Quote Monday: Paulo Coelho

“Be present. Make love. Make tea. Avoid small talk. Embrace conversation. Buy a plant, water it. Make your bed. Make someone else’s bed. Have a smart mouth and quick wit. Run. Make art. Create. Swim in the ocean. Swim in the rain. Take chances. Ask questions. Make mistakes. Learn. Know your worth. Love fiercely. Forgive quickly. Let go of what doesn’t make you happy. Grow.”

-Paulo Coelho

Review Tuesday: The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

I was first introduced to The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler when I was in my first year of university. Some of the students at Queen’s University put on the play, and one of my friends was in it, so myself, and some other friends from my floor went to see the play. The play was powerful, authentic, and changed my perspective of how I looked at myself, and women’s issues.

I had not however ever read the play, and once I learned that Emma Watson had picked it as her Jan/Feb Feminist Book Club pick, I decided to give it a go.

vagina-monologuesFrom Goodreads:

I decided to talk to women about their vaginas, to do vagina interviews, which became vagina monologues…At first women were reluctant to talk. They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn’t stop them. Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas. They get very excited, mainly because no one’s ever asked them before.

It’s been over a decade since I saw the play The Vagina Monologues, so I was excited to read the book and see what I remembered and how I reacted this time.

I have to say that if you ever get a chance to see the play do it. I enjoyed the book, but the play – seeing it live – is where it packs a punch.

The play and this book are simply stories of women and how they view their vaginas. And while that may seem strange to some, it is powerful. When reading this book, I remembered the story The Flood. For some reason that stayed with me all these years. The images it produces are visceral. Another story I remembered is My Angry Vagina. I once again laughed out loud at just how on the money it was. I found myself muttering “damn fucking right,” as I read it too.

Another story, that I didn’t remember from the play when I saw it, but packed a punch while I was reading the book is My Vagina was my Village. This story broke my heart, and I’m sure it did when I first heard it.

The main thing I took away from these stories and this book/play (this time) was how much the world views vaginas and women and women’s issues as something that shouldn’t be talked about, or something that should only be talked about behind closed doors and whispered. Society is very much interested in keeping the status quo – and the status quo (let’s be real) doesn’t work for women.

The book also talks about V-Day, which is day that was created to celebrate vaginas, and to bring attention and to stop violence against women. And while it was a day created in the 90’s, it is still incredibly important. There are too many societies who think that it is their right to govern women’s bodies, their way of dressing, their sexuality, their thoughts, and that shit has got to stop.

Today is actually V-Day. If you don’t want to know more about it check it out here.

If you haven’t ever read this book or seen this play make sure that you do (woman or man). It is a must.

Review Tuesday: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

I was in Indigo one day, in need, desperate need, for a book. You ever have that? Where you just need a new book to read? A new story to fall into? I usually go to the fantasy section when I get like that. Fantasy always takes me to an entirely new world, and sometimes you just need to get away and disappear for a while.

So, I was walking through the fantasy section and I came across The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. I got excited – and even more excited because it was the first in a series. There are few things better in life than coming across a potentially good book series, am I right?

the-invisible-libraryFrom Goodreads:

The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

Firstly, right off the bat, this book reminded me of the American tv series The Librarians, (which is a fantastic show FYI). It mostly reminded me of the show because there’s a secret library, with secret librarians who are out to keep certain things safe. But, where it differs is that by the end of this book I wasn’t sure how good the library was. There’s definitely a cliff hanger – or at least unanswered questions – about that.

Secondly, this book kept your guessing. I was never sure what was coming ’round the corner – literally and figuratively. There was a lot going on in this book – with a lot of different factions. It was fairly easy to keep everyone straight, but the motives of everyone were unclear a lot of the time. I felt like I was walking around with only half a map. I found it frustrating, but at the same time – this is book one of a series. I’m not suppose to know everything yet, I suppose.

While I found parts of the story frustrating because I didn’t fully understand motives and why certain things were happening, the characters were wonderful. Irene is a great main character. She is an innovative thinker, a take charge and get things done kind of woman, and a woman who above all just loves to read. She does have her freak outs, but and I love that she has them because it makes her more real, but I also love that she has them internally. This is no woman who falls apart all over a man. She holds her own.

Kai, is also a great character. I suspected what he was before it was revealed, but it took me a little while. His character was interesting because he has so many facets. I’m definitely interested in seeing how his character grows as the series progresses.

The world building was also very interesting in this book and because of the laws of the world (and sometimes lack their of) were so versatile you never knew what to expect.

Overall, this book was a very quick read (it’s one of those, you pick up and just fly through), with some memorable characters and settings. I got frustrated now and again because I didn’t understand how things fit together, but that didn’t really take away from the enjoyment of the story.

I will definitely be reading book two.

 

How I’m Owning 2017

It’s taken me the month of January to get my New Year’s Plan together. I started off the year thinking about it and then going strong, but for the last week or so I’ve started to mull it over again, and get wishy-washy on it. That wishy-washy feeling I’m putting down to February. February is my least favourite month – and the hardest one for me mentally. I find that I’m missing the sun, and the grey of the world is starting to get to me.

So I’ve left this post until now because I know that writing down my plan will give me a kick in the butt to get through February.

I had been reading a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions posts and articles a couple of weeks ago and the main thing that stuck with me about a lot of them is on top of making a few specific resolutions people also pick a word or phrase to sum up how they want their year to go.

I really liked this idea because I find that I (like the rest of the world) make New Year’s Resolutions and then halfway through the year (if I’m lucky) they’ve fallen by the wayside.

So, my phrase this year is Own It.

While doing my soul searching for what I wanted my year to look like I realized the one that that I’m always complaining about and talking about and wishing I had was determination and follow through. I’m great with the talking, and I’m great with the ideas and the plans, but I’m crap with the follow through and that then makes me feel like I lack determination. Thus, my phrase “own it”.

I’m going to own this year. This year is mine. Whatever I want to do I’m going to do, and I’m not going to stand in my own way. And that I also realize is my main problem. I get in my own way. I talk myself out of things. I am my own worst enemy.

So on top of owning 2017, my specific New Year’s Resolutions are:

  1. Be healthier – which includes eating better, exercising and gaining some weight (it’s easy to lose weight with ulcerative colitis and hard to gain it back again).
  2. Learn French
  3. Write a full manuscript

Stay tuned because next week I’m sharking how I’m making my New Year’s Resolutions happen.

Review Tuesday: Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis

Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis came out January 24 – and I finished it on January 24th. It downloaded to my Kobo in the morning, when I was able to read a little bit before work, then I read at lunch, and then I came home and essentially read all evening until it was finished.

This was a great book. And it’s my favourite one in the Heartbreaker Bay series so far. But, before I continue:

accidentally-on-purposeFrom Goodreads:

There’s no such thing as a little in love…

Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . .

There’s no such thing as a little in lust…

Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .

There is such a thing as…

As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

Archer and Elle have great chemistry – and not just sexual chemistry. They argue and bicker, but there is this friendship, this understanding, this deep caring for each other that is evident from the first page. That caught my interest first.  Most importantly though, the other person always mattered most. You saw the love these two characters had for each other long before they realized it themselves.

The sexual chemistry for these two was off the charts – the story and the plot lined wasn’t overwhelmed with sex scenes, but there was enough for you to get hot and bothered.

The other thing that I loved about this book was the plot line. Elle and Archer have a fantastic backstory and it’s something that gets played out in this book (it’s hinted at, and alluded to in the other books in the series). I was dying to know the history between these two, and I was not disappointed. The plot line gave the story a depth and a weight to it, that also gave their love a weight to it. These two characters got to where they are through a very long and painful road. They both deserved the happiness that they found at the end.

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable book. The plot line kept me interested, and the chemistry and snappy banter kept me entertained. (Also, it’s always nice running into old characters from the other books).

The only thing that I was disappointed about with this book, is that the author Jill Shalvis had said, a couple of weeks ago, that anyone who had pre-ordered the book (and I did months ago) would get an extra little story about two previous characters. I however, didn’t one. So, that I’m bummed about.

However, the story itself was awesome, and clearly something that I could not put down. Definitely pick this one up when you need a feel good book. It will not disappoint.

Update February 2 2017: Jill Shalvis’s PR company reached out to me about the bonus scene that I was missing. Turns out, I’m a moron, and did not read the instructions properly. *face palm*. However, they were super amazing and sent me a link to the scene. It was fantastic. I love these characters so much, and I cannot wait for Spence’s story. So if you haven’t read this series yet, I question your life choices and demand that you go and start it now. Yeah. Like right now.