Thursday, 6 January 2022

Carlyn's Diary: January 2022



My best friend is getting married! I’m a bridesmaid and helping her with the wedding. She’s still in the early stages of planning. It’s been fun looking at dresses and shoes. I’m currently thinking about what to include in my bridesmaid’s speech.



I am reading Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer. It’s a retelling of the book Twilight by Stephanie Myer from Edward’s perspective. I like the different perspective as it adds more to the original story.

I have also subscribed to Audible and I have listened to many novels. It’s a great way to catch up on books. I like to listen to audible when I’m doing chores. The book I’m currently listening to is I can’t make this up by Kevin Hart and Neil Strauss.


I’m loving The Princess Switch movies starring Vanessa Hudgens. Vanessa Hudgens plays three characters, Princess Stacey, Queen Margaret and Miss Fiona Pemberly who all look alike and switch places a lot. The Princess Switch is a fun Christmas movie. If I were a kid, I’d probably watch it nonstop.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

The Babysitter’s Club BSC Forever : Everything Changes by Ann Martin

I’m obsessed with The Babysitter’s Club series. When I was a little girl, I thought they were the coolest books ever. I always look for the old books when I’m in a thrift shop. The series has been republished but I like the old books from my childhood. I have a big collection of Babysitters Club books and I hope to collect them all. I haven’t read all of them yet.

The BSC Forever series is a spinoff of The Babysitter’s Club which focuses more on the girls rather than babysitting. This series also concludes The Babysitter’s Club story, with the girls moving on to high school having other interests. This book is a special edition where there are several story lines, told in letter, email and diary format by different characters.

The book is set during summer vacation and the girls don’t babysit in this book. Kristy is at summer camp, Maryanne is at home, Claudia goes to Monhegan island with her family and Stacey goes to New York to spend time with her dad. The other babysitter club members are mentioned but don’t feature much in this book.

I don’t think this special was as good as others in the series. The characters usually are more connected and communicate with each other more. In this book, the characters mostly interact with their closest friends rather than as a whole group.


Kristy’s story was mostly told through diary format and letters. I didn’t like the diary format because of the abbreviations. In a diary, Kristy abbreviates her friends names and as A. for Abby, MA for Maryanne. I understand that it makes the diary entries more authentic because diaries entries are meant to be a stream of thoughts. You might shorten things to save time or use code words for secrecy.

Kristy’s storyline was about her dismay about The Babysitters Club falling apart. In the book, several characters want to pull out of The Babysitter’s Club to focus on other interests.


The story I did enjoy was Claudia visiting Monhegan island with her family. Monhegan Island is located near Maine. It’s a small little island know for its artists colonies and fishing. I liked reading the descriptions of the island and how Claudia was enjoying hiking, painting, and drawing.


Stacey is New York to spend time with her father as her parents are divorced. She’s 13 and dating someone who is 15. The dad doesn’t like the age difference and her father doesn’t want her to spend too much time with him. I thought there would be more fighting about this but Stacey handles it maturely.


Maryanne is living with her family in a temporary place since their house burnt down. Her grandmother comes to stay with the family. Maryanne is also feeling smothered by her boyfriend Logan for trying to support her.  It was a little tedious reading Maryanne’s storyline. Maryanne is a very timid character, and she doesn’t resolve anything by the end of the book.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell - book review by Carlyn

credit to

Eleanor and Park is a coming-of-age story set in the late 80s. The teenagers meet on the bus on Eleanor’s first day of school. She is the weirdest girl that Park has ever seen, and the other kids aren’t kind to her. Park lets her sit with him begrudgingly and over time they form a relationship.

Eleanor and Park come from different backgrounds but share a love of comics, music and science fiction. Park is half Korean American and lives with a loving family while Eleanor is the eldest in a large and poor family.    

The couple overcome many obstacles to be together. Eleanor is bullied at school for dressing weird, being overweight and poor. While Park struggles with being a minority, fitting in at school and his relationship with his dad.

I had read so many reviews about this book when it first debuted. It’s a book that I had wanted to read for a long time. I was interested in the book because I learnt that the protagonists were different to the norm. Eleanor is plus sized, and I hadn’t heard of many books that had a plus sized heroine. In addition, Park is half Korean and half Caucasian. The book chapters also alternate point of view between Park and Eleanor.

I’m Asian and plus sized so I was very interested in reading this book. I could empathize with the characters. I grew up in a very white neighborhood and there were very few Asian people represented in the media at the time. I wish there were books like this one to read when I was younger.  I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Young Adult fiction.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Mary Anne and the Memory Garden by Ann M. Martin


The Babysitters Club is a series of books about a group of girls who babysit. It was published in 1986-2000 and there are over 100 books, including spin offs of the original series and film and television adaptations. The Babysitters Club books follow the lives of the girls. They have normal issues like friendship dramas, romances, worrying about school and babysitting. There are also books which feature more sensitive or heavier themes or topics. For example, there are books on racism, ableism, dealing with medical issues such as diabetes and asthma.

This book was written in response to fans writing to Ann. Martin about how to deal with losing people and drink driving. I think Ms. Martin handles the matter sensitively in a way that will engage with young readers. 

In this book, Mary Anne grieves over her friend Amelia, who died in a car crash. Amelia’s family was driving home and hit by a drunk driver. Mary Anne becomes overwhelmed and unsure what to do. Fortunately, she goes to a therapist to help her cope. I liked how the books illustrated grief and that Mary Anne recognized that she needed more help.

The Babysitters grieve in their own way. Kristy is overwhelmed and channels her grief in starting a chapter of the organization called Students Against Drunk Drivers which is a real organization. The organization was started in 1986 but is now called Students against destructive decisions .

I have been a fan of The Babysitter’s Club since I was a child. I’ve been collecting the books and this was the first time I read this story. Reading these books makes me nostalgic. The book that I have is second hand and there is a little page there is a little questionnaire page that readers can fill out. The page had been filled out by an eleven-year-old girl named Johanna in 1996. I hope she enjoyed the book as much as I did. 

Friday, 1 January 2021

My goals for 2021

                                                    Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash

1. Read all the unread books on my bookshelf.

I have about 30 books that have been collecting dust on my shelf for years. I have thought about donating them, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I keep thinking that if I do throw them out, I will miss out on learning some important or meaningful. Maybe I should mark 2021 as the final year I can hold onto them, either I read them or donate them.

2. Read new books

While I already own books that I don’t read, I’d like to add more to the pile! I buy my books from the thrift store and most are old titles. I would like to read something more recent.

3. Be positive and have fun.

I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy the moment. I am usually the one making sure everything runs smoothly.

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Carlyn Diary: December 2020



I’m at home with my family for the holidays. I haven’t been home since January because of travel restrictions. It’s been great catching up with everyone and visiting old haunts. I’ve also been stocking up on my favourite things to take back to my own place.


I’m catching up on reading the Babysitters Club. I love those books and my collection is at my parent’s house. I’m also still reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It’s a book I’ve been reading on and off for the past few years.  Next year, I want to finish up the booklist that Jon and I created back in 2011! I have three books left.


I live in a remote island for work and I don’t get to watch a lot of tv. So whenever I come back to my family home, I always try to catch up on tv. I’m currently watching Star Trek Discovery. I have been a Star Trek fan since I was a child and I’m always delighted when there’s a new series or movie.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Super Con-nerd by Oliver Phommavanh - Review by Carlyn


Super Con-nerd by Oliver Phommavanh is the sequel to Con-nerd written by the same author. The book is about twelve-year-old Connor known as Con-nerd by his friends. He’s a Chinese Australian boy who has just started high school and is obsessed with drawing.

In this book, Connor makes it into a selective high school where all the students excel academically. It is an adjustment for Connor to not be the smartest in the room and to struggle with some of the schoolwork. Connor also has to contend with a bully who competes to the be the best in every subject and constantly tells him that he does not belong in the school.

Connor finds solace in drawing his comic The Fireproof Knights. However, his mother wants him to study more so he can have a good future.

I enjoy reading this book. It made me think about when I first started high school. It was a very long time ago, but I remember what an adjustment it is from primary school. I could relate to Connor feeling sad about drifting apart from his primary school friends because they went to different high schools. Connor tries to keep in contact with them but conflicting schedules and changing interests made it difficult.

I was also reminded about bullying. I could sympathize with Connor’s feelings of isolation and self-doubt. I work in a school and I do have to deal with cases about bullying. I know how stressful it would be to have to see your bully every day. Fortunately, Connor stands up for himself and has friends who support him. I think that older children will enjoy this book. There is lots of things they could relate to and funny moments. 

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