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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Room Nominated for Trillium Award!!

CONGRATS to Emma Donoghue! Her incredible novel ROOM is a finalist for the 2011 Trillium Book Award.

Donoghue previously won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for "Room" and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Governor General's Award.

Have you read Room yet?

New Children's Publishers: Pajama Press

Pajama Press logo 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (May 31, 2011) - Accomplished children’s publisher Gail Winskill and successful industry veteran Richard Jones are joining forces to create an exciting new publishing imprint, Pajama Press.

Pajama Press’ goal is to produce children’s books that will be at home in the bookstore, classroom, library and, most of all, in the hands of children everywhere (pajamas optional!). Pajama Press will be searching for stories that children want to read—from picture books to young adult novels. The program will be built around authors and illustrators, and in showcasing their talents and marketing them wisely, Pajama Press hopes to attract and develop new talent.

The Fall 2011 debut season will include titles from award-winning authors Deborah Ellis, Marsha Skrypuch and Rob Laidlaw. In future seasons, Rebecca Bender, Alma Fullerton, Karen Patkau, Celia Godkin, Connie Brummel Crook, Tara Anderson, Charles Ghigna, Dean Griffiths and Monica Kulling are on board with engaging and innovative picture books, novels, and nonfiction. Over the next three years, Pajama Press will publish ten to twelve new titles per year.

In the words of Publisher, Gail Winskill, “We will put our resources into producing great books. Small can be better, and that’s exactly what we intend to achieve with Pajama Press.”

Visit the website: www.pajamapress.ca and curl up with one of Pajama Press’ newest titles.

For more information please contact:

Deborah Rush, Publicity
306 591-0896
Gail Winskill, Publisher

Richard Jones, President

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted byMiz B of Should Be Reading.

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I am currently reading three novels thus I am sharing a teaser from all three:

It is one of my faults, that though my tongue is sometimes prompt enough at an answer, there are times when it sadly fails me in framing an excuse; and always the lapse occurs at some crisis, when a facile word or plausible pretext is specifically wanted to get me out of painful embarrassment. ~ page 251, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
*If only she hadn't followed Mr. Rochester......

The truck and trailer were gone.  Our home was gone.  All my belongings, except what I had in my car, were gone.  Panic. ~ page 203, A Girl's Guide to Homelessness by Brianna Karp

"What is this mysterious voice telling you now?" Tsehye casually asked Tadesse.  When Tadesse didn't reply, Tsehye offered, "Is it telling you, 'Don't move or speak, because if you do, the snake will attack you?" ~ page 188, A Time To...A Baby Boomer's Spiritual Adventures

What do you think?  Have any of the three here sparked an interest in the novel?  If so, which one?
 Please leave a link to your "teaser" with a comment.  I love a good sneak peak!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In My Mailbox (Just Received) 5/30/11

In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Here are my newest contributions to My Bookshelf:

Books for Review:

A New Name for Worthless:  A Hero is Born
by Rocky Shepheard 
I received this book from the author and Bostick Communications

From the back cover: Romp through the wilds on a good old-fashioned adventure with pals Worthless, Sly Fox and Otto. Worthless (so he's called by his no-good captor) remains chained to his rickety old doghouse yet longs to be free and loved. His best friends step in and find a way to break his chains, and their quest for a new home takes off. Times get tought, but in the end will they win all the love they are searching for, and just maybe a new name for Worthless?

You can read my review here.

False Witness
by Randy Singer
I received this book courtesy of Bostick Communications and The B&B Media Group, Inc. in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

From the back cover:  ...Clark Shealy is a bail bondsman with the ultimate bounty on the line: his wife’s life. He has forty-eight hours to find an Indian professor in possession of the Abacus Algorithm–an equation so powerful it could crack all Internet encryption. Four years later, law student Jamie Brock is working in legal aid when a routine case takes a vicious twist: she and two colleagues learn that their clients, members of the witness protection program, are accused of defrauding the government and have the encrypted algorithm in their possession. After a life-changing trip to the professor’s church in India, the couple also has the key to decode it. Now they’re on the run from federal agents and the Chinese mafia, who will do anything to get the algorithm. Caught in the middle, Jamie and her friends must protect their clients if they want to survive long enough to graduate.

Books I Won:

Ella Enchanted
by Gail Carson Levine
I won this book on fReado.

From the back cover:  How can a fairy's blessing be such a curse?  At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy's gift - the "gift" of obedience.  Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head!

But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate.  She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse - and live happily ever after.

Friends of Choice
by Linda Nelson
I won this book with fReado

From the back cover:  Karla's parents have sold the house and now she has to move. She hates the thought of moving to a new town. This will mean leaving her best friends behind. Her parents told her it was because of her Dad's job and Karla thinks they have not been fair to her. She wonders why she can't have a say in moving or where they are moving to. This whole ordeal has left her feeling angst and rebellious toward her folks.

Life Sentences
by Laura Lippman
I won this book from Book Chase and Harper Collins Publishers

From the back cover:  Author Cassandra Fallows believes she may have found the story that could become her next bestseller.  When she was a girl gowing up in a racially diverse middle-class neighborhood in Baltimore, a shy, quiet, unobtrusive child named Calliope Jenkins orbited Cassandra's circle of friends.  Later Calliope would be accused of an unspeakable crime and would spend seven years in prison for refusing to speak about it.  But by delving too deeply into Calliope's dark secrets, Cassandra may inadvertently unearth a few of her own - forcing her to reexamine the memories she holds most precious, as the stark light of truth illuminates a mother's pain, a father's betrayal...and what really transpired on a terrible day that devastated not only a family but an entire country.

My Great Deals (books I purchased):

Finger Lickin Fifteen (A Stephanie Plum Novel)
by Janet Evanovich
I purchased this as a discounted book at a local store.

"Unbucle your belt and pull up a chair.  It's the spiciest, sauciest, most rib-sticking Plum yet.  Recipe for disaster...Throw in some spice...Pump up the heat...Stir the pot...Add a secret ingredient...Bring to a boil...Warning!" (doesn't that sound saucy! wait until you read the parts I left out!)

These last two books I purchased at a garage sale:

Sundays at Tiffany's
by James Patterson

From the cover:  The author of the #1 bestseller, Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, returns with a magical story of a love that's too perfect to be real....An Imaginary Friend...An Unexpected Love...An Unforgettable Twist...

by Gail Carson Levine

From the cover:  Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted nothing more than to be pretty....A new novel set in the world of Ella Enchanted.

Fabulous coincidence to receive one and find another book written by the same author but from different sources like this!!  I am looking forward to each and every one of these books.  Notice, the first book has already had a review posted?  Go ahead, take a read. 

What did you receive, purchase, beg, borrow or find this week?  I am curious.....

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: book-to-movie adaptations

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books.  This week's question comes from Britta who blogs at I Like These Books:

"What book-to-movie adaptations have you most liked? Which have you disliked?"

My favourite book-to-movie adaptation is Julie and Julia.  I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!  Sadly, the book fails in comparison.  This is my opinion, and one I have heard echoed, but I don't care for the character of Julie in the book, which is an autobiography.  She just seems really rough around the edges.  The movie Julie is endearing though her faults are there to be seen and we like her for them.  Amy Adams acts the role impeccably, while Meryl Streep defines Julia Child!!  As soon as I could purchase a copy of the DVD, I did and then when I found the book, I purchased it too.   You may read my book review of Julie & Julia and the comparison between the movie and the book.

P.S. I Love You  is another good book that made a great movie.  There are so many more, that I could go on and on.  One that I did not enjoy so much as a movie but loved the book was Black Beauty.  I have seen different variations from cartoon to live actors, but none can compare to the depth the book offers.

What are your favourites and disappointments as books are adapted to movies?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Theme Thursdays 5/26/11 from Jane Eyre

Theme Thursdays

This is a fun weekly event hosted Kavyen at Reading Between Pages. “Theme Thursdays” will be open from one Thursday to the next and anyone can post it. The rules are simple:

A theme will be posted each week (on Thursdays)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Post it and don’t forget to mention the author and the title of the book
  • Since we may take a few days to finish a book, this event is open for one whole week
 This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

This week’s theme is – Conversation

         "Will you go in and bid Missis good-bye?"
     "No, Bessie: she came to my crib last night when you were gone down to supper, and said I need not disturb her in the morning, or my cousins either; and she told me to remember that she had always been my best friend, and to speak of her and be grateful to her accordingly."
     "What did you  say, miss?"
     "Nothing:  I covered my face with the bedclothes, and turned from her to the wall."
     "That was wrong, Miss Jane."
     "It was quite right, Bessie:  your Missis has not been my friend; she has been my foe."
     "Oh, Miss Jane!  don't say so!"
    "Good-bye to Gateshead!" cried I, as we passed through the hall and went out at the front door.
~ Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte p. 41
Young Jane is an orphan who has been living under the roof of her aunt, the "Missis" in the quote above.  I don't say living with her aunt because Jane's aunt makes it very clear that Jane's presence is "put upon her".  She has no liking for the child, nor do her children.  When the opportunity comes for Jane to leave the residence to go away to school, Jane is very pleased, to say the least.  This segment from the book is a conversation between Jane and Bessie, one of the children's nannies.  Bessie is the closest thing Jane has to a friend and confidante, but this is not realised until near the time of Jane's departure, when Bessie reveals her fondness to the child.
I haven't gotten far into Jane Eyre yet, but I must say, 'what took me so long to read this amazing book?'!!  I am into the sixth chapter and am totally enthralled with Charlotte Bronte's story.  I've read that this is autobiographical, but of that I am not sure.  Perhaps an enlightened reader can tell me for sure.  Jane Eyre is our book club book of the month for June and is sure to make for an interesting discussion!

Please leave a comment here with a link to your post, so I too may catch a glimpse into what you are reading and, perhaps, find more books to add to an evergrowing wishlist!  :)


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Are We Headed for A Global Depression? Book Review: 21st Century Great Global Depression by Orest Andrew Harrison

21st Century Great Global Depression The Perfect Economic Storm
Author:  Orest Andrew Harrison
Copyright 2010
Publisher:  Outskirts Press Inc.
Genre:  Business & Economics/Financial
Pages:  136
Includes:  Forward, Disclaimer, General Outline, Table of Contents, Quotes and Expressions
ISBN 978-1-4327-5807
Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, http://www.outskirtspress.com/, and other online retailers.

From the back cover:  How will the coming years play out? 21st Century Great Global Depression is presented not only as a historic analysis of recent economic events but also as a prognostication tool with the intended purpose to serve both as a warning and a wake-up call to our country's leaders, representatives, politicians, etc. highlighting our dire need for fiscal and political reform. It is imperative that we face our crippling budgetary problems head-on and without delay before it's too late.  Do we as a nation have what it takes to make the necessary reforms to allow the American Dream to thrive on and to ensure prosperity for future generations of Americans, or do we maintain the status quo and preside over the abject collapse of our global economic system?

My review:  This book is "a study in how we got here, what's in store, and how we as a nation might emerge from the darkness."  The darkness refers to the economic problems facing the country of the USA and in larger part, the majority of the world over.  The author, Orest Harrison, predicts a deep recession to come that will last a decade or two to work through.  Mr. Harrison says "It's time as a nation to face the music, and face our grim fiscal reality."  He goes into depth about mortgages that have become higher than the value of the homes, bail-outs for companies, consumer debt and government debt.  At the rate described herein, one is given to believe economic collapse is imminent.

However, unlike other doom and gloom books predicting an apocalypse of the financial sector, Mr. Harrison dissects the problem and offers insight to recovery.  The biggest means of which just may be for the population of the country to cut back.  Quit living beyond their means, quit living on credit, and make whatever cuts are necessary to see a financial recovery.  This advice applies to the government and business sector too, not just the consumer.  The author states that the debt of the USA is so great that if the government were to sell all it's crown owned land, they still wouldn't break even.  So far, US's largest creditor, China, has been patient in debt recovery.  Will it remain so if and when the recession becomes full blown?

Mr. Harrison states in his final chapter, "A severely humbled nation, America emerges less influential, no longer the purveyor or world reserve currency, no longer the word's sole superpower (perhaps not a superpower at all).  America is forced to go back to her roots of sane fiscal stewardship as she emerges leaner, smarter, wiser, more mature, and a more fiscally responsible nation among nations."

Despite the economic crisis, the increased crime rate, social upheaval, soaring joblessness and homelessness; America will emerge...America will not cease to exist.  Are you listening?  Now if only those in a position to do something about it, even greater than the consumer - the governing bodies, perhaps an economic downturn won't be so stark and bleak as Mr. Harrison warns.  Is this the wake-up call?

Though this book is heavy on the gloom and doom factor, it certainly does make one ponder their own financial situation.  If this creates a desire for change and a call to action for all who read, then this book has in part achieved a great goal.  I recommend you read it.  And not just those who reside in America.  No country nor person is immune to financial collapse.

Rated 4/5

Children's Book Review: A New Name for Worthless: A Hero is Born

A New Name for Worthless:  A Hero is Born
Author:  Rocky Shepheard
Copyright 2011
Published by CRR(Crescent Renewable Resource) in conjunction with Dogs Deserve Better
Pages:  32
Full colour and hard bound
Genre:  Children's fiction, action/adventure
ISBN 9780984289745

About Worthless: Worthless was the name of a real dog, he was the reason that Dogs Deserve Better was founded and that's why the book was named after him.

From the back cover:  Romp through the wilds on a good old-fashioned adventure with pals Worthless, Sly Fox and Otto.  Worthless (so he's called by his no-good captor) remains chained to his rickety old doghouse yet longs to be free and loved.  His best friends step in and find a way to break his chains, and their quest for a new home takes off.  Times get tought, but in the end will they win all the love they are searching for, and just maybe a new name for Worthless?

My thoughts:  A New Name for Worthless: A Hero is Born is the story of a black lab who yearns for love and the comfort of a warm home but who lives outside chained to his doghouse.  He has two best friends, a fox and an otter, who devise a plan to free their friend.  One stormy night, they do so and then the search is on for a home where they will be loved and cared for.  

Beautifully illustrated with a timeless message of the importance of the humane treatment of animals, A Hero is Born is wonderfully rendered. The author, through his writing and illustrations, portrays from Worthless' point of view the importance of humane treatment of animals.  Suited to kindergarten through grades 3-4, this book will find a place in the homes and hearts of all animal lovers. 

Rated:  4/5

Win ARCS of Wither and the Sequel Fever

Wither author, Lauren DeStefano, is having an amazing giveaway.  This give away includes a personalized Arc of Wither and an Arc of the sequel, Fever, that hasn't been printed yet.  I am entering this giveaway.  If you would like to too, then go here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (Just Received) 5/23/11

In my mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by the Story Siren. Check out what I received this week and be sure to link up with the story siren too. Don't forget to comment below with a link to your IMM or tell me what you received, bought. or borrowed this week.

This is a combination of two weeks of IMM.

The previous week I received:
badass Business Women: the manifesto
Authored by Jessica Kizorek

Authored with Michelle Villalobos, Marci Alt
Introduction by Nell Merlino
genre:  business

"So many of us are waiting for someone to notice us. Why aren't we announcing who we are and the big things we are capable of? What this world needs is more Badass Business Women - women embracing their unique edge, who think big and act in the face of their fear."

by Barney Rostaing
genre:  crime fiction

"When tough, self-made construction mogul and thoroughbred owner Pat McGoohey hires the smooth, talented, mahogany-skinned Len Thomas as his trainer, he breaks with near-sacred protocol, taking Len across the color line into white turf and a rapidly accelerating adventure of crime, romance, racing and race."

Last week I received:

Don't Let Your Mechanic Pick Your Pocket
by George A. Moyer
This is one book most mechanics will not want you to have!  George Moyer is a retired mechanic and shop owner who got tired of seeing people getting ripped off by less than honest mechanics.  To fight back, he compiled a list of the most common symptoms and what they mean.  He translated them into terms we can all understand and put them in a book small enough to keep in the glove box.  A definite must own!

The Story of Moses
by Jennifer Talbot Ross
"From surviving the wilds of the Texas Hill Country to a devastating battle with cancer, this is the story of Moses - a beautiful, big, white dog who from all indications, began his life as a livestock guard dog on a ranch in Texas (as do many dogs of his breed, the Great Pyrenees).  Moses was taken in by a pet rescue group after having wandered onto a ranch in central Texas...homeless.  After a few short months in foster care, Moses found his forever family and the road to immortality through their love and devotion."

Excerpt from the back cover:  "Animal lovers will delight in the stories of the amazing dogs that grace the pages.  Readers looking from the outside in who have not yet experienced the joy of pet ownership may well find themselves moved to do so."

Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen
I found it!  A copy of Water For Elephants with one of the more original covers, I think.  I have been looking forward to reading this book for a long time.  Finally found a copy at my local second-hand bookstore.  They are great for keeping an eye out for books their customers are looking for.  I was contacted yesterday and went down to pick it up the same day! 

"Water for Elephants" is a dark and beautiful portrait of a crumbling circus.  With warmth and whimsy, Gruen depicts an unforgettable world where love is a luxury few can afford."

Discounted at a local store I purchased the following two books:

The Last Summer (of You and Me)
byAnn Brashares
Written by the author of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, "The Last Summer (of you and me) is the enchanting , heartrending story of a beach-community friendship triangle among three young adults for whom summer and this place have meant everything."  (this place being Waterby on Fire Island...a place of sun, sand, bare feet and coming of age on the beach)  Sounds like a great summer read!

The Most Excellent Year
by Steve Kluger
"Even though I should have listened to Augie when he told me that Alejandra needed special handling, I didn't.  Instead, on the first day of school I stuck a note into her social studies book.


You have to read her response! I just had to get the book based on this interaction! It's all on the back cover.

The following two novels came my way from Lissy Peace and Associates Ltd.  They are complimentary copies provided in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.   Both look like compelling reads!

Hunting for Hemingway
A DD McGill Literati Mystery
by Diane Gilbert Madsen
"....Hemingway expert, David Barnes, claims to have discovered the legendary stories and poems that Hemingway's first wife lost while on a train to Switzerland in 1922.  Barnes plans to auction them off for millions, but controversy rages.  Are they truly the lost Hemingway works or are they forgeries?  Found? Or stolen?  DD's quest to prove the manuscripts genuine puts her on the trail of a killer.  The hunter quickly becomes the hunted when someone tries to stop her - dead."

The Ruby Tear Catcher
by Nahid Sewell
The Ruby Tear Catcher is the heartwarming story of an Iranian woman whose life is uprooted during the Islamic Revolution in Iran in the 1970s and 80s.  While jailed in Tehran's most-feared prison, where she's held for her father's anti-regime sentiments, Leila tells her story in flashback.  She describes her childhood days in Tehran and shares her experiences as a college student in the U.S. where she falls in love with Jack, only to see their relationship torn asunder by the strong influence of their disparate religions.  Ultimately, hope triumphs in the face of fanaticism and intolerance.
So what's in your mailbox?  What exciting new books have found their way into your hands and onto your bookshelves!  Don't you just love this meme?!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Poll: How do you prefer to read books?

Poll: How do you prefer to read books? Ebooks or on paper?

A May 19, 2011 article by CBC News states that ebook sales have surpassed sales of paperback and hardcover on Amazon.

"We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com in a statement Thursday.

Since April 1, Amazon.com, the company's U.S. site, has sold 105 e-books, not including free e-books, for every 100 print books. Amazon said it does not have any specific stats to share for Canada, where the national site is Amazon.ca. As per Amazon's policy, exact sales figures were not made available to the public.

Jeff Bezos made note that Amazon, based in Seattle, Washington, has been selling print books for 15 years while selling e-books for less than four. Amazon introduced its Kindle e-book reader in 2007.

Kindle e-book sales surpassed hard cover book sales in July 2010 and paperback sales January of this year. Amazon's e-books can be read on Amazon's Kindle e-readers, (which, incidentally, is relatively cheaper than most on the market) as well as on desktop and laptop computers and many mobile devices, including the Apple, Windows, BlackBerry and Android smartphones and tablets.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Author News!!! New John Grisham novel coming out this fall!!

The Next John Grisham Title Announced

Just in time for BEA, Doubleday has announced that the next John Grisham legal thriller is The Litigators. On sale October 25.   It will also be available for library lending as an ebook. The cover image has not yet been released.

THE LITIGATORS by John Grisham
Publishers:  Doubleday
On-Sale Date: 10/25/11
HC: 9780385535137
E-book: 9780385535250

Can't get enough of John Grisham?  Look for his work coming to tv this fall!  John Grisham is co-producing a series for NBC this fall based on his book, The Firm.  You may recall it was made into a movie, starring Tom Cruise, in 1993.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Minding Frankie In-depth With the Book Club

**************** SPOILER ALERT****************** 

If you haven't yet read Minding Frankie, don't read the following.  The story is discussed in great depth here as a summary of our book club meeting.

Tonight we discussed Minding Frankie as a book club. We were mixed in our feelings about the novel, as one didn't really care for it, another couple of individuals liked but didn't love the book and one loved it. Reading is like that and it is difficult to find a genre, let alone a book that everyone loves in the end.

We discussed the characters and how Maeve Binchy carries some forward from one book to the next with the focus changing from one family to another with each novel. In some ways, we found that a bit distracting as we weren't familiar with the other characters, though I have to admit Ms. Binchy does a good job of tying things together. One character, in particular, who really didn't have a role in the Minding Frankie except for a few brief paragraphs about her funeral, was Father Tim's mother. I realize it is difficult to build a story around every one of the individuals but for some "supporting cast" it just isn't plausible. Apparently Father Tim is in another novel and I wondered if, perhaps, this storyline was developed there. Another member had read the novel in question but didn't think Father Tim played a major role in it either. He's more of a supporting character.

Noel's past and what led him to alcoholism is a mystery to us. Perhaps some depression came into play? But that is a matter of opinion as we are never told much about his past, except that he had been a bit of a recluse and didn't care much about anything. Until Frankie came along, that is. At that point, Noel discovered life.

What do the very young and the very mature have to offer to each other? There are several instances where the young turn to the older generation, such as in the care of Frankie and how to handle things like teething. There are also instances when the younger generation contribute to the elder generations. Muttie was a beloved older man, married and diagnosed with cancer. The whole community that offered support to Noel in raising Frankie, also came to offer support to Muttie. He would be taken out to one of his favourite locales, a bar, to have a gentleman's night out, though his escort was not a drinker but did it because he knew the social aspect of the gathering would keep Muttie's spirits high. Meals were brought in, and favours given, all in support of this dear man.

One of the other members of the book club said, " This novel shows the young needing the older generation more, I think. I really liked that everyone kind of rallied together to help raise Frankie and mostly that all of them really seem to care about each other."

There is a true sense of family in this community as they support one another during crisis and good times alike. This is truly admirable and is one of my favourite things about this story.  It evidences that one does not have to be related by blood to be like family.

In discussion about relationships, we analyzed Lisa's relationship with Anton and each one of were in agreement that it was a bad relationship from the start. Some felt that Anton was a user and were dismayed that Lisa couldn't see this. Case in point: Lisa put endless hours into promotions and graphic design for Anton's restaurant but Anton never offered to pay her for her time. Lisa justified this by saying she always looked at it like she was doing it for the two of them. That she was helping to build their future together. Why did Lisa not recognize this relationship for what it was? One of the members said, " I think that there are lots of people who want to feel loved so much that they can ignore almost anything and that Lisa was one of them." P.S., how did Lisa continue to have means to live on when she quit her job to work with Anton?

Anton, on the other hand, seemed oblivious to Lisa's needs and unconcerned about the direction their relationship was headed. Anton says to Lisa, “I’m not the villain here, you know,” and she responds, “I know. That’s why I’m angry. I got it so wrong . . . ” (page 314) What does she mean? Lisa is finally seeing the light and we all cheer that she has. It's about time!! It was said, "Anton never tried to hide what he was, Lisa was just really good at not seeing it for the longest time.

None of us liked Moira. Sure we could understand the basis for her behaviour and concerns. She had a terrible upbringing which she thought could have been better had someone intervened on behalf of the children. She brings this prejudice forward, with a bias predetermined. We understand that, but we just couldn't like this character. "Obviously because of her upbringing, Moira doesn't want any child to suffer neglect and she's worried that will happen to Frankie because of Noel's disease. That being said, it still doesn't change the fact that I spent most of the book wanting to shake her," said one of the ladies in the group. To note, neither Emily nor Karen had ideal childhoods, but each had overcome the obstacles associated with their past and had moved forward to make better lives for themselves. Noel's ability to overcome the obstacles he had, as far as we know, put upon himself, is a ray of hope in this novel. Alcoholism is not an easy disease to overcome. It takes daily effort, but Noel proves that one can overcome and make a better life with the right support, desire and hard work.

All in all, most of us enjoyed Minding Frankie. When asked if any of us would read another Maeve Binchy novel, only one said she had no desire to. Next on my list of Maeve Binchy novels to read is Evening Class. A good friend recommended it and I trust that she won't be off the mark on this one either.

Book Review: Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy

from Amazon.ca
Minding Frankie
Author:  Maeve Binchy
Copyright:  2010
Publisher:  The Orion Publishing Group Ltd.
Genre:  popular fiction
ISBN 978-1-4091-1397-3
Pages:  424
Source:  borrowed from a friend

`Minding Frankie is a story about unconventional families, relationships which aren't quite what they seem, and the child at the heart of eveyone's lives...."

My thoughts (spoiler alert):
A study in human nature, Maeve Binchy`s novel Minding Frankie introduces us to a young unwed mother-to-be, Stella, who lies in a hospital bed with the due date drawing near. Stella is terminal and she is about to bring into the world a little daughter; but in doing so, she knows it will mean the end of her own life.  Desperate that her daughter, Frankie, will have a home and secure childhood (p.40), she contacts Noel to inform him that the one night they shared resulted in this pregnancy and that he is the father.  Would he raise this little girl?

Though full of self-doubt and fighting the disease of alcoholism, Noel determines he will do just that.  He changes his life, attends AA, goes back to school, moves out of his parents` home and takes little Frankie in to his life and his heart.  A myriad of characters, some from previous Binchy novels, are cast here as friends and family and caregivers for Frankie.  Little Frankie draws everyone together, like a close-knit family, as the neighborhood pitches in to help Noel care for her. 

Moira, who had a terrible childhood which created the proverbial block on her shoulder, is the social worker on the scene.  She is determined to undermine the situation, to find fault and proof that Noel is unfit as a father.  She can`t see the contributions of the community as a whole, nor accept Noel as a fit parent.

``It was all too bitty, Moira thought: a flimsy, daisy chain of people, like the cast of a musical.  If one link blew away, everything could crash to the ground....She was watching with very sharp eyes for anything to go out of step." (p. 138)

 The community sets out to prove her wrong and in doing so, finds each member thereof changed for the better. 

Noel returns to school, enlisting loved ones and friends to assist with minding Frankie.  In doing so, he knows he will better be able to create a good and stable life for him and Frankie.  At his graduation ceremony he toasts family and friends, ``I think that, as the President said earlier, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our families and friends and that we three should raise a toast to you also.  Without you all, we wouldn't have been able to do this and have this great graduation day and feast.  To the families and friends."he said. (p.380)

This speech is in recognition not only of the support he had to continue his studies but a genuine thank you to all who made it possible by caring for the little girl for whom he sacrificed so much but gained exponentially.

This is a heartwarming and, at times, tearful story of love and unconventional families.  Binchy doesn't shy away from issues such as alcoholism nor does she make light of what it takes to raise a child.  We've heard it before and Minding Frankie reminds us, it takes a village to raise a child.

Rated 4/5

About the author:
Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin.  After a spell as a teacher, she joined the Irish Times.  Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982, and since then she has written many bestsellers.  Maeve Binchy was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the RNA in 2010.  She is married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell.

I'm joining the Book Blogger Hop with href="http://www.crazy-for-books.com">Crazy for Books.  Come along to see who is participating this week.

Q: If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?  I am having a difficult time thinking of a fictional world other than Narnia, from Chronicles of Narnia.  I think the charm of it is the talking animals and the union of the animals with the three children to fight for their world and freedom.  

Beyond fictional worlds, should I select a real life location to visit for a day (actually one day is certainly not enough) it would be Tuscany from Under the Tuscan Sun.  The piazza, Cortona, the sprawling fields of sunflowers and the towering cypress are all visually enticing to me but certainly don't minimize the draw of the food and the more laid back look at life in general.  This view is also mentioned in the book version of Letters to Juliet. These two books, which were made into movies, have given me a yearning for Italy and things Italiana.

Sharing a Bestseller Giveaway

How would you like a chance to win one of three bestselling novels?  The books are: 
  • The Room by Emma Donoghue  
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Midnight and the Meaning of Love by Sista Souljah

 This is an exciting contest so I am helping to spread the word.  Just visit Lena Sledge's Blog... Books, Reviews and Interviews.  Once there check out "The Room, The Help, Midnight and the Meaning of Love" Giveaway!! 
Lena is joining a group of bloggers for this terrific giveaway! Check it out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/16/11

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! It's Monday, What Are You Reading meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Last week I finished The Secret of Indigo Moon (A DoppleGanger Chronicles book) by G.P.Taylor.  This was a fun juvenile fiction graphic novel, my first!  It reads like a novel interspersed with comics.  It's a really neat approach that readers 9-13 or greater will really enjoy.  You can read my review here.

Book club is coming up this Thursday and I am about half-way through Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy.  It's an excellent read.  I was hesitant at first, after reading Quentins and not being overly thrilled; I was a little less than animated about reading it, but a dear friend assured me it is so much better than Quentins and...she was right! 

Also on my reading agenda is 21 Century Great Global Depression by Orest Andrew Harrison which I began this a while ago, maybe ahem...a couple months ago...but put it aside for some more pressing reading.  I started with it again recently and it still remains as a current read on my Shelfari shelf.  Hopefully I can change that soon!

A Time To...A Baby Boomer's Spiritual Adventure by Ronald Louis Peterson is my other read.  I've only just begun.  It starts off with 911, yes, the terrorist attack on the US.  I haven't gotten far so I can't tell you more than that.  It looks promising though.

It's Monday, what are you reading?  I'm interested.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Age Appropriate Reading: Booking Through Thursday 5/12/11

If you'd like to join in on Booking Through Thursday, just click here.

This week's question is: Do you read books “meant” for other age groups? Adult books when you were a child; Young-Adult books now that you’re grown; Picture books just for kicks … You know … books not “meant” for you. Or do you pretty much stick to what’s written for people your age?

I read to suit my mood and tastes.  As a book reviewer, I read books for all age groups, from young children's books to adult and all in between. For my personal enjoyment, however, I read adult books with the odd exception of a YA novel. Case in point, I've read and re-read the Harry Potter and Twilight books. Those are my favourite YA reads to date. My adult preferences include anything by John Grisham, Carolyn Hart, Agatha Christie, Michael Crichton, Nicholas Sparks, Richard Paul Evans, Laura Lippman, to name a few.  I like to read the works of debuting authors as well. Shilpi Somaya Gowda's Secret Daughter is my favourite read of 2011. If you haven't yet read this amazing novel, you simply must! (I should be on the PR team for all the gushing I've done about this masterpiece!! ;))

As a child, I often read books that were "old" for me. For instance, in grade four I had read an adult/YA novel called Midnight by Rutherford Montgomery (a horse story, of course) and loved it so much that I coerced my teacher into reading it aloud for our in-class reading time. She did so but it didn't keep the others' attention so she quickly ditched it saying they weren't ready for a book that was written for an adult audience. Not that it contains "adult" content, but that the style of writing and the verbage was beyond their comprehension level. I did read a lot of age appropriate novels then too. Especially anything written by Marguerite Henry. She wrote horse stories, mostly, and I love horses, so it was a natural pairing. From childhood, though, my favourite book was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  I enjoyed, also, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series, especially since, at the time, there was a regular tv program based on the two series. 

In my teenage years I read a bit of Stephen King with Firestarter being my favourite of his works.  I tried Harlequin romance but quickly got bored with it as it seemed to be the same story repeated again and again, only with different characters.

The best enjoyment comes from reading that which you find satisfaction from.  I like to branch out into different genres, including business books occasionally, to broaden my horizons.  I still have those favourite genres that I will return to time and again because that's what brings gratification.  And you, dear reader, do you read beyond your age?  Do you go back and re-read childhood/YA favourites?  Or, do you stick with age appropriate reading?  Please take a moment to leave a comment.  I'd love to know what you have to say.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Women Relationships in Books: Theme Thursdays 5/12/11

Theme Thursdays

Theme Thursdays, hosted by Reading Between the Pages, is a fun weekly event that will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it.  This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

We just celebrated Mother's day so this week's theme had to be a celebration of women. Go ahead and post on ........


Relation that one can have with a women like Mother, Aunt, Grandmother, Sister, Girlfriend, etc.


The following relates to a conversation between the parents of one of the book's (Minding Frankie) characters, Lisa. Beginning with Lisa's father: 

"She seemed upset."
"I can't imagine why."
"She doesn't have your sense of detachment - that's why."
"She hasn't gone for good.  I see her door is open.  She's left all her things here."  Lisa's mother spoke as if she were talking about a casual acquaintance.
"Of course she hasn't gone for good.  Where would she go?"
Lisa's mother shrugged her shoulders again.  "She'll end up doing what she wants to do.  Like everyone..."she said and walked out the door that her husband had just come in.
~ pages 130-131 Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy

The author, Maeve Binchy, writes relationships extraordinarily well; and is known for her meticulous attention to character and relationship development.  With the myriad of characters within her novels, some that carry over from another, she has carefully woven an intricate life for each person.  Sometimes lovely and uplifting, at other times, downtrodden and dismayed; the characters face real everyday issues and struggles, with similar problems that the reader might face.  Some do it better than others and are often a work in progress, as in Minding Frankie

This quote reveals in small measure the relationships of this family.  Disinterest, detachment, and disbelief are mutual among the father, mother and daughter (who is an adult, by the way).  All is not so disheartening, though, in Minding Frankie.  One must read the rest to see all the small miracles that occur amongst the characters in this Ireland town.  

Won't you share your Theme Thursday answer in the comment section or please leave me a link so I might come visit.  (It's rhetorical;  I assume a return visit is in order)

Book Review: The Secret of Indigo Moon (The Doppleganger Chronicles) by G.P. Taylor

DG The DoppleGanger Chronicles:  The Secret of Indigo Moon
Author:  G.P. Taylor
Copyright:  2009
Publisher:  SALTRIVER, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc
ISBN 978-1-4143-1948-3
Genre:  mystery/adventure
Edition:  hard cover, graphic novel
Pages:  291

Source:  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. provided me with a complimentary copy of The Secret of Indigo Moon in exchange for my honest and unbiased review of this novel.

Synopsis:   "Eric Morrissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn't go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school.  They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble.  It wasn't part of the plan to come face-to-face with an old enemy - one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all.  And unraveling the secret of the mysterious 'indigo moon' was the furthest thing from their minds.

At Isambard Dunstan's School for Wayward Children, these things just seem to happen.
In this second installment of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie, and Saskia plunge headlong into a new and perilous mystery - one that challenges everything they thought they knew about their lives, themselves, and who it's safe to trust."

My review:  Awakened one night by a strange noise during a storm, Eric Morrissey Ganger snuck from his room to the top of a stairwell so that he might ascertain the source of the noise.  What he heard and saw that night put him and his two friends Sadie and Saskia Dopple in a great deal of danger as they discovered a hidden tunnel; hid from, chased and were chased by bad guys; tried their hands at detective work; and put their very lives in mortal danger.  How exciting!  To make it even better, this is a graphic novel with a portion done like a novel interspersed with comic book renderings which carry on the tale.  It is an unusual recipe for success which children as young as 10 and as old as middle school (junior high, pushing high school) would gladly immerse themselves in.  The characters aren't perfect.  In fact they're individuals being raised in a school atmosphere after being left behind by one or both of their parents.  Their very homes are their school.  Because of, or in spite of, this point, these three individuals know no bounds to exploration.  They face fear head on,  their curiosity becoming the better of them.

Eric, Sadie, and Saskia are a handful but the reader likes them.  Not that their behaviour is necessarily a good example, but that they are willing to take opportunity when the situation arises to right a wrong and to seek justice.  We like them despite their inclinations toward trouble.  The plot moves quickly with a twist near the end that may surprise you.  This is top-notch story-telling!

Though this is the second book in a series, the reader will not feel it necessary to read the first novel, The First Escape prior to reading this book.  Though, they certainly will want to go back and read it after they've discovered the adventures the protagonists have in The Secret of Indigo Moon and must have had previously.

The next book in the series,  The Great Mogul Diamond, is sure to be just as exciting!  Check the author's website for availability:  http://www.dopplegangerchronicles.com or Tyndale House Publisher's site http://www.tyndale.com/00_Home/index.php.

Rated 4.5/5

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

blog.indigo.ca: Indigo Kids - For parents, kids and kids-at-heart-Indigo Blog

blog.indigo.ca: Indigo Kids - For parents, kids and kids-at-heart-Indigo Blog

Follow this link to read an interview with Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven series and the new Beyonders.

Teaser Tuesdays 5/10/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted byMiz B of Should Be Reading.

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Three days later, Declan Carroll was in the delivery room holding Fiona's hand as she groaned and whimpered.
"Great girl.  Just three more...Just three...."
"How do you know it's only three?"  gasped Fiona, red-faced, her hair damp and stuck to her forehead.
"Trust me, I'm a doctor,"  Declan said.
"You're not a woman, though," Fiona said, teeth gritted and preparing for another push.
~page 106, Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy

What's your teaser today? 


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