Friday, 29 June 2018

June Book Review

Wow!  What a month for books.  I read 7 books this month and they were all amazing!  How did I read 7 books?  I picked good ones.  Books that I wasn't able to put down.  And I read all the time.  We had a rainy camping weekend, I read in the trailer, I read outside, I read on the drive there and home.  I didn't watch TV, I read.  I didn't take care of my kids, I read.  Just kidding...kind of.  

The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

I loved this book!  It got me intrigued from the get go and I basically read the whole thing on a Sunday morning.  This is a thriller/mystery type, but is more detective based than Girl on the Train type of thing.

It's about a couple who go to a dinner party next door (in a semi-detached house) and leave their baby sleeping at home.  When they get home their baby is gone.  This book follows the mystery of what happened and who took the baby.

My first thought when I read the premise of this book was "who leaves their baby home alone?"  but luckily they dealt with that right from the beginning.  They did leave their baby home alone but also acknowledged that it was a stupid thing to at least that didn't annoy me throughout the entire book.

The Sleeping Beauty Killer (Under Suspicion, #4)
The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

I have read these books out of order, which isn't ideal, but it still works.  These books follow Laurie Moran as she is a creating a reality tv show that is essentially about a cold case.  It's always nice to have characters that you like and get to know and I like when they are carried on throughout a series.  I would say I liked this book more than I have liked some of the other books in the series. 

I was also curious about Mary Higgins Clark's co-writer and how that worked.  So I will share that knowledge!   From what I have gathered, the two writers meet to discuss the book.  Alafair Burke then actually writes the book, and after every version, Mary Higgins Clark goes over it and makes notes and adjustments.  Mary Higgins Clark is 90 years old!  So the fact that she's still involved in these books at all is amazing!  I find the books follow her style, but feel a bit more updated and would bring in more modern aspects (like Uber in this case) that Mary Higgins Clark might not have brought in if she was writing it on her own.

In a Dark, Dark Wood

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Another book that I loved!  This is actually Ruth Ware's first book, but I had read The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game first.  I read this book very quickly as well.  It's about a girl who is invited to her old best friend's "hen" night (or a bachelorette party for us Canadians).  She hadn't spoken to her friend in 10 years so was a bit confused about the invite but went anyways.  They go to a glass house in the woods and from there some weird things start to happen.  I think that Ruth Ware develops her characters really well which makes the books so great.

Let's all just take a minute to thank Gone Girl for bringing to our attention this genre of book, because they are great reads!
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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I read this book for a new book club that I've joined.  I was actually quite happy to read it as it has been sitting on my book shelf for a few years but it always just seemed to be too heavy to get into.  This is an amazing book!  It's heavy and depressing, but eye opening and educational.  I think it's especially great for Canadians to read because they never seemed to touch on the Pacific war during World War 2 in our history classes.  (Maybe if I hadn't dropped Grade 11 history...) I really didn't know that there was this big war with Japan despite knowing about Pearl Harbour and Hiroshima.  I knew that those events happened but never questioned why. 

For those who don't know, this book is the true story of Louie Zamperini.  He was an Olympic runner who then became a soldier.  His plane crashed over the pacific and he was stranded on a life raft.  I don't want to give the rest away if you don't know it yet.  But this is truly a remarkable story.
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The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

I read this book in a day. was good.  This book is about a new neighbour who moves onto Pleasant Court.  A street where everything is clearly pleasant but there isn't much depth.  It's told from the perspective of this mysterious new neighbour and three other women who live on the street who all have their own issues going on.  It kind of reminded me of Wisteria Lane.  If you like Liane Moriarty I found this book to be very similar but actually easier to read as you get a few more details throughout the book than Liane Moriarty sometimes gives.
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Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

The librarian warned me that this was a 7 day borrow.  I told her that wouldn't be a problem and read it in 2 days.  This book is about a man whose girlfriend went missing 12 years ago.  He is now engaged to her sister, but then signs that his girlfriend is still alive appear. 

I liked this book, but like other B.A. Paris books I found there were a few plot holes and things that were a bit unbelievable.  But if you can overlook those things then it's still a great read!

If I had to pick a favourite book for this month it would probably be In a Dark, Dark Wood.  But that's a tough choice.  I truly enjoyed every single one of these books. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

April Book Review

I brought 5 books with me to Costa Rica.  A bit ambitious?  Definitely!  But you always want to be prepared!  We were super busy the first few days, and crashed as soon as we got back to our treehouse.  No time for reading!  And then when you are with a big group of people not much reading happens.  I didn't spend time on the beach like I usually do and so I only got through a book and a half.

Waiting on You (Blue Heron, #3)

Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins
This is another book in the Blue Heron series.  I enjoy the series because it brings back characters that I have met before, but it's getting a little bit boring.  I don't love the girls.  They are a bit too edgy for me.  And by edgy, I mean rude.  Not sure how to describe it but that they just speak to people in a way that I don't think they would in real life, a bit too harshly.  The books are getting too predictable.  That being said I will likely finish the series...haha.  I only rated this one 3 out of 5 stars as it was definitely my least favourite of the series so far.


Odd Child Out by Gilly MacMillan

As I was reading this book it kept talking about a previous case and I wondered, is this the second in a series?  It is, and I have the first one sitting on my hopefully I haven't ruined that one for myself!

I didn't love this book.  It was kind of a mystery, but also very political.  It's about two friends, a boy with cancer and a Somalian refugee in England.  There is an accident one night and their families and the police are trying to figure out what actually happened.  

I just didn't find it overly thrilling, and I found the basis of the story more political in nature an being about the lives of Somalian immigrants.  Which can be an interesting perspective, but it's just not what I thought I was getting into.

Three Wishes
Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

So what I've learnt from Liane Moriarty books is that it's more about the characters than the story and the ending.  I don't remember that being the base with the first few I read, but it's been the case with the most recent ones.  That being said, I enjoyed this book more than Truly Madly Guilty.  I think I liked the characters and just liked to see where they were going and wasn't overly worried about a big exciting ending.

This book is about triplet sisters.  Lyn is all about living the perfect life and checking everything off her list.  Cat has found trouble in her marriage.  Gemma is the single one who lives day to day and can't seem to find a lasting relationship.  I found the characters compelling and really just wanted to see where the book took them.  

Friday, 13 April 2018

Have Oils, Will Travel

We recently returned from Costa Rica, and of course I took a whole bunch of my oils with me!  I wanted to share what I took, and what I used.

I got a fair bit of flack for the oils.  It is what it is, and all I can do is shrug it off because I know they aren't for everyone.  (Well they are for everyone, but there are some people that I know aren't looking for the change.)

Another interesting story, is that while on our night hike, our guide was talking about a type of plant that he said is good for cancer.  He didn't say it cured cancer, and he didn't go into detail about what the benefits were, but all I could think about is how similar this is to the use of oils. Other cultures are using all types of natural remedies against common ailments.  And then our culture is up here rolling their eyes.  

So here is what I brought and why:

Terrashield spray - 20-30 drops Terrashield in a 4oz glass bottle, topped with distilled water.  This was what I used as bug spray.  We used it when we were in the jungle and I didn't find that I needed it when we were at the resort.  I don't think I got any bites, so it must of worked ok!  (You can buy this premade as well.)

Headache Roller - because it's always with me!
Deep Blue Roller - for the headaches that just won't quit!
Lavender Roller - bug bites & sun burns (took a burn on my hairline away within a day!)
ZenGest Roller - because you always need help with your tummy in a different country!
Immunity Roller - because your immune system takes a beating

Small vials in my doTerra key chain case:
Frankincense - behind the ears during take off and landing on the plane.  It's anti-inflammatory so I found it helped a lot.  
On Guard
Copaiba - for anxiety and also anti-inflammatory
Terrashield - in case I ran out of our bottle
Balance - because I love it, a bit on the wrist, feet, or behind the ears
ZenGest - for if the roller wasn't doing the trick, my friend also used some for congestion

Deep Blue Rub - we were hiking, rapelling and ziplining for 3 days straight, loved putting some of this on at night

I used every single roller blend that I brought and a few of the small vials.  We also brought Pepto, Gravol and Advil.  Oils are great, but sometimes you need more.  And that's ok!  Modern medicine is amazing, but I always like to turn to my oils first now and see if they can fix the problem.  (By the way, I do find that ZenGest fixes most stomach problems.  However when you are down south, I find your whole system is off.  I took a Pepto pill every day for the last 4 days just to try to get myself back on track.)

As for taking the oils on the plane, it was easy peasy.  They are all under 100mL so they can go in your carry on if they fit in the liquid bag.  Once we were through security, I made sure the lids of my rollers were on tightly and put them in individual ziplock bags as I had heard sometimes they leak due to plane pressure.  None of mine ended up leaking, but it was nice to know that they wouldn't leak all over themselves if they did.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

March Book Review

I've definitely slowed down my reading a bit as I've been busy with other things, but I still got through 3 books this month.  Here's what I read!

Vanishing Girls

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

This is a young adult book.  I really enjoyed Lauren Oliver's Delirium series and I didn't read Before I Fall, but I thought the movie was good.  So I figured I would throw this one into the mix.

I thought that this book was decent.  I read it in about 4 days. It's about two sister's Dara and Nick.  They were in a car accident about a year before and haven't been speaking since.  Then a little girl from their town goes missing, and then Dara goes missing.  I enjoyed this book well enough, but unless you are a big young adult fan, it might not be fore you.  (Delirium on the other hand, if you like dystopian teen novels, was awesome!)


Every Breath You Take by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

I really enjoyed this book.  To be honest, I've felt like Mary Higgins Clark books have been lacking a bit recently.  This might be because the woman is 90... Anyways, I got into this book quickly and read it in a couple of days.  

This book is part of the Under Suspicion series, which is about a woman, Laurie, who produces a reality TV show that looks into cold cases.  I like when authors have series like this because you really get to know the characters.  Definitely a worthwhile read for Mary Higgins Clark fans!

The Choices We Make

The Choices we Make by Karma Brown

This book is about Hannah and Kate, best friends since Grade 5.  Kate has been blessed with two beautiful children, but Hannah has been unable to get pregnant for 6 years.  This book deals with friendship, infertility and surrogacy.  It makes these issues feel real (and I mean they are real, to so many people).  It deals with the legal aspects and emotional aspects.

This book made me think hard about what I would do.  What if my best friend or my sister was unable to carry a child, would I donate my own eggs and do it for them?  Could I separate myself from that child, knowing that it was going to belong to someone else?  I don't have the answers, I don't think I would have them until I was in that situation.  I know that this is the greatest gift you could give someone and I applaud the people who do it.

This was an emotional read, but I really loved this book for bringing truth to what so many people are experiencing.  (Maybe not the actual surrogacy aspect as I think that's a bit more rare, but the infertility is so common.)