Who Named the Knife – and other thoughts

“When you feel envy and wish you were someone else, remember you that you have to take the whole life.”
Who Named the Knife by Linda Spalding

It’s terrifyingly easy to become envious of someone else’s life. It’s easy to get so caught up in what others are doing (especially with all of this social media, sharing, and documenting) that you lose sight of your own dreams and wishes. I’ve written about this before and I’ll probably write about it again because it’s something that scares me a lot. When you can’t see the finish line or you feel like many people are sprinting faster than you (even though you’re working just as hard), self-doubt will sweep you up on its dark cloud and suffocate you. You can’t let that happen. Keep sprinting even when your lungs give out. No matter how many people pass you, keep sprinting.

If you look far enough into the distance you’ll realize that they aren’t gunning for the same finish line as you.

At some point the track branches off and we all have our own path to follow.

Your finish line is yours and yours alone.

Cross it.


Love Always

Vanessa Xo

“Books are glamourous, books are sexy, books are FUN!”

Just for Fun, Toronto Adventures

Picture from Retreat by Random House Blog

Yesterday night was the first ever BOOKSTRAVAGANZA hosted by Chatelaine Magazine and Random House Canada. The event was located at the Ritz-Carlton on Wellington street and oh my was it grand!

Surrounded by book-lovers, writers, and head-honchos of the magazine and book publishing world, I stood back in awe. It was a little intimidating to say the least but everyone was friendly and welcoming. I even got to meet Lindsey from Random House Canada, the lovely lady who gave me the opportunity to review books for them.

After an hour of cocktails and lip gloss testing (got an awesome lips gloss from Bourjois Paris Cosmetics), we were settled into a lovely ballroom where and introduced to the amazing books coming this Fall from Random House Canada. I think I’m most excited about Sussex Drive by Linda Svendsen, I’ll have to get a copy of that one!

So many wonderful people spoke about new books, the reasons to love books, and the passion and dedication it takes to create a fabulous book. It was amazing to hear from the editor of The Purchase by Linda Spalding as well as the editor of Chatelaine magazine – so many successful, hardworking, women in one room, truly inspiring.

The authors of The Sweet Girl and The Selector of Souls were in attendance also. They spoke about their novels and at the end of the evening every attendee was given a copy of their books and the chance to have them signed. It was great to hear Annabel Lyon speak, since I just finished her novel. You rarely get to see or hear the person behind the words you’re reading. It’s funny because in those brief five minutes that she spoke, I heard the voice of her main character from The Sweet Girl, Pytho.

Oh, I forgot to mention that they gave away prizes all evening! I was the lucky raffle-winner of a Sony tablet (thanks again)! The raffle was an amazing surprise for all the ladies there. Then came the swag bag…

The swag bag contents are the two bottom pictures and the magazine 🙂 . My kind of heaven: books, notebooks, makeup, chocolate – oh my GOODies!


I need to work in publishing. My life needs to be surrounded by books and I need to write my own on the side! #Bookstravaganza


Thanks to Random House Canada and Chatelaine for hosting a great event and to my boyfriend for bringing me downtown and spending some time with me in a room full of ladies 🙂

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

“It might be that every human success simply required FAITH.”

Book Reviews, Just for Fun

For my first review for Random House Canada, I chose The Purchase by Linda Spalding.  I am a sucker for fiction and historical fiction is a particular favourite of mine. I had never read a novel about pioneer life and although the time and place depicted are far away from my own, I’m pleased to say that this book really touched me. I simply couldn’t put it down (as you will see from my progress on Goodreads 😛 ).

A little slow to start, I was anxious to learn more about this Quaker family:

“There were other wagons going leaving from Pennsylvania and going south and west, but none were so laden with woe as the one that carried the five children and the widower and his new bride.” (Page 4)

As I read further into the book, more characters introduced themselves and I wanted to shake hands with each one of them. It’s incredible how the choices of one man can affect the lives of so many others. Each character has a certain depth to them that is relatable – they have flaws and I kinda like that about them. My heart ached for Onesimus and Bet, I was confused and angered by Ruth, I truly felt sorry for Daniel and yet hopeful all at once (a great book makes you feel a lot of things). My favourite character would have to be Mary – smart, stubborn, albeit a little selfish, I found myself yearning to read more about her character. I couldn’t stop turning the pages of this novel and I was saddened when I reached the end.

This book is all about decisions, consequences, chances, and the purity of memories. It’s about pride and lies that are told to “protect” the ones you love. They say that ‘the truth will set you free’ and if there is one thing this book has taught me its to not underestimate the importance of the truth.

There is always a chance for redemption.

There is always time to forgive.

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

P.S. This post’s title is my favourite quote from The Purchase

Synopsis (from the Random House Canada website)
In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, a young Quaker father and widower, leaves his home in Pennsylvania to establish a new life. He sets out with two horses, a wagonful of belongings, his five children, a 15-year-old orphan wife, and a few land warrants for his future homestead. When Daniel suddenly trades a horse for a young slave, Onesimus, it sets in motion a struggle in his conscience that will taint his life forever, and sets in motion a chain of events that lead to two murders and the family’s strange relationship with a runaway slave named Bet.