Vox by Christina Dalcher

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Title: Vox
Author: Christina Dalcher
Published / Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Fiction
My Rating:

I remember hearing about Vox over on What Should I Read Next Podcast. It sounded promising, and it’s something I haven’t read before.

Vox is set in an America where half of the gender population is reduced to 100 words a day. These women and girls are equipped with a counter which electrocutes them if they dare speak past the 100th word mark. Vox is about the lengths a person would go through to change that. Vox is set in present day America with its government running it as if it’s the olden times. Homosexuality is highly frowned upon; boys and girls go to different schools wherein the girls attend a school which curriculum is pretty much Home Ec on steroids.

What I liked about it: Dalcher gave us a taste of how it used to be when women are expected to get married, have kids, stay at home and simply be on the sidelines. Yes, I am aware this still happen today but the difference is the expectation is no longer there. Getting married, having kids, and staying at home with the kids are now all choices we are able to make. We are able to work, get paid equally as our male colleagues, and even hold power. We are also free to love and be with who we chose. The reality of Dalcher’s America peaks through throughout the book and it’s scary.

I also enjoyed the difference in opinions between Dr. Jean McClellan and her son Steven. In addition to that, I liked that this book got me upset at certain parts of it.

What I didn’t like:  I find there to be something missing for me. The premise is intriguing, but it didn’t give me the ending I needed. I also found it to be a bit long. There was also something in the story line which I find to be unnecessary although I can’t seem to put my finger on it.

With that said… it is still a good read. Be cautious though if you do decide to read this as it has homophobia, and self harm / suicide attempts.

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Title: Then She Was Gone
Author: Lisa Jewell
Published / Release Date: July 27, 2017
Publisher: Century
Genre: Mystery, Fiction
My Rating:

A missing daughter. A devastated mother. A charming mystery man. A shocking finale you won’t see coming.

— Goodreads

fullsizeoutput_1a80I’m going to try to give you a brief summary of Jewell’s novel without revealing too much.

Ten years after Laura’s youngest daughter Ellie disappeared, she has come to terms with the fact that she ran away. After all, that’s what all the evidence points to. However upon meeting a “charming mystery man”, she has come to realize there is something more about Ellie’s disappearance than she was lead to believe.

I would say Jewell’s Then She Was Gone is every parent’s nightmare. No parent expects their child/children to disappear for no reason. However, Ellie did and it placed a dent in their family: between her mom and dad, and between her mom and her siblings.

The story is surprisingly easy to follow which, in my opinion, made the plot twist predictable. My prediction might not have been 100% accurate but it was close. It didn’t ruin the story for me although I would’ve preferred that I wasn’t able to figure a bit of it out.

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The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray by B.A. Williamson

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Title: The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray
Author: B.A. Williamson
Published / Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: North Star Edition / Jolly Fish Press
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult
My Rating:

Gwendolyn Gray is no ordinary child. She faces something everyday which is a bit difficult for a child her age living in a grey and dull city to do: control her imagination. However, when her imagination finally comes alive, she catches the attention of two men who will do everything to restore order in The City by erasing those who threatens it.

themarvelousadventuresofgwendolyngrayI wanted to love this book. The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray is one where the main character is a child who has an incredibly vivid imagination which she used to save her world from being consumed by mediocrity and gray-ness (if that is even a word).

It started off a bit slow for my liking and I was finding it hard to keep on reading. However, I powered through because I was promised marvelous adventures and a world of colour.

It is a good read for children as the difference between Gwendolyn’s everyday normal life was vividly differentiated from the burst of colour from her imagination. Imagination in children is a good thing. It has to be nurtured and allowed. As much as it confused me, I appreciate the fact that I can’t tell where Gwendolyn’s imagination took over her adventures.

If there is anything I wish there was more of in this story, Mr. Williamson, it would be the following:

  • What happened to The City? Why is it in the state it is in?
  • Who are the Mister Men, and who do they work for?
  • Who is the Collector?

… Because it would really be great to know.

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Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

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I have mentioned in the beginning of the year that my main reading goal this year is to be able to read. Here I am telling you I will be extending that to listening to audiobooks as well. I am aware of the debate of whether or not listening to audiobooks counts as reading a book but in my opinion, it does. We’re consuming the same text. It’s the medium of consumption that’s different.

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams is my first audiobook of 2018. I chose a short children’s book because I found out it’s the easiest way to ease myself in to listening to audiobooks.

Gangsta Granny is about Ben who finds spending time with his grandmother boring. They do the same thing every week, and he gets served mostly the same food every week he visits. However, what he doesn’t know is his grandmother has a secret: she’s was once an international jewel thief.

I mostly listened to this while I was doing laundry. I do about 2-3 loads, so I figured a children’s audiobook roughly 3 hours long would be easy for a 30-year-old to follow while doing chores. I am so glad I found this while I was browsing our library’s audiobook catalogue. It was witty, funny, and entertaining. Also, listening to David Walliams narrate was a nice touch.

I cannot recommend this enough. If you’re looking for an audiobook to start your audiobook endeavours, I don’t think you can ever go wrong starting with children’s books.

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How We Incorporate Reading To Our Everyday Routine

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I love to read. Finding time to read is something else entirely, but it all comes down to I simply love to read. This love for reading is something I would love to be able to pass on to my children.

At the moment, I feel I’m doing a decent job because my daughter would always want “one more story” right after I’ve read her our allotted number of books before bed time. She would also ask for a story every night before bed. Sometimes it’s a bit of work especially when I’m exhausted but I make sure she gets her stories in 99% of the time.

Now that she’s in pre-school and I’m working 5 days a week, I try to make sure to find time for the two of us to sit down and read. Here are a few ways of how we incorporate reading in to our everyday routine:

  • A book basket. I bought my eldest a book basket a few months ago to make it easier for her to get to her books. Mind you not all of her books fit in to that basket. I bought it so we can rotate her books a few times a month. It’s not a crazy rotation number because we only read a certain number of books per night, but this allows her to get to her books anytime she wants without having to ask for someone’s help.
  • Scheduling reading time before bed. We’ve included reading as part of her bedtime routine. So she knows that after she finishes in the bathroom and gets her pyjamas changed, it’s story time.
  • Reading during quiet time. Sometimes in the afternoon, I turn the tv off when I feel like my daughter has had enough of Treehouse. It’s more of when I’ve had enough of Treehouse, haha! This is when I let her do what she like. She can play with her toys, she can play with her Play-Doh, she can paint, or she can read her books. I don’t force her to read her books during this time if she doesn’t want to because I know by the end of the day we’ll have some reading done.
  • Audiobooks. Audiobooks have been a lifesaver on nights when I’m too exhausted to read aloud. It has also helped me on nights when my daughter wants one more story after reading 5 books.
  • Using screen time to read books. My daughter has an iPad which we got when we opened a bank account for her a few years ago. Most of the apps in that iPad are geared to learning the alphabets, words, numbers, colours and shapes. I have also installed Overdrive and Epic! so we can use her iPad to check out books and read those we have borrowed from the library.
  • Letting her peruse books after bath time. We always have this time after bath time where all we do is sit there and brush the tangles out of her hair. To maximize our reading time, we either listen to audiobooks or have her flip through her books while I brush out her hair.

Those are what we do everyday to incorporate reading in our lives. It is a bit of work especially since she wants to do a lot of other things. I’m hoping what we do now will help nurture her love of reading.

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to reading with your kids? Please do tell me in the comments. I am always open to recommendations and/or suggestions.

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