Review: The Dead Inside: A True Story by Cyndy Etler

Review: The Dead Inside: A True Story by Cyndy Etler
Source: ARC courtesy of Raincoast Books
Publication: April 4, 2017 by Sourcebooks
Book Description:

For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler’s gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious tough love program the ACLU called “a concentration camp for throwaway kids.”

I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the professionals at Straight. From the outside, Straight Inc. was a drug rehab. But on the inside it was… well, it was something else.

All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a “drug rehabilitation” facility that changed her world. To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to “treat” its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered “healing.”

As I read the harrowing true story of Cyndy Etler‘s time in the Straight Inc. program, I felt as I had when I read Garrard Conley’s brilliant memoir Boy Erased: floored, aghast, enraged. A memoir of Cyndy Etler’s time in the “rehabilitation” centre for “wayward” and “druggy” youths, The Dead Inside is an incredibly detailed, eye-opening, disturbing read that brings to light a very troubling so-called recovery program that existed only decades ago in North America (…and one that perhaps not many know about).

The Dead Inside is an emotional, bleak read- and a very important one at that. Not only is the memoir insightful about one particular kind of ‘treatment’ program that was tested on youth, but it is also read that stirs thoughts regarding opportunity (and limits to) for forgotten or hidden youth; parental abuse; as well the dangers inherent in labeling teens as ‘bad’ kids. Many intense subjects are openly approached in this title: sexual abuse, verbal abuse, psychological and physical trauma for a start. Etler does not broach any subject matter in a benevolent, timid fashion- and The Dead Inside makes all the more impact for it. Etler’s memoir is one read that I feel needs to be experienced for the full impact; I fear that I cannot do justice to aptly describing or condensing the dark and compelling nature of this memoir.

A little side story here before wrapping up my thoughts: while in the middle of this read, I actually stopped to tweet about my reading experience (so many thoughts and emotions were running through my head) and Cyndy Etler herself (unexpectedly and so sweetly!) responded back…which is all kinds of incredible. Any readers who appreciate darker, no holds-barred memoirs, or the writing of authors such as Ellen Hopkins or Patricia McCormick might especially take to this read. Interested readers: take note that a follow-up to The Dead Inside called We Can’t Be Friends, detailing Cyndy’s recovery and life after leaving Straight Inc. is due out in the fall of 2017.

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Books I’ve Read…

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I have not been doing a great job with keeping up and participating, but I have been inspired this week’s topic: the most unique books we’ve read!

With the caveat that I have probably/most likely missed a number of unique titles here, I’ve picked ten titles- mostly all children’s titles- that, to me, stand out. Are unusual. Out of the ordinary. Seriously unexpected and seriously unforgettable. Perhaps even peculiar. In no particular order, here are my picks:

 

 

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
A picture book written all in imagined bug language (yes, indeed!), with gorgeous artwork…

The Liszts by Kyo Maclear, illus. Júlia Sardà
Kyo Maclear is up there as one of my favourite wordsmiths/storytellers. The Liszts is a newer title: a story about a list-making family that is beyond one’s expectations and imaginings. Sardà’s illustrations are…extraordinary…

Lost & Found by Shaun Tan
I am rather obsessed with Tan’s work. This was one of my first introductions to his work, and I haven’t stopped reading and poring over his incredible work since…

Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
The combination of Orchard’s unusual and beautiful style of artwork with the darker fairy-tale feel- a stand-out graphic novel…

The Sleepwalkers by Viviane Schwarz
Ah, The Sleepwalkers! I read this graphic novel after falling in love with Schwarz’s picture books. A genuinely unusual, offbeat but lovely and hypnotic story about a team of heroes who rescue children from nightmares…

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston
A feat in storytelling, visuals and typography, this picture books is also a love letter to the power of books and words…

Press Here by Hervé Tullet
One of the first interactive perfect-for-storytime picture books I remember reading and arguably still one of the best…I would argue this was a game-changer and paved the way for more delightful interactive picture books to follow…I can’t imagine storytime with interactive books…

Art & Max by David Wiesner
David Wiesner, as with many authors and artists on this list, is a favourite. While most anything and everything by Wiesner is breathtaking and innovative, I must confess to a particular soft spot for Art & Max: a picture book about art, art styles, and two friends who test and bend art between the pages of this book that cemented Wiesner’s place on my roster of favourites.

Shadow by Suzy Lee
One of the first wordless picture books where I had a serious ‘aha’ moment about the beauty and signficance of the genre…Also: why isn’t everyone just as bananas about her work as I am?!?

Milk Teeth by Julie Morstad
This is a small book/collection of Morstad’s artwork. Surreal, dreamy, so strange and so beautiful…As with Shaun Tan’s work, I could forever be breathing in Morstad’s exquisite work…

Bonus mentions:

Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, illus. Isabelle Arsenault

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

What titles are on your top ten this week?

Top Ten Tuesday: Recently Added to My To-Be-Read Shelf

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I have not been doing a great job (at all!) keeping up and participating, but I have been inspired this week! Now, this week is actually a freebie week, so I thought I’d focus on titles recently added to my to-be-read shelf!

A blend of picture books, mystery and fiction…In no particular order, here they are:

1. Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin– a wordless picture book that I have been reading wonderful reviews about. Graegin’s illustrative work is lovely!

2. The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken– described as Zoom meets Beautiful Oops!, I’m looking forward to seeing this gorgeous-looking picture book in person.

3. I Don’t Draw, I Color! by Adam Lehrhaupt, illus. Felicita Sala– regular readers of my picture book posts might know I just adore Lehrhaupt’s work! As soon as I saw this latest one come up on Goodreads, it went right to my must-read.

4. I Hate Everyone, Except You by Clinton Kelly. Any other folks here who watched TLC’s What Not to Wear? I’ve read and really enjoyed Kelly’s previously published fashion/entertainment books (love his humour and snark). I Hate Everyone, Except You is a little bit different- this one is actually a memoir- a collection of personal essays- and it sounds fantastic.

5. Tales for the Perfect Child by Florence Parry Heide, with illustrations by Sergio Ruzzier– a new edition of Parry Heide’s classic. I feel as though I have read this, many years ago, but I just cannot recall! In any event, I’m looking forward to rediscovering (or discovering!) this book, and can’t wait to see Ruzzier’s illustrations!

The next four are titles I added to my TBR immediately after reading terrific reviews for in Publisher’s Weekly:

6. The Outrun by Amy Liptrot– a fascinatingly described non-fiction title

7. Find Me by J.S. Monroe– a right-up-my-alley kind of thriller…

8. The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward– a gothic horror/mystery!

9. Say Nothing by Brad Parks– another taut thriller that sounds just like something I’d be interested in!

10. Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett– an unmissable cover, intriguing description and narrator? Yes, please!

What’s on your Top Ten Tuesday this week?

Blog Tour Stop: The Playbook by Kwame Alexander!

Welcome to one of the stops on the Raincoast Books blog tour for Kwame Alexander‘s latest, The Playbook!

Read on for my thoughts on the book as well as a special excerpt from the book!

the-playbook-coverThe Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander, photos by Thai Neave
Source: ARC courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Expected publication: February 14, 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Book Description:

You gotta know the rules to play the game. Ball is life . Take it to the hoop. Soar. What can we imagine for our lives? What if we were the star players, moving and grooving through the game of life? What if we had our own rules of the game to help us get what we want, what we aspire to, what will enrich our lives?

Illustrated with photographs by Thai Neave, The Playbook is intended to provide inspiration on the court of life. Each rule contains wisdom from inspiring athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Carli Lloyd, Steph Curry and Michelle Obama. Kwame Alexander also provides his own poetic and uplifting words, as he shares stories of overcoming obstacles and winning games in this motivational and inspirational book just right for graduates of any age and anyone needing a little encouragement.

kwame-alexander-pix-1

Author, poet, and educator Kwame Alexander is a Newbery Medal winning recipient- for The Crossover– and highly regarded author with such titles as the stellar Booked and picture book Surf’s Up to his name. With The Playbook, Alexander approaches the non-fiction children’s/teen genre with his genuinely inspiring and impassioned voice.

Starting with a section called ‘Warm up’, and moving on through four quarters and into ‘Overtime’, The Playbook is divided up into manageable chapters with accompanying and relevant rules, quotes (from accomplished professionals in and out of sports) and personal stories, poems and/or notes from Alexander himself. I think it can be tricky navigating and creating a non-fiction title for children and teens that aims for inspiring; the audience/readers are a tough and discerning crowd who can easily suss out insincerity or try-hard. In Alexander’s hands though, The Playbook only ever reads as genuine: from an author who himself comes from an authentic place of meaning what he says, who has lived through what they are talking about and sharing, and who practices what they advocate.

I personally found The Playbook to be candid and encouraging as well as grounded; a book of terrific application for a huge children’s and teen audience. The use of quotations from highly respected athletes as well as leaders (in literature and beyond) are wonderfully effective and meaningful here; readers who might not be into sports and worried about connecting with ‘sports’ content need not worry as everything in The Playbook is all analogous to life. One component of The Playbook I especially adore (as I am a huge fan of Alexander’s work) is the sections which include Alexander’s personal stories- talking about his own struggles in sports, trying to measure up to his incredibly athletic and celebrated father, and how he made it through wins and losses and major struggles.

playbook4

Overall, The Playbook is a great non-fiction title that makes for a wonderful addition to any children’s/teen collection. An uplifting read with spirit and heart, The Playbook is an inspiring read that sings with authenticity through Alexander’s electrifying and effortless way with words. Readers who appreciate and enjoy reading non-fiction, or reading more true-to-life stories, or personal stories from authors might especially want to check out The Playbook. Those who have already read and loved Kwame Alexander’s previous work might also be interested in checking this one out as well!

Interested in reading more reviews and excerpts from this awesome book? You can check out the other great blogs participating in the tour:

the-playbook-blog-evite

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of this blog tour. All opinions and comments are my own.

Best of 2016: YA, Adult Fiction & Non-Fiction

Now it’s time for part two of my ‘Best of 2016’ reads: this post’s focus is all about young adult and adult fiction. I feel that, while my reading year was overwhelmingly picture books and middle grade lit, there was so much depth and matter in the contained selection of YA and adult fiction I had the chance to read. You’ll notice a number of Canadian titles on here as well!

In no particular order, I present my picks for best of YA, adult fiction, and non-fiction of 2016:

Young adult:

Flannery by Lisa Moore
Dan Vs. Nature by Don Calame
Watching Traffic by Jane Ozkowski
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
Lucky Few by Kathryn Ormsbee
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly

Boys Don’t Knit series by Tom Easton
Julia, Vanishes (Witch’s Child #1) by Catherine Egan
The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace #1) by Erin Bow
Into the Dim (Into the Dim #1) by Janet B. Taylor

 

Adult fiction:

The Break by Katherena Vermette
The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall
My Last Continent by Midge Raymond
We’re All in This Together by Amy Jones

The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
The Widow by Fiona Barton
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

 

Non-fiction (including memoir, comics, humour):

Boy, Erased by Garrard Conley
Sex Object by Jessica Valenti (audiobook)
The Book of Memory Gaps by Cecilia Ruiz
I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short (audiobook)
Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Anderson

Molly and the Bear Collection by Bob Scott
Your Grandma Rocks, Mine Rolls: A Grand Avenue Collection by Steve Breen
Happy as a Clam: A Sherman’s Lagoon Collection by Jim Toomey
I’m Only in This for Me A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan Pastis
Gross!: A Baby Blues Collection by Rick Kirkman & Jerry Scott

 

Note: Some titles appearing on this list may have been published in previous years; titles on this list are ones that I read in 2016. Some titles appearing on this list may also have been provided by publishers in exchange for honest reviews; this has no bearing on making this list. These are my personal selections.

Comic Strip Review: Molly and the Bear by Bob Scott

mollyandthebear27040044Review: Molly and the Bear by Bob Scott
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of the author and publisher. Thank you!
Publication: March 8, 2016 by Cameron + Company
Book Description:

It can be tough on a family when someone new has moved in, especially if it’s a 900-pound scaredy-bear so terrified of wilderness life that he’s fled to the burbs. Fortunately Bear was found by Molly, a fearlessly optimistic 11-year-old can-doer who has taken him firmly in hand, devoted to seeing her hirsute BFF cope with modern life. Molly’s Mom is happy with the new sibling — Bear’s an excellent conversationalist and loves her homemade cookies. But Dad is having a harder time, his role as center of the universe now shared with an ursine behemoth who, unfortunately, adores him.

One thought that kept running through my mind as I read Bob Scott’s Molly and the Bear was, I wish I had known about this comic strip earlier. Having grown up reading (and re-reading) Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, FoxTrot, Herman, Hagar the Horrible (and many more favourites!), comic strips have been a major part of my life since I was a kid. Molly and the Bear would have easily slotted into that mix back then- as it also fits into my reading today. Artist, animator, illustrator Bob Scott, who has worked on projects including Pixar’s The Incredibles, brings a wonderful level of madcap charm and endearing nostalgia with his web comic Molly and the Bear.

Fleeing from the fearsome dangers of the wilderness, Bear- similarly to Goldilocks- sneaks into a house. There he finds a best friend in Molly, an eleven-year-old girl who is thoughtful and brave, and most of all, loves him through and through. The contrast between Bear, a high-strung nine-hundred pound creature, with that of a petite, enthusiastic young girl is ripe for comedy from the get-go, but Scott makes it even richer and sweeter (and funnier) as he draws out and grows their genuine friendship and affection for each other. Bear, though arguably happier in civilization than the wild, comes up against constant obstacles in his new residence. Namely, an obstacle known as Molly’s father. Reminding me a little of a Hanna-Barbera character in nature and appearance, Molly’s father is a bit of a curmudgeon- an ornery and proud man of the house (…like Fred Flinstone…) who is often at odds with Molly and his wife about the fact that he would much prefer Bear to go back to the wilderness. Bear and Dad’s relationship is one feature of the strip that makes for great comedy: while Molly’s dad typically blows a gasket at Bear’s minor accidents and major mistakes, it is a lot of fun to see their ups and downs and how Dad’s fondness of Bear grows begrudgingly.

I find Molly and the Bear to be at its funniest, most surprising and most genuine when it does not insert more contemporary pop culture and/or modern references the mix. To be fair, this doesn’t occur too often- but as an example, there are moments in the strip when characters send text messages, or when Slash from Guns ‘N Roses and Angelina Jolie are mentioned. For various reasons, Molly and the Bear has the fantastically evocative and joyful feel of a more classic, if not retro comic strip that doesn’t need to focus on trend, which is why some of the more current references feel slightly discordant. I feel that Scott’s writing and thus the gags work at their strongest and sharpest when the focus is on the main characters and their interplay rather than when its trying to place itself in contemporary time.

In all, I had a whale of a time reading through the collection of Molly and the Bear strips. While easily found online as a web comic, I would like to note that the hardcover edition is quite beautiful: the larger page layouts are conducive to easy reading, and it includes an introduction, a welcome to the main characters- in full colour-, as well as a special ‘Behind the Ink’ section. Comic strip book aficionados might particularly appreciate those features! Any readers who have read and/or enjoy comic strips such as Mother Goose & Grimm, Dennis the Menace, Red and Rover, or any of the comics mentioned above, might especially take to the classic comedy and heart in Molly and the Bear.

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Bob Scott and Cameron + Company in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

Must Read Monday (47): Looking at Fall 2016 Releases (Part 2)

Continuing on with a Must Read Monday feature on Fall 2016 releases!…

This week’s Must Read Monday is a little bit different. I’ve been looking through various sources (review journals, publisher’s sites, Goodreads, blogs, etc.) as is my norm, but my to-be read pile has grown tremendously in a short span! This is due, in part, to all of the incredible books that are slated for Fall 2016 release! Some favourite authors and/or illustrators are releasing new titles or sequels, and there are new-to-me and/or debut authors with terrific sounding and terrifically reviewed titles.

You can take a look at my picks for Part 1 here!

Here, in no particular order, are my picks for Part 2:

 

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart
Expected publication: September 27, 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel
Expected publication: September 20, 2016 by HarperCollins Canada

Foxheart by Claire Legrand, illus. Jaime Zollars
Expected publication: October 4, 2016 by Greenwillow Books

Today by Julie Morstad
Expected publication: September 2, 2016 by Simply Read Books

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems
Expected publication: October 25, 2016 by Disney-Hyperion

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
Expected publication: September 6, 2016 by First Second

Mooncop by Tom Gauld
Expected publication: September 20, 2016 by Drawn and Quarterly

Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson
Expected publication: September 20, 2016 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Happy as a Clam: The Twenty-First Sherman’s Lagoon Collection by Jim Toomey
Expected publication: September 20, 2016 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Stephan’s Web: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan Pastis
Expected publication: November 22, 2016 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

*For the purposes of these posts, ‘Fall’ will include some August, September and October, possibly some November 2016 releases

Review: Boy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley

BOYERASED26109438Review: Boy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley
Source: ARC courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada via Goodreads First Reads. Thank you!
Publication: May 10, 2016 by Riverheard Books
Verdict: Excellent
Book Description:

The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality.

When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.

By confronting his buried past and the burden of a life lived in shadow, Garrard traces the complex relationships among family, faith, and community. At times heart-breaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.

During my reading of Garrard Conley’s impeccably written, penetrative and disturbing Boy Erased, I could not help but marvel at his overwhelmingly compassionate, calm voice. Here is a young man, writing about (among many other things), his shocking experience at an ex-gay conversion centre, dealing with the intense fall-out of being outed to his parents in the most horrific of circumstance, and through it all, Conley remains evenly introspective, sensitive…humane.

While indeed a big portion of the memoir focuses on Conley’s time at the ex-gay conversion program (Love in Action) he was forced to attend, Boy Erased also deals intensively with Conley’s struggle for finding his own self, understanding his parents, his/their beliefs, questioning his Missionary Baptist faith and almost everything he had been raised to believe in his deeply conservative Arkansas town. Conley’s two weeks in the institutional program, his experiences growing up, trying to fit in college, as well as his time following his Baptist pastor father’s work, are (for lack of a better word), staggering. Conley, however, remains elegant in his writing, no matter what or who is being written about, and no matter how damaging or malicious the person or actions.

Overall, Boy Erased is a lyrical, beautifully written memoir that shows compassion, hope and love persevering through interminable darkness and abuse. It is an eye-opening read that illuminates as much as it also illustrates a startling degree of intolerance deeply pervasive in the world. With high praise and solid reviews coming in a variety of journals, Conley has indeed done incredibly with his memoir, drawing a calm voice to abhorrent experiences. I would highly recommend Conley’s memoir to any interested non-fiction/memoir readers, or those who are more specifically looking to read more about identity, heteronormativity, equal rights (and lack thereof), faith, conservatism and sexuality.

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada via Goodreads First Reads. All opinions and comments are my own.

Mother’s Day Giveaway from Raincoast Books!

I am thrilled to be hosting a wonderful Mother’s Day giveaway, courtesy of my friends at Raincoast Books!

Open to Canadian residents, ages 18 and up, one lucky person will have the chance to win a great collection of six books and gift items valued at $140.

Here is a rundown of the beautiful prizes offered in the giveaway:

 

MamaMAMASAURUS9781452144245saurus by Stephan Lomp
This colorful and reassuring picture book follows Babysaurus on an adventure as he enlists his prehistoric friends to seek his Mamasaurus. Is his Mamasaurus the fastest in the jungle? No. Is she the loudest? No. Is she the best flyer? No! Of course, Mamasaurus has been right there all along. And when Babysaurus needs a little help, she is ready with a big hug and a sweet, leafy snack. For Babysaurus, his Mamasaurus is the best mamasaurus in the world! Stephan Lomp has illustrated several books in his native Germany, and in this debut as both author and artist, he has created a fresh twist on a perennial theme that will win the hearts of little ones and their mamas as they snuggle up to read a new favorite.

Cute but definitely not fluffy, sweet but not saccharine, I found Mamasaurus to be a fun and wonderfully illustrated read. I think it could make for a solid preschool read aloud- the colours of the prehistoric creatures are captivating and the illustrations are expressive enough to draw all eyes in. Readers who enjoy their dinosaurs will likely gobble this one up; those who are perhaps less swayed by dinosaurs will likely still be taken in with the fun artwork and happily-ever-after story of a mama and her baby.

You can read my full review of this terrifically illustrated, vibrant and funny picture book here!

 

LETTERSTOMYMOM9781452149219Letters to My Mom: Write Now. Read Later. Treasure Forever by Lea Redmond
Mom will truly treasure this keepsake forever. The twelve fold-and-mail-style envelopes (ten prompted, two blank) invite sons and daughters to capture memories and express gratitude for Mom, seal up the envelopes with the included stickers, and postdate the letters. When Mom breaks the seals in the future, she’ll receive an invaluable gift: a tangible reflection of her child’s love.

 

MOTHERSOFVILLAGEindexMothers of the Village: Why All Moms Need the Support of a Motherhood Community and How to Find It For Yourself by C. J. Schneider
So many mothers feel like something is out of joint, something is missing and maybe the truth is that we’re all just missing each other. C. J. Schneider found herself in the middle of a perfect storm after giving birth to her third child and moving to a new neighborhood. Conditions for misery and postpartum depression were ideal: she was isolated, lonely, and exhausted with three young children at home. As she started talking with other mothers, she realized that she was not alone in her experience of feeling alone. In her unique voice, Schneider intelligently and compassionately offers practical advice on how to create the essential community that mothers need.

 

dailymotherhood9781942934387Daily Motherhood: 365 Days of Inspiration for the Hardest Job You’ll Ever Love compiled by Familius
Every mom needs a pick-me-up now and then,so why not every day? With 365 gorgeously designed quotes about motherhood,one for every day of the year, Daily Motherhood is the perfect gift for every mother. This beautiful quote book will inspire, uplift, and energize moms, reminding them why they do what they do and recommitting them to the world’s greatest job: motherhood.

 

DREAMDAYJOURNALThe Dreamday Pattern Journal: Heraldic – Paris Coloring-in notebook for writing, musing, drawing and doodling (Laurence King Publishing)
The Original Pattern Journals are a new concept in luxury stationery. Each journal contains patterned pages for coloring-in and doodling interleaved with blank pages for taking notes and drawing. Each has a visual theme associated with a particular period or place, whether Renaissance Florence, 1920s Manhattan, or Mid-Century Scandinavia. Composed of cream and gray stocks and featuring colored endpapers, richly patterned covers, and a bellyband, the journals are a perfect blending of the traditional blank journal and the current craze for coloring-in books. This is a series that can be used as beautiful, functional stationery but each volume will also become a unique personal notebook with your own designs and coloring.

 

DOYOURLAUNDRYDo Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give if She Thought You Were Listening by Becky Blades
No matter how hard they try, parents never have time to teach their children everything they need to know before they leave home. Luckily, Becky Blades has compiled the best tidbits of advice into one thought-provoking, conversation-starting book. Covering everything from posture to finances, with a hint of motherly sass, Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone is the perfect gift for leaving-the-nest kids, or anyone in your life who could use a little bit of coming-of-age common sense.

 

Giveaway Info:
The contest is open to Canadian residents only, and entrants must be aged 18 and up. The contest will run from April 30, 2016 until May 6, 2016. One winner will be randomly selected at the end of giveaway via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond by emailing me at fabbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com, confirming their name and their mailing address. Raincoast Books is providing fulfillment of the prizes.

Enter by clicking on the following link to Rafflecopter and follow the instructions to enter:

Click here to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter!

 

Giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to the winner: Sunshine H.!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and participated in the giveaway!

I received a copy of Mothers of the Village for the purposes of this giveaway. I received a copy of Mamasaurus previously in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! Opinions and comments regarding the titles are my own. Prizes provided by Raincoast Books.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books That Make Me Laugh!

toptentuesday2Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Now, I have not posted a Top Ten Tuesday in a…long while..but I saw the topic for this week and wanted to dive in with my picks for funny reads.

Comedy is an essential part of my life: some of my bookish loves, are after all, comic books and humourous reads; I listen to comedy audiobooks and podcasts regularly; and my comfort TV viewing is comedy (with edge/bite). I have read my share of funny, laugh out loud books, and it was VERY hard to narrow down. But here, in no particular order, is a selection of twelve stand-out funny reads from all genres (excluding comics, otherwise this list would go on forever…):

 

 

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Losing Joe’s Place by Gordan Korman
How to Be a Canadian by Will Ferguson and Ian Ferguson
The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
Deep and Meaningful Diaries from Planet Janet series by Dyan Sheldon
Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison
Completely Cassidy series by Tamsyn Murray
Boys Don’t Knit series by T.S. Easton
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Anastasia Again! by Lois Lowry
Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants by Matthew Inman
Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done by Stephan Pastis

Be sure to check out the post on The Broke and the Bookish and visit other bloggers!

What are some of your favourite funny reads?