Showing posts from January, 2016

"City of the Lost" by Kelley Armstrong

Casey Duncan is a talented police detective, dedicated to her job and her best friend Diana.  Other than her no strings attached relationship with ex-con Kurt, her life is focused on those two things.  But Casey carries with her a very dark secret - she once killed a man, and she got away with it.
Casey and Diana have been on the run for years, from Diana’s powerful and abusive ex-husband.  Once again, he’s found her and now it’s time for Diana to run once more.  But when a figure from Casey’s past shows up and threatens her life, the two women realize that they need to go somewhere they will never be found.
Diana has heard of a place, a town where people who need to disappear completely can go.  Located in the far northern reaches of Canada, this town is their only hope.  Casey and Diana are thrilled to be accepted into Rockton, but when they arrive Casey quickly discovers that all is not as it seems.  Because a hunter has come to Rockton, and it's hunting for people.
City of the…

"Birdie" by Tracey Lindberg

Bernice Meetoos, aka Birdie, is a Cree woman who has left her home in Northern Alberta and travelled to Gibsons, BC. There, she hopes to find and meet Pat Johns, who played Jesse on The Beachcombers, partly because of a teenage crush and partly because he is a working, healthy Indian man.  
In Gibsons, she ends up meeting Lola, a white woman who gives her a place to stay and a job in her bakery.  But it is also here that her past catches up to her.  When she doesn’t find what she is looking for her on her travels, she has a breakdown and takes to her bed. Her Auntie Val and her cousin, Skinny Freda, soon arrive in Gibsons to take care of Birdie, as she embarks on a quest that will change her life forever.
Birdie, by Tracey Lindberg, is an incredible novel about confronting and healing from your past.  Steeped in Cree lore and traditions, this novel touches on the life faced by Aboriginal woman in Canada and on the experiences all women face.
I had a tough time reading this book.  I do…

"Lost Ocean" by Johanna Basford

Working in a bookstore, the most common question I heard at Christmas was "do you sell those adult colouring books?"  I honestly lost count of how many times I answered that question.

Adult colouring books are a trend that has completely taken over and one that, at first, I didn't quite understand.  Until I received a sample of Lost Ocean from Penguin Random House while I was at Word on the Street this past summer.  I brought it home, coloured a few pages, and was hooked. They are fun and relaxing, the perfect thing to do when unwinding at the end of a long day.

Whenever I was asked about colouring books, I always recommended one by Johanna Basford.  Since releasing The SecretGarden a couple of years ago, she has sold over 10 million books.  Her illustrations are absolutely beautiful, incredibly intricate, and very enjoyable. Here are two pictures I have coloured so far:

I started with two easier pictures but there are so many pages that are completely filled with intri…

"Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of A Fist" by Sunil Yapa

When Victor sets out to sell marijuana to some of the 50,000 anti-globalization protestors gathered in Seattle, he doesn’t know what he is in for.  The protestors are determined to shut down the city and the meetings of the WTO delegates.  But the patience of the police is wearing thin and clashes are inevitable.
Over the course of one afternoon, the lives of seven people will be altered completely.  Bishop, the chief of police, is the father that Victor hasn’t seen in three years.  Ju and Park are police officers assigned to control the crowds.  King and John Henry are two protestors who are watching their plan of non-violence spin wildly out of control.  And then there is Dr. Charles Wickramsinghe, the Sri Lankan finance minister for whom the fate of his country rests on getting through the protestors to the meetings.  
Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, the debut novel from Sunil Yapa, is a moving and powerful novel about humanity and compassion.
This is a fascinating novel…

"The Outside Circle" by Patti LaBoucane-Benson and Kelly Mellings

Pete and Joey are brothers, young Aboriginal men who are surrounded by poverty, drug abuse, and gang violence brought on by the centuries of historic trauma inflicted upon the Aboriginal people of Canada.  
Pete has fallen in with a gang, is dealing drugs, and is committing violence in order to provide for his younger brother and his heroin addict mother.  One night, Pete gets into a fight with his mother’s boyfriend, Dennis, which ends with Dennis being taken away in a body bag.  In jail, Pete maintains his gang ties but when he finds out that Joey has fallen in with them and then Pete is attacked by a rival gang member, he realizes that he needs to break the cycle.
Pete is offered the opportunity to participate in a program that helps incarcerated Aboriginal men begin the process of rehabilitation through traditional Aboriginal healing circles and ceremonies.  It will be a difficult struggle, one that Pete will initially try to fight but he knows that though his own healing, he wil…

"The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance" by Kirsty Greenwood

Jessica Beam loves to party.  But she loves to party too much, so much so that she’s lost both her home and her job because of it.  Down on her luck and with no one to turn to, she seeks out her long-lost grandmother.
Matilda Beam is the exact opposite of her granddaughter.  Her etiquette guides that made her a household name in the 1950’s aren’t needed by the young women of today and with her only source of income gone, the bills are piling up.  If things don’t pick up fast, she’ll lose her home and a whole lot more.
After finding each other, Jessica and Matilda get one shot to turn things around. A London publisher has offered them a deal - if Matilda can turn Jessica into a demure, vintage lady by using all the rules of her old-fashioned Good Woman guides, then they will publish an updated version of Matilda’s books.   But the plan will only be considered successful if Jessica can capture the heart of Leo Frost, London’s most notorious playboy.
The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance

"Hungry Ghosts" by Peggy Blair

When the ghost of a woman appears alongside Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, he knows that it won’t be long before a woman turns up dead in Havana.  And while he is investigating a case of vandalism in the art world, a prostitute is found murdered, with nylons wrapped around her neck.  The nylons connect this case to Ramirez’s only cold case and now he fears he has a serial killer on his hands.
Detective Charlie Pike is investigating a murder on a First Nation reserve in Northern Ontario, and people are worried that this body is another victim of the Highway Strangler.  This woman too has a pair of nylons tied around her neck.
It is a race against the clock for both officers to find their killer before it strikes again.  With the Cuban government trying to silence Inspector Ramirez and Detective Pike having to navigate the delicate relations between the First Nations and the Canadian forces, the pressure mounts for these two to track an international serial killer.
Hungry Ghosts, by Peggy B…

"Troublemaker" by Leah Remini

Leah Remini is known for being outspoken.  The actress, talk show host, and reality television star has always said what was on her mind and has never held back.  And she is no different in her book as she shares the story of her life and gives a behind the headlines look at her very public split with the Church of Scientology.
Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, by Leah Remini, is a raw, honest, and eye-opening memoir of what life is like within Scientology.
I have always been a fan of Remini’s.  I remember her as Charlie Briscoe first on Who’s the Boss and then Living Dolls as well as Stacy Kerosi on Saved by the Bell and even as a kid I remember being in awe of her.  I absolutely love her on King of Queens and tuned into The Talk to watch her.  But I never paid much attention to her personal life and Scientology is something that I’ve never really cared to hear about.  But when Leah left the church, I started to pay attention to what she had to say.  I figured if any…

"The Crooked Heart of Mercy" by Billie Livingston

Maggie and Ben were madly in love but a terrible tragedy tore them apart.  Now, they are trying to make their way through life separately but neither of them can outrun the pain on their own.
Ben, a limo driver to the wealthy and irresponsible, had a tough upbringing and he finds himself having to care for the man who was never much of a father to him.  His younger brother, Cola, is there to help but is more concerned with the fact that he owes a lot of money to some not very nice people.  And now, Ben has woken up in a hospital with a hole in his head.  He’s the one who put it there, his desperate attempt to escape what is hurting him.  
Maggie stopped working after the tragedy but with the bills mounting up, she must return to her job of caring for seniors.  Her first client, Lucy, is well-meaning but her attempts to help Maggie contact those she has lost are causing too much pain.  Maggie tries to turn to her brother Francis, but he’s dealing with his own troubles, having been the…

A Look Ahead at 2016

2016 already?!?! I love a new year, especially when it comes to this blog. I love finding out what books are coming out, giving the blog a bit of a refresh, and starting new challenges.  And the new year always means another full year of blogging - I’ve been blogging for six years now!
Just like last year, I’m welcoming in the new year by binge-watching television.  My holidays so far have been spent watching Trollied, The Job Lot, You Me and the Apocalypse, and now I’m going to continue on with my Downton Abbey marathon.
Let’s look ahead at 2016 and see what I’m looking forward to books and blogging-wise.
Over the years I’ve been cutting down on the number of challenges I participate in and this year is no different.  I just don’t think they are for me.  So I will continue with my multi-year challenges and one I complete every year.
Canadian Book Challenge
This one is easy for me to complete as each year I read more and more CanLit.  I really enjoy participating in this one…