A Bookmail Smile

Yesterday I came home to bookmail – which I always love. My contact at Harper Collins Canada Had sent me two ARCs of historical novels that I am interested in reading. The covers are beautiful – especially the cover of The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning. I was so excited to read Kirsty Manning’s novel that I started it this morning while eating breakfast. The story depicts events during World War II and so far I have met a young Austrian Jewish girl.

My smile for this week is definitely the bookmail I opened when I got home from work yesterday.

What has made you smile this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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


A Dangerous Game

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Her mind flashed back to a party game they played as children: blindly they had pinned the tail to the donkey. Mistakes were laughed at and the consequences for errors minimal.

Now the consequences were fraught with danger. Going in blindly to complete the task meant the loss of their company and possibly their lives. What they were planning was no game and had to be done correctly!

Planning and thinking of solutions for all scenarios led to success. The result was not perfect but they had a man in and the transmitter was set and in place.

© 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.)

First Line Fridays: Freefall by Jessica Barry

“Breathe. Breathe.

My eyes open. A canopy of trees above. A flock of birds stare down before taking flight.

I survived.

He may have, too.

I have to see. I pick my way through the wreckage on bare feet.”

Freefall by Jessica Barry (2019, Harper Collins Publishers)

The opening lines of this novel left me with so many questions:

  1. Where is she?
  2. Who is after her?
  3. Did he survive?
  4. What happened to cause the accident?

From the first line of this novel, I wanted to read the pages to find out the answer to these questions. ( If you are interested to learn more, you can read my review here.)

I continued reading. Would you?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

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


PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The calm waters looked so inviting.

“You can do this!”

Her mantra for the last few months echoing in her head, Sandra padded softly to the edge of the pool. She wanted to slice her way through the water but could not allow herself to sink into the contaminated liquid. Her last attempt to fight her allergy had landed her in hospital for a few days.

The sound of women’s chatter and the splash of water roused her from her reverie.

“Morning everyone, welcome to your Aqua Fitness class. My name is Sandra and I will be your instructor today.”

© 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.)

A little more of The Library of Lost and Found

My favourite read so far this month is definitely The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. (You can read my review here.) The extract I have chosen to share with you describes the main character, Martha, and the current state of her home:

“Bin bags and other boxes lined the floor in here, too, all neatly labeled. All contained her parents’ things, or stuff that didn’t have a home, or jobs she had taken on and hadn’t given back.

Feeling daunted by the size of the task facing her, Martha wrapped her arms across her chest. She wondered if Gina had glanced inside the room when she used the bathroom. Her cheeks flushed as she imagined what her nana’s carer might describe her as. A hoarder? A bit strange? Can’t let go of the past?

Could any of those be true? (p213-214, Harlequin, 2019)

The quoted words give you a hint that the novel is so much more than what a reader would expect.

What do you think of the extract I shared? Would you pick up the book?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

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

Weekend Coffee Share: A Few Good Things

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Saturday was a beautiful day weather-wise. We enjoyed going outside for a walk and it felt truly spring-like. The weather has turned, however, and this morning the temperature stands at 0c. Brr!

If we were having coffee, I would ask you how your Mother’s Day went. Mine was busy – though not filled entirely with Mother-like activities. The morning I spent reading my current book – and enjoying the quiet time spent in the story. Then I went to a CPR course which is one of the requirements to become certified as a group fitness instructor. When I booked my session, I did not realise that it was Mother’s Day and it was too late to change the date. After successfully completing the course in the afternoon, I came home and napped. Afterwards, my family and I enjoyed some time together.

My husband cooked a delicious meal to celebrate. He had suggested going out but I didn’t want to – I was tired and the weather was starting to get a little chilly. Also, I enjoy our home-cooked meals. For dessert we had some chocolate dipped strawberries (which my daughter had prepared) and some chocolate mousse cake. A perfect end to the meal. I was spoiled with gifts as well – some Lindt dessert chocolates, a cosy pair of reading socks (I should wear them today!), and a succulent (my husband knows I prefer potted plants to cut flowers). My day definitely ended on a smile.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my daughter prepared her first dinner solo on Friday. She made a delicious quiche and salad. So proud of her! I am encouraging her to cook more meals without my help so that she can be more independent when she is living on her own in the far distant future. Yesterday, she was paging through the recipe book trying to decide what she would make next so I am sure that she will go shopping for ingredients later on in the day.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Monday the students in my class built their structures. I was lucky in that I had a couple of parents come in to help the children build with boxes, tape, and glue. The children had fun but by the end of the day I was exhausted and had a headache. In the days that followed, my students did the writing piece and this week they will all present their work for the oral mark. They will also be creating maps of their imagined village. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the highlight of the week was seeing one of our family members who flew into Toronto for a few days. We went out to dinner together mid-week and it was wonderful. I love seeing people I know from my past and to see for myself that they are doing well. I do wish we could have spent more time together this week; but I am grateful that she made the effort to spend some time with us.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the upcoming week is busy – but I will tell you more about that next week. Enjoy the next 7 days until we meet for coffee again.

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)



The bleak, arid land stretched out before them. Her search for shelter seemed hopeless but she would not give up! Shifting the weight of the sleeping child in her arms, Lily strode forward determinedly. The car had broken down but surely there had to be a homestead somewhere in this godforsaken land. Over the hill, she saw it in the distance. Help. Water. Refuge from the blazing sun.

“Mama, are we nearly there?”

“Yes sweetheart.”

They were welcomed with generosity. The homestead came to be the perfect place to change an identity and to hide from a killer.

© 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.)

A Late Arrival

I ordered a picture book to use as part of our celebrations for World Penguin Day a couple of weeks ago. However, the book had not arrived in time so I continued with the other planned festivities. It finally arrived on Friday afternoon and it was worth the wait.

The picture book is beautifulL’y bound with lovely illustrations, and the story is relevant for the children I teach. As I was reading through the story, I came up with a few ideas of activities I could do with them based on the book. I will read the story to them once we have completed our structures unit and begin exploring animals. Watch this space as I will share some of what we will do.

What has made you smile during the past week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge.)

Top 5 Books I want to Reread

Remember that time when you were a child and would reread a book you loved MANY times? As an adult, I enjoy rereads as well – but on a less frequent basis. Today I will share with you 5 books on my shelves that I have enjoyed in the past and would love to reread sometime soon.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This novel is my all-time favourite classic. No matter how many times I read the book, or see the movie, I am swept away by the story. I love the humour in it too and always smile at the character Mrs. Bennett. Pride and Prejudice is not just a love story. In the novel, Austen also makes a commentary on society and the prejudices we have about people.

TThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

My Favourite Fantasy novel of all time is The Hobbit as well as The Lord of the Rings. The time has come for me to once again enjoy this story. I picked up an edition of this story from Scholastics and hope to read the story again this year. Of course, after reading this one, I would need to pick up The Lord of the Rings!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowlings

I have started a reread of the Harry Potter series this year. So far I have enjoyed the illustrated editions of the first two novels in the series and soon I hope to enjoy the third. In the meantime, I enjoy the presence of the book on my shelf. I have already had a look at the illustrations and they are beautiful.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations was the first story I read by Dickens . I enjoy his writing – the intricate characterisations and storylines. It has been a while since I have read any of his work and I think it is time to enjoy once again the story of Pip and Miss Haversham.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I read Wuthering Heights first year at university when we studied Gothic literature. I have forgotten the minute details of Heathcliff and Catherine’s story and have a yearning to revisit it. Hopefully I will get to it this year but, if not, it is waiting for me on my bookshelf.

Have you enjoyed any of these novels? Would you reread them?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Bionic Book Worm and the Top 5 Tuesday challenge. This week we are listing the top 5 books we would like to reread).

Music Monday: Africa and Toto

On Saturday evening while we were having dinner, my daughter mentioned the song that was part of the sing-along at their school’s annual music concert. The song took me back years to when I was a teenager. I tried humming the tune for my husband to see if he remembered it but eventually I had to grab the iPad and show it to him.

Do you remember Toto’s song Africa? I remember loving the cool rhythms of it and humming it while doing chores. There is an honesty about the song now as I am listening to it decades later: the music is not as synthesised as so much of the new music (though I do love some of it). While listening to the song, I see in my mind’s eye my cousins and the friends that listened to it with me. The song is definitely linked to good memories for me.

What memories do you have of Toto’s song?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019