My Year in Books 2018

This was another great year of reading for me, but it was also a reflective year where I re-read a lot of books; I crave the comfort and predictability, especially when other parts of my life feel out of control. Some are series that I reread yearly, like A Discovery of Witches or the Harry Potter series, or ones that I reach for every few years, like the Divergent series or the Hunger Games. Regardless, I’m happy with the books I read in 2018, and I’m very excited to get through my enormous TBR pile in 2019!

It’s no secret that I really love Goodreads. The ads are irritating, but it’s the best tool available for tracking books read and reviews written. The only books I don’t track are the ones I read as research for my book, mostly because people would think that I’ve lost my mind or that I’m a serial killer or something. And I love that every year they create a ‘year in books’ overview so that you can reflect on the past year. Below is my Year in Books, or you can visit the interactive one here. (Previous ones are here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013)

2018 goodreads year in review for ashley fisher on ashleyfisher.ca

How was your 2018 reading year?

Ashley Fisher

About Wonderland Media

Wonderland Media was created to provide startups, businesses, and bloggers with a resource to help them meet their goals. We are digital storytellers, using your unique story to connect potential customers with your brand. After diving deep into your business, we will craft a unique multi-platform marketing campaign that will best meet your short- and long-term business goals. Best of all, we will use quantifiable data gathered throughout the campaign so that you can see exactly how we are positively influencing your business.

We specialize in: social media marketing & community management, event planning & publicity, digital marketing (including Pay-Per-Click & ethical SEO), content generation, and graphic design.

About Ashley Heinaranta

Throughout her decade in various marketing roles, Ashley has guided countless businesses through the muddy waters of creating an “online presence”. With experience in branding, consulting on business and marketing plans, graphic design, and digital marketing, she is a powerhouse of knowledge and experience. Ashley loves to work with start ups, bloggers, and small business owners, as well as established businesses and brands. No project is too small for her, and she loves the unique challenge that every project presents.

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang {Book Review}

The Impossible Girl was the featured book in my adult October Once Upon a Book Club box, and I was so excited to see it! I have wanted to read this book for months, since the first time I heard about it. I’m not as far behind as you’d think with this review—Once Upon a Book Club ships mid-month, and due to delivery delays with Canada Post, I didn’t receive the box until mid-November.

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.

Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens—dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.

Cora’s specialty is not only profitable, it’s a means to keep a finger on the pulse of those searching for her. She’s the girl born with two hearts—a legend among grave robbers and anatomists—sought after as an endangered prize.

Now, as a series of murders unfolds closer and closer to Cora, she can no longer trust those she holds dear, including the young medical student she’s fallen for. Because someone has no intention of waiting for Cora to die a natural death.
— Goodreads

When I first heard about this book, I had to Google resurrectionists to see if they actually existed—and they did, but they were more commonly known as body-snatchers on this side of the Atlantic. Not as charming or romantic as resurrectionist, so I can see why Lydia Kang went with the British wording.

There isn’t a lot I can tell you about this book that isn’t a) a dead-ass spoiler, or b) lifted from the description of the book, but I can tell you that this book is utterly fascinating and bewildering. Frequently, I found myself Googling things in the book—and then subsequently falling down the rabbit hole—so I learned so much while reading it.

Because of the delivery delay (that totally wasn’t Once Upon a Book Club’s fault!) I missed the discussions almost entirely, but between the Googling and the gifts, I really enjoyed the experience of reading The Impossible Girl!

My rating: 5 stars.

Ashley Fisher

About Wonderland Media

Wonderland Media was created to provide startups, businesses, and bloggers with a resource to help them meet their goals. We are digital storytellers, using your unique story to connect potential customers with your brand. After diving deep into your business, we will craft a unique multi-platform marketing campaign that will best meet your short- and long-term business goals. Best of all, we will use quantifiable data gathered throughout the campaign so that you can see exactly how we are positively influencing your business.

We specialize in: social media marketing & community management, event planning & publicity, digital marketing (including Pay-Per-Click & ethical SEO), content generation, and graphic design.

About Ashley Heinaranta

Throughout her decade in various marketing roles, Ashley has guided countless businesses through the muddy waters of creating an “online presence”. With experience in branding, consulting on business and marketing plans, graphic design, and digital marketing, she is a powerhouse of knowledge and experience. Ashley loves to work with start ups, bloggers, and small business owners, as well as established businesses and brands. No project is too small for her, and she loves the unique challenge that every project presents.

The Okanagan Valley Wine Region is My First Love (sorry, family)

The BC wine scene has flourished since the 1970’s when fruit orchards were swapped out for vineyards en masse, and it’s really been in the last 10 years that it has become a powerhouse producer in the New World. From huge producers like Mission Hill, to boutique wineries like Liquidity (a favourite of mine!), the Okanagan Valley is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the quality, variety, and price of it’s wines.

BC Wine Map Okanagan Valley Wine Region on AshleyFisher.ca

It’s, like, really important to the Canadian wine industry.

The Okanagan Valley contains 84% of the vineyards in British Columbia, and is the second largest wine growing region in Canada (after the Niagara Peninsula). The entire valley stretches over 250 kilometers, from 50th Parallel Estate in Lake Country in the north, to Lariana Cellars in Osoyoos to the south (where you can literally see across the Canada-US border), the valley contains over 182 wineries—and new ones are opening every year.

Summerland Wineries in Okanagan Valley Wine Region on AshleyFisher.ca

Sub-regions

There are seven sub-regions within the Okanagan Valley wine growing region, and each one has a distinct micro-climate that influences the flavours of the grapes grown. These regions are informal, and not officially recognized as sub-appellations, but the divisions are used by the industry nonetheless. From north to south, the regions are:

  • Kelowna/Lake Country

  • Peachland/Summerland

  • Naramata Bench/Penticton

  • Okanagan Falls

  • Oliver

  • Golden Mile Bench

  • Osoyoos

In January and February, we’ll explore the individual sub-regions in depth, so stay tuned!

Burrowing Owl winery in Okanagan Valley wine region on ashleyfisher.ca

Varietals and Availability

Like many wine growing regions in the New World, the Okanagan Valley almost exclusively grows noble grapes. The difference between many New World regions and the Okanagan Valley are that less than 40% of the wines made here are available outside of Canada, and even then the international exporters pretty much begin and end with the powerhouse Mission Hill Estates brands. With most wineries you are able to order their wines by the case online, although international shipping will vary from winery to winery.

White Varietals

  • Pinot Gris

  • Chardonnay

  • Gewürztraminer

  • Riesling

  • Sauvignon Blanc

  • Pinot Blanc

  • Ortega

  • Ehrenfelser

Red Varietals

  • Merlot

  • Pinot Noir

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Cabernet Franc

  • Syrah

  • Gamay Noir

  • Maréchal Foch

  • Petit Verdot

There are smaller wineries that are playing around with some of the less-common grapes, and Viognier is fast becoming a popular varietal to grow, especially south from OK Falls to Osoyoos because the heat helps develop the flavours beautifully. (I blogged about my love of Viognier here).

Okanagan Falls Winery in the Okanagan Valley wine region on Ashleyfisher.ca

Climate

Although micro-climates exist throughout the Okanagan Valley, officially the climate is categorized as a continental climate. This is tempered by the deep Okanagan Lake, as well as the surrounding lakes found throughout the region. Thanks to the Cascade and Coast Mountains, a rain shadow effect shields the Okanagan Valley from the abundance of rain experienced on the coast. Because of the lowered annual rain yield, irrigation throughout the region is a must—in most cases, vineyards choose to tap into local water sources (such as glacial water) rather than utilizing the surrounding cities’ drinking water sources.

The winters are moderate and short in length, while the growing season is quite long. In the height of the growing season, temperatures are hot—often hitting highs of 30 degrees Celsius and higher. This is the main reason that Okanagan Valley white wines are often described as “sunshine in a bottle”; the high temperatures produce sweeter, fruitier grapes, resulting in bright, flavourful wines.

Conclusion

I can’t recommend the Okanagan Valley enough to wine lovers, wine explorers, or people that just want a visually stunning vacation. My husband has family in Oliver, so we are spoiled by choice when it comes to visiting the wineries in person, and we’ve thoroughly explored the Naramata Bench, Oliver, and Osoyoos sub-regions. I’m entirely biased, but I challenge you to find a wine region that I will love more than the OKV!


A big thanks to Wine BC for the photos in this post, and for the reference material. If you’re planning a trip to British Columbia to experience the wine regions, I highly recommend using their trip planning resources.

Ashley Fisher

About Wonderland Media

Wonderland Media was created to provide startups, businesses, and bloggers with a resource to help them meet their goals. We are digital storytellers, using your unique story to connect potential customers with your brand. After diving deep into your business, we will craft a unique multi-platform marketing campaign that will best meet your short- and long-term business goals. Best of all, we will use quantifiable data gathered throughout the campaign so that you can see exactly how we are positively influencing your business.

We specialize in: social media marketing & community management, event planning & publicity, digital marketing (including Pay-Per-Click & ethical SEO), content generation, and graphic design.

About Ashley Heinaranta

Throughout her decade in various marketing roles, Ashley has guided countless businesses through the muddy waters of creating an “online presence”. With experience in branding, consulting on business and marketing plans, graphic design, and digital marketing, she is a powerhouse of knowledge and experience. Ashley loves to work with start ups, bloggers, and small business owners, as well as established businesses and brands. No project is too small for her, and she loves the unique challenge that every project presents.

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams {Book Review}

I bought this book shortly after it was released in July, but because of my aforementioned addiction to the Throne of Glass series, this was pushed by the wayside until after I finished The Glass Ocean. And boy, was it worth the wait.

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Willaims
New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings us the blockbuster novel of the season—an electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power, and redemption set among the inhabitants of an island off the New England coast . . .

In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl from the margins of high society, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda’s catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools.

But beneath the island’s patrician surface, there are really two clans: the summer families with their steadfast ways and quiet obsessions, and the working class of Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who earn their living on the water and in the laundries of the summer houses. Uneasy among Isobel’s privileged friends, Miranda finds herself drawn to Joseph Vargas, whose father keeps the lighthouse with his mysterious wife. As the summer winds to its end, Miranda’s caught in a catastrophe that will shatter Winthrop’s hard-won tranquility and banish Miranda from the island for nearly two decades.

Now, in the landmark summer of 1969, Miranda returns at last, as a renowned Shakespearean actress hiding a terrible heartbreak. She begins a fierce, inexorable quest for justice for the man she once loved . . . even if it means uncovering every last one of the secrets that bind together the families of Winthrop Island.
— Goodreads

This is the second book by Beatriz Williams that I’ve read, the first being The Glass Ocean, which she wrote with two other women, so I wasn’t sure how this book would be. But this is one of the standout books of 2018 for me, and I’m still chapped that it didn’t win in it’s category for the Goodreads awards.

Miranda is a very complex character, but one that you can’t help but love. She isn’t perfect, but she is portrayed so realistically that I feel like she is one of my great-aunts. Her journey was both uplifting and heartbreaking, and by the end of the story I wanted nothing more than to hug her and tell her she’s amazing.

My rating: 5 stars, no question.

Ashley Fisher

About Wonderland Media

Wonderland Media was created to provide startups, businesses, and bloggers with a resource to help them meet their goals. We are digital storytellers, using your unique story to connect potential customers with your brand. After diving deep into your business, we will craft a unique multi-platform marketing campaign that will best meet your short- and long-term business goals. Best of all, we will use quantifiable data gathered throughout the campaign so that you can see exactly how we are positively influencing your business.

We specialize in: social media marketing & community management, event planning & publicity, digital marketing (including Pay-Per-Click & ethical SEO), content generation, and graphic design.

About Ashley Heinaranta

Throughout her decade in various marketing roles, Ashley has guided countless businesses through the muddy waters of creating an “online presence”. With experience in branding, consulting on business and marketing plans, graphic design, and digital marketing, she is a powerhouse of knowledge and experience. Ashley loves to work with start ups, bloggers, and small business owners, as well as established businesses and brands. No project is too small for her, and she loves the unique challenge that every project presents.