Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blue Sky Days

Alrighty, here goes Book #2 for The 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge that is being hosted by Insatiable Booksluts.

Marie Landry is not only the author of Blue Sky Days, she is also one of my best e-friends. She book blogs at Ramblings of a Daydreamer and even so kind as to blog about my fundraising efforts. You should visit her blog and read her book. Here's why:

Blue Sky Days (223 pages) is a lovely read. The story shapes itself around the female protagonist, Emma Ward, as she struggles to make sense of her life as an adult. After graduating high school, Emma moves from the bustling metropolis of Toronto to the quiet and serene town of Riverview to live with her eccentric Aunt Daisy. I think most young people can relate quite easily to Emma; I know I could. She's always done the right thing - gotten good grades, participated in the right events - and now she's having an identity crisis. Who hasn't been there, done that? I know I have.

Shortly after her arrival, Emma finds herself infatuated, for the first time in her life, with a young man - Nicholas. They fall fast and hard for each other and Landry's description of their first kiss is what I like to refer to as a knee-cap melting moment.
"When his body shifted to lean toward me, my knees began to shake and I worried that I would melt into a puddle and wash away with the rain." - see what I mean?! Every person in the every tiny corner of the whole wide world needs to experience a moment like this at least once in their lives. Landry captures the moment perfectly.

About half way through the novel and only a short time into the couple's whirlwind romance, readers and characters alike find out that Nicholas has Leukemia. The rest of the novel takes readers through the trials and tribulations of a family dealing with the life-threatening disease. I'm not going to tell you whether Nicholas dies or're just going to have to read the novel - which you can buy here, by the way.

While Nicholas fights his disease, he and Emma become ever-closer and at one point, Nicholas proposes to Emma; they plan to marry if he survives. This is the only part of the novel that I had trouble with and it's really only because I'm a cynic. First boy in her life, first kiss, first love isn't really a recipe for a successful marriage and I often found myself thinking; "This is pretty unrealistic." However, just because it doesn't work for most people doesn't mean first loves as lifelong loves won't work for some people - like Emma and Nicholas - and I should just bite my skeptic tongue and embrace the romance!

I highly recommend this novel for anyone who wants a heart-warming read. You'll fall in love with Landry's characters and anticipate the ending as if you are part of the story yourself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide For Women

I love reading. I love writing. (kind of - sort of). I recently decided to challenge myself to run a half marathon and raise money for my favourite not-for-profit at the same time. If you're interested, you can visit my other blog - 21K for Change - and read about my adventures in the running world. 

Now back to books. The first book that qualifies for The 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge hosted by the Insatiable Booksluts is The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide For Women: Get Off Your Butt And On With Your Training by Dawn Dias (226 pages).

This e-book was a great read and an equally great resource for me as a non-runner. Dawn's accounts of her reasoning, training, motivation, and race itself are witty and realistic. In fact, I am following the training schedule she provides in her book. 

The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide For Women is structured much like a journal and jumps around in Dias' thought processes quite frequently. In addition to her personal thoughts on her own venture, Dias provides tips for readers/runners that she gained from her experience. 

There are also a number of instances in the book where Dias encourages readers/runners to write down their own thoughts. It is these journalling suggestions that made me purchase a Smash Journal to recount my own adventure in the running world. I plan to fill it with photos, clippings from magazines, and my own thoughts that tend to be quite similar to Dias'. For instance, the fact that the best thing about running is that I can eat as many carbs as a I want and not gain any weight. Dias comes across this same realisation. She too, however, speaks of the fact that despite running endless miles, she does not lose any weight. I also seem to have that problem. We have both concluded that the two are very likely related. 

The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women has become my running buddy just as Dias hoped it would in her book's introduction. Being able to justify my feelings with someone who also has never run is simply priceless. Dias includes an internal body monologue told from the point of view of a number of her body parts that is exceptionally hilarious and equally relateable. She goes on to engage in a dialogue with these body parts which I too have found myself doing of late. "Dear Gastrocnemius and Soleues: Please just bear with one more 45-minute run today and then you will have a 2-day rest; I promise. Sincerely, Your insane brain that thinks it can run a half marathon." Throughout the book, Dias not only shares her fears and motivations, but also encourages readers/runners to do the same.

I took away one of the best pieces of advice for my run from Dias. During her run she took along quotes from friends, family, and other supporters that she pulled out when she hit a tough spot on her run. I am going to do the same and use the encouraging words of my friends to push me towards the finish line. 

I truly enjoyed The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide For Women: Get Off Your Butt And On With Your Training and would recommend it to anyone who is considering joining the running world. If I can do it; so can you!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge

It has been over a year since I took part in a reading challenge. Last summer, while volunteering in Botswana, I started the POC Reading Challenge. It was fitting and I loved it. My goal was Level 3: 7-9 books, but I only ended up making it to 6 before I headed back to Canada, reverse culture shock, and my last year of my undergraduate degree (a.k.a. I just couldn't make the time to read for fun). I am currently thisclose to having my final academic paper handed in which means I can FINALLY read something that is not for research purposes. I spent a little time looking around on the www (world wide web) and came across The Insatiable Booksluts' 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge. The challenge started in January of 2012 which means I am extremely late coming to the table, but I don't really care. The winner is the person who reads the highest number of pages by December 31, 2012. We also have to post reviews of substantially more intellect than simply "I really like it." Needless to say, with only 4.5 months left of 2012, I don't stand a chance of reading the highest number of pages, but I love the name of the blog and I love the graphics so here goes!

Like I said, I haven't read anything other than research material since September of 2011. In the last month or so, however, I've managed to read a few. I have to credit that to a couple things: 1. I recently bought a Kindle; and 2. I recently moved to the country where I have no television and no internet access. The three books I've read are all ebooks. The challenge has special rules for ebooks; basically, you use the paper book version page count and if that doesn't exist, you use the page count that a website like Amazon gives for the book and if that doesn't exist, Booksluts gives you a converting tool to use.

Anyway I have to review:
The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On with Your Training by Dawn Dais, 226 pages (says
Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry - You can visit her at Ramblings of a Daydreamer, 223 pages (
The Somali Doctrine by James Grenton, 346 pages (

By the time I get around to reviewing those, I'll likely be done reading On Making Off by Ryan Anderson, 306 pages (yep,

So that is a total of 1,101 pages! Not too bad! Reviews coming soon :)