Hi, Y’all! You have probably seen a few reviews for this exciting popular book by one of our favorite authors Samantha Downing buzzing around, so you all know Teddy is the teacher of the year!! He knows what’s best for his students and is tough on them for their own good!!! We had so much fun reading For Your Own Good Norma, and I are creating a bookish kit to pair with it for our September bookish kit with some discussion questions added in. We have some fun stuff we are including in it and think it one not to miss and will make for a fun discussion here on our blog. Keep an eye out in Norma’s Etsy shop for the kit and join in on our fun.
For Your Own Good is a playful, witty, clever, comical academic thriller with tremendous sinister characters, and it’s all about entertainment. Samantha Downing creates something wickedly fun and unique here that had me thinking about how she came up with it all. I wonder if there is a little satire added to make that outrageous fun. She takes a fresh spin on those entitled, privileged themes and creates some twisted dynamics between a teacher and his entitled students.
Have you ever wondered how a teacher not from the same privilege might feel about teaching those entitled and privileged students who attend a prestigious prep school? Well, Samantha has you covered, and Teddy is not holding back on how he feels about his students. He lets us in on his devilish acts towards his students, and he is not going to let anything stop him from letting them get away with benefiting from their privilege. He has made some enemies, and some great tension and suspense is created with who will set a trap for him and how.
“He’s not the enemy. Never was. His goal for her, for all his students, is to transform them from selfish brats into something better.” ~ Teddy
It all comes together not how I expected, with a delicious twist that felt fitting and added to that outrageous fun to the story. I highly recommend it!
Disturbing, darkly humorous, and a zippy read!
Let me tell you!! FOR YOUR OWN GOOD by SAMANTHA DOWNING is quite the twisty and wicked thriller.
I immediately knew that this was going to be a fun and entertaining book for me but what I didn’t know was how weird this book was going to make me feel. At times I was having so much fun with it and at other times I just wanted to walk away. Now here’s the thing: it was such a chaotic and diabolical wacky book that I just couldn’t ignore and walk away from. It’s like I was hooked one minute and not the next. It was like a guilty pleasure. You don’t want to like it but you can’t help yourself because well those characters are so cunning and devious that you can’t help but be entertained by them. You just need to stay tuned to see what kind of shenanigans they are going to get themselves into and yup who’s going to be murdered next.
I was laughing out loud, creeped out (milk is NOT my thing), and entertained. I quite enjoyed how this one kept me guessing and how it all wrapped up. This was a cleverly layered story with a great storyline that I won’t soon forget.
Wild, shocking and twisty!
If you’re looking for a fun, creepy, bonkers book to get lost in, this is it! It’s compulsively readable and highly entertaining in the most addictive, silly, crazy and ridiculous way!
This novel revolves around a prep school with devious and conniving staff and students. Every character had a sneaky, deceitful, evil side that kept me shocked and curious to see how they would fit into the twisted tale. I simply cannot pick who was the worst!
I loved the short, tension-filled chapters that were easy to breeze through. This book is one where you can simply sit back and be entertained without having to think too much. The story unfolds through third person narrative which I had trouble connecting with as I felt it kept me at a distance from the storyline. I also have issues with implausible scenarios and this novel had many which kept me from feeling fully invested. However, the characters are so extremely crazy and unlikeable that I just HAD to know what would happen next. Though this wasn’t a huge winner for me, it is well-loved by many early reviewers and I can completely understand why. Give it a try and see what you think – I promise you’ll have fun with it!
Welcome Friends! Norma and I put together a bookish kit for People We Meet on Vacation and add some thought-provoking questions inspired by an interview with the author along with some fun questions I have added. If you haven’t read this one yet we highly recommend packing your bags with some bookish fun, travel with Poppy and Alex to the places they vacation on, then travel on back here and see what we have to say or join on in the discussion. If you like to join the discussion please add your answers to the comments. We love to see what you think!!!
Please Note: We will try to keep the spoiler free for any major spoilers, however if you haven’t read the book it is best to read before reading any further in this post. some things might tip you off on something and spoil some things for you.
We have been closed off from traveling for quite some time now!! Do you have any plans or hope to travel ?
I would love to do some traveling again and have been thinking of some places I would like to go but no plans.
No, we don’t have any plans except for camping. We do hope once the border opens to go for a road trip to Montana that is one of our favourite things to do.
Do you have a friend you would like to take a vacation with? No family members please!
I can’t pick Norma because she is my sister, Lindsay is my reading sister and I would love to take a vacation with her.
Haha I guess I can’t pick Brenda either. The introvert in me finds it really hard to travel with others outside my family. Even though I’d love to travel with friends it isn’t really the most comfortable thing for me to do.
The story starts with well-used tropes; opposites attract, and when Poppy and Alex meet, she hopes she doesn’t see him again. Poppy then starts to see Alex differently as she gets to know him, and they begin to grow as friends. She refers to him as “naked Alex.” Do you think by the end of the story, after all the layers are pulled back, they are so different from each other and what they wanted out of life?
I think Poppy thought she wanted that dream life, but once she did, she started to like the simpler, deeper things like “Naked Alex” did. I believe Alex opened her eyes to what she was running from and what she wanted from life. So I think Poppy grew as a person and found out what she wanted in life, and it was a simpler life, and what they wanted was each other.
I don’t think Poppy and Alex were all that different from each other. I think Poppy was hiding from what she truly wanted and through Alex she was able to see that her carefree/traveling life wasn’t really what she wanted. It was actually a stable and lifelong relationship with Alex that she yearned for.
Who did you most relate to, Poppy or Alex?
I think I related to both of them. Each had something relatable to them and then in the end it felt like those things came together as one person that I relate too.
Alex for sure! I am definitely more reserved than outgoing.
At first, we know they are experiencing a “friendship breakup,” and there is some suspense about what caused the rift between them. Do you think that was enough to drive the story forward? Would you say the friendship breakup and trying to repair that friendship was the heart of the story or something else? Please no spoilers as to what the rift was.
I am interested in seeing what others think about this question. I don’t think this was the strongest part of the story, and I didn’t feel the suspense I wanted to feel, and it felt predictable. I was looking for something more as to what caused the “friendship breakup.” Because they only saw each other once a year on vacation, I questioned how well they knew each other, and I was hoping that tied into what caused the rift. I didn’t feel like they were repairing their friendship but more like they were reconnecting again. Their chemistry as friends and the connection between them was the heart of the story for me. Wanting to see how their friendship evolved was what drove the story forward for me.
I agree with Brenda on this one. The only thing I’d like to add is that I didn’t really like the two year quiet period between these two and didn’t think the rift was enough to warrant total silence.
Have you been to any of the places Poppy and Alex vacationed? What of their vacations did you like best? Would you like to go to any?
Canada “speaks to me” (I live there) LOL. I have been to Victoria and Tofino, and that was my favorite vacation they went on. I thought it shaped and started that great banter and dynamics I enjoyed between them. I did think the people they met there were a bit stereotypical, though. I loved that they spent some time in Chapters bookstore. I have also been to San Francisco. I have made a few wine tasting trips to wine country and loved it.
I have also been to Victoria and Tofino (not with Brenda though LOL) and the familiarity definitely made it my favourite vacation of theirs. Like Brenda said the mention of Chapters was a highlight! Loved that!
Alex and Poppy find the things they enjoyed the most on their Vacation are the things they didn’t plan or the things that went wrong, sending them on a new path and connecting with people they met. As we see their history and friendship evolve across the vacations they shared, do you think the paths they found themselves on helped Poppy see she wanted something different for herself, and that brought them closer together as a couple in the end?
That was my favorite thing about their vacations. I think it helped Poppy see that the “dream life” was not the things she enjoyed, and she liked the simpler, quieter things. I think it helped Poppy see all she wanted was to do something with Alex, and the best part was being together.
Most definitely! I think Alex was the main attraction in all of their vacations together and vice versa. It was something to look forward to yearly and that path was always open until it wasn’t anymore with the two year break. I think they both got scared too and didn’t realize that they were both falling for one another. I think her eyes really opened up and realized that something was missing from her life. And that was Alex but her mind and heart had to feel it simultaneously in order to accept and really allow herself to have the life she really wanted even though it wasn’t necessarily the one she had chosen for herself. I think we always go home!
Do you like meeting people on vacation or prefer to spend time with who you are traveling with or alone reading?
I think meeting people would be a fun thing to do and make a vacation more interesting, however, I am introverted and do prefer to keep to who I am traveling with and, of course, spend some time alone reading. I often think about just laughing around the beach and pool by myself reading, but I do like to have someone with me.
I’d prefer to spend time with who I’m vacationing with rather than meeting new people. I always bring books with me but sometimes I don’t get much reading time in. It’s more family time…..or people watching. LOL
Are you a planner or go with the flow vacationer?
I am a planner right to timing. I have what we are doing, where we are eating, and downtime planned. I would like to take a relaxing unplanned trip with what we are doing, but I have to plan where we eat. Being busy all the time, as Alex said “ Won’t leave a lot of time for reading.”
The only thing I plan is the date, hotel, and destination. The rest I’m going with the flow.
We start to see a personal growth dimension to the story here with Poppy untangling her identity, her high school past, wanting to escape and never return home and finding career meaning, purpose, and how that factors into what she wants out of life. Emily Henry gives Poppy her “dream life,” but about halfway, Poppy starts questioning if she wants the same things as she once wanted. Do you think from the personal growth dimension, their friendship evolved by seeing and learning what they went through as individuals, and they will make it, or do you think they “were meant to be?”
I didn’t see much of a personal growth dimension with Alex. It was mainly with Poppy, but I think Alex helped Poppy grow, and they evolved together as a couple as Poppy started to see what she wanted out of life. Poppy’s dislike for her hometown was one of the biggest roadblocks, and I think she began to see things differently through Alex. I am not sure if what Poppy was going through helped Alex to evolve as a person. He seemed to have reached what he wanted out of life well before Poppy. I have my doubts if they will make it because I wasn’t all that convinced that Alex evolved enough with the things Poppy wanted or made any changes for Poppy. Maybe in a small way, I think they are meant to be, and because of that, they will make it. I am interested to see what you all think about Alex’s growth dimension.
I think that Alex pretty much knew what he wanted from life so we didn’t necessarily see a personal growth dimension from him. His growth dimension we knew what it was right from the very start and I’d say that was Poppy and that they were meant to be. I think Poppy had to grow into Alex and Alex was already there.
One of the hardest things to keep fresh in a rom-com is the banter and dialogue between the characters, which can often get tiring. In the interview I read with Emily Henry, Poppy and Alex’s love was described as a “quiet yet strong love.” What do you think that meant, and would you describe it like that or a different way and why?
I think that is a perfect way to describe their love. The dynamics between them felt natural and not like they were trying to be funny. They just were! LOL, We could see how their love grew over the time they enjoyed together, and nothing felt like it was forced on us.
Poppy and Alex had so much fun together! Poppy was always teasing him. I loved their banter. Poppy brought out the fun in Alex and they had that fun together.
A few standard tropes are used in rom-coms, opposites attract, best friends to lovers, secretly in love with each other. Emily Henry adds a more modern one: friendship breakups. Do you think she kept those tropes fresh and exciting and why?
Yes I thought she did. Just by their friendship growing over the vacations they took together added something fresh to them.
Yes, this was a most refreshing rom-com! Even though we know that there is going to be a happily ever after in the end it was so much fun getting there. I liked that the grand gesture was Poppy. In my eyes she’s the one that really needed to see that Alex is the life that she wanted.
Rom-coms have traditional, standard elements, usually ending with the grand gesture and confession of love. One of them is the golden age standard “chasing you at the airport scene,” and Emily Henry takes that and adds something different here with that? Did you find that made Poppy and Alex more relatable? What did you think of Poppy’s grand gesture in the end?
Yes, I loved seeing something different here. Poppy’s grand gesture was not what I was expecting at all and it felt genuine over the golden age standard. I thought that made them more relatable.
The title in the UK is You and Me on Vacation. Which title do you think fits the book best and why? Were there any people they met that stood out for you? From the two titles what takeaway did you get from it?
I like the title You and Me on Vacation because I thought the main takeaway from their vacations was the best part is being together.
I like the title You and Me on Vacation a little bit more because I see it more as that than the people they met on vacation. I think it was more about them.
What was the biggest takeaway from the story for you?
The biggest takeaway for me is that what we think we want in life is not what we want, and it’s ok to question and challenge that. To challenge what we show the outside world is what we really want, and maybe what we want has always been right in front of us.
I think the biggest takeaway for me was that sometimes life shows us what we really need and want and to realize that it has been with us all along.
You can find the list to the interview with Emily Henry here
Thank you so much for joining us and reading our answers to the question. Please join in and answer any questions you like in the comment section. We love to see them!!
Howdy Friends! (howdoyoudo) I am going to do a little something different here today. Rather than doing a cookbook review, I am featuring a meatless meal recipe I just tired out from a cookbook I wanted to review.
When I first started searching for plant-based recipes, I found Sam Turnbull’s blog It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken and tried a few recipes from there. I decided I needed to add one of her books to my collections, and I purchased Fast Easy Cheap Vegan: 101 Recipes You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less, for $10 or Less, and with 10 Ingredients or Less! I will admit it can be hard to cook plant-based meals and stay motivated to do it. I constantly remind myself of the importance of reducing meat and dairy is to our planet and how good it feels to do what I can to improve my carbon footprint. So finding cookbooks with recipes that are fast and easy with ingredients that are part of my usual diet makes me excited to keep cooking plant-based food is very rewarding.
Quesadillas is something we love here in my house. There are easy and fast to make with ingredients that I usually have on hand. It’s a meal that doesn’t need meat as black beans work so well in them, but for me, it needs cheese. So I thought till I tried this recipe. I thought about adding cheese, but I held out to see how this recipe turned and tasted. I had my doubts, but I thought they turned out tasty without cheese! I made them in 15 mins, and this recipe is a winner for me!!!
I didn’t follow the recipe entirely and made a couple of changes
3 tbsp of vegan butter
Garlic (I substituted a garlic spice blend, I will talk about that below)
¼ cup flour
1 can of coconut milk
1 can of black beans
1 cup of corn
1 tbsp of taco seasoning
1 tsp of salt
The step I took to prepare
I added the chopped onion to the vegan butter in a large saucepan and the garlic spice blend and sauteed until the onions brown for a couple of minutes. I then added the flour and cooked for about a minute. Then, I added the coconut milk and stirred it to combine. I added the beans, corn and taco seasoning, and salt and let it cook for about 5 minutes as it thickened to a cheesy sauce.
I added the filling to one half of a side of a tortilla and topped it off with salsa. Then fold the other side over the top. I put them in the oven till the tortillas turned brown and crispy.
My thoughts on the recipe
The coconut milk used to make the sauce made for a great alternative to cheese, and I liked its consistency, making it a good choice for a filling for quesadillas. It had a coconut taste that first tasted odd, but after a few bites, all the flavors worked well together.
I think that adding Kale to the quesadillas would work well. I didn’t have any on hand to add, and it felt like something green was needed. So next time I make them, I am adding some kale to them.
The spice blend (Rocky Mountain) I used is a handcrafted spice blend of garlic, sea salt, onion, pepper spices by Copper Spice Co, located in Edmonton, AB. Their spices blends are handcrafted in small batches using freshly ground spices and herbs.
In my quest to understand more about the former Indian residential schools here in Canada, I wanted to understand more about what happened to Indigenous children who under the Indian Act were forced to attend the schools between 1920-1969. I wanted to read the truth-telling stories of the survivors who carried the burden of the truth forward about what happened and speak out against their oppressors. I want to understand better “the historical wrongs” against Indigenous Peoples by the Canadian government and the Catholic Church. We need to start listening to the truth to bring Non-Indigenous People closer to understanding and reconciling those “wrongs” so Indigenous Peoples can move forward with their stories and bring peace and healing to their community. I feel Fred has done that.
“When the present does not recognize the wrongs of the past, the future takes its revenge. For that reason, we must never, never turn away from the opportunity of confronting history together–the opportunity to right a historical wrong.” ~ Governor General Michaëlle Jean at relaunch for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, October 2009
About the Author
Fred Sasakamoose was born in 1933 on Sandy Lake Reserve, now called Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. He died from covid complications on Nov 24, 2020. He lived to complete his memoir, but not to see its publication. At the age of seven, he was taken from his home with his brother and sent to St. Michael Catholic residential school. He called it “the last day of my childhood” He endured the horrors of the schools, and it is where his love of hockey began. His journey of hockey and healing began, and he became known as the first treaty status Indigenous player in the NHL. He played 11 games for the Chicago Black Hawks and years playing in the minor leagues, years off the ice dedicated to helping his community, paving the way for youth to find solace and meaning in sports for generations to come while advocating for Indigenous peoples. He became a band councilor, served as Chief, and established athletic programs for kids. In 2012 he gave testimony on his experiences in the residential school system during Canada’s truth and reconciliation communion.
About the Book
Fred Sasakamoose shares with us living on Sandy Lake reserve, the day he and his brother were taken from his parents to live at St. Michael’s Residential School, to making a name for himself by directing his trauma and the abuse endured there into hockey. He shares his journey to playing in the NHL, minor leagues and paving the way for Indigenous youth through hockey. He sheds light on Canadian history and Indigenous politics while sharing his struggles to reclaim his identity and heritage ripped from by the church. In an empathic and understanding tone, he shares his trauma, heartbreak, tragedies, achievements, his own and his community’s struggle with substance abuse, his triumphs, and joy.
“I will never forget how difficult it has been for my people. Our freedom was stolen. Whole generations were crippled by the restrictions of the Indian Act and by childhoods destroyed in residential schools. Even since those institutions disappeared, anti-Indigenous racism remains strong.”
It’s that time of year where we tuck books into our beach bags, suitcases, and picnic baskets and enjoy the environment around us. That hasn’t been easy for us in a long time, and now that things are opening up again, there is still time to tuck those books in our bags and enjoy some summer reading. Norma and I put together a fun bookish pairing with a book sleeve, bookmarks, and stickers and discussion questions for People We Meet on Vacation. Norma featured it in her Etsy shop, and it sold out within an hour. I didn’t even get a chance to feature it here on the blog. So this is not the kit Norma created, but I substituted another book sleeve made our very talented Mom that is available to feature with the book and added some bookmarks that would go perfectly with the book and theme.
We wanted a fun and entertaining summer read that took us on an adventure, and Poppy and Alex did just that. We loved the themes we could come with to go with the book. People We Meet on Vacation makes for a fantastic summer getaway read. It’s easy to get buried in; it’s a lighter, fun one with some depth to the characters, especially Poppy. She is a character to talk about.
Pack your bags and travel with Poppy and Alex to the places they vacationed on, and then travel over with Norma and me to our discussion post on our blog. (I will be adding the post soon)
“Two best friends. Ten Summer trips. One Last Chance to fall in love.”
My favorite summer read so far this year!! It’s one not to be missed! It’s the perfect getaway read, and I loved traveling with Poppy and Alex to the places they vacationed on. It doesn’t demand much from readers but still has some depth to the story and characters.
People We Meet On Vacation has all that I needed for a perfect getaway read. It’s a funny, heartfelt, engaging read with banter and dialogue between the characters that felt fresh and exciting. I often find with rom- coms the banter can become tiring and old fast for me. Here it felt realistic, fun, and lively. Their connection felt genuine, and I enjoyed the dynamics between Poppy and Alex from start to finish.
What stood out the most for me was how Emily Henry nails those tropes like opposites attract, best friends to lovers, secretly in love with each other, and a more modern one friendship breakup. She adds a fresh, exciting modern twist while brilliantly weaves those tropes in by creating a history of friendship told across the vacations Poppy and Alex shared once a year. There is an interesting personal growth dimension that adds depth to the characters. We see this more with Poppy’s character, and Alex creates more depth for Poppy. Emily Henry has a little surprise in the end that stands on its own and pays homage to the golden age grand gesture and confession of love elements of a rom-com. That clinched the deal for me, and I loved how it all wrapped!! I highly recommend it!!
4.5 Stars! Romantic, delightful, and a captivating page turner!
PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION by EMILY HENRY is a refreshing, thought-provoking, compelling, emotional, sweet, and fun rom-com that absolutely stole my heart. The friends to lovers trope here was done extremely well and not in your typical rom-com fashion. The author has this unique ability to tap into your deepest emotions as well as the characters’ that are deeply affecting to you the reader. Right from the very beginning I found myself fully immersed in this tale.
EMILY HENRY delivers a multi-layered, engaging read here with great characters that I absolutely adored, totally immersing me in Poppy and Alex’s friendship as well as in every vacation that they took together. I loved their strong chemistry and the dynamics between these two. Poppy is so quirky with the best sense of humour ever to Alex’s reservedness. The author does an awesome job with totally investing us in their relationship and I was definitely rooting for a happily ever after ending for the both of them.
The teasing, humorous and witty banter between Poppy and Alex is what I absolutely loved and couldn’t get enough of. I kind of envied Poppy’s teasing and witty nature. I am more reserved like Alex so she had me thinking plenty of time how in the world do you come up with this stuff.
The only part that frustrated me a little bit was when the friends didn’t talk for a few years. The silence and miscommunication in a story normally bothers me though. We as readers can see what’s happening so why can’t our characters?
The story is told from alternating timelines of This Summer, and their past Summer trips of the places that they vacationed. Their yearly vacation is where we really get to know Poppy and Alex as individuals and see the dynamics they shared as friends and a couple. I think the title is a little more meaningful to who Poppy and Alex are as people rather than the people they actually meet on vacation.
It was an absolute pleasure reading this lighthearted rom-com with substance. Some parts of this story really touched me and tugged at my heartstrings, either putting a huge smile on my face or making me a bit teary eyed. Would recommend it!
We received copies from the publisher through NetGalley
When I think of boards, I think of cheese, meat, crackers, dips, veggies, and fruit-style boards; however, this is not the same concept here. It’s a fresh take on how everyday meals are present and not much different from a family-style way of sharing. It’s all in how the food is arranged on the boards. There are boards for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, desserts, snacks and parties.
Some boards that caught my eye and to temp Y’all with
Vegan Banh Mi Board. Instead of making the sandwiches up and serving them, the ingredients are on a board for everyone to help themselves. The recipes calls for pulled Jackfruit and I am not a fan and I will substitute with tofu or just vegetables. Oh and by the way I dislike regular mayo but love vegan mayo. Give it a try instead of regular you might be as surprised as I was.
Mediterranean Grazing Board is a fun board you can make using fresh ingredients and is easy to bring together on a board.
Build your own bagel sandwich board. I love bagels and this is such a fun idea way to share that love with family on weekend summer day on the deck
Some fun themed parties boards fo at home with your special somebodies or extended family and friends
Game Day Cauliflower Wings and Midsummer Backyard BBQ Board
Back Yard Campfire Board. We have fire pits often even in the winter and I love the idea of this board. It calls for vegan hot dogs and I not a fan of hot dogs at all but it can easily be substituted for smokies or carrot dogs as the recipe has in it.
Watermelon Pizza Board and many more
I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley and one I am adding to my wish list for a print copy
Below is my own personal reasons and why I choose this cookbook and not the authors views.
Why eating some of your meals meatless and dairy-free is so essential?
BC is on fire, and here in Alberta, we are experiencing a high amount of smoke and it has never been more apparent how climate change is effecting us with the extreme heatwave and forest fires. Reducing meat and dairy can improve your carbon imprint and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are significantly impacting our planet.
Now I have to talk about my new handmade reusable produce shopping bags. I have decided it’s time I own my carbon footprint and start making some changes in our lives to reduce plastic and waste. I found these cute, fun reusable bags on Etsy made by It’s Sew Katrina in London, Ontario, Canada.