Category Archives: General

My own little celebration: 30 days, 30 Picture Books

Are you as jazzed as I am about Candlewick’s awesome initiative, We Believe in Picture Books? 365 videos all in celebration of the fabulosity of picture books? This is going to make every day for the next… 363 days, that little bit sweeter.

Here’s the deal:

So today I thought I would begin my own little elfy celebration as my way of saying, “Candlewick, you’re speaking my language.” For 30 days, every day of September, I am going to be posting a review of a picture book that makes me happy and shows everyone why we should all believe in picture books.

Let the believing begin!

A hound, and a short mid-summer reading review…

You know how sometimes life chases what is really good and close to perfect with something that is terrible and close to the worst? That’s what it has sent my way the past couple of weeks. I had a beautiful trip up North. It was exactly everything I’d been looking forward to. Sadly, it was this little guy pictured above who brought me smashing back to reality with an awful scare. Serious sickness, major surgery, and a lotta bad news later and we are looking at a big fight up ahead.

I don’t know about you, but he sure looks like a fighter to me, yes? (That’s the tail caught mid-wag in the background).

So, deep breath, we are aiming for bravery around here, and with that spirit in mind, I thought I’d try sharing two little mini reviews of some of the books read so far this summer.


Absolutely stunning, and a worthy companion to Graceling. This is the story of a young Queen who is faced with the seemingly impossible task of rebuilding the kingdom that was shattered by her father’s evil reign. Not sure who she can trust and what is true, she tries to look ahead and make right what she can. You will love Cashore’s rich language and powerful imagery, but most of all, it’s the characters who will get into your head. I think that this book has more thematic complexity than Graceling, as it makes readers think about the cost of truth, the different faces of bravery, and whether or not it is possible to heal after devastating cruelty. Wonderful.

Wonder Show

If you like circus stories, and you like writing that makes you picture the characters and places in your mind the whole way through, then this book is going to be a treat for you. It’s the tale of Portia, who runs away from the Home for Wayward Girls and the awful Mister who runs it. Where better to run than a traveling sideshow? Portia is also looking for her father, who she thinks may have a connection to the circus. As with most coming of age stories, Portia finds something more and something different than what she expected. This book is very finely crafted, with a world that will sweep you in, and impressive creativity. It made me want to read everything else Hannah Barnaby writes.

Here’s hoping the end of the summer means some good healing for the hound, and some more stories worth remembering.

What’s on my bookshelf for the summer…

I’ve had my first lemonade. I’m on the listen for songs for my summer playlist. I’ve had a big ol’ BBQ in the backyard. My toes have been dipped into a chilly lake. I can feel it. Summer is nearly here. So I’m starting to daydream about all the books I’m going to have a chance to get to in a few weeks.

Absolutely at the top of my list is:

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. The only reason I haven’t read this yet is because I’ve been feeling kinda tired/grouchy and there was no way I was going to wreck this book by reading it from a tired/grouchy place. Cannot wait.

the story of us by Deb Caletti. Come on gang, that cover alone says summer, right? Deb Caletti is one of my surefire bet authors. I always love her characters and the way that her writing is loaded with so many sentences that beg you to stop and reread. Kirkus called it “chicklit for eggheads.” Yep, that’s it.

Pure by Julianna Baggott. Because it wouldn’t be summer without a good old postapocalyptic coming-of-age story. Besides, it’s pretty.

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl. A crumbling castle, a heroine fit for an Austen novel, pending financial ruin, and reminiscent of one of my favourite novels of all, makes this just about irresistible.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Even though this one has had mixed reviews, it’s been on my list for such a long time, and summer when you can get to things you keep on saving for later. Plus, it’s about cake.

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. A girl has to read something to make her smarter, and having heard Jonah Lehrer speak about Imagine, I’m excited to make it my nonfiction pick for the summer.

That’s my list so far. Can’t wait to get started!

What?!!!! (in a good way)

Sometimes you miss things. BIG things. Jane Austen things. I had no idea about this. I should be ashamed. Now that I know. I want. I want very much:

By the way, have you seen Downton Abbey? Such fun:


I know what we should do! We should all get Death Comes to Pemberley at Christmas and we should read it and then have a Downton Abbey marathon with cookies and tea and perhaps knitting! (Trina, I’m talking to you :)).

Please write forever and ever P.D. James.

adorable library story to warm your heart

So after school today I was walking towards the library following a mom and her two girls. The littler girl was wearing an adorable green raincoat with flowers all over it and matching rubber boots. They were talking about whether or not she would be eating her vegetables for dinner. Then when she had just passed the library door and I had the handle in my hand to open it, she turned back and said to her mom,

“That’s my library.”

Her name is Bronwyn. She is probably five. I think the world would be a better place if we all had a conversation with a kindergartner everyday.

just a glimpse… and then goodbye!

The wedding was about as perfect as a wedding can be: blue sky, sunshine through the vines, a handsome fella, a pretty girl (ahem), family all around us, the best best friends, wine and more wine, mini pulled pork sandwiches and oysters and wood oven roasted peaches and cocktails and chocolate, live Paris cafe music playing me down the vineyard aisle, fireflies, a moonlit dinner… I could say more. I will say more. But now I have to go to Paris. And Provence.

Here are just a few of the hundreds of gorgeous pictures taken by our wonderful friend and wedding photographer extraordinare, Trina Turl.



Now I say goodbye for now. Off for Paris magic!


A word from the almost-bride

I had hoped to write a pithy review which I could name as My Last Review as an Unmarried Lady.

Instead I have being doing things like buying ribbons and ironing my dog’s bow tie and writing thank you cards and getting weepy while listening to our wedding soundtrack.

I am getting married tomorrow. In a vineyard. In the most beautiful dress you could imagine. With all of my favourite people around us. To the fella I love.

I am sure it will be a beautiful day. Wish me luck!

I can tell you that in stolen moments amid the bridal craziness, I’ve been reading this:

which is the perfect book for an almost-bride, since it is all about princesses and magic and dancing until your slippers are all worn out. And dresses.

Here’s to a sunny, happy, wedding weekend! See you on the other side!