10/30/14

Life of a Blogger - Hallowe'en


My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat runs this awesome feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

Hallowe'en has changed for us over the past couple of years.  When we first met, we dressed up to answer the door for trick-or-treaters (see the pic below), but only had five kids come to the door, so we haven't done that since then.  We hosted Hallowe'en parties for a couple of years, and then went out to parties for the next few years.


Marko's not quite old enough to really participate in Hallowe'en, so last year we spent the evening at a friend's house, handing out candy.  Both our boys were six-ish months old, so we dressed them up anyways, just for fun.

This year, we'll likely go check out the Hallowe'en activities our local mall.  Marko has some Superman pajamas, which will be cute.

The biggest Hallowe'en change for me is that I will be dressing up for work!  Years ago, when I worked in retail, I used to LOVE dressing up for work.  The whole staff would be in costume and we'd have trick-or-treaters coming through the mall.  Then, at my last office job, NO ONE dressed up.  I did the first year, and felt like a goof for being the only one in costume, so I stopped after that.  This year, however, our whole office is on board, which is super fun.  There's three of us at the front desk, and we decided to do a group costume: The Three Blind Mice!  It's going to be fun, which is yet another reason to add to the list of why I love my new job so very, very much!

What about you?  What are your Hallowe'en plans?  Leave me a comment below and hope you all have a very happy Hallowe'en!

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10/27/14

Marko Monday [12]

It's been a long, long time since I've done one of these posts -- long overdue!  Marko has been a reading machine over the past few months, and loves to cuddle up on the couch after a long day at daycare and just read through piles of his favourite books.  He'll often read on his own, babbling the storyline to himself, using the same voice intonations that my husband and I do while reading the same book.  It's quite cute how he imitates the way we read aloud.  I know in my heart that Marko is well on his way to becoming a reader!

His adores puppies at the moment, whether his plastic Scooby Doo from Wendy's, a stuffed puppy puppet or pictures of puppies in his books.  Sandra Boynton's books have been favourites of his for a while now, but Snuggle Puppy currently tops the list!  I read it in a sing-song voice, which he loves.  The final pages of the story include one page of whispered singing and the final page is supposed to be shouted.  At the end, he covers his mouth with his little hands to hide his huge grin, and then says, "A funny!"  I love that he's finding humour in the pages of the story.






Marko's just starting to pose for pictures, rather than grabbing at the phone.  My sister-in-law snapped this shot a month or so ago, and it's been one of my favourites ever since!


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10/26/14

On Looking at the Glass Half Full

In light of the drama that exploded all over the internet last weekend, I thought I'd share a positive, upbeat post.  In addition to suffering from bookish guilt, I think that we sometimes have a tendency to gravitate towards the negative aspects of reading ... so here's a look at the glass half full.

Omigosh, my TBR pile is ridiculous!
Hey, I'll never run out of amazing books to read!

It seems like every blogger except me got a copy of that ARC!
I'll be diving into that world for the first time, when every other blogger is wishing that they could experience the book for the very first time.

These review copy deadlines are killing me!
I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to read and generate bookish buzz for these upcoming titles.

I need to go on a book buying ban because I own more books than I'll ever read!
If the zombie apocalypse actually happens, I'll be happy to lock my doors, read and wait for the cure.

Do you have any bookish positive affirmations to add to this list?  Let me know in the comments below!     

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10/23/14

Life of a Blogger - Origin of My Name


My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat runs this awesome feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

Today's topic is the origin of my name.  Ever since I saw this topic show up on the list of upcoming Life of a Blogger posts, I've been excited to share mine!  I can't wait to read the origins of everyone else's names too -- this is a topic that has always intrigued me.

So, my first name, obviously, is Melissa.  My parents were watching Little House on the Prairie one night and liked Melissa Gilbert's name, so they chose Melissa based on the actress.  Even though my name came from a TV show, it was based on a series of books -- so I like to think that I've been bookish since before birth!

Then, for a middle name, my mom wanted to use Ann, since that's her middle name, but she always liked the spelling from Anne of Green Gables better than her own spelling.  So, she gave me the middle name Anne -- adding a second bookish name to the mix!

I've always liked that my two names, Melissa Anne, are bookish in origin ... my destiny has always been to become a reader!

How about you?  What's the origin of your name?  Leave me a comment below!

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10/19/14

Book Haul [13]

Holy moly -- I can't believe that it's been two whole months since my last book haul!  Here's what I've added to my shelves over the past couple of months...






Thrift Store Finds:

A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
Shadow of Night - Deborah Harkness
Lauren @ Lose Time Reading's love of these books is infectious, and we have similar reading tastes so I'm pretty sure I'm going to love the series too.  Hence why I bought TWO books in the series, even though I haven't read the first one yet!

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein
This book has RAVE reviews all over the place, and Marko loves looking at the puppy on the cover!  He keeps pulling it off the shelf, saying, "PUPPY! PUPPY!"

The Birth House - Ami McKay
A long time ago, I was chatting on Twitter with a few bloggers about amazing adult titles, and Lauren recommended this one.  It has been on my TBR wishlist for a long, long time!  I love that it's a Canadian story, and hope my heart can handle the pregnancy/birth parts of the story.

The Last Letter from Your Lover - Jojo Moyes
Ummm, it's Jojo Moyes, so I HAD to buy it.  I was surprised to see that the thrift store actually had THREE copies of this book -- when I buy a Jojo book, I hold onto it forever and ever and ever!  The premise sounds super interesting: it's another past-present story, like The Girl You Left Behind, which I LOVED. 

For Review:

All My Puny Sorrows - Miriam Toews
I actually received a finished copy of this book from Random House a few months ago, but I forgot to include it in a haul post.  It's a sister story, so I'm sure I'll read it this fall or winter.  I loved A Complicated Kindness when I read it years ago, and I've heard that Miriam's writing just gets better and better with each book.

Adult Onset - Ann-Marie MacDonald
When I received an e-mail from Random House and saw that this book was on the forthcoming titles for September list, I honestly got all choked up.  Ann-Marie is one of my all-time favourites, insta-buy, love forever authors.  I have read, and loved, both Fall on Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies, and have been waiting since 2003 for a new book!  Long overdue, Ms. MacDonald, and I can't wait to dive into this one.  My hubby and I are planning our first night away together to celebrate our anniversary in December, so I think I'm going to wait and savour this one at our spa day!




A Cold Legacy - Megan Shepherd
I liked, but didn't love the first two books in the series, but couldn't pass up the pretty cover when I saw this up on Edelweiss.  Might as well finish off the series, since I've invested so much time in it!

 

The Assassin's Blade - Sarah J. Maas
A month or so ago, Lauren @ Lose Time Reading and I decided to take the plunge and start reading the Throne of Glass series together, but we decided to start with the novellas, so I downloaded this one on my Kobo.  I LOVED it -- we're now onto the first book in the series!

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10/16/14

Life of a Blogger - Favourite Toys


My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat runs this awesome feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

Today's topic is favourite toys.  After the post on most prized possession a few weeks ago, I was intrigued by the fact that I saw a few favourite childhood toys make the cut for most prized possession.  I hadn't even THOUGHT to include something like that, even though most of my childhood toys are still back home with my mom.  For today's post, I've decided to list them for you!  Here goes...
  • Daddy Rabbit is a pink bunny, who has lost a lot of fur on his nose from so many kisses.  His ears used to stand up too, but they long since started to droop.  I've had him since I was born.
  • Mummy Teddy (can you tell that I'm super creative with names?) is a brown teddy that I've also had since I was born.  She's got that fur that you can tell used to be soft, but is now scratchy because she's been in the washing machine one too many times.
  • Miss Bunny is a knitted rabbit that my grandma made for me when I was about two or three.  She has a few knitted outfits, including hats that have holes for her ears and little shorts that go under her dress that has a hole for her tail.  Yes, my bunny wears booty shorts.
  • Puppy is a little brown dog that has a bell inside.  We were inseparable when I was younger.  My dad fondly tells stories of me asking to bring Puppy along when we went out and he'd agree, provided that I carried Puppy the entire time.  I'd always solemnly promise that I would, only to ask my dad halfway into our journey if he would mind carrying Puppy for a little while.
What about you?  What were some of your favourite toys growing up?  Leave me a comment or a link to your post below!

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10/15/14

Rabbit Ears - Maggie De Vries

This is a book that was really hard to read, and is equally hard to review.  It's a sad story and heart-wrenchingly true.

The story centres around Kaya, an adopted girl who is struggling to find where she fits into the world.  During her search, she stumbles into a network of people in the Downtown Eastside and a world of sex, drugs and prostitution.  It's a dark, downward spiral and results in a book that physically hurt my heart.  Kaya's character is based on the author's sister, a woman who disappeared from the Downtown Eastside and her body was found years later on Robert Pickton's farm.  This farm, which is a five-minute drive from where I live, was the scene of a gruesome police investigation as investigators located the remains of over 30 women that had all disappeared from the Downtown Eastside, a less desirable section of downtown Vancouver where drugs abound and many people live on the street.  It's the darker side of my otherwise beautiful city, but it's a harsh reality for many people.

Rabbit Ears is told in alternate points of view, between Kaya and her sister Beth.  What I loved most about this story is that Kaya's points of view are told in second person, so it's like her sister telling Kaya's story too.  This makes sense because it's like Maggie telling her own sister's tale, and adds that air of chilling truth to the storytelling.

All in all, this book really resonated with me because it, quite literally, hits close to home.  It's not an easy story to read, but definitely a well-told fictional memoir.

Note: I received an e-galley of this book from Edelweiss.  The fact that I received a copy of this book for free did not influence my review in any way.


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