It’s Here! 2018 Canada Reads Longlist

Finally!

The longlist has finally been announced! The theme this year is: One Book to Open Your Eyes.

“These books challenge readers to look differently at themselves, their neighbours and the world around them. ” – CBC Books, Jan 2018

What’s Canada Reads you ask?

“Five books, five champions, one winner: CBC’s annual Battle of the Books has been getting people listening, watching and, of course, reading, for the past 16 years.

Canada Reads is a “literary Survivor,” with celebrities championing books. Books are  voted “off the bookshelf,” one each day, until one book is chosen as the title the whole country should read this year.” – CBC Books, About

So without further ado, here they are:

I am the most excited for Mark Sakamoto’s novel which is the true story of his grandpa’s capture and imprisonment as a POW in Japan during the Second World War. I hope that it makes the short list!

The panellists and the final five books will be announced Jan. 30, 2018. The debates will take place March 26-29, 2018. I will hope to have all five final books read and reviewed before the upcoming debates so stay tuned for all the Canada Reads action.

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

Whether you loved or hated Anne of Green Gables, Emily is the superior Heroine.

“If you’ve brains it’s better than beauty – brains last, beauty doesn’t.”

4/5 stars.
Paperback, 417 pages.
Read from July 7, 2017 to July 14, 2017.

This book was first published in 1923 and has never been out of print since. How’s that for a legacy! Montgomery was also writing and publishing before women even had the right to vote and her writing has been inspiring young women for nearly 100 years.

I had the second book in this trilogy on my shelf growing up but because I was a nerd and wanted to read things in order and so I never actually got around to reading this book as a tween. A shame really, as I am certain I would have been obsessed with Emily.  As someone who is indifferent to the story of Anne of Green Gables, reading this book was initially out of duty to the fact that it sat neglected on my bookshelf for decades.

Emily is just a young child when she is sent to live with her mother’s relatives of whom she has never met.  Her mother passed away from consumption years earlier and her father has now just passed. Having learned that her mother eloped with her father, her mother’s side of the family, the Murray’s, were keen to keep that disgrace away from the family name but knew that they must take care of the child out of duty. Nobody wanted poor Emily. After some reluctant decisions (and being forced to part with one of her cats), Emily was sent to live with her stern Aunt Elizabeth in New Moon.

Emily learns that her mother’s side of the family is fairly well off and that the family is well respected in the area. However, even if humble, Emily misses her home and her father. She makes friends with her cousin Jimmy, the first of the Murray clan to be kind to her, as well as with their neighbour Teddy, Isle unforgettably fierce tomboy, and the young boy that helps out on the Murray plot, Perry. Stubborn, serious and imaginative, Emily slowly adjusts to her new way of life at New Moon and even comes to like it, but her strong-will continuously gets her trouble with her Aunt and family. Emily wonders if she will ever feel accepted, loved or appreciated in her new home, especially with her growing talent and desire to write.

You know why this book is awesome? Because Emily is smart, fierce, ambitious, thoughtful and imaginative. She also has thirst for knowledge, is a loyal friend, and has an intense appreciation for nature. Whether in 1923 or the present, girls need great characters like Emily to let them know that anything is possible. What makes Emily a better heroine than Anne is that Emily is by far less dramatic and a bit more complex. She is more serious and considerate than Anne and is able to work through troubling situations with a bit more grace. Emily and the plot, in general, have a darker tone than Anne of Green Gables but it is still whimsical and playful.

I loved Emily. If I had read this book as a tween I would have sworn that I was Emily; serious, stubborn, loves cats, imaginative and a passion for writing at a young age. It was the connection with Emily that made me enjoy her story more than Anne’s and also made me want to pursue reading the whole trilogy of her books, something that I do not do often.

“The universe is full of love and spring comes everywhere.”

So while this book had similar features to Anne of Green Gables, this story felt more successful. Emily is dynamic and while she has similar personality features to Anne there is more depth to the story of Emily and a realism that is not matched in Anne of Green Gables. Emily’s story is written 15 years after the publication of Anne’s and it is clear that Montgomery improved her writing during that time.

Whether you loved or hated Anne of Green Gables, both are valid feelings and reasons to read this book and enjoy its amazing characters and story.

The Secret by L. Marie Adeline

I wish that there were more erotica novels of this calibre.

4/5 stars.
ebook, 288 pages.
Read from July 12, 2017 to July 13, 2017

When I first started reading erotica I was ready to ditch the genre completely as I was tired of the slew of bad writing and bad romances (cue Lady Gaga). A friend of mine who seemed to understand my woes made this recommendation. The book sat on my TBR pile for a very long time until I had actually almost forgotten about it. As fate would have it, my library happened to an ebook copy while I was in the midst of a reading slump and I thought, why not? It has been one of the best erotica pieces I have read so far.

“Sex creates chemicals that can be mistaken for love. Not understanding that about our bodies creates a lot of misunderstanding and unnecessary suffering.”

Cassie is in her early 30s and the only sex she has ever had was from her previous deadbeat ex-husband who has since passed away. Cassie works long shifts as a server at a small cafe and has no idea where she is going in life. Feeling lost and insecure Cassie seems to have resigned herself to her dreary and mediocre life. She yearns for some romance and excitement, even a good fuck would satisfy her at this point as it has been years. At work, she watches this one couple that comes in from time to time and they are completely in love.  It makes her heartache.

One day, the young woman in the couple leaves behind a journal of sorts.  Cassie peaks inside to discover what appears to be a record of some seriously hot sex scenes! Embarrassed, Cassie pretends she has not read the journal and gets it back to the owner who was equally as embarrassed. Little did Cassie know, that this little mistake, would open up her whole world. Shortly after another woman approaches her at work and describes an organization that exists to help women feeling exactly like herself, though it isn’t exactly your typical support group. The organization helps to act out the selected women’s fantasies in an effort to increase their confidence again. Each task and fantasy is rewarded with a bracelet charm. Not sure if the whole idea is a dream come true or something completely insane, Cassie follows her instincts…

I have to admit this is a really creative way to get all sorts of sex into one erotica novel. It caters to a lot of different types of fantasies (public, celebrity, etc) as well as appealing to one feeling most women are familiar with, insecurity.  What makes this novel exceptional is that is isn’t a man that makes everything better for the female protagonist, it is her. She makes the decisions that ultimately change her life and how she feels. She isn’t whisked off her feet and ‘saved’ by some rich, hot man who wants to do everything for her. She comes to find confidence all on her own through the exploration of her own sexuality. Now that’s hot! This is what I am talking about when it comes to erotica! I mean, yes, something like this would never happen in real life but the choices and the feelings that Cassie has is very real.

This novel is the perfect mix of story and sex making it an ideal erotica. The story is compelling enough it keep you interested but not overpowering in that you lose out on what you really came to read about, the sex. Cassie also isn’t a helpless, shallow character either. You are really rooting for her as a reader because you know exactly what it feels like.

If you need a recommendation into the world of erotica I highly recommend starting with this book. It’s steamy, exciting and has a story that empowers the female protagonist. Heck, I might even read the other two books in the trilogy I enjoyed this one so much! Overall I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel and wish that there were more erotica novels of this calibre.