"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Remembering Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy (Wikipedia)
I don't know about you, but it seems that we have seen the passing of a fair number of authors lately.  I recall Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are), Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), Stephen Covey (Seven Habits of...) , Donald J. Sobel (Encyclopedia Brown), Nora Ephron (screenwriter), and now Maeve Binchy (Minding Frankie).  

For your information, here is a link to a column written in the Telgraph about the passing of Maeve Binchy:


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Introducing: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Author:  Margot Livesey
Published: June 2012
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 420
Genre: General Fiction
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by TLC Book Tours and the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  The opinion expressed here is my own.
"Taken from her native Iceland to Scotland in the early 1950s when her widower father drowns at sea, young Gemma Hardy comes to live with her kindly uncle and his family. But his death leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and she suddenly finds herself an unwelcome guest. Surviving oppressive years at a strict private school, Gemma ultimately finds a job as an au pair to the eight-year-old niece of Mr. Sinclair on the Orkney Islands—and here, at the mysterious and remote Blackbird Hall, Gemma’s greatest trial begins.
A captivating homage to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane EyreThe Flight of Gemma Hardy is a sweeping saga that resurrects the timeless themes of the original, but is destined to become a classic all its own." (TLC Book Tours)

The Flight of Gemma Hardy is so much like Jane Eyre, which I loved!  I am hoping though, that Margot Livesey has some new twists on this modern age version, otherwise it won't feel original.  Have you read The Flight of Gemma Hardy?  Is it exciting and new or a modern "copy" of an incredible original?

Review to follow soon!

Margot Livesey is the acclaimed author of the novels The House on Fortune Street, Banishing Verona, Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, Criminals, and Homework. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vogue, and The Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. The House on Fortune Street won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Livesey was born in Scotland and grew up on the edge of the Highlands. She lives in the Boston area and is a distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College.

Introducing: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2012 Man Booker Prize Long List Announced

The following 12 books were recently announced as being the final "long list" competitors for the 2012 Man Booker Prize:

The Yips by Nicola Barker
The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman
Philida by Andre Brink
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
Skios by Michael Frayn
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
Umbrella by Will Self
Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
Communion Town by Sam Thompson 

Life of Pi Movie Trailer

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Sixes by Kate White

The Sixes
Author:  Kate White
Published: June 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 384
Genre:  mystery
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by TLC Book Tours and the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  The opinion expressed here is my own.

"Right after Phoebe Hall’s long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she’s falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, she jumps at the offer to teach in a small private college in Pennsylvania run by her former boarding school roommate. But something evil lurks behind the quiet campus cafés and leafy maple trees. When the body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, disturbing accusations begin to surface about abuses wrought by a secret campus society known as The Sixes. Haunted by memories of her own school days, Phoebe launches a private investigation, and soon finds herself in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive. Because with the truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered . . . and 
starting over may be a crime punishable by death." (TLC Book Tours)

My Review:

I avoid horror stories, especially in film, but when I picked up The Sixes by Kate White, I was excited to find this story is not only a bit of a mystery, but also a nail-biting, blanket grabbing, stay awake because you can't get it out of your mind, kind of thriller!!!  

When Phoebe joins the teaching staff at a small college in Pennsylvania, she does it to get away from the "noise" her life had become.  Little did she know, her move would have her facing fears of the past as students are reported missing and/or found dead in the nearby river and a secret society of girls is becoming a menacing factor.  Amid break-ins, dead rats, and more terrifying scenarios; Phoebe insists on assisting her friend Gloria, the head of the college, in breaking up the group and finding answers regarding a possible serial killer on campus, even though it puts her very life in danger.

I suggest you read The Sixes with the light on and your doors locked because you'll be sure to feel Phoebe's terror in this fast-paced exciting novel!!

Warning:  passionate and frightening scenes within

Kate White is recognized internationally as not only the veteran editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, the bestselling women’s magazine in the world, but also as the critically acclaimed author of both fiction and nonfiction books. Few high-profile editors have successfully balanced the rigors of overseeing a major magazine title with a thriving and independent writing career.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Angel's Tip by Alafair Burke

Angel's Tip
Author:  Alafair Burke
Published:  June 2012
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Edition:  Paperback
Pages:  368
Source:  Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for this complimentary copy.  The opinion expressed in this review is my own.
"Acclaimed thriller writer Alafair Burke delves into the underworld of the Manhattan nightclub scene inAngel’s Tip. Burke is the daughter of crime fiction superstar James Lee Burke, creator of Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux, prompting the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to proclaim that “this fast-paced-but-human thriller proves that writing talent is genetic.” A superb crime novel featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher (“a strong female protagonist in the tradition of Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski and Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone” —Boston Globe),Angel’s Tip follows Ellie’s investigation into the murder of a young college student, quite possibly by a member of New York’s young moneyed elite, and fans of Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter, Harlan Coben, and Sue Grafton will most definitely want to trail along." (from TLC Book Tours)
My Review:
I love a good mystery, particularly one that keeps me guessing as to who the "bad guy" is and Angel's Tip was just that for me!  I kept thinking the original arrest of a suspect was just too "pat".  It doesn't happen that easily nor that quickly, and I was right.  But Alafair Burke is a master at keeping the reader on his/her toes, pondering and turning back pages to re-read portions as we play detective along side Ellie Hatcher.  Ellie is the only woman on her squad and only just given the promotion weeks previous to discovering a body while out jogging with her brother.  What seems coincidence becomes even less so and more of a strategy on behalf of the killer.  His ultimate goal - to snag the detective herself!

Angel's Tip feels authentic, as it would be expected to be as it is written by a former prosecuting attorney turned law professor. Alafair uses her background and the expertise of many to authenticate the scenes and strategies within Angel's Tip.  Though there are some individual cases of disappearance of single young women from which Alafair drew inspiration in plotting this novel, the story line is the result of a "what if" mentality.  What if this were to happen, how would the killer respond?  How would the detectives and reporters react?  It's like reading a good case of CSI, though better because you can experience it on your terms.

For sensitive readers:  mature content and themes

Alafair Burke is the bestselling author of seven novels, including the stand-alone thriller, Long Gone, and the Ellie Hatcher series which includes 212, Angel’s Tip, and Dead Connection. A former prosecutor, she now teaches criminal law and lives in Manhattan.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Heat Exhaustion, Sunburn and A Stranger's Choice

Last Saturday my husband and I attended the annual Street Performers Festival here in Edmonton.  It was blazing hot, 28 Celsius but I am sure it was hotter at Churchill Square! The performances were fascinating and offered great entertainment.  We watched four shows and conducted a taste test of all the green onion cake vendors, of which there were three.  The first, Green Onion Cakes, came out the best for flavour, greaselessness, and was served on a disposable plate with hot sauce and a side of sour cream (an extra 50 cents).  They know they're the best too!!  Another vendor served their rather greasy onion cakes with packets of hot sauce that sat out in the heat of the sun and no option of sour cream.  The third contestant was a close second.  They had a hot sauce very similar to vendor #1 but their onion cake wasn't as good.  No sour cream either.  Here's the winner:

As we sat eating one of these onion cakes, I noticed the girl next to us was reading a book!  I know, at the Street Performers! Sheesh!!!  I only wish I'd thought of that. ;) There are some nicely shaded areas around the square that would be nice to stretch out in with a book in hand.

So, of course, I had to ask what she was reading.  It was Brisingr!!  We spoke a bit about her choice. She'd waited to read book three in the series until she got a copy of book four to read directly afterwards.  But, she read the first two again before reading the third!  Do you do that?  I do, unless it's a lengthy series, of course!

About Bressinger:
Published September 2008
Author:  Christopher Paolini

"OATHS SWORN . . . loyalties tested . . . forces collide.

Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength—as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices— choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once-simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?" (from Amazon.ca)

I haven't read any of this Inheritance series yet; though I have seen the movie Eragon.  Have you?  Would you recommend the series?

So, after three green onion cakes, split between the two of us; a 32 oz cup of home-brewed root beer; two bottles of water (500 ml) each, four shows and a visit with a friend we ran into there; I was done.  I just couldn't take in any more.  Too hot, tired and feeling a little cranky; we made our way to the LRT  where we both fell asleep after deciding to take the train all the way to the end of the track (we'd never done it before!).  Of course, there is no end of the track to be remembered as we both slept through the trip...heads jerking as we fought it and eventually gave in...to pure heat exhaustion!  I came home and slept.

How's that for a Saturday outing?  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (Summer Smackdown)

Hardcover:352 pages
Publisher:  Harper Collins (June 2012)

Our store has what we call a "Summer Smackdown", which is, in essence, a means of promoting one special book through the summer.  We were given a few titles to choose from and Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter came out the winner.  
This title is also on tour right now with TLC Book Tours.  The following summary is from the TLC site (of which I am a participating book reviewer/blogger):
The story begins in 1962. Somewhere on a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea—blue as his eyes—and sees a vision: a slender blonde woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.
And it begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel fifty years before.
What unfolds from there is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, peopled by Jess Walter’s trademark unforgettable characters: the Italian innkeeper and his mysterious beauty; the heroically cynical film producer who once brought them together, and his idealistic young assistant; and the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers who populate their world in the decades that follow. Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is pure Jess Walter—a novel full of flawed yet utterly relatable people, all of them reaching toward some impossible goal, leading us up a rocky shoreline path toward a future both distant and utterly familiar.
A gorgeous cover, catchy title and enticing summary had me hooked.  Will this be your read of the summer?

Cover Reveal: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

It's time for another cover reveal folks.  Here goes:

I love that she is holding a book from which magical scenes emerge, lingering in the air around her!  Isn't this a beauty?

Cover Reveal: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

Here it is, Cinder fans!!  The sequel and second book in the Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet!

Love the cover!!

Read more Book Buzz as published in USA Today.  Scarlet releases next January!  As you will soon see the buzz on book blogs, the ARCs have been shipped out and I, a most delighted reader and blogger, have begun to read Scarlet.  I'll let you know soon just how amazing this sequel is!  Lots to look forward to Cinder fans!!!

Oprah Interview With Author Cheryl Strayed on Her Book WILD

Wild Webisodes: Week 6
With only one more week of reading to go, we're closing in on the end of Cheryl Strayed's Wild journey. Turn to page 232 and read along as Cheryl describes the "trail magic" she found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Then, keep watching as Oprah and Cheryl discuss how to recognize the beauty that's always around you.

Learn how you can participate in Oprah's Book Club 2.0! Then, tune in Sunday, July 22, at 11/10c for Oprah's television interview with Cheryl Strayed on "Super Soul Sunday."

WILD is a Heather's pick (meaning a guaranteed read!) at Indigo, Chapters and Coles stores across the country.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Guess What I Am Reading? Scarlett ARC

An ARC of Scarlet (the second book of the Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer just arrived at work and I am the second one on staff to have the opportunity to read it!!!  Woot!!

I'll let you know soon how I like it!!

FYI, in case you are out of the Lunar loop, Scarlett is the second in the Lunar Chronicles series, following Cinder.  Scarlet is scheduled to release next January!  How excited are you?

Friday, July 6, 2012

If Nathan Were Here by Mary Bahr

If Nathan Were Here
Author:  Mary Bahr
Published:  March 2000
ISBN 9780802852359
Category:  Kids - Reference (Life Skills 9-12 years)
Pages:  32
Source:  borrowed

"In If Nathan Were Here, author Mary Bahr gently explores the grief of a young boy whose best friend has died. With the help of an understanding teacher, a kind neighbor, and an empathetic parent, the boy finds ways to give expression to his questions and sorrow and to reach out to someone else who needs him."

What do you tell your son/daughter when their best friend passes away?  How do you console them?  A friend of one of my children died as a young teenager and, though they weren't "best" friends, it hurt none-the-less.  

I recently discovered If Nathan Were Here and was so glad to see someone has taken on this difficult subject and did so in a most thoughtful manner.  If Nathan Were Here is told from a boy's perspective as he recalls all the fun times he had with his best friend Nathan.  As he engages in various activities, even walking Nathan's dog, the memories are so strong and the pain is real.  When it becomes unbearable, he escapes to "their" treehouse.  Here he feels close to his friend, and safe, and comforted.

I highly recommend this book for parents seeking to help their child cope with the loss of a loved one, specifically a close friend.  If Nathan Were Here helps the child reader understand their feelings of loss, while acknowledging the good times that will always remain.  Definitely one worth looking for.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day!!! Day 1 of the Canadian Reading Challenge Begins Today!

Ramblings of a Daydreamer

Day 1 of the Canadian Reading Challenge begins today!!  Remembering our great nation through Canadian content or books written by Canadian authors, this meme runs all year!  To sign up, click here.

Happy Canada Day!


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