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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Casual Vacancy Takes Off in Edmonton!!!!

The big day has finally arrived!!!!

Today is the release for Casual Vacancy, the first adult novel by 
J K Rowling!!!  I can't begin to convey how much I have looked forward to reading it!  

Here's what you will likely see across the country(ies) in the bookstores!!!  These displays were front and centre this morning!

Now that I've obtained a copy, you'll understand 
if I excuse myself for a bit, right?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chock Full of Chocolate (children's cookbook)

Chock Full of Chocolate
Author:  Elizabeth MacLeod
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Published:  2005
Pages: 40
Edition:  paperback
Part of the "Kids Can Do It" series

As part of a fundraiser our store is running to assist a local school with no library to obtain books for the over 200 students, the staff are baking our hearts out.  Today is the bake sale, one of two to be held over the next two weeks.  I came across Chock Full of Chocolate, a child friendly cookbook, and chose to make the Candy-Covered Pizza as one of my entries for the bake sale.  

All the recipes within Chock Full of Chocolate are easy to make and are recommended for children ages 8 and up with the assistance of a responsible adult.  This recipe turned out very well however where the recipe stated to work the dough into a circle with your hands, I found mine to be too runny to do so, so I spread it on the pizza pan using a spatula.  Other than that, it was an easy to use recipe.  Children would love decorating the pizza with a combination of candies of their choice.  I used Skittles and Smarties and another President's Choice candy (oblong shapes).  If I were to make this again, I definitely would add colour to the icing to make it look more like pizza sauce.  

Other recipes include:
triple chocolate cookies
s'more gorp
dirt dessert

If you're looking for a user friendly cookbook to enjoy with your child/ren, Chock Full of Chocolate is a good place to start.

Allow Me to Introduce You to Author John Worsley Smith

John Worsley Simpson is a Canadian crime fiction author of four novels, the latest Missing Rebecca is on tour right now with Partners in Crime Tours.  I recently had the opportunity to interview John which for me was fascinating because I once dreamt of being a journalist and author, both of which John has accomplished.  I love mysteries and a good crime novel so I am looking forward to reading Missing Rebecca in the very near future.  In the meantime, won't you join me for a visit with John?  PS  I am in italics, John's answers are in normal type.

  • I read your favourite quote is, "If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"  ~ Albert Einstein.  Is your desk cluttered, empty, or an organized state of chaos that only you understand?  What does your answer say about you?

My desk is always cluttered, like my mind.  Both are the product of ADHD.

  • Your first novel "Undercut" was a runner-up for best first novel by the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award.  To whom did the award go?  Undercut was published in 2007 but I understand you have two previously published books.  Are they both crime fiction?  (Here John corrected me with the publication date.  Mercury Press lists Undercut as as published in 2007 but that was perhaps the paperback edition, not hardcover).  Note:  Undercut received the Harlequin Prize.

Undercut was published in 1997 and the award for best first novel went to Kathy Reichs for Deja Dead.  Undercut was the first Harry Stark novel.  There have been three subsequent novels:  Counterpoint, Shadowmen and A Debt of Death.

  • Do you consider yourself a series writer?  It seems Harry Stark "stars" in most if not all your novels.  Do you foresee Harry in future novels?

The Harry Stark series hit a small wall because my publisher, Mercury Press, in Toronto, went out of business.  I am, however, working on a fifth Stark novel, in which he has taken early retirement from the Toronto Police Service and is working as a private enquiry agent in Britain.

  • How did you find your first publisher?  Did you approach an agent first?  Would you mind describing the process in short?  Do you believe your career in journalism gave you an advantage to being published?

I was fortunate in finding a publisher.  I tried to find an agent, with no luck, and one of the ones I approached suggested I try Mercury Press directly, and they liked my book and took it on board.  The "secret" to finding an agent or a publisher is simple:  either you have a track record (and it has to be an impressive one) or you write a terrific pitch.  Expecting a kid who just graduated from university with an English degree to be able to judge what is and what is not a well-written work is expecting far too much.  Their lights go on only when they see certain magic words that suggest the book being offered is almost the same as a previous best-seller.

  • How many re-writes do you do on average before your manuscript enters the publication stage?

Novel writing IS rewriting and rewriting.  I couldn't count the number of "rewrites" that go into a novel, because it's a constant process of rewriting: a sentence is reworked several times, words are changed, characters are given new roles and so on.
  • I understand you are an editor for Bloomberg News in Toronto.  Over which section are you the editor?

I am one of the night editors for Europe for Bloomberg News.  I'm based in Toronto.

  • With whom was your first job as a journalist and what kind of assignments did you receive?  Did you have a favourite "beat"?

My first job as a journalist was with a weekly newspaper, the Perth Courier, in Perth, Ontario.  My favourite beat was court.

  • Do you see yourself varying from crime fiction?  If you were to write in another genre, I'm talking novels here, what would it be and why?

I would write children's poetry--examples of which you can find on my website http://www.johnworsleysimpson.ca.  I would also write black humour and young adult/children's literature.

  • What is your favourite genre to read?

My favourite genre varies the way all things vary to people with ADHD:  one day I read Madame Bovary in French; the next day, I read Elmore Leonard; the next day, I read about political non-fiction; the next day I read history.

  • If you were to compare your writing style to another, whose would it be like?

I would compare myself to Colin Dexter.

  • If you could meet one author, alive or deceased, who would it be and why?

I would like to meet Graham Greene and John Mortimer.

  • Describe a typical writing day in the life of John Worsley Simpson.

I don't have a typical writing day.  I write in snatches when I find the time.  Actually, I make the time, but it varies.  My latest gig is to write in Starbucks on my one-hour lunch breaks from Bloomberg.

  • Have you always had a passion for crime writing?  Please elaborate.  What is your inspiration for crime writing?

I love crime writing because I love stories.  Crime writing is all about telling stories.  I don't have much use for non-linear modern "literature."  When I read literature, with a few exceptions, it's all stuff written before the twentieth century -- Dickens, Flaubert, Thackery, Thomas Hardy:  all story tellers, not self-indulgent, self-important 30-something trendies who haven't lived long enough or hard enough to have anything to say worth reading.

  • What is your greatest passion?

My greatest passions are music and golf.  I cook, but it's not a passion.

  • What is your favourite movie and/or television series?  I'm curious to know if you watch programs like Criminal Minds, Bones or Law and Order or if you prefer comedies or something "light" to remove yourself from the "crime scene"?

My favourite movie is Chinatown.  I don't watch any commercial television.  I do watch HBO series:  Treme, Boardwalk Empire, the Sopranos, Wire.  I watch PBS (U.K. series): the likes of Frost, Morse, Lewis.  I loved to a fault Rumpole of the Bailey.

  • I truly appreciate this opportunity to better know a successful Canadian author.  Is this your first experience with a virtual tour?  What is your feedback on the process so far?

Yes, this is my first experience with a virtual tour.  I'm quite impressed with it.

Thanks again and I do hope my copy of Missing Rebecca shows up so I might have the opportunity to read it as well.  (I moved recently and wonder if it got mixed up in the mail with the move).  John kindly offered to send me another.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Missing Rebecca by John Worsley Simpson

I haven't received a copy of Missing Rebecca as of yet and I am scheduled to review this novel on the 22nd of this month.  Add to this, we just moved, so who knows where it ended up?  At any rate, I don't want to let anyone down, so I am doing a spotlight on this novel.  I very much wanted to read Missing Rebecca as I do love a good mystery/crime fiction novel and am quite disappointed to not have the opportunity before now.  However, there may be an author interview in the works, fingers crossed.  In the meantime, let me introduce you to Missing Rebecca.

Missing Rebecca
Author:  John Worsley Simpson
Published: May 2012
Publisher: Kindle, Create Space
Pages: 217
Genre:  Crime Fiction
Purchase Links:  Amazon B&N


John's latest book, his fifth novel, Missing Rebecca, is a story of death and deception. After a whirlwind romance, Liam and Rebecca marry, knowing almost nothing of each other's backgrounds. Only months later, on an afternoon shopping trip to a mall in the Buffalo, New York, suburb of Cheektowaga, Rebecca vanishes, seemingly abducted. Or did she make herself disappear? Was the marriage a sham? Was Liam a dupe? This is a novel of high crimes and dark shadows, involving the immensely profitable drug industry in which exclusive access to the market for a medication can mean billions of dollars, and holding on to that exclusivity might lead to lies, deceit, corruption, payoffs, and even murder.

Now you see why I was so excited to read Missing Rebecca!  It smells of secrecy and mystery and is written by a master crime fiction writer.  All essential ingredients for a page turner of a time, if you ask me.  Have you had the opportunity?  If so, how did you enjoy Missing Rebecca?  Please stay tuned for more. 
Psstt.... it's confirmed!!! Exclusive author interview coming September 22!!!

Meet the author:

JOHN WORSLEY SIMPSON is a crime-fiction writer. John was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, emigrated to Canada at the age of four and grew up in Toronto, He has been a reporter and editor in major newspapers and news services in North America, England and Ireland. He is married and lives in Newmarket, Ontario.

Connect with John Worsley Simpson at his websiteFacebook and Twitter.

Missing Rebecca is on a virtual book tour with Partners in Crime.  See the full schedule here:  http://www.partnersincrimetours.net/2012/06/missing-rebecca-by-john-worsley-simpson.html

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Potential of The Unfinished Garden

The Unfinished Garden
Author:  Barbara Claypole White
Published: August 2012
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Edition:  Trade Paperback ARC
Pages: 384
Source:  Many thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of The Unfinished Garden.  Receipt of this novel doesn't influence my opinion nor this review.  The opinion expressed here is my own.

The Unfinished Garden is a love story about grief, OCD, and dirt, set in the forests of North Carolina and the woodland gardens of Southern England.
James Nealy is haunted by irrational fears, inescapable compulsions. A successful software developer, he’s thrown himself into a new goal—to finally conquer the noise in his mind. And he has a plan. He’ll confront his darkest fears and build something beautiful: a garden. When he meets Tilly Silverberg, he knows she holds the key…even if she doesn’t think so.
After her husband’s death, gardening became Tilly’s livelihood and her salvation. Her thriving North Carolina business and her young son, Isaac, are the excuses she needs to hide from the world. So when oddly attractive, incredibly tenacious James speeds into her life, demanding she take him on as a client, her answer is a flat no.
When a family emergency lures Tilly back to England, she’s secretly glad. With Isaac in tow, she retreats to her childhood village, which has always stayed obligingly the same. Until now. Her best friend is keeping secrets; her mother is plotting; her first love is unexpectedly, temptingly available. And then James appears on her doorstep.
Away from home, James and Tilly forge an unlikely bond, tenuous at first but taking root with every day. And as they work to build a garden together, something begins to blossom between them—despite all the reasons against it.
My Review:

Write what you know, they say, and that is what Barbara Claypole White did when she created An Unfinished Garden.  The author put a lot of herself, her loves (gardening), her trials (raising a son with OCD), grief and more into this novel and doing so makes this story feel genuine.  Her obvious months of research are evident in the detail with which she explains OCD, health issues and gardening.  

Starting with the cover:  it attracted my attention with its bright and colourful cover art, with the title in a turquoise flourish of a font. Inside, before the novel begins, one finds two quotes representative of the nature of the novel:

"Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there." ~ Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

"Worry gives a small thing a big shadow." ~ Swedish Proverb

We meet Tilly who owns and operates a wholesale greenhouse in North Carolina, is raising a young son and is a widow trying to live with the guilt she feels over the death of her husband.  One day, while at home with her son, Tilly receives an unexpected visitor, James, who battles many demons of his own and has determined that Tilly, through her gardening expertise, is the one person who can help him to calm the turmoil of his mind.  She must design a garden for him.  But Tilly declines.  No one ever turns him down!

As Tilly and Isaac return to her home town in England to assist her mother through an injury, Tilly discovers her ex-boyfriend from high school has relocated there as well and is newly separated, with two children.  Perhaps their on-again, off-again relationship has a second chance....no make that a fourth chance?  Then James arrives, throwing an enormous curve ball into the mix.  He is determined and relentless in seeking Tilly's assistance in designing a garden for him.  But those aren't his only motives and everyone is blind to that, except, perhaps, the reader.

It's easy to feel involved in their lives as the reader gets to know Tilly and James very well.  I wanted to knock sense into both of them at times, to yell "wake up, don't you see what's going on?" Sebastian, the ex-boyfriend, just didn't do much for me at all. Sure he's handsome, wealthy, a great father and available and they have a history but I kept thinking if it didn't work before, what makes them think it'll work this time?  A relationship built on lust and "safety" can't have much of a future, can it?

Honestly, I ached for James.  I felt his pain and cringed at the thought of someone having to work their way through thought processes like his all the time.  I wanted to take the burden from him.  Obviously, I was rooting for him all along.  Who wouldn't? There's something incredibly sweet and vulnerable about him and yet he is strong and wise and very supportive of Tilly.  

As Tilly succumbs and the two work together in the garden, she teaching James the basics of pruning, weeding and finally planting, more than herbs and flowers grow in the garden.  Tilly and James learn from each other, they find balance (literal and figurative) and support from and for each other.  And I cheered! 

Too soon!  Of course, there's still Sebastian, insecurities, guilt and grief amongst the trials and perhaps it's not so easy as saying, "get over it."  OCD isn't something you just get over, nor is grief and there are other obstacles that are a hindrance, much like the poisonous adder or the nettles.  Still, I had hope.

"An unexpected thrill pounced, a longing for the surprises of spring when tender plants poked through the soil in defiance of hardiness ratings, self-seeded annuals popped up in unexpected niches and perennials died without explanation, leaving gaps for new plants.  Her garden was a place of death, of rebirth, and change, and like her life, would continue to evolve whether James loved her or not." (page 359-360)

The garden is the perfect metaphor for the change, growth, potential and obstacles the characters within An Unfinished Garden encounter.  Ever changing with the seasons, growing, blooming, resting.  All transferable to our lives.

"The English author H.E. Bates said that a finished garden is a dead garden. ...  It'll take a lifetime.  A garden's a work in progress without end." (page 363)  

But then again, so are life and love works in progress.  And as satisfying a thought that is, so is An Unfinished Garden.

Barbara Claypole White grew up in the English village of Turvey with big dreams of becoming a novelist. After a detour through women’s and medieval history at York University, she landed a job promoting London fashion. She was part of the first British Designer Show, measured celebrities in their underwear, and worked for the queen of the international rag trade, Dame Vivienne Westwood.
One day her boss sent her to New York, and she fell in love with an American professor who followed her around JFK Airport. Eighteen months later she was a faculty spouse, freelance writer, and marketing director in Champaign, Illinois, a small Midwest college town. She also started writing her first novel—a love story set against the world of eighties fashion and AIDS.
Five years passed; then Barbara learned she was pregnant, and her husband was offered a distinguished professorship at UNC Chapel Hill. The family moved to the North Carolina forest, and Barbara became a stay-at-home mom and a woodland gardener—factors that would shape her writing voice. She returned to her manuscript, took evening classes in writing at the local arts center, and slammed into another detour: her young son developed obsessive-compulsive disorder.
From that moment, fascination with mental illness framed her life. She ditched her first novel and began writing Dogwood Days, which turned into The Unfinished Garden. She also joined a nonfiction project for parents of children with invisible disabilities and blogs through the highs and lows of OCD at www.easytolovebut.com. (Her son is now an award-winning teen poet.)
Barbara is consistently drawn to the theme that people who need each other find each other, and is hard at work on her next novel…when she’s not gardening.
Connect with Barbara at her website.

Happy Birthday Agatha Christie!

The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances. 
The author of And Then There Were None was born on this day in 1890.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coming Soon but Secretive.....

I am so excited to read news of another new novel by legal thriller writer John Grisham!!!!  The above image was found on GoodReads and John Grisham's site.  Talk about vague hints!

Cover Image of The Racketeer

Water Bugs & Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Your Children

Water Bugs & Dragonflies:  
Explaining Death to Young Children
Author: Doris Stickney
Illustrator:  Gloria Claudia Ortiz Hernandez
Published: 1997
Publisher: Pilgrim Press
Pages: 26
ISBN: 978-0829816242
Source:  Borrowed

Waterbugs and Dragonflies is a graceful fable written by Doris Stickney who sought a meaningful way to explain to neighborhood children the death of a five-year-old friend. The small book is beautifully illustrtated by artist Gloria Ortiz Hernandez. (Goodreads)

I picked up this small paperback the other day and, since it is only 26 pages long, quickly flipped through it while admiring the talented illustrations by Gloria Hernandez.  Doris Stickney writes a cute little tale of a water bug community in a pond.  The bugs notice that at times some of their own climb a stem of a plant to the surface of the water, never to be seen again.  Noting this, one little water bug declares that one day he will go to the surface and come back to tell his friends what he finds.

However, the transformation he experiences, from a water bud to a dragonfly, prevents him from breaking the surface of the water to return to his friends.  He has glorious wings and he loves to soar through the air.  He is happy and knows that one day his friends will experience this too and they will understand.

While not told on a spiritual level, this story can be adapted to explain to children, whether with a religious context or not, the concept of death and moving on.  

What I like about this story is the simplicity of the concept.  It is not complex and allows children to visualize the similarities between humans and the characters in this short story.  There is a section at the back to guide parents/caregivers through explaining death in a more spiritual manner, if desired.  Overall, it is a wonderful aid to help children with the loss of a loved one.  

Smart Chicks Kick It

In person, here in Edmonton Alberta, you can see the following authors and get your book(s) signed too:

Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, 
Alllie Condie, Charles de Lint, Beth Revis, Margaret Stohl and Veronica Roth!!

Starting at 6pm, Thursday September 13th at the Chapters on the Westside, you can meet these best-selling teen authors.  There will be prizes, games and more!  Photos may be taken by volunteer staff with the author(s) of your choice.  

Line up early at 9952 - 170th Street!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not Easy to Forget The Forgetting Tree

 The Forgetting Tree
Author:  Tatjana Soli
Edition: Trade Paperback ARC
Source:  Many thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of The Forgetting Tree.  Receipt of this novel doesn't influence my opinion nor this review.  The opinion expressed here is my own.

When Claire Nagy marries Forster Baumsarg, the only son of prominent California citrus ranchers, she knows she’s consenting to a life of hard work, long days, and worry-fraught nights. But her love for Forster is so strong, she turns away from her literary education and embraces the life of the ranch, succumbing to its intoxicating rhythms and bounty until her love of the land becomes a part of her. Not even the tragic, senseless death of her son Joshua at kidnappers’ hands, her alienation from her two daughters, or the dissolution of her once-devoted marriage can pull her from the ranch she’s devoted her life to preserving.
But despite having survived the most terrible of tragedies, Claire is about to face her greatest struggle: An illness that threatens not only to rip her from her land but take her very life. And she’s chosen a caregiver, the enigmatic Caribbean-born Minna, who may just be the darkest force of all.
Haunting, tough, triumphant, and profound, The Forgetting Tree explores the intimate ties we have to one another, the deepest fears we keep to ourselves, and the calling of the land that ties every one of us together.
My Review:
I can honestly say that The Forgetting Tree was a welcome interruption of my somewhat tedious schedule.  Sure, the books I've read lately have been good but The Forgetting Tree is a step above and beyond!  It's been so easy to totally lose track of time while reading this novel by Tatjana Soli that I almost missed my bus stop today on the way home!!  

The Forgetting Tree is a story of life, of loss and love but it is more. Tatjana begins The Forgetting Tree setting the scene of a young family, working to harvest the most recent crop from their citrus orchard.  The orchard is established, old even, having been passed down through the generations and the story of the beginning of it all from the root stock of one lemon tree served as an anchor for me.  I love to garden so this novel immediately took hold of and kept my attention.  I  could relate to the labours of the harvest, the thrill of seeing and tasting the fruit thereof.  Not that I've worked in an orchard, per se, but you get the idea.

Garden and book lover, The Forgetting Tree appeals on many levels.  And, fellow book lovers, you'll enjoy this quote from page 123:  "Rereading a book was a different experience from coming upon it for the first time.  Especially if it was well-loved, like a favourite piece of music, it was capable of taking you back to a former self."  Just as re-reading a favourite book, the memories of years past linger and take you back to a time previous.  Those memories can foreshadow the future too as we see how time, events, and memories can affect an individual and family alike in this novel, spreading its tentacles wide, even unto those whose lives intersect their own.

A terribly sad event happens near the beginning and it overshadows the rest of the story.  I shed tears.  To lose a child is the saddest of events and the manner in which Claire and Forster lose young Josh is so awful and senseless.  It is a natural tendency to be protective of our children but these circumstances made Claire over-protective to the point of the children feeling imprisoned and eventually drove her husband away.  Then, alone, Claire is told she has cancer.  At the insistence of her two daughters, Claire hires an assistant, Minna, who at first seems to be an answer to prayers.  Time divulges one another's secrets and sadness, drawing these two together. Yet Minna is as mysterious as ever, as if knowing all there was to know, should that be possible, wasn't enough.

"Clare would be loyal to that mystery to the end of her days, because it was identical to the mystery of life, which one loved without ever fully comprehending it."

They learned much from each other but the lesson the most well-learned was there is "beauty in rootedness but Minna taught Claire that another kind of beauty lay in being free." (page 403)  Freedom comes in stages for Claire, as in page 227, when Claire finds she doesn't have to please anyone.  She found a bit of her freedom here.

The two tried to save each other and some might say their efforts failed while others might say they didn't.  Whatever the case, looking beyond the fire of home, the losses, and the renewing of relationships, Claire still kept a watch for Minna's return.  She offered a light to guide the way to "the beginning and the end.  Home."  I love this last part and had to share it because it touched the sentimental woman in me.  Because The Forgetting Tree reached out and touched my very soul, pulling out the sentimentalisms, I shall not easily forget this memorable tale.  Tatjana Soli brought her characters to life, beyond the words upon the page, reaching into my heart and leaving a lingering trace upon my mind I shall not forget.

Tatjana Soli's bestselling debut novel, The Lotus Eaters, was a New York Times Notable Book, a finalist for the Los Angeles TImes Book Prize for first fiction, and won the James Tait Black Prize.  She lives with her husband in Southern California.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Breaking Dawn 2 movie trailer


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Coming to Theatres: The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Yes, the very same popular author of the Twilight series, wrote The Host which is coming to theatres March of 2013!!  

While I truly enjoyed the Twilight novels, I was engrossed in The Host!  My daughter, then 17, read it twice!  I can't wait to see this on the big screen!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Coming This Fall....

Love Anthony
Author:  Lisa Genova
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster
Published:  September 2012
Pages: 320
Edition:  Hardcover
ISBN: 9781439164686

I’m always hearing about how my brain doesn’t work right. . . . But it doesn’t feel broken to me. 

Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Understanding the world from his perspective felt bewildering, nearly impossible. He didn’t speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died. 

Now she’s alone in a cottage on Nantucket, separated from her husband, desperate to understand the meaning of her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive again for Olivia in a most unexpected way. 

Beth Ellis’s entire life changed with a simple note: “I’m sleeping with Jimmy.” Fourteen years of marriage. Three beautiful daughters. Yet even before her husband’s affair, she had never felt so alone. Heartbroken, she finds the pieces of the vivacious, creative person she used to be packed away in a box in her attic. For the first time in years, she uncaps her pen, takes a deep breath, and begins to write. The young but exuberant voice that emerges onto the page is a balm to the turmoil within her, a new beginning, and an astonishing bridge back to herself. 

In a piercing story about motherhood, autism, and love, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on.
I am so excited to read Love Anthony by Lisa Genova!!!  I loved Still Alice and have Left Neglected waiting for me in a box (I just moved).  So many good books releasing this fall, perhaps this will be one of the those you top list for reading!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Only One You by Linda Kranz (children's book review)

Only One You
Author:  Linda Kranz
Published: 2006
Publisher: Cooper Square Publishing
Pages: 32
Edition:  hard cover
Source:  borrowed

There's only one you in this great big world.  Make it a better place.  Adri's mama and papa share some of their wisdom they have gained through the years with their eager son.  Their words, simple and powerful, are meant to comfort and guide him as he goes about exploring the world.  This exquisitely illustrated book explodes with colour and honest insights.  Kranz's uniquely painted rockfish, set against vibrant blue seas, make an unforgettable and truly special impression.  Only One You will inspire parents and children of all ages as they swim through the sea of life. (Amazon)

As a parent it is important to instil feelings of self-worth in our children and this book is an excellent tool to compliment that goal.  I love the easy flow of the wording and the colourful illustrations will be sure to keep your child's attention.  Excellent as a bed-time story or in a moment of need, Only One You is a quick means to reassure your special little one of his/her infinite worth.

I fell in love with this book and I am sure you will too!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards

A Cupboard Full of Coats
Author: Yvvette Edwards
Publisher: Amistad Publishing
Published: July 2012
Edition:  Trade Paperback
Pages:  277
Source:  Many thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of A Cupboard Full of Coats.  Receipt of this novel doesn't influence my opinion nor this review.  The opinion expressed here is my own.

Plagued by guilt, paralyzed by shame, Jinx has spent the years since her mother’s death alone, estranged from her husband, withdrawn from her son, and entrenched in a childhood home filled with fierce and violent memories. When Lemon, an old family friend, appears unbidden at the door, he seduces Jinx with a heady mix of powerful storytelling and tender care. What follows is a tense and passionate weekend, as the two join forces to unravel the tragedy that binds them. Jinx has long carried the burden of the past; now, she must relive her mother’s last days, confront her grief head-on, and speak the truth as only she knows it.
Expertly woven and perfectly paced, A Cupboard Full of Coats is both a heartbreaking family drama and a riveting mystery, with a cast of characters who linger in the mind and the heart long after the last page has been turned.  (TLC Book Tours)
My Review:
I like a book that makes you think and A Cupboard Full of Coats does that.  At first I found it difficult to get involved in this novel, but as the story developed I got caught up in the drama of it all.  Jinx (the protagonist and narrator) is not altogether a likeable character, with her self-centred perspectives, but she grows on you.  Lemon is the character who is fully fleshed out and in whom you can see a man with whom you'd like to converse and get to know.  He is flawed, there is no doubt and he readily concedes this, but his purpose in the novel is to help Jinx overcome her feelings of guilt in the death of her mother.  He knows things she doesn't and, though it is fourteen years later, he feels it is his duty to help her so she might heal herself and her family.  
Sometimes a decision can alter lives drastically.  Jinx, Taboo, Berris and Joy all made decisions, bad decisions, that altered everyone's lives.  As I read A Cupboard Full of Coats I experienced a vast array of emotions which certainly is a credit to first time author, Yvvette Edwards.  When an author can make you feel, see and almost taste the bitterness and the sweet, you come away from the story a little different. A bit changed yourself for having read it.  A Cupboard Full of Coats does that.
Yvvette addresses issues that are still somewhat taboo in society to speak of, including domestic violence and teenage pregnancy.  This is the life of Jinx and her family.  It's not always pretty but there is hope and in the end, that is what the readers feel.  Hope for Jinx, her son, and for Lemon.  It is a story of love.
"There were as many types of love as there were people, Lemon was right about that as well.  And my love was like Berris's, to do with ownership and rights, legal-pad-yellow love, camouflaged and cold-blooded and destructive; fine and dandy if you were a single man on the pull for a pretty, rich widow, but I was a mother." (page 219, A Cupboard Full of Coats)
Warning to sensitive readers:  some language, sex, and physical violence
Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and a Kirkus Best Book of the Year

Yvvette Edwards has lived in London all her life. She currently resides in the East End and is married with three children. A Cupboard Full of Coats, her first novel, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
TLC Tour Stops:  
Monday, August 20th: M. Denise C.
Tuesday, August 21st: Book Club Classics!
Tuesday, August 28th: BookNAround
Wednesday, August 29th: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, August 30th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]
Tuesday, September 4th: Shall Write
Wednesday, September 5th: Book Dilettante
Thursday, September 6th: My Bookshelf
Monday, September 10th: The Blog of Lit Wits
Wednesday, September 12th: Chaos is a Friend of Mine
Thursday, September 13th: Reads for Pleasure
Monday, September 17th: A Book Geek

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A New Novel by Favourite Author Lisa Genova!!!!

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Product Details
Gallery Books, September 2012
Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1439164681
ISBN-13: 9781439164686

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Quote of the Day

A man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions. 
The author of Autocrat of the Breakfast Table was born on this day in 1809.


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