Tag Archives: summer

Cyclone (Doreen Cronin)

24 Jul

What would you do if it were your fault that your cousin is in a coma?  I received a bunch of books all at the same time as Cyclone, but it jumped to the top of my list when I read the blurb.



Squinklethoughts1.  Squinks, I can’t imagine feeling the kind of guilt that Nora does.  It would be so overwhelming that I wouldn’t be able to breathe.  Not only does she feel guilty, but she can’t tell anyone why Riley agreed to ride a roller coaster she was afraid of to begin with.

2.  I love that Nora and Riley have a really close relationship.  I have cousins I love and speak to from time to time, but they live far away, and we only see each other maybe once a year.  How lucky that these girls are close enough in age to find a friend in one another.

3.  Okay, so I was lured in by Doreen Cronin’s blurb at the back of the book, but I have to tell you … she had me hooked to the story from the get-go.  I really liked how easy it was to put myself in Nora’s shoes.  Every time a chapter ended, I just wanted to know more: Will she ever reveal what forced Riley to ride the Cyclone with her?  Who is that mystery guy?  Will Riley get better?

4.  I loved, loved, loved, the storyline around the three sisters.  It adds an interesting and emotional layer to Riley’s ordeal.  I really enjoyed the idea that it takes Riley’s situation to bring the sisters back together again.  The three of them have such different personalities, but can they find a common thread?  Sisters.  Family.  Love it.

5.  The scenes where Riley talks to Sophia in Spanish broke my heart.  I teared up a bit, thinking about how Nora’s heart must have been breaking, too.  All the feels.


Cyclone 2  

6.  Parents/teachers, there are so many teachable moments in this story, from how to deal with guilt, how to handle secrets, the oddness that is family, and even how to talk to people who have family members in the hospital.


4 Squinkles


Doreen Cronin’s Online Corners
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Chapters/Indigo


Thank you, Simon and Schuster Canada, for sending me a copy of
Cyclone in exchange for an honest review.

All Squinklethoughts expressed herein are entirely my own.


Bookcation 2016 #7: Hour of the Bees

17 Mar

Ever since we lost my darling grandpa, I’ve been increasingly drawn to stories about the changing relationships between grandfathers and granddaughters. Not a great shock, I know, but this is one of those examples of books that have different meanings at different points in a person’s life. If this book had existed before 2014, I may or may not have even read it, to tell you the truth. But 2014 happened, and this book happened, and the great cosmic plan was rewired in such a way that meant I picked this book up and read it.

And now, I offer it to you, for Hour of the Bees is one of those books that ought to be discovered. Even if you don’t have a sempiternal ache in your heart from losing your grandpa, and even if you’re allergic to bees, this book by Lindsay Eagar will capture your heart.


Hour of the Bees 

Carol has to spend her summer in New Mexico. While her friends are off having the times of their lives, she’s stuck in the middle of the desert, helping move her grandpa into a home for people afflicted with dementia. She and Grandpa Serge don’t get on right away. For one, he tells a lot of out-there stories. But then, Carol finds herself looking forward to those meetings and hearing more about a tree that heals and the bees that will (could) save the land.

This is a book about learning more about yourself with the help of unforeseen sources. Once you’ve read Hour of the Bees, let me know what you discovered about yourself thanks to Eagar.

Bookcation 2016 #4: Just Like Me

15 Mar

I’m very excited to read Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh. I didn’t manage to grab an ARC of this, so I’ll have to be patient, just like you, until the first week of April when it celebrates its book birthday.


Just Like Me


Just Like Me is all about girls who were adopted from the same orphanage and who visit a summer camp together. Julia, Avery, and Becca may have lived together for a while, but that doesn’t mean that they all like the same things … or that they all like each other. The story is told using traditional narrative format and journal entries, and this format is part of why I’m really eager to grab a hold of a copy for me and for all of you!

We had such a great time reading Always, Abigail and coming up with (tons and tons) of our own lists, that I’m looking forward to reading the same author’s next work. I’m sure Cavanaugh will tug at our heartstrings again, as she did with Always, Abigail and This Journal Belongs to Ratchet.

Think you’ll enjoy this story? Let me know, and I’ll put you on the waiting list for when we get a copy in the library.

Summer Days, Starry Nights (Vikki VanSickle)

18 Mar

Summer Days, Starry Nights


I was very excited to attend the launch party of Vikki VanSickle’s Summer Days, Starry Nights two years ago. I had read the synopsis of her novel, and was instantly interested in seeing where I could fit it in our school reading lists. Alas, the day of the party came and went, and I neither met VanSickle nor bought her book hot off the press. (I really hate it when school/work gets in the way of book-related activities, don’t you?) Anyway, I bought a copy of SDSN that week (the happily dog-eared copy in our library), and eagerly anticipated a free afternoon to enjoy some coffee and Canadiana. The following Saturday, much to my delight, I came across an announcement that VanSickle was going to do a signing at the Chapters right near the school. I happily raced over after work and, upon entering the bookstore, was greeted by the friendliest of smiles on the face of the authoress herself.

VanSickle was so generous to chat with me for 10 minutes, asking me about my munchkins (you guys), my drink in hand (venti caramel macchiato), and the titles we stock in the library (mostly MG and YA). Then, she very graciously signed a brand-new copy of SDSN as well as her other three Scholastic-published books (more on them later). I left Chapters feeling so exhilarated by our meeting that I completely forgot to replace my empty coffee cup with a full one. (Don’t worry; that was rectified soon thereafter!) Vikki VanSickle is as pleasant a person as you’ll ever meet, and a talented writer to boot. Her latest novel is one that I’m sure you will all love!

Although it’s not explicitly described this way, SDSN is a love letter to middle children everywhere. The Starr family live in and run the beautiful cottages at Sandy Shores, a resort in the Muskoka region, north of Toronto. For protagonist Reenie, this is the only home she’s known—the only place she could ever imagine calling “home”. But even the picturesque beaches outside her front door are not enough to drive away the pains of being a teenager. She’s too young to play games with her older brother, Bo, or even to be let in on the secret of his night-time adventures, but she’s old enough to be held responsible for her six-year-old sister, Scarlett, who enjoys cuddling with her in bed and following her everywhere. When a family friend, Gwen Cates, comes to Sandy Shores, Reenie is excited to have someone a few years older than she is to talk with, hang about, and even look up to. But she gets more than she hopes for, for the arrival of the ballet student from the city kick starts a summer of intrigue, self-discovery, and a few skeletons in the family closet.

Reenie is a great character to befriend. She’s authentic and down-to-earth—qualities that too many other characters of similar age lack. VanSickle truly captures the daily dilemmas of being a new teenager and a middle child. Who wouldn’t feel annoyed at being of an age where you are given responsibilities but are still questioned all the time? Who wouldn’t feel left out with a mom who decides to spend more time with visitors than you? And who wouldn’t be gobsmacked at discovering something at the last (and very wrong) moment that has been right before your eyes the whole time?

Squinks, for those of you who haven’t picked this one up yet, let me tell you that Summer Days, Starry Nights is one of those books that shines quietly in the corner but will grab hold of you as you spend the summer with Reenie. By story’s end, you’ll be like me, looking online to see if Sandy Shores exists, and wondering if somewhere near Orillia, there really is a resort full of the promise of summer days, starry nights, and scintillating magic.

Have you read VanSickle’s latest? How did you like it?


4 Squinkles


Vikki VanSickle’s Online Corners

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Chapters

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