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

Friday, June 28, 2013

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters Official Trailer

If you are so excited you can hardly bear it, watch the Cineplex trailer here:  http://cinplx.co/13a56NX, which, personally, I liked better.

Release date:  August 7, 2013.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Restrike by Reba White Williams (JKS Communications Blog Tour)

Author: Reba White Williams
Published:  June 2013
Publisher:  Delos
Edition:  ARC (advanced reader's copy)
ISBN 978939052001

Thank you to Samantha at JKS Communications for an ARC of Restrike.  Receipt of such bears no influence over my opinion nor this review.
"Money and murder go hand in glove in the rarified art world of Reba White Williams’ exciting first novel, Restrike.
Cousins Coleman and Dinah Greene moved from North Carolina to New York after college to make their mark on the art world: Coleman is the editor of an influential arts magazine and Dinah is the owner of a print gallery in Greenwich Village. But their challenges are mounting as one of Coleman’s writers is discovered selling story ideas to a competitor and The Greene Gallery is in the red because sales are down.

When billionaire Heyward Bain arrives with a glamorous assistant, announcing plans to fund a fine print museum, Coleman is intrigued and plans to get to know Bain and publish an article about him. Dinah hopes to sell him enough prints to save her gallery. At the same time, swindlers, attracted by Bain’s lavish spending, invade the print world to grab some of his money.

When a print dealer dies in peculiar circumstances, Coleman is suspicious, but she can’t persuade the NYPD crime investigator of a connection between the dealer’s death and Bain’s buying spree. After one of Coleman’s editors is killed and Coleman is attacked, the police must acknowledge the connection, and Coleman becomes even more determined to discover the truth about Bain. In an unforgettable final scene, Coleman risks her life to expose the last deception threatening her, her friends, and the formerly tranquil print world."

My review:

Restrike was a fun read that both entertained and informed me.  I have a close artist friend who has been exposing me to the local art scene through art walks and gallery visits, so this book definitely grabbed my attention!  

Williams has penned her first mystery novel based in a field of which she has immense knowledge, which she readily imparts to the reader.  The art scene is the "setting" for this who-dunit complete with shady masterminds who are experts in creating "forgeries" of prints, selling them at inflated costs.  But art forgeries of any kind are a dangerous business and when people start dying, Coleman (art magazine owner, editor and writer) gets suspicious.  She turns to those whom she believes she can trust as she prepares to expose the fraudulent activities in the print scene.

1.  Verb: To hit again
 2.  Noun: A fine art print made later than the first edition, usually inferior, and often made after the artist's death."

Coleman's investigations turn up many suspects and she finds she doesn't know who to trust.  As someone close to her is brutally killed; she reluctantly, for reasons best explained by the author, turns to her cousin Dinah to assist her in the investigation.  The more she reveals, the greater the danger to her and those with whom she is associated.  The web Williams weaves spins a quick read that is sure to keep you guessing.  Just when you think you have it figured out, voila!  You're wrong, or are you?

If you are a patron of the arts, love a good mystery, or both; Restrike comes highly recommended!

Reba White Williams has a PhD in Art History and has written for American Artist, Art and Auction, Print Quarterly, and Journal of the Print World.  She has also served at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Whitney Museum on their respective print committees.  This is her first novel in her Coleman and Dinah Green mystery series and she is currently writing her second titled Fatal Impressions.  

For More Information, Please Visit RebaWhiteWilliams.com

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay - Book Review

Sight Reading
Author:  Daphne Kalotay
Published: May 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 352
Genre:  Fiction
Edition:  ARC

I received an advanced reader's copy from the publisher and TLC book tours to facilitate this review.  Receipt thereof bears no influence on the opinions shared here.

The critically acclaimed author of Russian Winter turns her “sure and suspenseful artistry” (Boston Globe) to the lives of three colleagues and lovers in the world of classical music.
On a Boston street one warm spring day, Hazel and Remy spot each other for the first time in years. Although their brief meeting may seem insignificant, behind them lie two decades in which their life paths have crisscrossed, diverged, and ultimately interlaced. Remy, a gifted violinist, is married to the composer Nicholas Elko—once the love of Hazel’s life.
It has been twenty years since Remy, an ambitious conservatory student; Nicholas, a wunderkind launching an international career; and his wife, the beautiful and fragile Hazel, first came together, tipping their collective world on its axis. As their story unfolds from 1987 to 2007, from Europe to America, from conservatory life to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, each discovers the surprising ways in which the quest to create something real and true—be it a work of art or one’s own life—can lead to the most personal of revelations.
Lyrical and evocative, Sight Reading explores the role of art and beauty in everyday life, while unspooling a transporting story of marriage, family, and the secrets we keep, even from ourselves.
My Thoughts:

"In this world there are only two tragedies; one is not getting what one wants, the other is getting it." ~ page 97

Nicholas fell in love, head over heels in fact, from the moment he set his eyes on Hazel.  Not long afterwards, they married and had a daughter, Jessica.  Phase out to Remy, a curly-haired vibrant young girl who played the violin and who fell in love with her director, Nicholas.  Phase out Hazel, literally. After five years of marriage, Hazel and Nicholas divorce and he marries Remy. Oddly enough, Hazel bears little malice towards either of them.  Sure, she has secret moments of glee when she hears of disagreements like the one where Remy threw the teapot at Nicholas (told to Hazel by their daughter Jessica), but she quickly recovers from such feelings.  Really, she likes Remy and vice versa and they all love Jessica.  It's like one big happy extended family.  Hard to believe, but it's their world after all, the author's fiction.

Lives move on.  They drift apart, and still that mutual relationship remains.  On occasions where they meet, they are still happy to see each other.  Hazel realizes her first marriage, an attraction of complete opposites, was a mismatch and now that she is happily married to her soul mate, she can see the past, the stretches of loneliness, of doubt, and lack of confidence; as the past.  She is happy.  (I personally am so glad because I was rooting for her all along.  It seemed life had dealt her some terrible and sad blows and, face it, I always root for the underdog!)

Sight Reading is about music.  Not only the literal music of the orchestra, of which Nicholas and Remy both participate in, but also our own music.  The term "sight reading" refers to the ability of a musician to glance over a piece of music, hear the notes in their head, and then perform the piece without using the sheet music.  The musician, in this case Remy, begins playing off the sheets, but then they are taken away and she must continue to play, to feel the music and become one with it.  And she does!

Remy learns some valuable life lessons from Conrad Lesser.  He was her instructor during a summer program for musicians, but what he taught concerned not only playing an instrument:

"Listen to that," Lesser told them. "We limit ourselves every day without even knowing it, simply by doing what we always do, falling into patterns, not pushing ourselves further.  But every one of you has expressive reserves you've not yet discovered.  Your dear colleague here has just discovered some of her own, by facing a mistuned violin.  I want to help each of you find those reserves, so that you can tap them and go further, and give more, than you ever have before." ~ page 71.

There is some fabulous material in Sight Reading; some good life advice too.  That's what I liked about the book and that Kalotay allowed me to care for the two female protagonists, Hazel and Remy, was somewhat shocking because one was instrumental in breaking up the marriage of the other, and yet, I liked them both.

For me though, despite the beautiful messages and liking the two women, I found Sight Reading incredibly easy to put down.  It flows nicely enough but it didn't get me invested in the lives of the characters.  I like to feel that investment; to care, but also to be so entranced with their stories that I can't wait to get back to it if interrupted.  Sight Reading didn't do that for me.  It's a good book, just not rivetingly fabulous, not for me anyway.

Daphne Kalotay is the author of the novel Russian Winter, which won the Writers’ League of Texas Fiction Award and has been published in twenty languages, and the fiction collection Calamity and Other Stories, which was short-listed for the Story Prize. A MacDowell fellow, Daphne holds a PhD in modern and contemporary literature and an MA in creative writing, both from Boston University, and has received fellowships from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, Yaddo, and the Bogliasco Foundation. She has taught literature and creative writing at Boston University, Skidmore College, Middlebury College, and Grub Street. Co-president of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Find out more about Daphne at her website, and be sure to like her on Facebook!

Facebook pageauthor's website,

Interested in other reviews of Sight Reading, here's  the tour schedule.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Two Red Chairs - an evening with author Will Ferguson

Will Ferguson, author of Spanish Fly, Canadian Pie, Happiness, Beyond Belfast, Hitching Rides With Buddha, Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw, Coal Dust Kisses: a Christmas Memoir, Why I Hate Canadians (he's a Canadian author), How to Be Canadian (with Ian Ferguson), Canadian Pie, and most recently the Scotiabank Giller Prize winner 419.

Last evening a friend and I drove out to St. Albert to the Arden Theatre for the opportunity to take part in a presentation featuring award winning author Will Ferguson.  Accompanying him in the other red chair, as interviewer, was Paula Simons, journalist for the Edmonton Journal.

Paula had read Will Ferguson's 419 twice, while neither my friend nor I had yet read it.  Following a brief interview, Will Ferguson read from one of his books, Canadian Pie, I think; and then 419, following which he welcomed questions from the audience.

Predominately, the evening conversation focused on 419 but a noted commonality was identified between the writing of a fiction novel, 419, and his books of the humour genre.  Each book, 419 and Canadian Pie, have a common thread of parenting.  In 419 he asks, "If it gives the child a better life, would they? Would they die for their child?”

The other book from which Ferguson read shares a conversation he had with his son while reading the Hardy Boys together at bedtime.  Interestingly, the worst characters in the Hardy Boys series seem to be smugglers or something of similar sort and his son picked up on that after the first few books.  Today's society is far different, I think.  

At any rate, as Ferguson ties the concept of parenting as a common thread, not always so obvious in his books, so does he use humour.  Of course his books like Canadian Pie and Why I Hate Canadians are strictly humorous, 419 does have the odd humour thrown in lest the story become too dark.  (paraphrased from the author)

So, yes, an author can cross different genres and do it well. Ferguson is an example of this success.  As he was introduced at the top of the evening as being three separate authors, well in a way he is.  As he wrote in my copy of Hitching Rides With Buddha, he is also known as William (the intellectual author), Billy (the humour writer) and Will (the travel author).  All three in one....and he does it well.

Should you have the opportunity to see him in person, I hope you will.  He is as gifted on the stage, sharing humorous anecdotes, his research (how did that car come to be where it was), and offering advice (outline, outline, outline and write 10 minutes every day).  Oh, and there's the question about a Pontiac Oldsmobile......he cleared that up for us but perhaps he will generously share this with you too!

It was a longer than expected evening with complimentary refreshments and a book signing to follow. We left around 10 pm.  He must have been exhausted but he courteously allowed everyone the opportunity to get their book signed and to speak with him briefly.  After all, he drove all the way from Calgary that very day and, as he put it, his butt was tired.



Ferguson wore a kilt to the award ceremony and toasted the written word at the close of his acceptance speech.  You may watch a portion of it on YouTube.  Funnily, if one of the judges had known he was going to show up in a kilt, Ferguson said, he would not have won his vote.  I wonder why not? (tongue in cheek)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sharon Short, Author: Cross-Training for Writers: Carolyn Hart

"Sharon Short, Author: Cross-Training for Writers: Carolyn Hart: I've been blessed to write guest posts for several blogs since MY ONE SQUARE INCH OF ALASKA came out back in January, and ....."

One of my very favourite mystery authors, Carolyn Hart, shares on Sharon's blog her "cross-training" tips.  Check them out!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella: Book Spotlight & Giveaway (3 copies-US/Canada)

Peeking Between the Pages is having a fabulous contest with a chance to win one of 3 copies of Sophie Kinsella's newest novel, Wedding Night.  Sure to be a hoot!  For a chance to win a copy visit:

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella: Book Spotlight & Giveaway (3 copies-US/Canada)

Penguin Takes Books on the Road

Last year it was a Mini.  This year it's a truck that holds 500 books on each side!

Scotiabank Giller Prize Winning Author, Will Ferguson, to Appear in St. Albert!

The author of 419, the Scotiabank Giller Prize winning novel; travelogue; and humour will be in St. Albert next Friday evening. I would love to attend!


Will Ferguson
Friday, June 14
7:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Arden Theatre

Tickets are $10 (includes refreshments)
Call the library at 780-459-1530 or visit the customer service desk.
What promises to be interesting is Will Ferguson's attempt to tie in humour with travel and fiction. “I’m going to make the case that the humorist and the literary novelist are not that far apart. Hopefully, people will see a parallel between the two,” he said.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A A Milne in a Rare Recording of Him Reading A Winnie the Pooh Story Aloud

“In Which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle.”
How wonderful to hear the author's voice as he reads
 what is truly a children's favourite tale!

Elizabeth the First Wife - read an excerpt now

Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor at Pasadena City College, fills her days with books, tending her garden and growing her collection of European comfort shoes.  But that all changes when her ex-husband and A-list action movie star FX Fahey unexpectedly shows up with a job offer that she can’t refuse.  Now, instead of grading papers, Elizabeth packs for a summer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where her role is to provide artistic support and make sure FX doesn’t humiliate himself in an avant-garde production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s house sitter back in Pasadena is her Congressman brother-in-law’s dreamy chief of staff, whose calls regarding how to work the washing machine and stovetop slowly cross the line into much more personal territory.  Witty, relatable and incredibly funny, ELIZABETH THE FIRST WIFE is about the unexpected turns that life sometimes takes and how one woman handles those turns with the cynical humor and unfaltering poise of a Shakespearean heroine. 


I am so excited to read this new novel from Lian Dolan.  Unfortunately, it hasn't arrived yet but I have an excerpt to offer which will whet your appetite.  If you enjoy Shakespeare, classroom drama, and humour, this one may just climb to the top of your "Must Read List!"

This is where the class gets good, I thought. Where I, Elizabeth Lancaster, community college English teacher and theater enthusiast, feel most in my element. “Okay, let’s do this. Let’s read it together, Nico. You and me. Like I always say, Shakespeare’s words are meant to be spoken, not studied at arm’s length. It’s living, breathing dialogue. And in this scene, the sexist pig is trying to convince the cold-hearted be-yotch that the sun is actually the moon. It’s his way of exerting power, and she is employing her own manipulative techniques to shut him down. Raise your hand if you’ve done this in your own relationships. Who’s played mind games in a romantic relationship?”
All the hands went up except Sahil’s, whose closest personal relationship has probably been with his PlayStation controller. “That’s what I thought. Get up, Nico. You’re Petruchio and I’m Kate. Let’s go.” 
He heaved his squat body out of the chair, as his classmates hooted. His buddy from high school, Aron, hissed, “Duuude.” Nico’s reluctance was skin deep. He was a ham at heart. “Please, don’t make me do this.”
I took a swig of Diet Coke and did my best faux-ghetto “Oh, it’s on.” The students whooped, like I knew they would. 
Nico began haltingly, adding several more syllables than in the original. “Come on, a’ God’s name. Once more, um, um, toward our father’s. Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!” He inserted a dramatic hand gesture for emphasis, then gave me a triumphant look. 
Oh, it was on. I tapped into my Inner Shrew, which wasn’t hard. I was a single, mid-30s woman with emerging bunions, a leaking roof, and a love life that had been in decline since the early Aughts. Not to mention that I had a mother who kept setting me up with every divorced dad in Pasadena and a sister who insisted I needed to keep “putting myself out there” even though she has no idea how rough it is “out there.” Why couldn’t they just leave me alone with my books, my vegetable garden, and my growing collection of European comfort shoes? I happened to like my life. Why didn’t my family? Oh, yes, at that particularly moment in time, I was feeling extremely shrewish. Watch out, Nico. “The moon! The sun—it is not light now.” 
Nico rose to the challenge, playing his Petruchio with a touch of Jersey Shore. “I say it is the moon that shines so bright.” 
The classroom door cracked as it opened. I didn’t bother to turn to see who’d arrived thirty minutes late to class. Besides, the audible gasp from a dozen young women told me it was Jordan. He was easily the best-looking boy in the room and a star baseball player who was hoping for a decent transfer offer. Jordan slid in late most days, hoping for attendance credit and a chance to flirt with Shiree. But I paid no attention to the rumble from the other students, because I was in the zone. “I know it is the sun that shines so bright.” 
Nico’s jaw dropped open, apparently stunned silent by my confidence. But the scene wasn’t nearly over, so I gave him the universal “it’s your turn” sign with my hands. He stammered, unable to get out the next line. And then I heard the next lines come from behind me. “Now by my mother’s son, and that’s myself, It shall be the moon, or star, or what I list…”
I turned to face the owner of the familiar voice. Good God, just what I needed. 
No wonder the girls gasped. There, resplendent in jeans and a black T-shirt that probably cost more than my car, was Francis Fahey. Or as the world knew him, FX Fahey, the third-highest-grossing action star behind Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise. His “Icarus” franchise had spawned video games, fast food tie-ins, and a legion of fans that believed the laid-back actor to actually be the futuristic cop hero. Clearly, FX was used to being the center of attention, and he owned the classroom the minute he entered. He strode up the center aisle, grinning effortlessly, like he was just returning from the grocery store with a six-pack of beer instead of invading my workplace after a decade of no face-to-face contact. Oh, he was enjoying the moment. “Or ere I journey to your father’s house. Go on and fetch our horses back again. Evermore cross’d and cross’d, nothing but cross’d.” 


About Lian Dolan
Lian Dolan is a writer, producer, talk show host, podcast pioneer and social media consultant. She writes the blog and produces the weekly podcast “The Chaos Chronicles,” a humorous look at modern motherhood. She writes for Oprah.com as a parenting expert. A decade ago, Lian created Satellite Sisters, an award-winning talk show, blog and website, with her four real sisters. Her writing has appeared in many national magazines, including regular columns in O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother and essays in such anthologies as Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul. TV appearances have included The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is a popular speaker for groups and corporations, always using humor as hook.  Her previous books include Helen of Pasadena and The Satellite Sisters’ Uncommon Senses.


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