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

Sunday, April 26, 2015

"We Can Get Kids Reading"

http://www.jamespatterson.com/about_we-can-get-kids-reading.php#.VT0PILqZszI

Is literacy important to you and your family?  Are you having trouble getting your kids to read or finding books that engage them?  Author James Patterson, whose books have sold over 300,000,000 copies during his career as a writer, has some advice for parents regarding getting your kids to read.




Patterson is a staunch supporter of this segment of the arts, giving away $1000000 to independent bookstores in the states.  He also rallied behind school libraries, giving $1.25 million dollars to school libraries via grants in association with Scholastic Reading Club.  Libraries may request funds for repairs or new projects, according to a news release March 9, 2015.




The message, the more your kids read, the better readers they will be.  Reading opens doors to better schools, careers, etc.  Here are a few sites that will help you entice your child to read, to find that book that hooks them into a lifetime of reading joy.  


In Canada: Indigo Books and Chapters has a Love of Reading Program which supports in need school libraries through a grant.  Schools across Canada may apply to be considered for a grant. Learn more  here.  

Here are a few sites in Canada that support building literacy:  

"For a child, the more time spent with a parent reading aloud increases his or her level of attachment, enhances a sense of security, and imparts the knowledge that their parent feels they are worthwhile people with whom to spend time." (How to Raise a Reader, 1987).  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling (book review)

Very Good Lives
Author:  J.K.Rowling
Published:  April 2015
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)
Source:  Purchased
ISBN:  9780316369152

J.K. Rowling, one of the world's most inspiring writers, shares her wisdom and advice. 

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, VERY GOOD LIVES presents J.K. Rowling's words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world famous author addresses some of life's most important questions with acuity and emotional force.

Sales of VERY GOOD LIVES will benefit both Lumos, a non-profit international organization founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to end the institutionalization of children around the world, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University. 

"We do not need magic to transform our world:  we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already."

My thoughts:

Whether graduating or facing a change in your life, Very Good Lives is the perfect pick-me-up piece of advice one could hope to receive.  Failure is a friend, not a foe and imagination can better the world.  

J.K. Rowling's Harvard Commencement speech is now in hardcover for all to benefit from.  Drawing from her personal life experiences and the teachings of such as the Greek author Plutarch, Rowling engages the reader with encouragement and enlightenment, sharing her own personal failure and struggles. Rowling outlines what made her who she is today, from writing in diners to working with a human aide organization and the horrific things she learned about those less fortunate.  Her anecdotes encourage the reader/listener to not give up nor give in.  

"As is a tale, so is life:  not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters." ~ J.K. Rowling

Highly recommended for those changing their lives.



Note from the publisher:
- J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech can be viewed online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UibfDUPJAEU
- Click here for more information about Lumos.


Language is Powerful: Share Reading With Your Children




Friday, April 24, 2015

Grit in Your Craw by Robert Luckadoo (book review)

Grit in Grit in Your Craw
The 8 Strengths You Need to Succeed in Business and in Life
Author:  Robert Luckadoo
Publisher:  Southern Flair Communications
Published:  2015
Genre:  self-help/business
Source:  a copy was provided by Cadence Group Marketing in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
ISBN:  9780990785606
Available http://www.amazon.com/Grit-Your-Craw-Strengths-Business/dp/0990785602/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


Do you have confidence, discipline and a sense of purpose?  Are you diligent, resilient, tenacious, optimistic and flexible?  We all do, and we all have what it takes to succeed.  All that¹s required is a willingness to dig deep and a personal commitment to achieving your highest goals.  And of course, a little "grit in your craw" as they say in the south. 
 You¹ll be enlightened and entertained as author Robert Luckadoo¹s life stories tug at your heartstrings and inspire you to dig deep inside yourself to find the eight strengths you need to succeed in your personal and professional life.  This book will leave you with a tear in your eye, a big southern smile in your heart, and a recharged desire to be your best and find your true purpose in life.
My Thoughts:
Lately I have been enjoyed a few business and self-help books and you'll be seeing some of the reviews here.  The latest read was Grit in Your Craw by Robert Luckadoo.  It's a quick read which reiterates a lot of what you already know but in context which makes you realize how important diligence, optimism and/or resilience (for example) really is in your personal and business life.
Luckadoo teaches there are eight strengths you can't succeed without.  He doesn't believe in luck, good or bad.  He believes you can create your own fortune and he explains how he did it using eight essential qualities: diligence, tenacity, optimism, flexibility discipline, resilience, confidence and purpose.  Luckadoo has strong Christian values that come through in his writing; but don't worry, he's not preaching to you. These values are the foundation for his success.
His mother is his first example of a role model who taught him diligence, tenacity, and perseverance...she embodied all the traits he adapted for success in his own life.  When he was still in school his father died of a sudden heart attack and his mother, who had stayed at home with the kids, went to school and got her teaching degree.  She went further and got her master's for education.  She continued on as a "postgraduate student in the WCU education administration program."  She taught her children to persevere through the trials and triumphs of life and to focus on their blessings.
A private pilot who learned how to land a Cessna without barrel rolling, even in a cross-wind; a basketball coach; former insurance sales person; geophysicist and racing cars for fun; Luckadoo has worn many hats and has overcome and accomplished a lot.  
"Carry your vision with great pride and enthusiasm.  Go into every day with an optimistic outlook, and always check your troubles at the door to your office....bring lots of energy with you."  - One of his best pieces of advice.
This isn't rocket science, in fact some of it is common to human nature.  All of it can be learned behaviour which makes this book a universal resource. Whether you are looking to succeed in business or in life, Grit in Your Craw is worth the read.






Thursday, February 19, 2015

Saying Goodbye to the Year of the Horse


 The Chinese New Year begins February 19/15, welcoming in the Year of the Sheep.  Happy New Year!!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg (book review)

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules
Author:  Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
Published: 2012 (original) Canadian publication March 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre:  fiction, general fiction, humour
  • ISBN: 9781443428262 (trade paperback)
Source:  personal copy


Readers around the world have fallen in love with the Senior League, five residents of the Diamond Retirement Home—Martha, The Genius, The Rake, Christina and Anna-Greta—who turn to a life of crime.
New owners have taken over the Diamond, making cost-cutting changes that have transformed the happy home into a dull and dreary place. The residents wonder if they wouldn’t be better off in prison! Martha gets an idea: they shall commit a crime that will ensure conviction—some type of financial crime, a small coup of some sort. They will give whatever they get to the poor and elderly. If Robin Hood could do it, so can they!
What starts as a robbery attempt at a nearby luxury hotel escalates to art theft from a major museum, the culprits armed only with bolt cutters and high-tech walkers. The Mafia gets wind of these robberies, and suddenly the underworld has its eye on both the stolen paintings and the handiwork of The Genius. Soon the Senior League has both the law and the lawless at their heels.


My thoughts:
With all the recent cuts at their retirement home, Martha and her friends couldn't help compare their circumstances to those of prisoners.  In fact, they noted that prisoners have it better!  They get well-fed, exercise time outdoors, and access to a gym.  Considering that, these five friends decide to commit the perfect crime where no one gets hurt but that offers an opportunity to better their situation with jail time!
If you're thinking this is outrageous and potentially hilarious, you're right!  The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is a wickedly funny look at the life of crime as only they can pull it off, walkers and canes and all!
An enormous hit in Sweden, The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules was published in Canada in 2014.  It has been a hit!  I highly recommend it for the writing, the well-rounded characters, humour and tension.  Pick it up and see for yourself.

#TheLittleOldLadyWhoBrokeAlltheRules  #bookreview #2014publication





Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde (book review)

The Language of Hoofbeats
Author:  Catherine Ryan Hyde
Published: December 2014
Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing
Pages:  342
Genre: Fiction 
Edition:  Trade paperback
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC book tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a story of the heartbreak and healing power of family. New to a small town, Jackie and Paula envision a quiet life for their kids: a young adopted son and two teenage foster children, including the troubled Star. However, they quickly butt heads with their neighbor, Clementine, who disapproves of their lifestyle and is incensed when Star befriends her spirited horse, Comet. Haunted by past tragedy and unable to properly care for Comet, Clem nevertheless resents the bond Star soon shares with the horse. When Star disappears with Comet, the neighbors are thrown together—far too close together. But as the search for the pair wears on, both families must learn to put aside their animosity and confront the choices they’ve made and the scars they carry. Plumbing the depths of regret and forgiveness, The Language of Hoofbeats explores the strange alchemy that transforms a group of people into a family.

My Thoughts:

The Language of Hoofbeats is a tender slower read that explores family and relationships in a story where a lesbian married couple with an adopted son and two foster children move to a small town where Paula practices large animal veterinary care and Jackie is an artist who works out of their home.  One of their foster children, Star, hasn't been with them long enough for either Paula nor Jackie to really get to know but she comes from a home of neglect with a mother who was institutionalized with mental illness which brought Star into the foster care system.

Moving can be difficult and each member of this family has their struggles with the adjustments to rural life.  Star especially has a hard time of it until she meets Comet, the horse who lives in a small corral across the road from their new house.  Star and Comet take to each other instantly but Clementine, the horse's owner objects strongly to having "that girl" interfering with her horse. There's a long history behind Clementine's bitterness and it evolves through the book in chapters told in her voice alternating with chapters told in the others' voices.  

When Clementine refuses to sell Comet to the family, Star takes action and during the night sneaks out to set Comet and herself free.  Their disappearance is the point from which the novel evolves.

The Language of Hoofbeats explores the love of a girl for a horse and just how far one is willing to go to find that which they seek.  It's a story of love, acceptance, understanding and sorrow and is sure to touch your heart and draw a tear.  Catherine Ryan Hyde, as in Pay it Forward, reaches into the very soul of the characters whom she writes about and for whom she writes in this new novel, The Language of Hoofbeats





Catherine Ryan Hyde is the bestselling author of twenty-four novels, including the 1999 smash hit Pay It Forward,which has been translated into more than two dozen languages, and was made into a major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment. In addition to her novels, Hyde is the author of more than fifty short stories and is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. During her years as a professional public speaker, she addressed the National Conference on Education, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with President Bill Clinton.
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Connect with Catherine

#TheLanguageofHoofbeats  













Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz (book review)

Moriarty
Author:  Anthony Horowitz
Published: December 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 304
Genre:  Mystery
Source: A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC book tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The game is once again afoot in this thrilling mystery from the bestselling author of The House of Silk, sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, which explores what really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty tumbled to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls.
Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of detective Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty—dubbed the "Napoleon of crime" by Holmes—in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls.
Days after the encounter at the Swiss waterfall, Pinkerton detective agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. Moriarty’s death has left an immediate, poisonous vacuum in the criminal underworld, and there is no shortage of candidates to take his place—including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.
Chase and Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes’ methods of investigation and deduction originally introduced by Conan Doyle in “The Sign of Four”, must forge a path through the darkest corners of England’s capital—from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the London Docks—in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty’s successor.
A riveting, deeply atmospheric tale of murder and menace, Moriarty breathes life into Holmes’ dark and fascinating world.
Available Now“The Three Monarchs”, an e-original Sherlock Holmes short story from Anthony Horowitz, including a preview chapter from Moriarty (on sale: December 9th). In “The Three Monarchs”, Sherlock Holmes and James Watson come together once again to uncover the motive behind a robbery gone awry. When an elderly man shoots an intruder he finds in his home, it seems like a clear case of self-defense. What’s not so clear is why the robber was there….Get your copy now!
My Thoughts:
Who doesn't love Sherlock Holmes?  So if you do, you know that Moriarty is his chief enemy... the criminal mastermind Holmes is determined to see behind bars.  In Horowitz's tale, Holmes and Moriarty are both dead after a struggle at a cliff's edge.  With Moriarty's death, the way is clear for other criminal elements to make a stronghold in London and America is not too far a departure point for one such criminal.

A few short days following the demise of Holmes and Moriarty, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe on the trail of an American criminal whom he was assigned to bring back to America to face charges.  Chase soon meets Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, a "student" in the ways of Sherlock Holmes, and together they scour London in search of the wanted criminal. 

Horowitz is a phenomenal writer!  I was drawn in from the start and let me just say, the climax is a jaw dropper!!!  It's been a long time since a book has had that effect and I was taken off guard by the twist that took my breath away!! That's a sure sign of success.

I highly recommend Moriarty to all detective, mystery, and Sherlock Holmes fans.  You will not be disappointed.  5/5!!  Let me know if your jaw drops.  ;)

Meet the Author:
Anthony Horowitz is the author of the international bestseller The House of Silk and the New York Times number one bestselling Alex Rider series for Young Adults. As a television screenwriter he created both Midsomer Murdersand the BAFTA-winning Foyle’s War, both of which were featured on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery. He regularly contributes to a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines, and in January 2014 was awarded an OBE for his services to literature. He lives in London.
Find out more about Anthony at his website and connect with him on Twitter.

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