Thursday, September 30, 2010

Over the Counter #23

Well the latest book to catch my eye as it passed over my counter and under my scanner was Antiques Roadshow - Behind the Scenes.

If you haven't watched the show before - everyday folks bring in their family heirlooms or treasures to see what their worth is. There's a Canadian and British version I've watched  as well.  This book is behind the scenes of the American version.

From the publisher Touchstone a divison of Simon and Schuster"

" An all-access pass to America's first (and favorite) reality television program -- boasting over ten million viewers each week -- Antiques Roadshow!

If you're a fan of PBS's top-rated Antiques Roadshow, you've probably wondered -- what would it take to get your family treasure on the program? What happens to the antiques after the show airs? Are the appraisers ever wrong? And will Antiques Roadshow come to my hometown?

In this four-color, fully illustrated guide to America's favorite treasure-hunting program, Antiques Roadshow Behind the Scenes reveals inside information about the participants, the appraisers, the fans, and the antiques that make up the show, direct from the woman who makes it all happen -- executive producer Marsha Bemko. Learn what it really takes to put on a Roadshow event (and why certain cities are more likely to get a visit from the show than others), who gets chosen to be on air (and what items producers are really looking for), what it takes to be an appraiser (and how even the experts make mistakes) ... and what happens when things go terribly wrong (such as the occasional antique that turns out to have been stolen!). In addition, learn which books, websites, and resources your favorite appraisers recommend, and get updates on some of the most popular and notorious items ever featured on the show.

From priceless tips to the juicy family secrets hidden in dusty heirlooms, Antiques Roadshow Behind the Scenes is both an invaluable resource and a fascinating slice of Americana. "

Peek inside here. Anyone else watch this series? I'm not a faithful viewer, but do enjoy it once in awhile.

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This Must Be the Place - Kate Racculia

Arthur Rook's wife Amy is killed in a workplace accident. Arthur cannot comprehend that she is well and truly gone from his life. In going through her closet, he comes upon a pink shoebox filled with tiny treasures and mementos.

And an unmailed postcard from 16 years ago that reads:
"Mona, I'm sorry. I should have told you. Anyway I left you the best parts of myself. You know where to look.  Amy
So Arthur in his grief, set out to Ruby Falls, New York to find Mona and maybe learn more about Amy and the past she never talked about.

This Must Be the Place is not really about Amy though. It's about those she left behind - Mona, her daughter Oneida and Arthur. For each of them, Amy played a pivotal role in their lives. As Arthur struggles to come to terms with Amy's death, Mona is forced to confront her past. Secrets long buried can no longer be kept hidden.

Kate Racculia's book was a wonderful find for me. There is the mystery of Amy's past, but for me it was the exploration of relationships that I found attractive. Mona and her love for her daughter Oneida. Oneida's complicated coming of age (this was a great subplot) and Arthur and Mona's tentative reaching out to each other and the loss of Amy. The book is populated with marvellously quirky characters that lend an almost enchanted feel to the Darby-Jones boarding house Mona runs. I did guess Amy's secret about halfway through, but it didn't detract from enjoying the rest of the book at all.

A great debut by a new voice. I enjoyed Racculia's whimsical, unique tale and characters very much and look forward to her next offering.

Read an excerpt of This Must Be the Place.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Red Hook Road - Ayelet Waldman

Ayelet Waldman's book is the story of two families in the town of Red Hook Maine. The Copaken and Tetherly families are about to be united by the marriage of Becca Copaken and John Tetherly. The union is short lived as John and Becca are tragically killed immediately after their wedding in a car accident.

Red Hook Road follows the aftermath of this tragedy over the course of four years and the effect on the family and friends left behind.

The two mothers - Iris Copaken and Jane Tetherly are the main characters and the ones we come to know the best. Waldman's strength lies in her characterizations.  I truly disliked Iris despite her losses. Her sense of right, her scheming and manipulations added up to someone I would not enjoy knowing. Although her actions are not all bad, it is the way she achieves them that I found objectionable. Jane is portrayed a a 'typical' Mainer - stoic, spare with words and hard working. Despite her brusqueness she is the character I enjoyed the most. Supporting characters are just as strongly drawn, particularly Iris's father.

The sea, boats and classical music all play a role in the novel and are used by Waldman as allegorical vehicles.

Those looking for an action filled story won't find it here. Rather, they will find a thoughtful, carefully portrayed narrative of the feelings, emotions and actions of those left grieving after a heartbreaking loss.

Read an excerpt of Red Hook Road.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Giveaway - Simply Irresistible - Jill Shalvis

Thanks to the generous folks at The Hachette Book Group, I have 5 (!) copies of Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis to giveaway!

What's it about? From the publisher:

"Maddie Moore's whole life needs a makeover.

In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.

Starting over won't be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too.

The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she's sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie's struggles to overcome the past, though she's about to discover that there's no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor."

"USA Today bestselling author JILL SHALVIS lives in a small town in the Sierras also run by quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books are, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website at for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountain adventures."

You can find Jill on Twitter as well.

Simply comment to be entered. Open to residents of the U.S. or Canada. No P.O. Boxes, please. Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule. Ends Saturday October 23 at 6 pm EST.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Winners - Blind Man's Alley - Justin Peacock

And the two lucky winners of a copy of Blind Man's Alley by Justin Peacock, courtesy of Doubleday Publishing are:

1. mjmeeks5
2. farrell

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who entered - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Winners - Dracula in Love - Karen Essex

And the two lucky winners of a copy of Dracula in Love by Karen Essex, courtesy of Doubleday Publishing are:

1. Margay
2. Angela

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Over the Counter #22

Well, my fingertips are blue as I type this - I've just finished up making my grape jelly for the year and just have my root vegetables to bring in. So this pair of books caught my eye this week as they passed under my scanner and over the counter. The first one covers the basics and the second is a little more adventurous.

Both titles are from Storey Publishing.

The Beginner's Guide to Preserving Food at Home by Janet Chadwick

"You don’t need lots of time or years of experience to preserve garden-fresh fruits and vegetables. Simple step-by-step instructions give you the confidence and know-how to freeze, dry, can, root cellar, and brine your favorite vegetables and fruits. Grate and freeze excess zucchini; it will be perfect in quick breads and muffins all winter long. Pick up a crate of inexpensive, less-than-perfect tomatoes at the farmers’ market and turn them into jars of spicy salsa, or buy a few extra peaches and can a delicious batch of jam. Use the overflow of green beans from your garden to make tasty dilly beans to give as holiday gifts. These techniques and recipes will have you eating locally all year long."

Put 'em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton

"With simple step-by-step instructions and 175 delicious recipes, Put ‘em Up will have even the most timid beginners filling their pantries and freezers in no time! You’ll find complete how-to information for every kind of preserving: refrigerating, freezing, air- and oven-drying, cold- and hot-pack canning, and pickling. Recipes range from the contemporary and daring — Wasabi Beans, Cherry and Black Pepper Preserves, Pickled Fennel, Figs in Honey Syrup, Sweet Pepper Marmalade, Berry Bourbon, Salsa Verde — to the very best versions of tried-and-true favorites, including applesauce and apple butter, dried tomatoes, marinara sauce, bread and butter pickles, classic strawberry jam, and much, much more. "

Anybody else freeze/can/preserve besides me?

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dracula in Love - Karen Essex

There's lots of vampire fiction out there to choose from and I am rather picky on which ones I sink my teeth into. (Sorry couldn't resist) Dracula in Love by Karen Essex appealed to me as it is written from Mina's point of view. Mina, of course was at the centre of Bram Stoker's classic novel Dracula. Mina acknowleges that another novel has been written about what transpired, but it is false and she wants to tell the true story.

Essex cleverly uses many of the characters from Stoker's novel and completely retells the tale with Dracula not as a monster, but as a protector and lover of Mina.

I enjoyed the historical detail of the time and period. Essex has done a great job with bringing 1890 to life. Her descriptions of the asylums and 'modern' psychiatric methods in women's care were chilling, even more so as they are fact based. This theme is in direct contrast to Mina's awakening sexuality and plays a pivotal role in Essex's re imagined Dracula. The sex scenes read as very mild erotica.

I was completely caught up in this altered tale and actually liked Dracula, hoping he and Mina would finally end up together. But Dracula is not the focal point of Essex's novel. Rather it is Mina and Lucy who take centre stage. The depictions of all characters were strong though and fairly leapt off the page.

Essex has taken great pains to research eternal life through the ages with an eye to explaining the presence of vampires in the world. It's very well done, but I found myself glossing over a bit during these pages. I was in a rush to see what the final outcome would be.

Not your usual vampire fare - instead an intriguing mix of history, romance and the paranormal that combines for a pleasurable read.

Try it for yourself - read an excerpt of Dracula in Love. You can find Dracula in Love on Facebook too.

**** You've got until Saturday Sept 25th to enter to win one of two copies.***

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Giveaway - The Postcard Killers - James Patterson

I have three audio book copies The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund to giveaway, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group.

From the publisher:

"NYPD detective Jack Kanon is on a tour of Europe's most gorgeous cities. But the sights aren't what draw him--he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each restaurant through a killer's eyes. Kanon's daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend were murdered while on vacation in Rome. Since then, young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Stockholm have become victims of the same sadistic killers. Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter, Dessie Larsson. Every killing is preceded by a postcard to the local newspaper--and Kanon and Larsson think they know where the next victims will be."

Listen to an excerpt of The Postcard Killers.

Simply comment to be entered. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. One copy per household. Ends Sat. Oct 16 at 6 pm EST.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Room - Emma Donoghue

Where to start?! This is one of the best books of the year for me. I really love Emma Donoghue's writing, but was a little afraid of Room. The subject matter seemed a little frightening and I wasn't sure I wanted to venture inside. I am soooo glad I read it.

Room is the story of Jack and his Ma. Jack has just turned 5 when the book opens. Room is where Jack and Ma live. The world is 11' by 11' to Jack  - that's the size of the room his mother has been imprisoned in since she was kidnapped seven years ago - and where Jack was born.
The day to day life, routines, games and learning Ma has developed to raise an imaginative, intelligent, happy little boy under seemingly overwhelming circumstances were simply amazing. The relationship between mother and child had me in tears - it was unbelievably poignant. The book is told in Jack's voice. And what a voice Donoghue has created! Jack's view of his 'world' is by turns heartbreaking, funny, frightening yet joyful and optimistic. Just think - this little boy does not realize that there is a world outside of their space. space.

It is when Jack turns five, that Ma fears the room is getting too small and that time is running out....

I've tried many times to put my thoughts into words for this review and have come up short every time. All I can say is it's a book you want to read. A gut wrenching, emotional, terrifying, addicting, hopeful, satisfying read that you won't be able to put down. Really. Watch the trailer....

Read an excerpt of Room.

Certainly we have all read about cases like this in newspaper headlines. Read this great essay from Donoghue - Writing Room - how and why. You can find Emma Donoghue on Facebook as well or visit

Donghue has been short listed for the Man Booker Prize for Room, winner to be announced Oct 12th. She's got my vote for the win.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Winners - Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer

And the three lucky winners of a copy of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. debbie
2. Book Bird Dog
3. Courtney

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Winners - She's Gone Country - Jane Porter

And the three lucky winners of a copy of She's Gone Country by Jane Porter, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. carolpie
2. Melissa
3. Carol Spring

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The News Where You Are - Catherine O'Flynn

I really enjoyed Catherine O'Flynn's debut novel What Was Lost (my review) and was looking forward to her second - The News Where You Are.

Frank is a television news presenter. Viewers enjoy him, but it is the bad puns and jokes (penned by odd duck Cyril - inherited from former presenter and star Phil) that are the appeal for many of the viewers. He lives in a house that he's having trouble selling as it's removed from everything. He loves his wife Andrea who loves him just as much. They have a young daughter Mo who is a breath of fresh air with her sunny view and outlook. Frank's mother Maureen lives in a Seniors development and can only seem to see the worst in everything. Frank questions the verdict of accidental death in Phil's case and does some investigating on his own.

Back cover blurbs include the phrases 'brilliantly funny and heartbreakingly sad and spirited literary mystery". I must say I really didn't find the book funny at all. I did find sadness though. Frank is a multi leveled character. By turns he seems lost, but he's a fantastic father, devoted son and faithful friend. Yet is all seems to be done with a sense of obligation. Frank's father was an architect and the demolition of many of his buildings seems to be an allegory for the breaking down of many barriers in Frank's life, past and present. O'Flynn uses architecture and descriptions of same to mirror many characters' moods and feelings.

The character of Mo stole the show for this reader. Her determined attempts to cheer up her grandmother, her vibrant imagination and her love of life and everything in it were a high point for me.

The 'spirited mystery' wasn't there for this reader. The mystery surrounding Phil's death certainly is an impetus in Frank rediscovering his life but did not fit the 'mystery' tag for me.

O'Flynn has a way with words and many of her scenarios and descriptions are quite eloquent in their simplicity. But the novel moved along quite slowly in the first half for me - the second half was less meandering. I wanted to love this book as much as I did her first one, but for me it was just an okay read.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Over the Counter # 21

I Lego N.Y. by Christoph Niemann was the latest book to catch my eye as it passed over my library counter and under my scanner this week.

If I wasn't actually paying attention this one would have ended up on the children's truck to shelve as it is a board book- but catalogued and sold as an adult book!

From the publisher Abrams Books:

"LEGO N.Y. is an imaginative look at life in New York City constructed entirely out of LEGOs. Designer and illustrator Christoph Niemann was inspired to create a series of miniature New York vignettes out of his sons' toys after a few cold and dark winter days in Berlin. The former New Yorker then posted photographs of his creations along with his handwritten captions on his New York Times blog. Resident and honorary New Yorkers around the world responded enthusiastically to the clever and minimalist inventions, which captured both the iconic (the Empire State Building) and the mundane (man standing on a subway platform) in fewer LEGO pieces than one might think possible. This book includes all of the original images, plus thirteen new creations. The resulting collection is delightful in its simplicity and moving in its ability to cature the spirit of life in New York in so few strokes."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spider Bones - Kathy Reichs

I'm a big fan of Kathy Reichs'  'Bones' series. The books that is - not the television series. I watched it once, but it just didn't mesh with the image I had created in my head for Temp Brennan.

In the 13th book in the series, Spider Bones, Temp is called in to identify a body found in a plastic bag in a lake in Quebec. She does, but the prints come back to a American reported killed during the Vietnam war 40 years ago. She then heads off to Hawaii and the JPAC unit - dedicated to finding and bringing home all Americans that have gone missing in action or who were prisoners of war - to follow up.

As always, Reichs' writing is realistic and has the unmistakable ring of authenticity. And so it should - she herself is a forensic anthropologist with numerous credentials and accolades. Her writing style is effortless and the plot moves along quickly. Lots of foreshadowing kept me turning pages. However, the plot is fairly convoluted and multiple names are bandied about, so I did have to go back a few times to make sure I was keeping up with the numerous twists and turns. I think I've seen  one element of the final solution used as a element in another forensic novel, but can't think of which one. (And I don't want to mention what it is and provide a spoiler!)

A personal element is continued with a sub plot involving former lover Ryan and his daughter. Not my favourite of this series, but a really good read. And I still prefer her over another female author who pens a similar series.

Read an excerpt of Spider Bones.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Giveaway - The Unnamed - Joshua Ferris

Looking for a great book club selection? Look no further. The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris would make a great choice - and there is a reading club guide available. And thanks to the Hachette Book Group I have 3 copies to giveaway.

What's it about? From the publisher:

"He was going to lose the house and everything in it.

The rare pleasure of a bath, the copper pots hanging above the kitchen island, his family-again he would lose his family. He stood inside the house and took stock. Everything in it had been taken for granted. How had that happened again? He had promised himself not to take anything for granted and now he couldn't recall the moment that promise had given way to the everyday.

Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife Jane still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And, even as his daughter Becka retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father's honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world.
He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. He loves his kitchen. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.

THE UNNAMED is a dazzling novel about a marriage and a family and the unseen forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both. It is the heartbreaking story of a life taken for granted and what happens when that life is abruptly and irrevocably taken away."

Get a head start - read an excerpt of The Unnamed.

You can find Joshua Ferris on Facebook. Check out the website for The Unnamed.

Simply comment to be entered to win a copy. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes. Limit one per mailing address.  Ends Sat. Oct. 9th at 6 pm EST.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What Alice Knew - Paula Marantz Cohen

Subtitled: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper.

What Alice Knew is an utterly original historical mystery. Paula Marantz Cohen has taken many well known historical figures and incorporated them as the characters in this period tale. Novelist Henry James, his psychologist brother William and their bedridden sister Alice are the main protagonists, but others such as Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and John Singer Sargent figure prominently.

And of course - Jack the Ripper. Cohen brings 1888 London, England to life with her descriptions of locales and social customs. But it is the dialogue and interactions between the characters that provide such a fresh inventive look at a event that has been covered many times before. The conversations between the siblings is witty, clever and very entertaining. The character of Alice is especially engaging - her self imposed bed rest seems at odds with her quick and intelligent mind, but she is self aware. When we get a glimpse at her vulnerabilities, she becomes all the more authentic. Of all the historical figures, I enjoyed her portrayal the most.

"...that the solution to these horrific crimes requires the three of us. Henry, to observe the social world where I sense the murder lurks and to plumb his friends and acquaintances for gossip. William, to study the physical evidence through  his contact with the police and to supply psychological analysis where needed.
And you? William asked in amused wonder. What will you do?
Me?  She levelled her intelligent gaze at her brothers. I will review what you gather....and solve the case."
Cohen has presented a 'solution' to the Ripper mystery that is both plausible and unique. But the fun in this book is the journey not the resolution. Highly entertaining.

Read an excerpt of What Alice Knew.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Winners - The Broom of the System - David Foster Wallace

And the three randomly chosen winners of a an audio book copy of The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. CherylF The Lucky Ladybug
2. Jeanne
3. John S

I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Winners - Follow Me

And the three lucky winners, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group, of a copy of Follow Me by Joanna Scott are:

1. gcpeach17
2. farrell
3. Jeff

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Giveaway - Blind Man's Alley - Justin Peacock

Thanks to Doubleday Publishing I have two copies of  Justin Peacock's new book Blind Man's Alley to giveaway.

What's it about? From the publisher:

"From the author of the Edgar Award–nominated legal thriller A Cure for Night, an ambitious and compulsively readable novel set in the cutthroat world of New York real estate.

A concrete floor three hundred feet up in the Aurora Tower condo development in SoHo has collapsed, hurling three workers to their deaths. The developer, Roth Properties (owned by the famously abrasive Simon Roth), faces a vast tangle of legal problems, including allegations of mob connections. Roth’s longtime lawyers, the elite midtown law firm of Blake and Wolcott, is assigned the task of cleaning up the mess. Much of the work lands on the plate of smart, cynical, and sea­soned associate Duncan Riley; as a result, he falls into the pow­erful orbit of Leah Roth, the beautiful daughter of Simon Roth and the designated inheritor of his real estate empire.

Meanwhile, Riley pursues a seemingly small pro bono case in which he attempts to forestall the eviction of Rafael Nazario and his grandmother from public housing in the wake of a pot bust. One night Rafael is picked up and charged with the mur­der of the private security cop who caught him, a murder that took place in another controversial “mixed income” housing development being built by . . . Roth Properties. Duncan Riley is now walking the knife edge of legal ethics and personal morality.

Blind Man’s Alley is a suspenseful and kaleidoscopic journey through a world where the only rule is self- preservation. The New York Times Book Review said of A Cure for Night that “[Peacock] heads toward Scott Turow country . . . he’s got a good chance to make partner.” This taut, topical, and socially alert thriller delivers on that promise."

Read an excerpt of Blind Man's Alley.

Simply comment to be entered. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Sunday Sept 26 at 6 pm EST.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labour Day

Happy Labour Day to everyone! And speaking of labour - after a summer of part time work, I'll be starting a full time position in a new location tomorrow, so..... there may be a couple of  weeks of fewer posts while I get up to speed.

And a quick history lesson for you on the origins of this day off.

"Labour Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in Canada since the 1880s. The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to April 14, 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week. The Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA) called its 27 unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union who had been on strike since March 25.

George Brown, Canadian politician and editor of the Toronto Globe hit back at his striking employees, pressing police to charge the Typographical Union with "conspiracy." Although the laws criminalizing union activity were outdated and had already been abolished in Great Britain, they were still on thebooks in Canada and police arrested 24 leaders of the Typographical Union. Labour leaders decided to call another similar demonstration on September 3 to protest the arrests. Seven unions marched in Ottawa prompting a promise by Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonaldto repeal the "barbarous" anti-union laws.

Parliament passed the Trade Union Act on June 14 the following year, and soon all unions were demanding a 54-hour work-week.

The Toronto Trades and Labour Council (successor to the TTA) held similar celebrations every spring. American Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was asked to speak at a labour festival in Toronto, Canada on July 22, 1882. Returning to the United States, McGuire and the Knights of Labor organized a similar parade based on the Canadian event on September 5, 1882 in New York City, USA. On July 23, 1894, Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson and his government made Labour Day, to be held in September, an official holiday. In the United States, the New York parade became an annual event that year, and in 1894 was adopted by American president Grover Cleveland to compete with International Workers' Day (May Day).

While Labour Day parades and picnics are organized by unions, many Canadians today simply regard Labour Day as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer. Non-union celebrations include picnics, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events. Since the new school year generally starts right after Labour Day, families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, which traditionally begin their new year the day after. From Wikipedia."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Winner - Fragile - Lisa Unger

And the lucky winner of a copy of Fragile by Lisa Unger is:


Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Winners - Off Season - Anne Rivers Siddons

And the three lucky winners, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group, of a copy of Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons are:

1. Tami
2. Melanie L
3. twinmomoftwins

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered  - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Winners - Rules of Betrayal

And the two lucky winners of a copy of Rules of Betrayal by Christopher Reich, courtesy of Doubleday Publishing are:

1. Ladytink 534
2. Liz

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways!

Winners -Backseat Saints - Joshilyn Jackson

And the three lucky winners, chosen randomly, of an audio book copy of Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. amandawk
2. wgbc 1446
3. Julia

I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Room Swept White - Sophie Hannah

I loved this cover - simple, plain yet the red balloon hints at something dark....

Canadian readers will be nodding their heads at Sophie Hannah's plotline, as it eerily mirrors recent headlines.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Judith Duffy testified in many cases of SIDS or crib death, indicating that the death was not unexplained and the mothers had in fact murdered their children. Many cases are appealed and the women are released when it is found that Duffy's testimony is suspect and her expertise 'flawed'. Fliss Benson is a film journalist documenting the whole affair.

One of the released mothers - the most vocal and outspoken - is found shot to death. A mysterious card with a set of  16 numbers is left with her body. Fliss also receives one of the cards in the mail. What do the cards mean? Is Fliss a target? What about the other released women?

Sophie Hannah has crafted an incredibly detailed plot with tendrils reaching in many directions. Following the one you think might lead to a solution often leads not to a solution, but to more subtly dropped clues. It wasn't until the last chapters that I had a firm grasp on 'whodunit.'

Fliss was an unusual protagonist. She's a study in opposites - strong and forceful one minute, unsure of herself and her talents the next. There are hints to something in her past that again slowly eked out until their relevance to the case are revealed. I found her internal dialogues quite funny.

I wasn't aware that this was a series when I first started reading. The police team charged with investigating the case are recurring characters. I did feel a little out of the loop as there were references to the past. It looks as if  there will be another in the series - some of the personal plot lines were left unfinished. I really liked the young female constable Charlie. Her relationship with the somewhat odd, but highly intelligent Simon seems to have provided much fodder for the subplots in previous books.

The case and the crime are discussed in many different voices - journalist, filmmaker, victims, lawyers, police, witnesses and family - providing contrasting viewpoints on the same incident and offering lots of food for thought.

A British author new to me and one I will read again. Have a look for yourself - read an excerpt of A Room Swept White.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Miami Book Fair International

Look at all those book booths! Sigh - it's a little too far for me, but not too far way. Mark the date on your calendar for the Miami Book Fair International celebrating its 27th anniversary Nov. 14-21, 2010.  Any bloggers in the area planning to attend? Chcck out some of the authors attending!
"The 27th edition of the nation’s finest and largest literary gathering, Miami Book Fair International, presented by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts (FCLA) at Miami Dade College (MDC), will tke place at the college’s Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., in downtown Miami. The always-popular Street Fair runs Friday, November 19 through Sunday, November 21, with more than 200 exhibitors from around the country selling books in a festive atmosphere. This year, the Fair will celebrate the literature and culture of Mexico.

Each year, the Fair raises the bar of excellence by offering a fine roster of prize-winning authors, and this year will be no exception.
Confirmed authors include tennis superstar Venus Williams, Harvard biologist and naturalist Edward O. Wilson, MacArthur Fellow and Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat, screenwriter and author Nora Ephron, musician Patti Smith, novelist and memoirist Pat Conroy, local South Florida favorite Dave Barry, novelist Michael Cunningham, filmmaker John Waters, biographer and novelist Susan Cheever, humorist Ian Frazier, fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco, comics creator Charles Burns, NPR’s All Things Considered host Michele Norris, as well as Ann Beattie, Kate DiCamillo, Emilio Estefan, Jonathan Franzen and many others.

The Fair will again treat book lovers to more than a week of cultural and educational activities, including the beloved Evenings With… series, the IberoAmerican Authors program, Student Literary Encounters, the Weekend Festival of Authors, the popular Street Fair Nov. 19 – 21 on the closed streets surrounding the campus, Comix Galaxy with Kids Comic Con and School of Comics, Children’s Alley, and much more.

Special Topic Panels will discuss current issues of the day, including the environment, immigration, and the financial crisis. In addition, the Fair maintains a strong commitment to literary voices of the international community, and always welcomes writers from Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean.

This year’s program includes Sir Michael Caine (England), Salman Rushdie (India), Darren Shan (Ireland), Susan Abulhawa (Palestine), Zakes Mda (South Africa), Binyavanga Wainana (Kenya), Okey Ndibe (Nigeria), Chenjerai Hove (Zimbabwe), EC Osandu (Nigeria), Aappiah Anthony Kwame (Ghana/UK), and others.

The IberoAmerican program will present Paquito D´Rivera (Cuba-USA), Eduardo Sacheri (Argentina), Alberto Fuguet (Chile), Luis Leante (España), Claudia Piñeiro (Argentina), Pablo Simonetti (Chile), and more.

Caribbean writers featured include Earl Lovelace, Raoul Pantin, Gideon Hanoomansingh, Merle Hodge, Winston Maynard-Moderator, Lasana Kwesi, Diana McCaulay, and Geoffrey Philp. Confirmed Haitian writers are Miriam Chancy, Michele Voltaire Marcelin and Edwidge Danticat.

An exciting dimension to this year’s Book Fair includes a celebration of Mexico, commemorating the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence and the centennial of the Mexican revolution. The FCLA has partnered with the Mexican government, the Consulate General of Mexico in Miami and the Mexican Cultural Institute in Miami to honor these momentous occasions. Fairgoers will enjoy a grand pavilion dedicated to Mexican culture, and gallery exhibits by Mexican artists. The diversity of Mexican literature will be represented by authors such as Laura Esquivel, Mario Bellatín, Gonzalo Celorio, Jorge Volpi, Estela Leñero, Natalia Toledo and others.

The celebration of Mexico will also include a local project with a focus on community involvement. During the Fair, the Miami Book Fair and the Mexican Cultural Institute will collect new or gently used books and build a colossal spiral of books located on the fairgrounds in downtown Miami, and after the Fair, these books will be donated to local jails. The goal is to have more books than prisoners inside jails.
Keep up with the latest on Twitter or Facebook. Check out last year's Fair on YouTube.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Nobodies Album - Carolyn Parkhurst

The Nobodies Album is the first book I've read by Carolyn Parkhurst.

Author Octavia Frost has been estranged from her rock star son Milo for over 4 years. Milo and Octavia's rift stems from a family tragedy - the fallout never resolved. When Milo is accused of murdering his girlfriend Bettina, Octavia reaches out to help him. But, Milo can't remember anything of the night Bettina died.

The book Octavia is currently working on is a collection of rewritten endings for her seven published novels. I found this book within a book within a book vehicle extremely clever. The original stories were engaging and changing the endings even more so. Each of the narratives related to the main story and gave us subtle hints and understanding of the unspoken tragedy.
"In a way this is what I've been waiting for - a chance to explain. Well to explain what, I'm not sure. That I'm changing my legacy, if I can be grand enough to call it that and that in some convoluted way I'm doing it for him, that I've written myself into my books and I have some kind of overly literal idea that by changing the books I can write a new ending for myself."
Although the whodunit is easily solved, it was only a small part of the book for me. It was the character of Octavia that captured my interest. The book is told from her perspective in first person narrative. We are privy to all of her hurts, doubts and emotions concerning her life. Perhaps it is because we are restricted to Octavia's voice that I really never engaged with the other supporting characters, even Milo. But that being said, it is a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Judge for yourself - read an excerpt of The Nobodies Album.