Thursday, May 26, 2011


So sorry I totally missed Witty Wednesday yesterday!  But on a rainy day like today (in Calgary anyhow) we could all use a laugh)

From the guy that brought you, "The maple kind, yeah?"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme (it also happens to be my favourite!) hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading and anyone can play along!

  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on that page
  • Try not to include any spoilers!  Sometimes this is really really hard!
  • Do, though, include the title and author so we can add the book to our ever growing TBR piles!

In honor of its 20th anniversary I am always happy to celebrate my favourite escape read in the universe... Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  I am currently reading it for the 3rd time in 10 years and never tire of it. 

There is a brand new 20th anniversary version of the book that is due to release on July 5th, and has plenty of extras, kind of like what is in the Outlandish Companion.. which is AWESOME.

Here is my teaser:

"'A bayonet!"  I exclaimed.  "And why didn't you tell me?" 
    He shrugged, and stopped short with a mild grunt of pain.  "I felt it go in, but I couldna tell how bad it was;  it didna hurt that much." '

For more teasers click here. 

Monday, May 23, 2011


Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia over at The Printed Page (now A Girl and Her Books) but is not hosted by a different blogger every month.  This month it is hosted by the lovely Mari over at Mari Reads.

Whole Foods To ThriveWhole Foods to Thrive by Brendan Brazier --- I am doing a blog tour for this one and my date is in June.  I will be trying a couple of recipes from the book and reviewing them!  The timing of this book was hilarious as my 11 year old daughter is transitioning into being vegetarian.  She is doing awesome, and has one day a week where she eats meat, her "meat for the week" as she calls it. 

What impact do food choices have on your health? Have you ever been curious as to where your food came from, who grew it, and the path it took to get to your table? Have you every wondered how much of each natural resource was used to produce your food—in other words, the soil-to-table environmental cost? In Whole Foods to Thrive, Brendan Brazier clearly explains how nutrient-dense, plant-based foods are the best choice, not only for your health but also for the health and sustainability of the planet.

Versatile and packed with flavor, whole foods have an abundance of health benefits for those who want sustainable energy, high-quality sleep, physical strength, and mental sharpness. Whole Foods to Thrive builds upon Brendan’s stress-busting, energy-boosting approach to nutrition and food introduced in his acclaimed bestseller The Thrive Diet, and includes 200 delicious, easy-to-make, plant based recipes that are all allergen-free and contain no wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, dairy, or corn.

• Breakfast Cereals • Salads • Dressings, Dips, and Sauces • Soups and Sides • Burgers, Wraps, Pizza, and Rice Bowls• Cookies, Ice Cream, and Pies • Kale Chips and Nori Crisps• Energy Bars and Gels

Features recipes for dishes such as • Gorilla Food Green Tacos • Quinoa Falafels • Indian-Spiced Lentil Hemp Burgers • Maple Crispy Rice Treats

The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and AchievementThe one I'm most excited about, though, is one I bought for my birthday.  I actually bought the physical book instead of Kindle as I anticipate wanting my husband and others to read it. 

Here's the blurb from Amazon:

With unequaled insight and brio, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bobos in Paradise, has long explored and explained the way we live. Now, with the intellectual curiosity and emotional wisdom that make his columns among the most read in the nation, Brooks turns to the building blocks of human flourishing in a multilayered, profoundly illuminating work grounded in everyday life.

This is the story of how success happens. It is told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica—how they grow, push forward, are pulled back, fail, and succeed. Distilling a vast array of information into these two vividly realized characters, Brooks illustrates a fundamental new understanding of human nature. A scientific revolution has occurred—we have learned more about the human brain in the last thirty years than we had in the previous three thousand. The unconscious mind, it turns out, is most of the mind—not a dark, vestigial place but a creative and enchanted one, where most of the brain’s work gets done. This is the realm of emotions, intuitions, biases, longings, genetic predispositions, personality traits, and social norms: the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made. The natural habitat of The Social Animal.

Drawing on a wealth of current research from numerous disciplines, Brooks takes Harold and Erica from infancy to school; from the “odyssey years” that have come to define young adulthood to the high walls of poverty; from the nature of attachment, love, and commitment, to the nature of effective leadership. He reveals the deeply social aspect of our very minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that overemphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. Along the way, he demolishes conventional definitions of success while looking toward a culture based on trust and humility.

The Social Animal is a moving and nuanced intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. Impossible to put down, it is an essential book for our time, one that will have broad social impact and will change the way we see ourselves and the world.
What was in YOUR mailbox??
For more mailbox's click here

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


So unless you've been living under a rock you have probably heard about this talking dog that has made the Canadian owner of the voice famous... not to mention giving him a new gig on National Geographic on a TV show called "Wild!"  This guy has the most hysterical website....  Griswold the dog is not the only one... here's another one of my favs...

Friday, May 13, 2011


Book Blogger Hop

Blog hop asks:

"Are you going to Book Expo America (BEA) and/or the Book Blogger Convention (BBC) this year?"

Unfortunately I am unable to go this year... booo!   I have never been but have heard it is just awesome! 

I have just returned from the zoo and it is a gorgeous springtime day here in Calgary (finally!)  and now we are at home having our sacred "quiet" time with sesame street and me on the couch with my kindle.  

I have JUST bought the latest Melissa Fay Greene (author of There's No Me Without You-- which I am pretty sure every Ethiopian adoptive family has read!) called "No biking in the house without a helmet!"  It is, so far, a hilarious take on parenting in general, but adoptive parenting in specific.  She is bang on with her observations on being a parent, the good, the bad and the UGLY.  Somehow when you read it you feel like, "Hey!  I'm not so bad after all!"  I can't wait to finish it to share my thoughts with you about it.  

ANYway, off to have a very rare weekend that is blank on the calendar... thaaaat's right, we officially have NOTHING to do.  NOTHING!  And we are pretty damn happy about it. 

Now I am off to do some hopping around the blogpsphere!


Monday, May 9, 2011


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Canada; 1st Trade edition (Mar 29 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006391559

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a few years, and like I said before, I thought it was one of those books where the animals talk and that they are the main characters.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I have to be in a certain frame of mind to read a book like that and suffice it to say, it never happened.  Once I started to see trailers of the movie, though, I started to hear phrases like, "love story" and words like "romantic" and thought, "Huh?"  My husband read it a couple of years back and he liked it so I picked it up and am I ever glad I did!  

First of all Sara Gruen is Canadian (well, technically a dual US/Canadian) , WOOT!  Love it.  Secondly she is a mom that as dreamed of being a writer her whole life and her finally her husband said to her, "Let's take a year or two of you being at home and you write a book."  How awesome is that?    And apparently this book also had its start in the NanoWrimo competition, although I cannot find any other source that verifies that other than the Wrimo.  The NanoWrimo is a fun competition for no money where people attempt to write a novel in 30 days.  On their website they say that Sara's novel was one.  Pretty cool, if it's true!

Okay, so the first few pages sucked me in when I realized that it was not animals talking, but people and the beginning was a bit mysterious with the menagerie of animals going crazy and a window into the world of the circus circa 1920's.  I love historical fiction, and there were actual pictures from circus archives at the beginning of each chapter, what a nice touch!  I have to admit I did picture Robert Pattison as the young Jacob, which didn't bother me too much, and I couldn't remember who was playing the lead in the movie which is just as well as I'm not the biggest fan of Reese Witherspoon... you know, the chin that never stops growing.  ANYway.  

The book is anchored in present day with my favourite and most developed character, in my opinion, the "92 or 93" year old Jacob in a nursing home.  He was just the right amount of cranky, sad, melancholy and spitfire to make me fall in love with him.  I loved seeing the world through his eyes, and I am always blown away when authors can take opposite sex characters and completely nail them, not to mention characters that are about 60 years older than them!  I loved him, and there were several scenes in the book that were so beautifully heartbreaking, and took place just with him and his own reflection.  Makes me realize what getting old really means. 

Sara manages to seamlessly time travel between old Jacob in the seniors home and young Jacob trying to make sense of his life as he stumbles upon a circus with all of its animals, freaks, and tyrant of an owner Uncle Al, and his manager August who just happens to be crazy and also happens to be married to gorgeous Marlena who does the Spirit act with the horses in her sequenced little dresses.  

As per usual I do not want to give anything away, so I will not do a summary, it is easy to find that anywhere on the web.  But I will give you my thoughts in general about this book. 

It is fascinating, if you like history being fleshed out in a realistic way.  It is beautiful, you can imagine the clothing of the era, the decadence of the state car on the train.  It is gritty, with the roustabouts and their cramped quarters on the train.  It is swoony, when unrequited live rears its lovely head.  It is heart breaking, when we meet Rosie the elephant and fall in love with her as so many before her had.  There is adventure and tension. And pairing the narrative in the present day with old Jacob being agitated by another old gentleman at the home telling everyone he used to bring water for the elephants, we are drawn in by curiosity just as to why old Jacob is so completely fired up about this man and his claims. 

The only criticism I have of the book is that there are a couple of characters, one in particular, that developed in an odd fashion and it annoyed me throughout the novel.  Kinko/Walter is the dwarf who is forced to share his already cramped train car with Jacob and I loved his grumpy, bitter, vibe and how he just was so irritated with Jacob's very presence.  He had this adorable little dog named Queenie, who you could just see was his only true friend in the world.  Well, somehow as the story progressed, and rather quickly I might add, Walter become really really "nice".  Like freakishly nice, in a weird way that even most men today wouldn't be.  All of the sudden he was all nurturing and comforting to Jacob, and it just didnt' make any sense.  His character just disappeared, and that goes with Grady another worker who was just "nice" in a boring way, and except for the name they came across in an identical way with no real voice of their own.  Kinko was cool, at first, an unusual guy who had a very unique "voice", if you know what I mean.  I just don't understand what happened there.  

Otherwise a very fast lovely read, and once I see the movie I'll come back on there and do a bit of a Book to Movie post, I am dying to see how they do it!

Sara has a new book out called Ape House which I would love to read.  And as is my way, I purposefully avoid too much information about a book I want to read, but it's something about great apes communicating through sign language?  I think the story revolves around a researcher on the subject?  Not sure, but I have the sample downloaded on my Kindle and can't wait to read it.  

But back to Water?  
RATING:  4.5/5

For more on Sara and her works click here. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and anyone can play!

  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on that page
  • try not to include any spoilers
  • remember to include the author and book title
My teaser is from Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen.  I've actually had this on my TBR pile for years, but with the movie coming out I thought I better get on with it and read it.  I LOVE it, like REALLY REALLY love, beyond love.  I think it is because I wasn't expecting much.  For some weird reason I thought it was a book revolving around animals that talk.  But with the trailers of the movie on TV I thought, maybe that's not what it's about.. and I can't  believe it has taken me this long to read it.  

I love the main character as an old man, he's just the right amount of cranky and sentimental and hands down hilarious. 
Here's my teaser:

"Wake up Mr. Jankowski. You're having a bad dream."   
My eyes snap open.  Where am I?  Oh, hell and damnation. 

For more teasers click here...