Booky Thoughts and Me

Book reviews and pondering thoughts of a down to earth person

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Word on the Street

The bad weather didn’t stop people from attending.
Photo courtesy of Word on the Street

It was a blistery, cold and miserable day this past Sunday, but that didn’t stop me from heading out to enjoy Word on the Street, the book and magazine festival at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

This year I took it up a notch and not only did I attend, but I was also a volunteer for the festival. I helped out the hosts and authors at the Workshop Marquee tent where I was stationed at. I was also able to listen in and take in the sessions as well. A lot of the sessions were very beneficial for me since I am an aspiring writer.

The sessions ranged from how not to get published, getting a book to become a best seller, critiquing the audiences pieces of work and many more. Depending on what the session was about, the authors held the audience’s attention with a tight fist. Some sessions had a few people listening and attending, while others were packed with no seating left over and the tent surrounded.

The next best thing was the rows and rows of books that were on display, awaiting their new owners. It was like they were screaming ‘pick me, pick me’ 🙂 Ahh it just made me smile seeing so many books out. As a book lover, this is one of my favorite festivals to attend. There is just so much to do and see, and there is never enough time. I wish they would extend it to make it a two day event, but they have been doing this for the past 20+ years, so I doubt they will change it. I guess I should find a way to clone myself once or twice over so that I can see all the sessions I want, go to all the booths I want and just enjoy the festival 🙂 hehe.

Another great thing was seeing familiar faces. I saw so many industry professionals that I know, former classmates that I went to school with and who now work in the industry and professors who taught me. The book publishing industry is a small industry so once you know a few people, you meet a few more and you eventually know a lot of people. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy seeing everyone again.

Great success Word on the Street! I can’t wait until next year’s event.


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Book Review: The Sky is Everywhere

The Sky is Everywhere by Jany Nelson

Published: March 2010

Publisher: Speak 

“One boy helps her remember. The other lets her forget.”

Lennie just lost her sister and her world is crashing around her. She doesn’t know how to behave, she doesn’t know what to do with her grief. There are also two guys that are making it complicated for her. There is Toby, Bailey’s boyfriend who is a both quiet and seduction. Then there is Joe, he’s the new guy in town, who always seems to be bursting with life, a smile on his face and a talented musician.

Each boy has its pros and cons, but what Lennie needs to realize is that Bailey is never coming back. Being with Toby makes her remember her sister and feel closer to her,  but what kind of  person does that make her? What kind of sister goes after her dead sisters boyfriend? Through trials and tribulations, Lennie must choose between the two boys before either of them find out about each other.

Personal Thoughts:

The Sky is Everywhere is a beautiful book. Lennie is a character that I won’t be able to forget for quite some time. The story grabbed a hold of me and held me captive the entire time I was reading it, and it is still with me. The writing itself is beautiful and unique and it showcases a vulnerability that just won’t let go.

I loved the characters. Lennie aka John Lennon, Joe, Big and Gram stood out the most. Lennie and Joe were my favorites though. One was so happy all the time while the other lost in a depression/grief so deep she didn’t know how to get out or what to do about it.

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Capoeira-A New Challenge

It’s been over a month now since I’ve been doing Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art and dance. I was referred to it by my brother because he knew that I was missing taking martial arts and I love to dance. He recommended it to me and I decided to give it a shot. What was there to lose?

It’s been over 5 years since I have taken a martial art class and I was definitely nervous going in, even knowing that everyone was doing it for the first time as well. The first few classes were eye openers for me. Here was something that I can enjoy week after week, learn something new and get in shape.  With a mixture of dance moves, acrobatics and martial art movements, coordination and practice are necessary. It is a challenge, but I am up to it.

With each new class I was able to learn something new, practice it and slowly perfect it. The thing that we were told from day one is, it can take a year or more just to get out of the beginner stage, compared with other types of martial art and dance where in the first year you can already be at a green or purple belt. Capoeira is something that you need to want to practice, learn and develop until it is just right. You need to be dedicated, committed and determined.

I’ve signed up for a year because I am a go getter. I’m the type of person that will try something new, whether it’s me or not, and stick with it for a while. In some cases I find that I love it and continue, while in others it is not me, so I stop. There is something about capoeira that makes me want to continue and see where it takes me.

I’m hoping that with time I won’t be as sore after each class. Image working out and the next day you can barely walk. Haha. It’s like you are an old person or something where you have to take each step slowly and carefully because your muscles are protesting. There is a lot of soreness, pain, blisters, but those are small compared to the bigger picture. 🙂 Just grin and bear it, as the saying goes.

Here is a video that shows some of the things that I am practicing as well as what I will be aiming to accomplish with time.

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Book Review: Past Midnight

Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen

Published: September 2010

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Past Midnight is about Charlotte Silver, a normal teenage girls who just happens to have parents that debunk ghost theories for a living. They travel all over the world searching for the next ghost phenomenon and proving that it is false. According to their theories, there are no such things as ghosts, it is usually something else such as energy, a creaky floor board etc.

She tries her hardest to keep it a secret for as long as possible but eventually someone finds out and her life is changed once again.

Everything changes when they visit Charleston and the ghosts begin to speak to Charlotte. She thinks that they have left her alone when they leave, but that is not the case when they make themselves comfortable within her dreams and in her bedroom.

To make it even more complicated, Avery, her new best friend is hiding something that happened the year before Charlotte came to the school. Everyone seems to know what happened, except her. Between the ghosts, her new life and friends, she is kept busy.

Through research and their ‘ghost’ equipment, the Silver family realizes soon enough that time is running out and something ominous could happen. Theories are thrown out the window when Charlotte is faced with the ghosts face to face and knows that she must do whatever necessary to bring closure, both for herself and the ghosts that are trying to move on.

Personal Thoughts: 

As a fan of the paranormal and ghosts, I had high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, they fell short. I was expecting a lot more action when it comes to the paranormal side, especially since Charlotte’s parents were into it hardcore, but there was not enough in my opinion.

The overall story captivated my interest, but the pacing was a bit slow. It only started to be paced a bit faster towards the end of the book and that’s when it really grabbed my attention.

I loved how the author had a nice mix between the paranormal and real life contemporary young adult life. It was an easy and enjoyable read and I’ll be looking into the other books in this series. You know what they say about series, one book you might not like, but another you will love. Let’s see what kind of paranormal is stored in the next book. 🙂

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Book Review- Flying Blind

Flying Blind (The Dragon Diaries #1) by Deborah Cooke

Published: June 2011

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)

Shapeshifters. Dragons. Salamanders. Snakes. Bootcamp. What do all of these have in common? The solution to Zoe’s problem.

Zoe  Sorensson is more than just a normal teenager who is a late bloomer. She is the Wyvern of Pyr, a shape shifter dragon, and there can only be one female for the whole species.

After a mishap at school, she is sent away to boot camp. However, it is not a regular boot camp; it’s a boot camp for dragons. It’s too bad that she is the only one of the whole group who has yet to fully come into power with her abilities. She attempts to hide the fact for as long as possible until she is forced to save her species.

The Pyr boot camp turns out to be a trap and she must trust her instinct and use her shape shifting  powers to save everyone from the Mages. The Mages want to eliminate all the shape shifters everywhere and they are not afraid of anyone who gets in their way. Zoe has only one option; work together with her friends to fight the bad guys and save the Pyr or else they are history.

Personal Thoughts: 

This book was packed with action and it wasn’t dull for a moment. From the first page to the last, I was wondering what would happen to Zoe when she would be faced with finally shape shifting into her natural form. I sympathized with her when she couldn’t change shapes, when she was heartbroken about not being able to be with Nick, and I felt joy when she was able to change shapes and do her duty. It kept me thinking about what would happen next and what the challenge would be.

The only thing that I would have liked to see is  something going beyond the boot camp.

Overall a good YA read that’s an entertaining read. I haven’t heard of the author until now so for a first read, it’s a good start. I will definitely be looking into other books that she has written.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte is back!

It’s that time of year again! It’s Pumpkin Spice Latte time at Starbucks Coffee. I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season last night and it tasted delicious, heavenly. With each sip, my brain began to receive thoughts of autumn, the crisp fall air, pumpkin pie and joy.

I remember first trying this drink back in October 2007. It seems like it was just yesterday where I was holding down two jobs and attending full time university.

The thing about me is that usually I am a coffee drinker and I drink it because I enjoy it.  However, it is a rarity that coffee has such an impact on me. For whatever reason, when I had my first taste of Pumpkin Spice Latte I fell in love with it. I have had it from other places but Starbucks makes the best. My brain has generated a trigger for this specific drink so that every year I have it and just go to heaven, it is that good. What can I say; I am a coffee lover at heart. J

Every year that it goes away, I am saddened and await its return the next fall. I am a very patient person and the wait is definitely worth it.

Fall is next week and this is a great way to begin it.


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Book Review- How To Say Goodbye in Robot

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford.

Published: October 1st 2009

Publisher: Scholastic Press

I picked up this book randomly just because I knew of the author’s previous works. I loved all her books and I knew that at the very least I would get enjoyment from the book. I got way more than I expected.

The summary piqued my interest when it talked about Ghost Boy and Robot Girl. It sounded different from the usual high school drama and cheerleading clique books that I have seen in the past.

The cover itself made me think about what it was about even before I read the book. The contrast of the phone with the word robot. The hot pink with a hint of white. The fact that it didn’t really reveal anything.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot is about Bea, who gets forced to move to yet another new school where she has to meet another group of new students. She has done this so many times in the past that she has learned not to care, or get attached  anymore in preparation for the next move. On her first day, she meets Anne, who is part of the popular crowd, and Jonah, a silent quiet boy who’s known as Ghost Boy. He’s sullen, doesn’t really like to talk and hasn’t had a friend in a really long time.

For a reason that no one can understand, he becomes friends with Bea. A journey like nothing before starts to slowly begin. Jonah starts opening up and Bea finds there is more than meets the eye behind Ghost Boy’s past.

Personal Thoughts:

I loved this book. As soon as I picked it up, I kept reading it every waking moment that I could to find out more about Robot Girl and Ghost Boy. The way that it was written and laid out really spoke out. The platonic friendship that Bea and Jonah shared made my heart ache. No matter what Bea did, it was never enough to get through but she was still there at the end to support him. The different chapter dividers with each month was a neat addition. Natalie Standiford’s writing is realistic, open and shows a new side of what is it like to be a teenager with the world crashing at your feet. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a thoughtful book.