sullivan_ShadowboxerKrista’s mini book club review of Shadowboxer is the last part of our feature on the book, which includes an interview with Tricia Sullivan by Bec Stafford and other reviews by A. V. Mather and by Joelene Pynnonen.

Cover

I like the details in the artwork; it represents the story well and represents an urban feel.

Characters

A mixture of humans, animals, and spirits.

Favourite

Shea-  a reporter turned werepanther

Least Favourite

Mr. Richards, the celebrity known for his reclaiming of orphaned children.

Beginning

Jade has an anger problem and unwisely takes her anger out at the wrong place wrong time. Her actions send her to Thailand to a training camp to learn self control.

Storyline

Jade is a mixed martial arts fighter with a major anger problem. When she lets the anger get the best of her and she punches somebody, her coach decides to send her to a Thailand training camp. While there, she finds a mystical forest. During her time in Thailand she not only learns to adjust her attitude, but uncovers a conspiracy.

Ending

One of my favorite parts of the story, great imagery and exciting.

Thoughts

I found this tale to be very unique. I am not sure what I was thinking would come of the story, but I really enjoyed the mystic, fantasy feel. Shadowboxer was really well written:  scenes practically leapt off the pages: very visual and enchanting.

Quote

When my body wears out, my power will move to you.”

 



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnCrisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, white chocolate and macadamias. What more you could ask for in a cookie?

This is a huge recipe – not in time or effort, but certainly in the amount of cookies you’ll have left to devour once it’s done. My family of boys can manage a double batch without a problem, you (and Bel) might decide to half the amounts I’ve given here.

 

mac cookies rawWHAT YOU NEED:

1 cup of softened butter. No, not margarine. Butter.

1 cup of white sugar.

¾ cup of brown sugar, packed.

2 tsp of vanilla extract.

1 tsp of salt.

2 large eggs.

3 cups of plain flour.

1 ½ tsp baking soda.

150g chopped macadamia nuts.

150g white chocolate chips.

 

mac cookiesHOW IT’S DONE:

Pre heat your oven to a low 140 c. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugars and vanilla extract until it turns fluffy and takes on a lighter colour. An electric mixer will make your life easier, but it’s not essential for this recipe. Then add eggs one at a time. The mixture might appear to curdle at first, but it will come together.

In a second bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add this mix to the butter and egg mixture until all combined. It’s seriously easy to end up in a big mess with flour flying everywhere if you don’t take your time with this bit. Go on…ask me how I know! Or, maybe don’t. Add the chocolate chips and macadamia nuts at this point. You might want to get your hands in there to mix until pretty much even.

Line a baking tray or three with baking paper (my favourite thing in the kitchen, saves on washing up). Spoon one tablespoon of mix into balls in your hands, then place on tray. Don’t place too close together, as they WILL spread. Cooking time is only about ten to eleven minutes – you won’t think they’re ready yet, but look for the slight golden brown change in colour around the edge of your cookies. They’ll still be quite soft. Allow to cool for a minute or two, then slide off with a spatula. Overcook and you’ll lose that lovely chewy consistency. Of course, if you prefer your cookies with that bit more crunch, then by all means bake for a little longer.

 

mac cookies-asher

 

 

 



Chris G_TNChris Glabb from Christopher’s Fashions interviews incredible fashion blogger, Caroline Topperman from www.styleontheside.com

 

caroline toppermanCaroline Topperman is a Canadian fashion and beauty blogger who is currently living in Poland, obsessively discovering the most beautiful bags, shoes, jjewelleryand makeup the world has to offer through a journey of striking textures, fabrics and colours:

I have always loved writing and I decided to pursue this passion by earning a Fine Arts degree in screen-writing. One of the screenplays which I edited won award at Barcelona, New York and Vancouver film festivals. As a teenager, I learned photography on my father’s old Rolleiflex. Since then I have upgraded to a Nikon DSLR, but analog film will always be my first love. The arts in general have always been near and dear to my heart and I also spent many years training in dance, which included performing at a professional level.

I speak English, Polish and French fluently. I have traveled extensively through Europe and have great familiarity with its many different cultures, architecture, arts and design.  From Morocco to Poland and everywhere in between, I discovered how much fun accessories can be and since then they have played a large role in my life. I then put theory into practice by managing and designing storefronts for a boutique bags and accessories store in a prestigious Toronto shopping district.

_________________________________________________________________________

Chris: Who is your fashion inspiration? When did you discover them? And how?

Caroline: My fashion inspirations have come into my life at different stages. They first began at home with my mom and my grandmother. They were both strong women who loved beautiful clothes. My classic inspirations would be Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn. If we are looking for modern day fashion icons, I’m a huge fan of Rachel Zoe not only because I love what she wears but also because I love that she’s built an empire around it.

Chris: I envy that you had fashion icons as a kid, because growing up, I didn’t really know what fashion, style or trends were. I was that kid who wore a blue t-shirt on plaid, green shorts… Not good! Not to mention that nobody in my family was really a “style” person back then. My mom is a black shirt, and jeans kinda gal, and the rest of my fam: the same.

 

Chris: What inspired you to create your own website?

Caroline: Good question. I’ve always loved writing (I have a degree in screenwriting) and I’ve always loved the idea of putting images to my words. In addition, after years of personal training people, I got used giving advice and helping others. So it seemed like a natural progression to start my own site.

Chris: -This, is sooo inspiring! And the perfect reason to start a blog! I mean, why not share your thoughts with the world, and get a few fans out of the deal? Also, you CLEARLY have some killer talent, so why the heck not?-

Stylelogo11

 

Chris: What is your most causal daily go-to outfit?

Caroline: I work from home so I (sadly) don’t usually dress up. My go-to outfit are skinny jeans and a comfy tee.

Chris:-Why not? I mean, work and be comfortable too? It’s a win-win situation!-

 

Chris: Which fashion magazine is your favourite?

Caroline: InStyle and Vogue are the first to come to mind but now that I’m living in Poland I’ve come to really enjoy reading Polish Elle.

Chris: -I just Googled Polish Elle Magazine, and they are soo trendy! Why is Europe so ahead of the fashion industry than North America?-

 

Chris: What are the differences in fashion trends between Canada and Poland?

Caroline: I could probably write a whole essay on this topic! Let’s start with Vancouver (where I lived for 13 years) and Warsaw. Whereas Vancouver is workout wear and very casual, Warsaw is a lot more dressed up.

Toronto (where I grew up) is more sophisticated. They get a lot of their style influence from New York. Warsaw, where I’m currently living, has pretty much all the same big chain stores as North America. For example, I just recently bought jeans from American Apparel.

Chris: -Toronto is literally an hour away from where I live! I’d love to spend all my time there! And, I had noo idea anywhere outside The States and Canada had American Apparel! They’re literally my go-to for pants! (Not to mention how she looks so perfect standing there in my American Apparel underwear!)-

 

Chris: Which is more classy: an all-white outfit or an all-black outfit? And why?

Caroline: I think it depends on the event and the outfit, but if pressed then I’m going to say all white. The way I see it is that all white is more unexpected than black and you always want to standout.

Chris: -I’m thinking you should talk to Ellen DeGeneres… Did you see her People’s Choice Outfit? I think she has more swag than Justin Bieber. I see all white becoming a huge trend in 2015. You just wait.-

 

Ellen-DeGeneres-jumbo-v2

Chris: -So that’s it! I’d like to give a huge thanks to Caroline for this interview and Marianne for setting this up!

Make sure you visit Caroline at www.styleontheside.com


Cass_The SelectionThe Selection is often compared to the TV show The Bachelor, and when I heard that, I ran. I ran so fast and so far. I absolutely despise The Bachelor. Who in the world would go on television and compete with thirty other people for this one guy? There are so many good guys out there who wouldn’t make you compete with thirty other people for his attention.

There is no need for this show! Plus, how many of these ‘couples’ actually end up staying together and making it work?

But even with all of my disgust towards the show, I couldn’t help but notice all of the amazing reviews coming out for not only The Selection, but also The Elite and The One. I couldn’t help but become interested. So I decided to pick it up, but I also promised myself that I would put it down as soon as it stopped being enjoyable.

My biggest fear when reading The Selection was that it completely revolved around a competition: that this entire book would be about dates, competition between the girls, and listening to each one of them swoon about their ‘love’ for this guy.

As I cracked open The Selection, I cringed and began reading. Chapter one went by, chapter two, three, four and five flew by, and before I knew it I was only a few chapters away from the end of the book. I couldn’t get through it fast enough, and found myself reading it during any down time at work.

Why did I enjoy it right away? Especially after all the hostility I had towards it?

Simply because of the main character, America. My expectations for this character were extremely low and I thought she would be a dumb bimbo who would do anything to get this guy’s attention and pretty much embarrass herself throughout the entire book. But America was nothing like that. In the first few chapters when she didn’t even want to put her name in for the selection, I knew I would love her…

The Selection takes place in the future, where America lives in a kingdom named Illea. Not only is this society run by a king and queen, but it is also divided up by castes: one is the royal family and eight are outcasts. These castes are divided by their jobs and how much they get paid. The only way to move up in castes is through marriage. Moving down is the punishment for breaking a law.

The prince has finally come of age and is looking for a wife to take the throne beside him. The only way to do this, of course, is to select a few girls from his kingdom (no matter the caste number), and then select a bride from there.

America didn’t even consider the idea of putting her name in the lottery, knowing she doesn’t want to compete for Prince Maxon’s ‘love’, especially when she has someone like Aspen. But when Aspen begs America to at least put her name in, telling her that the chances of her being chosen would be so slim, and he doesn’t want to hold her back from the possibility, America sees no harm in it – considering how many girls are entering, and decides to go ahead and do it anyway…

…until the chosen girls are announced on national television and America is one of the thirty-five chosen. The next day is when everything takes off and America’s life will never be the same. During her stay, her family will be paid and America will automatically become a two, even if she doesn’t win Maxon’s heart. America is thrown into this crazy world where she is surrounded by beautiful things, beautiful people, and lots of delicious food. She knows she doesn’t belong here, but she may as well take the opportunity, not only for her family, but also the entire kingdom, to get things done and fixed.

Overall, The Selection surprised me! The entire book didn’t consist of some girl going on dates, competing with other girls, and swooning about her ‘love’ for this guy. America was kickass, didn’t take anything from anyone, and didn’t change herself just because her surroundings changed. She was still the girl she was before, and I loved that about her.

While the selection was taking place, there were a lot of other elements in the story that distracted me from it. The caste system, the rebels, the society, etc. prevented the main focus from being just the competition

If you haven’t read The Selection for the same reasons I didn’t, I would recommend at least giving it a try…it might suck you into its vortex, like it did to me!



rowell_eleanor and parkWhat do you think of when I say 1980’s? As a child who grew up in the 80’s, the first things that come to mind are bad hair, mixed tapes, and walkmans. Rainbow Rowell makes the era come alive through the eyes of Eleanor and Park, two totally mismatched teens who are trying to find their way through high school.

We hear the story from both Eleanor’s and Park’s points of view throughout the book, and it is really interesting to see Park’s opinions evolve and his demeanour change as he gets to know Eleanor. She becomes more than just the scruffy looking new girl on the bus that nobody wants to sit with. She has body image issues and can’t catch a break with the bullies. For her, he is the calm in her stormy life.

There are elements in this book that make it unsuitable for younger readers, and quite frankly, these things even made me feel a little uneasy. Not because they were graphic or scary, but horrific in the way that domestic violence and abuse within families happens every day and nothing is done about it.

Like the film My Girl is firmly set in the 1970’s, Eleanor and Park would be a completely different story if set in any other decade. Though their lives are anything but easy, they came from an era when life on the whole was simpler.

If you can remember the 80’s, this will make you nostalgic and soppy; if you don’t, it feels just like things were ‘back then’.

This is a good book for a spring weekend in the shade, or a cool autumn afternoon in bed.

http://rainbowrowell.com/blog/

Paperback, 325 pages

Published February 1st 2013 by Orion (first published April 12th 2012)

ISBN

1409120546 (ISBN13: 9781409120544)

 

 


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