Hey there.

I thought I’d do something a little bit different today and talk about my favourite YouTube channels, instead of reviewing books.

I watch a lot of YouTube. Like A LOT.

I’m not much of a tv person, so this is what I tend to do on breaks, or when I am trying to convince myself to get up in the morning.

I prefer family vloggers but I also follow some others as well. These are the YouTubers I am in love with right now.

JesssFam: JesssFam, formally known as Gabe and Jesss, is definitely the channel that I have been following the longest. Eight freaking years now! She has definitely had some ups and downs but I love her positivity. She and her husband Chris have a blended family of 7 children (5 full-time and 2 part-time). Chris and Jess have a fantastic relationship with her oldest daughter’s biological father (Gabe) and his family. Gabe and his wife are actually their best friends so this is definitely a good example of co-parenting on YouTube! I also find Jess to be super relateable because she is “real” and young.

Our Gathered Nest: This is a family living in the Southern United States with 7 kids. They have a blended family of biological and adopted children. I only discovered them recently and have been binging on their channel. I love how positive and real their story is as well. Adoption is something I have always been interested in so this is probably why I am so drawn to them. The video I linked is about a year and a half old, so the twins weren’t born yet, leaving them with “only” five kids in the video, but it is a great summary of how their family came to be!

Violin MD: This is the Q&A / vlogging channel of a pretty, young, compassionate female doctor in Ontario, who is currently finishing up her first year of residency in internal medicine at a major teaching hospital. She has recently started a series of on-call vlogging videos, which is a 26 hour hospital shift! She has explained how the medical system works in a lot of different scenarios and has brought a unique perspective to the vlogging community! She was recently named one of YouTube’s Rising Stars.

This is how we Bingham: This is another family daily vlogging channel, based out of Utah. They have four children in the home and another who visits, but lives predominately with her mother in Cali. I love their videos and they are family friendly (actually, all the channels I am recommending are), and Mormon (like me!). I love their closeness with the extended family and because the dad Brandon travels for work, you often get super cool footage, like swimming with sharks in Tahiti!

Money After Grad: Money After Grad / Bridget Casey is a personal finance blogger that I have been following for a couple of years now. Her videos all used to be about PF issues, but since she announced her pregnancy, she has been blending those with family update videos. She did pregnancy updates and now releases videos about her adorable little baby and adventures in solo Mommyhood as a self-employed person (this is her first child and she is not with the Daddy). Her daughter is now 6 months and I just watched that update video! She still does financial education videos as well.

Gardner Quad Squad: I have been watching this family on YouTube since their viral announcement that they were expecting quadruplet girls. The kids were conceived through IVF and although doctors gave them about a 40% chance of conceiving one child, both eggs “took” and then split, to give them two sets of identical twins! They used to be daily vloggers but have dropped down to once a week. They are also a Mormon family out of Utah and “vlogger besties” with the Binghams, so you will see them in each other’s videos from time to time.

I hope you enjoy checking out some of these channels. I will get back to my regular book reviews shortly, I just felt like writing a little something different tonight!


BDSM Books … where do I start?!

I can’t quite remember how I stumbled into my first erotic romance / bdsm story.  I had been reading romance novels for years and remember I was watching videos about women’s self-defense and the UFC, and somehow, my googling landed me on a page about a romantic BDSM novel.  I think the male protagonist was a pro fighter, or something???

Regardless, that random stroke of chance introduced me to the world of erotica and let me just say, it was an eye-opening experience! I think this all happened a couple of years before the first book in the Fifty Shades trilogy was released, so I was a bit ahead of the fad.  Now that I have read more authors and sub-genres, I can say that I (thankfully) had a very gentle introduction to bdsm and erotica in literature, reading authors who wrote for newbies and vanilla readers.

If you were looking to try out this sub-genre, my go-to recommendation is Cherise Sinclair. In particular, start reading her Club Shadowlands series, in order.  The author is diligent in writing safe bdsm practices into her writing, repeating the mantra ‘safe, sane, consensual’ in nearly every book and writes as though her readers have no knowledge of the lifestyle. Indeed, in many of her earlier books, the female protagonist discovers bdsm right along with the reader, learning about safety and protocols in a safe environment and with the best of masters. No asshole leads allowed.  Ms. Sinclair also uses what I think of as the building blocks to the lifestyle in her books; each one introduces a new kink or activity, with the latter ones dealing with abuse in the lifestyle (not perpetrated by the hero/heroine), sadism and masochism, and TPE (total power exchange), hence, why I recommend you start with the books at the beginning of her series.

Once you are ready to dive into something with less focus on the beginner themes, or something darker, I recommend Ann Mayburn.  She is currently my favourite author; some of her series are misses for me, but I absolutely LOVE the ones that I do like, in particular Submissives’ Wish and Iron Horse MC (motorcycle club).

Both of these authors are clearly knowledgeable about the lifestyle, with practical experience. Their characters are clear-headed, and consenting adults, any themes of abuse are along the lines of “bad guy makes a play and gets defeated at the end of the book”.  So while abusive scenes may be hard for some readers to digest, I promise it is not in our hero and heroine’s relationship. Also, both of these authors have branched out from the maledom and femsub norm in the romance genre, which means you will be exposed to more varied styles, like a Domme and male sub or two male doms and a female sub in a menage relationship.

The final author I would recommend here I have already written about in a previous post, and that is Joanna Wylde.  While I don’t consider her MC series to be bdsm, her outlaw biker protagonists are Alpha to the extreme, and tend to be rather domineering.  She also writes about explicit sex, so I consider her to be more of an erotica writer than a romance one.  I am a fan of her Reapers MC world and am eagerly awaiting the first book in her Silver Valley series.  Actually, Silver Bastard comes out in 4 days, so look for a review of it next week.

That’s it m’dears, and if you are new to erotica or just wondering what all this Fifty Shades hoopla and debate is about, these are some great, educational, fictional stories to start off with, and learn a bit more about what some of your neighbours are doing behind closed doors.  You can leave questions for me in the comments section if you want to, and if you need help figuring out series orders, I’m your gal.


Enigma by Eric Walters – A review


If you have never heard of Canadian author Eric Walters, you must live in a cave and have never been a child.

He is a former teacher from Toronto who started writing to inspire his students and hasn’t stopped since. The guy churns out amazing novels for 8-14 year olds at an amazing rate. I first experienced his brilliance more than a decade ago in seventh grade, when we read several of his books. He promptly became my favourite author and even as an adult, I go back to re-read the occasional standalone or newest addition to a series.

Okay, okay, I should be writing a review for Enigma, not fawning all over the guy. But I love him so much, I’m going to leave a list of his best novels at the end of this post, in case you are that youth or parent looking for some good reads.

Enigma is the sixth, and presently the most recent, installment of the Camp X series.  It follows two teenage brothers, George and Jack, and their exploits helping Allied powers during the Second World War.  The first several books take place in Canada, the fifth in Bermuda, and Enigma, in the UK.

The style of the book changes slightly, in that George and Jack really don’t seek out trouble this time around. In fact, 70% of the way through the book, lots has happened but there are no suspicious characters to be found.  Hopefully there will be one more book to tie the series off, but I enjoyed Enigma, and it certainly redirected the series after the previous book flopped.  You can see the progression of time, the boys are older and becoming more independent. The elder brother Jack is barely in this book, spending most of it at work or with his girlfriend, instead of with George and the reader.

If you are a fan of Eric Walters or the series itself, definitely make some time to read this one.  I am always impressed with the level of research Walters does, and his attempts to write a fictional tale within a historical framework.  Not many authors take the time to do this when writing for youth and it matters.

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Books I highly recommend you start with (boys and girls): The Bully Boys; Camp X series; Northern Exposures; Safe as Houses; Sketches; Shattered; Trapped in Ice; The Hydrofoil Mystery; Stars; Diamond in the Rough; Stand your Ground; Visions