Designed to make you want to read books!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Book Review - The Nightmare



For anyone who has been following my blog, the last entry was on The Hypnotist by Lars Keplar. But believe it or not, it was The Nightmare that I read first. This was the book that enticed me to go back and read the first entry in this series. After having read both novels I still believe The Nightmare to be my favorite of the two!

The second novel in the series by Lars Keplar sees the return of detective Joona Linna, this time in a more predominant role.

There is a dead lying in her bed, on a boat, drowned. Joonna has no idea what to make of this and dives into his investigation. Meanwhile, the girls sister is on the run, fearing for her life as a strange man preys on she and her boyfriend. But this man is no amateur. Someone has hired a hitman to come after them and he's as deadly as they come. With nothing to go by but a photograph, detective Joona Linna must race to solve the case and free the lovely couple from their growing nightmare. There is a dark presence hiding away in the shadows as the puppet-master behind it all. Can Joona bring him down? Or will the hitman bring him down first...

This was the best book I've read so far this year and it was definitely an improvement on The Hypnotist which was already a phenomenal book. If you haven't had a chance to get into the series or you've already read the first novel, you'll definitely love this one. Lars Keplar has a way with words that will hold your interest from the moment you pick up the book all the way through to the end!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Book Review - The Hypnotist



This is a book that's been out for awhile now, but it only recently caught my attention. There was quite a bit of hype around the book when it hit the bestseller list but it wasn't until the second book in the series titles The Nightmare came out that I was reminded of this one. That being said, I think I've found my knew favorite author!

As the title suggests, the story is based around a hypnotist. A man devoted to his career and with a fascinating talent in what he does. He is called in suddenly  to a hospital to help with the investigation of a serial killer. His patient is a 15 year old who is in critical condition and near comatose. Little did the detectives know, but Erik Maria Bark has vowed never to hypnotize anyone ever again. Due to a tragic accident, he was forced to end his prominent career and change the course of his life forever. However, the circumstances are different now and a woman's life hangs in the balance. Will he break his vow to save a life?
Delve into the mysterious past of Erik Maria Bark and the events leading up to his tragic fall from hypnosis and his current predicament. This book will shock you.

Lars Keplar does a phenomenal job of keeping the reader on their toes and gaining your interest at every turn. There was a point when the book transitioned to the past and did not make clear that it had done so. Many times confusion alone is enough to make you put the book down, but in this situation, the author writes so flawlessly that my interest never wavered. I was overall extremely impressed with both the book and the author and I'll be happy to share book two of this series next week. Get ready for Lars Keplar and The Nightmare!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Book Review - Insurgent



It's been a little while since my last post, hopefully you're all still keeping tabs on me :)

I'm going to try and get back into the swing of things and see if we can't get you all some more great book ideas! By now you've probably all read Divergent, the amazing novel by Veronica Roth. If you haven't read it, I strongly suggest you get your hands on it, both for the intriguing story and because it's the first book in the series. Don't worry, I'll keep this review spoiler free!

At the end of the previous novel, Tris found herself in a bit of a predicament. Not only was the city under duress from a particular faction, but she was in the midst of what some might call a family crisis. Insurgent is the first step towards a solution to the problem created in Divergent. At this point, the factions are becoming increasingly divided. Tris and Tobias are on the run with enemies right on their heels. As their hopes for a safe haven and a solution continue to dwindle, Tobias springs a surprise on Tris. There is someone they can go to, someone who can help. And most importantly, someone who can fight.

Tensions rise and the factions throw everything they've got at the problem. But behind the scenes, Tris is on a secret mission.. A crucial piece of information that could change their world and everything they know about it. The mission, is for Marcus, Tobias' father.

This was a great read, I thoroughly enjoyed it. For those of you enjoying this series as much as I am, I think we'll be seeing some more of Tris and Tobias in the near future! Whether it's on the big screen or in book number 3, the Divergent series is one to watch.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Pinterest Giveaway!

Hey everyone!

If any of you are wondering where all my reviews have gone lately, it's time to fill you in. For the past month or so, I've been blogging for Canadian Manda Group! How exciting is that? I will still post reviews and author bios whenever time allows. But I will also be posting updates from Canadian Manda. The most obvious of which is our Pinterest Giveaway! The book is called Chai Tea Sunday, and the author is Heather A. Clark. Check out our website for details on how to get your hands on a signed copy! http://www.mandagroup.com/2012/04/pinterest-giveaway/

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Book Review - Imagine


Imagine was by far one of the most interesting books I've ever read. If there's one thing that makes all of our lives more interesting, that thing is creativity. Jonah Lehrer compiles a number of stories about the worlds greatest breakthroughs and epiphanies, and tells us how they happened. Creativity. Lehrer brings a scientific perspective to our creative processes and has literally found a formula for you to become a more creative individual. He provides fascinating insights into some of the greatest innovators of our generation, including the late Steve Jobs. Also, the strategies they used to make their employees and their companies more creative, more collaborative, and more successful.
This book was exceptionally enticing to me because I think that creativity and individuality are some of the most important aspects of society today. And to have somebody break it down, and provide examples of such creative genius, to me, is very exciting. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially those people with some interest in a scientific perspective. However, I didn't feel that this book isolated a particular type of reader. Everyone can take something away from Jonah Leher's Imagine.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Delay on Imagine by Jonah Lehrer

This book is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. Normally I will have each book read within a week of finishing the last. However, because this book resonates so well with me I will be taking an extra week to get through it. This is a book that I don't want to rush through, I really want to enjoy it. That being said, I am about halfway finished right now and I will try my very best to get my review to you all by the regular time next week. In the meantime, I highly recommend you pick this book up. I find it to be very insightful. Jonah Lehrer goes into great detail about certain aspects but the concept for this book as a whole is amazing. I can't wait to share this one with everyone!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Author Bio - Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer was born on June 25, 1981 in Los Angeles, California. He is a Columbia graduate and Rhodes Scholar, who found out the hard way that any clever young man who works as a technician in a neuroscience lab is likely to wind up dirt poor as well as frustrated. Now a Contributing Editor at Wired and the author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. He is also a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Radiolab and writes the “Head Case” column for The Wall Street Journal. "Lehrer fancies himself – and not without reason – as a sort of one-man third culture, healing the rift between sciences and humanities by communicating and contrasting their values in a way that renders them comprehensible to partisans of either camp." His newest book Imagine is a phenomenal read and I'm very excited to bring it to you next week!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Guest Book Review by Gina Macdonald - Prisoner of Tehran



This year on Canada Reads, Arlene Dickinson championed a book called Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat. After hearing the debates and listening to Arlene speak about the book, I knew I had to read it. It was absolutely riveting. I read it in a day and a half, and the only reason I put it down was to sleep, eat, and maybe say hello to my parents. Nemat’s all-too-true story about her imprisonment in Evin was completely engrossing and sometimes read more like a horrifying novel than a memoir.
            The memoir begins with Nemat’s description of Pearson airport in Toronto, how it seemed like such a normal, welcoming place, and how she was lucky to be in a place like Canada. We are then taken back to Iran, where she describes her family life, her first encounter with her future husband, and finally her arrest after speaking out against the government at her school, at age 16. For the rest of the memoir, we learn about her trials in prison, her forced first marriage to a man she does not quite learn to love, and her relationships with the other women she meets in Evin.
            It would be impossible for me to correctly sum up the amount of terrible things described in the book as well as Nemat wrote them. As I mentioned, at some points it felt like I was reading a novel, a fictional account, rather than a true relation of these events, because it was at times too terrible for me to believe it actually happened.
            As well, this book was the first time Marina Nemat told her story; even her husband had no idea the things she went through in Evin until he read the manuscript. Prisoner of Tehran is a brave book to have been published, both because Nemat survived her ordeal and then decided to share her experiences with the world. Nemat’s strength really comes through in her writing, and it’s definitely something I would recommend anyone and everyone to read.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Author Bio - Marina Nemat

Marina Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. Marina Nemat grew up Russian Orthodox in Iran and was in high school when the Shah was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini. She was outspoken in opposing the regime's policies and at the age of 16, was arrested and thrown into Evin, Iran's notorious political prison, where she was tortured and came very close to execution. "There were (and are) thousands of prisoners in Evin prison, and, in the eighties, the vast majority of us were teenagers". She suffered here for a very long time. "I had lost my family, my religion, my freedom, my dignity, and even my name. How much can you take away from a person before she crumbles into dust?" She came to Canada in 1991 and has called it home ever since. In Canada, Nemat worked at Swiss Chalet while secretly writing her harrowing life story as a therapeutic diary. She is currently teaching a creative writing course in Farsi at the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies. Her memoir The Prisoner of Tehran is an international bestselling book and was a favorite on Canada Reads, though it was strategically voted out first. Keep your eyes open for Gina Macdonalds second guest review featuring The Prisoner of Tehran!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Book Review - Aleph


This was another one of those books I took a chance on. I'm not a very spiritual person by nature and I don't necessarily agree with all religious views but this book had a very interesting idea behind it. The idea behind a book is what's important and regardless of the story itself, that is enough to grab my attention.
Aleph is a remarkable story of self-discovery. In one of his most personal novels to date, Paulo Coelho shares his experiences from his journey all the way along the Trans-Siberian Railway.
After feeling the loss of meaning in his life, he is determined to find it again. Just before he begins his journey, he meets Hilal, a strong and determined young woman who shares the same goal that he is out to accomplish and believes that they can achieve it together. It is while the two of them are together that we first encounter an aleph. It is suggested that the past, the present, and the future, are all happening simultaneously. An aleph is a space where, if you are near someone you've met in a previous life, you will both see visions of the time you have experienced together in the past. Paulo is certain that his feeling of loss is being caused by a wrong he has committed in one of his past lives. The person he wronged is Hilal.
Paulo Coelho takes you along on his spiritual journey to find himself. It is an intensely personal, and fascinating experience. I found the idea of the aleph to be highly interesting. It is not a concept I've ever considered before. I think it's a beautiful idea that two people from a past life could meet again and share everything that has ever happened between them as though no time has passed. This book is definitely an interesting read and I was very impressed with it. For everyone out there with an open mind, I strongly recommend this book to you!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Author Bio - Paulo Coelho

Paolo Coelho was born on August 20, 1946, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Coelho attended Jesuit schools and was raised by devout Catholic parents. He determined early on that he wanted to be a writer but was discouraged by his parents, who saw no future in that profession in Brazil. In the 60-s in Brazil art was forbidden by military dictatorship. Worrying about the future of their son and trying to protect him from prosecutions of the authorities, his parents sent Paulo at age 17 to be under the care of a psychiatric hospital. He was committed to an asylum one three separate occasions. Coelho eventually got out of institutional care and enrolled in law school, but dropped out to indulge in the "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" of hippie life in the 1970s. He was jailed three times for his political activism and subjected to torture in prison.Once he left prison he tried to work but was dismissed without explanation. It was at this point that he decided to spend his time traveling. The casual meeting in Amsterdam resulted in his meeting with the Catholic Order RAM which was created in 1492. There Paulo learned to understand a language of signs and omens. Being sent in pilgrim travel to Santiago de Compostella, Coelho overcame 80 kilometers on a legendary track of pilgrims.
Coelho is an outspoken activist for peace and social justice, and also supports the free distribution of his work. He and his wife Christina split their time between Rio de Janeiro, and France. His latest book Aleph is a bestselling novel and I'm excited to be able to share it with you next week!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Book Review - The Placebo Effect


I really enjoyed this book and I especially enjoyed it because it surprised me. I had been looking forward to reading it for a few weeks now and even with my prior enthusiasm, this book was better than I thought it would be.
Decker Roberts has an unusual gift. It's something he has always had and is very valuable to a great many people. Decker has the ability to tell with absolute certainty when people are telling the truth. He lends his talents out to anyone who wishes to use them, for a fee. Privately of course. To the vast majority of the world his ability remains a secret, but to a select few, his ability is one of the most valuable assets in the world. Decker is a synaesthete. An individual with unique talents created from a mixing of the senses. He is part of a secret network of such people, though he doesn't fit in. He is special. After a strange encounter with another man of equally impressive abilities, Decker becomes the target of a dangerous enemy with an international reach. As his life is made progressively more difficult, Decker is forced to go on the run. As if things aren't complicated enough, the NSA are also on his trail for reasons unknown. Everything begins closing in around him and even those he trusts most begin to turn on him. And worst of all, they have his son.
The Placebo Effect is a thrilling story with a unique idea behind it. I think it focuses on some very important aspects of life; the ability to tell the truth and the importance of family. It's something that I am seeing less of every day and I admire David Rotenberg for bringing our attention to these things. This was a great read and I recommend it to all of you.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Author Bio - David Rotenberg

Even from an early age he had a strong and developing interest in writing. "I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t thinking of stories, then writing them. When I was seven years old, my oldest brother got a portable typewriter for his Bar Mitzvah. I was transfixed by it. I Would sneak into his room and use it". For a long time, however, the writing faded as David traveled around Europe and tried to make something of his life. It was after this time when he began writing scripts again. Now, David Rotenberg has been a master acting teacher for over 20 years. He has directed on Broadway, in many major regional theatres and for television. He has also published six novels. It wasn't until 2007 that his writing career really took off. He currently has a multi-book deal with Simon & Schuster, the latest of which is The Placebo Effect. It's a great book and you wont want to miss it!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Book Review - Something Fierce


This nonfiction was the winner of Canada Reads 2012! After a week of heavy debate among the Canada Reads panelists, Something Fierce came out on top and I felt that this had to be the next book I shared with all of you!
Carmen Aguirre is the daughter to a revolutionary family. Her family is constantly moving from place to place and she never has any friends for very long. It is a lonely life for a child. Her mother and Bob are in the Chilean resistance. For weeks at a time, Carmen and her younger sister Ale are left with other families. When they grow older, they are left to fend for themselves while their parents are away. How does a child live when every day they fear they will never see their parents again? That the secret police could come barging in at any moment and take you away? Rather than face neglect and loneliness at home, both Carmen and Ale seek solace in boys and spend as much time away from home as possible. As she grows older Carmen joins the underground herself. But after years and years of continuous revolution, will there ever be an end in sight? With an ever widening gap within her family, Carmen continues to fight. For her rights. For her freedom. For Chile.
Carmen Aguirre tells the story of her life down to every detail and every fear that she had to overcome. I found her story very intriguing. Not only does it give great insight into the world of a revolutionary, but it shows you the lesser known side of a revolutionary that loses the fight and what happens afterwards. It makes you realize how different our countries really are. Compare your childhood to hers and they will be nothing alike. I think it's always good to gain a new perspective, and why people see the world the way they do. Carmen Aguirre was a revolutionary, and now she passes her story on to you. She has survived Something Fierce.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Author Bio - Carmen Aguirre

Born in Chile, Aguirre and her family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada as political refugees after the infamous Pinochet coup of 1973. Returning to South America in 1979, the family was not allowed back into Chile and Aguirre subsequently became active in the Chilean resistance. She spent much of her younger life living in fear. "Fear that my political convictions would not be strong enough to keep myself committed to a cause that I believed in but which clashed with my other desires: to live a “normal” life, to sleep a full night’s sleep, to dance and laugh and talk nonsense without my radar up, without having to watch every word, every choice I make." Now she is a multi-faceted actress, writer and playwright and has an extensive background in the film and television industry. She not only shares an interest in these areas but also has exceptional talent. She has written and co-written 18 plays and has been nominated for the Siminovitch Prize, the biggest award in Canadian theater. Although Carmen found her calling as an actor and storyteller at the age of three, when her parents took her to the circus in the south of Chile, she did not decide to dedicate her life to her artistic calling until the age of 22. Her newest book, Something Fierce, is a memoir on her childhood living as a revolutionary daughter. It is a very intimate account of her life with an eye-opening perspective on the life of a revolutionary. I hope you're all looking forward to the review next week!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Crown of Approval - February 2012

This months Crown winner might be a surprise to some people. Not only were there a lot of great books, but also our first ever guest review to consider. This months winner has a talent for storytelling. Even faced with some tough competition, this book outshone the others. This months Crown of Approval winner is The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt!
What I found so enthralling about this book is how the author was able to make a simple idea into such a captivating story. I loved this story from beginning to end, but what really got me about this book was it's universal appeal. I don't typically enjoy the Western genre of books, but this was one of my all time favorite reads and any author that can write a book that can convert me to their genre is great in my books. The characters were memorable and even the horse Tub added a lot to the story. This book was strongly recommended to me and it was a pleasant surprise. It takes a great author to take an idea and turn it into something great and Patrick DeWitt has exceeded all expectations. This is my February pick and I strongly recommend it to all of you!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Book Review - Mockingjay


It has taken me much too long to get to this book and it has been driving me crazy, so I was very excited to read it this week. The final book in The Hunger Games series did not disappoint.
The life Katniss once led has completely disappeared. Peeta is in the hands of the capital and district 12 has been completely destroyed. Thanks to Gale, a few hundred people managed to escape the districts destruction but there's no word from her family.
On the road to a slow recovery, Katniss is adjusting to life in a place she didn't know still existed. District 13. With the shocking end to the last Hunger Games, unrest in the districts has finally peaked and Katniss is thrown into the revolution headfirst. As the voice of the revolution, she must be strong for the people and President Coin of District 13 believes the best way to do this is to run constant video promos of her efforts to fight the capitol. But the capitol is going to fight fire with fire. Peeta has been hijacked into working for President Snow. Things aren't looking good. It is decided that a rescue mission must be put into actionand it becomes a success. But something is wrong. Peeta isn't himself. And Katniss is in danger. The capitol is trying to destroy everything that Katniss holds dear and will do anything to hurt her. But she is the Mockingjay. And she is going to kill President Snow.
Suzanne Collins brings The Hunger Games series to a thrilling conclusion. She plays with your emotions and surprises you at every corner. And most importantly to some people, Katniss finally chooses between Gale and Peeta. If you haven't already read it, you don't want to miss this book. Everybody needs this on their shelf.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Author Bio - Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins was the daughter of an Air Force officer. Some of Collins’s earliest memories are of young men in uniform drilling at West Point, where her father, who later made lieutenant colonel, was on loan from the Air Force, teaching military history. As a child, her family moved around frequently, never staying in one place for very long. It was at age 6 when Collins' family moved to Indiana and her father went off to Vietnam. After his return, her father has remained a great influence on her life. In 1991, her writing career began  for children's television where she worked for Nickelodeon. She was also the head writer at Scholastic for Clifford's Puppy Days.
What Collins thinks matters a great deal to her fans, although they rarely hear from her directly. Collins has always been a media-shy figure, given to few public pronouncements, most of them carefully packaged. She is very slow to feel her new found fame in her everyday life and prefers to keep her fame at-arms-length. Despite being camera-shy, Collins is a very confident and entertaining individual displaying none of the anxiety seen in some of her interviews. Unlike other famous authors, before her success in writing she lived in relative obscurity. As far as The Hunger Games, her father has been a huge influence. In the series, Collins tries to embrace her father's impulse to educate young people about the realities of war.
She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard. With the release of Mockingjay, The Hunger Games Trilogy is now complete. Look forward to my review next week!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Book Review - Acts of Courage: Laura Secord and the War of 1812


I strongly believe that you have to give every book genre a chance. Historical fiction has always been one of those genres that I've shied away from, but this novel took me completely by surprise.
Before she was Laura Secord, she was young Laura Ingersoll. Her family is surrounded by war with the rebels and her father is a ranking member of the military. He is rarely home and Laura longs to see him more. In his absence she finds herself making the acquaintance of one of the rebels. Her kindness towards this boy begins a longstanding relationship that she will never forget. As Laura grows older, her family relocates to Queenston in Upper Canada where they want to start a new life. Her family is greeted by a helpful young man named James Secord who helps them to adjust to this new world. He also takes quite a fancy to Laura. Times grow progressively more dangerous and Laura finds herself all grown up with a family to look after. With war fast approaching between Canada and the States, her family is in danger. With her husband on the front lines, Laura lives a life of constant worry. How will she fare when war descends on Upper Canada?
Follow the life of Laura Secord from her childhood through to her historic journey to warn Lieutenant FitzGibbon of the invading American army. Her courage shines like a beacon that we can all admire.
One of the things I really loved about historical fiction is that even though the story is based on fact the author has the ability to put their own spin on the story. A moment in history that may not have even caught my attention was able to draw me in and capture my interest. I was surprised by this book and I sincerely enjoyed it. For anyone who has reservations about trying a new genre, this was the first time I've stepped out of my comfort zone when it came to reading books and I really enjoyed it. If you don't try anything new you may be missing out on something special. My goal for you is to go out and try something new! This was a very interesting book and it's a good read if you're looking to step out of your regular genre.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Guest Book Review by Gina Macdonald - The Perfect Order of Things



After I finished reading David Gilmour’s newest novel, The Perfect Order of Things, I immediately sat down and downloaded War and Peace on my Kobo, listening to the Beatles as I began.
Why? Gilmour’s novel, narrated by his fictional counterpart from many of his previous works, discusses the connection he feels with Tolstoy and his deep love for Beatles music, among many other things. Gilmour’s wit and intelligence shine through the prose, making each chapter so persuasive and engaging it was almost impossible for me to put the book down.
The novel is based on the narrator’s quest to go back and revisit many moments in his past in order to better understand his life, and ultimately to get ready for death, as he so bluntly puts it. The reader follows him back to events like his experience meeting Robert De Niro at TIFF, slapping a reviewer across the face after a bad Globe and Mail book review, taking too many OxyContins on a trip to Jamaica, and talking to his son Nick about lost love and how to deal with it, to name a few.
I was so impressed with Gilmour’s ability to weave his stories together through the narrator, and to make it seem as if I was reading a factual autobiography when it was really just fictional accounts of real events in Gilmour’s life. The book is short, only about 250 pages, but the amount of involvement I had in the story made it seem like I was experiencing all of the events right along with him.
Gilmour’s dry humour is apparent through the novel, and he is able to express the simplest of feelings with only a few words. For example, the first time he hears the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There”, he says it “made me want to throw something, swear, scream out the window, as if my young body simply could not contain the sensations it was experiencing.” Anyone who’s ever been so affected by a piece of music knows exactly what Gilmour means.
It’s prose like that that made this book such a pleasure to read, and I would definitely recommend this to anyone, as I think every reader can relate to at least one of Gilmour’s expertly written chapters.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Author Bio - Connie Brummel Crook

Connie was born in 1930 in Ameliasburg, Ontario Canada. She taught English in secondary schools for 30 years and her choice to write historical fiction came from her desire to bring to life our Canadian heritage for the students in her classroom. After she attended elementary school near Belleville, she moved to a farm near Peterborough, then to a farm north of Norwood, where she walked three miles to high school every day. Currently, all but one of her books are still in print and a number of them are set to become eBooks. Connie's life has been filled with great achievements. In 1998, Connie addressed the students of Norwood  District High School and was inducted into their hall of fame. In 2000, she became one of the honorable inductees into Peterborough's Pathway of Fame. Last but not least, in 2008 Connie received the Leslie K. Tarr Award for Outstanding Career Achievement. She has written a number of books, most notably her Meyers family saga. Keep your eyes out for her newest book Acts of Courage: Laura Secord and the War of 1812 coming next week!  

"I am fulfilling my dreams—as a teacher and author—in writing for children and young adults. I think of my past students always when I write and try to keep my stories adventuresome and exciting."

Breakfast with Alan Lightman 2.0

So today was an exciting day for me, I got to go down to the offices of Random House and have breakfast with one of the authors, Alan Lightman, along with a number of people from Chatelaine!
As usual, aside from Alan, I was the only guy in the room. Someone was kind enough to point this out to everyone. There were a ton of people from marketing there, including Lindsey from Random House that I was able to speak (though not in nearly as much depth as I wanted to) as well as the marketing intern for Chatelaine and some other great people! It was a treat to hear all about the different marketing teams and the kinds of things they get to do. I also thought it was most interesting to hear how many events the intern got to be a part of! It was a very educational day as well as an exciting one. Alan was very well spoken and an overall friendly person. Despite his incredible education and list of achievements I was very impressed to see that he was not at all condescending. Getting to speak with all these people today just makes me that much more excited to join the industry in the next few months!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Book Review - Mr. g


The concept behind this story was intensely interesting. Normally books about the creator, God, are highly religious in nature and the story is always told from our perspective. This is the first time I've come across a book that tells the tale of creation from His perspective.
People have always talked about how the universe began and there have been many theories as to how it all began. Alan Lightman takes the story in a completely new direction. In a slightly comical way, he explains how God decided to create the universe after waking up form a long nap. It takes us through the entirety of the universe from the creation of matter in The Void, to the peak of civilization, all the way to the faint ebb of life at the end of everything.
As a source of quirky humor, and a source of inspiration, the characters of uncle Deva and aunt Penelope are introduced alongside Mr g. Rather than discovering the universe, imagine the splendor that these three must feel at watching the universe unfold in front of their very eyes. This book describes an entirely new experience that will unleash your imagination.
Alan Lightman masterfully crafts the untold story of the beginning of the universe. In a tale that gives you a rare glimpse of the opposing perspective, you will experience everything we know as it happens. All from the side of a man who lives with his aunt and uncle. Anybody that likes an interesting concept will love this book, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Author Bio - Alan Lightman


Born in 1948 and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. From an early age he was interested in both science and the arts. By age seven, he had a chemistry set and burned a hole in the rug. He also built something like a tesla coil. When he turned it on, it knocked out every TV in the neighborhood. The neighbors became very wary of him. He used to fire off rockets that came down in their backyards or through their windows, so they gave him a wide berth. Excelling in both science and the humanities, he won city and state-wide science fairs as well as the state-wide competition for the National Council of Teachers of English award. He earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1974, was a professor at Harvard in the 1970's,  he was the first professor at MIT to have a joint appointment in science and the humanities, and from 1979 to 1989 a research scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. In 2003, Lightman founded the Harpswell Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that works to empower a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia. Lightman's novel Einsteins Dreams was a bestseller and has been translated into thirty languages. Alan's current book Mr g is also a bestseller and will be up for review next week!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Book Review - The Sisters Brothers


So I only found out that this book was a Western after I bought it but I am so glad I did. This was the first Western I've ever read and I'm always happy to try out a new genre.
Eli and his brother Charlie are guns for hire. Their mission is to take out the target passed onto them by their boss, The Commodore. In the middle of a gold rush, they come across some of the most
self-centered, evil men around. The brothers have to be on their toes if they want to survive all of the backstabbing corrupted people out to find enough riches for a lifetime. In a never-ending battle, the brothers acquire fortunes from the wealthiest of men, killing as they go. Staying true to their reputation, they are the fiercest men alive. While they can have whatever they want whenever they want it, Eli has a horse named Tub. Tub isn't the greatest horse alive, and in fact he's a little slow. But even with enough money to buy a thousand horses, Eli can't bring himself to part from his trusty steed. The bond between a man and his horse supercedes all else until a cruel twist of fate destroys everything they've ever worked for. Can the brothers outlive their reputation or will they fall to the masses? Only time will tell.
This book is the perfect example of a very straightforward idea turned into an enthralling story with great depth. The conversation carries this book. By the end, the characters are so real and so relatable that you feel like you know them personally. I really enjoyed this book and I would read it all over again. Don't pass up this award winning book, I strongly recommend it.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Guest Review!

As much as I enjoy reviewing books myself, it isn't often that I get to experience other peoples views in such depth. I know all of you read books and I would love to give you the chance top have a more active role in this site.
For the first time ever, Boow Reviews will have a guest review post. Someone other than myself will write a review and have it featured on my page. The fun part is that it could be you!
Anyone interested in submitting a review will have a chance to do so. Simply email your review to me at jl07tp@gmail.com by next Saturday, February 11th. One of these reviews will be selected to be featured on my page shortly after and the writer will receive full credit for their work. I'm sure everyone has something interesting to say and I am excited to see what you all have to offer. Please send your reviews in by next weekend to be eligible! Please provide your full name and the title of the book you have reviewed.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Author Bio - Andrew DeWitt

Patrick DeWitt was born in 1975 on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Despite his current success, Patrick used to work as a dishwasher and a bartender before he wrote his first novel Ablutions.
He was one of two Canadian writers to be nominated for: The Man Booker Prize, Scotiabank Giller Prize, Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize, and the Governor General's Award for English Language Fiction in 2011.
Character names are hard to come by, they're something that comes with time. Patrick shares some inspiration for an as yet unused character name. Glancing at his lawnmower he noticed the name (Murray) and the brand (Mulcher) and he created a downtrodden failure of a character from his lawnmower, Murray Mulcher. His lawnmower may have been broken at the time. 
Patrick is a very introverted and reclusive person and shares very little personal information about himself, but he is a fantastic writer.
His new novel The Sisters Brothers, which won two awards, nearly didn't make it. His work was saved from a grant that allowed him to keep writing and eventually win The Man Booker Prize and The Governor Generals Award this year. If not for this, he would currently be working a construction job.
The Sisters Brothers is Patrick's second novel and it was an exceptional read. Keep and eye out for the review next week!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Breakfast with Alan Lightman!

I received an invitation, about a week, ago inviting me and a select group of other people to have breakfast at Random House with Alan Lightman, the author of bestselling books Mr g and Einstein's Dreams! If that wasn't exciting enough already, I'll probably get the chance to ask him a few questions. So what I wanted to ask you all is what do you want to know about him?
Post a comment with any questions you have below and hopefully I'll have an interesting bit of information to bring back to you. The deadline to post your questions will be February 15th. This is going to be all for you guys so let me know!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Crown of Approval - January 2012

It's that time again. This months Crown of Approval selection was a tough one. There were some definite surprises and I tried a few different genres out. In the end, however, there was one book that I was really impressed by.
This months Crown of Approval goes to Arlene Dickonson's Persuasion!
While they were all good, this book was absolutely inspiring. A true story of someone who changed their life and became a success. The part I most enjoy is that this is applicable to everybody. Arlene was a single mother of four children with no job at age 30. She was probably worse of than most of you reading this blog and look at where she is now! If there is one crucial piece of information to take away from this book, it is that in order for the world to recognize your potential, the first person you have to sell yourself to is you.
This book has a strong message, one that is very important. One I want all of you to experience as well. I hope you all get a chance to go out and buy this book, you won't regret it.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Book Review - The House of Silk


I have always been a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle. So when I heard there was a new novel coming out by Anthony Horowitz I had to get my hands on it. As a fan of Sherlock Holmes I had very high expectations. If someone other than Arthur Conan Doyle was continuing the legacy it had to be good.
I couldn't tell the difference between them.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have had some extraordinary adventures, a recording of which would not be complete without an account of The House of Silk.
A man is fearing for his life. A gang member he was recently acquainted with has been spotted outside his home and has even gone so far as to approach his house and his wife. Events are shaken up even further when there is a break-in in the middle of the night and the contents of the family safe are emptied.
After a strange turn of events, the villain is assassinated. As the duo investigate further, they are drawn into a sinister web whose influence far surpasses even Mycroft, the well established brother of Sherlock Holmes.  There is a single lead that takes them to the lower rung of the drug enterprise. But Sherlock suspects a trap. The trap is sprung and the situation becomes an unmitigated disaster; Holmes finds himself walking the path of so many criminals that have passed before him, on the road to prison. Can Holmes escape the most powerful force he has ever encountered?
Anthony Horowitz rivals Arthur Conan Doyle in style and writing prowess. The House of Silk was masterfully written and will keep you on your toes. Witness the resurgence of Sherlock Holmes in a twisted tale that will bring you back to the peak of his career! This was a great book, I was very impressed with Horowitz's skill in matching the Style of Arthur Conan Doyle and I strongly recommend that you buy this book!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

B.O.O.W Reviews

Ever since I started this blog, people have been asking me if there was a typo in the name. "Are you sure Boow isn't spelled with a 'k'?" It always used to bother me that nobody used to understand. But then it occurred to me that I never explained it to you! How silly do I feel right?
So for the record there is no typo in "Boow". However, aside from just being a catchy title it does actually stand for something. B.O.O.W stands for Books on our Wishlist. I used to find myself looking really hard for a good book every time I went to the bookstore. And it was always hit and miss. Sometimes I would find a real jewel but other times I would just find a dud of a book. But as a book lover, I think you should have the opportunity to read great books all the time! So where do you find great books all the time? The bestseller shelf!. There are always great books on the shelf and there is such an amazing variation of genres and concepts. If you didn't know about them I wanted to share them all with you!
So I really hope you enjoy reading my reviews and continue to do so and that this sheds a little light on the matter! Share your B.O.O.W with me and we can read them together!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Love Literature

I wanted to write this blog to share the wonder of books with everyone. Up until now I thought that books were just things that people wanted to read and so I tried to give every book a fair chance. To give everyone information as interesting and relevant as possible so that you could make your own decisions. But today I realized that books aren't just about what you want to read, they are a part of a lifestyle. Books are a part of life and reading brings people together.
So from now on I'll try and share with you a little about the book lifestyle and about my lifestyle, along with my regular weekly reviews and bios. I hope you enjoy this and enjoy books as much as I do :)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Author Bio - Anthony Horowitz


Anthony is a Jack of all trades. Not only is he a great writer but he also dabbles in all other types of media including: television, film, theater and journalism. Born in Middlesex into a wealthy Jewish family, he was an overweight and unhappy child and he enjoyed reading books from his fathers library from a young age. Though he didn't know his father well, he adored his mother and she introduced him to both Dracula and Frankenstein. She was, however, a bit unusual. For his 13th birthday, she gave him a skull. Now he says it reminds him to finish each book he starts because he will soon look like that skull. It may surprise you to learn that he has been writing from the age of 8, though he wasn't published until he was 23. He started writing because he wanted to be like Tintin and has actually traveled to all of the places that Tintin has (except the moon).
Soon after he was sent to Orley Farm Prep School which in a previous interview he describes as "a grand guignol horror with a headmaster who flogged the boys till they bled". For example, there was one time when the headmaster asked him to stand up in front of the whole school and said "this boy is so stupid he will not be coming to Christmas games tomorrow".  A moment from which he has never totally recovered and the reason for some of his written stories of astounding revenge and retribution. Anthony Horowitz is possibly the busiest writer in the UK, he spends up to 10 hours a day writing in a comfy shed in his garden. Anthony has written over 50 books and is a bestselling author. His new book The House of Silk is in stores, grab your copy today!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Book Review - The Tiger


Following last weeks inspiring story by Arlene Dickinson, I decided to stick with the non-fiction theme this week. I can honestly say I had no expectations whatsoever about this book. Not a huge non-fiction fan but I had heard good things.
This was the ultimate horror book, but not for any of the traditional reasons. Your everyday monsters live in your imagination, they can't hurt you. But the creature in this story is on another level. This is a hungry beast of the real world and there are people threatened by it's existence every day. The Siberian Tiger is a ferocious killer by necessity and the force of it's jaws is enough to crush your bones into dust. At one point they may have weighed up to 900 lbs, and some of these creatures may have grown to be 16 feet long. But it is also an endangered species and needs protection. There is an entire force dedicated to the difficult endeavor of protecting these magnificent animals from the ravenous poachers. They are called Inspection Tiger.
This is the story of Yuri Trush and his men. A man, hunting a tiger, hunting a man. A true story about one of the smartest carnivores on the face of the earth, and some of the most experienced tiger hunters in Russia. This tiger was not just a man-eater. It was much more terrifying. This tiger preyed solely on human hunters.
The hunters became the hunted.
How do you survive the perfect predator?
John Vaillant sets a whole new stage for terror in his bestselling novel The Tiger. Everyone has an inherent fear of the tiger, but because we aren't exposed to it in our daily lives this fear doesn't ring true. In a chilling story of vengeance, John Vaillant justifies that fear.
Join the hunt and grab your copy of The Tiger today.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Author Bio - John Vaillant

Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts,  John has always been drawn to the wilderness from a young age. This allure was so strong that right out of college, he left continental America and took some time hitchhiking to Alaska. Once there, for a period of 3 years he spent his time salmon fishing and building boats in the remote fishing village of Egegik. Here he shared a 10 by 14 foot cabin with two other men and a dog. They stored all their tools, their dynamite, inside and there wasn't a tree around him for 50 to 60 miles. It was this experience from which he derives his confidence.
In his first award-winning book "The Golden Spruce", he questioned the notion of whether the damage we inflict on the environment can ever be justified. He has always written extensively about the conflicts between man and nature, but it wasn't until someone asked him why he liked to write that he realized this. Vaillant got his start relatively late in journalism. Now he has been a magazine writer for 8 years most notably writing pieces for the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and Outside.
Vaillant now lives in Vancouver with his wife and 2 children.
His new book The Tiger won Canada's highest honor, British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the Globe and Mail's best book. Look forward to it on next weeks review!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Book Review - Persuasion


First let me say that normally non-fiction is not for me, so at first I was skeptical when this book was recommended to me. However, I learned that it's good to keep an open mind because a good story will always be just that.
Contrary to the title, this is not just a book on how to persuade people. It is a very real, and very intimate story of how persuasion can change your life. While it's true that persuasion is a very useful tool in business and in your career, it applies equally to all  other areas of your life. Most importantly, we cannot forget that although it is helpful for us to persuade others, it is also important to be able to persuade yourself. If you need proof then you need only look at Arlene. At age 30, she was a single mother with joint custody of 4 children and no job. Within 10 years she became the CEO of Venture communications. The turning point in her life was when she persuaded herself that nothing is impossible.With persuasion Arlene was able to change her life for the better. Can you do the same?

Not only was this an inspirational story, but it was also very personal. Sometimes I find it hard to relate to someone who lives in the spotlight because it feels like they are on a whole other level from ourselves. But I found this story brought her down to earth and made her seem much more real. Most of you probably know Arlene from her role in Dragons Den, but very few people know about her back story and it was absolutely enthralling to hear of her journey to where she is now. It's not impossible to change your life. You just need the right perspective, and the right amount of persuasion. This was a great book with an important message. I strongly recommend this book to everyone.

"It's never too late to change your life. But the hardest person to sell on the idea of your potential is almost always yourself." - Arlene Dickinson

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Next Weeks Review - Arlene Dickinson

Some of you may know who Arlene Dickinson is by name. For those of you who don't, she co-stars with a number of other entrepreneurs in CBC's The Dragon's Den and The Big Decision. She is also a professional Canadian marketer and CEO of Venture Communications.
However, she was not always so successful. 
Arlene Dickinson was born on October 8, 1956 in South Africa. Growing up, Arlene desired to be both a wife and a mother. After graduating high school at age 16 - a high score on her aptitude test allowed her to skip 2 years in kindergarten - she decided against going to college and became a wife at 19 and a mother at 21. Another 3 children were soon to follow. She worked odd jobs to help support her children but she couldn't hold a position for very long.
A few years later, a devastating divorce forced her into joint custody of her children where she would only be allowed to see them every second weekend. It was at this time that Arlene found her way into advertising. Needless to say she found her niche. Soon after she joined a start-up company called Venture Communications. In ten years time she became CEO.
As a big believer in honesty and storytelling Arlene Dickinson continues forward with success.
Her new novel Persuasion is already a bestseller for Harper Collins Canada and it's her first ever novel.
Keep an eye out for my review coming in a few days.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Book Review - 1Q84


I have been very interested in reading this book for a long time. I sometimes get this sensation when a book catches my eye and that book never fails to appeal to my interests. This book was no exception. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami was everything I hoped it would be.

Tengo and Aomame (Ah-oh-mah-meh) are two very different people. Tengo is an aspiring novelist trying to make his mark on the world. Aomame is a serial killer. The smallest of strings links these two together but it is a commanding and unbreakable bond.
Twenty years have passed since they have seen each other. But one small gesture has held them together through memory. As a young girl she gave her heart away and disappeared. Now fate draws the two souls together in the city of Tokyo in events that will change the world itself. Tengo is caught up in a fraudulent scheme against his will and comes into contact with the strange character of Fuka-Eri, an unprecedented author with a story and a grain of truth. Meanwhile Aomame attacks the heart of a sinister group, an unnerving religious commune led by Leader. But the world around them is different and their paths come dangerously close to one another. Will they ever see each other again? There is much to learn in this new world with two moons. The world of 1Q84.

I was absolutely blown away by the level of character development shown by Haruki Murakami. I felt as if I knew the heart of each character as well as I knew myself. At times this slows down the pace of the novel but every piece of information is relevant. As a reader you can understand every decision that the characters make and that's important. The story was compelling and the details were breathtaking. I suggest you set some time aside for this novel. It was exceptionally good but it does take time. Take a seat and enter the world of one of the best books of 2011.

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone had a great winter break! Now that all the festivities are over expect our usual once a week reviews to start pumping out again. What were your great holiday reads?
Our first review of 2011 will be posted by tonight on Haruki Murakami's 1Q84! Keep checking up on us or follow @joshlegere on twitter for regular updates!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Next weeks Review!

I've been trekking through this next book to try and finish it over the holidays. Get ready for a great book with next weeks review of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Feedback

What do you like/not like? What do you want to see? Post any feedback you have here. I want to know what you think of Boow Reviews so far.