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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

CanLit Scotia Bank Giller Prize Long List Announcement

The long list for the Giller Prize nominations is now posted for viewing at:

Do you have any favourites listed here?  I've read Twelve Drummers Drumming, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, and Forgotten.  I have to say I enjoyed all three, though in retrospect, the most memorable might be The Flight of Gemma Hardy mostly because of its similarity to Jane Eyre which I really do love!!

A move and book withdrawal and cover reveal

Have you ever experienced book withdrawal?  That deep yearning to get your hands on a book, your body in relaxation mode and your mind in another world but it's just not possible?  You can see the light ahead but it's not feasible at the moment.  Well, I have experienced all of this and more in the last month.

I'm back in the cyber world again.  In case you noticed my absence....anyone.....we have just completed our move to a new house.  Amidst packing, cleaning, showings and sale of property thereof, purchase of current property, and the ensuing work involved in all of this, I have missed books!!!!  My life remains packed in boxes, including my many books and other essentials.  At 11pm last night we could officially call it done.  Now I can get back to life slowly, one box at a time.  I yearn to just sit and read a book.  Book withdrawal and lack of sleep are my two major things that need addressing.

In the near future, I will have a review for Following Atticus and others that have crept up on me in my absence.  My apologies to all, but now I am back!

And now..... 
a moment you and I have been anxiously waiting for.......

Cover Reveal for The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling's first book written for adults:

Have you pre-ordered your copy?

An Introduction to The Baker's Daughter

It is August 30th and my copy of The Baker's Daughter hasn't arrived so rather than write it off, so to speak, I thought I'd post an introduction to what I think will be an enticing read.


In 1945, Elsie Schmidt was a naive teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she was for her first kiss. She and her family have been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie’s doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door would put all she loves in danger.
Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine. Reba is perpetually on the run from memories of a turbulent childhood, but she’s been in El Paso long enough to get a full-time job and a fiancĂ©, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba feels that lines can often be blurred.
Reba’s latest assignment has brought her to the shop of an elderly baker across town. The interview should take a few hours at most, but the owner of Elsie’s German Bakery is no easy subject. Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story. For Elsie, Reba’s questions are a stinging reminder of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. And as Elsie, Reba, and Riki’s lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive. (introduction courtesy of TLC Book Tours)

Sarah McCoy is the author of the novels The Baker’s Daughter (Crown) and The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico(Random House). The Baker’s Daughter is a 2012 Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club selection and was praised as a “beautiful heart-breaking gem of a novel” by Tatiana de Rosnay and a “thoughtful reading experience indeed” by Chris Bohjalian. Sarah has taught writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She currently lives with her husband and dog, Gilbert, in El Paso, Texas, where she is working on her next novel.

Now, hasn't that whet your appetite?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar (book review)

The World We Found
Author:  Thrity Umrigar
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Published:  Trade paperback edition published July 2012
Pages:  336
Source:  A complimentary copy was supplied by Harper Perennial and TLC book tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. The thoughts expressed here are my own.
As university students in late 1970s Bombay, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta were inseparable. Spirited and unconventional, they challenged authority and fought for a better world. But over the past thirty years, the quartet has drifted apart, the day-to-day demands of work and family tempering the revolutionary fervor they once shared.
Then comes devastating news: Armaiti, who moved to America, is gravely ill and wants to see the old friends she left behind. For Laleh, reunion is a bittersweet reminder of unfulfilled dreams and unspoken guilt. For Kavita, it is an admission of forbidden passion. For Nishta, it is the promise of freedom from a bitter, fundamentalist husband. And for Armaiti, it is an act of acceptance, of letting go on her own terms.
The World We Found is a dazzling masterwork from the remarkable Thrity Umrigar, offering an unforgettable portrait of modern India while it explores the enduring bonds of friendship and the power of love to change lives.
My Review:

The World We Found reunites, against much opposition, four women of Indian descent whom time and circumstance have separated and for whom only the most tragic of circumstances will unite.  It is the story of forgiveness and love as four friends meet again and the divisions of time and circumstance are whittled away.  The world that they fought for in protests has changed, they've changed, lives have been altered in ways that are at first recognizable and yet incredibly different.  It is a touching revelation of how what once was can be revisited, friendships renewed, and lives invigorated.  

Definitely a worthwhile read, Thrity Umrigar handles what could be touchy issues such as homosexuality, religions, and cultures with care, easing the reader through without offence, making us love her ability to do so while threading the story easily into a fabric that is warm and endearing. Without sugar coating the violence of the Muslim/Hindu war, nor the student uprisings, Umrigar visits the world that was and contrasts it with the world as it has become.  The reader is made aware of those situations that helped form each character, and we are allowed to see a glimpse of their very souls, to share in their passions and their fears, and to know them as we would our friends, only better.  The World We Found is like a well made quilt, gathered together and assembled with love, piece by piece coming into one, making a whole that represents the lives and loves of her characters, much like the quilts grandma made. 
Thrity Umrigar is the author of three other novels—The Space Between UsIf Today Be Sweet, and Bombay Time—and the memoir First Darling of the Morning. A journalist for 17 years, she is the winner of the Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University and a 2006 finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. An associate professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, Umrigar lives in Cleveland.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Gemma's Journey Gives Her Wings and Grounds Her in The Flight of Gemma Hardy

The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Author:  Margot Livesey
Published:   2012 (this edition)
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Pages:  443 (not including acknowledgments, About the Author, About the Book, Read On)

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 BrontĂ«’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)

My Thoughts:

At first when I discovered The Flight of Gemma Hardy was very much like Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, I was intrigued.  In fact, that is the reason I wanted to read this novel.  Then, as I started reading, it seemed to me to be unoriginal...just a modern re-telling of a beloved classic tale.  I was impatient at chapter 10, wanting some originality.  Well, I got it!!

Though the origins of the tale, that of an orphan taken in by her uncle and then left to be raised in a house of hatred following his death, is almost a mirror image of Jane Eyre's story, Margot Livesey soon proved that she could spin a tale from modest beginnings and take it on a journey similar to the original and yet quite different.  You could liken The Flight of Gemma Hardy to Jane Eyre, but while Jane comes off as pure and righteous, Gemma Hardy takes actions that Jane would have frowned upon. Knowing that the actions she takes hurt people she cares about, they serve an ultimate purpose for Gemma and she carries through because she sees no other way.  It is, she believes, her only chance for true discovery.

While her traits are less admirable than her predecessor, the reader cannot help but relate to this young woman with spunk and an unyielding spirit.  To see this young Gemma rise above her circumstance, to accomplish her goals and to come to terms with her life and with herself, is what all of us wish to do.  In Gemma we see ourselves, not perhaps as we'd like to, but perhaps as we would be should we be found in similar circumstance.

In no other hands, would this tale of Gemma Hardy, which is likened unto a modern Jane Eyre, be given justice.  Margot Livesey's writing is fluid, full of emotion and vivid in its portrayals.  In summary, I loved The Flight of Gemma Hardy!  If you are a Jane Eyre fan, give The Flight of Gemma Hardy a place in your life.  The likeness will draw you in and the story will take you away.

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.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Blogger Hop August 10/12

Book Blogger Hop

Who is your go-to author when you are in a reading rut?

I always love Carolyn Hart, should I be in the mood for a mystery.  Her books always keep me riveted, so much so that I hate to put it down and have been known to cook and eat while reading one of hers, particularly her Death on Demand series!  Otherwise I love to read John Grisham, particularly if I need mental stimulation...he always does it for me!  

Who do you turn to when you are in a reading rut?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Flight From Berlin by David John (Book Review)

Flight From Berlin
Author:  David John
Published:  July 2012
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 384
Genre: General fiction/historical fiction
Source:  I received a complimentary copy (ARC) from TLC Book Tours and the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

August 1936: The eyes of the world are on Berlin, where Adolf Hitler is using the Olympic Games to showcase his powerful new regime. Cynical British journalist Richard Denham knows that the carefully staged spectacle masks the Nazis’ ruthless brutality, and he’s determined to report the truth.
Sparks fly when the seasoned newspaperman meets the beautiful and rebellious American socialite Eleanor Emerson. A superb athlete whose brash behavior got her expelled from the U.S. Olympic swim team, Eleanor is now covering the games as a celebrity columnist for newspapers in the States. While Berlin welcomes the world, the Nazi capital becomes a terrifying place for Richard and Eleanor. Their chance encounter at a reception thrown by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels leads them into the center of a treacherous game involving the Gestapo and the British Secret Intelligence Service. At stake: a mysterious dossier that threatens to destroy the leadership of the Third Reich.
Drawn together by danger and passion, surrounded by enemies, Richard and Eleanor must pull off a daring plan to survive. But one wrong move could be their last.
Set in America and Europe, David John’s Flight from Berlin is a masterful blend of fact and fiction, drama and suspense. A riveting story of love, courage, and betrayal that culminates in a breathtaking race against the forces of evil, it will keep you spellbound until its thrilling end. (TLC Book Tours)
My Review:
As the Summer Olympics are entering week two and everyone is glued to the television, including myself, it would be a terrific find to come upon a novel about the Olympics to keep that excitement alive.  Well, I found just the book!!

Flight From Berlin held me captivated, page by page, as the story of one man's desire to uncover the truth and reveal it to the world becomes his most dangerous "mission" ever!  Set in Germany, Britain and USA during the Olympics of 1936, wherein the world watches not only because these are the Olympics, but because they are being hosted by Germany and the already famous Hitler is rising in leadership.  He has the power to mesmerize, to create followers while secretly carrying out his personal agenda.  Meanwhile, journalist Richard Denham seeks a news story with a difference and is mistaken for a contact by someone with information that the Germans don't want released.  Denham meets and falls for the beautiful athlete turned "journalist" Eleanor, and together they find themselves running for their lives when the regime suspects Richard of holding a dossier that could seriously undermine Hitler's attempt at supremacy.

While Hitler used charisma to mesmerize the people, David John does so with the written word in Flight From Berlin.  His characters are so well developed that they come to life before your very eyes.  A fine combination of historical facts and fiction, David John weaves a tale of espionage, true courage and fine sportsmanship in this exciting story.

This is my first opportunity to read David John's work and believe me, this is an author worth watching!!

DAVID JOHN was born in Wales. He trained as a lawyer but made his career in publishing, editing popular books on history and science. In 2009 he moved to Germany to write Flight from Berlin. He lives in Seoul, South Korea, where he is researching his second novel.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Interview with Author Kate Hinderer (The Emerald Isle)

Kate Hinderer

Good day everyone!  Today My Bookshelf welcomes Kate Hinderer, author of The Emerald Isle!  She and her book are on a virtual blog tour from July 16 to August 31 and My Bookshelf is honoured to be included! The Emerald Isle has a lot to offer so I felt you just have to meet this amazing author.  Here she is:

Hey, I’m author Kate Hinderer and I’m lucky enough to be guest posting for the day as part of the blog book tour for The Emerald Isle. This book is part paranormal, part contemporary fiction and has adventure, romance, suspense, and a whole lot of sand. Shirley sent me some questions to answer about influences…

Who is your greatest influence in your writing? Is it odd if I answer my parents for this one? They aren’t writers at all, in fact initially they didn’t want me to pursue this path. A journalism major – gasp! But for better or worse, as I craft a story and then write the book I always envision them reading it. I want them to be proud of the work instead of embarrassed that their daughter writes YA novels. There are times when I’ll tweak a scene or conversation with that in mind – I think it makes my writing better as a result.

If there were one book you wish you had written, what would it be and why? Just one? I could list a dozen… The Hunger Games, My Name is Asher Lev, Wuthering Heights. But if I really had to pick one I would say A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle. It has everything I love in a book – romance, family, love, life, death, friendship, tears and laughs.

What was your favorite book as a child? I feverishly read the entire Nancy Drew series, which was followed by the Wizard of Oz series. I loved the mystery of Nancy Drew and the magical made-up place of Oz.

Did you always aspire to being a writer? Yes! I started writing short stories and novels featuring my friends in Victorian England as early as 7th grade. The love of writing firmly implanted itself within my by high school. At that point I restarted the school paper and typed out my first novel attempt. It was called A Single Yellow Rose and I thought it was brilliant. When I went off to college and my family moved houses I threw it out. I now wish I had saved it to at least show me how far I’ve come. I’m sure it was horrible.

If you have traveled, what is your favorite destination and why? I’m a huge fan of traveling. I having had much of a chance in the last couple years but I would have to say Rome is, so far, my favorite city to visit. I’ve been there three times so far and there is just something so magically wonderful about the place. I’m toying with a story idea that would take place there – a little When In Rome and Monte Carlo style story. We’ll see if that pans out onto the page.

Where is your favorite place to read? Oddly enough, I don’t think I have one. I don’t have a lot of free time, so I read when ever there is a moment of downtime. Thankfully I carry my iPhone with the Kindle app with me everywhere so I can dive into a book any time I have a few minutes. Ultimately, I’d love the chance to curl up on a coach in front of a warm fire while it snows outside and lose myself in a book. Maybe that will happen this winter.

What do you like to read? Young Adult. Young adult everything. I think something happened to me, because I often feel like the perpetual 16-year-old; well minus the awkwardness and angsty feel. Still I am in my late twenties and still love watching teen movies and reading teen books. In the YA category I tend to like things that are more contemporary. I like some paranormal, but I like it to seem at least slightly realistic. I suppose I want my ‘creatures’ to have some human qualities too. 

Do you have another book in the wings? Yup! Book two of the series is in plotting mode. I’ll knock out the writing of at least the first half during the month of August while I’m on vacation. It doesn’t have a name yet, but I can tell you Falcon will feature pretty prominently in this one. I’m also a couple chapters into two other books that I’m considering. They are both contemporary fiction and have been swirling in my mind for a couple years.

Ideally, I’d love to see the second book of the Fascination Island series out around the New Year and a contemporary YA book out next spring. We’ll see how all of that goes with my other freelance projects and my upcoming move halfway across the country.

You can grab your own copy of the book at http://www.amazon.com/Emerald-Isle-Fascination-Island-ebook/dp/B008LG78XW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343598186&sr=8-1&keywords=kate+hinderer (Amazon), http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-emerald-isle-kate-hinderer/1112112881?ean=2940014610056 (Barnes & Noble), and https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/179434 (Smashwords).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

View the List of Possible Long Listed Books to be Nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize


Read the article and cast your vote for your favourite!  I've read only two of the nominees.  How many have you read?


  1. Longlist announcementAugust 28, 2012
  2. Shortlist announcementOctober 1, 2012
  3. Winner announcementOctober 30, 2012

Browse Inside Flight from Berlin: A Novel by David John

Click on the link below to browse inside:


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