It’s Been a Minute!

Well hello there!

It has been a hot minute since I’ve appeared in your inbox. To be honest with you, I had been contemplating about giving up writing in this space. For awhile, I just wondered who the hell cares about it? I felt like I was pouring my energy into something that didn’t really matter. Like who even cares about all these books I’m reading anyways? For so long I felt like reading was teaching me about history, about different cultures, and about human interactions… but maybe no one else cares.

Then I had a couple people in a week ask me why I hadn’t posted any book reviews on the blog lately. And then I found myself reviewing great books in my head, and trying to bring them up to several people in conversations. Lastly, there was this one big thing. I sent in a “listener press” to the Currently Reading Podcast… and they featured my press! You can listen here. It was a big deal to me. Not only did I feel like what I read is important, but I also felt someone else believed that reading can teach us things, and is important. So here I am!

During this blog break, I have been reading like crazy… not much has changed in my reading & running life! I’ve been working away on my Yoga Teacher Training course, signed up for a race this fall, and now it’s summer time… which is reading’s fav season. So today I’m going to share you with a few of my most favourite books I’ve read while I’ve been taking a break from writing here.

These books were all 5 star books for me. They are all pretty different, but as equally compelling. Enjoy!

Fiction Fav’s!

Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good. I had had this book on my Kobo for ages. I bought it on a deal, and thought the premise sounded interesting. Then after the mass grave of children at the residential school was found in B.C., I knew I needed to read it immediately… and I couldn’t put it down. This book is based in B.C., around five different residential school survivors. It’s their story about their struggle to find their way after their they leave. They are all coping with it differently, but it is clear to the reader that they are each struggling to cope, and find their way through their trauma. It is a story of resilience, and one that has so much to teach us.

If one book has taken me by surprise this year, Into the Drowning Deep, is that one. This book’s description sounds like nothing I usually read, but when I started it, I was sucked into it immediately. Hear me out… it’s of the mermaid horror genre, as Meredith from the Currently Reading Podcast said. But it is so good. It has Stephen King-esque vibes, mixed with a trip to find the lost city of Atlantis. Here’s the premise: Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “documentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legends. Something horrible went wrong, and the Atargatis was found with no people left on it, blood everywhere, floating miles away from it’s original place. Now, scientists, and a new crew is assembled to seek what actually took place above, and below the Mariana Trench. And I’m here to tell you, this mermaid tale is no “The Little Mermaid”. This book is so good, and so immersive, I couldn’t put it down!

Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This was the book I was looking forward releasing the most this year. I would read TJR’s grocery list, and be thoroughly enthralled. This book didn’t disappoint at all. She took a background character from Evelyn Hugo, and made his family centre stage. Mick Riva is a rock star, and an estranged husband, and father to his four children. While his children have been surviving, and thriving without him, their past and futures collide at the annual Riva party. This book is set basically around one night in their lives, but flashes back and forth between the history of this family’s checked past. It’s fantastic historical fiction. She drops in some famous musicians, and actors/actresses alongside this fictional family. What I found really compelling about this novel was that it almost gave me modern day Rebecca vibes. It’s got that big house, with big troubles theme. And TJR’s writing has you equal parts of wanting to flip the pages, but also slowly devour the beautiful sentences.

The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn. This is another book that I was dying to get my hands on… as much as I am all WWII fictioned out, Kate Quinn never does me wrong. This one was definitely a masterpiece. It was based on the women of Bletchley Park, featuring some of the real women, and some fictional characters as well. If you don’t know, Bletchley Park were the codebreakers in England… they were the people trying to intercept codes, and they say that the War would have been years longer if not for these codebreakers. These codebreakers were also under strict rules to NOT share with anyone what they were doing. So a lot of these women were just stay at home moms/wives, with this secret double life. I think Kate Quinn does historical fiction so well, you learn while be entertained! I especially loved the little author’s note at the end, where you learn something pretty neat about a real life women of Bletchley Park.

My Non-Fic Fav’s!

More Than A Body, by Lindsay Kite PhD, and Lexie Kite PhD. This book should be read by everyone with a body. It’s a good hard look at just what truly our body is… an instrument, instead of this ornament that we feel like we need to constantly change to “look better”. What is so good about this book is they give you tangible steps on how to set yourself up for better body resilency in a world that is obsessed with looks. I love that it teaches the reader, that we have been groomed by media to hate/change ourselves, but we are also in charge of creating an environment that is a healthy space for us to thrive in.

Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. By Laura Tremaine. I’ve been following Laura Tremaine through podcasts for a long time, and she has always really interested me. Her love of conversation, and finding depth within relationships is what inspired this book. Each chapter is a question, and then she writes an essay based around this question… but what she encourages the reader to do is to ask yourself these questions. Then, to also ask these questions to the people in your life. This book brought on a really interesting and deep conversation with my little brother, and for that alone, I’m thankful that I read this book!

Crossroads, by Kaleb Dahlgren. I think every Canadian knows the horrific story of the Humboldt Bronco’s team bus crash that killed sixteen people, and injured 13 others. It was the tragedy that was heard around the world on the news. This is Kaleb’s story about the crash, and the way he has found the resilience to keep on living. When I heard this book was being published, I knew I had to read it. Kaleb’s perseverance, and dedication is so inspiring, and I think he does a beautiful job of honouring the lives that were lost that day.

Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle. I loved Glennon’s book, Untamed. I thought it was literally the thoughts in my head that I didn’t know were needing to be thought through. I also love Glennon’s Podcast, We Can Do Hard Things. So after saying I was going to read this book for approximately a year and a half, I finally read it, and it was SO good. I love this type of memoir, it is basically like a stream of consciousness that she is working through. Glennon does not have it all figured out, but she’s working on it. Just like everyone else, she has trauma, she has demons, but she shows up to do the hard work. This is what I love about her. Immediately after I finished reading Love Warrior, I bought Carry on, Warrior.

Okay, I’m finally done pressing books into your hands. These are the best books I’ve been reading since I took a bit of break from this space. I hope you find something that brings you as much joy as these books brought me!

Until time next, happy reading!

The Huntress, by Kate Quinn

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I’ve been anticipating Kate Quinn’s next book for so long now! Harper Collins Canada kindly sent me an advanced copy, and The Huntress will be coming out on February 19th. Kate Quinn’s last novel, The Alice Network, was a New York Times best seller, and the book that I told everyone last year to read. It was fantastic! So when news broke about her writing another novel, I think that all the bookworms in the world started to rejoice.

It’s 1950, five years since the wreckage that WWII brought upon the world, and the world is far from able to forget it as much as they try to. Told through the perspective of three different characters, you are first introduced to the past of Nina Markova from Soviet Russia. Nina is full of piss and vinegar. Actually she probably was the one that that saying was invented for. She dreams of being a pilot, which she becomes, and ends up on the team of all female night bombers in the war, infamously known as the Night Witches. But when her plane is downed in Poland, she meets the notorious Nazi murderess, known as the Huntress. Luckily, Nina survives this encounter. Flash forward to 1950, where Ian Graham who has abandoned journalism to become a Nazi hunter… and also has a little history with Nina… has one target that he is determined to find. The Huntress.
Nina and Ian become a team, travelling around the world on this hunt, that eventually leads them to a young Jordan McBride in Boston, whose stepmother is a quiet, German widow who Jordan has suspected since meeting her is hiding something. Upon some digging it turns out, the secrets will unfold in a dramatic, and thrilling way!

This novel gets a standing ovation from me. All the gold stars, and everyone will be sick and tired of me talking about how incredible this novel is. First off, in the historical fiction world it seems that World War II novels are extremely popular. But this novel is a book about what happens after the War, which in this case was a Nazi hunt. Because I loved SO many things about this novel and I could go on and on about it, I will leave you with a bullet list:

  • Nina’s Russian accent. Kate Quinn captured this so perfectly! I actually found myself reading in a Russian accent. This is bullshit!! A line Nina loved, and I will never forget how well Kate Quinn translated this accent on the page.
  • Salzburg, Austria. This is a place I hold very dear to my heart! First of all, the Sound of Music was shot there, and secondly I made my poor husband go there on our honeymoon and take a 4 hour tour. It’s a stunningly, beautiful town, and I was given all the warm, fuzzy feelings when this town was one of the settings.
  • How the War lived on within these characters. I think for us to forget how the experiences of War are/were engrained in the brains of the people who lived through it. PTSD was something that wasn’t really a “thing” back then, but with our knowledge now, it’s pretty amazing that that generation moved forward.
  • Lastly, the Night Witches. These ladies were badass, and most of the characters that Kate Quinn referenced were real women. They flew, navigated, and bombed the night skies. These Russian women were under slept, peroxiding their hair, and the only flight regiment of women.

Okay, enough of my raving!! Just read this book, it is going to be quite the ride. There’s historical fiction, romance, and tons of thrill.

Happy Sunday!

The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn

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Ohhhh this book!!! I admit, I avoided reading this book because the hype around it was EVERYWHERE. I usually don’t like to jump on board with the hottest, newest book… but I just kept on hearing how great this book was. So off to the library I went to put it on hold, and low and behold… this book was incredible! I’m going to share with you a list of reasons why I loved The Alice Network:

  • Full of strong women who make a difference.
  • References to poetry (Baudelaire mostly) and music (Edith Piaf).
  • A history lesson.
  • A little romance!

What a treasure it is to read a fast-paced, well told story, and learn about this time in history. If books like this one weren’t ever written, I wouldn’t have heard of these female spies of WW1, and how they helped change the path of the War, and saved so many lives.

This book fits into the historical fictional category, and comes in at almost 500 pages. I’m going to give you the synopsis from GoodReads, because I could go on and on… Two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

This. Book. Is. Great!!!! Just read it, please!! You will fall in love with one of the main characters, Eve. She is a kickass spy from WW1, who is at first very abrasive and rough… then as more of her story pours out you see how much depth she has, and the incredible experiences she has been through.

I will not tell you one single solitary fact about my work, my friends, or the woman I was arrested with. But I will tell you this, Rene Bordelon. You’re a gullible fool. You’re a terribly lover. And I hate Baudelaire.

The fact this this fictional story is based on real people, and their real experiences is fascinating. Kate Quinn has done something that is so unique by creating a story full of historic facts. She’s given us all the chance to learn more about these women, this time period, and for that I am grateful. The women in the Alice Network were incredible, and their stories need to be heard. Do me a favour… and read the Author’s Note at the end of this book. Then flip through all the books that Kate Quinn used for research. I love when an Author’s Note elevates the experience of a book, and that’s exactly what this does.

So I guess my lesson of the day is, just read the damn book if everyone says it’s great… because it probably is. Until next, happy reading friends!