November 10, 2012

Jen's 2012 Book Giving Guide


    Christmas is quickly approaching and as I began my shopping today I thought perhaps you've started as well! Christmas is my favourite time of year and this year I am looking so forward to the smell of mulled apple cider, and our fresh pine trees, the sounds of my favourite Christmas album, and the crinkle of wrapping paper.

Below are my top recommendations for the book lover's in your life. If you shop through the link on Amazon you'll also be supporting this blog (and me) I hope the lists are helpful. It can be a challenge shopping for someone else. If you need a more personal recommendation just leave me a comment or send me an email.

Happy Shopping!











































Be sure to share these lists with friends, grandparents and Aunts & Uncles!

November 1, 2012

Why I Would Survive a Zombie Apocalypse–Guest Post




A few weeks ago I wrote a post – about how I would not survive a zombie apocalypse. My son (who’s 11) thought it was funny and wrote a post about why he would survive.


Here’s his post:

Why I Would Survive a Zombie Apocalypse (at least for a couple of days)

  1. I have awesome survival skills
  2. I can run for a good period of time
  3. I am trained in Martial Arts
  4. Give me a long stick and I can fight for days
  5. I know some edible plants
  6. I’m good at archery
  7. I’m strong so I could rip off a zombie’s arm and beat him with it.

I had planned to post this yesterday but it was crazy with Halloween activities. I love this post so much I just had to share it:)

To read my post about zombies-


October 29, 2012

Dear Teen Me- Authors Write Letters to Their Teen–Selves-An Anthology Edited by E. Kristen Anderson and Miranda Kenneally

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves

Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally)
Published by Zest Books October 2012

I’m thrilled to be a stop on  the Dear Teen Me Blog Tour today.

Summary:

Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors.Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends--and a lot of familiar faces--in the course of Dear Teen Me.


Dearest Jen,

  I look back at you and 20 years has passed. How does that happen?….in the blink of an eye, so don’t be in such a hurry to be older. Hindsight they say is 20/20 and it’s such a true expression. We've made a lot of mistakes you and I. Some helped us grow…. some, to be honest we still struggle with. I could give you lots of advice. Stay in school and go to your afternoon classes. It may feel like everyone is noticing that you are eating alone but “they” for the most part are only thinking about themselves. Tell someone about your bully. You don’t always need to go it alone.

When I think about who you are hanging out with outside of school and what you are doing, I just want to hug you. The risks you are taking are not worth the damage they do, but I know how hard it is to see it in the moment. You want love and acceptance, to be popular, to feel special. Everyone wants that. But I can tell you that what you want is not going to be found where you are looking. In a few years you are going to meet someone who doesn't necessarily sweep you off your feet like they do in the movies but he loves you unconditionally and becomes your rock and best friend.

What I want most to say to you is about Dad.  He will never be the dad you want him to be. Ever. You eventually make peace with that and it is one of the most freeing experiences of your life. He comes and goes when it’s convenient, usually leaving you  nothing but tears and heartache and you realize that perhaps the best is to not have him in your life at all. Not in an angry, silent treatment kind of way but in a letting “him and the idea of a dad who is there for you and loves you” go kind of way.

There is so much love in store for you. There is so much life in store for you. Hang in there. It will get better.

You will be ok.
Love Me

To learn more about Dear Teen Me, the other bloggers on the tour and the authors -check out the links below. Special thanks to everyone who helped with this feature for the last month. Big hugs to you and your teen selves.

Zest Books website: http://zestbooks.net/dear-teen-me-blog-tour/
Dear Teen Me website: http://dearteenme.com/?page_id=4031
Dear Teen Me events page: http://zestbooks.net/events/
Zest Books Dear Teen Me book page: http://zestbooks.net/dear-teen-me/


Dear Teen Me- Feature 13

DearTeenMeJen

About this Feature: 

Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be  posting them here.

Today I welcome J to the blog. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders, and confidants. I love her like sunshine…


Dear Teen J,

It’s been awhile….. how I’ve missed your optimism! I’m afraid I’ve lost you a wee bit along the way, grown a little more cynical, a little more wary and a little less trusting…..but now that you are here we can get reacquainted, I hope.
So here I stand, older, wiser perhaps (but whose to say whom is the judge of all that?) Though I’ve made many a mistake along the way, the biggest I’ve come to realize was pushing you out of sight, dearest Teen Me; along with those aspirations you were so inspired to achieve – when hopes were dashed, when disappointments showered down, when injustice pierced my side and when deception weighed heavy in my heart, I should have breathed deeper and held you aloft higher, trusting that your persistence and optimism would surely guide the way.
Now, I’m not going to grimace away here, hands on my hips, crow’s feet squinting, all foreboding and admonishing you how the world is not always going to be sunshine and daffodils; insult your intelligence I will not.
However, when those times do fall upon you, I wish to remind you to always, always listen to that voice inside and don’t silence it for anyone – in layman’s terms, trust your gut, dear Teen Me, for rarely will it lead you astray ~ seek wisdom, laugh deeply, love strongly (but not blindly), pray for guidance and keep those whom you trust and love close and closer.
And know that, though change is inevitable, you can always return to be the person whom you love to be, even just as a reminder to yourself to smile and uncomplicate the world you are now living in.
Life is simple if you choose to make it so.

Ever yours,
J


October 28, 2012

Dear Teen Me- Feature 12

DearTeenMeJen

About this Feature:
Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be  posting them here.


Jennifer and I first met through Indigo Books & Music.. I love her approach to her letter….

Dear Jennifer aged 13-19,

This letter is meant to be is a thank you note. I write a lot of thank you letters; for dinners, for great service, for time spent with friends at a cottage. I guess it never occurred to me to write a thank you note to the person who made me who I am today. The person got me through that integral period in a girl’s life where you are defining who you are, who you will be, what kind of man you will marry, the kind of parent you will be. Me, the teenager.
Thank you.

Thank you for being brave enough to take chances and make mistakes. Those mistakes have firmly rooted me in my current beliefs, my ideals and my life path.
Thank you for saying no- over and over and over again. It was worth it.
Thank you for being a good friend. I am so proud to say that I treated my high school friends with kindness, compassion and respect and I am proud to call so many of them my friends today.
Thank you for falling in love. While sometimes painful, the joy and experiences of being young, in love and looking at life from that perspective made me crave those wonderful butterflies in my marriage. It also made me cautious and careful and allowed me to navigate through rough waters when I needed to.
Thank you for your sense of adventure. Thank you for having a “go for it” attitude and proving that independence and determination can define who you will become in the future. I am certain that my desire to see the world and to be a part of something bigger has its direct origins in the pages of my teen life.
Thank you for making time to read so many wonderful adventures. I am so grateful that I can say I have been a passionate reader all of my life. My passion for reading is still a vibrant and important part of my life and I am thankful for all that you did to further develop this.
Thank you for laughing so much and for having a lot of fun. As I look back I am flooded with amazing memories of road trips, family vacations, parties, school functions, singing and dancing. I am so grateful to say that I spent most of my teen years laughing with my friends and family.
Thank you for being emotional. While many view this as a liability, it has shaped who I am as a friend, colleague, wife and mother today. I love deeply, cry when I need to and have a very sympathetic ear to everyone in my life.
In retrospect I can see that it wasn’t very easy, but you managed to come through the other side with a strong personality, a great education and a joyful outlook on life. There were times when I know that it was scary, lonely and you felt unsure- I wish I could have been there to give you a hug.
Looking back now, that time reads like a wonderful adventure novel where the heroine gets the guy and reaps the rewards- it was all worth it….every moment.

Thank you.

October 23, 2012

Dear Teen Me–Feature 11

About this Feature:
Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be  posting them here.



DearTeenMeJen

When is comes to friends this gal is one of my “Sunday Best”. We talk daily and I’m so very lucky to have her & her beautiful family in my life. Love her so so much.

Dear Teen Me,

You’re 12 and I’m 32, but I’m you. I swear. Don’t believe me? You have a piece of glass hidden in the pocket of your jean jacket. When you can’t get the voices of those bullies out of your head, you scratch away bits of your hands until you feel like you’ve punished yourself enough.

I can still hear echoes of their words all these years later, so I won’t simply tell you not to listen. I know it’s impossible not to listen and hard not to believe what they say. But don’t. I see those people sometimes and the regret is clear in their eyes. They are ashamed of themselves now. I ignore their friend requests on Facebook (Facebook is this really cool thing, if only you had it now!), because now I get to choose the influences in my life. I don’t need to be around people who set out to hurt me.

For now let me tell you that you are beautiful. You are the skinniest you’ll ever be. Your hair is unique and so gorgeous and you will learn to control it (stop brushing it and get some gel, trust me!). You don’t have acne forever.

Trust your choices, you are making good ones that are leading you down the right path. Celebrate your brain because it will take you places. Being the teacher’s favourite just means that an adult can see that you are a truly special person and all the others are just bullies heading nowhere.

Don’t be afraid of high school. They were some of the best years of my life and you’ll make great friends that last a lifetime. Our kids are playing together now. And the best part? When you meet this boy with big ears and a Soundgarden t-shirt, smile, stand tall and flick that curly hair of yours. It’s okay to love him that much. He’s a keeper and he wants no one but you. Forever.

So don’t give up. Go look at your sleeping baby brother. He needs you to stick around. Stick around for your two beautiful daughters. The experiences you are having now will teach you so much about how people should be treated and the words young girls need to hear from their mommy.

Trust me. Go buy some hair gel. Believe in yourself. Little boobs are spectacular too.
Take a deep breath, throw out that piece of glass and be yourself!
Love, you


October 22, 2012

Dear Teen Me-Feature 10

DearTeenMeJen

About this Feature:
Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be be posting them here. 

After seeing the first few Dear Teen Me letters on the blog, Angie got in touch and asked to write one as well-here is her letter....

Dear Teen Me:

Hello… I remember you.  Sometimes doing things you didn't want to do to fit in.  Yea you!  There's a few things that I think you should know though I know you won't listen.

You know your body?  The one that is skinny.. so skinny you won't even wear shorts.  Wear those damn shorts.  In less then 10 years you will be the only one out of your high school friends who hasn't gained 30 lbs.  You will still be the same weight as in high school and you will love it.  So embrace it now.  And those bad boys you keep dating.. YUCK!  Though you know what?  Go ahead and date them so you know who not to date and who to marry.  But don't just have sex with just anyone!! 

 Also… that 40 hours a week you are putting in at McDonalds like they need you?  Please Mcdonalds will run just fine without you… trust me they will still be there 20 -50 years later!!  So tell them 40 hours is way too much.. 20 hours a week will be just fine.  Plus $4.25 an hour is NOTHING!   Don't feel lonely.. learn how to be friends with yourself.  Eventually you will be your own best friend.  Be KIND.  Be respectful to mom and dad.  You are constantly battling with them and someday you will realize they really are the best parents out of all your friends.  The time they made you take back the Christmas lights you stole?  Yea… first off that was a terrible thing to do, and second mom and dad were trying to make you a better person.  

Love yourself, and LOVE life.  Just because in high school you aren't the cheerleader or one of the preppy people it will be just fine.   I am so proud of who you turn out to be. 

Your best friend,
yourself 


October 18, 2012

Dear Teen Me-Feature 9

DearTeenMeJen
About this Feature:
Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be be posting them here.


Today I welcome a dear friend of mine Donna. Donna and I met when we facilitated a teen book club together. She’s a high school teacher and also a guest reviewer on this blog as well.

Dear Younger Donna,
Hey you—it’s the older version of yourself, writing to you almost three decades into the future. I could say a lot of things to you; I could tell you that you have three beautiful daughters and are happily married. However, what I want to do is warn you of a momentous event that is about to happen; I want to try to stop it from happening.

It is September 10th, 1985. I know that you are really pumped to be in OAC at ______________Collegiate Institute. You had a great summer with friends; you maintained the old connections and made some new ones. You made good money working at the mall and babysitting. You actually got along with your sister for most of the family trip to Myrtle Beach. Your stepfather has finally left to live in Tennessee, leaving the house a lot more quiet and safe. Your classes have started off really well. You like your teachers, especially Mr. Carter, whose English class you’ve wanted to be in, like , forever. You have a solid group of like-minded friends in all of your classes and you are committed to doing well this year. After all, it’s off to university next fall….

This day is critical to your future, Donna. As much as you are going to want to, do not stay late after ________’s party. Do not get sucked into being alone with _____________. Yes, he is gorgeous. Yes, he is popular and clever. But, Donna: he is also very dangerous.
Trust me when I say this: he will deeply affect the way your life turns out. At the very moment he asks you to stick around, you need to resist your instincts to say yes. Please say “no”. Please turn and leave.
Do you want me to prove it to you?!

Your decision to be his girlfriend will change the way you see yourself. Your obsession with him will sever the relationships you have built over a decade. You will focus all of your attention on his wellbeing, forgetting your own. You will give up your own interests to support his. You will lie to your mother over and over again, because, deep in your heart, you know what you’re doing is wrong. You will disappoint your teachers. You will drop a course because your music teacher actually challenges you on your behaviour. You will make a spectacle of yourself at the biggest party of the year. Your desperation to keep him will make you act recklessly and dangerously.

You will forget that you are a really wonderful young woman with a dream of teaching. You will forget that you have a kooky sense of humour and that you have a passion for reading and writing. You will forget that your friends once loved you for being able to act silly and honestly. You will begin to truly believe that you are pathetic, overly-sensitive and boring. You will begin to truly believe that you don’t deserve to be happy.
You will eventually disappear and re-emerge into a woman who makes terrible choices in men. The words, actions and smallest of comments made by _____________ will be heard again and again. His treatment of you will be replaced again and again by other boyfriends and a husband.

I beg of you, Donna: leave the party alone. Call your friends to hang out. Laugh uproariously with your sister. Read the pile of books beside your bed. Look into the mirror each day and celebrate the face that looks back.

Value yourself on this fateful day in September and know that the two decades that follow will be filled with pride, respect and love.

Love,
Older Donna

Thanks so much Donna (XO)


October 17, 2012

Review: Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan


Today I welcome my fabulous friend and guest poster Jessie to the blog. Jessie & I met while working together at the library and we became great friends. In addition to guest posting here, she's also my book event/signing travel buddy.


Team Human

Published by HarperTeen July 2012
Source: ARC provided by the publisher

Summary:

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.


Jessie's Thoughts:


Team Human is a fun story about a girl who tries to get her best friend to stop dating a vampire while at the same time solves the mysterious departure of Dr. Saunders. Set in a town that co-exists with vampires but during a period where humans and vampires are for the most part segregated, those who associate with vampires are viewed as outside the norm. Mel doesn’t hate vampires, she just doesn’t get why anyone would want to be one. Vampires for the most part cannot feel emotions and to become a vampire there is a chance you could die or worse … become a zombie.  That is why transitioning into a vampire is closely regulated by the government. When Mel’s best friend tells her that she is considering becoming a vampire to be with her boyfriend forever Mel freaks out. She makes it her mission to either convince her friend of the cons of being a vampire or else uncover a reason for her friend to break-up with her boyfriend.

Larbalestier and Breenan stick to most of the standard vampire ideologies while adding their own twists. Their main character Mel is humorous and stubborn though at times perhaps too simple. On the other hand, Kit who was raised by vampires is a well-flushed out character who makes a great contribution to the book. Team Human is an adventure book with a side of romance. There is no way to escape from this book without some laughs. Overall an entertaining read.    






October 16, 2012

Dear Teen Me: Feature 8

DearTeenMeJen

Today I welcome a fabulous friend of mine Liza. Liza and I go way back to when we both worked for Indigo. I love how even though we might not always see each other, when we do we just pick up where we left off. She’s been a great support.

Dear Teen Me,

I know you won’t listen to me because I’m a middle-aged adult from the future but just in case you’re feeling open-minded today I have some advice for you. Pretend you’re reading it in the pages of Seventeen magazine, ok?

I know you better than anyone else does, you have to admit that. And one of your biggest issues is your lack of self-confidence. There is no magical formula – it isn’t going to magically appear. No one else can give it to you. Faking it until it becomes real actually can work so try that. Also consider these points:

1. Blow- dry your freaking hair with some product. That will help you avoid the nasty cowlick that makes your bangs separate and your forehead shine through. Seriously, give it a try.

2. Stop worrying so much what other people think – wear the clothes you like, not what other people say you should like. Navy and black is not a crime.

3.When you get a boyfriend (it will happen, I promise) don’t take any crap from him – if he doesn’t show up when he says he will or leaves you all alone late at night in downtown Toronto after going to a pub – kick him to the curb and move on. Trust me there are other boys.

4. Keep writing in your journal.

5. Read, read, read. Maybe less Mary Higgins Clark and more quality stuff but keep at it. And don’t discount Canadian female authors just because your mother reads them.

6. Take up a team sport – remember in sixth grade? You were good at volleyball. You’ll meet more people and stay fit at the same time.

7. Surround yourself with positive people. You pick up on other peoples’ habits so avoid people who are always negative or pessimistic.

8. Be brave, take chances, speak up. You worry people will laugh or think you’re stupid but they won’t – they’ll think you’re brave, confident and smart and maybe soon you will believe it too.

(Thanks Liza…such great advice-)

About this feature:

Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be be posting them here. I still have space for anyone else who would like to participate-just contact me through email or by leaving a comment on this post-(just 2 spots left)


October 15, 2012

This is Not My Hat–Blog Tour-Jon Klassen

TINMH_blogtour_buttonUS

As a fan of Jon Klassen’s award winning I Want My Hat Back picture book, I was thrilled to be invited to participate in the Global blog tour for his latest book This Is Not My Hat.  As part of the blog tour I had the opportunity to interview Jon:

Where does your artistic inspiration come from?
I think mostly I just like communicating. It's not even about communicating anything specific, I just really like the exercise of getting something across. I guess it's sort of proof that you're not crazy.

Growing up did you always want to be an author and artist? Who encouraged you?
I did always like drawing and writing, and I think I always hoped I'd be able to get a job doing something like that, because I didn't really get interested in many other things, or at least I wasn't very good at them. I've been lucky about encouragement. My parents always thought and still think that a job doing this is a totally realistic idea and a valid thing to spend your time on. They had that great balance of encouragement without the pressure. The more distance I get on it, the more lucky I feel about that. I don't think a lot of people get it.

What is your favourite thing about being a published author?
Having a book spine. A book spine with your name on it is a crazy thing to see. Also getting to sort of design them is really fun. How often do you get to design something with those kind of dimensions?

Do you have a favourite library memory? (can be a childhood memory or even now)
I think a lot of the libraries I grew up with were built in the 70s, and they have a certain way they felt inside. A lot of wide open carpeted spaces with weird raised carpeted platforms here and there, and big potted plants and very high ceilings with windows in them. It's frustrating to be in a place like that as a kid because all you want to do is run as fast as you can from one end to the other, and that's not really allowed, so you just walk around with your teeth clenched looking for book spines with the 'mystery' stickers on them until you calm

I was excited to read that you are originally from Niagara Falls, when was the last time you were back and what is your favourite activity to do when you visit?
Yeah! I try and go back a few times a year. My parents still live there. I really love driving down the parkway along the river. I used to bike it a lot, and it's still one of the nicest stretches I know of. I think Winston Churchill called it the best Sunday afternoon drive in the world, or something like that.

If you were a hat, what kind of hat would you be?
I wear a baseball hat almost all the time, so even though i might like something more original, it would be dishonest of me.
Jon_Klassen

Any new books/projects in the works?
A couple, yeah! I'm working on another of my own, and another one with Mac Barnett, who wrote Extra Yarn. They are both at the stage where I take long showers and stare at nothing until the hot water runs out.

(Thanks a lot for the questions Jen! It's great to talk to somebody from the home province!!)

Thank you Jon! I have to say that interviewing and talking with authors is one of my most favourite things  about blogging and one of the reasons why I blog…feeling pretty blessed right now!

My Review

I'm happy to announce that I also have 1 copy of  the book and a "This is Not my Hat" hat (adult size) to give away. Check out My Little Bookcase tomorrow (October 16) for the next stop on the tour!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





October 12, 2012

Dear Teen Me-Feature 7


DearTeenMeJen


About this Feature:

Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be be posting them here. 



Today I welcome Sheena. Sheena and I met through a Women's Networking Group and I'm so glad we did.  I love her enthusiasm and passion for helping others.


Dear Teen Me,

First things first, dump the boyfriend.  No, seriously, DUMP HIM.  He’s a loser and he will never see you for what you are really truly worth.  I know you think you love him, heck, I know you think you’re in love with him, but you’re not.  That’s not love, in fact, it’s quite the opposite.  No one has the right to put their hands on you… EVER.  And it doesn’t matter if he begs for forgiveness afterwards, and says he’ll never do it again, he’s lying, and he will continue, over and over again.  Don’t believe the things he spews at you, not for even one second.  Standing up for yourself and raising your voice does not make you a b!tch, it makes you strong, and he’s threatened by that.  He may be physically bigger than you, but he is a weak, weak person.  Know that and walk away with your head held high.  I promise there is an incredibly gentle, kind and loving man waiting for you just around the corner, he’ll treat you like a princess and love you beyond words.  He’s amazing and you deserve it.

Be nicer to your little brother.  He’s going through a rough patch and he needs you far more than you realize; far more than he admits.  He’s a good kid, and he looks up to you for direction.  Stop treating him like he’s worthless; he’s starting to believe you.  You love him dearly and you need to tell him more often… his life depends on it.  Despite what your relationship is like right now, he will grow to become one of your very best friends, an amazingly strong man who loves his family like no other.  He is a good man.

Your true friends aren’t in high school, in fact, they’re barely in university and college, so you can stop trying to impress those people, they leave you high and dry once they find out you’re pregnant.  Forget them.  You will walk away from university with two amazing women to call your friends, and although you don’t talk nearly enough, when you do it’s as though no time has passed.  Cherish them, they love you unconditionally.

Follow your heart, it will never steer you wrong.  Life is good.  Our home is cozy and full of love, our children are happy and full of joy, and our husband is phenomenal and super hot.  We’ve made the conscious choice to live minimally and within our means, this is a value that is important to us.  We carry low to no debt and we are essentially stress-free (boring, I know).  Forget the Joneses, we’re making our own path.  This type of financial freedom allows you to always follow your dreams.  You are an entrepreneur.  You have followed your passion and it has led you here.  And *here* is amazing.

Don’t over complicate things.  Life really is quite simple; know your worth, be nice to people, follow your heart and live within your means.  Enjoy it.

Love Always,
33 year old you

Sheena is the Owner of Blue Bamboo Holistics. In addition to Reiki and Reflexology she also offers "Mindful Kids" Classes for children and their families to quiet their minds, bodies and embrace their inner power. 

Be sure to check out her website. http://www.blue-bamboo.ca/


October 11, 2012

Dear Teen Me: Feature 6

DearTeenMeJen


About this Feature:

Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be be posting them here. I still have space for anyone else who would like to participate-just contact me through email or by leaving a comment on this post.




Really, really excited to welcome author Janice Hardy today- I am a huge fan of her Healing Wars Trilogy. If you haven't read her series, I highly, highly recommend them as the Healing Wars Trilogy is one of my favourite series of all time.

Dear Teen Me,

I remember sitting in Mrs. Horton's American History class in high school, writing a letter to the future me in the oh-so-far-away year of 2000. (I cringe now thinking about how I'd be "old" by then) It seemed so far away, practically science fiction, and it's weird that 2000 has come and gone. I wish I'd saved that letter to see how close you got, but it's fitting that I'm writing back to that same girl now.
I don't remember much of what you wrote back then, but I do recall one detail: By 2000, you would be a published author. Even then this was our dream.

Teen Me, you got there.
It took a little longer than expected (2009, not too far off) and the road was nothing like you pictured, but the dream stayed alive and the words kept flowing. Some of them were the same words, so when you want to trash that prophecy novel, do it. And that Star Wars fan fic? Just don't go there. Trust me.

There will be bumps and tears and heartache between then and now. Boys you're crazy about will ignore you and some will break your heart. Some hearts you'll break. A few hearts you'll want to run over with your car, but you'll resist those urges and write really bad poetry instead. Never fear, no one will ever see those poems, though burn the letter you write to a friend about a certain boy in college. That won't end well.
You'll struggle with choices about what to do with your life. Where to go to college, what to major in. You'll make a few mistakes (Architecture? What we're you thinking?) but they'll all bring you to the right spots at the right time. Going to art school is a wise move and it'll give you the freedom to write when you most need to. Of course, you'll have to suffer through 15 hour days six days a week for a while, but it'll be worth it. The hard work you put it will give you the life you want later on, when it counts.

You'll be adventurous. You'll discover you love to SCUBA dive and will become a Rescue Diver. You'll jump out of a perfectly good airplane (even after having a roommate who "flew well but landed poorly" doing the same thing). You'll go whitewater rafting, but you'll chicken out on bungee jumping. It's okay. No one will blame you.
The guy issue? I know you swore you'd think about marriage when you hit 30, but you'll find the right guy at 24 and marry him two years later. (And when you meet him, no, he's not 17 though he looks like it in that T-shirt and backwards baseball cap) He's nothing like the "Mr. Right" you imagined in high school, but he's the best friend and partner you could ever hope for. He leaves you cupcakes on your desk, hides love notes in your pockets, and follows you to the gas station to pump the gas for you when it's cold outside. And you won't even think it's cheesy.

Most of all, you'll keep writing through life's craziness. Eventually you'll start submitting those short stories and the rejections will start flowing in. You'll realize you're not a short story writer and switch to novels. Then submit those novels. And get those novels rejected. A lot. Take heart, this too shall pass. Those who rejected you will accept you years later and it'll be all the sweeter.

You'll take chances and join online critique groups like Critters, and you'll meet a gal who will become your one of your best friends and a life-supporting critique partner. You'll join Finish Your Novel and meet another gal who will become your other best friend and yes, another worth-their-weight-in-chocolate critique partner. You'll help each other achieve your writing dreams. Best part, you'll have lots of laughs along the way.

You'll travel across the country and attend the Surrey International Writers Conference, not realizing it'll be the weekend that changes your life. Bob Mayer will make you cry, but he's right and you need to hear what he has to say. Donald Maass will inspire you. Carol Berg will say nice things about your writing (and you still feel like you two know each other from somewhere). You'll come home with a new passion for writing and write the book that will be your debut novel--The Shifter. (Only then it'll be called The Pain Merchants, so prepare yourself for title-changing fun)

The best thing I can tell you is this: It all turns out okay. Better than okay. Pretty darn good.
Oh, and your moisturizer and sunscreen routine? Keep that up. Seriously. You'll thank me when you get here.

About Janice
Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy THE HEALING WARS, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her books include THE SHIFTER, and BLUE FIRE. DARKFALL. She lives in Georgia with her husband, three cats and one very nervous freshwater eel. You can visit her online at www.janicehardy.com, chat with her about writing on her blog, The Other Side of the Story (http://blog.janicehardy.com/), or find her on Twitter @Janice_Hardy.

Janice Hardy RGB 72 The_Shifter_72

The Shifter
Blue Fire
Darkfall

October 10, 2012

Dear Teen Me–Feature 5

DearTeenMeJen


About this Feature:

Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be be posting them here. I still have space for anyone else who would like to participate-just contact me through email or by leaving a comment on this post.


Today I welcome one of my favourite bloggers and Blog Squad cohorts Christa-

Dear 16 year old me,

Hello from the future! I managed to track down the TARDIS and convince the Doctor to deliver this letter from 24 year old you. I know you don't know what a TARDIS or the Doctor is but remember those words. They will be of vital importance later on.

I hope I've caught you at a good time. Maybe you're reading this in Ms. Jones' English class while you're supposed to be reading Catcher in the Rye but are bored because you already finished it weeks ago. Maybe you're in between psychotic customers while working the returns desk at Wal Mart. Or maybe your hiding in that hollowed out spot in the back of your closet while your parents scream bloody murder at one another. For both of our sakes, I hope it's the first option.
That's right, all those moments stick with you well into the future. You carry them with you wherever you go and as much as you may hate them now, that's ok. They've made you who you are today and that person, is pretty awesome.

There are so many things I could talk about in this letter. I could talk about how much you're going to love university or all the amazing places you're going to visit, or tell you about how one day you're going to be lucky enough work in publishing and pursuing your dreams of being a published author. But I'm not going to talk about all those things because I'm you after all and at this point there's something much more important to address.

And that's this. Your dad is an alcoholic. You probably already know (or at least suspect) this but I wanted to be clear. I'm sorry to say that he is going to continue to drink, and it will become so much more than just finding him passed out around the house. It will come to a point where you won't even know who this strange man is any more and wonder what happened to the kind, loving man who was once your hero. I don't want to overwhelm you with all the details, but I NEED you to hear this one piece of advice. Do not listen to anyone who tells you the opposite.
Are you listening?

Nothing - and I mean nothing - that happens to your dad is your fault. You are in no way responsible for any of his actions. Asking you to not only cope with but accept what's going on, is something that should never be asked of a child and if you find you need to step away and put some distance between you and the situation THAT IS OK. I can not stress that enough. Only you know how much you can take, and it's important that you listen to yourself.
Your dad was a great man. You're going to lose a lot of your earlier memories of him, but hang on to what you can. Please don't rip up all his pictures when you're angry. I regret that decision all the time. At the same time however you are perfectly right to be angry at everything he put you, your mom and your brother through. It's even alright if you feel sad and angry at the same time. Eventually the anger dulls at little and you will find peace. As a bonus you also maintain a fabulous relationship with your mom and brother to this day, so there is always that to be thankful for.

Your teenage years are not an easy trip, so be prepared. I hate to tell you this but things are going to get worse for a little while. But the good news is that around the time you turn 19 everything is going to change. Life is going to get SO MUCH BETTER. You have no idea. And not for any one reason either. But you will be happy I promise. I am proud to tell you that not once in the past five years have I ever felt the need to hide in the closet, I currently love my job and I have hundreds (seriously, hundreds) of books that I can read anytime I want.

And seriously remember what I said about the Doctor.
24 year old you

Thank you so much Christa for sharing and for being so open and honest. Big hugs to you.

Visit Christa’s Blog! – Hooked on Books!


October 9, 2012

Dear Teen Me: Feature Letter 4

DearTeenMeJen

Today I welcome Gillian who I had the pleasure of meeting this year, we became fast friends.

Dear Teen Me,

You are lovely, did you know? You are funny, light, happy, joy-filled and free. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are less than because you are different than them. Don’t try to be like someone else, be like YOU! Because you are amazing.
Work hard at being honest, in every situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Ask out the boy you like. Ask other girls to spend time with you. Trust that your friends WANT you around. Don’t assume you aren’t good enough…because you are and they think so too!
Don’t feel like you have to show off what you know all the time. Choose silence more often. Let others figure you out for themselves. Let them judge you by your smiles, you support, your loving actions. If they don’t see the good, let them walk on by…those who do value you are just waiting in line to get close to you.
Know that every single person you meet feels just as awkward, scared and unsure as you. Be loving and patient with their attempts to mask it. Those who growl the loudest are often the most scared. Reach out, let them know you see their real selves. Encourage them to be brave too.
It seems impossible now, but try to enjoy the freedom and security you have living at home, surrounded by amazing support and love. This foundation will carry you through life, but not in the same way it does now. Give Dad a hug for me, and make sure it lasts a long time…cause he won’t be here forever. Tell him how proud you are of him, what a wonderful father he is.
Start saving money, and avoid credit cards for as long as possible!! But spend more money on better quality things, just do with less. That is better. That is where the value is.
Most of all, try something new each day. Don’t be afraid to look foolish or to fail. There are worse things and the reward for your risk is SO great! There is a world of new experience waiting for you, jump in with both feet and eyes open. The only scary thing is staying the same…we need to grow, develop, transform.
Be loving. Every day look for ways to be more loving. And the world will fall in love with you. It is really very simple.
Loving you, every day,
me

( Gillian I love this letter so much)

Gillian is a Marketing Strategy and Communications Specialist. She is one of the most positive people I know, so lucky to have her as a friend.
Her website:
Rees Communications

About this feature:
Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be be posting them here. I still have space for anyone else who would like to participate-just contact me through email or by leaving a comment on this post.

October 8, 2012

Review: Tilly’s Moonlight Garden by Julia Green



Tilly’s Moonlight Garden by Julia Green
Published by Sourcebooks/ Jabberwocky October 2012
Source: ARC provided by the publisher

Summary:

Tilly's parents inherit an old, furnished mansion. One night, awoken by a strange noise, Tilly looks out of her bedroom window and sees a wild fox watching her from the lawn. Tilly follows it through a hidden gate and is amazed to discover a secret, moonlit garden. She returns the following night but this time a young girl called Helen is already there waiting for her. Tilly and Helen become fast friends, but Helen remains elusive about where she lives and why Tilly only encounters her in this seemingly magical woods. Over the Christmas season and into the spring, Tilly and her parents welcome a new arrival to their family, and Tilly befriends a recent arrival at her school. But when Helen bids her farewell, Tilly wonders; was Helen real or only a figment of her imagination?


My Thoughts:

  A truly charming  story about a young girl dealing with major changes in her life. New home, new school and her mother has fallen ill while expecting. Tilly’s father is a preoccupied writer and it seems that Tilly is often left to her own devices. That is where the garden comes in. It becomes a place to escape to, and Helen becomes a friend Tilly can count on when it feels like she is all alone. Reminiscent of books like  The Secret Garden, Tilly discovers a world of mystery as magic and reality seem to collide in the garden.  There she learns about her own resilience, friendship, and that being in a family can mean being forgiving as well. I loved the character of Tilly, and felt her interactions with her Dad were very realistic.  A story that already feels like a classic and would make a good read-aloud in a classroom or home setting. Recommended for ages 7+.


October 6, 2012

Stacking the Shelves/In My Mailbox 2

LostinLibraryIMM
In My Mailbox (hosted by the Story Siren) and Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga) are weekly memes where we are invited to post about the books we received via mail, store, friend or library. 
Links go to GoodReads :)

For Review:
20120916_113538_resized

The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan –this sounds wonderful
Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan

20120916_113951_resized

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill
The Menagerie by Tui T Sutherland
 

20120916_114100_resized

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepard –love the sound of this-Historical
The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer
Period 8 by Chris Crutcher

20120916_114036_resized

Stick Dog by Tom Watson
Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan
I Represent Sean Rosen by Jeff Baron
 

Huge thank you to my wonderful Book Fairies at HarperCollins for these!

What was in your mailbox? Leave a link in the comments!

October 5, 2012

Review: Before We Go by Amy Bright

Before We Go
Before We Go by Amy Bright
Published by Red Deer Press May 2012
Source: ARC provided by the author


Summary:
Visiting her dying grandmother in hospital is not what 17 year old Emily wants to be doing for New Year's Eve, but it's not like she has anything else to do. Leaving the hospital, she meets a teen-aged boy named Alex, who is also leaving. When he invites her to go for a burger with him and his sister, she goes along. What Emily doesn't know is that Alex, too, is dying, their meeting is not a coincidence, and she is in for a New Year's Eve unlike any other.

My Thoughts:

   I was excited to be contacted by Canadian author Amy Bright about reviewing her book Before We Go.  The story was a great surprise as there was much more to the book than I initially expected. They say not to judge a book by its cover but I tend to do that initially and I wish the cover for Before We Go was stronger, and spoke more to the gem of a story inside it. 

As the story opens we meet Emily who is at her grandmother’s bedside in the hospital. Her grandmother is gravely ill with pneumonia and Emily knows that it won’t be long until the the dread of loneliness she feels will be made a reality. She discovers an unexpected friend in Alex when she meets him in the elevator, as well as something completely unexpected. 

I loved how Emily’s and Alex’s lives were so seamlessly intertwined. The author writes both female (Emily) and male (Alex) voices well and I related to Emily’s feelings of loneliness and Alex’s wish to help her as a way to deal with his.   The writing was strong, with well developed characters and parts of the plot fit together perfectly. I enjoyed the subtle surprises and there were many moments that were completely unexpected. Recommended for those who enjoy good contemporary stories, that leave you wanting more. Great for fans of Sarah Dessen. I’m looking forward to more from this Canadian author.
Recommended.