This book is incredible, both raw and real. It reminded me of the privileged family dynamics in Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore (which I absolutely loved). This book similarly looks at the world of privilege through a new lens, exploring the dark family secrets people keep, and make excuses for. This book pulled me in from page 1 with its rich character development, and exploration of female friendship. It is so timely, with the #metoo movement and the discussions around sexual assault, harassment, and male dominance. It also delves into other thought-provoking topics. It’s a story about friendship, jealousy, and secrets. The plot is perfectly executed! I can’t recommend this one enough. Thank you so much to Ashley at Harper Collins for this Advanced Reader Copy.
Going vegan was one of the best life choices I've made, both environmentally and ethically. Living in Vancouver has made the choice almost effortless, as more and more new vegan restaurants and venues are opening shop. Here is a list of my 10 best!
My first donut after going Vegan was from Cartems Donuts, and now it's become my weekly indulgence. My favourites: Vanilla Bean, Smoked Maple Walnut, Apple Fritter, and Early Grey! They have monthly specials, cinnamon buns, and vegan milk choices for latte's. I also take a ton of bookstagram photos here! With locations on West Pender, Main Street, and West Broadway.
I only recently came across The Gluten Free Epicurean bakery late last year, located at Fraser & Kingsway. I love cinnamon buns, and these are the best! This place has so many delicious pastries, cookies, bars, and treats. The interior and exterior are blog-worthy, with big bright windows, and a Fort Langley feel.
Virtuous Pie, hands-down my favourite place to eat for brunch, lunch and dinner. Even carnivore's will leave satisfied and impressed. My go-to's: Superfunghi, Ultraviolet, and Los Tacos pizza creations. They also serve ice cream, salads, and the best vegan chocolate-hazelnut breakfast calzone I've ever had.
Dalina. The home of many bookstagram shots on their amazing patio. This place has all the feels of downtown New York. It's not only a great coffee location with dairy-free milk on tap, it serves food, drinks, and includes a small grocery area. It's the best place to stop in Gastown for your caffeine fix, and it's around the corner from vegan gelato (need I say more?)
49th Parallel Coffee Roasters has one of the best house-made almond milk's I've ever had. It also helps that all of their locations have unique interior's for bookstagram photos. My favourite locations are West 4th and Main Street.
The one 'taste' I've really missed since going vegan was hazelnut hedgehog's, so to my surprise, I stumbled across UmaLuma Dairy-Free Gelato on East Pender this past summer, and found the best gelato ever. Other favourite flavour's include: Lavendar Dream, Caramel Sea Foam, Mucho Matcha, and Coffee Toffee.
I love Heirloom Vegetarian on West 12th for both brunch and dinner. The staff are excellent, the food is incredible, and the setting reminds me of Cafe Gratitude in LA (a must). The "KFC" Korean Fried Cauliflower, The Tacos G, and the Smoked Mushroom Penne are amazing.
Cactus Club Cafe's test kitchen at Broadwash and Ash recently introduced a Vegan Tofu Bowl with soy chilli tofu and kale goma-ae. It's incredible! Here's to hoping Cactus Club adds more vegan options to their menu.
Vancouver has some incredible Mexican restaurants, but nothing beats Bandidas Taqueria for their full vegetarian menu in East Van. They have All Day Breakfast, Brunch, Nachos, Soups, Dinner, and Dessert. They have the tastiest tortilla soup I've ever had.
MeeT! The first time my friend asked me to 'meet her at MeeT in Gastown, I assumed it was spelt 'Meat', and reminded her I had recently gone vegan... oops. This place is filled with deep-fried goodness. Where else can you get hot chiggin' things that taste and look like chicken wings, poutine, sweet-chili cauliflower, artichoke & spinach dip, desserts... I could go on forever. Super casual, unique interior, and lots of choice! They recently opened in Yaletown, and the original is on Main Street. Oh, did I mention they make their own ginger beer and kombucha!?
When I read Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris last year, it quickly became one of my favourite thrillers of all time, as well as our book clubs. Since then, I have also read The Breakdown, and as of yesterday, her newest release: Bring Me Back. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this ARC, as I really don't think I could have waited until it release in June 2018. After reading the premise of the book, I knew I was hooked. I spent the majority of my Saturday finishing this one. B.A. Paris is an incredible writer, her first book was intricately plotted, with a shocking revelation, and left you haunted after the conclusion. Her newest book is another one to add my to ever growing collection of Domestic Noir: a literary subgenre within crime fiction.
I really enjoyed parts of this one, however the overuse of Russian dolls (these mysterious dolls keep appearing throughout the story) made it lose its momentum, and I found myself skimming pages. The conclusion was too far fetched for me, and completely unbelievable. This one missed the mark for me in comparison to Behind Closed Doors, however it has received lots of praise, and may be the perfect twisted thriller for you.
Premise from Goodreads:
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…
Often times I catch myself requesting books based on their cover. This is one of those books. It caught my eye right away, and it's clear that using the word 'wife' or 'girl' in the title is more than a marketing trend. I love this genre that's been sweeping the literacy world since Gone Girl and Girl on the Train emerged. Domestic thrillers, unreliable narrators, psychological suspense, and what is means to be a woman living in today's society. The Wife Between Us was all of this and more. What I loved most about this book was how how the authors chose to leave the description ambiguous: "When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement... assume nothing" (Goodreads, 2018). This book is meticulously crafted. The plot-twist half-way through had me flipping backwards, as this roller-coaster ride is taken to new heights. The shocking revelation had me reading well into the night.
Thank you St. Martin's Press for this Advanced Reader Copy.
Premise from Goodreads:
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Read between the lies.
To say I love #bookmail is an understatement. There is nothing like getting home to a new box on your doorstop weekly, filled with Advanced Reader Copies (and of course all my neighbours think I have an online shopping problem). This month has been exceptionally good to me. Booksparks is hosting their Winter Reading Challenge (#WRC2018) with the theme of 'Love is in the Air.' BookSparks sends the best packages, packed with confetti, accessories, and of course, great books! Harper Collins has also sent me some incredible reads I've had in my GoodReads 'Want To Read' pile. Here are three February books I am reading with future Canadian release dates.
B.A. Paris - Bring Me Back
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Description from Goodreads: A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she's not inside. No one ever sees her again.
Ten years later he's engaged to be married; he's happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She's turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.
As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?
She Regrets Nothing - Andrea Dunlop
Release Date: February 6, 2018
From Goodreads: In the tradition of The Emperor’s Children and The House of Mirth,the forgotten granddaughter of one of New York’s wealthiest men is reunited with her family just as she comes of age—and once she’s had a glimpse of their glittering world, she refuses to let it go without a fight.
When Laila Lawrence becomes an orphan at twenty-three, the sudden loss unexpectedly introduces her to three glamorous cousins from New York who show up unannounced at her mother’s funeral. The three siblings are scions of the wealthy family from which Laila’s father had been estranged long before his own untimely demise ten years before.
Two years later, Laila has left behind her quiet life in Grosse Point, Michigan to move to New York City, landing her smack in the middle of her cousins’ decadent world. As the truth about why Laila’s parents became estranged from the family patriarch becomes clear, Laila grows ever more resolved to claim what’s rightfully hers. Caught between longing for the love of her family and her relentless pursuit of the lifestyle she feels she was unfairly denied, Laila finds herself reawakening a long dead family scandal—not to mention setting off several new ones—as she becomes further enmeshed in the lives and love affairs of her cousins. But will Laila ever, truly, belong in their world? Sly and sexy, She Regrets Nothing is a sharply observed and utterly seductive tale about family, fortune, and fate—and the dark side of wealth.
How to Stop Time - Matt Haig
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Thank you Ashley from Harper Collins Canada for sending me this one. The cover is gorgeous!
From Goodreads: "The first rule is that you don't fall in love, ' he said... 'There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'"
A love story across the ages - and for the ages - about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history--performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.
So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher--the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city's history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society's watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can't have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.
How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.
Photographing books, one day at a time.