I am a wife, teacher, avid reader, traveler, linguaphile, and photographer. I read a little of everything and bounce around genres depending on my mood. I love fantasy, steampunk, magical realism, YA, dystopian, and child development (for work) books the best though!

Green Mama

Green Mama: What Parents Need to Know to Give Their Children a Healthy Start and a Greener Future - Manda Aufochs Gillespie

I absolutely loved Green Mama. As a hopeful mother-to-be I was excited to get started reading this. I strongly believe that going back to basics is the way forward with raising children and with health. I had already started making plans to raise my children in a green way, but this book was so full of great information it solidified many of my choices. I liked how the book was broken into informative and concise chunks about products for the home, diapering, breastfeeding, food, and play. I enjoyed reading all the other women’s stories that are sprinkled throughout. Everyone has different experiences that are good and bad and it is great to see them all represented here. While some of the information I already knew, I did learn new things are breastfeeding and elimination communication. I also want to mention that the photos compliment the text nicely and are lovely. I will definitely be picking up copies of this book for my friends.


I received a free copy of this title through Netgalley for an unbiased review.

The Funeral

Today was Berkin Elvan funeral. Tens of thousands of people came out to march from my old neighborhood of Sisli to the cemetery where he was buried at 5:20PM. Less than 1 hour later they opened fire and have used excessive gas and water cannons on the funeral procession. They are men, women, students, mothers, fathers, and grandparents who are being choked by their government. Here is a link to live footage played on loop and updated frequently when new clips become available. 

Below are a few photos from today, of the funeral and aftermath currently going on here in Istanbul and around Turkey.





Thank you for reading and sharing!

Berkin Elvan

This morning a young boy died. His name was Berkin Elvan. He was 15. He had been in a coma for 269 days after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister, shot by the police of Istanbul, when he went out to buy a loaf of bread. He was just a kid. He was the eighth death attributed to police brutality due to the Gezi protests that took place last May and June. Eight dead and hundreds injured; eyes lost, broken bones, brain injuries, and chemical burns.  He was innocent, but they did not care.


The Gezi protests were not just about a park. The park was the spark but this has been about a government who cares nothing for the people. It is a government that can change laws overnight so that what you could say, do, write, and see might be illegal the next day. It is a government full of corruption, lies, and bribery that hides behind its religiosity. It is a government with no checks and balances. And now, with elections later this month, they are taking no chances.


No news channels in Turkey are covering the current protests. Some have been shut down temporarily. Friends on social media are reporting that the TOMAs (armored vehicles with water cannons on top), tear gas, and rubber bullets are currently being used on protesters. My friends all over Istanbul are reporting they cannot breathe properly in their own homes because of the over use of tear gas by the police. Two weeks ago I got tear gassed in a bar, watching a rugby game, when no one was protesting nearby because it is what they do now. A mile away there was a small group protesting the internet controls that are being put in place but it was quiet near us. It is possible that Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter will soon be blocked so I am posting this here on BookLikes. People should know.


Read more here.


Watch live if it does not get shut down.


Support Privacy Rights for Amazon Reviewers

Reblogged from Indie Angie:

I have signed this petition to retain privacy rights for reviewers on Amazon. Please take the time to sign and share. Thanks also to Rick Gualtieri for creating this petition to stand against the one Anne Rice and STGRB support.


Good Gods

Deer in Headlights  - Staci Hart

Deer in Headlights by Staci Hart is a light, fun, and cute read that has the gods and goddesses of Olympus doing what they do best, pulling the strings of us humans down on Earth. The gods have become bored and decide to have host competitions to gain favours and boasting rights for the millennia. It is Dita's (aka Aphrodite) turn to host her competitions of love and first up is Apollo. They each choose a player and while Dita tries to get them together, Apollo tries to keep them apart.


There are some things I really liked about this book: it came with its own playlist (Smashing Pumpkins, Fleetwood Mac, and The Smiths to name a few), the Earth couple of Dean and Lex, all the mythology, and the plot/premise is a lot of fun. There were also some things I did not like. Other than Dean and Lex, I did not care about the other characters at all. They were very superficial and not as developed as I would have liked. Perhaps the development comes though the series since this is just book one. I would definitely read the others to see how it goes. I also felt like some of the sex scenes were added in because this is a romance and not because they actually took the story anywhere. If you are looking for a fun beach read, this is it, but if you are looking for a super interesting and earth-shattering book about life on Olympus, this is not.

Stolen Songbird

Stolen Songbird - Danielle L. Jensen

To say that Stolen Songbird was good would be an understatement. I was so unexpectedly thrilled to not only be reading a book about trolls, but to be enjoying it so much. I was not sure about the premise but it hooked me immediately and I could not put it down. I love that Cecile is not some woe-is-me heroine and that she is quite strong, brave, and decisive. You can not help but fall in love, along with her, with her troll prince, Tristan. I like that we got to see the story from their overlapping points of view. It took away the need for too much explanation and just let you get on with the story.

I also have to mention the world building because I have not wanted to actually be in and see a fantasy world this badly since the Hogwarts/Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley of HP. Trollus sounds amazing and especially the glass gardens. Also the way that bonding and the human vs troll magic work is really interesting. I literally can not wait for the next book in the Malediction Trilogy because the end is killing me! Just a brilliant first book in a series with a ton of promise.

10 Things About Me

I have enjoyed reading so many of yours so I thought I would do mine as well. I am afraid I am pretty normal and not that unique or inspirational, but here goes...


1.) When I was a year old, I got a rare strain of salmonella food poisoning and almost died. My parents were told I would not last the week and, through my fathers' prayers he says, I was healed over night. Who am I to argue.



2.) I love photography and sometimes take wedding photos and family portraits, though it is not my profession. I once got to fill in for a journalist friend and take photos of the President of Turkey for the Sunday Telegraph though. It was super stressful!


3.) I teach kindergarten and absolutely love kids. Hoping to have a few of my own one day soon. We are trying...


4.) I caught the travel bug in 2001 and have not stopped since. I have been to Mexico, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Czech Rep, Hungary, UK, Israel, and Turkey. I have plans to visit Ireland, France, Spain, and Hong Kong this year.


5.) I live in Istanbul, Turkey and have been here for 7 years now! It was only going to be for 1 year but I met a Turk, got married, got divorced, and am now remarried to a Brit :).


6.) I speak Turkish well and some German and Spanish.


7.) I will be moving to Rugby, England in June and am excited to start my new life there. It also happens to be where the game of rugby comes from (hence the name).


8.) My favourite job ever was working for Borders Books in university. I was always broke but I had a great library.


9.) I am a huge fan of Bollywood and would watch one over a Hollywood film any day. I LOVE Shah Rukh Khan the best. I want to go to India so badly!


10.) I love pets and have had rats, hamsters, fish, lizards, dogs, horses, birds, and cats during my life so far. I also had class pets that were snails and spiders my kids found in our garden at school. They were well fed too. Did you know snails can eat trails through a pile of paper if they escape overnight? I am currently pet-less though and hope to remedy that when I get to England.


And there are 10 things about me.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

The Museum of Extraordinary Things - Alice Hoffman

The Museum of Extraordinary Things is a novel that belongs in the very museum that gives it its name. Alice Hoffman’s brilliant weaving of history with the fictional lives of Coralie and Eddie make it difficult to believe that these two did not actually live the lives that were told of in this book. This is a story of innocence, of people who are wonders to behold but called freaks of nature by the populace that paid to see them, and of love in its many forms. This novel was beautiful, even in its gruesomest moments, during the fires that begin and end this tale. While I was familiar with the first, the latter was new to me and seemed so unbelievable I had to look it up and was astonished to find it was real. And though the story starts off slow, it blossoms like the cereus plant into the wonder that it is, and is over too soon.


Queen of Hearts

The Crown (Queen of Hearts Saga, #1) - Colleen Oakes

Summary from Netgalley:

As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.
When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.



The Queen of Hearts is an amazing re-imagining of Wonderland. This is not about Alice and this is not an odd dream world full of caterpillars and talking flowers. It is more of a nightmarish reality with horses and kings that strike fear into your very heart and trees that are worse than torture. I really do not what to give anything away because this is a book that needs to be experience and not explained. I am excited that this is the first book in a planned series because I am dying to know what happens next.  Very dark, wonderfully written, and never a dull moment. Long live the Queen of Hearts!

The Truth About Brave

The Truth About Brave - Karen Hood-Caddy


No one is more passionate about rescuing hurt animals than Robin, except maybe her best friend Zo-Zo, who helps Robin run the family's animal shelter, The Wild Place. When the two of them discover that a neighbour's chicken farm is really a factory farm, they both want to stop it. Zo-Zo argues that radical action is required, but Robin is worried about getting into trouble with her dad, or even worse, the local sheriff. Is it ever okay to break the law to stand up for what you believe in? And if it is, how will she find the courage to do what's right, even when others think she's wrong?



The Truth About Brave is the wonderful story of Robin and her family and friends as they go through the different trials of growing up and making a change in the world. I especially loved this cast of characters and have a special fondness for Griff, the lovable grandmother and her particularly moving speech about what being brave actually means. I was not sure about this book when I first started reading it because it tackles some pretty heavy topics: animal cruelty, mourning the death of a parent, eating disorders, talking to strangers online, and the terrifying topic of public speaking. I was hoping that the author would not treat them lightly and make them seem easy to deal with. I am so happy to report that all the topics were handled in an absolutely brilliant way. This book would be perfect for reading with your pre-teen/teen or even for schools to use in class as it brings up important things for great discussions. I will definitely go back and read the first book, Howl, and will definitely invest in these for my personal library.


Totem - Jennifer Maruno

Totem by Jennifer Maruno is a story of a young orphan boy named Johnny who is raised in a school for Native American children on an island in the Pacific Northwest. Johnny often has visions and dreams of a wolf and an old Native American man and the people tell stories about him being delivered to the school by a wolf. He has caught the attention of Father Gregory who is hinted at being a pedophile though we do not actually see this happen. One day he and a newcomer named Ernie accompany said Father to the mainland to get some chickens, and runaway. They take refuge from the coming storm in a cave with old paintings on the walls and wake up a hundred years in the past. The rest of the story is about what happens there, the people Johnny and Ernie meet, the arrival of the ‘white men’, and their return to the original time period.

I could not help thinking, throughout this short book, that there was so much potential that went unrealized. The basic story line was there with the setting, time travel, Native American storytelling, dreams and a good cast of characters, but it left you wanting. Every event in the book seemed to be glossed over and the writing was very simple given the target age group of teens and YA. I found myself adding details to the book from my own knowledge of the Pacific Northwest (my family lives there) and Chinook Indians. I would love to recommend this book but without more meat on its bones, so to say, I would not.

Absorb Me they did

Destroy Me - Tahereh Mafi Unravel Me - Tahereh Mafi Fracture Me - Tahereh Mafi

Ok, that sounds a little like Yoda but I really liked these books, and my sense of humour comes from my dad so what can anyone expect. I have become completely absorbed into these stories, these characters, and the world that the very talented Tahereh Mafi has created. I can't believe she took the character I most despised well, probably most of her readers despised in Shatter Me and then made me fall in love with him in the following book/novellas. While it took time to get used to the metaphors rambling around in Juliette's head, I have grown to actually like them and find them interesting and poetic and still, at times, hilariously bad. Destroy Me goes back to the end of Shatter Me and into Unravel Me, but from the point of view of Warner. That is where my heart started to thaw. Unravel Me has been my favourite book so far. We find out about Omega Point, about all the others there, and wonderful heart-wrenching chapter 62. Then in Fracture Me we see the end of Unravel Me from Adam's point of view. Thankfully there was a 2 chapter sneak peek at Ignite Me at the end but that is all we get until February 4th! I know it is not long now but I really hate waiting, and I have no clue what to read next...

Shatter Me

Shatter Me  - Tahereh Mafi

After some glowing reviews by folks on this site and others I decided to take the plunge and am glad I did. It was a little difficult to get used to the POV from the inside of Juliette's head, which is chock full of metaphors, but I got used to it. Then things started happening, exciting things, steamy things, and did not stop. Love Juliette and her survival instinct. Love Adam and his goodness (and sexiness). This book had plenty of adventure but there are so many questions as well. I know it has just scratched the surface of what is to come. Can't wait to read the rest of the series! 

The Line

The Line - J.D. Horn

I picked up this book from the Kindle First deal and it was surprisingly good. Most of the time I like a story because of the great romantic, passionate, electric chemistry between the main characters, but not this one. The love story fell a little flat (though there were some good twists). Jackson was shallow and though Peter has been Mercy's lifelong friend, it feels like there really is nothing more than friendship there. I just did not like either option and hope a different one comes along in book 2. I loved Mercy and her Liar's Tour and strong attitude in the face of her family. I also liked the Taylors though they are dysfunctional and extremely flawed. Even the secondary characters were fantastic especially Jilo (the hoo doo witch), Emmet, and all the ghosts of Savannah. I am really looking forward to the sequel and getting to spend more time learning all the Taylor family secrets. I am sure there are plenty we don't know yet.

In the merry old land of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  - L. Frank Baum, W.W. Denslow

After growing up watching the film and the other adaptations I was excited to finally read/listen to the actual book. It was a lovely story and quite different from the film. It gets off to quite a quick start and moves along at a good pace throughout. Many scenes took place in a different order or were cut out all together (the china doll people and the field mice) which makes the story more intriguing. A note about the audio: It is read by Anne Hathaway who is amazing at the voices. Every character was unique and the voices fit them perfectly. The audio is only a little over 3 hours so easy to listen to while cleaning the house on a Sunday afternoon.


Changeless - Gail Carriger

Not as good as the first in the series, Soulless, and actually a little on the annoying side. I liked the basic plot of something making all the supernatural changeless (hence the title), but there was quite a bit to disappoint. Alexia's husband’s reaction at the end was a bit overboard, I mean he married someone like her so things are bound to be different. The jury is still out on her new French friend, Madame Lefoux, who was often irritating but occasionally likable. I was glad that she finally got her ride in a dirigible, but reading about this Scotland after the Scotland in Outlander was a bit disappointing as well. I can't be too harsh as this is definitely a book/series to be read for fun and not in seriousness. I just hope that the series will turn around with the next book or it's curtains for the Parasol Protectorate. 

Currently reading

Dragonfly in Amber
Diana Gabaldon
Progress: 53 %