GODS OF HOWL MOUNTAIN by Multi-Award Winning Author TAYLOR BROWN is one of the best books I have ever read. COMING SOON.

Title: GODS OF HOWL MOUNTAIN

Author: TAYLOR BROWN

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 20, 2018

ISBN: 9781250111777

Price: $26.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

In Gods of Howl Mountain, award-winning author Taylor Brown explores a world of folk healers, whiskey-runners, and dark family secrets in the high country of 1950s North Carolina.

Bootlegger Rory Docherty has returned home to the fabled mountain of his childhood – a misty wilderness that holds its secrets close and keeps the outside world at gunpoint. Slowed by a wooden leg and haunted by memories of the Korean War, Rory runs bootleg whiskey for a powerful mountain clan in a retro-fitted ’40 Ford coupe. Between deliveries to roadhouses, brothels, and private clients, he lives with his formidable grandmother, evades federal agents, and stokes the wrath of a rival runner.

In the mill town at the foot of the mountains – a hotbed of violence, moonshine, and the burgeoning sport of stock-car racing – Rory is bewitched by the mysterious daughter of a snake-handling preacher. His grandmother, Maybelline “Granny May” Docherty, opposes this match for her own reasons, believing that “some things are best left buried.” A folk healer whose powers are rumored to rival those of a wood witch, she concocts potions and cures for the people of the mountains while harboring an explosive secret about Rory’s mother – the truth behind her long confinement in a mental hospital, during which time she has not spoken one word. When Rory’s life is threatened, Granny must decide whether to reveal what she knows…or protect her only grandson from the past.

With gritty and atmospheric prose, Taylor Brown brings to life a perilous mountain and the family who rules it.

MY REVIEW:

There is something visceral that is felt when reading this deftly-written story set amidst the deep mountains during a period in history when such places were truly hidden. Where “Above it all the sea of night, the strange ornamentation of stars…” dazzle readers and draw them into the lush setting that is Howl Mountain.

The setting and even the name Howl Mountain is perfect for this magical, secret-rich tale that will have readers believing in the possibility that supernatural powers exist even though they cannot be seen or explained.

The characters are so believable that it is impossible to not find yourself invested in their lives and their world. You will wish you could travel back in time to stop some of the hardships heading towards this family before they happen.

The riotous and abundant surroundings of the mountains will have you longing for a simpler time in America. This will be true for all readers, whether for them it is a memory of days long past or just wishful thinking.

Granny May embodies a time when ‘wise-women‘ were both revered as well as feared. Her knowledge of local herbs and lore allows her to eke out a living during a time when people had little or no money to spare. The Dictionary definition of a wisewoman is: “a woman considered to be knowledgeable in matters such as herbal healing, magic charms, or other traditional lore.” Wisewomen were often feared for their knowledge and were sometimes branded as witches and persecuted by those who feared them. Fortunately for Granny Mae, she knows how to take care of herself.

Rory Docherty is Granny May’s grandson. He is a veteran who left for the Korean war as a boy and returned as a man (minus a leg). He used the money he earned in the war to buy a 1940 Ford Coupe. He and a buddy added all kinds of special extras and made some serious modifications to it in order to make it the perfect Moonshine-Runner’s vehicle. This car was a mean looking hunk of metal.

Rory was raised by Granny May since his mother has been committed to an insane asylum and has not spoken a single word in over twenty years.

As Rory makes his regular whiskey drop-offs, he meets the stunningly gorgeous daughter of a fire-and-brimstone-snake-handling Preacher and falls in love at first sight.

It is this one meeting that changes the course of Rory’s life and the lives of everyone around him.

The question is, will the mountain release any of its closely held secrets? Will the families involved be able to continue on as they always have? What about Granny May? Will she survive the evil that is steadily stalking her? Or will she succumb to it in the end?

This is one book that you will wish would never end. From the way that Taylor Brown describes the mountain landscape, it is evident that he has a deep and abiding affection for nature.

If you have not yet had the privilege of reading any of Taylor Brown’s books, now is your chance and it is one not to be missed.

I rate this amazing book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

TAYLOR BROWN grew up on the Georgia coast. His work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including The North Carolina Literary Review, The Southwest Review, The Baltimore Review, Chautauqua, Garden & Gun, The Rumpus, CutBank, storySouth, and many others. He is the recipient of a Montana Prize in Fiction, and he’s been a finalist for the Press 53 Open Awards, Machigonne Fiction Contest, Wabash Prize in Fiction, Rick DeMarinis Short Story Contest, Dahany Fiction Prize, and Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

He is the author of a short story collection, In the Season of Blood and Gold (Press 53, 2014), as well as three novels: Fallen Land (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), The River of Kings (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), and Gods of Howl Mountain (St. Martin’s Press, 2018).

Taylor, an Eagle Scout, graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005. He settled in Wilmington, NC, after long stints in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and the mountains of North Carolina. He is the editor-in-chief of BikeBound.com, and he enjoys old motorcycles, thunderstorms, and White Dog Mash #1.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

KOBO

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

This book review is also part of the #2018atozchallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS

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THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE by Tehmina Khan is a story collection featuring characters who are usually ignoredin modern literature. It’s a MUST READ!

Title: THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE

Author: TEHMINA KHAN

Genre: FICTION, SHORT STORY COLLECTION, LGBTQ, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, DIVERSITY, CANADIAN LITERATURE

Length: 121 PAGES

Publisher: MAWENZI HOUSE

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE PUBLISHER

Release Date: OCTOBER 2017

ISBN: 978-1-988449-14-2

Price: $20.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Accomplished, sensitive, and often disturbing, these stories take us into the lives of modern Pakistanis—privileged and poor, gay, trans, and straight, men and women, in Karachi and Toronto.

“Whisperings of the Devil” takes us into the mind of a mistreated maidservant’s boy who gets seduced into the role of a suicide bomber.

In “To Allah We Pray,” two privileged and educated young men, one of them home from Toronto, gallivant through the streets of Karachi, finally walking into a doomed mosque.

“Things She Could Never Have” is a love story about two young trans women living in Karachi.

“Born on the First of July” opens the door into the home of a Toronto girl who has left to join ISIS and the devastated family she leaves behind.

“The First” will astonish many readers by its depiction of sexual encounters of young college girls in Pakistan.

These and other stories link us into the complexities of a sometimes troubled and often misrepresented Muslim society.

MY REVIEW:

I am aware that the stories contained within this wonderfully written collection are fiction, but it is all too easy to see that they contain at least a degree of truth.

First-time author TEHMINA KHAN has crafted tales that are so believable that you will find yourself wondering if some of them are actually non-fiction. This is the mark of a truly talented writer.

In the story, BORN ON THE FIRST OF JULY, parents of a Canadian born young woman are shocked when she leaves to join ISIS. They “…become news junkies… [and] scour the internet for news on ISIS, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.” “For us, she dies again and again. She is reborn again and again. There is nothing as cruel as hope.” She has taken a topic that is taboo and somehow made it relatable. Great job!

All of the stories in this collection are wonderfully written and will entrance the reader. This book was impossible to put down and I found myself thinking about each of the tales, long after I finished reading them.

Tehmina Khan has given a voice to those people whom modern day literature shuns and ignores. From transgender youth to Muslim women, readers are sure to read about characters they might otherwise never encounter. It is story collections like this one that are necessary now more than ever before.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend it. Tehmina Khan may be new to the publishing world, but I am sure we will be hearing more about her in the near future.

*Thank you to Mawenzi House Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tehmina Khan was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and holds degrees from Kinnaird College, Lahore, and Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales de Tunis.

She has her home in Toronto, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a cat. She is currently working on a novel.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

BLOG

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

GOOGLE PLUS

PICTAGRAM

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Mawenzi House is dedicated to bringing to the reading public fresh new writing from Canada and across the world that reflects the diversity of our rapidly globalizing world, particularly in Canada and the United States.

Our focus is on works that can loosely be termed “multicultural” and particularly those that pertain to Asia and Africa. We publish 6-8 titles of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction (literary criticism, history) per year.

Among our achievements: we have played a role in the formulation of the Indo-Caribbean identity through the publication of several ground-breaking titles; we have kept in print books by major Caribbean writers Sam Selvon, Ismith Khan, and John Stewart; we have published provocative and perceptive social and literary critical works by Arnold Itwaru, Arun Prabha Mukherjee, Chelva Kanaganayakam, and others; the introduction of the important Zimbabwean writer Yvonne Vera; the first historical and critical study of Chinese Canadian writing in English; the first anthologies of South Asian Canadian literature, South Asian Canadian women’s poetry, Chinese Canadian stories, and South Asian Canadian and American women’s fiction.

HISTORY

In 1981, a group of young people, who had been in North America for just over a decade, decided to take the plunge and start the magazine they had always dreamed about as students, at a time in which Naipaul had to be ordered from bookstores, let alone Narayan or Ngugi or Soyinka. The result was The Toronto South Asian Review, which later became the much broader-based The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad and helped entrench a generation of new writers. As an offshoot of this literary magazine, in 1985 TSAR Publications published its first title, a book of essays on South Asian Canadian literature, followed by a book of poetry by Sri Lankan Canadian Rienzi Crusz. Mawenzi House finally emerged, a uniquely diverse and knowledgeable publishing house based in Canada. (“Mawenzi” is the name of the second peak of Kilimanjaro.)

To learn more about Mawenzi House, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

***This book is part of my #2018AtoZChallenge on Ginger Mom’s Blog***

2018 Reading / Reviewing Challenge

One of my fellow Book Bloggers has decided to run a great challenge for 2018 and I have decided to join her. For more information, check out Gingermom’s Blog.

THE CHALLENGE:

To read a book whose title starts with each letter of the alphabet.

I even have a few books ready to be read:

A – AIRWOMAN by Zara Quentin

B –

C –

D – DEGREES OF LOVE by Lisa Slabach

E –

F –

G –

H –

I –

J –

K –

L –

M –

N –

O –

P –

Q –

R –

S –

T –

U –

V –

W –

X –

Y –

Z –

Want to join in?

Are you an author who would like to have your book included in the challenge?

Send your book by mail to:

Amie’s Book Reviews

17 Gordon Drive

Alliston, Ontario

L9R 0J1

Canada

I can’t wait for 2018 and all the amazing new books that are being released.

F.O.L.D. BOOK BASH was terrific – Check out the amazing and diverse authors, poets and publishers I met on Saturday.



F.O.L.D. stands for FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY 

Today at City Hall in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, FOLD hosted the 2017 Book Bash. 

WHAT IS A FOLD BOOK BASH?

  • A one-day book market designed to give authors and book selling organizations a space to promote their books. 
  • A chance for the community to learn about books written by local authors
  • The ability for consumers to learn about and to purchase multicultural books that reflect the diversity of the city and  country in which they live
  • A chance to meet the authors of those books and to have them autographed 
  • As well as the chance to listen to authors read from, and talk about their books. 

    FOLD is the first and only literary festival in Canada to focus on diverse authors and stories.

    The first Festival of Literary Diversity was held in May 2016 and included more than 25 unique sessions held over three days with over thirty of Canada’s most exciting authors.

    Mark your calendars for May 3rd to May 5th, 2018 for the next Festival. There will be quite a few authors and publishers with many different sessions to choose from.

    CHECK IT OUT – YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID. 

    AUTHORS I MET ON SATURDAY  & SOME AMAZING BOOKS YOU NEED TO OWN


    #1. 

    JAEL RICHARDSON 


    Jael Richardson
     is one busy woman. Besides being the Founder and Creative Art Director of the Festival of Literary Diversity, she is also an author in her own right.

    Her book THE STONE THROWER: A DAUGHTER’S LESSON, A FATHER’S LIFE is a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The memoir received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award as an Emerging Artist and was adapted into a children’s book in 2016. 

    To learn more about Jael, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

    GOODREADS          

    TWITTER    

    FACEBOOK          

    INSTAGRAM        

    CHAPTERS              

    This is me with Jael at the 2017 FOLD Book Bash

    #2. 

    DEJA BEALS has been writing poetry since the age of sixteen. She finds her inspiration for her poetry in family, friends and everyday experiences.  

    DĖJA BEALS has been writing poetry since the age of 16. You would never know that during those early writing days, her poetry was filled with incorrect grammar. Now, like Déja herself, her writing has matured and
     developed. Her work has blossomed to include a range of topics such as love, faith and everyday experiences.

    Déja finds her poetic inspiration in family, friends and her daily experiences.

    She is known for her silly moments, big laugh and even bigger heart. She has been said to have wisdom beyond her years and uncanny insight which adds depth to her writing. She is currently living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

    DÉJA’S OFFICIAL BLOG     

    GOODREADS      

    TWITTER     

    FACEBOOK     

    INSTAGRAM    


    AMAZON          

    DISCOVERING DIVERSITY PUBLISHING    

    3, 4 and 5.

    I met these three very gracious and amazing women at the FOLD Brampton Book Bash. 

    About the multitalented Catherine Graham – Not only has she written the fiction novel QUARRY but she is also only days away from the launch off her new poetry collection THE CELERY FOREST which is being published by Wolsak and Wynn

    Author and Poet – CATHERINE GRAHAM

    QUARRY is a fictional story set in Southern Ontario during the 1980s. Only child Caitlin Maharg lives with her parents beside a water-filled limestone quarry, but her idyllic upbringing collapses when she learns her mother is dying. After a series of family secrets emerge, Caitlin must confront the past and face her uncertain future. 

    THE CELERY FOREST      

    Like Wonderland or Oz, Neverland or Narnia, The Celery Forest is an extraordinary world filled with strange creatures and disorienting sights. But the doorway to the Celery Forest is not a rabbit hole or an old wardrobe. The doorway is an MRI. For poet and novelist Catherine Graham, this is the topsy-turvy world she found herself in after learning she had breast cancer.

         More than a survivor’s tale, these poems are a map through unknowable terrain, infused with awareness and forgetting, written by a poet with the visionary ability to distill our sense of wonder into something we can hold.
    TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CATHERINE GRAHAM, VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS: 

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

    GOODREADS 

    TWITTER   

    FACEBOOK    

    INSTAGRAM      

    AMAZON       


    CHAPTERS         

         
    #4.  

    Publisher & Author Alexander Leggett  

    CEO and Founder of Two Wolves Press, Alexandra Leggat is the author of the novel The Incomparables as well as several other published works. 

    Alexandra started Two Wolves  Press as a way to nurture talent without compromise  – to work closely with Two Wolves writers to follow and trust their intuition and publish “instinctual fiction”. 

    Two Wolves Press publishes Catherine Graham’s novel QUARRY and
    Aileen Santos’ SOMEONE LIKE YOU.

    To learn more about this Publisher and author, visit the following links:
     
    OFFICIAL WEBSITE   


    GOODREADS     

    TWITTER   

    FACEBOOK        

    INSTAGRAM      

    AMAZON     

    CHAPTERS       

    MORE INFO COMING IN MY NEXT BLOG POST. 


    THE LAST NEANDERTHAL by Claire Cameron – The best prehistoric fiction book since “Clan of the Cave Bear”

    Title: THE LAST NEANDERTHAL

    Author: CLAIRE CAMERON    

    Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

    Length: 272 PAGES     

    Publisher: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE 

    Type of Book: AUTOGRAPHED HARDCOVER

    Book Jacket Designer: GREGG KULICK

    Purchased From: BOOK LORE – An Independent Book Store located in Orangeville, Ontario
    Release Date: APRIL 2017   

    ISBN: 978-0-385-68678-5    

    Price: $29.95 CDN (HARDCOVER)

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    MY REVIEW:

    When was the last time you pondered the similarities between Neanderthals and modern man? If you’re scratching your head because you can’t remember, you are not alone. Before reading THE LAST NEANDERTHAL by CLAIRE CAMERON, I hadn’t thought about Neanderthals since reading CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean M. Auel many, many years ago.

    In this book, Archaeologist Rosamund (Rosa) Gale makes an astounding discovery that just might change everything we thought we knew about Neanderthals.

    The book flips back and forth between Rosa’s story and that of a Neanderthal simply called, “Girl.”

    Most people view Neanderthals as little more than savage beasts who just happen to look like us. However, if that were true, why do so many people contain traces of Neanderthal DNA.

    I enjoyed reading Girl’s story and there are many parallels between her story and that of Rosa Gale.

    I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 I believe this book will get people talking and that is always a good thing.

    FAVORITE QUOTE:

    “Their lives together had slipped away as the ice breaks from the river in the Spring. It does not melt off in a slow thaw. Instead, a series of deep cracks destabilizes the structure. When it goes, large chunks get pulled away all at once. And in the span of a day, before disbelieving eyes, the ice is gone. But underneath the river is the same…”

    ABOUT THE BOOK JACKET DESIGNER:

    GREGG KULICK is a graphic designer and art director at HarperCollins in New York City. He lives in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn.  

    To see more book covers designed by him visit his official website HERE.
     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Photo by David Kerr

    (COPIED FROM THE AUTHOR’S WEBSITE)

    When I was young I read The Clan of the Cave Bear and watched “Quest for Fire,” but Neanderthals felt as distant as dinosaurs. In school I was taught Neanderthals were an evolutionary step between the apes and us—hairy, primitive knuckle-draggers.

    In 2010, a team sequenced a first draft of the Neanderthal genome and made an extraordinary discovery. Modern humans of European and Asian descent have inherited between 1-4% of their DNA from Neanderthals. Most scientists agree this is evidence of interbreeding between the two groups. Rather than a more evolved version of Neanderthals, we are close cousins.

    But we think of ourselves as the ones who drove the Neanderthals to extinction, rather than having sex with them. So how did modern humans and Neanderthals make contact? We can’t know the answer, but a novelist should take on the risk involved in imagining one.

    I worked with experts and used the new science of Neanderthals like a set of rules, or creative constraints, to build the story. My experience living and working in the outdoors gave me some insight into how surviving in the wild might have felt more than 40,000 years ago.

    My novel is about Neanderthals, but it’s also a story that questions what it means to be human.

    To learn more about this talented Canadian author who currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

    GOODREADS     

    TWITTER     

    FACEBOOK     

    INSTAGRAM        

    AMAZON       

    CHAPTERS     

    Read The New York Times Book Review HERE.

    HASHTAGS:

    @penguinrandom @PenguinBooks @PenguinCanada @randomhouse @RandomHouseCA ⠀
    @doubledaybooks @littlebrown

     #clairecameron #bookface #instabook #bookstagram #indiebookstore #readlocal #toronto #torontoauthors #canlit #thelastneanderthal #canadianauthor #readandreview #newbook #newrelease #mustread #book #bookblogger #tbr #tbrlist #bookstagrammer #fiction #bookreview #bookreviewer #booklorebookstore #CanadianPride #Canadian #instagramhub #instalike #thefinchbook #neanderthal #historicalfiction #Amiesbookreviews #Amiesbookreview #history
    #archaeology #canadianauthors #randomhouse #readandreview #newbook #newrelease #mustread #bookblogger #bookreviewer #bookblog 

    UPCOMING EVENT – On Saturday, May 28th attend the Elora Writer’s Festival

    Photo by Peter Veraldi

    Elora Writer’s Festival (since 1994)

    2017 Line-up: 

    The Elora Writer’s Festival has already found five great authors – and all of them jumped at the chance to join the annual celebration of great Canadian writing on Sunday, May 28 at Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum & Archives. 

    Lots more details to come, but here’s a quick look at the Festival 2017 line-up:

    Adrienne Kress has a slew of juvenile and YA Fantasy/Steampunk titles out there and, to top it off, she’s an actress too. Her Steampunk adventure The Friday Society, was released to a starred review from Quill and Quire and optioned for film. Read more about Adrienne here:

    http://www.adriennekress.com/author/


    Rio Youers is back – yes! That Rio! A writer right in our neighbourhood, whose new book, The Forgotten Girl, will appear shortly after our festival. Expect a preview! And if you want to see more of Rio’s impressive list of publications, check out his website, here:

    http://rioyouers.com/


    Poetry makes a return to our line-up, with Windsor’s Mary Ann Mulhern. Her first collection, The Red Dress, was inspired by her life in the convent, and now, no longer a nun, she tackles some of life’s difficult questions in her writing. Here’s a short video that offers insight into Mary Ann and her poetry:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lduBVQHsCAk&feature=youtu.be


    Brad Smith returns to Elora with more of his country-noir good-guys-vs-bad-guys thrillers. The first in the Carl Burns series, Rough Justice, hit the stands last February, and the next installment will arrive in February 2017, just in time for us to get reading and ready for his second appearance at our Festival. (And some of you may remember him from our first Books & Beer too, photo above, with Q&A guru, Dave Beynon… )  Read about Brad’s background here: 

    http://www.bradsmithbooks.com/biography.php


    And to complete the list, Andrew Westoll – another returnee, because he wowed us in 2013 (see photo, above. That’s Andrew, far left) – brings his first novel to share. Remember Andrew? He’s the author of the award-winningThe Riverbones, as well as the memoir The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary. Now he’s turned to fiction with The Jungle South of the Mountain. Yes, there will be primates. Can’t wait!

    Read more about Andrew, here:

    http://andrewwestoll.com/bio/

    There you have it – the line-up of authors for the Elora Writer’s Festival 2017. Mark your calendars for Sunday, May 28th. 


    Photo by Peter Veraldi


    Everything you need to know about tickets to Festival 2017   

    The 2017 Elora Writers’ Festival is just around the corner and tickets ($25) are now available. Here’s everything you need to know to be part of the action on Sunday, May 28, 1-4 p.m:

    Pay a visit to Roxanne – or give her a call:

    Visit Roxanne’s Reflections Book & Card Shop, 152 St. Andrew St. West in Fergus to purchase your tickets. Or call Roxanne at 519-843-4391 to reserve your tickets, which can be picked up at the store or will be waiting for you at the front door of Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum & Archives on the day of the festival, whatever works for you.

    Order Online from our partners at The Fergus Grand Theatre:

    Easy, easy, easy. Follow this link to the ticket-ordering page:

    Fergus Grand Theatre – 2017 Elora Writers’ Festival

    Show up at the door of Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum & Archives on Sunday, May 28 at about 12:45 p.m.:

    Walk up to our ticket table, pull out $25, take your ticket and walk right in!

    Your ticket entitles you to an afternoon of readings and a crowd-pleasing Q&A with this year’s authors, Rio Youers, Andrew Westoll, Adrienne Kress, Brad Smith and Mary Ann Mulhern.

    Oh yes, and there’s one beer (thanks to our sponsors, Wellington Brewery) and nibbles (supplied by local Fergus eatery, The Fountainhead), and books to buy at our mini-bookstore, authors to chat with and a room full of like-minded book-lovers to meet.

    All you need is a ticket, it’s that’s easy!

    I will definitely be attending. I hope that if any of you reading this are planning to go to the Festival, we can introduce ourselves to each other.

    Hope to see you there!!! 

    Photo by Peter Veraldi

    Photo by David Wilcox

    TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS FESTIVAL CLICK HERE


    IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss is a beautifully written novel set in the Appalachian Mountains – A MUST READ – PRE-ORDER NOW!!!


    Title: IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE
    Author: LEAH WEISS

    Genre: FICTION

    Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK

    Release Date: AUGUST 8, 2017

    ISBN: 9781492647454

    Price: $15.99 USD

    Type of Book: ARC from Netgalley 

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    This is the debut novel written by LEAH WEISS.

    Set in the 1970s high in the Appalachian Mountain range sits a small, secluded community struggling to survive and to live their lives as they see fit.

    The inhabitant’s lives are not very different from the lives of their ancestors. Down the mountain, people are embracing new technologies and just about everyone has a car, indoor plumbing and telephones are installed in every home. Not so on the mountain. Outhouses are still in use and the mountain folk have no desire for the intrusion that improvements might bring.

    In fact, outsiders are treated with scorn and suspicion. Children are taught in a one-room schoolhouse that in theory sounds quaint and idyllic, but in reality is anything but.

    Teachers arrive with the best of intentions, but soon run away with their tails tucked between their legs  when they discover the harsh reality of mountain life. Their leaving could also have something to do with the fact that the last teacher’s home mysteriously caught fire in the middle of the night and burned to the ground.

    With character names such as Marris, Gladys, Sadie and Otis Blue, the author creates a sense of living in the past. There are too many characters and too many intertwined storylines to mention them here, but Leah Weiss has crafted a complex but believable and haunting tale that will tug at your heartstrings and make you shake your head in both exasperation and disbelief.

    IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is as harsh and unapologetic as the immovable mountains. Leah Weiss has a gift for character building and the people who live on the mountain come alive on every page. Even the way the characters talk comes through as raw and authentic. For example, Sadie’s grandmother Gladys says, “From the start there’s been a film of dingy on my days. I’ve always done woman’s work; man’s work, too. Woke up with work to do, went to bed before it got done … I been chained to an iron life.”

    My favourite line in the book was when Gladys says that her friend is as annoying and clingy as chickenshit on shoes.

    I rate IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE as 5 out of 5 stars and predict that we will see this book at the top of the Bestseller lists as soon as it is released.  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


    Thank you to 
    Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.


    MY FAVOURITE QUOTES:


    “Only got the clothes on her back and a backbone that won’t bend.”


    “Ugly talk follows Roy like fleas on a mangy dog. He’s a spiteful, small-minded man who drinks hard and plays for keeps.”   


    “Truth always hurts and it’s extra hard to look at late in life.”


    “She’s got lessons to learn, and life’s one bugger of a teacher.”


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
    (In her own words – copied from her website)

    Leah Weiss’s roots are deep, simple and southern. 

    They started where my mama Lucy was born on a tobacco farm in the flatlands of eastern North Carolina. She was one of fifteen siblings raised without electricity or indoor plumbing. My daddy, a Marine from Cherry Point, saw my mama a handful of times. Then he married her on her eighteenth birthday in 1944. They settled near her family where my sister and I were born in a farming town, where neighborhoods were divided by train tracks and held together by church and traditions.Just about everybody we knew was kin.

    When I was ten, we left Carolina and moved to Virginia when my grandpop died. We moved in with Nana, and on the empty lot next door my parents built us a four-room home, sawing, hammering and painting. They were self-sufficient and hardworking people with humble dreams.

    In my childhood days, I fell in love with Nancy Drew mystery books. Every spare moment was spent between the covers of those blue books solving crimes and thinking that could be me. If my name was Nancy. If I had a roadster. If I was five years older. I have nineteen of those early Nancy Drew books on my bookshelf. They hooked me on the pull of imagination.

    But my world wasn’t Nancy Drew’s world. I took piano lessons that led to a scholarship that took me to Dunbarton College in Washington DC in the second half of the turbulent sixties. Our Nation’s Capital was in chaos over Vietnam, racial strife and women’s equality. Marches and sit-ins were the norm in that time of unrest. A year after college, I married, had a son, taught music, and wrote articles for a magazine. Two decades later, I divorced then took the job of executive assistant to the Headmaster at Virginia Episcopal School that lasted my next twenty-four years.

    In those years, I wrote memoirs and fiction whose rules weren’t always clear. I attended writing conferences and workshops, haunted bookstores and studied my favorite authors. I cut my writing teeth on a novel that didn’t sell and a string of short stories that did. Eventually, I found.my writing voice. No surprise, it’s southern and musical and best when read aloud. It is always about people who are self-sufficient and hard working with humble dreams.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE   

    GOODREADS    

    FACEBOOK   

    INSTAGRAM        

    AMAZON     

    CHAPTERS       

    WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO by David Joy – A masterful tale of living in the backwoods and the chance of escape 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

    Title: WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO

    Author: DAVID JOY    
    Genre: FICTION  

    Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

    Length: 260 PAGES

    Publisher: PUTNAM – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE   

    Release Date: 2015 

    ISBN: 978-0-425-27979-3  

    Price:  $16.00 USD / $21.00 CDN

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    This story is set in the beautiful, and wild Cashiers Mountains in a remote corner of North Carolina.

    Jacob McNeely is the son of the meth kingpin of the area. He is not like his father, but because his lastname is McNeely, most of the people in the area have him pegged as a no-good criminal.

    All kinds of people inhabit the mountains and many of them can be considered ornery, but Jacob’s father is more than just ornery, he is downright mean. To add to his charm, he is violent, demeaning to women and completely terrifying when someone crosses him.

    Jacob describes the area in which he lives by noting; “The Creek was a beautiful place, but it was lawless and always had been. The land was of little use for farming, so the folks who settled way back when were mostly drunkards and thieves. I was generations away from those earliest outlaws, but things like that have a way of staying in the blood.”

    Jacob feels like he has no choices in the way his life will turn out. But, as sure as he is that he is stuck in The Creek forever, he is equally sure that his girlfriend is destined for bigger and better things.

    You will have to read this novel to discover if one of them escapes or if they both do, or if, in the end, neither of them are destined to leave the clutches of their pasts.

    The language that author David Joy uses in this book is beautifully written prose that somehow continuously has the ability to strike a chord with his readers.

    It doesn’t matter what it is that author David Joy describes, he does it with such vividness that the reader is instantly able to form a picture in his or her mind. For example, when writing about the paint in the jail, he describes it as follows:

    “The concrete was painted a warm kind of gray, something not so depressing as snow clouds but more of a gray like an old woman’s perm.”

    If David Joy can make the description of the crappy, gray paint in a jail cell into something I actually quote in my review, than as far as I am concerned, he has some serious writing chops.

    The characters come alive through David Joy’s skillful writing and even though the vast majority of those who read this book will have nothing in common with them, readers will find themselves hoping for a happy ending for the two lovers.

    I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 and recommend it to those readers who enjoyed “Hillbilly Elegy” or who are fans of character driven fiction that seems so real that even after the final page, a small part of you will wonder if these are actually true events rather than fiction.

    Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut,Where All Light Tends To Go, was hailed as “a savagely moving novel that will likely become an important addition to the great body of Southern literature” (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountains of North Carolina for his second novel, a powerful story about the inescapable weight of the past.

    The Weight Of This World is set for release on March 7, 2017 from Putnam Books and I am very much looking forward to reading it.



    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    David Joy is the author of the Edgar nominated novel Where All Light Tends To Go (Putnam, 2015), as well as the novelsThe Weight Of This World(Putnam, 2017) and The Line That Held Us(Putnam, TBD). He is also the author of the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman’s Journey (Bright Mountain Books, 2011), which was a finalist for the Reed Environmental Writing Award and the Ragan Old North State Award.
    His work is represented by Julia Kenny of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency, with film rights by Dana Spector at Paradigm.

    Joy is the recipient of an artist fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council. His writing has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, and has been nominated for awards such as the Pushcart Prize. His latest short stories and essays have appeared in The Good Men Project, Still: The Journal, and The Pisgah Review.

    Joy lives in Webster, North Carolina. For a full curriculum vitae click here

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

    GOODREADS    

    TWITTER    

    FACEBOOK    

    INSTAGRAM    

    AMAZON    

    PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE   
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    An Amazing Book Coming Soon – THE LAURAS by Sara Taylor 5 out of 5 Stars just is not enough – LOVED THIS BOOK 

    Title:  THE LAURAS   

    Author: SARA TAYLOR

    Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ

    Publisher: CROWN PUBLISHING, HOGARTH  

    Release Date:  AUGUST 1, 2017  

    EDITION: HARDCOVER

    ISBN: 9780451496850

    Price: $26.00 (USD)

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    

    Wow! I have just finished reading the final page of THE LAURAS and I can already tell you that this book is going to be on my list of the BEST BOOKS OF 2017.

    Although this book will not be officially released until August, I urge everyone that reads this review to put the date on your calendar and not to miss out.

    This is one of those extremely rare books that is worth standing in line for  – at midnight, on the eve of its release. Yes, IT IS THAT GOOD.

    THE LAURAS is a tale that will take readers on a journey of dual-discovery. It is a tale of a mother and child who set out on a cross country trip during which the mother makes multiple interesting side-trips.

    These trips could last a day, a month, or even several months. They could be boring (in Alex’s opinion), they could be strange, and sometimes they were even downright terrifying.

    Alex is a child (less due to her age, and more due to her limited life experience) when this story begins, but as the cross-country Odyssey continues Alex grows into a young adult. Thanks to the fact that Alex is the narrator, readers are brought along on Alex’s unique journey into the perils and delights of becoming the person who was always meant to be. And, trust me – this is a coming of age story unlike any other.

    I wish there was a way to give more than 5 out of 5 stars, because this book is a masterpiece of fiction and I have no doubt that it will win many awards and will end up on Bestseller Lists everywhere. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

    THE CHARACTERS:

    How do I describe Alex’s mother? It’s a dilemma, but perhaps I will let Alex  describe her since that expanation will be so much better than mine.

    “Ma’s mood had perked up; I could see the happy on her face and the weight was rolling off her shoulders like stones … and it looked like she might start singing at any moment. If she’d been the kind of person that sang. Really, she’d be more likely to start spontaneously handing around shots of tequila as an expression of happiness, but singing sounds better.”

    Some people might think that having a Mom like that would be fun – and maybe it would be; for a little while, anyway. But, a parent is meant to take care of their child, not act like a child herself.

    Alex is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma. When the reader learns more and more about Alex’s life and personality, it is impossible not to root for this interesting and inscrutable character. Readers will find themselves second guessing what they think they know about Alex and this mystery remains until the very end of the book.

    MORE

    This would be a terrific book to feature in a Book Club setting since there is just so much in it that readers will want to talk about.

    I also think that this book just might have some people questioning their own stances on many issues. I would love to say more here, but I refuse to ruin this story for anyone.

    FAVORITE QUOTE:
    “But I didn’t have the child’s blind trust in the omnipotence of parents anymore: I had eaten the apple, knew that Ma was no different from me, that she probably didn’t know what to do right now anymore than I would, that her only advantage was a rapidly narrowing gulf of experience.”

    IN CONCLUSION:

    ADD THIS BOOK TO YOUR TBR (TO BE READ) LIST AND MARK AUGUST 1st, 2017 ON YOUR CALENDAR. You will be glad you did.
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

    SARA TAYLOR is a product of Virginia and the homeschooling movement. She traded her health for a BFA from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and her sanity for an MA in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.

    Following the MA her supervisor refused to let her leave, so she remains as a PhD candidate at the UEA where she researches censorship, writes fiction, and is occasionally entrusted with the teaching of undergraduates.

     She spends an unprecedented amount of time on delayed trains between Norwich and her husband’s house in Reading, and tends to get lost, rained on, and chased by cows with unsettling frequency.

    Her short fiction has been published electronically and in print in The Fiddlehead, The Fog Horn, and Granta, among other places. Her novels are published by William Heinemann in the UK, Hogarth in the US, and Bond Street Books in Canada.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

    BLOG 

    GOODREADS     

    CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS    

    AMAZON   


    Read an interview with Sara Taylor HERE.


      

    THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK IN THE WORLD by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt is a collection of eight novellas that focus on the darkness within us all & the ability for redemption.

    Title: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK IN THE WORLD: Eight Novellas


    Translated from the French by: ALISON ANDERSON   

    Author: ERIC-EMMANUEL SCHMITT 

    Type of Book: SOFTCOVER  

    Genre: NOVELLAS, SHORT STORIES

    Length: 181 PAGES   

    Publisher: EUROPA EDITIONS   

    Release Date: 2009

    ISBN: 978-1-9933372-74-7 

    Price: $15.00 USD / $18.00 CAN

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟


    MY REVIEW:


    STORY # 1 – WINNIPEG WANDA

    “Wanda had already figured out that she would make it on her own … Wanda concluded that it was through men that she would make her way in life.”

    Seemingly cold and calculated, Wanda Winnipeg is a thrice-divorced multimillionaire. She both demands and commands attention and respect wherever she goes. Disdain is her go-to emotion.


    STORY # 2 – FINE RAINY DAY

    “Hėlène could not remember having ever experienced a perfect moment.”

    No one and nothing was ever good enough for her. That is, until she met Antoine, whose love for her  changes everything. Or does it?


    STORY 3 – THE INTRUDER  

    Odile Versini is sure that she has just seen a woman in her apartment and not only that, but that the intruder stared right at her. Odile calls the police and stays on the phone until they arrive. However, by the time they get there the woman has somehow slipped out of the apartment.

    This happens several times and Odile cannot fathom what this woman wants, why she keeps returning and exactly how she is able to get away each time. But she is determined to put a stop to it once and for all.

     STORY #4 – THE FORGERY

    This story, although it might not seem so at first, is all about perceptions.

     

    STORY # 5 – EVERY REASON TO BE HAPPY


    Just because all your friends and acquaintances say that you every reason to be happy, does not guarantee that you are.


    STORY # 6 – THE BAREFOOT PRINCESS

    Appearances can be deceiving.


    STORY # 7 – ODETTE TOULEMOND

    Perhaps happiness and fulfillment can come from unexpected places.


    STORY # 8 – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK IN THE WORLD

    This story is the best one out of the eight and is set in a Russian gulag housing female political dissidents in the 1950s.


    OVERALL

    This collection of novellas is full of stories that prove that author Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt is a supremely talented writer who is able to connect with readers all over the world. He has his finger firmly placed on the pulse of the human condition which enables his stories to mean different things to different people.

    I have read many short story anthologies but this one is the most unique. I recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys literary fiction.

    The novellas were originally written in French and have been translated into English by the gifted translator Alison Anderson. She has used her impressive talents to allow the reader to still experience the richness of a foreign culture while being able to stay true to the author’s vision.

    I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars and I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of this book. In fact, it would make a unique Christmas gift for the book lover in your life. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

     

    ERIC-EMMANUEL SCHMITT –  playwright, novelist, and author of short stories, was awarded the French Academy’s Grand Prix du Théâtre in 2001.

    He is one of Europe’s most popular authors. His many novels and story collections include The Most Beautiful Book in the World (Europa Editions 2009) and The Woman with the Bouquet (Europa Editions 2010). 


    Visit the author’s official web site

        


    ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR:

    ALISON ANDERSON  is the author of the forthcoming novel The Summer Guest.

    She spent many years in California; she now lives in a Swiss village and works as a literary translator.

    Her translations include The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, and works by Nobel laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio. She has also written two previous novels and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Translation Fellowship.

    She has lived in Greece and Croatia, and speaks several European languages, including Russian.

    Visit her official website HERE.