May 31, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: June's Pick!

Hello Book Clubbers! It was another close call this month, but the winning book for June's pick is, The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan! I've actually had this book sitting on my bookshelf for months now, so I'm really looking forward to finally reading it. I've heard nothing but good things about it!

The Royal We - online book club via A Slice of Brie

The Royal We is loosely based on the love story of Prince William and Kate. Bex, an American attending Oxford University, falls for another student who just so happens to be Prince Nicolas. Before Bex knows it, she's immersed in all things ritzy and fancy, while also dealing with tabloids, ex-girlfriends, and the rising pressure of what life in the royal family is really like. On the eve of her wedding, Bex contemplates whether everything she has sacrificed for love and her relationship with Prince Nicolas is worth it.

If you're new to book club, then welcome! You can read more about book club in this post, but here's the gist of it:

  • Book Club for The Royal We will be on July 6. My post with review and thoughts, along with some discussion questions, will go live the morning of. I'm giving us all an extra week to read this book since it's a bit longer than our last few and I know people are busier this time of year.
  • Come visit the post, share your feelings and opinions on the book and participate in the discussion! (Of course, participation isn't mandatory - you're more than welcome to just read along quietly!)
  • There will be a link-up for bloggers who have written their own review post, or have reviewed the book in another post. You can use this graphic to link back, or grab my button from my side bar. Writing a post is totally optional and not mandatory.
The Royal We - online book club via A Slice of Brie
  • EVERYONE is welcome! You do not have to have a blog to participate. My blog is just the space where I host the book club, but I encourage everyone to join :)
  • On July 6, we will vote for August's book pick. If you have any books you'd like to suggest for voting on, please let me know and I will try to include them!
  • Most importantly, have fun! There's no pressure or obligation to "sign-up" or "RSVP". You can choose to read the book now, or closer to the date we meet to talk about it. It doesn't matter to me! 
  • For my local friends: there are 13 copies of the Royal We at the Calgary Library, but only about 3 copies available at this time, so get your holds in! There are copies of the e-book at the library, but the hold list is a bit longer. You can also order this book through Chapters (<---affiliate link) and it was just released in trade paperback (and apparently has a bonus chapter), or Amazon

I hope you'll be joining us this month! If you have any questions, please ask! Otherwise, happy reading and see you back here in 5 weeks to discuss The Royal We! 

May 30, 2016

Monday Musings

Hello there! Things have been a little quiet around here this past week, so I just wanted to pop in and catch you up on what's been going on over in my world. I can't believe June is just a day away, although I do feel like May was a really long month! Probably because a lot happened in May. I think last week, everything just kind of caught up to me and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with blogging, reading blogs and just social media in general. When that happens, I just naturally disengage and I think a little break is always nice. We also had some really late nights last week, visitors from out of town, and lots of home projects we are trying to get somewhat accomplished before Jim's folks arrive later this week.

This past weekend, my dad and brother visited us for the day on Saturday and Sully was just delighted to have them here. He seriously adores my dad and it's the sweetest thing ever. I actually felt a bit teary when they left, especially since for about ten minutes after their departure, Sully just keep saying "Deda gone. Deda gone. Deda gone", with a look of absolute rejection on his little face.
Yesterday, Ange picked me up in the morning and we drove out to Canmore to run the Rocky Mountain Soap Factory 10K run. I haven't really been running much lately and I was definitely not looking forward to this race. I was prepared to walk most of it if need be even. Luckily, Ange has been running races for fun lately so she was more than happy to stick with me and we ran the whole thing together. I have to say, running with a friend, even on race day, is so much more pleasurable (for me) than running alone. I'll recap the race later, but we had such a blast yesterday. We mostly ran, walking up the huge hills, but we also stopped to take pictures and we talked almost the whole time.
When I got home yesterday, I was exhausted and my body hurt all over (hills are hard work!!). I also had some terrible chafing on my chest where the bottom strap of my sports bra rubbed. I just hung around home with my boys for the rest of the afternoon, then finished off the evening with yoga and a nice long bath. I'm not really a bath person, but I knew I needed one last night.

Overall though, May has been a really busy month. I've run three races, tried out Surf Set Fitness and I've been going strong with my workout streak. The past week and a bit, I've been pretty tired and so my workouts have mostly been yoga based, but even that is a huge improvement for me! I've always been one of those people who does yoga here and there, so the fact that I've been doing some type of it everyday is a big accomplishment.

I'm also trying to get in my beloved BodyPump at GoodLife Fitness whenever I can and I realized I really miss meeting up with some of the #BlogSquad for a class on Sunday's. That's the one downfall of warmer weather and summer months - we all get too busy to meet up more regularly. Let's change that, ok guys?! With the longer days, I'm also finding it hard to want to leave Jim and Sully at home while I go to the gym which means I think maybe I need to attempt Child Minding at the gym again. Our first attempt didn't go well, but now that Sully is older, maybe he will do better. I guess we can only try!

{throw back to a #BlogSquad BodyPump date!}

As I mentioned above, Jim's parents arrive on Thursday from Nova Scotia and will be in Alberta for an entire month! I'm actually really looking forward to their visit (which will be shared between us and Patty's sister in Red Deer) and I know Sully will be so excited to have them hear. He asks almost every day to call Nanny and Papa on Skype! I'm looking forward to having company during the day, and I'm also hoping that Jim and I will be able to get in a few date nights while they are here. We also have lots of things planned to do with them while they are here, including a little trip to Waterton next week! Ever since I went last fall, I've been waiting to go back, so I'm really excited to introduce Jim and his parents to it.

I have a feeling June might be a bit quiet over here since I always struggle to balance blogging with visitors, but I'll pop in when I can. And I'll definitely be here for book club which I will announce tomorrow! And for all my lovely blogging friends out there - I have been reading your posts, just not commenting as much!

Anyway! I hope everyone is having a lovely Monday!

How did you spend your last weekend of May?

*This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador program, 
however all opinions expressed are my own.

May 25, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: Remember Mia & Next Month's Book Pick

Hello Book Clubbers!
A Slice of Brie Book Club
For those of you new around these parts, today is book club day and we will be discussing this month's book, Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt. Spoilers will be part of the discussion since this is a book club after all, so consider yourself warned! As I did last month, I will have a few questions at the end of the post to encourage discussion on the book - feel free to answer them in the comments or not! And I also encourage people to comment on other people's comments to really get the discussion going. If you have a blog post in which you reviewed or talked about Remember Mia, I'd love for you to link up at the end of this post so that I can be sure to check out your post!

Also, there's a poll at the end of this post so make sure you vote for next month's book! If you're new to A Slice of Brie Book Club, in a nutshell, it's an online book club for fellow book lovers. A place to talk about a chosen book from the comfort of your own home/computer! Everyone is welcome, you definitely do not have to have a blog to participate! Every month, we vote on which book to read for the following month. The poll will stay open until Sunday night and I will announce the book next Tuesday. No commitment to join, but if you've ever wanted to join a book club, this is a great place to start!


OK! On to this month's book...Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt. As I usually do, I waited until the last minute to read this book. I like to have it fresh in my mind before talking about it. So basically, I read all but 30 pages yesterday (and then finished it off yesterday morning). I couldn't put it down!
Remember Mia a Book Club discussion
Quick summary: Remember Mia is the story of Estelle and the disappearance of her 7 month old baby girl, Mia. Estelle is clearly suffering from postpartum depression and has no support systems in place. One day, Estelle wakes up on the couch and all trace of Mia (her bottles, her diapers, all her clothes, everything, save for her crib), is missing. Estelle has no idea what has happened to her daughter, but instead of going directly to her husband (who is living in Chicago for work while Estelle and the baby are in NY), or the police, Estelle tries to make sense of what has happened on her own first. Then, 3 days later, Estelle wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the past days events. Estelle was found in the ravine in her car, with a gun shot wound to her head. Unable to explain the disappearance of Mia or how she got in the accident, the doctors diagnosis Estelle with amnesia.

Estelle's actions and non actions, and lack of emotion over her missing daughter, make her a suspect in the authorities eyes. But instead of being charged, Estelle's husband forces her into voluntarily admitting herself into a psychiatric hospital for treatment. Here, Estelle will work with Dr Ari to uncover her memories leading up to the disappearance of Mia.

This book pulled me in from the get-go. Maybe because I'm a mom, I could easily relate and empathize with what Estelle was going through during those first months of motherhood. I didn't personally have to deal with postpartum depression, but I can definitely appreciate how hard motherhood can be. My heart broke for her - I wanted so desperately for someone, anyone!, to recognize that she was suffering and get her the treatment and support she so clearly needed. I was disappointed in her husband for not taking her situation more seriously. I was mad at the doctor she finally did see for just slapping down a prescription for an anti-depressant and dismissing her. And I felt sad for her that she didn't have any mom friends or a mother of her own to help her out.

I really enjoyed the relationship Estelle had with Dr Ari at the psychiatric facility though. Finally someone who recognized that Estelle had gone through postpartum depression and psychosis, and was determined to help her without judgement. I liked the therapy sessions, and how Dr Ari assisted Estelle in recovering her memory. But I also couldn't help but think about how much time was passing while she was in treatment - precious time that Mia continued to be missing.

I didn't feel like this was your typical thriller though. While some parts definitely had me on the edge of the seat, for the most part, what kept me wanting to turn the pages was the desperate need to find out exactly what had happened to Mia. I was pretty confident that Estelle hadn't harmed her own baby. I had some suspicions that her husband might have been involved, and at one point I wondered if Mia had died from SIDS and Estelle didn't know how else to cope with this reality than by blocking out the memory entirely. I also of course had my suspicions about the contractor, David, but I wasn't really sure why he would get involved.

The story of what actually happened to Mia was pretty crazy. Not unbelievable though, just unimaginable as a mother. What I wasn't prepared for though, was that even once we found out what happened to Mia, she wasn't actually returned to her parents. I was expecting a nice tidy ending once Estelle got her memory back. I was not expecting Mia to be missing for 4-5 years! My heart sunk when I saw that. I can't even begin to imagine that life. I honestly don't know that I could go on every single day. How do you not spend every waking moment obsessing over where your daughter is and looking for her?! I wasn't sure how the book would end (would Estelle or the police finally locate Mia, or would she be missing indefinitely), but I was glad with how it ended. I felt like it wasn't the typical ending one would expect - I thought the police would catch the "bad guys" and Mia would be returned to her parents and all would be well. I think given the incidents in the book, it was a good ending. The odds of a missing child being returned to their parents years later isn't common, but it isn't unheard of either.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I try not to have too many expectations for a thriller - I just want to be entertained and not be able to guess the ending right away, and I feel like Remember Mia met these requirements.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU!: (Feel free to discuss in the comments!)

1. Do you think Estelle's character would be harder to relate to if you weren't a mother? Moms and non-moms, thoughts? I think it can be hard to empathize with someone if you can't picture yourself in their shoes. Postpartum depression isn't something people talk enough about it my opinion, and I truly don't think you can appreciate how hard motherhood can be until you are one. 

2. Did you think Estelle was responsible for the disappearance of Mia? If not, who did you suspect was? At one point, I thought maybe Mia had died from SIDS and this was Estelle's way of coping, but I knew that couldn't be the ending of the book. I was frustrated at times that she didn't go straight to the police when Mia was first discovered missing, but given her mental state, I'm also not surprised she didn't act in a normal fashion. I had my suspicions about Lieberman but I wasn't sure why he would get involved. 

3. Did you see the twists coming? Did you find the book predictable or were you kept guessing? I honestly didn't. Even once I realized that Lieberman was responsible for Mia's disappearance, I did not see the events leading up to the ending coming. I couldn't figure out how the car crash and gun shot wound would come into play. 



Here are the choices for June's book club pick. I thought since we are getting into summer months, we should read something a little more fun and light-hearted. Feel free to vote even if you aren't sure you can participate. I'll announce the winner next Tuesday and you'll have a month to read the book!
A Slice of Brie Book Club - June vote
Links to check out these books on Goodreads: Happiness for Beginners, How to Fall in Love, and The Royal We
 **Local friends: All of 3 of these books are readily available at the library

And now to vote!

Happy voting! Don't forget to link up your posts so I can check them out!