Book Review: The Bird Queen’s Book

Our external reviewer Bonnie Humber has sent in her first review for the book The Bird Queen’s Book by T.L Frances. Bonnie is new to the reviewing team. She runs paint nights in the North Bay area if anyone is interested.

Synopsis: What would you do if you found a mysterious book written in a secret language?

Thirteen-year-old Denny’s life is far from easy. He’s at the bottom of the food chain at school, he works a mind-numbingly boring student job at his uncle’s shredding store, and, on top it all, he has to try out for the school basketball team—and let’s just say basketball’s not his strong point.

But one day, he finds an ancient book in an indecipherable language. Could it be a secret code? Or maybe even… magic?
As Denny starts spinning a fantasy tale around the book, the real world begins to fade from view. It won’t be long before his problems catch up with him, crashing down one by one…

When Denny, a young lad trapped in the mundane rut of his middle school life, happens upon an old mysterious book in his uncle’s paper shredding shop, he is compelled to give the unreadable tome meaning. Inspired by the cover and beautiful, foreign script, Denny escapes his day to day problems by writing a history for the Bird Queen’s Book. His new obsession quickly starts to take over, and affect his relationships with the people closest to him. Is Denny able to keep his loved ones close, or will he risk everything that’s real for a fantasy?

Although the language and imagery were rather basic, I enjoyed the concept and the personality of a few main characters. Although this book is meant for children, I still found this story to be too simple. The story would have been better for me if the plot had more substance. There are so many intriguing areas in this story that could have been expanded upon. For instance:

  • A thirteen-year-old boy with an imaginary friend
  • The history or reasoning behind the outlawing of magic
  • The love and acceptance of Denny by his friend Max, despite Denny’s behavior

I feel that if the plot had more substance on a sociological level, the story would be more enjoyable and less flat.

I was captivated by the plot twist of the imaginary friend. I found this character to be one of
the most developed, and when I realized they were not real, I was truly surprised and I loved it! I really wanted to know and understand more about this character once this twist was revealed.

“Don’t be an idiot”, I scold myself. “It’s just a book.”

I love this quote because as any good reader can tell you, there’s no such thing as “just a book”. I really feel that this story needs some fleshing out. But once that is done, I would definitely recommend it to any young reader.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

There is also a new giveaway being hosted by us! Enter to win some traveling bookmarks and a logo sticker pack!

Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5760930a4/?

Good luck and thanks for reading our reviews 🙂 Comment below if you have read this book and what your thoughts are about it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s the holiday season in Canada where we eat our fill of turkey and drink our fill of wine, spirits or in my case … beer :). I love this weekend in October because I get to see my family and enjoy some nice rest and relaxation in the home that I grew up in. Usually, we go for a small hike or walk through the woods but the weather has been pretty drizzly so far this weekend so it has been spent inside with board games and the smells of delicious food filling the house.

I have been marking papers and reading a little bit but mainly catching up with old friends. I hope everyone out there is having a good Thanksgiving and are thankful for the important people they have in their lives. This applies to you too my American friends but in November 😛

I am thankful for my family and the friends that are pretty much family to me. For the people that just bring a smile to my face. And for all those books out there still waiting to be read 🙂

So with that, Happy Thanksgiving! Tell me about your Thanksgiving traditions if you have any in the comments below.


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Iceland Trip

I know I said I would post about this when I got back from my trip but I have been so busy with catching up at work and I went to Escapade Music Festival last weekend so there hasn’t been much time to write. But I have finally found some time to sit down and write a post about how amazing my trip was.

First off, we flew with WOW air to Iceland. The flight didn’t cost that much which was good but the plane had a weird smell to it (reminded me of pee) and the seats were very cramped (although they always are for me since I am 6’6). On the return flight home, the guy beside me was chugging beers when the flight attendants weren’t looking and then trying to hide the empty cans all over the place. I’m sure WOW air can be a good experience, we just didn’t have the best one with them. Nonetheless, we didn’t let this get in the way of our trip!

We arrived in Iceland at around 5am and went to pick up our car rental. We rented with Green Motion and got a little Mazda to drive around the country. The rules were very amusing for their rentals. We had insurance that covered for sandstorms because apparently, that is a big thing over there. The #1 rule was to not hit a sheep or goat. They are the equivalent to our deer here in Canada. I just want to say that I did not hit any animals although I did have to stop because there was a herd of sheep crossing the street. We had a staredown and I feel like the sheep blinked first so HA.

Then at 7 am, we went to the Blue Lagoon to enjoy the geothermal spa. It was so warm and we got a drink + mud mask with our admission. We spent a solid 2 hours just chilling in the giant geothermal pools and saunas. It was my first experience at a spa and I think it was great.

After that, we decided to explore the city of Rekyavik. It is beautiful and they have some really cool murals and churches.

There was a little gem of a museum that we visited too. Now, this museum was pretty special because it was a “penis museum“. It featured all different types of animal penises including whales, giraffes, zebras, elk, mice, etc.

We stayed in Airbnb’s for our entire trip because we could pay in CAD instead of Icelandic Krona. Some of them were good and some were just ok. Our favorite one was the first one we stayed in our first night. The host was so nice and got us to drink the pure Icelandic water. She also fed us some little baklava cakes which I kept accidentally calling balaclavas.

On our second day, we went snorkeling in the Sulfra fissure! This was my highlight of the trip. The water was super clear and you could see all the way down to the bottom. It was pretty cold and my hands went numb but it was so worth it. Our dive guide even let me free dive in the lagoon at the end of our snorkeling tour.

I drove a lot during this trip. I can actually officially say I have driven around an entire country. All of the landscapes were incredible and there were waterfalls everywhere you went.

We went all the way to the other side of the island to go whale watching in Husavik. I was very happy with this because we saw so many humpback whales. I had previously done whale watching in Nova Scotia and we never saw anything so this was a step up. The night before this, we stayed in a hostel because it was the only accommodations that we could afford and it was an interesting experience, to say the least. Our room was basically a little 9×9 box with and an open roof. Surprisingly, we slept pretty well. The Husavik harbor was a real sight.

I took a lot of scenery pictures along the way. We saw some glaciers, icebergs, and their famous black sand beaches while driving along the coastline.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The only thing I would say is that Iceland is very expensive because they have to import all their food in so be careful when eating out. Also, gas can be a pain in the ass to figure out. We bought prepaid cards to use the gas machines because they were giving us a lot of trouble.

But I strongly recommend visiting this beautiful country. You will not regret it.

 

 

Book Review: Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter

A new book review has found its way tot he interwebs! This one was Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter by Sarabeth Caplin. Oh and guess what guys! I was at Comicon last weekend and purchased some goodies for future giveaways 🙂 ok now back to the review.

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Synopsis: In a bittersweet twist of fate, I started out “too Jewish” for my Catholic friends in elementary school, but not Jewish enough for the kids I met at summer camp, with their youth group logos and wristbands. In Israel, I didn’t feel I had the right to call myself Jewish at all. Now I was too Christian for Jews everywhere, but still too Jewish to completely fit in with my new bible study friends.

In my most pessimistic moments, I wonder if I’ll never fit in anywhere, with anyone. It’s interesting because Christians are called to be pariahs, to go against the ways of this world. But I am a special kind of pariah.

Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of this one. It was basically a 140 some page testimony. Nothing against a religion of any sort, this book just could not hold my attention. The author had an interesting time discovering her thirst for more when it came to Jesus and being a  Jewish Christian and it was hard for her because she was raised as a Jew. The whole time she is talking about her journey, she is so worried about what her family will think when they find out that she is converting to Christian.

Her writing style was funny at parts because it would read as if she is making a sarcastic joke to you but it wasn’t enough to save the whole story for me.

There was one line that I did really like.

It would hurt, but isn’t it always better to be disliked for who you are than loved for who you are not?

This is a wonderful message to give people. You should never hide who you are to feel loved. This was one of her hard-hitting truths that she stuck by when she told her parents about her conversion.

I think I would recommend this book to someone who is interested in hearing more about other people’s religious testimonies. It wasn’t my style of book but I took a shot and read it anyway because I like to include all genres of books on the blog.

You can find the book on Amazon.

Book Rating: 2/5

Disclaimer: The author sent us a physical copy of the book to read and give an honest review.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Bookworms!! Happy Holidays or whatever you prefer 🙂 I have been catching up on all my favourite Christmas traditions like watching White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life, reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and even going to a Christmas Eve service with Mom and Dad. Our tree looks really nice (Mom decorated it, I am at my parents for the holidays).

Tomorrow morning I will be on my way to Fort Frances to bring some Christmas Cheer to my good friend Jordan who had to work on Christmas. He is a paramedic so he has to make sure everyone else is being safe over the holidays and give up his own to do so. My flight is at 7am tomorrow but I have a new book to keep me entertained for the journey there and back on New Years Eve.

Also Max says Merry Christmas too. As you can see we both just got out of bed 😛

Well have a great Christmas Day everyone! Eat lots of turkey and drink lots of spirits and keep the good cheer a flowing.

Talk to you soon bookworms.

We are born to change the world, not just add to the noise.

Alright spoiler, this post is not about books! But I have been getting ready to go home for the holidays and I have been listening to a lot of music. I like all types of music but I have a sweet spot for songs that can just make you feel strong emotions. I have an entire list I could suggest but I want to know what songs make you guys feel something. Music has such a way of getting through to you. Certain songs can hold a memories or just change your day with a beginning note. It’s like how certain smells can trigger memories. So can music.

I will hear a song an be instantly somewhere else. Abbey Road by the Beatles takes me back to the first time ever hearing it on vinyl in my cousin’s basement. Feeling the record as it spun and hearing the crackle of the needle as the track went round and round.

I heard this line in a movie trailer but the music behind it gave it so much more meaning. We are born to change the world, not just add to the noise. There is so much noise but we are meant to make our own melodies. Any way we can. I just really like that line and it stuck out to me.

Here is a link to my playlist on Spotify of songs that make me feel if you are interested:

Not really sure where I was going with this post 😛 but anyway I am done with my random ramble. Let me know in the comments what songs make you feel something. Talk to you later tune worms? sound worms? Nah back to bookworms!

Book Review: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was a breath of fresh air. I read this book in 2 days and found it very entertaining and a genuine reminder of how much you feel when you are so young and in love.

This book was about a young boy named Simon who is in love with another boy from his school. He has never met this guy, they have just exchanged emails back and forth and have been very secretive about their real identities. Until a boy at school see’s Simon’s email before he logs out on a computer. He then blackmails him to help him out with a girl at school.

This book brought up a lot of thoughts of how people perceive each other. I for one have gay friends and wouldn’t ever think to treat them any differently then I would my straight friends. But the book was from the perspective of a gay teenager that hadn’t come out yet, and it’s not that he was afraid to but that he just didn’t want it to be a big deal because everything he ever did was a big deal. But for a lot of people, it is a big deal and a very scary thing to do. There are so many different reactions that could come from someone coming out and that is kind of sad. No one should be afraid to be who they are. 

I come from a religious background and that made me think a lot about how that could go if I was in Simon’s position. My parents are amazing and I love them with everything I have in me. They have prepared/taught me everything I know and I don’t know what I would do without them. I would hope to never lose them over anything like this but that is a possibility for a lot of people. I am not in this position, but this book made me think about if I was and what would happen.

It would be terrifying because you wouldn’t know how the people that are supposed to love you the most would react. Your parents are your rock. They are your foundation; they build you up and prepare you for life and help you become who you are. To lose this would be world shattering and it gave me an insight into how scary it would be.

Love is love and everyone should be accepted for who they are.

The book was really great. The way his parents and everyone react when they finally find out is so supportive and uplifting. Simon has an amazing family. I would 100% be the dad if I was part of this family because every line he had in the book is something I would probably say. And everything he said made me laugh:P

Book Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: I read this book because I wanted to and purchased it myself. This review is for me because I wanted to write it and that is that.

Let me know what your thoughts are on this book if you have read it and if not, what are your thoughts on having to come out. If you are straight, then just try and put yourself in Simon’s shoes like I did to get an idea of what it would be like.

Talk to you later bookworms.

What book do you wish more people would have read?

This is an easy one for me. I wish more people would have read The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. I find this book very interesting and I think it is very underrated.

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Synopsis: SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go
forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.

This book is a quick read. It entitles the whole conversion of hardcore party guy to the guy that will get his life together. Sometimes we just need to meet someone that will affect us in a way we didn’t know could point our life in a completely new direction. By trying to teach Aimee about the “normal” life of a teenager, he discovers a lot about himself and what he wants to make of his life. This book shows that no matter what circumstance you come from, you have the power to make your future what you want it to be.

Let me know what book you wish more people had read in the comments. Talk to you soon bookworms!

What is the first book you remember reading?

I don’t know about you guys but when I first learned to read, it was the most exciting thing in the world to me. I could explore anywhere through imagination an become immersed in different adventures all without leaving the couch or reading nook. The first full book I read that I can remember is the 1st book in the Magic Treehouse series.


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Synopsis: Where did the tree house come from?

Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur’s dinner?

If you grew up in the 90’s, then you definitely have read these books. There are over 100 of them now, you would think that they would run out of adventures to go on but nope. I remember feeling so proud of myself for finishing this book all in one sitting. These books were great for learning to read. This probably started my obsession with having a treehouse.

Let me know what the first book you remember reading is in the comment below. Talk to you soon bookworms 🙂

What is your favourite romance book?

I am going to ignore the rules for this one and pick 2 books because they both stick out in my mind when I think of this question. The two I choose are Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Eleanor & Park Synopsis: Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

The Fault in our Stars Synopsis: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

These two books just took ahold of me and kept me reading non-stop until I finished them. The way both couples meet and the fact that they are all misfits just make me want sequels (even though you can’t really make a sequel out of these). Eleanor is a puzzle to Park and as the days go on, he keeps wanting more and more to figure her out. Hazel is a sick kid that doesn’t know if she will even get to experience a love worth fighting for until she meets Augustus. Young love is something to cherish and remember because everyone’s first love is definitely the deepest and will be with them forever. You don’t forget your first love. Both of these stories are beautifully written and worth picking up if you see them at a bookstore. They will give you so many feels.

Let me know what your favourite romance books are in the comments below. Even if romance isn’t your genre, see if you can come up with a book that made you feel some sort of love or warmth in your heart 😛