Grateful for Winter Boots

In 2017 when the Winter season began, I went shopping for appropriate boots. My success in the past with winter boots has been hit and miss and I was looking to improve my success rate. I searched for boots like the ones I had enjoyed a few years back but, alas, that brand did not have long, flat-heeled offerings. Browsing the shelves of the shoe store, I came upon a pair made in Australia. Now I am not a fan of Uggs as they tend to look grungy as winter wears on – but this pair looked warm and hard-wearing. Ugg has called them Koolaburras and they definitely looked warm.

These fur-lined boots have kept my feet warm and protected them for many hours out in the cold during sub-zero temperatures. Standing outside for playground duty has not been a problem for my feet, nor has walking to the supermarket. I have been happy with my purchase and hope that these boots will last a couple of more winter seasons.

This week I am grateful for my hardy winter boots that are lined with sheep fur. They have protected and warmed my feet during the cold and snowy days this past winter.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018


Share Your World: Memories

Cee has a couple of searching questions this week. Thinking about the answers to these questions, I realise that it is important that we know ourselves.

What is your earliest memory?

Image result for koo mixed fruit jamThe first thing that comes to my mind when I think far back to the past are snapshots of myself and the people that were in my life at that time. Memories are hampered by the photographs we have looked at repeatedly, aren’t they? One true memory, which I know was never photographed, is when I was about 6 years old. I remember being at school in grade 1 and sitting alone in the huge concrete pipes that were in the school playground. Going to school was new to me (I stayed home with my mom until then), and so was making friends (I was used to playing with my sisters and cousins). I remember as well eating my lunch – a sandwich of white bread spread with mixed fruit jam. I remember eating many such sandwiches – so many that I cannot stomach eating mixed fruit jam on my bread to this day.

Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?

Definitely over! Whenever someone in my family places it the other way, I change it!

What makes you feel grounded?

What grounds me has depended on what stage of my life I am in. When we first moved to Toronto, it was my little family (husband and children) who kept me centred. Because of their love, I was able to move through painful homesickness and sadness. Right now, my family continue to ground me and they are a major reason for my day to day contentment. I take pride in seeing my children grow – not only physically but in other ways as well. I am happy to have married someone with whom I can still spend time after 19 years together. My family is the reason I do many of the things that I do.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

Last Saturday, we decided to eat dinner at a restaurant instead of cooking at home. My husband chose a restaurant in Chinatown that he had previously enjoyed. The food was delicious! Now that my girls are older, we can eat more adventurously and no longer need to settle for plain dishes.

I smile when my husband says we should eat there more often. I think we will – but it may have to wait until Summer once the girls get too busy at school.

041514 sywbannerWhat would you answer to any of these questions?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Cee’s Share Your World weekly challenge). 

Book Review: The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

February is traditionally known here as Black History month. On the last few days of the month, I decided to pick up the novel that has been on my TBR list for a year or so – The Illegal by Lawrence Hill. I had read, and enjoyed, his previous novel and thus opened this one with high expectations.

This story centres on Kieta Ali, a boy born on the mountainous island of Zantoroland (an island created in Hill’s imagination). All he ever wants to do when growing up is run. Zantoroland is one of the poorest nations in the world and, on this island, running is seen as a way to earn respect and wealth. Keita believes that through running he can escape poverty and gain respect – until he realises that his father’s outspoken political views requires him to run for his family’s survival. He escapes the island by signing up with a marathon agent (Anton Hamm) and escapes into Freedom State, a wealthy island nation that has elected a government committed to deporting illegal refugees living within its borders. Kieta’s existence in Freedom State is illegal and he works to live below the radar of the police force. He trains in secret, eludes capture, and runs for his life and the life of his sister.

The beginning of the novel is slow as the reader learns about the main character and the environment in which he lives. After 80 pages or so, the pace of the novel picks up and the narration gets more interesting. At this point in the novel, the action is more interesting and the reader becomes curious to discover how the main character will survive. The reader learns that Kieta has a strong will to survive. No matter what obstacles are put in his way, he focuses on his goal to run and to save his sister. His determination is mirrored in the Hill’s description of when he runs:

“As he ran up the toughest hill in the Buttersby Marathon, with Billy Deeds on his shoulder, Kieta Ali slowed just enough to control his breathing. To destroy his opponent’s will, he had only to sing a few bars and sound as if he could carry on forever. Kieta opted for a country song. He liked country music with catchy melodies and words that told a story. He would sing like the marathoners who had run past his family’s church in the Red Hills of Zantoroland. He would sing as if Deacon Andrews and his parents were still alive. He would sing as if he had not been hiding for weeks in Freedom State, and had no reason to wonder what had happened to his sister or to fear for his own life.” (p 120, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, 2015)

I became more invested in Kieta’s story the more I read the novel. And as I read I began thinking about refugees and the reasons they risk their lives when leaving the country of their birth. Many have valid reasons – and yet these reasons are not accepted by the government of the countries they seek refuge in. The novel gives the reader a brief glimpse into the life these refugees may be experiencing and may even suggest we feel empathy and some understanding for them.

Even though this novel was a little slow to begin with, I did enjoy reading it and gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. The story is well-written and crafted – and leaves the reader with something to think about.

Have you readThe Illegal? What did you think of the novel?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 12th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

Music Monday: A Little Dancing

At the moment there are two songs on my playlist that I listen to – and watch – every day while I make dinner. I love the songs – they get my feet tapping and make me want to move to the music. I enjoy watching the videos because of the dance moves.

The first video I want to share with you is the song Nota de Amor  by Winsin and Carlos Vives:

I love watching the dance choreography – so graceful. I never get tired of watching the video (though I am sure my children are tired of hearing the song!)

Another song I enjoy watching and listening to is one sung by Ricky Martin featuring Pitbull. I found this song quite by chance while scrolling through Ricky Martin songs. I enjoy the beat and watching the dancers during the live performance.

I have been listening to these songs for about three weeks now – and they often pop into my head during the day. I am not to sure when I will get tired of them!

What is your current favourite song?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

She Named Me Patience

I was born a week late.

“I was in a hurry for you to be born and  your dad kept telling me to be patient. I couldn’t wait to meet you and love you!”

She named me Patience in memory of my tardy arrival. And patience was what I had to learn. She said she wanted me with her – desperately! And yet I remember always waiting for her arrival while growing up. After school when all the other moms had bundled energetic siblings into cars. At concerts when she missed the encores and the after-show buzz. Over weekends when it was her turn to spend time with me. I learned patience through disappointments and waiting. And with patience, I became strong.

And now I am able to wait until the right moment to bid on an item. I can wade through piles of throwaway articles to find the gem. Months can go by until I find the perfect fit for a person’s home.

And I can wait until a person no longer disappoints me or hurts me.


A name that reminds my mother that she had to wait.


A name that reminds me that I have the strength to wait – and the strength to continue despite disappointment.

What does your name mean to you?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is a response to the WordPress Daily Prompt: Patience)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Week of Reading

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were meeting for coffee, I would greet you with a relaxed smile on my face. As you know, last week was March break – a week during which the schools are closed. For one week I could sleep in, do things slowly, and spend time relaxing. The weather was not pleasant (it was grey, cold, and snowy). However, it was perfect for what I wanted to do – which was read. And read I did.

The mornings during the past week were perfect. I slept in (which, for me, is around 7:30am to 8am) and then curled up on the sofa with my current read and a bowl of fruit. Our home was quiet as my teenage daughters slept in until even later (as you would expect of teens, they got up at noon). I enjoyed this quiet time and savoured the stories I was engrossed in. I am a true bookworm and I relish the times I have when I can read to my heart’s content (something which I am not often able to do). During the week I managed to complete a book and read three other stories – one of which I struggled to put down.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that reading is not the only thing I did during March break. I went to the Zumba classes that I cannot attend when I am working. What fun they were! It is such a pity I cannot attend them more often. I also completed some of the games I had created the week before. I spend time laminating them and then cutting them out. It is a lot of work and takes quite a bit of time – but the games can be used for years afterwards.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today the sun is shining. This afternoon my family and I are going out for a while and we will have an early supper at one of the restaurants my husband enjoys in Chinatown. At least the sun is shining but I do wish that the temperatures were a little higher. I feel that we are counting the days until spring has arrived. I am a little tired of wearing winter boots, a winter coat, and a hat with scarf.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I wish we had another week’s break. I am grateful, though, that we did have this week. At school we will now be entering the last stretch until the end of the school year.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

An Unexpected Loss


The tripod stood abandoned on the side of the road;  the darkness surrounding it fleeing as the car headlights swept over the gritty road. The panic inside of the car was palpable. It had been hours since Vicky had last been seen. She wasn’t answering her cell phone, and her car had been found abandoned at the last crossroads.

“Don’t touch her camera! It may tell the police something.”

A mother’s keening cry touches the very soul of a person. Her helplessness and despair haunts memories over the years. A mother should never outlive her child.

Maybe I am reading and watching too many murder stories, but this photo this week for Friday Fictioneers steered my mind towards the dark echoed in the photo. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)

Favourite Read of the Month: February 2018

During the month of February, I managed to read six books for this year’s Book Pledge.

The titles in February were mostly thrillers with a YA adventure, an apocalyptic story, and a literary novel thrown in. Three of my February reads were books that I had received at the OLA Super Conference (two were ARCs, the third a recently published debut novel). To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title in the following list:

  1. Knock Out by Catherine Coulter, a fast-paced FBI thriller.
  2. A World Below by Wesley King, a YA adventure story.
  3. Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday, a literary novel.
  4. The Last Mile by David Baldacci, a fast-paced thriller.
  5. The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson, an apocalyptic story set in the future.
  6. Four Blind Mice by James Patterson, an Alex Cross murder story.

My reads for February were varied. I always enjoy thrillers (as you can see, three of the six books I read were of this genre). However, I also enjoy titles with different themes and often try to read a novel that would not be my first choice (during February it was the book titled asymmetry). My favourite read for February is a non-thriller title – the debut novel by Tyrell Johnson. I have read apocalyptic novels of this ilk before and this one was a little different from most. I like that the protagonist is a young woman who finds her strength in the story after undergoing some hardships. The book ends with a question in the reader’s mind, and I hope that the author writes a sequel to answer it.

What was your favourite read in February? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

Favourite Read of the Month: January 2018

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for March Break

Processed with RookieThis week winter has returned to the city I call home. Temperatures are below zero and snow has fallen on the ground. The wind has an icy bite to it as I step on the salted sidewalks. This week, however, I am not standing outside on duty while the school children play. Instead when outside, I am on my way to Zumba or the grocery store. This week is March break – a week during which schools are closed.

During March break, many have flown south to sunny skies and warm beaches. I have chosen to stay at home and take the time off to relax. I am sleeping late, reading a few books on my TBR pile, and going to Zumba classes during the day. With my feet up on the sofa and a book in hand, I sip my tea and occasionally look out through the window at the flurries falling to the ground. I like knowing that I don’t have to go out of I do not want to. I like knowing that there is nothing that I have to rush out to go and do.

This week I am grateful for March break. I am grateful to have the chance to recharge my batteries so that I can complete the last stretch before the end of the school year. Slowing down for a while does me good – and gives me the chance to get some reading done!

What have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Book Review: Four Blind Mice by James Patterson

I had met Detective Alex Cross before in one of James Patterson’s novel. When I saw that I had not read of his experiences in Four Blind Mice, I knew that I had to read this tale. In this novel, Alex Cross is on the verge of retiring from the D.C. police force when he comes across a case that he is unable to resist. His partner, John Sampson, has a friend who has been framed for murder and is facing the gas chamber. His accuser? The United States Army. Cross and Sampson go up against codes of honour and silence and three ruthless killers. But the bigger threat is the controller of the three murderers.

This story was as expected from a Patterson novel – fast-paced with moments of the Alex-story interwoven in. I enjoyed reading a bit about Detective Cross to see where his life is leading; and turning the pages to see how he and his partner solve the last murder before he leaves the police force. This thriller was a perfect read for me as I had wanted something with uninterrupted action that would not leave me thinking. For readers who enjoy page-turning thrillers, this novel is a perfect choice.

Do you enjoy reading Patterson’s Alex Cross novels?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 11th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)