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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Indigo Love of Reading Fundraiser for School Libraries - 1 day and 1 hour left in this year's fundraiser!

Imagine a childhood
without books...

School libraries in Canada are empty. Kids are trying to learn from worn-out and outdated books. Our children are failing standard reading examinations.
What's going on?

Latest News

June 9, 2011- Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Tops $10.5 Million Milestone in Ongoing Campaign Against Literacy Crisis. Read More
May 27, 2010- Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Tops $9 Million in Support of Children’s Literacy.Read More
The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation is a registered charitable organization established in 2004
to help provide new books and learning materials to Canadian elementary schools in need.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: Irma Voth by Miriam Toews

Irma Voth
Author:  Miriam Toews
Published:  2011
Publisher:  Harper Collins Publishers
Pages:  255
Genre:  fiction
ISBN 9780062070180
Source:  I was provided an ARC for review purposes by TLC book tour which did not influence this review in any manner.  My opinion is my own.


Book Summary:  "That rare coming-of-age story able to blend the dark with the uplifting, Irma Voth follows a young Mennonite woman, vulnerable yet wise beyond her years, who carries a terrible family secret with her on a remarkable journey to survival and redemption.
Nineteen-year-old Irma lives in a rural Mennonite community in Mexico. She has already been cast out of her family for marrying a young Mexican ne’er-do-well she barely knows, although she remains close to her rebellious younger sister and yearns for the lost intimacy with her mother. With a husband who proves elusive and often absent, a punishing father, and a faith in God damaged beyond repair, Irma appears trapped in an untenable and desperate situation. When a celebrated Mexican filmmaker and his crew arrive from Mexico City to make a movie about the insular community in which she was raised, Irma is immediately drawn to the outsiders and is soon hired as a translator on the set. But her father, intractable and domineering, is determined to destroy the film and get rid of the interlopers. His action sets Irma on an irrevocable path toward something that feels like freedom.
A novel of great humanity, written with dry wit, edgy humor, and emotional poignancy, Irma Voth is the powerful story of a young woman’s quest to discover all that she may become in the unexpectedly rich and confounding world that lies beyond the stifling, observant community she knows."

My Thoughts:  Irma Voth is a bit rebellious, determined and not at all living as her Mennonite religion demanded.  Of course this bothers her parents, especially her father who has no patience for anyone who is less than obedient.  This, at times, has resulted in abuse and the eventual leaving of the family home by the said disobedient child.  This was the case with Irma's older sister, herself, and now her sister.  Was it so wrong for her to fall for and marry a man of Mexican heritage?  After all, it was her father's choice to move the family from Manitoba, Canada to Mexico.

When Irma's husband, Jorge, tells her to stop loving him and leaves, Irma finds herself involved with the film crew which has taken up residence next door.  She is needed as a translator for the Mennonite actress from Europe who plays the female lead in the film.  She serves well, cooking meals for the crew too.  Until her younger sister, Aggie, decides to join her, bringing out her father's wrath upon her and everyone in the vicinity.  One can understand his frustration in seeing his children choose a different path from what he and his wife had taught their children.  His anger is not totally unforgivable but it is what he does with the anger that chases everyone away, and makes no allies with the reader.  

When things climax for Irma's younger sister, Aggie, and her father, Irma takes the film truck, Aggie, and their baby sister, Ximena, (with her mother's insistence) and plans a trip back to Canada.  She remembers happier days there and dreams that this move will recall those times again.  Will her journey do that?  And, if it does, can she go home again?

Irma Voth is a unique look into a relatively unknown people, the Mennonites, and what happens to a family when rebellion shows its face.  Interesting, unusual and touching are three words I would use to describe Irma Voth.  The one problem that is persistent throughout the novel is the lack of quotations to indicate conversations.  It is rather annoying at first, but one can get accustomed to it though it requires more attention to the details of the prose for the reader to keep dialogue, thoughts, and other content straight.  At first I thought it was only in my ARC of Irma Voth but I checked the published Irma Voth in store and found the same to be true.  Miriam Toews did this in one other book, of which I am aware, A Complicated Kindness (published 2008).  However, Summer of My Amazing Luck (2006) uses quotations for dialogue.

There is a surprising amount of language and content (sexual and abuse) mentioned in this book, though not in great detail.  Surprising to this reader, as it is the story of Mennonites written by a Mennonite.  Warning to sensitive readers.

Irma Voth is not what I expected, but then again, sometimes the unexpected is just what we yearn to read.

About Miriam Toews: Miriam Toews was born in the small Mennonite town of Steinbach, Manitoba. She has published five novels and a memoir of her father, and is the recipient of numerous literary awards in Canada, including the Governor General’s Literary Award (for A Complicated Kindness) and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (for The Flying Troutmans). In 2010 she received the prestigious Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for her body of work. Irma Voth is Toews’s most recent novel. She lives in Toronto.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (Just Received) September 27, 2011 & Teaser Tuesdays

In My Mailbox is hosted every week by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It is a reveal of the new and exciting books and related items that have arrived or we have borrowed in the past week.  In My Mailbox (IMM) helps us as book bloggers keep track of new releases and inevitably add to our must read lists.

Today's edition is a compilation of the previous two weeks as the mailbox has been surprisingly empty, which is actually ok since I began working at a book store (say it, you're jealous :}) and I have thousands of new titles to explore all at my fingertips!  Loving it!  

Here's what's new:

Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks
by John Curran

I ordered this through Amazon with a gift certificate I won from Bev over at My Readers Block (thank you Bev).  The note on the cover says this book includes two UNPUBLISHED POIROT Stories!  Fifty years of mysteries in the making.  I was hoping this book would arrive prior to Agatha Christie's birthday, September 15 for a special post I planned to do, but since it came all the way from Britain, I am just happy to see it in my mailbox today!

My Sweet Saga
by Brett Sills

I received the ARC (mine has no cover and looks like the actual manuscript, yippee!) today as well.  My Sweet Saga is Admiral J Press' first release as a new publisher.  I am honoured to have the opportunity to review this book for them.  This will not influence my review, however.  Always honest and unbiased.

Also received today:

This Dark Endeavour
by Kenneth Oppel

This is the much touted new release coming from Harper Collins.  Movie rights have already been sold to the producers of TWILIGHT!!  How's that for excitement?!!  Thank you so much to Cory from Harper Collins for sending me this book!  I am revved up to read it!!!

Also thanks to Cory from Harper Collins:

Dead Man's Grip
by Peter James

One Mistake
Two Murders
No Remorse

This is a new release for the fall.  I love a good mystery and Peter James is one of the all time best British crime writers.  Should be a good one!!  By the way, Cory sent me this copy and it is signed by the author!! Woot!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This is our book club read for the month of October.  I bought this book after hearing rave reviews of one of our new members.  This promises to be a source of great discussion!

Last Week:

Brainrush (a thriller)
by Richard Bard

Brainrush is author Richard Bard's debut thriller.  Thanks to the author and Bostick Communications for sending me this copy.  Here's an interesting note the author included with his book:

"If you're a Crosby, Stills & Nash fan, you'll get a kick out of this:  I'm a big fan -- always have been -- so imagine my elation a few weeks ago when I received an email from David Crosby telling me that he absolutely loved the story.  And he wasn't kidding; he even gave a shout-out at the MUSE benefit concert at the Shoreline Pavilion in SF on August 7th, with the likes of Jackson Brown, Bonnie Raitt, John Hall, Jason Mraz and a bunch of others on the scene.  Now that's a brain-rush!"

What's in your mailbox, readers?  I hope you will share in the comments or leave a link to your IMM post.  I love to hear from all of you!!!  :)


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Miz B Should Be Reading.
 TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.

  • Let the book fall open to a random page.

  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

  • Please avoid spoilers!

  • Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
    I am reading this for a TLC book tour, the review for which is scheduled for September 29th, 2011.
    "I'm Fiorella, she's Button and you're Ham Hock, said Aggie.  We were walking to our gate.  We'd only be in Acapulco for two hours and forty-five minutes before we had to catch another flight to Mexico City, heaven and hell, according to Diego, but his world was defined by extremes."  ~ page 148, Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
    In this scene, Irma and her sister Aggie, both mennonites living in Mexico, are running away from home and feelings of oppression and an abusive father.  They have, in tow, their new baby sister, and I do mean new.  At their mother's request, the baby accompanies them on this journey to what they hope will be a new and happy life.  Where they will live and how, is still unknown....

    Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    There is rumour that this book will be such a hit, comparable to Harry Potter and Twilight in sales and popularity!!
    "Don't you want to know my name?" the boy asks.
    "Names are not of nearly as much import as people like to suppose," the man in the grey suit says.  "A label assigned to identify you either by this institution or your departed parents is neither of interest nor value to me.  If you find you are in need of a name at any point, you may choose one for yourself.  For now it will not be necessary." ~ page 23, Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
    This excerpt takes place in London, January 1874 in a grey nondescript building.  A man in a grey suit introduces himself to the headmistress who brings him three children to interview.  He does so privately, seeking for the one who will stand out...the one who will be his protege.  When the man decides upon a boy and he is ready, the two depart the building and do not return.  This excerpt leaves more questions than answers but to provide more is to reveal secrets crucial to the underlying story.  I am on the fourth chapter and I can feel that this is one of those books you feel as well as read and that's a good thing.

    What are you teasing us with this week?  Please comment below so I can repay the visit.  Teaser Tuesdays are so much fun!!

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Limited Time Offer: New Low Price for Kindle and Nook Editions of Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks

    Author Christopher Meeks has lowered the price of the Kindle and Nook versions of the book to .99 cents for the duration of the virtual book tour, ending October 14, 2011. Get your copy now!

    Review: Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

    Only Time Will Tell
    Author:  Jeffrey Archer
    Copyright:  2011
    Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
    Release date:  September 2011
    Pages: 386
    ISBN 9780312539559
    Source:  A huge thank you to St. Martin's press for approaching me to review Only Time Will Tell and providing me with an Advance Reader's Edition.  This has not influenced my opinion nor this review.

    Only Time Will Tell is also available as an audio book from MacMillan Audio.  (unfortunately, at the time of this writing, I have not yet received a copy of Only Time Will Tell on audio book.)
    The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the chilling words, ‘I was told my father was killed in the war.’ But it will be another twenty years before Harry discovers how his father really died, which will only lead him to question who was his father?
    Is he the son of Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who worked in Bristol docks, or the first born son of a scion of West Country society, whose family owns the Barrington Shipping Line?
    Only Time Will Tell covers the years from 1920 to 1940, and includes a cast of memorable characters that The Times has compared to The Forsyte Saga. Volume one takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War, when Harry must decide whether to take up a place at Oxford, or join the navy and go to war with Hitler’s Germany.
    You will be taken on a journey that you won’t want to end, but when you turn the last page of this unforgettable yarn, you will be faced with a dilemma that neither you, nor Harry Clifton, could have anticipated.  (from the author's site:  http://www.jeffreyarcher.co.uk/site/only-time_will_tell)
    Only Time Will Tell is the first book in The Clifton Chronicles and was released in the US August 30, 2011.  It is available as an ebook, audio book or hardcover at Amazon and your favourite bookstore near you.  
    Only Time Will Tell is the saga of the Cliftons and the Barringtons, two families whose lives are intertwined forever because of one night.  It is the story of love, passion, greed and honour, murder and mystery, and is an epic page turner.  Visit the town of Bristol as seen through young Harry's eyes, son of a deceased war hero and a mother who will do anything to ensure her son's happiness and the best chance for a fulfilling life. For years Harry knows one truth about his father but it will be on his wedding day that the real story of his father's death is revealed and who was responsible.  That day will call into question his paternity.  That day will change the course of his life.
    This was my first Jeffrey Archer novel and certainly will not be the last.  Jeffrey Archer has a knack for storytelling that pulls you in, with plot twists, which reveal only a little at a time, so at the very end the reader sits back with a gasp, realizing how magnificent a tale they have just had the pleasure of exploring.  I wait in great anticipation for news of the release of the second of the chronicles.  
    Only Time Will Tell is one of my favourite new releases of 2011 and is sure to be on the bestseller lists!

    Meet the author:
    Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He has served five years in Britain’s House of Commons and fourteen years in the House of Lords. All of his novels and short story collections--including And Thereby Hangs a Tale, Kane and Abel, Paths of Glory and False Impression--have been international   bestselling books. Archer is married with two sons and lives in London and Cambridge.  His website: http://www.jeffreyarcher.co.uk/site
    Now you can visit Harry Clifton's Bristol from Only Time Will Tell at http://visitbristol.co.uk/site/only-time-will-tel">Visit Bristol

    Review: Horse Sayings: wit & wisdom straight from the horse's mouth by Bradford G. Wheler

    Horse Sayings:  wit & wisdom straight from the horse's mouth
    Author:  Bradford G. Wheler
    Publisher:  BookCollaborative.com
    Publication Date:  September 1, 2011
    Pages:  136
    Illustrations by 61 artists from 11 countries
    ISBN 978 0 9822538 3 0
    Available for purchase from www.BookCollaborative.com, Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, or by order through any bookstore in the US, UK, Canada and Australia

    “HORSE SAYINGS: wit & wisdom straight from the horse’s mouth” is an exciting and vibrant collection of equine art and text designed to celebrate horses and the people that love them."

    In Horse Sayings:  wit & wisdom straight from the horse's mouth, Bradford Wheler compiled a lovely book of illustrations, paintings and photographs that will delight any horse lover.  Accompanying each illustration/photo are quotes related to the love of horses.  From individuals such as the Queen Mother, Winston Churchill, Will Rogers and Benjamin Franklin, there is wit and wisdom and tribute to the equines.  Here is a small sampling:
    "There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain't a thing."   ~  Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)
    "All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife."  ~  Daniel Boone (1819 - 1880)
    "To many, the words love, hope, and dreams are synonymous with horses."  ~  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.  (1809 - 1894)
    Bradford G. Wheler established BookCollaborative.com to publish books that will show case artists.  Though I would love to see Horse Sayings... in a larger coffee table format, as its content would be incredibly well -suited to such, the author notes that due to the cost of printing colour books with Lightening Source Inc.'s on demand system is almost six times more expensive as black and white, thus limiting the size and number of pages included in each of the books published by BookCollaborative.com.  Perhaps as the technology becomes more advanced, price will decrease thus increasing the flexibility afforded to publications such as this one, allowing books of larger format and more content at an affordable price point.

    Besides wanting a larger format, my one criticism is the cover.  I would love to see a different background colour for the cover as the artwork featured there would be better showcased on a contrasting rather than a complementary colour.  Perhaps the aid of a graphic designer would help to produce an eye catching cover that will beckon all horse lovers to purchase Horse Sayings: wit & wisdom straight from the horse's mouth.

    As an avid horse lover, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book and yearned for more when I was done. This book will be a keepsake that will beckon reading and rereading and will earn its permanent position on the bookshelf.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Fifth Avenue, 5 AM by Sam Wasson

    Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.  
    Author:  Sam Wasson
    Publisher: Harper Collins
    Published:  June 22, 2010
    Pages:  256
    ISBN-13: 978-0061774157

    Due to a delay in the postal service, I have not yet received my copy of Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M., though I certainly check the mailbox, eagerly, each day hoping to find it has arrived.  From the introduction, reviews and the press release, I have gathered the following:

    Breakfast at Tiffany's, the movie, is a charming story of lovely, unattainable Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn.  Originally based on the book, Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, the movie had five Oscar nominations, of which it won two.  The plot centres around Miss Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) who almost seems to have an identity crisis, as she is one person to one and another to another, and still another to herself.  Confusing perhaps, but certainly entertaining and Audrey Hepburn plays the role with a certain je ne said quoi, endearing her to all who have the pleasure of enjoying films starring the actress who made the little black dress become synonymous with quiet elegance.

    This is the premise of Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M., the story behind the scenes of Breakfast at Tiffany's. We learn that Truman Capote originally wanted Marilyn Monroe cast as Holly Golightly, and while Marilyn has her assets, Audrey's vision on screen perfectly captures the character.  There are many more wonderful tidbits and for an Audrey Hepburn fan,this book   is a must.  Audrey almost did not take the role, afraid it would tarnish the image she protectively held in public and in her private life.  It is interesting to note that of all the films Ms. Hepburn starred in, most recall Breakfast at Tiffany's in relation to her acting career.

    Today I came upon a co-worker who had picked up the book, Fifth Avenue, 5 AM out of curiosity, had quickly read the first three chapters and was unwilling to put it down.  She was enamoured!  I have read nothing but good about this "expose" of the movie, the novella, the writer, director and the star.  Until it arrives in my mailbox, I leave this with you with much anticipation.

    Review to follow......  

    For more information, visit the author's website:  Sam Wasson.

    Visit other book blogs participating in this tour http://tlcbooktours.com/2011/08/sam-wasson-author-of-fifth-avenue-5-a-m-on-tour-september-2011

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda - In Depth with the Book Club (spoiler alert)

    This summer we took a break from meetings to reconvene with a barbecue/potluck supper last week.  That is not to say we took a break from reading.  Oh, no.  We had decided in June that we, as a book club, would read Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, my personal recommendation as I loved it soooo much!  If you'd like to take a moment to read my review, please feel free to do so.

    Most of us really enjoyed the book and we had a new member join us (yay J), which was a great deal of fun.  And, may I say, combining food with book club makes for a delicious discussion!  On the menu was butter chicken and rice (an Indian dish to go with the novel), quiche, a jello fruit salad, grilled farmer's sausage, and for dessert a lovely microwave cake recipe complete with chocolate sauce (yum!).  As we had decided to bbq, if we desired, one member brought a steak too.

    As we were part way through our meal, we began discussions, starting with Indian cuisine, of course!  This led to discussion of the locale of the novel and so forth, but, before I go much further, let me give you just a little peak into my thoughts of this touching novel, taken from my review:

    "Shilpi Somaya Gowda weaves an extraordinary tale in Secret Daughter.  From page one, the reader is captivated.  Shilpi creates characters with incredible depth which allows the reader to develop a "relationship" and, totally immersed within the pages, the characters become real.  Based on her heritage of India, the author introduces the reader to culture, society, and individuals who will remain with you long after you've read the book." (April 29, 2011, My Bookshelf)

    ***Spoiler alert***

    As the novel begins, a young mother, Kavita, gives birth to her second daughter, which is tragic in a culture where boys are prized far more than girls.  (I should insert here that Kavita's and Jasu's marriage was arranged by their parents) Kavita's inlaws look upon the birth of daughters rather than a son as Kavita's personal failure to provide a son for her husband.  One of the book club members brought up that boys were considered an asset to the family, especially to the father, as a son would help work the fields and contribute to the well-being of the family as a whole through his labours.  A daughter, on the other hand, wasn't deemed so valuable as she couldn't assist in the farm work (though they often did) and the family would be required to supply a dowry to her husband to be.  Often, in this society, the girls were married off young.  

    We found ourselves comparing Secret Daughter with another book, Slumdog Millionaire, which shares horrific stories of the lives of the poor in India.  It would seem the financially well off welcomed both male and female offspring, as the means to provide for both were plentiful; however, should a child be born into poverty, his/her fate could be of the worst imaginable kind including abuse and neglect.  (This is not to say that this is the case always, as some, rich or poor, maintained a value of life.)  As we discussed this most painful aspect of society shared in Secret Daughter, we thought of different countries throughout the world wherein the fates of the poor were dictated directly by their financial standings.  We see this even in our local societies, but to a much lesser degree.  

    Returning to the novel, Kavita's first daughter was buried, after being handed off to Kavita's husband's relative to "dispose" of.  It would seem that though Kavita's husband, Jasu, did not want a daughter, he could not bring himself to do the deed himself.  As Kavita was only too aware of the destiny of another daughter, she would pretend her dead and then walk miles upon miles to offer her infant, whom she named Usha (later christened Asha), to the orphanage in Mumbai where she hoped she would find a good family.

    Shortly thereafter, the family would travel to the city, in search of a better life.  There they were forced to live in a shanty town, without fresh water and amenities, or proper policing.  Jasu searched long for a job to better their lives and, though he did find one and they eventually left the shanty town for a small apartment and then eventually a larger dwelling, we questioned whether this was the best move for their family.  It certainly presented opportunities for both good and bad and we see the consequences of these opportunities later in the book as Kavita and Jasu raise a son in finer conditions, but it also distanced them from family and exposed them to new "dangers".  The contrasts of the poor and the wealthy are stark.

    As Usha/Asha was adopted to an American couple, Krishnan of Indian heritage and Somer   American, we noted the cultural differences between Somer (Usha/Asha's adoptive mom) and Krishnan (Usha/Asha's adoptive father) as their heritages become a matter of conflict, resulting in their separation.  As Asha grows, and situations bring Somer to follow her daughter and estranged husband to India, we noted that both Somer and Krishnan had come to realize, at long last, the value of each other.  A change of scenery, a new country, new circumstances all worked in their favour to bring their family closer together.  Marriage is difficult.  It is something that must be worked at in order to remain strong. In Secret Daughter, we all commented on how easily Somer and Krishnan had given up.  In the end, it was their daughter and heritage and family values that brought them to the realization of love and desire for a loving bond together.  

    Truly a touching and enlightening read, we learned a lot about another culture, while gaining a further appreciation for values of family.  I have to say, Secret Daughter touched each of us in ways we could not have predicted and will remain with us for quite some time.

    *note:  the thoughts and feelings discussed herein are of personal opinions.  Neither prejudices nor insult are intended in this discussion.

    A Stranger's Choice 9/19/2011

    Continuing my series of A Stranger's Choice, I write today of a recommendation I received from a total stranger. I love to know what others are reading, and though this person was not reading the book at the time, he saw me looking for a business book in a local store and felt the desire to share something from which he had personally benefitted. He touted with great enthusiasm the book Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason.  He went on to say what a marvellous guide Richest Man in Babylon is and that he recommends it to everyone.  Most effective, he said, is to read this book 15 times and apply the principles taught therein. According to him, if there is one book on personal finances that everyone should read and that we should give a copy of to each of our children, it is Richest Man in Babylon.  In closing he said it  is the best $12 you could spend!

    So in true fashion, I had to investigate this little book.  Here is what I found:

    Format:  Mass Market Paperback
    Published:  February 7, 2011
    ISBN 9780451205360
    Genre:  Business/Personal Finance

    The Richest Man in Babylon was first a series of pamphlets issued by the author, George S. Clason, in 1926 consisting of parables of Babylon which taught principles of finance.  These pamphlets were quite popular with banks and financial institutions which distributed them to their customers.  Later these pamphlets were compiled into one volume known as Richest Man in Babylon.  Though this book is short in pages, its content speaks volumes.

    Near the beginning it reads:


    Start thy purse to fattening
    Control thy expenditures
    Make thy gold multiply
    Guard thy treasures from loss
    Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
    Insure a future income
    Increase thy ability to earn

    Chapters include:

    An Historical Sketch of Babylon
    The Man Who Desired Gold
    Richest Man in Babylon (for which the book is titled)
    Seven Cures for a Lean Purse
    Meet the Goddess of Good Luck
    The Five Laws of Gold
    The Gold Lender of Babylon
    The Walls of Babylon
    The Camel Trader of Babylon
    The Clay Tablets from Babylon
    The Luckiest Man in Babylon

    I have yet to read this entire book, having just begun prior to writing this post, but I will let you know my opinion when I have completed it.  Shall I read it 15 times before reviewing it, not likely.  But you will get a good idea of its potential nevertheless.  Who in this day and age cannot benefit from some sound financial advice, I cannot say.  I'm sure the majority of us can.  So....stay tuned.....

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    The Night Circus Book Trailer

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is rumoured to be the next HUGE hit.  Predictions are it will be more popular than Harry Potter and Twilight!

    The circus arrives without warning. 
    No announcements precede it. 
    It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. 
    Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. 
    It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves
    and it is only open at night. 

    If there is one book you simply must read this fall, make it The Night Circus....everyone else is.

    Revealed: Cover for Insurgent!!!

    Author:  Veronica Roth
    Release Date:  May 2012

    Though not much can be revealed about Veronica Roth's second book in the series, you may read a short interview EW did with the author here.
    Divergent fans....mark your calendars (as if you haven't already pfft...)May 2012 for the second instalment.  Seeing the cover alone elevates your heart rate, doesn't it?

    Visit the Facebook page here.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Review: The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones

    The First Gardener
    Author:  Denise Hildreth Jones
    Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers Inc.
    Copyright: 2011
    Pages:  419
    Genre:  Christian fiction
    ISBN 9781414335582
    Source:  Tyndale Press gave me a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

    "If heaven had a backyard, it would look like the gardens of the Tennessee governor's mansion.

    Jeremiah Williams has been tending those gardens for over twenty-five years.  And like most first families who have come and gone, this one has stolen his heart.

    Mackenzie and her husband, Governor Gray London, are enjoying a sweet season of life when a tragedy tears their world apart.  As the entire state mourns, Mackenzie falls into a grief that threatens to swallow her whole.

    Though his heart is also broken, Jeremiah realizes that his gift of gardening is about far more than pulling weeds and planting flowers.  It's about tending hearts as well.  So he gently begins to cultivate the hard soil of Mackenzie's heart, hoping to show her what it took him decades to discover.

    A Southern tale of loss, love, and living, The First Gardener reminds us that all of life is a gift, but our heart is the most valuable gift of all."

    Inspirational, emotional and memorable...these are but three words that capture the essence of the story of The First Gardener.  Denise Hildreth Jones has written this beautiful fictional tale of the south featuring Governor Gray London, his wife Mackenzie, their gardener, Jeremiah, and a wonderful true to life supporting cast. The First Gardener is a tale of love and loss, despair, hope and joy, and several good dashes of humour, with development of character in the finest of details incredibly true to life.

    Mackenzie and Gray have it all.  Gray is the state governor and they reside in the governor's mansion. They and their daughter Maddie comprise their loving family.  Then one day a tragic accident changes everything.  The resulting sorrow overshadows this family, permeating the very pages of this novel.

    Jeremiah, the gardener of the Governor's mansion, feels the pain distinctly.  While Gray deals with his grief by throwing himself into his work, the distance between him and his wife becomes an ever widening chasm as Mackenzie's depression deepens.  Jeremiah realizes that for this family to heal he must somehow touch Mackenzie's heart and is inspired to do so through his talent of gardening, giving her gifts of flowers.  Some days these floral gifts are ignored, but Eugenia, Mackenzie's mother, understands very well the meaning each flower holds and is wary of Jeremiah's intentions.  Eugenia is the backbone that keeps the household running, Gray is strong and steady, and Jeremiah is wise. Together they unite out of their grief and love to help heal Mackenzie's heart, and thus heal a family.

    Tissues are highly recommended as this story of The First Gardener will touch your heart and soul as you share the grief of this couple, the family and a state.

    A Christian novel, The First Gardener reveals through the faith of the humble gardener Jeremiah how one's faith in God will help heal even the most unsurmountable grief.

    Rated 5/5 for an exceptional though tear jerking read that I will definitely re-read someday.


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