Jumpstart | Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden


Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men’s solicitude and the money that goes with it.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.


I cannot begin to tell you about my deep love for this book. I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture and history, and when I first heard about this book in high school, I knew I had to get my hands on it. The book is actually a fictionalized memoir of sorts, that uses the background story of Mineko Iwasaki. Nitta Sayuri’s life begins in a very poor fishing village. Her mother passes away and in order to pay for his late wife’s medical bills, her father sends Sayuri and her older sister away, to become slaves in a geisha house.

As her life progresses, her rebellious nature pushes through – She is told countless times that she has ‘too much water’ in her personality – and she often continues to add to her ever growing debt (which has travelled with her from her home) for her insubordinate acts. With time, and careful training by Mameha (her benefactress), Sayuri grows to become one of Japan’s most sought after geisha’s.

This book was a beautiful look into the fictionalized life of a geisha; from her very humble beginnings, to her struggle to be with the man she loves. It’s wonderful and a must read.

Jumpstart | Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling


Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.


Okay, so I’m cheating a little bit. Taking a Throwback Thursday post and then using it again for Jumpstart. But, with good reason! This book was a huge part of my early teen years, and to this day I still adore it. Its the first glimpse into Harrys mostly lackluster life with the Dursley’s prior to his letter arriving.

As the story continues, Harry learns so much about himself and his family. I found one of the best parts of the book to be when he uses the Mirror of Erised to see how his life would have been, had his parents ultimately not been killed by Voldemort.

This book started my obsession with YA, which continues today (as you can tell lol). It was one of the books that allowed me to expand my imagination, and follow alongside characters that I’d fallen in love with. It gave me the chance to grow with them, experience their triumphs and tragedies, as I did through my own life.

Jumpstart | The Givenchy Code – Julie Kenner


This novel finds out heroine, Melanie Prescott, stuck in another series of dead-end jobs. She is studying math and history at university and is a wizard at codes. Suddenly she is sucked into a live-action version of a on-line video game she used to play.

Hunted through the streets of New York by a mad man, Melanie must trust, Matthew Stryker, a complete (and very handsome) stranger, to help her solve the puzzles and make it through the experience alive.


I honestly don’t remember how I stumbled across The Codebreaker series by Julie Kenner, but I do remember devouring them within days. Each book is designed around a game that each of the main characters used to play. There’s an attacker, the target, and the protector. It’s based on an online game that each character has played in the past.

Personally, what I enjoyed so much about this series was how fast paced they were. There was action, death, mystery and romance. And it was blended together in such a way that it made for an excellent read. By no means are they literary award winners, no. But they were a perfect read for someone who was just getting into the “chick-lit” genre in her teens.

* On a side note, I apologize that there was no Tuesday Jumpstart post. I thought I had something posted, and I did not, and Aurora is swamped with her real life job. Please accept our apologies *

Jumpstart | The Way The Crow Flies – Ann Marie MacDonald


The optimism of the early sixties, infused with the excitement of the space race and the menace of the Cold War, is filtered through the rich imagination of high-spirited, eight-year-old Madeleine, who welcomes her family’s posting to a quiet Air Force base near the Canadian border. Secure in the love of her beautiful mother, she is unaware that her father, Jack, is caught up in a web of secrets. When a very local murder intersects with global forces, Jack must decide where his loyalties lie, and Madeleine will be forced to learn a lesson about the ambiguity of human morality — one she will only begin to understand when she carries her quest for the truth, and the killer, into adulthood twenty years later.

I stumbled across Ann Marie MacDonald’s work when I was about 14, give or take. I was browsing the bookshelves one day, killing time, and her first book, Fall On Your Knees, jumped out at me. It was heavy reading for someone so young, but I ploughed through it, and eventually went back and picked up The Way The Crow Flies.

Part of the reason why this book has stuck with me over the years, and why I continue to go back and read it, is because of the real history involved with the story. The background of the story is the rape and murder of a young girl on a small remote Canadian Forces Base (Air Force) – Which actually comes from a true story of the same events, where Lynn Harper (13-years-old) was raped and murdered, and 15-year-old Steven Truscott was accused of the crime. He was the youngest Canadian ever to face execution for supposedly having committed the crime. He spent nearly 10 years in jail, and was finally acquited of his “crimes” in 2007.

This book takes the weightiness of the case, and builds a family dynamic around it, very similar to how Wally Lamb did in ‘I Know This Much Is True’. The characters are real and blemished with problems and trials that are fitting to their situations. The book showcases a unique look into a horrific crime and the impact it had on not just the family of the victim and the accused, but how it effected the community around them as well.


Jumpstart | Twilight – Stephanie Meyer

Twilight (Twilight, #1)

I’m totally prepared to hear about this after .. but I am going to do it! Here comes my thoughts about Twilight! Now, this book needs no introduction so I will leave out any plot summaries or details. If you haven’t read the books or watched the movies just send me a message and I can fill you in.

Now, Twilight came into my life when I was in University. I was slaving away at school, up to my eyeballs in psychology textbooks and was spending my free time working my part-time retail job. Twilight was exactly what I needed to escape from my boring life. It was my first vampire book, and at first I thought it was a little weird but I was totally team Jacob all the way. I think I got so wrapped up in wanting Bella to be with Jacob that I missed a lot of the cliché’s and repetition that drive me crazy when I read the books now.

Reading this, I loved Bella. Her situation was difficult and I felt bad for her being the new girl in this awkward school. She seemed strong and confident, but I mostly related to her relationship with Edward. He was jealous and controlling, I wanted to help her out of it and felt pieces of that in my own relationship at the time. When I look back now, I wonder why I felt she was so strong, Edward was always protecting her.

I’m now at war with myself, I want to love these books but I just can’t. If Bella and Jacob had of ended up together it may be a different story, we would have to rewrite the end of the series though!

If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t read this yet, buy it here!

Jumpstart | The Paperbag Princess – Robert Munsch


I adore this story so much. Princess Elizabeth plans on marrying Prince Ronald, who is practically perfect. However, a dragon arrives who destroys her kingdom, kidnaps Ronald, and burns all her clothes (rendering her naked) so that she has no choice but to wear a paper bag. Elizabeth follows the dragon and Ronald, and seeking to rescue her fiancé, challenges the dragon to burn forests with fire and to fly around the world. The dragon completes the tasks but after flying around the world a second time becomes tired and falls asleep. Elizabeth rescues Ronald, who is ungrateful and tells her to return when she looks more like a princess. Elizabeth calls Ronald out for his ungratefulness and goes dancing off into the sunset.

How can you not love a child heroine who fights her own battles, slays a dragon using logic and wit, and at the end of the day, doesn’t have to marry a prince? Elizabeth was a role model of mine growing up because she truly showcased that young girls don’t need to be attached to a man in order to succeed in life. The dialogue is engaging and fun for all ages, and makes a perfect classic story for children.

Jumpstart | Lucky – Alice Sebold


** This book is not for the weak of heart, it is contains graphic and horrific details **

This book disgusted me, what happened to Alice Sebold haunted my dreams and I think sometimes that is what a good book needs to do. This is a situation where I wanted to learn from someone else’s experiences. Never in a million years would I want to experience this myself, nor would I want any of my friends to go through anything like this.

This is Alice Sebold’s memoir of being raped and the events that followed. An emotional retelling of the struggles to get her rapist arrested while dealing with the emotional aftermath. You get to read honest hurt in this book, real emotion and you see how all it takes is one incident to change your life.

Alice is starting college at 18 years old, a freshman. A time of your life that most people dream of, the first taste of freedom, of independence and paving your own path. I don’t want to go into detail because Alice tells it better than I will ever be able to. I can tell you that I cried, cringed and even hid under the bed sheets on multiple occasions. This book gave me nightmares and still to this day (years later) has me looking over my shoulders and paying close attention to my surroundings no matter my situation.

In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheater, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered. I was told this by the police. In comparison, they said, I was lucky…But at the time, I felt I had more in common with the dead girl than I did with the large, beefy police officers or my stunned freshman-year girlfriends. The dead girl and I had been in the same low place…During the rape my eye caught something among the leaves and glass. A pink hair tie. When I heard about the dead girl, I could imagine her pleading as I had, and wondered when her hair had been pulled loose from her hair tie…I will always think of her when I think of the pink hair tie. I will think of a girl in the last moments of her life.

These words, as well as this book, will always have a place in my head. A vision of a girl crouching in a corner wishing she had of died instead of having to deal with the pain and fear of what is still to come. The thoughts and fear running through her head, the lack of self worth that would come along with it. Adding to the stress would be the power of social media, the speed of which the news can spread nowadays would give her no time to wrap her head around the terrible event before people would be knocking down her door. Friends and family wanting to help and be close when all she wants is to be left alone.

Like what you’ve read? Order it now with free shipping!