First Line Fridays: The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley

He struggles to breathe. There’s blood trickling into one of his eyes. His glasses are gone. He can hear the ocean rising to meet him. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. ”

The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley (2019, Simon & Schuster Canada)

I have just started this novel and it promises to be a good one!

Would you keep reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books and her One Line Friday challenge.)

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Teaser Tuesdays: Crossfire by Jessie Kwak

I received Crossfire by Jessie Kwak and eagerly picked it up to read as I had enjoyed the first novel in her Bulari Saga. Yesterday found me sitting on the sofa reading the story until it was done – I could not help it, I had to now what would happen!

“Pitch darkness is strange. It’s claustrophobic, shrinking down the entire world to the amount that fits into your awareness, a palm-sized space where your breath leaves your body, your organs thrum in your chest cavity, you feel the tiny, disconnected sensations where parts of your body press against unknown objects. But it’s also expansive, your potential environment no longer confined by the physical walls that once hemmed you in. Pitch darkness is what your imagination makes it.” (p298)

(2019, Independent Author)

In Crossfire, I have learned more about Kwak’s characters – and I am getting to love them. I also enjoy the writing – it is precise and the imagery is on point.

Do you enjoy reading independent authors? 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

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

Weekend Coffee Share: First Week of the Break

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we are in the middle of experiencing a heat wave and will therefore opt-in for the iced version. Since Thursday, the temperatures have been wicked and I have been cooling off in front of the fan and reading. I am also grateful that I have set up my balcony so that we can sit outside as often it is cooler to spend time outside instead of inside.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my week started with a public holiday – Canada Day, to be precise. My family and I decided to do something different and stand in line to receive a free meal given out by a local restaurant. If you want to read more about this, you can have a look at my post (the link is here).

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I met up with my dear friend a couple of times during the week for a brief tea. After a little catching up, we managed to speak a little about our buddy read. We haven’t finished discussing the book though – there is so much to say about it! Hopefully we will get the chance to do so this week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have managed to rest a little. I am still feeling a little tired but not as exhausted as I was by the end of the school year. This time off does me good and I look forward to resting more before I work on my plans for the summer. In the meantime, I will continue to take things slowly and enjoy my time without deadlines and a tight schedule.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am still enjoying the flowers given to me by the parents over a week ago. The lilies have died and I have cut off the dry leaves. The carnations and white flowers are hardy though.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to have a good week. May it be filled with many adventures.

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)

First Line Fridays: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

I wake feverish. The skylight above me pulses with rain, and I spider my fingers across the sheets, remembering I’m alone. I close my eyes and find my way back to sleep, until I’m woken again, engulfed by a deep, sudden pain. I’ve been waking with a sick feeling every morning since he left, bu I know that away this is different.
Something’s wrong.”

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy (2018, Harper Collins Publishers)

This book centres on a story that is every young mother’s nightmare – the kidnapping of her child. This was an intense read with some unexpected twists.

Would you keep reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books and her One Line Friday challenge.)

Grateful For Canada Day Lunch

On Monday, people all over Canada celebrated Canada Day, a public holiday created to commemorate the unification of the country. This year I wanted to do something we had never done before – stand in line to receive a free meal at the Mandarin restaurant, an eatery that offers an eclectic buffet.

I left home on the morning of the public holiday before the rest of my family to get into the lineup. I was ready before everyone else and was worried that the line would already be long. I was glad I made this decision as when I arrived at the venue at 9:20am, the queue for lunch was already quite long. I had come prepared, however, and settled in with my current read.

While waiting in the line, we were offered water by the managers of the restaurant. After a 2 hour wait, the owner organised a cookie for every person in the queue. He also walked down the line and chatted with people – which was really nice. You are probably wondering why he gives a free meal to Canadians every five years: as an immigrant himself, he wants to give back to the community and this is the way in which he does it.

At 12 noon, the line began to move as they began letting people in. The restaurant is quite large and we were able to get into the first sitting. We moved out of the midday sun into the air-conditioned space of the restaurant with a sense of relief. The first thing I noticed upon entering was the way the place had been decorated. I loved the Canadian flags all over!

Once in the restaurant, we waited a little while to be seated. We did not mind waiting – after all, this was part of the experience that we had signed up for! The Canadians around us were all smiling – and looking forward to the meal that we were to receive.

The owner had assured us that the meal would be exactly what we are offered when we pay to dine there. My husband and I were convinced that the more expensive dishes (such as the prawns) would be cut from the menu and we were pleasantly surprised to see that all our favourites were available – with some Canadian dishes thrown in.

The meal was delicious and we enjoyed every bite. What pleased us especially is that we were not rushed – even though there was a long line of people waiting outside to get into the restaurant. We could savour our choices and enjoy our family time eating together.

We left the restaurant very full – as I always do when eating at a buffet. There are just too many dishes to try out! I was thankful that my family had agreed to stand in the line with me as it was a wonderful experience for Canada Day.

This week I am grateful to the Mandarin chain of restaurants for opening up their spaces and offering a free meal to Canadian citizens. Not only did I get a free meal, but I also added another experience to those of previous celebrations on 1 July.

What are you grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection. You are welcome to join in and share your post in the comments.)

Weekend Coffee Share: The End of June

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I cannot believe that June is over – and that we are already halfway through 2019! It is also the end of the school year and we are now officially on Summer Break. I am definitely thankful for it as I am feeling exhausted and I am looking forward to the rest. Now that we are on break, I can sleep late (once my body clock has adjusted), read, potter around our home, meet with friends, and basically recharge my batteries.

The last week of school was laid back but also tiring. I completed certain tasks with the children and we spent quite a bit of time outside as well as tidying up the classroom. The tiring part, for me, was the tidying up. By the end of Friday, though, everything was put away so that the caretakers can clean over the summer. As I locked the door on Friday, I was satisfied that I had done everything that I was expected to do. The space looked empty and bare – and it was a little sad to think that my time with this year’s group of children was over. Over the next few days, I will reflect a little on the past school year and think back on some good moments. The flowers gifted to me by the parents will help with this. There will come a time, though, when I will start thinking of my future students and what I can do to encourage their learning.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spend quite a bit of time reading during the last weekend of June – and sleeping! I am still feeling tired but I am sure that will eventually pass. The weather has also suddenly become summer-like with hot temperatures. This type of weather definitely makes me sleepy. Any exercise or housework I want to do, needs to be done before the heat prevents me from moving too much. The humid weather during the summer is definitely not my favourite.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today is a public holiday. To be precise, it is Canada Day – a day that has been set aside to celebrate the day Canada became a united country. When walking the streets, we will see a lot of red today. 😀

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am now to get ready to celebrate the country’s holiday. I wish you a wonderful week and we will catch up next weekend.

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)

First Line Fridays: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“Chistmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1987, Marshall Cavendish)

I decided to share the first line of one of the classics today. I remember the first time I read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I was a 12 year old girl who used to spend time reading library books on my bed or in the shadows of the garden. I remember loving the story and thereafter reading the sequel Little Men. I have re-read the novel once since then and have enjoyed a film rendition.

Have you read the story about Jo and her sisters?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books and her One Line Friday challenge.)

A Moment of Pride

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

I remember the first time we watched him on stage in front of a paying audience. The run at the local youth theatre was one of the first moments when his dream became a reality. His face shone as he said his lines; his energy evident to those watching. In those early years, his dedication and determination was admirable. No matter how many times he was set aside for parts, he continued to audition. His positivity gave him strength and helped him focus on the future. Now his perseverance has taken hold and his dreams are becoming a reality.

(As I wrote the post for this week’s prompt, I could not help but think of our son who is working as an actor. For the first time in the last year, he has worked only at his first love and not spent time working at other jobs. We are so proud of him.)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(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.)

Thank You Card

It is nearing the end of the school year and yesterday morning I received one of my first thank you cards. The card was drawn by my student and shows his sense of humour.

I love the card as well as the gift card to the book store that was placed inside the envelope. A beautiful card and the chance to choose a new book. Definitely something to smile about!

What has made you to smile during the last week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Weekend Coffee Share: Almost There

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am loving the warmer weather. Yes, it has finally arrived and we can step outside in our short sleeves and sandals. The temperatures have risen – but not too much – and the rain has stopped. It is perfect for the last days of school.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that things are definitely wrapping up at school. During the past week, I started sending home the children’s work and the room is already looking emptier. This week I aim to spend my time tidying my classroom and putting things away for the summer. The children are enjoying the small amount of time they spend working and I am taking them outside for more play, as well as giving them the opportunity to play with the blocks that I have in the classroom.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Friday we released the butterflies to go forth and pollinate. I allowed the children to take the butterflies out of the terrarium – they were thrilled to hold them in their hands. It takes a while for the insects to realise that they can fly free so they stay for quite a while on the children’s hands.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we had a school-wide assembly on Wednesday to say goodbye to our office administrators – both of them are leaving at the end of this school year to retire. We will miss them dearly as they have been an integral part of the school for more than 20 years.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had an unexpected treat on Tuesday – I got to have coffee with a dear friend of mine whom I don’t see too often. We intended to chat about a book we read together, but got side-tracked with catching up! 😀

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am feeling exhausted – so much so that I fell asleep on Saturday and missed my Zumba class! 😦 It is near my summer break though and I am sure that this week will go by quickly. It will be sad to say goodbye to the students I have had for this past year but that is a part of teaching.

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful week. I know mine is going to be filled with endings and good-byes.

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)