2 different characters in one because inevitably with a huge loss there is change. I couldn't even fathom losing my husband and being widowed. I think this would be especially difficult without children in the picture. I would almost question if any of it had happened; like there was nothing there to prove it. Elsie doesn't even have a marriage certificate in this book. 
This book is so raw and no holds barred. Reid is not afraid to show loss in all its glory. It is not pretty and it is selfish and exclusive of the world around you. When you are dealing with loss you are introspective at the expense of everything else. Sometimes this makes you want to shake Elsie but when you put yourself in her mind space you can completely understand it and in that way it realistic. It's also slightly terrifying if you ask me. 
I also liked seeing Elsie's relationship with her mother-in-law. As you can imagine there is some tension there considering the MIL had no knowledge of Elsie. Their interactions are great to read and you can't help but cheer them on. You want them to become family. 
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. And by enjoy I mean that it made me hysterically cry and have a headache for much of the day. I say a day because that's how long it took me to read. One day going into the wee hours of the morning. I would say that I liked After I Do more than this one but this one is almost as great. Please go pick it up!