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Showing posts from January, 2015

Count Me In by Emily White

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

The pacing in the first half of the book is engaging. Protagonist Stella Sweeney, a part-time beauty therapist and full time mom, struggles in overcoming writer's block in scripting her novel One Blink At A Time. Marian Keyes keeps us in eager anticipation, wondering how Stella will bring her life back to normal after a crippling disease called Guillain-Barre. 
My curiosity kept me reading on. I wondered how Marian Keyes would attack the crippling illness, that seemed so strong and incurable. How would the protagonist, Stella Sweeney deal with such an over whelming gripping force taking control of her life, and still have the incredible gusto in her to persevere and be well again? There is a back and forth in time, that adds to the intrigue of the book. We are drawn to believe that Stella Sweeney gets better and then writes this book of philosophical maxims, coined One Blink At A Time. But at the same time, as we journey with Stella Sweeney through her devastating rare disease that…

Hild by Nicole Griffith

A historical novel driven by political intrigue. I have not read Nicola Griffith’s other novels, but I have heard that she has an uncanny ability to evoke a different time and place with her writing. I can see that in Hild. Drawing the reader into the seventh-century Anglo-Saxon world, signals the making of a trilogy. Through the influence of her mom, three-year-old Hild’s path is set. As the niece of a powerful king, Hild finds her place as an influential advisor and prophetess to the king. It’s not the easiest job in the world and she probably could be executed should her advice prove not favourable.
The prose is beautiful and transports you directly into that era. Nicola Griffith has written a beautiful fantasy novel, devoid of dragons and demons, but with a play on all the mystical elements that one expects to see in such a period piece. 

------------------------------------------------------- Hild is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, and distributed in Canada by Rain…

Spic-And-Span! Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen.

Lillian’s Time
“At the crack of dawn as the sun spills orange like the soft yolk oozing from a well-timed egg
Lillian drinks a soothing tea in the wicker by the window. The day is not yet alive. The house is not yet awake.
Lillian sips and thinks about what she must do today before her army of children invades the quiet of her time.”
Lillian Evelyn Moller Gilbreth (May 24, 1878 – January 2, 1972) was an American psychologist and industrial engineer. She lived a challenging life, filled with children (eleven in total), intellectual fulfillment, and a list of accomplishments that most of us could only hope to achieve. Imagine holding the title of efficiency expert, industrial engineer, inventor, psychologist, author, professor…wait, did I already mention mother to eleven children? And, apparently she always said that her favourite role was that of a mother…Go Figure!
From Tundra Books’ Great Idea Series comes a wonderful historical account of this remarkable woman’s life. Spic-And-Span! Lillian Gil…

On Writing "Vanessa and Her Sister"

“About a third of the way through the book, it struck me as the most presumptive thing I could ever have done. I stopped cold for about a month while I panicked,” she explains, cringing at the memory. Vanessa Bell, who was a painter in the Bloomsbury Set and Virginia Woolf’s older sister, didn’t keep a diary. “I wanted to be in the first person, not the third person,” so she invented the entries. “I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ And the first time I realized that I had set myself up to have to write a letter from Virginia Woolf, [I thought], ‘Wow, what am I doing here? This is a gargantuan mistake!’”

Read the rest at For Priya Parmar, a career as a novelist wasn’t even in the plans from The Globe And Mail.

Don't forget to check our review of Vanessa and Her Sister.

Saltwater Cowboys by Dayle Furlong

For most people life isn’t a fairytale. It’s about muddling through. After generations of prosperity in the mining town of Brighton, Newfoundland, Jack and Angela McCarthy find themselves unemployed. In order to keep his family together, Jack accepts a job at a gold mine in the wilds of northern Alberta.
The first half of the book is about their tiresome journey to Foxville, Alberta. The long lonely trek via the old northern Canadian highway is at times depressing and cumbersome to read. At times they are right in the middle of a whiteout, inching along the highway, not able to see anything in the rear-view mirror, all the while dragging pounds of snow with them. Yes, as Canadians we can relate to this harsh reality of life in The Great White North.
Saltwater Cowboys articulates the reality of the economic system we live in. Lured by the promise of money and a better life, families uproot themselves from a life to which they have become accustomed to a life in exile from their homeland.…

Vanessa And Her Sister by Priya Parmar

Multilayered, Imaginative and Melodic
A Spellbinding Historical Snapshot Of Painter Vanessa Bell And Her Sister Virginia Woolf

The year is 1905, London. Gifted sisters, Vanessa and Virginia Stephen, are close but exhibit the natural sibling rivalry that is common amongst families. Vanessa is the painter, but has not yet sold a painting. Virginia’s (a.k.a. Virginia Woolf) book has just been turned down by The Times.

The novel centers around the sisters, amongst a cluster of other bright artistic friends (who grow into legend) and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. These young, single bohemians include the likes of Lytton Strachley, E.M.Forster, Leonard Woolf, and John Maynard Keynes. Embracing the wild freedom of youth, these artists try to maneuver the challenges and triumphs of a city alight with change.
Then the soap opera begins. The tides have shifted and Vanessa plunges into a new emotional phase in her life. She falls in love. As embarks on the journey towards marriage an…