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Showing posts from 2017

Salman Rushdie is back with The Golden House

It’s the triumphant return of the man who took controversy and made a brand out of it. The book releases September 5th, but I was lucky to receive an advanced copy from the publisher. Salman Rushdie’s The Golden House is a story of epic proportions. Secrets, family saga, and betrayals, ingratiate this page-turning mystery that takes us from the shores of Mumbai to New York’s Greenwich Village.
Nero Golden is the patriarch who has come to America with his three adult sons. The eccentric billionaire’s past is unclear, and creates some curiosity (understandably) amongst the community, in particular for René – who happens to be the lens through which we navigate the novel.
Like all billionaires, Nero Golden’s life revolves around money, and this also seeps into his relationships with his sons. They are always at an arms length, knowing that at any moment he could take away their allowance. The sons, have an expectation that they will inevitably inherit their billionaire father’s fortunes…th…

Hum If You Don’t Know The Words

Steep In. The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard is infused to perfection.

I had an interest in tea (not just drinking it but actually learning about it beyond the superficial), so about 8 years ago I formalized that interest by taking the Tea Foundations course at George Brown College in Toronto.

I wasn’t interested in becoming a Tea Sommelier – that required an 8 course commitment – but did want to know more about the tea that I would be drinking at say dim sum, or omakase, or at my parents’ home where they coveted their Darjeeling tea they always brought back after their frequent trips to India. 

In retrospect, The Tea Foundations course was terrific introduction, as was the book recommendation from the course instructor, Jane Pettigrew’s Tea Classified: A Tealover's Companion, which was voted Best New Publication 2009 by World Tea Expo.

Why am I mentioning this? Fast forward to 2017’s World Tea Awards where the Best Tea Publication was The Tea Book by Tea Sommelier Linda Gaylard. The Tea Book would --hands down -- be the book that I would choose as a il…

A fairytale by Ron Sexsmith. It's music to my ears.

If musician Ron Sexsmith wrote a book, what would you expect it to sound like? 

Well, now's your chance to find out, because Ron Sexsmith has done just that. Deer Life is a fairytale by the legendary songwriter, and slated for a September 2017 release. 

The book's central character is Deryn Hedlight.  A young lad from Hinthoven who finds out how quickly a day can turn on you. Doesn't it seem that bad things always happen to the nicest people? 

Deer Life has some great messages weaved into the story; from a mother's undying love, to patience and friendship, we see the positive traits. On the darker side of the ledger, topics from bullying to revenge are juxtaposed against the light.

The book reads like a song. Well, what else would you expect from Ron Sexsmith? If you are familiar with his music, the tone of the book will sound like a beautiful melody. Which makes it all the more perfect, because after all, this is a fairytale, and fairytales are supposed to have elements o…

Secrets and lies follow you everywhere

A baby's bones have been uncovered in an old house being demolished in London. 
The story instigates a macabre curiosity. Whose baby? How long has it been there? What manner of monster would bury an innocent? 
The discovery suggests the burial wasn't recent. Identifying a newborn's DNA that had been hidden underground for years would be a challenge to say the least. 

Fiona Barton (author of The Widow) brings her intriguing storytelling to the fore once again with The Child. 
Three women are at the heart of this plot. Kate Waters is the lead investigative journalist, who is looking for "the story". Angela, is a mother who's baby was stolen from the hospital forty years ago. Angela's baby has never been found and this gruesome discovery may offer some sort of solace and peace. Or so she desperately hopes. Emma is an editor who is also curious in the story. 
The book moves between the various narratives, chapter by chapter. Personally, I enjoy this type of storyt…

Summer's Ultimate Expression Of Creativity

Finally, summer is here. And what better way to feel its warm embrace than by decorating with flowers. 

Floral arrangements have fascinated me since I was a kid. But I have to admit, getting the right arrangement has always been a bit of a challenge. The Flower Book by DK is a sort of encyclopedia, which outlines practical advice on how to bring out your internal creativity to create lasting masterpieces. 

Everything from choosing a container (which I should know from my design sensibilities), to picking up the right flower, is detailed. I have to admit, the container was something that I had overlooked at the start of a floral arrangement DIY project, but The Flower Book suggests that it is one of the most important considerations. 

The options are diverse and really there's no hard and fast rules for choosing the perfect container. From the simplicity of glazed ceramic mugs or pitchers, to an large-scale container that consists of an elaborate enamel exterior, the choice is yours. …

When Option A fails you, there's always Option B

Grief is a demanding companion. Sheryl Sandberg's story of finding strength in the face of adversity is illuminating. 

After Sheryl Sandberg's husband suddenly died, she felt certain that she would never find happiness again. 

C.S. Lewis 
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
For the first few weeks and months Sheryl Sandberg tried to end the sorrow, but the pain and fear was constant and it felt like the grief would never subside. 

That's when she reached out to Adam Grant, professor and psychologist at Wharton. Her husband Dave had read Adam's book Give and Take a couple of years prior, and was a fan. Adam convinced Sheryl that there was a bottom to this seemingly endless void. 

A word of caution. Recovery doesn't start from the same place for everyone. It's a sad reminder that adversity isn't evenly distributed amongst the greater population. The unfortunate truth is that marginalized and disenfranchised groups inevitably have more challenges throw…

What makes a killer?

Peter James knows. After all, he's written thirteen books on the subject. Featuring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, Peter James' detective novels have sold 18 million books worldwide. I reviewed his last book, Love You Dead, and when Need You Dead arrived at my doorstep courtesy of Publishers Group Canada, I was ecstatic. 

This new crime novel, delivers on the hype. A woman is found dead in her bathtub. Is it a murder? Is it a suicide? 

Three suspects emerge. A husband. A lover. A blackmailer. 

It's a classic case of whodunit, and Roy Grace believes that every killer makes a mistake. Somewhere. All he has to do, is to find it. His instincts are usually dead on, but this time, will they let him down? 

Referring back to his mantra of assuming nothing, believing no one, and checking everything, Roy Grace proceeds to uncover the grim outcome of the victim, who was trying desperately to find another life for herself before she died, one that would be kinder to her than her pres…

My Canada is the best place on earth. Happy #Canada150

Packing information in a visually engaging format, My Canada - An Illustrated Atlas is the ultimate kids guide to help celebrate #Canada150. 

Each province is displayed as a full-colour map with iconic places, landmarks, and more. One of my fave places in Canada is the Canadian Rockies. The kid in me, loved identifying memorable landmarks that have been etched in my mind, such as Jasper Skytram, Banff National Park and the hot springs, and the Columbian Icefield. If you haven't been to Alberta yet, make this one of the must-see places on your #Canada150 list. 

My Canada - An Illustrated Atlas, is educational for all ages. The icons on every spread, highlight things that should be in every kid's repertoire, such as the provincial flag, symbols and flowers. 

Did you know New Brunswick's bird is the black-chapped chickadee, while its flower is the purple violet? Do you know what tree symbolizes Ontario? Well, if you are stumped for an answer, you'll just have to look it up f…

The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness

A Novel by Arundhati Roy

"How to tell a shattered story?

By slowing becoming everybody.


By slowly becoming everything."

It's been a mere twenty years, and the queen of misery is back with a new novel. Arundhati Roy, Booker Prize-winning author of The God Of Small Things, brings her rare storytelling back in the fray with The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.

Jahanara Begun has borne a son, Aftab. Or so, the world thinks. In reality, She's actually borne a daughter. For the first few years of Aftab's life, Jahanara Begum's secret is kept safe. Fiercely protective and anxious, she would not let Aftab stray too far away from her.

When she finally told her husband, Mulaqat Ali about Aftab, he was convinced that there must be a simple medical solution to their son's "problem". A doctor in New Delhi said he could recommend a surgeon who would seal the girl-part. He did however suggest that despite the treatment, there would be "tendencies" that wo…

The Unlikely Redemption Of John Alexander MacNeil by Lesley Choyce

80-year-old John Alexander MacNeil lives alone in rural Cape Breton.
His sharp-tongue made him unpopular with both the clergy and the politicians. But that's who he is. For as long as he could remember, he'd been waging war against someone or something --no matter the size for when he was nine, he took on the Catholic church's archdiocese. But in his defence, he also admires feisty determination in others in whatever form it takes as long as (as he puts it) it doesn't harm children, harm the environment or infringe on a neighbour's property. 
His wife Eva died of asbestos in her lungs. The same asbestos that came from the asbestos mines he worked in at St. Simone, Quebec...a job he took on, ironically, to provide a better life for Eva. She never asked for a better life. She was happy with their life just the way it was. But John Alexander MacNeil just wanted to do more for the love of his life, and give her all the things he thought she deserved. 
Now although Eva'…

The Unexpected Visitor

The Unexpected Visitor by Jessica Courtney-Tickle is a beautiful story that reminds us to take only what we need from the ocean and not to be consumed by greed. 

The perfect read on #WorldOceansDay!
This book just makes you feel good the moment you pick it up. Could it be that the paper comes from sustainable forests? Perhaps. If you are going to publish a book that speaks about saving the oceans, then it only makes sense to use paper that helps protect endangered forests and the animals that live in them, so that we can all feel good about everyone having a safe home in the future. You can learn more about Egmont Publishing's initiative at 

But it's more than just that. Everything about this book draws us into the majestic ocean. From the warm-hearted illustrative style to the neutral friendly colours, there's a natural cohesiveness to this picture book by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, that just makes us care. 

A must-read for kids of all ages, but espe…

The Girl On The Train goes Into The Water

If it seems like this is a sequel to Paula Hawkins blockbuster novel, The Girl On The Train, I apologize for the misrepresentation. Into The Water is a standalone tale, that is suspenseful and takes the reader into another gripping adventure. 

Water is the prevailing theme of Paula Hawkins new novel Into The Water. A single mother is found dead. Did she commit suicide? Was it an accident? If the latter hypothesis holds true, then it’s a question of whodunit.  

There are people who are drawn to water, who retain some vestigial primal sense of where it flows.
Nel Abbott is the mother in question. She’s always had a fascination with water. She is also an aspiring writer, who's focusing on a book about the people who died in the local Beckford Drowning Pool. Is it ironic that she becomes one of the drowned herself? 
"The name carries weight; and yet, what is it? A bend in the river, that's all. A meander. You'll find it if you follow the river in all its twists and turns, swe…