How I Became Free

I have long heard about the deplorable conditions many North Koreans live in, and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s twisted nuke loving attitude. But North Korean itself has remained elusive, because we are shown only carefully chosen images of “real” life in that country. Krys Lee’s How I Became a North Korean gave me an inside look at three people trying at all costs to get to the safety of South Korea through China.

The trials of characters Yongju, Jangmi and Danny are compelling and heart wrenching. This trio’s shared quest for escape & freedom fortunately finds them together. Of particular interest to me was Jangmi who had to use her good looks to get by in her sad, desperate life in North Korea. The double edged sword that is her beauty lead her to be in the lowest, most victimizing situation she could be in. The emotional and physical chaos she goes through is painful to read, but it kept me hoping for her eventual escape.  


Lee’s fluid writing style is a joy to read, and she is able to depict three very different points of view with ease. For a truly unique and educational read told by distinct perspectives, How I Became a North Korean is surely it.

I received How I Became a North Korean in a Goodreads Giveaway.



When one can’t be monogamous

From the rather ominous beginning where we read a mother left her story behind for her daughters, to the very last chapter with the revealing twist, Serial Monogamy captivated me.


Sharon’s story is a sad cliché- her middle aged professor husband has an affair with his student. To add to her devastation, she has cancer. Al comes across as a typical spoiled, inconsiderate, selfish cheater. He doesn’t deserve Sharon’s forgiveness or his family life. But it’s not about Al. It’s not a look into why someone is unfaithful. This novel delves into the mind of mistresses and a wife being cheated on.

I enjoyed the Nelly Ternan (Charles Dickens mistress) chapters as much as the modern day story of Sharon. Perhaps even a bit more. It was a good lesson to hear why Nelly gave up having a regular life and became a mistress instead. In the 21st century, we question why anyone would chose being a mistress, but it made sense in the Victorian era. Nelly’s story wasn’t a happy one, but I came away thinking wasn’t Shay’s equally as sad? Something to consider.

Kate Taylor’s pleasant, easy writing style made this a quick book to read. Serial Monogamy kept my interest throughout, and I would recommend it if you’re looking for not an ordinary read about relationships.

I happily received Serial Monogamy in a Goodreads giveaway.



Intensity & inspiration from this incredible young woman’s story

Maria Toorpakai’s life story is unique, and one that should be read by all, particularly in these racially charged times. Growing up in a progressive, non traditional family in a fundamentalist tribal area of Pakistan, it was constantly a wonder that she and her family weren’t killed. I held my breath many times when Maria described whenever she left her home as a young girl. Posing as a boy was the only way she could live in their oppressive world.


The most heartbreaking depiction to read was the stoning of a 16 year old, told from her mother’s point of view after she got married. The unjust treatment of women in Pakistan was a predominant theme for me throughout A Different Kind of Daughter, and I was always expecting the worst for Maria, and her educated sister and mother. Her discovery of squash was her savior. You don’t have to be a sports enthusiast in order to follow her journey with the game. It’s not about squash, it’s about how playing it makes her feel. She also devotes several chapters to her interesting family, whom she describes in lovingly details.

The writing style of Maria’s “scribe” Katherine Holstein was very pleasing. Dialogue and narrative alike were well done, and made this book not easy to put down. You can’t help but root for Maria and cheer when she got out of Pakistan. This will make a compelling intense movie, which I’m sure is in the works.

I was very pleased to receive A Different Kind of Daughter in a Goodreads giveaway.



Ooh, what have we here…?

My birthday ring revealed in my Charmed Aroma candle! Very pleased with the style and fit, I wear it all the time. Check out my Ring Reveal! Did you ever uncover a ring from a Charmed Aroma candle, bath bomb, or hand cream? Share your experience in the comments.



‘Heart Of A Champion’ Captured My Heart


The story of what happened to a community of Japanese Canadians in Vancouver in 1941 is a story every Canadian should hear. ‘Heart of a Champion’ is told from the voice of 9 year old Kenny, whose family is all about baseball. When essential things like rights & freedom started to be taken away from them, I got a sick feeling, and eventually became appalled, because in my lifetime I can’t imagine that this occurred. The fact that many boys and men formed Asahi baseball teams in their camps shows their strength of character in such devastating circumstances.

This is a sensitive topic for sure, the way Japanese Canadians were treated in WWII, after Pearl Harbor, and is part of Canada’s shameful past. I was very glad to read ‘Heart of a Champion’, and I will be sharing this book with young readers and encourage they pass it around to friends. Although meant for young adult readers, ‘Heart of a Champion’ is for everyone.

I received this in a Goodreads giveaway, not realizing it was a YA reader, but was pleased to read it.

Continue reading “‘Heart Of A Champion’ Captured My Heart”

Review: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water All-In-1 Cleansing Water

Can water clean your face as good as soap or a cleansing product? That’s what I wondered, and luckily I got the chance to test Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water All-In-1 Cleansing Water courtesy of ChickAdvisor. I applied it with cotton pads as I would a toner, but unlike toners, this didn’t dry out my skin or leave it feeling tight. It easily removes my super stay 24 hour lip colour. My face feels cleansed and refreshed, a welcome change from when it felt dried out from harsh cleansers. Especially if you have sensitive skin, I’d recommend trying this light no oil, no alcohol Micellar Water.

Books-and-Brands-ChickAdvisor-review-Garnier-SkinActive-Micellar-Water-All-In-1-Cleansing-WaterSee more reviews on the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water All-In-1 Cleansing Water from the ChickAdvisor Product Review Club.