Tuesday, 31 March 2015

March Book Haul!

Here are this month's purchases, gifts, ARCs & wins!

1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

3. The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

4. Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

5. Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

6. Nothing Like Love by Sabrina Ramnanan

What books did you pick up this month?

Sunday, 29 March 2015

"One More Thing" by B.J. Novak | Book Review

One More Thing by B.J. Novak
I expected to enjoy this book because I like B.J. Novak's humour, but the collection still managed to pleasantly surprise me. He's come up with scenarios that are hilarious, absurd, irreverent...and always entertaining. Amid all the humour, he also manages to include a lot of sensitivity and wisdom, which I wasn't necessarily expecting.

I'm really impressed by his ability to write in so many narrative voices; there are over 60 short stories in this collection, and there's a different narrative voice for each.

Some of the stories even intersect, and when they do, there's a bit of a thrilling moment - one case in particular resulted in a very sweet moment of realization.

From the hare bent on a rematch, to the man who invented the calendar, to the recent arrival to heaven who's procrastinating his visit to his grandmother, the stories contained in this book are hilarious and each is written in such a different style that I think there's something in here for everyone.

I absolutely love this collection - I have a feeling I'll be returning to these stories frequently.

*This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.
Photo by nikkitheknack

Friday, 27 March 2015

2015 Reading Challenge | Progress Post

A book you can finish in a day - The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

I'm loosely fulfilling this category...I didn't read this book in one day, but I easily could have! It's pretty short and because it's written in an experimental poetic style, some of the pages don't even have that many words on them. Not to mention, the different perspectives are intriguing!

Photo Credit: I added text to the original "book sale loot" by Ginny via flickr in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

"The Wild Oats Project" by Robin Rinaldi | Book Review

The Wild Oats Project by Robin Rinaldi
The Wild Oats Project by Robin Rinaldi
Robin Rinaldi's husband decided he wanted a vasectomy; she decided that if she couldn't have the children she wanted, then she would have lovers. That's how Robin and her husband, Scott, came to have an open marriage.

As part of what the couple called the Wild Oats Project, Robin moved into an apartment a few blocks away from their marital home in San Francisco; on weekdays, she lived in that apartment, attended sexuality-based workshops, and slept with other people. On weekends, she returned home and lived monogamously with her husband.

When I first heard about this memoir, I knew I had to read it. Wanting kids is a major thing, as a couple or as an individual; I admire Robin's decision to, rather than sit back and lament the fact that they'd never have kids, take matters into her own hands and use this as an opportunity to gain more experiences. Open marriages are certainly not for everyone, and I think it took a lot of courage to suggest it, let alone embark on the journey that she did. This wasn't just some excuse to sleep with other people and have a wild time; she wanted to explore her sexuality and her Self and learn more about who she is, which she undoubtedly did.

Robin is very honest in The Wild Oats Project. She discusses the good and the bad experiences she had - with her husband, her lovers, her friends - and she never glazes over the difficult or emotional parts of the Project. There are a lot of life lessons contained in this book - it really made me think about the possibilities in life, in time, in people.

This book is a real eye-opener in a lot of ways. Not only did it make me think, but it also opened my eyes to an entire subculture I never knew existed. Did you know you could take a course on Orgasmic Meditation? Yeah, me neither! But Robin attended many fascinating workshops and she details her experiences at many of them.

I also really liked the inclusion of music in the book. Throughout, there are mentions of songs, bands, and albums, so it's like you have a playlist to go along with the story.

Married or not, I think a lot of people probably fantasize about having the kind of life adventure Robin did with the Wild Oats Project. This memoir takes you through the possible ups and downs and shows you one brave woman's experiences. And depending on what you take from the book, it could either be taken as a cautionary tale or an encouragement to follow your desires, no matter the cost.

*This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.
1. Photo by nikkitheknack. 2. Photo courtesy Penguin Random House Canada.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

2015 Reading Challenge | Progress Post

A memoir - The Wild Oats Project by Robin Rinaldi

I love the honesty in this book and the fact that it made me think so much about life, people, and possibilities. You can read my full review here.

Photo Credit: I added text to the original "book sale loot" by Ginny via flickr in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

"Good Food, Good Life" by Curtis Stone | Book Review

Good Food, Good Life by Curtis Stone
Curtis Stone loves food, and he wants you to be able to love it as well. For him, food isn't just something you ingest - it's an experience. Food brings people together, whether it be for drinks and a snack with friends, or for a hearty feast with the whole family. His passion for food is very clear, and he seems to genuinely want to spread love through food.

His new cookbook, Good Food, Good Life: 130 Simple Recipes You'll Love to Make and Eat, includes recipes you can make for all manner of occasions. The book is divided into the following categories: Light Meals, Dinners, Sides, Sweets, In the Morning, Snacks, and Drinks. Each chapter begins with an anecdote about what the food means to him, which is a nice personal touch.

There's a lot of variety in the recipes in this book, and most of them use ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store. I've made a few recipes so far, and all of them were pretty easy to accomplish - and they were delicious!

I made the Grilled Vegetable Salad with Curry-Yogurt Vinaigrette (p. 8), which was very yummy on its own, but I added some goat cheese for a nice variation. The Veggie Flatbread Sandwich with Feta-Yogurt Spread (p. 34), which I had on the Grilled Flatbreads with Garlic-Rosemary Oil (p. 230), was a scrumptious, refreshing sandwich that I'll probably be having often this summer. The Maple-Glazed Planked Salmon (p. 85) was so good; the maple brine soaked through the whole fillet for a beautifully sweet taste - it was a hit with my whole family.

I love a good cookbook, but there are always some recipes that work out and some that don't. With Good Food, Good Life, I've been really pleasantly surprised because everything I've tried so far has been so tasty and simple to make!

What's your favourite recipe to make at home?

*This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.
Photos 1-2 by nikkitheknack. Banner courtesy Penguin Random House Canada.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Books You'd Save in a Fire | Top 5 Wednesday

Presumably, there wouldn't be much time to think so I would probably reach for books I've read and loved:

1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Because of the irony.

3. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak
Read my review here.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

What book(s) would you save in a fire?

1. Photo by nikkitheknack 2. Photo via Goodreads 3. Photo by nikkitheknack 4. Photo via Goodreads 5. Photo by nikkitheknack

Sunday, 1 March 2015

February Book Haul!

 It's been a while since I got this many books in one month! I've been "good" the past couple of months (if you can call not buying books so I can read some books from the list that spans the length of my body "good") but this month, I've been fortunate enough to have these wonderful books come into my life.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
-His first novel in 10 years, Ishiguro's The Buried Giant combines history and mythology to tell the tale of a couple's journey to find their son.

 The Wild Oats Project: One Woman's Midlife Quest for Passion at any Cost by Robin Rinaldi
-Robin Rinaldi hadn't planned on an open marriage. But when her husband decided to have a vasectomy, she decided to have lovers. This memoir explores sexuality and what it means to love not only others, but also ourselves.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
[Read my review of the movie adaptation]
-Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen meet by chance on the roof of a building on New Year's Eve. They all have the same intention: to jump.

Good Food, Good Life: 130 Simple Recipes You'll Love to Make and Eat by Curtis Stone
-Curtis Stone's latest cookbook is filled with delicious-sounding recipes.

Salad Love: 260 Crunchy, Savory, and Filling Meals You Can Make Every Day by David Bez
[Read my review here]
-Who knew salad could be so interesting? David Bez did. This book is full of great, simple salad combinations meant to be prepared and eaten in your lunch hour.

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
-Maddie and Ellis Hyde have been cut off financially by Ellis' father. In an attempt to return to his father's good graces, Ellis realizes he must find the Loch Ness monster - something his father tried and failed at. Left behind in a foreign country, Maddie begins her own journey of discovery - of life, nature, friendship, and love.

The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart
-Tam is leaving her lover, Niall. When her plane is grounded by fog in Newfoundland, she sees a mural and reminisces on the events that led her to her current circumstances. Parallel to Tam's story, we learn about Kenneth Lochhead, the artist who created the mural.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
-Stevens has long been a butler at Darlington Hall. He decides to take a road trip through the West Country. In his travels we learn about major things in his life: how England is changing and his love for his housekeeper.

The Picador Book of Funeral Poems edited by Don Paterson
-A collection of poems from different eras and cultures, all dealing with death, loss, and healing.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
-Adventure and discovery abound in this story meant to make you aware of your surroundings - seen and unseen.

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
-Stories parallel each other in this novel: Joseph Becker, a woodcarver, meets his future wife and years later, their granddaughter is a stone carver working on a memorial for those lost to WWI in France.

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
-Here we find ourselves in a community where there is less than a 50 percent chance of "breeding true". Deviations, like David possesses, are destroyed as abominations. David can communicate with other young people through "thought shapes". This ability has gone unnoticed so far, but what will happen when he's discovered?

The Sweetapolita Bakebook: 75 Fanciful Cakes, Cookies & More to Make & Decorate by Rosie Alyea
-From cookies to layer cakes, this book contains 75 recipes for beautiful, colourful desserts.

The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
-Five days. Four hikers. Three survivors. Need I say more? What a fantastically intriguing hook.

Boo by Neil Smith
-Boo is shot from behind while he's standing in front if his locker one day. In heaven, he and Johnny, who was killed at the same time, try to figure out what happened and who killed them. This novel deals with the difficulty and heartbreak that come with growing up.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
-In the summer of 1977, Caitlin chose Victoria to be her friend, showing her luxury and privilege, not to mention a vacation on Martha's Vineyard. Years later, after their friendship has faded, Caitlin begs Victoria to be her maid of honour. Despite years of not seeing her, Victoria knows she will go because she wants to know why her summer sister betrayed her that last summer, and why she still holds power over her heart.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
-This story takes us through three generations of Whitshanks, showing us what their lives are like in the present moment and also recalling their history. We learn their shared stories and their secrets, all the while gaining insights into what it means to be a family.

So many books - and they all sound intriguing! What books did you get in February?

Photos by nikkitheknack