We've come to the end of another year and once again I'm without a favourites of the year list of any sort (although I will happily share that my favourite read of 2013 was actually a 2009 YA novel called Raw Blue, by Kirsty Eagar, and at this very moment I'm falling in love with Jo Baker's Longbourn).

alien C.K.
Alien C.K.
Instead I'm offering a brief list of another kind entirely—some ways you'll know if I've been taken over by an alien interloper in 2014 (not that I'm expecting such a fate, but one can never be sure!):

• If I say, without any hint of sarcasm, that Toronto mayor Rob Ford is doing a good job

• ditto Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (aka the Grinch who Stole Canada)

• if I mention having gone to a spa or gym or having had a pedicure/manicure

• if I use the words 'bromance' or 'man cave' without ridiculing the terms

• if I say I can't wait for the latest new adult romance between a tattooed, womanizing, bad boy type and the 'relucant' girl he wins over

• if I tell you I watched Game of Thrones last night

• if I say Matt Smith played the Doctor better than David Tennant

• if I say 80s music sucks

There are countless more warning signs, to be sure, but if any of the above biggies occur in 2014 please contact CSETI (the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and inform them of what's happened! Then hopefully a rescue attempt can be mounted for me.

Happy New Year everyone! And don't forget to post your own Body Snatchers Warning Signs list so that you have a chance of being saved if you're taken over by an alien life form.

Stephen harper: The Grinch Who Stole CanadaCanadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has gotten into a pissing contest with the Grinch, insisting his own heart is at least four sizes too small compared to the Grinch's two sizes too small.

At this point the majority of Canadians probably have no problem agreeing with Harper's assessment that he has the smaller heart. But should you still require proof, you might want to check out this recent Toronto Star article detailing the Conservative government's dismantling of social programs that were built over generations. Thanks to Harper's government, Canada has become a meaner place to live, something the Grinch never accomplished with Whoville.

Congrats, Stephen. You should be ever so proud.

Today I'm incredibly excited to announce Dancing Cat Books, an imprint of Canadian publisher Cormorant Books, is going to publish my new contemporary YA book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing! It will hit shelves in Canada this coming fall and I'm beginning the editing process in January.

In essence The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing is about the difficulties fifteen-year-old Serena has in establishing authentic relationships with boys in a society that both sexualizes and shames young women. Meanwhile she’s also dealing with dysfunctional family dynamics caused by her missing favourite brother, who left the family without a trace when his drug addiction spiralled out of control.

Serena has barely begun to enjoy the popularity that comes with being newly thin and pretty when her basketball player boyfriend of four months puts her in a compromising position at a party. It’s not the first time he’s made her feel somehow wrong but it’s the last—she swears off the opposite sex. If only fixing her family life were as easy…...

Serena's consumed with worry for the brother she was so close to growing up. Even as she searches for him she’s determined to get her own life together—new friends, a new part-time job and no more guys—ever. Until she meets Gage, a temptation she can’t resist but who brings with him another set of complications.

I'll share more as time goes on! But in the meantime, if you don't hear much from me, you'll know why. I can't wait for you to meet Serena!

I spent part of this weekend at Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto. While the weekend isn't the ideal time to visit this new Toronto tourist attraction (the crowds!) I certainly wasn't disappointed by the sights. The various Jellyfish were mesmirizing and one of the other highlights was a moving walkway that gives you an incredible visual experience as it ferries you through an enormous sea life landscape where exotic fish, turtles, and sharks swim overhead and on either side of you.

The expensive entry fee means I won't be dropping in again any time soon (Toronto zoo tickets are $7 cheaper and it takes much longer to cover the zoo) but I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits. If you're thinking of visiting, here's a sample of things you'll see:

sea pens, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

spotted australian jellyfish, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

Moon jellyfish, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

Baby seahorse, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

starfish, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

Sea horse, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2014

Diver feeding manta rays, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2013

sawfish, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 2013

Potato cod, Toronto aquarium, December 8, 20136
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