Category Archives: Books

Queen of the Tearling

It was about a year ago that I discovered the world of the BookTuber.  They are typically in their late teens/early 20’s and primarily read YA fiction.  Their enthusiasm for literature is contagious and a dream come true for an author.

Something they often comment on is the covers of the books they are reviewing or posting as part of their TBR (to be read) list.  I knew that an eye catching cover was important, but this was a revelation for me.  To see their disappointment (which ranged from annoyance to outright anger) over a series changing the style of a cover mid-way through was especially interesting.

One of the BookTubers on my list is Cozy Tea Reads.  Last weekend, I realized I hadn’t seen any of her videos in a while, so I decided to bingewatch.  It was at the 5:30 mark of her “July Book Haul + Giveaway” that she said, “This next book that I have is one of the most beautiful books I have laid my hands on in a very long time.”  

Then she held up her copy of “The Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen and I felt myself gasp.  She went on to say, “I can’t stop looking at it.  It’s stunning!”


She’s absolutely right. 

I have an e-reader and a limited book-buying budget, so if I see a book I want I typically go that route.  But then there are books that I want in the “traditional” format because they are simply far too beautiful and I need physical evidence of their existence.  This is one of them.

The photo doesn’t do it justice because it’s not only the cover but the spine and the map inside that make this book so gorgeous.  So definitely go watch Cozy Tea Reads video so you can see for yourself.  Something else that sold me on this book (as if the cover wasn’t enough) is that Emma Watson is involved of the making of the film adaptation.

Queen of the Tearling - Emma W

Is “The Queen of the Tearling” on your TBR list?  Have you ever seen a cover and simply HAD to have the book?


1 Comment

Filed under Books, Film, What Inspires Me

When Autumn Leaves

I was chatting with a gal and (as often happens) the topic turned to books.  She asked if I had read “When Autumn Leaves” by Amy Foster.  I hadn’t, so she kindly offered to loan it to me.


Here’s a bit of the synopsis :

“In the picturesque Pacific coast town of Avening, it’s hard not to believe in magic. This is a town where the shoes in the window always fit, where you can buy a love potion at the corner shop, and where local lore seamlessly mixes with the supernatural.”

The story centres around Autumn, a local shop keeper and member of the Jaen Sisterhood.  She has received word that the time has come for her to move on and time to choose her successor.  But  who among the women of the town will be up to the task?

She soon compiles a list of 13, each of whom has their own special brand of magic.  The stories of each of the 13 intertwine far more than any of them are aware (or willing to admit).  Soon we find ourselves being taken on a journey as we get to know each of the candidates and soon realize that Autumn’s choice is going to be next to impossible.

I don’t want to say much more, for fear of posting spoilers.  If you are looking for an “Autumn-themed” book to read and considering we’re just days away from Samhain/Halloween/All Hallows Eve, this is a good choice.

If memory serves, this book took me three nights to finish.  I loved it so much, I immediately bought a copy for myself and another for a friend.  “When Autumn Leaves” has taken a place on my re-read shelf and I look forward to revisiting Avening very soon.

Do you have any suggestions for an “Autumn-themed” read?  Would love to hear from you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, What Inspires Me

From my bookshelf…

When I searched for images of “sand under a microscope”, I was astounded by what I found.  Tiny shells and bits of beautifully coloured particles come together to make up this often neutral looking welcome mat to the sea.  I have a jar of sand from the shore of Miscou Island, New Brunswick.  But it never occurred to me to use it for any purpose other than to run my fingers through it from time to time or to admire it on my shelf.

“The Book of Crystal Spells – magical uses for stones, crystals, minerals… and even sand” by Ember Grant has opened up a new realm of possibilities for me.   Why hadn’t I thought of it before?

Blog - Ember Grant

Some of the information was familiar, like the section that outlines cleansing, charging, dedicating, centering, and grounding.  Even so, it’s still worth reading because you may learn a method you weren’t already familiar with that speaks to you in a way that others do not.

Any info on crystal elixirs and essenses always catches my attention.  Although I am fairly well-versed on the subject, it’s always good to read someone else’s perspective.  The most important thing to know is which crystals are toxic and which are safe.  Essenses are not consumed, so you can use whatever crystals you wish.  However elixirs made for the purpose of consumption need to be approached with caution.

Ember Grant also covers sand and glass spells, which I have never encountered before and found rather intriguing.  I am drawn to the ocean, often collecting stones and shells to bring home with me.  When I came back from Miscou Island, I was shocked to see that my suitcase weighed 30 pounds more than it did when I arrived!

I have a smokey quartz wand with a “window”.  I am not entirely certain what that means, so I have been drawn to learn more about the various types of quartz points.  Chapter 7 focuses on that and I look forward to re-reading it.

Manifestation Grid

I recently set up my first grid to help me manifest a goal and really enjoyed the process.  Ember has a chapter on this, as well and includes 12 grids for various purposes to get you started.

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who is interested in crystals or incorporating other aspects of nature into their work.  I am always interested in chatting about crystals and would love to read any experiences you’re willing to share.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

No singing crabs here…

I am a big fan of Ariel Bissett.  For those who don’t know her, she’s a BookTuber from Ontario whose enthusiasm for books is contagious.  Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love her any more, I find out she has a thing for mermaids!  One of her videos, entitled “Mermaid May”, caught my eye.  Watch it here :

I went on a little expedition to see what I could find in my local bookshop.  I have an eReader, but there’s something about perusing the shelves and having the physical book in your hands.  Having said that, I didn’t have as much luck as I’d hoped.  The book that I was really interested in was “Fathomless” by Jackson Pearce.  Unfortunately, it seems that my timing isn’t the best because it wasn’t available.

I wandered over to the bargain section and found “Lies Beneath” by Anne Greenwood Brown.  I opened it and was hooked by the first sentence on the dust jacket.

“Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids.”

It’s a dark twist on the mermaid mythos and was priced at 4.99 so I decided to give it a chance.

For the Blog - What Lies Beneath

 In my efforts to be artistic, it seems I have all but obliterated the cover.

I am always interested in different takes on the origins, social structure, and behaviour of familiar characters.  In this story, there’s an interesting twist.

“The ancient legends had it all backwards about merpeople.  We didn’t lure humans’ ships onto the rocks.  Human beings were the happy, shiny lures that caught our attention.”

The merpeople can see our auras and our happiness is something they crave.  Carrying a human down, down, down, they absorb that energy while their victim drowns.  Much like a vampire needs human blood to sustain themselves, merpeople need our happiness.

This particular family has revenge on their minds.  They blame Jason Hancock for their mother’s death and although he is long gone, his descendants will pay the price for what they see as the ultimate betrayal.  But as with all things, this plan isn’t as simple as they assume.  Lily is Jason’s granddaughter and while she is the intended bait, she proves to be a lure that Calder finds difficult to resist.

I found this book an easy, yet enjoyable read.  I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I discovered this was the first book in a series.  I know that sounds odd, but I prefer stand-alone titles because I have zero patience and can’t deal with having to wait for the next book to come out.  Thankfully, it seems that this is the first in a trilogy, with “Deep Betrayal” and “Promise Bound” available now.  There’s a definite benefit to discovering trilogies later on.

I am intrigued and will most likely continue with the series.  If you’re looking for an easy read to take with you on holiday or just a little something to help you decompress from reality, this is a good choice.

Are there any mermaid books you recommend?

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Which crystal helps with… ?

Blue Lace Agate enables you to speak your truth.  Carnelian helps with creativity.  Green Opal opens your heart chakra.  Every crystal has a vibration and a purpose.  But what if you see one and can’t identify it?  Or you suddenly find yourself attracted to one type in particular, but have no idea why.

For the Blog - The Crystal Bible

“The Crystal Bible” by Judy Hall is a must have for anyone wanting to learn more about crystals and how to work with them.  Each entry is complete with color photos of various specimens, as well as writeups on appearance, rarity, and source.  It also goes into detail about the attributes of that crystal, how to use it for healing, and what position on the body it should be placed/worn.  Some crystals come in various forms and in those cases, additional information/photos are provided.   It also contains info on how to choose crystals for healing, how to cleanse them, crystal shapes, and how to make gem elixirs.

I love to combine crystals to amplify their energy and strengthen my intention.  For example, did you know that using rose quartz is great for bringing more love into your life?  Did you also know that doing so can attract obsessive, possessive, jealous types?  Definitely not what we want.  But that doesn’t mean you have to turn away from rose quartz.  If you are using it with the intention of attracting a partner, then add amethyst to protect you from anyone who has these tendencies.

I have found many people want to manifest change in their lives, but are finding trust issues getting in the way.  When you order a meal at a restaurant, you trust the waiter is going to take your order to the kitchen and the chef is going to prepare it. You don’t get up from your table every 3 minutes to check on your food.  You place the order and then find other ways to occupy yourself until it arrives.  The same goes for manifestation.  You set your intention and then go about your life.  That doesn’t mean you can just sit on the couch and wait.  You have work to do.  If you want a new job, you have to send out resumes.  If you want a partner, you have to get yourself out there and meet people.  If you want to sell your house, you have to put it on the market.  They key is to trust that what you asked for will manifest.  Whatever you do, keep your thoughts positive.  You bring about what you focus on.

Chrysoprase and Labradorite

A combination that works well for helping trust the process is Labradorite (trust in the Universe) and Chrysoprase (trust in yourself).  You can wear the two stones or arrange them in a dish, placing it by your bed or on a table somewhere in your home.  In this dish, I also added a clear quartz to amplify the energy and intention.

For the Blog - The Crystal Bible 2

“The Crystal Bible 2” features over 200 additional healing stones, some of which were familiar to me, others I have never seen in person before.  The format is the same and has additional info crystal vibrations, chakra associations, cardinal points and directions, and how to create a gem essence.

I rarely put these two books away because I find myself referring to them constantly.  Their small format makes it easy to bring them along to your local crystal shop, as well.  Judy Hall recently released “The Crystal Bible 3”, which I intend to add to my library.

Whether you have been working with crystals for years or are just starting out, chances are there is at least one that you can’t seem to get enough of.  Do you have a favourite?

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Shelfie Saturday – the super deluxe office edition !

I am not sure how it happened but my office slowly became a sort of dumping ground for everything I didn’t have the time or energy to deal with.  Boxes of this… bags of that… piles of papers and unopened mail.  It made me sad to go in there because for so long I wanted a library/research area and I finally had that, but over time I had disrespected the space.  So I decided that it was time to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

One by one, I went through the boxes and bags.  I started a “keep” pile on the desk, which turned into several keep piles.  I grabbed the garbage bag holder thingy, put a bag on it and started tossing everything that was no longer relevant.  Like bills from 2012.  How embarrassing is that?

I have a tendency to store things in reusable grocery store bags.  I take everything I need to go through and stuff it in there, vowing to deal with it later.  Until later becomes far later than I intended and I find myself wondering why I have this bag of paper sitting in my office.  The positive in this situation is that it’s all fairly easy to let go of once you finally get to it.

Through this process, I decided that I needed to get another bookcase.  I gave it a lot of thought and came to the conclusion that I had to find a lightweight folding one because there was no way I was hauling another behemoth into the house by myself.  Before I heading out shopping, I did what I always do.   The “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” technique.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if I could find a folding bookshelf for under 30 dollars?”

I went to three different stores before I hit the jackpot.  I found exactly what I was looking for, albiet a bit smaller than I’d hoped.  But they were only 19-99 each, so I decided to get two!

Shelfie Saturday - New Shelves

Don’t you love manifesting exactly what you want at the price you’re willing to pay?

Now that the bigger bookcase was almost empty, I could move more books into my office.  HAZZAH!  I decided to put all of my research material on the left and my “to be read” pile on the right.

Shelfie Saturday - Shelves 2

No space is complete without a salt lamp.

I also re-organized my music, which is in alphabetical order according to artist.

Shelfie Saturday - Music

I became a bit concerned when I couldn’t find any of my Deva Premal CD’s.  Then I noticed a few others missing and the search was on.  I typically take a handful of CD’s out to my car, then bring them in and trade them for something new when I need a change.  So I figured I must have a pile of them somewhere.  I searched all the likely spots, but found nothing.  Finally, I remembered that I moved all of my “Spiritual” CD’s into my Healing Room.  Mystery Solved!

I am so happy I finally took the time to reclaim this space.  I had a lot of fun setting it up and reorganizing everything.  Now that I can see the top of my desk again, it’s inspired me to get back to work.  I currently have three more book reviews to write and some character development to get to.  I am still doing the actual writing in the kitchen but it’s good to know this space is there waiting for me when I need it.  Even if I just want to enjoy a cup of tea and a daydream.

Shelfie Saturday - Desk

Do you have anything you’ve been putting off?  What’s stopping you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Not exactly what I was expecting

I follow a few BookTubers and enjoy their typically enthusiastic reviews.  They seem to mostly read YA which is great for me, as I write YA.  So when I notice the same book popping up time and time again, I pay attention.  Such was the case with “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs.Blog - Miss P

It looked quirky and creepy, so needless to say I was sold.  I ventured out to my local bookshop and procured a copy.  I fully expected to plow through it in a weekend, but soon discovered it wasn’t going to be that easy.

I love the photos and can assume that I had the same question as everyone else.  Which came first?  Was the story based on the photos or did Ransom Riggs hunt down photos to support his characters?  The answer?  Both!

As it happens, I also have a fondness for old photos.  When I went to my grandmother’s home to help her prepare for her move into an assisted living facility, she let me keep some of the things she didn’t need/want anymore.  Some of those were photos.  I don’t know the story behind all of them.  I just took the ones that were interesting.  It’s an odd sort of voyeurism, isn’t it?  Taking a moment in time that you have no connection with and simply imagining what lead up to it.

Blog - old photos

I love the unconventional format of old photos.  Just look at all the different sizes, boarders, and paper used.  Not to mention some of the interesting choices with regard to subject matter.  

This book is quite unique and very creepy.  The main character, Jacob Portman, was older than what I thought he would be.  The story was also a bit darker than I expect.  That may sound odd, as I knew was I was getting into but in spite of that I found the story to be dark in an emotional way.  The black and white photos enhance that gloomy feeling which isn’t altogether unpleasant but instead wraps itself around you like a cozy but odd-smelling blanket and invites you to stay.  The creepiest part for me is the fact the photos are real, not simply created to support the story.

Knowing this was the first in a series made it a bit easier to understand why the story was a bit slow-moving.  I sense that there is quite a bit more to the tale than what was revealed.  While I was unsure how I felt about this book until the very last page, I can now say that my interest in “Hollow City” is piqued.  With a 3rd book on the way, I definitely do not want to be left behind.


Leave a comment

Filed under Books