Thursday, November 17, 2016

Writer's Workshop - Haiku

Write a haiku about something you're thankful for.

It's been forever since I joined MamaKat and her Writer's Workshop. It's about time, isn't it? But I couldn't think of one thing I was thankful for. So I had a little fun.

A cappuccino
Creamy, cinnamon and hot
Frothy designs on the top.

A bottle of red
Let’s get this weekend started
My glass is empty

True friendship is seen
In the darkest of hours
That leads you to hope.

He bought me chocolate
Creamy smooth, yummy goodness
Now that is true love

Friday, November 4, 2016

Meet Shelina

It's been ages since I've blogged. It's hight time I return. I do miss blogging. And so I've decided to share with you, some of the important people in my life. People other than Scott and Ethan, whom you all know.

This gorgeous lady is my first cousin, Shelina.  I have many. Possibly too many. But she's an important one. The thing is, when I was growing up we weren't close. She was a teenager and I was a child. What could we possibly have in common? Then she went off to university, met the man of her dreams, got married and had kids (you'll meet them later). 

I recall her and her husband taking my brother out to the Ex in Toronto. He would win all kinds of stuffed animals for us. We always had a blast with them.

But over the last few years, we've gotten closer. Her whole family has been great with Ethan, Scott and I. We look forward to seeing them when we go home. It's one of our highlights. 

She's someone who I can sit around the kitchen table with and pour my heart out.
She's someone who I can sir around the kitchen table with and we say nothing.
She's someone I can tell my hopes and dreams to.
She's someone who will listen to my fears and never judge.
She's always there.

She's got 3 amazing, all grown up, kids. And I'm often envious of the relationship between the two sisters. But then I realized, I have a sister too. 

Thanks Shelina for always being there. It's great to know 

Monday, October 24, 2016

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry - Fredrik Backman

In February, I read and fell in love with Fredrik Backman's book, A Man Called Ove. It was one of those extremely heart warming books that made you laugh, cry, and feel.

So when I found out there was another book by the same author, I had to go for it.

Elsa is an incredible 7-year old. I call her incredible. The school and everyone else calls her different. Her best, and only friend is her 77-year old grandmother. Her grandmother is a no-nonsense, tough as nails, don't-you-dare-hurt-my-granddaughter kind of woman. She helps Elsa cope with being different by taking her to the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everyone is different and no one is normal.

But then, Elsa's grandmother dies. She leaves behind a letter for Elsa to deliver, and let's her know it's part of a treasure hunt. What ensues is Elsa learning about those around her. She learns about herself and her grandmother. She meets wonderful, incredible people. Some she likes, some she does not.

Ethan has just finished reading the Land of Stories series, and has returned to Harry Potter. I mention this, because the fairy tales Elsa and her grandmother share are lovely. And Elsa is obsessed with Harry Potter. She even judges people who have never read Harry Potter. "There are no photos here, as there were in the woman's flat. Only books. "You got any good ones, then?" she asks, scanning the shelves. "I don't know what you think is good," the woman answers carefully. "Do you have any Harry Potters?" "No." "Not even one?" Elsa asks, incredulous. "No." "You have all these books and not a single Harry Potter? And they let you fix people whose heads are broken?"

".....Elsa had grown conscious of the fact that the girl hadn't read Harry Potter at all. She knew who he was, of course, everyone knows who Harry Potter is, but she hadn't read the books....And while Elsa didn't want to be elitist or anything, how could one be expected to reason with a person like that? Muggles."

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Angels' Share - J.R. Ward

I grew up watching Dynasty and Dallas with my mother. Which is why I'm probably drawn to this series. It has all the elements of the eighties soap operas; money, greed, betrayal, love addiction and murder.

Yes, murder.

What was a suspected suicide, now hints to murder. As the investigation deepens, Lane worries it may have been Edward. He's also trying to get to the bottom of the family's finances and what his father did. His divorce continues to be messy, his brother, Maxwell returns and his sister, Gin is marrying a scum of a man. Yes, the man has his hands full. It's a good thing he has Lizzie by his side.

Edward's story is what I loved the most in The Angels' Share. We see his softer side and our hearts break along with his.

Just like the first book, we're left hanging. Kind of like those 80s soaps. You know, the end of season cliffhanger. But instead of waiting until the end of summer, we have to wait a year to find out who really did it!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sisterhood Everlasting - Ann Brashares

I remember reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in my early twenties. I really enjoyed the series. I liked the idea of these four lifelong friends and their connection. And when book 4 came to an end, I was ok with that. I was even ok with how the movie version put books 2-4 into one movie.

And then I saw this. Sisterhood Everlasting takes place ten years later. The girls are almost thirty. I guess that means they are no longer girls. Lena lives a solitude life. She teaches. She paints. She pines over her lost love. Bree is still the fun loving girl who needs to move. A lot. Carmen is a famous actress living in New York engaged to, well... let's be honest, he's an arse. And Tibby. Well two years ago Tibby and Brian moved to Australia. She hasn't been in touch much. And this brings sadness to everyone. Even the reader.

But then, our three friends receive a letter from Tibby. She has arranged a trip for them all to Greece. Just like they had done ten years ago. Each girl is excited for the same, but different reasons. And our friends' lives are utterly changed by what happens in Greece.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But what happens in Greece alters the lives of our four friends.

I'll admit, I was a little weary of reading this book, no matter how excited I was. Reunion books can sometimes let you down. But I devoured this one. I loved it. Maybe it's because of the week I've had. But this book seemed perfect to me.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Curse of Tenth Grave - Darynda Jones

Our favourite Grimm Reaper/Private Investigator is back. And by back, I mean Charley has regained her memory and is back home with her loved ones. And her not so loved ones.

Charley is back at work, aiding a man wrongfully arrested for murder. She's out to find out the reason behind a "curse" that has children falling ill and dying at an orphanage. She's plotting a way to get Beep back. She's trying to figure out how to trap not one, but three malevolent god.

Yes, our dear Charley is back. And better than ever!

An Author's Odyssey - Chris Colfer

An Author's Odyssey is book five in Chris Colfer's Land of Stories series. When the series first began, he brought us to the land of fairy tales. Slowly, he introduced other elements of literature, that gets one excited, not just about his books, but for the literature that exists.

In this one, we see a combination of our favourite fairy tales characters, some literary characters and now Connor has brought his own characters to life. A character who creates characters! Gotta love it!!

When we last saw our heroes, the Masked Man had gathered all the most villainous villains for modern day literature to take over the Fairy World. Connor realizes that the way to fight the Masked Man's army is to gather one of his own, from his own short stories. So he and Alex set out to enter the world of Connor's imagination and bring these characters to life, to fight the battle to end all battles.

The bulk of this book is spent with Connor entering his stories and we see more of his growth. He is no longer the lazy boy from book 1. We also see Alex soften a little. She was always, to me, the "chosen one". She was a gifted student. She became an apprentice to the fairy godmother and then one herself. I don't think she ever truly appreciated Connor or noticed his qualities. I also loved how their mother and step-father were willing to babysit all the characters as Connor brought them home.

Now to wait another year before the battle begins....

Blood Ecstasy - Tessa Dawn

Tessa Dawn has created a fabulous world filled with vampires, good and bad, and she never fails to disappoint.

In Blood Ecstasy we meet Julien Lacusta, Master Warrior in the House of Jadon. But he is also troubled. Haunted by the dreams of his brother killing his mother, and he not having done anything to save her, he turns to heroin. Yes, that's right. A vampire on drugs!

Rebecca Johnston has demons of her own. She's running away from her stalker ex-boyfriend and lives her life in fear.

Meeting a drugged out warrior vampire who claims to be your destiny is not exactly something she wants in her calm life.

Can you blame her?

While Julien fights his inner demons and comes to terms with the return of his "Dark" brother,  Rebecca fights her attraction to another bad boy.

Can they find their way to each other and not let their own demons get the better of them?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Return to the Isle of the Lost - Melissa de la Cruz

On our way back from Vegas, Ethan saw this book at the airport and asked if I'd buy it for him. After reading it, he asked me to please read it too. Who am I to refuse?

This is definitely a book for the young. It takes place after the Disney Movie, The Descendants.

Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay have found their place in Auradon. They are good. They are happy. They are settled.

But then, each of them receive strange messages telling them to return to the Isle. Upon their return, they learn of a group called the Anti-Heroes who believe that just because their parents were evil, they are not destined to follow this path. But there are also those who want evil to prevail.

Our four friends are set on a quest within the Endless Catacombs of Doom. They are each tasked with finding their parent's talisman to prevent them from returning to power. Each task forces them to face their true fears. The doubts they have about who they are and what they are.

For the pre-teen Disney fan, it's a great book that continues the story of the children of villains. And if they saw the movie, it's an extension to the story.

Morning Star - Pierce Brown

I absolutely loved Golden Son and was utterly heartbroken with it's ending. I was so invested in Darrow, that I could not handle how it ended, I needed a break before starting Morning Star. And even once I started it, I had to go about it slowly, doing the whole Friends-Joey-book-in-freezer thing. But I plowed through. I survived the many heart attacks it provided. And I'm so happy I did.

When we last saw Darrow, he had been captured. Betrayed. All was lost. We begin Morning Star not shortly after this. Oh no. But almost a year later. Yes, that's right. For almost a year our dear Darrow has been tortured!

But finally, he is saved. And once this happens, our story begins.

Just like the others books, this one is filled with action. We have war, loss, betrayal. We have family, love and reunions. We see Darrow struggle with what he still wants to fight for, with his own struggle of whether or not he is worthy.

The Beast - JR Ward

Ok, ok, I know, I know. I read this ages ago, but got a little lazy with my blog writing. Time to catch up.

The Beast is all about Rhage and Mary. Yes, they got their HEA, but that doesn't mean their story has ended. It continues. It grows.

This is probably one of The WARDen's most predictable books, but it is wonderful nonetheless.

This is a book that will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you sigh. It is funny, sexy and heartwarming.

Rhage contains the beast. He's a Brother. A fighter. But there's something that causes him to feel insecure. He makes a stupid choice that nearly costs him his life, and he's fully aware of what he did.

Mary is his beloved shellan. If/when Rhage passes, she will join him into the Fade. That was the deal they made with the Scribe. But when it looks like his time has come, Mary fights to keep him, because there's a part of her that needs to stay here.

Both feel guilty over their decision. And they need to learn how to find their way back to each other. They learn what's missing and how to fix it.

And while I love their story, let's not forget the others. We learn more about Assail and OMG, I love him! There's more to V, and who doesn't want more of him.

The only downside, is I'm not a Layla fan, and this book made me dislike her even more. But have no fear, I'll still read The Chosen when it comes out.

Leap of Faith - Jamie Blair

I am a huge Dawn Rae Miller fan. So much so, that I stalk her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I giggle anytime she comments on one of my Twitter or Instagram posts.

She co-wrote a new series I'm enjoying, with Jamie Blair. I had never heard of Jamie Blair. But then I learnt that she wrote one of my favourite characters from that book, so I had to read something of hers.

She's amazing. She sent me a copy of Leap of Faith so I could read one of her books. It's gotten mixed reviews on Goodreads, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Leap of Faith doesn't have a slow beginning. The action starts right away. Your emotions are tested right away.

Faith is 17 and lives with her awesome sister and horrible mother. Her mother agrees to be a surrogate for some shady people, and really doesn't take care of herself. Faith decides she needs to save this baby. So when her sister is born, Faith takes her and is on the run.

She becomes 19 year old teenager mom Leah. And she finds what she's never had before. A family. People who care for one another. People who look out for one another. It's like a dream.

What I love the most about Dawn Rae Miller is her ability to make you connect to her characters. And Blair has that same, or maybe better, ability. The whole time I read this book, I wanted to give Faith/Leah a hug. I wanted to tell her not to worry. I wanted to help ease her pain.

Thank you for not just a great read, but for sharing it with me.

Settling In

A few years ago, my dad bought a new condo for him and my mum. He loved this place. It's lovely. I love it too. However, I'll admit, I was sad when he bought it. It meant selling the previous one. The one at Parkway Forest Drive.

Now, the apartment itself at Parkway Forest, was not anything special. But what it did for my family is magical.

When my parents immigrated to Canada, they bought a place here. It was home. Not just to them, and to me when I was born, but to everyone in the family. When the troubles in East Africa began, my father helped his family come to Canada and settle. And when they came, they spent some time at Parkway Forest. I haven't met a family member that doesn't have some memory of that place.

My dad's eldest brother passed away this past week. Everyone's in Canada, and I'm heading there. I honestly don't think it's hit me yet, since I'm not there. But ever since I found out what happened, I cannot help but think of my dad and the apartment.

My dad loved his family. He believed it is our duty to take care of one another. He moved to Canada and until the day he died, he tried to help his family and take care of them.

I can't help but think, "damn dad! You went first to set up a place for everyone." My dad has gotten his own Parkway Forest and was ready for when my uncle joined him this weekend. My dad is there to help him settle. 

I know it sounds lame, but it brings me comfort. It makes me feel better about not just my dad's passing two years ago, but also that of my uncle's this past weekend.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Things I Don't Understand

I'll be honest. For the last week, E and I have been in the city. The TV isn't working at the condo, and we've been out and about that my "catching up" with social media has been limited. I've kinda been living in a bubble for the past week, and kept hearing things, but didn't really pay attention. I often like to joke about "ignorance is bliss", but really, it isn't, so last night I caught up on what everyone's been talking about.

I like to be honest with Ethan. I let him know what facts are and what my opinions are, and I'll even admit to him when there's nothing to back up my opinions. Like every other mother, I want my child to grow up to be kind, intelligent, caring.... But last night, I worried more about the kind of world my son will have, that the kind of person he'll be in it.

Like every other mother, I try to help my child understand things. And those who know me, know I add a little sarcastic flair, every now and then. If he has a question I cannot answer, I'll tell him that, and we try to google it.

But what happens when I don't understand something? Seriously.

Here are the things I do not understand:

* I do not understand how a man can be openly racist and sexist, make fun of the disabled and yet still be considered to be a potential world leader.

* I do not understand how a man can brutally rape a woman, feel remorse over drinking and partying, but not for his actions, and be told "no jail for you, you've been through enough".

* I do not understand how a man can walk into a nightclub, shoot a bunch of people, and instead of being concerned about how he got a hold of these weapons, we discuss his race and religion.

* I do not understand how police offers can sit on a man, and still feel "threatened" enough to shoot him dead.

* I do not understand why police officers would feel the need to shoot a man in front of a 4-year old child.

* I do not understand why terrorist groups are called religious groups. Doesn't all religion promote love, forgiveness and understanding?

* I do not understand why terrorist groups feel the need to kill everyone. No seriously. What's the point? To show you can? Really?

* I do not understand how governments can be so bad that their people need to flee to feel safe. And then, instead of being welcomed by other humans and being treated like ...humans... they are met with anger and fear. Why would they risk their lives to leave a place of war, if what they wanted was to cause... war?

I want my child to grow up to be kind, openminded, loving, intelligent. I want my child to care for others. But how is that possible when the world around him is filled with so much hate?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Father's Day Interview

For the last few years, on Father's Day, I interview Ethan to see how much he knows about his father. As he gets older, the answers are closer to the truth. At one point, Ethan claimed his dad was as tall as a giraffe! 

This year, Ethan showed off his humourous side. He could not stop laughing when answering some of these.

What is something Daddy always says to you?
"Sit up straight."

What makes Daddy happy?
When I sit up straight.

What makes him sad?
When I don't sit up straight.

(I'm seeing a pattern here.)

What does he do that makes you laugh?
 He makes funny jokes. 

He shouts at people in the car.

What was he like as a child?


How old is Daddy?

I remember on his birthday we changed the candles around and said he was 84!

How tall is he?
I'm not sure.

What is his favourite thing to do?


What does he do when you're not around?

Watch sports.

If Daddy was famous, what would it be for?
Shouting at people in the car.

(Apparently you can be famous for that!)

What is he really good at?
(Let me guess....)
Shouting at people in the car!
(yup, thought so!)

What is he not really good at?
Not yelling at people when in the car.

(Bet you guessed that one too.)

What does he do for his job?
Truck shipping!

Yeah, truck shipping.

What is Daddy's favourite food?


What makes you proud of him?
He has a good job.

If Daddy was a cartoon character, who would he be?
Donald the Duck
Not Donald the Duck,
Just Donald Duck. 

What do you and Daddy do together?
We watch sports.
(And apparently that's what he does when Ethan's not around too.)

How are you and Daddy the same?
We come from the same family.
No, we have the same mommy.
No....we have the same lady.

(Lady??? WTH???)

How are you different?
I'm young, he's old.

How do you know he loves you?

He kisses me.

Where is Daddy's favourite place to go?
Definitely not to work....

Happy Father's Day Scott. Thanks for being an awesome dad!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Second Life - SJ Watson

Meet Julia.

She's a photographer. She takes portraits, although once, she took photographs as a form of art and expressing herself.

She's married to a wonderful husband. But she's remembering a lot about a past love.

She was once very close to her sister. But over the last few years, they've grown apart.

And then her sister is murdered. Julia visits her sister's roommate and learns more about Kate than she thought she would. She now feels compelled to "help" solve the murder.

Kate was involved in online "dating", so Julia goes online, in hopes of learning more about her sister, and possibly what happened to her. But the more she digs, the more she's dragged into this new life. This second life.

Now Julia finds herself leading two separate lives. She's loosing control of her real life. And is she really any closer to learning the truth?

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Wave - Todd Strasser

I don't think I ever read this book in school. I do remember seeing my high school put on a stage production of this. I'm not sure what made me think of it, but thought I'd give it a try.

The Wave is based on a true incident that occurred in a history class in Palo Alto, California in 1969.

Ben Ross is a high school, teacher at Gordon High School. He shows his students a video of Hitler as part of their studies on WWII. His students are mortified. They cannot understand how everyone accepted this view. They question how this could happen. They are convinced, it could never happen again.

So the next day, Ben introduces his students to discipline. And strength. And later action. He creates a symbol (the wave) and even has a salute. Soon, his students are recruiting new members. While they are disciplined and getting through their work, they are starting the threaten those that do not want to be a part of their group. They are excluding others. They have... become what they felt would never happen.

While not the best books ever written, the idea and what occurs is not just something you can see, it's something that is happening. It's something to be concerned about.

Moral of the story; if in your heart it feels wrong, then it is wrong.

Murder Madness Such Sweet Sadness - Jamie Blair & Dawn Rae Miller

I had a fabulous weekend. We saw some animals, and I got a lot of reading done. Murder Madness Such Sweet Sadness was the perfect book to read. It's funny, thrilling, mysterious. and an easy read for the weekend.

MMSSS begins with Val in jail. She's spent a week here. She's been arrested for the murder of Jackson. But after a week, she is set free. And Jackson's murderer continues to walk free.

Val, Haddie, Reggie, and Livie. Four girls, who seem to have nothing in common. Well other than they were all involved with Jackson. Oh, and they all have secrets they would prefer were kept that way.

But suddenly there's the appearance of The Fifth. She knows their secrets and is happy to share them with everyone. The girls are now thrown together to discover who The Fifth is. They are determined to find Jackson's killer. And to keep their secrets safe.

What can I say, other than I loved this! It's one of those fun books. You laugh with them. Roll your eyes at their utter stupidity. You also wonder who the real killer is; Marucs? (But he gets killed. Spoiler alert) Livie's mom? Haddie's dad? Val's boyfriend (Bet you didn't think of that one!) The Fifth?

Golden Son - Pierce Brown

Ok, I'm still heartbroken over the ending, so I'll be keeping this one short.

Golden Son is part two of the Red Rising series. Darrow is now part of the Golds, the ruling class, but his enemies are out to get him.

Darrow is forced to betray friends, confide in friends, and make friends with the enemy. He is torn between his love for Eo, and his new love for his friends and Mustang.

This book is  heart wrenching. It will tear you in all directions. These are not characters in a book. They are real.

And once I've recovered, I'll pick up the final book and see how it all ends.

Wish me luck.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Birthday Tradition

When Ethan was 8 months old, I ordered a birthday present, online, for Scott. The week before his birthday, it hadn't arrived, and I panicked. Scott's first year as a dad, and no gift? That can't happen! So I bought a kanga (African printed fabric) and had a shirt made for him. There was some fabric left over, so I had one made for Ethan too. On the day of Scott's birthday, I dressed Ethan in his new shirt, and presented Scott with his.

It began with this.

And a tradition was born!

Every year since then, on Scott's birthday, the boys have matching shirts. This year, is the 10th year we've done this, so I thought I'd share the evolution of shirts.








And this year's shirts.....

Happy birthday Scott. Thanks for being an amazing husband, father, human being!!!