Currently Reading: No Judgements by Meg Cabot

I woke up this morning to a cold and gloomy day. The city is embracing winter with ice on the ground and bare trees. Snow is predicted today and I am not looking forward to it.

What I am looking forward to is reading Meg Cabot’s latest. I picked up a copy at the library this weekend and plan on snuggling under a blanket later this afternoon with a cup of tea and to enjoy the banter between Bree and Drew.

What are you looking forward to doing today?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Book Review: Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

When I was notified by the team at Harper Collins Canada that I had been chosen to receive an ARC of Adam Silvera’s first Fantasy novel, Infinity One, I was so excited I danced a little jig while smiling widely. Fantasy is my favourite genre and I had been looking forward to reading this one.

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Publication date: January 14, 2020

Blurb:

Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

My thoughts:

This story is epic and I loved it! This is Silvera’s calling – to write Fantasy novels. I have enjoyed his contemporary novels but not as much as Infinity Son. The story has everything in it that I would want: magic, diversity, complicated characters, action, humanity. I savoured the words as I read them and did not want the story to end.

Infinity Son encourages us to think about sibling relationships – the dynamic of it as well as the support that is given and received. Brighton and Emil are as close as brothers can be and, even though there are moments when they want alone time, they are there for one another in a crisis. Not only does Silvera highlight the closeness of these two family members, he also notes the importance of family as a whole.

What I loved in the novel is the representation of all types of people – not matter what their sexuality or race – and that many of the characters represent people who are comfortable in their own skin. It is definitely only in an ideal that all people are accepted and raised to be accepting of who they are. We do not live in an ideal world – and neither do the characters in Infinity Son as is seen as the story progresses.

Prejudice and lack of acceptance is definitely a theme that runs through the story. The war described in Silvera’s novel mirrors the ones that humanity has experienced throughout history. Prejudice against one group of people is the root cause – a causes that is flamed by a leader who gets the masses to believe what he says as the truth.

At no time when reading this novel did I experience boredom. Infinity Son is perfectly paced and certainly believable (even though it is set in an imagined New York featuring magic). In fact as I turned the last page, I wanted more! A follow-up to Infinity Son is in the making and I am going to wait impatiently for it to be published.

The first novel in Adam Silvera’s Fantasy series is a must-read if you are a fan of the genre. And as it is Young Adult, it is perfect for the young people in your life who enjoy reading books about magic. The bonus? The story is a diverse one that seamlessly includes all types of people. This novel is definitely one to pre-order.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 101st in my book pledge for 2019)

Favourite Read of the Month: October 2019

During the month of October, my plan was to focus on thrillers. I did read a few – though I veered a little from the TBR pile next to my bed. Even though I went on vacation, I did not read as much as I thought I would as I spent time walking on the beach and chatting with my husband.

Below is the list of books that I read. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title and you will be able to svisit my post:

  1. Thomas Fenske The Fever – Adult Contemporary ⭐️ 1 star
  2. Gayle Woodson After Kilimanjaro – Adult Contemporary Fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  3. Rick Mofina Missing Daughter – Thriller, Suspense ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  4. J.P. Delany The Perfect Wife – Thriller, Suspense ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  5. Dave Patterson Soon The Light Will Be Perfect – Young Adult Contemporary ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  6. Hannah Mary McKinnon The Neighbors – Thriller, Mystery ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  7. Ruth Ware In a Dark, Dark Wood – Thriller, Mystery ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars

During the month of October, I managed to read a total of 7 books – not bad for a person who works full time. Most of what I read, I enjoyed. Only two books stand out for me though – The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney and After Kilimanjaro by Gayle Woodson. I loved Delaney’s thriller as it was an unusual story that kept surprising me. My favourite, though, would have to be Gayle Woodson’s novel. Her contemporary story is not mainstream and I loved that it took me to Africa and made me think of women’s issues that are so important in that part of the world. Her novel is definitely my favourite for the month of October.

I hope you enjoyed a number of novels in October. What was your favourite read? Share your choice, or the link to your post, in the comments below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Book of the Month: January 2019

Book of the Month: February 2019

Book of the Month: March 2019

Book of the Month: April 2019

Book of the Month: May 2019

Book of the Month: June

Book of the Month: July 2019

Book of the Month: August 2019

Book of the Month: September 2019

Teaser Tuesday: The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

I am currently reading The Wedding Party, a romantic comedy by Jasmine Guillory. After all of the thrillers I read in October, this novel is perfect to relax with.

The novel centres on the relationship between Maddie and Theo who are both best friends with Alexa – but they hate one another (despite the simmering attraction beneath the surface). Now that Alexa is getting married, they are thrown together as they both form a part of her wedding party.

For some reason, Maddie had hated him on sight. Okay, he was pretty sure part of the reason was the stupid way he had asked about her job the frst time they’d met. He hadn’t meant to sound like such a jerk. Fine, he had sounded like a jerk, but she hadn’t even let him back up and explain what he’d meant and had basically called him a pompous asshole. Whatever, he and Maddie would never have gotten along anyway. She was the cool, hot, party type, and he was the kind of guy everyone thought watched C-SPAN in his spare time.” (p 11, 2019, Penguin Random House)

I am hoping for some smiles in this one.

Have you read any of Jasmine Guillory’s books? 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Book Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

I had seen many positive posts on Instagram on Ruth Ware’s novel so when I saw one of her novels on sale at the second hand book store, I decided to pick it up. While reading the acknowledgements at home, I saw that In a Dark, Dark Wood was her debut.

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Blurb:

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever. 

My thoughts:

The novel follows two timelines – the past and the present: while Nora experiences the present, she looks back on the past as it affects her current situation. Following two timelines can be a bit confusing, but Ware successfully intertwined the two that I always knew where I was reading on the timeline .

The novel is slow moving as Ware sets up the scene and shows the reader the dynamic between the different characters in the story. In a Dark, Dark Wood is not action-filled and fast-paced and for some readers could be a bit tedious. As I was interested in the dynamic between the various players in the story, I did not mind the slow pace. The author’s presentation of the characters shows an understanding of human relationships and the power plays that exist between them.

The novel is not too twisty as the reader is able to figure out a lot because of their own knowledge of human relationships. The end, though, did have a bit of the unexpected thrown in. What I enjoyed about the novel was that the story is an exploration of the relationships between friends – and how one person dominates and steers the relationship no matter how many years have passed.

In a Dark, Dark Place is not a fast-paced and extremely twisty novel. Instead it explores the darker side of a friendship that is one-sided. Ware’s debut is one to pick up if you enjoy reading stories on human relationships.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 100th in my book pledge for 2019)

Music Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup

My children enjoy listening to K-Pop and, every now and then, they introduce me to a song that they have discovered. Last week they showed me a video created by J-Hope, one of the singers from BTS, for his debut mix tape. It has a funny sounding title – Chicken Noodle Soup – but it has a catchy tune.

The song was apparently remade by J-Hope as it was one of the songs he danced to when learning that skill. All I know is that my daughters listen to it when they do the dishes 😀

What do you think of Chicken Noodle Soup?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Weekend Coffee Share: Two Months Already!

If we were having coffee, I would greet you tiredly. As I was going through the day yesterday, I realised how tired I am – so tired that last night I went to bed at my usual time when it is my habit to stay up later on a Friday night. Today I am still awash with fatigue so I see myself hitting the hay early again tonight.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this year I was not feeling Halloween. I did not think creatively on a costume and just grabbed a dress I wore a few years back with no intention to add the wig and makeup. Now that my own children are older, there is no vibe at home and, with the change of admin at the school, the vibe at the office and at school is also not there. I still decorated my door and classroom so my room still had the Halloweeny feel about it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even though my students were tired yesterday after their late night trick-or-treating, they worked calmly in class. I was so pleased to see that parents did not send them to school with loads of candy. If they did have any in their lunch box, it was only one.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week I completed the first draft of my report cards and handed them in. I also worked on two modified IEPs (Individual Education Plans) which took so much time! Now that I am thinking about all that happened this week, I am not surprised that I am feeling tired! This afternoon I will definitely relax with a book. I have a couple of holds at the library which I will pick up after doing my grocery shopping later on in the day. I am in the mood for reading a relaxing romantic comedy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather has turned. Halloween was a cold and rainy day which brought in the icy winds. When I was outside yesterday, I decided I needed to bring out my winter gear: I am sure I will need my boots, hat and scarf soon to protect myself from the cold. My least favourite season is almost upon us!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is now time to go to my exercise class. Have a wonderful weekend – and may your week be a good one.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

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

Book Review: The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon

I had never read anything written by Hannah Mary McKinnin. The concept for The Neighbors sounded interesting so I decided to pick it up.

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Blurb:

In 1992, a car accident kills a young man and forever changes the lives of three people… Now, twenty years later, they’ll all come to regret the choices they made that day, as the secrets and lies they’ve told to protect each other become the very things that tear their lives apart.

After a night of fun, Abby was responsible for the car crash that killed her beloved brother. It is a sin she can never forgive herself for, so she pushes away the man she loves most, knowing that he would eventually hate her for what she’s done, the same way she hates herself.

Twenty years later, Abby’s husband, Nate, is also living with a deep sense of guilt. He was the driver who first came upon the scene of Abby’s accident, the man who pulled her to safety before the car erupted in flames, the man who could not save her brother in time. It’s this guilt, this regret that binds them together. They understand each other. Or so Nate believes.

In a strange twist of fate, Liam (her old lover—possibly her true soulmate) moves in with his own family next door, releasing a flood of memories that Abby has been trying to keep buried all these years. Abby and Liam, in a complicit agreement, pretend never to have met, yet cannot resist the pull of the past—nor the repercussions of the dark secrets they’ve both been carrying… 

My thoughts:

Goodreads describes the story as a thriller but it is more a human drama with a dash of mystery.

The story deals with two people who have unfinished business and, in part, goes along as one would expect. However as the story unfolds, a few little twists are added to the events that do turn everything upside down. The twists are caused by hidden truths and lies that, if revealed, would cause plenty of hurt and emotional destruction.

Deceit is definitely a thread that runs through McKinnon’s story. Hiding truths is so much a part of people’s lives – but some truths are more harmful than others. In The Neighbors, the truths are revealed slowly. As I realised certain facts, I could not help turning the pages quickly as I did want to know how these deceits would affect the lives of the characters. Having said that, The Neighbors is not an action-packed story that will have you racing to the end. It is, instead, a novel filled with human drama told in a way that keeps the reader interested.

I enjoyed reading McKinnon’s work and I will pick up another title by her. The Neighbors is a story for you if you enjoy reading novels featuring the drama of human relationships.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 99th in my book pledge for 2019)

Happy Halloween!

Today is a day filled with excitement for little people. Streets will be flooded with little phantoms, zombies, and princesses. Spidermen will be sighted, as well as some wizards and Jedi masters.

This year, I am not feeling the vibe for Halloween – instead of feeling the excitement, I cannot wait for it to be over. The reason may be that I am tired and would love to be able to sleep uninterrupted until refreshed. I know, however, that the children are excited for the day so I have done the usual preparations for the celebrations: I have decorated the classroom, prepared some activities, and co-created a Halloween door.

We do love our door and have been enjoying it for the past two weeks.

Tomorrow I will take down the decorations and prepare the space for our next festive celebration.

Do you enjoy Halloween?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge for which we will be posting square photos featuring lines during the month of October; and Norm’s weekly challenge Thursday Doors. )

Leaf Bouquet

It is that time of year when I receive many leaf bouquets. I enjoy the colours of the Fall leaves and am always pleased to bring them into my classroom and enjoy the array on my desk.

No matter what year it is, the children in my class show their appreciation of nature’s beauty by collecting the leaves that have fallen on the ground. I remember my own children doing this when they were younger. It is a practice that does make me smile.

Have you received any leaf bouquets this year?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge for which we will be posting square photos featuring lines during the month of October; and Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive. )