What I’m Reading Wednesday

My young adult reading continues this week. I’m not normally a fan of YA unless someone puts a book in my hands and tells me I must read it. I do read popular series like “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” so I can participate in discussion of the times, but I never could get into “Harry Potter.”

A friend of mine recently organized a book club and she hosted our first meeting. She chose the book “The Key to the Golden Firebird,” by Maureen Johnson. I am the minority in book club as a fan of historical fiction. But one of just several reasons why book clubs are awesome is that you’re introduced to books you wouldn’t normally read.

This story is a sad one that shows no signs of hope for the majority of its pages, until you start to near the finish line. But as you navigate through the sadness of three young sisters who unexpectedly lost their father, you start to feel for them as they struggle to move on. I can’t imagine losing a parent as a teenager. I can’t even imagine losing a parent now!

Sometimes I have to roll my eyes at the drama of teenagers portrayed in young adult, but then have to check myself. Was I like that at that age? I really hope not…

This novel introduced me to the writing talents of Maureen Johnson, who is extremely witty, and maybe even a little sassy. The Philadelphia scene of this particular novel takes me back to my trip to Philly last winter. Don’t fret May, I would have freaked out learning to drive on Philly streets, too!

I promise my next Wednesday post is anything but young adult, but I won’t spoil the surprise!

What’s your favorite genre? What are you reading this week?


What I’m Reading Wednesday

The Fault in Our Stars.

I will spend the next few weeks catching up on my latest reads. If you’ve been tracking my 2014 goal, the last three books I’ve read haven’t come from my bookshelf, but instead were 1, loaned; 2, from the library (book club!) and 3, gifted.

In preparation for this summer’s book to movie releases and because all the cool kids are doing it, I borrowed The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Many girls in my church had read this one and if I knew anything about it before reading it, is that it was sure to make me cry.

Well, it did.

Anything about young people (or any aged people for that matter) battling cancer can take an emotional toll on the reader. Especially when a young couple falls in love, both of which have the odds stacked against them. Reminds me of one of the many sad scenes from My Sister’s Keeper

The Fault in Our Stars was published in 2012 and the young adult novel pulls at the heart strings of all ages. I’m really impressed with how Green wrote from a teenage girl’s perspective. I can’t imagine that was an easy feat to accomplish (coming from a former teenage girl).

Because I must read a book before I see its movie (which reminds me, I really need hurry up and read Catching Fire already), I wanted to read The Fault in Our Stars before its release date (June 6). I recently saw the trailer and already became weepy. From the trailer it looks like it sticks to much of the book, and if that’s the case, I’ll be sure to pack the Kleenex.

How about you? Do you prefer to read the book before watching the movie? Any upcoming books to big screen releases your’re excited about?


Thirty in Victoria

Eating our way through Victoria.

It’s official. I have reached the 30-64 age bracket of car insurance. While we save a couple of dollars each month, there really haven’t been any other differences in reaching the big 3-0.

No new gray hairs (yet), no new smile/frown lines (or wrinkles) and my hearing and memory is still very much the same as it was at 29 (very poor).

Over the last year I had hoped we would celebrate our birthday (yes, my husband has the same birthday) in London. It’s a place we both want to visit, Trevor so he can visit Rolling Stones-type stuff and me so I can visit everything related to the Tudors, Jane Austen, Downton Abbey and all things historical.

Unfortunately it didn’t happen for my 30th. Instead we visited what my husband calls “poor man’s London” — Victoria, B.C.! No offense, Victoria. Your tea is delicious, the food delicious and the city as a whole is, well, delicious. It was much more feasible for us to take the ferry across the pond instead of the trek to the U.K.

Victoria bound!

In order to save even a few more dollars, we drove more than two hours to board the Coho Ferry in Port Angeles rather than the convenient Victoria Clipper out of Seattle. Ninety minutes later we were in the land of international cell phone service, tourism and afternoon tea. Because we were celebrating 30 and 29, we decided on a dinner on the fancier side. Luckily our hotel was across the street from a shopping mall as well as fine dining. When I think of the name Earl, I don’t think fine wine and steak, but that’s what it was, including amazing bare bulb chandeliers. Our Canadian mini-holiday started at Earl’s as soon as we checked in and discovered the wifi worked in the hotel!

We toasted to another year older and enjoyed an amazing steak and seafood dinner, with dessert of course.

I woke bright and early on Day 2, because that’s what I do on vacation unfortunately. With afternoon tea reservations at The Empress at noon, we had a couple of hours to check out the scenery, after Starbucks of course.

Afternoon tea (not to be confused with high tea) was the highlight of the trip for me. For Trevor, he was fulfilling his husband of the year duty to make his bride happy. My poor husband was just one of maybe two males in the tea room (No. 2 being our waiter Yosef). The pretty tiered trays of sandwiches, scones and desserts was amazing, presented after the strawberries and cream appetizer. We stuffed ourselves with miniature food over a pot of The Empress black tea, one of the best black teas my palate has ever tasted.

While the tea and treats are a little pricey — a little more than $100 — you’re paying for the experience, channeling your inner Lady Mary (Downton fans!).

Tea for two.

The rest of the early afternoon was spent at the Royal B.C. Museum, where our timing couldn’t have been more horrible. We happened to visit when the IMAX theater was closed for upgrades, and two new exhibits, including “Vikings” were not quite ready to open to the public. Alas, we still enjoyed the history lesson from the exhibits.

Even though our hotel was across the street from a mall, we did most of our shopping at a fun vintage clothing store called Patch. Trevor found this cool vintage letterman’s sweater from whenever school’s still had sweaters.

We ended the day eating as much food as we could, literally. Being right there on the water you start to crave seafood, and for me that craving was specific to clams. We had an appetizer of clam and mussel steamers at a spot on the water just so we could walk up the block to gorge on sushi. So. Much. Food.

We started Day 2 at a fun, very Portland-like style breakfast place called Jam. You know the lines of people you see outside of night clubs downtown? Well that’s what the outside of this place looks like during morning business hours! And for good reason. Not only is their menu unique, Trevor ordered the pulled pork pancakes, but it is delicious!

With our bellies full and our table open to a couple who waited patiently outdoors, we were off to explore Victoria. I drug Trevor to antique shops, souvenir stores and the mall to make sure we had purchased all we wanted before we left the next day.

Because of convenience of location we had breakfast at Burger King a couple of hours before we were to board the ferry back to the mainland. While eating our breakfast sandwiches we made friends with a local named Mike, a 66-year-old crooner singer. This guy had so many stories to tell, complete with song samples and a fedora. It was the perfect ending to our holiday.

Victoria is definitely a place I will return to. Save me a seat at The Empress.