The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane – Book Review

I recently read The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See, and I just have to share it with you.

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I was drawn to the idea of this book because it is about adoption, which as an adoptee  and birth mother, adoption is a huge part of my life. I was scared of this book when I first got it, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how adoption was going to be shown in this book. I scared that this book would completely break my heart. I was scared that this book would show adoption as something horrible – which it is not, not always. This book surprised me. This book made me laugh and it made me cry, for many different reasons. This book is beautifully written.

The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane is an amazing story about family, traditions, love, family separated by culture, and great distances, adoption and the love a mother has for her child. Li-yan’s mother for her, and Li-yan for her daughter, and her daughters adoptive mother’s love for her adopted daughter. A mothers love is strong and never ending.

Lets start the with the premise of the book. The book is about a girl named Li-yan and her family. They live in the tea mountains of China. They live a quiet life in their village away from the rest of the world. They are very much about traditions, traditions set long ago. The way Lisa See describes it all, the village, the forest, the tea, you can see it all. You can taste the tea, you can smell the tea. Lisa See paints such vivid pictures of Li-yan’s life you are left feeling as if you actually knew her and visited her. The way she goes into Li-yan’s family traditions, so much detail. I was left feeling like I had actually met all these people from the book, and was sad when I finished the book. Thats how you know a book is good- when despite the ending, you are sad its done.

But it was not the talented writing that drew me to this book and kept me reading, it was the story of adoption. If that makes sense. I was so invested in finding out what happened to Li-yan and her daughter.  It was being able to connect so strongly with two very different characters. I felt so many emotions reading this book. I could relate to two special characters on so many levels throughout this book.

From a birth moms, and mothers, point of view my heart broke for Li-yan during her pregnancy and as she gave her baby away, and all the days after that. From an adoptees point of view I could relate to her daughters story. I felt the struggle of both of them. I felt the heartache of both of them. I felt the longing of both of them. I couldn’t help buy think of my own story while reading this. When Lisa See describes Li-yan watching her daughter get taken away, I couldn’t help but remember the day I walked out of the hospital and watched someone else hand off my son to his new family. When she writes about Li-yan’s daughter returning to China for the first time I remember my first time going to the city where I was born. My own adoption is considered local, so I could not relate fully to the cultural differences that Li-yan’s daughter experienced. But I still felt her struggle and feelings.

Adoption is tricky to write and talk about. Not everyone is happy about it. Not everyone likes it. Not every one agrees with it. Yes this book was one of the best books I have read about adoption. Could parts have been improved on? That depends on who is reading it and their point of view on adoption. To me, the book was beautiful. The whole book, not just the adoption aspect of it. The background story, the detail, the other characters. The writing was fluid, the writing was beautiful.

This book left me wanting more. I actually spent some time researching China, tea making, adoption in China, the tea mountains in China, the history that Lisa See talked about in her book. I started this book strictly interested in the adoption story line in it and left loving every part of this book.

I will say the ending upset me! I won’t tell you what happened, as I don’t want to spoil it. But I could have kept on reading. I wanted to keep on reading. I needed more. I’m sure the author, Lisa See, left it that way so you could paint on your picture, write your own story. But I didn’t want to, I wanted to keep reading her story.

If you read this book, which I recommend you do, please share your thoughts and feelings of it with me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this book.

~ Michelle

*I received a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster, all thoughts are strictly my own. 

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Children’s eBook Review and Giveaway! Candy and the Cankersaur!

*I received a copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own, and my children’s.*

Candy and the Cankersaur

Candy and the Cankersaur

I have something exciting to share with you all. I recently got the chance to review this cute children’s eBook, Candy and the Cankersaur by Jason Sandberg, and he was nice enough to offer 10 copies to giveaway to 10 lucky people! Do you have a Kindle? Then this is a giveaway you will not want to miss!

Candy and the Cankersaur is a cute story about a little girl who desires the attention of her busy father. The father seeing that his daughter needs a companion decides to get her a pet dinosaur! (Like really, who did not want a pet dinosaur when they were little?!) The little girl then attempts to train her dinosaur, especially in the rule of “Do not bite”. This part my kids found very funny. But it turns out the little girl has a jealous neighbour… Well to find out the rest you will have to read the book!

I really hope to instil my love of reading in my kids. As much as I love to actually hold a book to read, sometimes it is just better to go with an eBook. Especially when you have 3 children and love to travel and go on road trips. So I was pleasantly surprised when I got the chance to review this book and found that both my boys enjoyed it. They thought the idea of having a pet dinosaur was pretty awesome! The also enjoyed the art work throughout the book.

The lesson that people and animals are more important than items is a bonus to having this cute book to call your own!

Candy and the Cankersaur

Candy and the Cankersaur

If you, or your child, has ever wanted a pet dinosaur as your own, this is the book for you.

Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win. This contest is open to anyone that has a Kindle.

~ Michelle

Click on the link below to be taken to the giveaway page!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Furious 7

I finally got out to see Furious 7. I know I am a week late. But I finally saw it, and I am so glad I did.

Furious 7 Movie Poster by Universal Studios.

First off, can I just say how long it has been since I have actually watched a movie in a movie theatre. I can’t remember exactly, but it is in the 2-3 year mark. Also this is the longest that I have been away from my daughter. The amount of emotions I had from excitement to actually be going out and the mom guilt was a bit overwhelming to be honest. I had butterflies. It is a bit crazy what motherhood can do to you. The simple act of going to a movie can cause such guilt.

So like I said, it had been a while since I have been out. Can I just say I may have totally gotten excited to see this soda machine! I mean seriously, how awesome is that?! So many choices! I could have Cherry Coke. Cherry Coke is so awesome and it’s almost impossible to get in Canada, so this was a pleasant surprise.

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Also, I may have been a tiny bit (Super) excited to see Furious 7, that I may have gotten to theatre a tad bit early…

Any way, now onto the actual movie.

What can I say about Furious 7…

I cried. I cried at the beginning of the movie, just knowing that Paul Walker has passed on. I cried at the end of the movie.

The movie itself I loved. It was a great movie. The cast was awesome as always. The dynamics between them worked so well. I loved the graphics. I loved the cars. Oh the cars were awesome. The stunts, the fight scenes. Oh how they just keep pushing and pushing the Fast and Furious franchise, and they just keep winning.
But knowing that Paul Walker wasn’t even there for some of those scenes… It was sad. Although the whole movie was good, I felt there was an undertone of sadness throughout the whole thing. There were parts in the movie that just were so sad, like the funeral scene when they said along the lines of “No more funerals. Just one more”.
If you watch the other movies, especially Fast 4, 5, and 6, you can see the real connection and love between the actors, but in this one, when you looked in their eyes, especially during certain scenes, their eyes were filled with such sadness and heartbreak, something that can not be faked, even by the best actors.

Spoiler Alert.
I cried during the end scene. The good-bye to Brain (Paul Walker).
I felt they did a good job at saying good-bye. It was respectful and full of love.

If you get the chance to go out and see a movie, I highly recommend seeing Furious 7. Just make sure you have a some tissues handy, it is equal parts excitement, trill, and sadness.

~ Michelle

Hi-tech tablet strollers, When is enough enough?

Please tell me this is a joke? I came across this article online Hi-tech tablet strollers rolled out at Edmonton mall

Here is a screen shot of their article showing the product they are talking about.

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Screen shot of the article by http://technology.canoe.ca

My first thought was that this had to be a joke. This is such a stupid idea. I’m sorry, but it is.

I have 3 kids. My 2 boys are 13 months apart. I fully know the challenges of taking small children to the mall with me. I remember the days very well of meltdowns, tantrums, and outings cut short. I also remember fun days out. Fun days walking around the mall, shopping, and eating out. I remember them looking around and asking countless questions about everything they saw. Question after question. No tablet can replace the learning that can take place while out, yes learning even out at the mall.

Do we not have enough screens around our children? DVD players in the car, Flat screens in the food courts of the mall, TV screens in waiting rooms, TV screens in the dentist office and on and on…
I really have to wonder sometimes if parents don’t remember what it was like growing up. We didn’t have anything like that. My family of 5 would drive to Florida and back (2 days trip each way) with no screens or DVD players and guess what? We survived. My doctor’s office when I was a child never had a tv, and guess what, I survived. I had braces in grade 6, my dentist did not have any TVs around at all, and I survived.

Now, back to the article.

I hate this idea. I think it is stupid. I think it is a waste of money.

I understand the appeal, I will be honest. Being a mom is hard. And sometimes it can be hard to get out of the house, especially on your own. I understand that sometimes you just want to go out and have a minute to breathe.
However I don’t think the answer is to put your child in a stroller with a tablet in their face.

Outings should be fun. Outings can be a great chance to make memories. Yes, even outings to the mall. They can also be great learning opportunities, and not by staring at a screen, by asking questions and observing the world around them.

Just because it is easy to do, doesn’t mean we should. Easy isn’t always best.

~ Michelle