I Want All the Books!

The weather might be terribly treacherous, and driving might be dangerous, and I might not be able to be on social media or the Internet much these days because too much negativity is just plain bad for me; but THIS IS THE BEST BOOK WEEK in a very long time!  I’m pretty sure many of us could read only books that were published this week and be happy little bookworms for quite some time to come.  There’s something for everyone.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a selection of this week’s choicest goodies:

impossibleThe Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak*
Until May 1987, fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd.  Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. Or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboy magazine publishes photos of Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.**

norseNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman*
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.  In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki–son of a giant–blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.**

pachinkoPachinko by Min Jin Lee*
A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.**

possessionsThe Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy*
In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances. […] A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.**

refugeesThe Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen*
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but also the Center for Fiction Debut Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the ALA Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen’s next fiction book, The Refugees , is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family.**


Happy reading!


*Thanks to NetGalley and Edelweiss for advanced readers’ copies of these titles.

**Blurbs provided by publishers.



Patricia’s Summer Picks

This summer I’m not going anywhere.  At least not physically.  Instead I’m taking a course in Children’s Lit and kicking back at home.  That doesn’t mean that I won’t be dreaming of adventure in far-flung locales.  Here’s where I’ll be travelling this summer:

australiaAustraliaBittersweet* by Colleen McCullough

I have fond memories of basking in The Thorn Birds one summer.  I’m eager to repeat the experience with this epic (and romantic!) tale of the Latimer sisters — two sets of twins, all of them aspiring nurses coming of age in the 1920s.

Release Date: August 2014

japanJapan:  Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years of Pilgrimage* by Haruki Murakami

Closest in feel to Norwegian Wood, this novel takes us on Tsukuru Tazaki’s quest to find out why his once close knit circle of friends excluded him.

Release Date: August 2014

 russiaRussia:  The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil

Twins find themselves taking opposing sides in this dystopian alternative to present day Russia.

Release Date: July 2014

greeceGreece (and Norway, Canada and USA):  So Long Marianne: A Love Story* by Kari Hesthamar

The life story of Marianne Ihlen — Leonard Cohen’s muse and inspiration for a supremely beautiful song.

Release Date: June 2014

portugal Portugal:  Devil on her Tongue* by Linda Holeman

Canadian author Holeman whisks us away to 18th century Portugal where a 13-year old outcast and her mother are

abandoned by her father.

Release Date:  June 2014

africaVarious places in Africa: O, Africa by Andrew Lewis Conn

Similar in feel to (one of my favourites) The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, O Africa tells the story of gambler Micah and his twin brother Izzy, who travel through Africa to film a comedy in the jungle.

Release Date: June 2014


I tried very hard to pare this list down so I wasn’t spending all my ‘travel time’ in the US.  There are three books I couldn’t bear to leave off this list:  2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pyjamas* by Marie-Helene Bertino (which traces a spunky girl jazz singer’s Christmas Eve adventures in Philadelphia) and two in New YorkThe Girls at the Kingfisher Club* (in which the roaring twenties meet the Twelve Dancing Princesses) & My Salinger Year* (which follows Rakoff as she interns for Salinger’s publisher in the 1990s — it’s one of my favourite reads so far this year).


Happy Summer Reading!  (I’ll won’t be back until my course ends in mid-August!)


*Many thanks to both NetGalley and Edelweiss for providing ARCs and keeping Heidi and I in fabulous reads!

Fresh Picks

We’ve got some exciting new titles in recently and can’t wait to share them with you.

gospelThe Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

Most of us know and love Harris because of gently magical novels like Chocolat (and its film starring Johnny Depp back when he was still wonderful).  Harris has recently begun dabbling in Norse mythology — she wrote two Norse-flavoured novels for tweens, Runemarks and Runelight.  The Gospel of Loki is her first Norse novel for adults.  It is more commercial than her previous works and chock full of adventure.

Astonish Me* by Maggie Shipsteadastonish

An engrossing tale set in the world of professional ballet.  Joan is a ballerina who becomes pregnant with fellow-dancer Arslan’s child.  She marries her longtime admirer, Jacob and leaves Arslan and the world of dance behind.  When her son Harry becomes a dancer himself, Arslan once again enters Joan’s life, and past secrets are revealed.

medicineMedicine Walk by Richard Wagamese

Are you a fan of Joseph Boyden?  How about Cormac McCarthy?  If you are, check out this moving father-son story from Canada Reads finalist Richard Wagamese, in which a dying father asks his son to lead him into the BC interior to be laid to rest.

Also new to our collection this month are several downloadable movies on Hoopla including old favourites like 1986’s April Fool’s Day and thelebowskiincomparable The Big Lebowski.

*Thank you to Edelweiss for providing an ARC of this title.


Patricia’s Spring Picks 2014

SpringSpring can take you anywhere… The weather can be perfect for huddling under a blanket and watching the rain fall, and then it can be warm enough to bask in the sun.  On great days you can sit out under the cherry blossoms.  Spring has room for all your moods, and for all your reading tastes.  This spring’s new releases don’t have much in common with each other except that they are all perfect for the many moods of the season.

March New Releases

Empress of the Night* by Eva Stachniak

This sequel to the Winter Palace tells of Catherine the Great’s rise to power from her own perspective.

Blood Will Out* by Walter Kirnblood

This non-fiction memoir about Kirn’s longtime friendship with a man claiming to be Clark Rockefeller and the friendship’s inevitable dissolution, is both memorable and moving.  There’s a strong sense of frustration that comes from realizing someone you care about isn’t someone you’ll ever really know.


April New Releases

punyAll My Puny Sorrows* by Miriam Toews

A tale of two sisters:  one a suicidal world-reknowned pianist, the other is complete mess who tries to hold her sister together. From the author of A Complicated Kindness.



The Confabulist* by Steven Gallowayconfabulist

Confession:  I’ve never read Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo, which received rave reviews (and has been recommended to me by many many people).  I started The Confabulist last night and was hooked from the first page; it tells the story of Harry Houdini and the man who killed him… twice.

serpentOther highlights from April include No Book But the World* by Leah Hager Cohen — about a sister struggling to prove her brother is innocent of murder, Christopher Moore’s witty take on Shakespeare The Serpent of Venice*, Raise Some Shell* — a book that addresses the enduring popularity of the TMNT, and (finally!) The fifth book in the Night Watch series, The New Watch* by Sergei Lukyanenko — for those of us who can’t get enough of the supernatural side of Moscow.


May New Releases

In May, I finally plan to delve into my first Jo Nesbo mystery and find out what all the fuss is about.  The book is The Son*, and it’s the stand alone tale of a son who escapes prison to find out the truth about his father’s death. Also in my pile are: Alexei Zentner’s The Lobster Kings*, which I would read no matter what it was about because of how enchanting his first novel, Touch was (and this book looks even better), the Kseniya Melnik’s short story collection Snow in May* (set in Siberia), and these two books:

Goodnight June* by Sarah Jiojune

June is called upon to settle her late great-aunt Ruby’s estate and uncovers a series of letters between her aunt and Margaret Wise Brown, author of the children’s classic, Goodnight Moon. 

beesThe Bees* by Laline Paull

Why?  Because the world simply doesn’t have enough books narrated by bees.  And I’m a sucker for a good animal narrator.


*HUGE thanks to NetGalley and Edelweiss for providing advanced readers’ copies of these titles.