Monday, 31 May 2010

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

This book opened a door to a whole new world, a world where angels and their ill-begotten offspring have infiltrated the human population of earth.  It seems that the only good angels are those still resident in heaven and that those on earth are tarnished since they betrayed God's trust and cavorted and bred with earthly women.  Their hybrid children, know as nephilim, are not good.  They seek the downfall of humanity and to set themselves above consideration of all others.  There are other non-human beings that inhabit the earth, who at times will co-operate with the nephilim. 

Sister Evangeline, of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, has been drawn into this centuries old mischief.  Unknown to her, she holds the key to either healing or destroying the angels and their spawn.  She was born into a family of angelologists who are seeking to elminate the danger of the angels from the earth.

Author Danielle Trussoni has reached back into history to set up the structure and existance of the angelologists.  She cites a number of historical figures and events and attributes them as member or as pivitol points in the angel/earth battle.  A very believable approach.  The hardest part of this story for me was to understand that the angels aren't good.   In my mind, angels represent good. 

While I did side with Evangeline throughout the story, I also found that I wanted Percival (a bad nephilim) to be healed (you'll have to read the book to find out what he needs to be healed from), to see if it could really be done.  Ms. Trussoni was able to paint a word portrait of Percival that made me want to like him.  I came to feel that his extremely good looks must somehow compensate for any foul deeds attributed to him.  I did find it interesting , that even though Percival is hundreds of years old, he is still seeking and craving the his mother's approval.

The author has created such a complete and complex world that I fully expect to see in a follow-up to this book.

I have seen it written that "Angels are the new Vampires", but I don't know that I would go that far.  It is an intriguing world of possibilities, but I wonder  if angels as bad beings will go over all that well.  I guess time will tell.

To learn more about this book, visit the site.

Other angel themed books:

Someone Comes to Town Someone Leaves by Cory Doctorow (for some reason I don't seem to have written a review of this)

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,  City of Ashes, City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (my daughter's friend recommends this series

Further Reviews of this novel:

Candace at Beth Fish Reads

End of May and Post Camping Notes

It was a wonderful weekend for camping.  The skys stayed clear, not too hot, and no injuries.

It was about a two hour drive almost directly north to Craigleith, Ontario to the Provincial Park.  It's located on the shore of Georgian Bay which is still rather cold at this point of the year.  The ground here is formed of layers of bituminous shale which lead to the short lived lamp oil refinery. A commemorative plaque has been placed in the park.

This first pictures shows the unique "beach".

Daughter spent hours walking and posing on the beach. As I walked near her, I heard her singing opera along with the waves. I don't know if she was singing in response to the swell of the water, or if the water was listening to her and responding in the only way open to it.

Yes, thats me.
Way down the beach I found this inukshuk.  It has no arms.  I found the cut edge of the shale very interesting to look at.  Don't know what the fossil is in the final picture. 

I told you that I was taking a bunch of books with me.  Eleven books that I registered with  were released to the bookshelves in the ranger station and three books were picked up from there.  Hubby finished one, and is reading another.  I took one and finished it last evening.  I also finished The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and then started and finished Brewed, Crude and Tattooed: A Maggy Thorsen Mystery by Sandra Balzo.  On the ride home I started Demon Seed by Dean Koontz, which I finished later that evening. These three books will be reviewed this week along with Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (audio version), and Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Since I had to feed us anyway, I tried a new recipe and daughter obliged me by taking a few pictures of the process.  Will post those in my Recipe Thursday meme.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Camping Weekend

I have fourteen books packed and am ready to go to Craigleith Provincial Park for our first weekend of camping.  I don't intend to read all those books.  Eleven are registered with, one is an audio book (White Tiger by ?)I downloaded from my library, and two are actual paper books (The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, and Brewed, Crude and Tattooed by Sandra Balzo).

Have to go now, will be back with reviews latter.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

HarperCollins Summer Smackdown 2010

Are you looking for some titles for summer reading and a chance to win a stack of books, then visit HarperCollins for their new Summer Smackdown 2010.

You can enter the contest to win all the  books.
You can read and blog about them, discuss them with friends and link back to the Savvy Reader.


Almost Dead by Assaf Gavron
Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker
Instructions by Neil Gaiman
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Lost River by Stephen Booth
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross
The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro
The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor
The Warhol Gang by Peter Darbyshire
The Truth about Delila Blue by Tish Cohen
Wayfarer by R. J. Anderson

Visit the Summer Smackdown 2010 site for links to a description of each book (click on the book cover).  Several books are also featured with a Browse Inside option so you can start reading right away.

Picture at the top of the page is from the Savvy Reader.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Needlework Tuesday - Keisha Bag

I showed you these fabrics a few weeks back and told you that I was going to transform them into a tote bag by the end of the month.  I haven't started, eeks.   I did chose a pattern this morning.  It's the Keisha Bag from Lola...Again.  I wanted to get started right away, but need to purchase some fusible interfacing first.  Oh darn, I'll have to go to the quilt shop....

While I'm there I had better check if they figured out the pricing for the EQ7 upgrade.

I will take a bunch of pics as I work on the bag and will post them next week along with the finished item.

Sorry, but no knitting pics this week.  I think I did all of four rows in the past week.  I did realize that I need to make a fourth afghan.  We will be having a visitor for the next few months, and hope that she'll stay with us till Christmas.  I can't very well give my family members their own afghans and leave out our guest.  So, I'm on the look out for another pattern and then yarn. I might be adventuresome and try a crochet pattern.  eeks, now thats scary.

If you enjoy looking at quilts, be sure to click the link for the Bloggers Quilt Festival which in at the top of my left hand side bar.  There are hundreds of sites to visit and they all have wonderful quilts and stories posted.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2010

Amy at Amy's Creative Side is hosting her semi-annual quilt festival.  Hundreds of bloggers have signed up to exhibit one of their favourite quilts along with it's story.  I haven't participated in  a while, but wanted to join in the fun this year.  I have selected a wallhanging that I made in 2003.  It was specifically made for the quilt show of the local guild that I belonged to at that time.

Quilt details:
title: Still Crazy after all those Years
29 x 29 inches
materials - silk and cotton
batting - Hobbs 80 cotton 20 poly
The crazy centre of each block is pieced from scraps of cotton.  Some of the seams have been machine embroidered with shiny embroidery threads.
The sashing is made from blouse weight silk. A fusible light weight interfacing was attached and them machine embroidered

The corner stones are from a heavier brocade silk.  I don't recall that they had interfacing.  Each is machine embroidered with a single motif.  The other border is made from a heavy nubbly silk.  I didn't have enough so I had to make seams.  I decided to make them diagonal, and since they showed I embroidered along the side to acknowledge their existance.

Every quilt needs a label. This was printed on paper backed fabric that came in a kit that you were supposed to use to print out fabric to make clothing for your Barbie doll. That never happened. The paper tag is from the one and only quilt show that it was exhibited in. 
The silks in this quilt were free from a local manufacturer.  I don't remember what she made from the fabric, but she donated several bags of scraps to the local guild that I do still belong to.  They were so luscious that I felt compelled to make something from them.

Be sure to visit Amy at the Blogger's Quilt Festival and find links to hundreds of special quilters and their quilts.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Recipe Thursday - Vegetarian dish and Brown Sugar Fudge

I introduced you to this cookbook, Vegetariana by Nava Atlas,  two weeks ago when I tried some other recipes.  Since my son is home this week and he's a vegetarian, I thought I would attempt another.  Today for dinner whe had "Chick-Peas in Olive-Tahini Sauce".  I wasn't too sure my family would like it, so also had hubby bbq some salmon  fillets.  Turned out to be a good combination.

Chick-Peas in Olive-Tahini Sauce

Olive-Tahini Sauce

2 tbsp unbleached white flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup liquid from canned black olives
1/3 cup sesame paste (tahini)
1 cup finely chopped black olives
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp dried thyme
freshly ground pepper to taste

Dissolve the flour in just enough water to make a smooth, flowing paste.  Set aside until needed.  Heath the milk and olive liquid slowly in a heavy saucepan.  When just under the boiling point, whisk in the tahini, a little at a time, then the flour paste.  Simmer over very low heat until the sauce is thick.  Stir in the olives, lemon juice, thyme, and pepper, and serve immediately. 

Chick-Peas in Olive-Tahini Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 large celery stalks, chopped
1 medium sweet red or green pepper, finely chopped
1 recipe Olive-Tahini Sauce
3 heaping cups cooked or canned chick-peas
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari, optional
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp ground coriander
freshly ground pepper to taste.

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  When it is hot, add the garlic, onion, and celery and saute over moderately low heat until the onion is translucent.  Add the sweet pepper and saute until the vegetables are lightly browned.  Remove from the heat and pour the Olive-Tahini sauce into the skillet along with the remaining ingredients.  Return to low heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.  Serve on its own or over grains.

I made this as directed, though I didn't chop my red pepper as fine and when it was done I added a couple of dashes of hot pepper sauce.  I served it over a bed of brown rice.  I wanted couscous, but couldn't find any at the grocery store.  I used a can of pizza olives and the flavour was ok.  Next time I'll use more flavourful olives.

Since I missed my recipe last Thursday I promised that I would have two today.  Now on to dessert.

Brown Sugar Fudge

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup evaporated milk (not the sweetened stuff)
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

In a large, heavy saucepan combine the sugars, milk, and butter.  Cook, stirring occasionally to soft ball stage, 238 degrees Fahrenheit.  You need a candy thermometre unless you are like my mom and can judge with a cup of cold water.  Once it reaches this temperature, stir in the vanilla and let it cool to lukewarm, that would be below 150 degrees.

Beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture loses its gloss.  When you are getting near that stage, if you try to pour the fudge off the spoon, it will be much thicker and not really pour.  Now put it into a 9 inch square butter pan.  Be sure to prepare the pan ahead of time, otherwise the fudge will set in the pot before you get the buttering done.

We skipped the nuts due to son's dental surgery.  This turned out so well, that it will be a family favourite.  As I am typing this, there is less than a 1/3 of the fudge left.

Do you enjoy cooking, trying new recipes, or just plain reading about other people's food related experiences, then visit "Weekend Cooking" hosted by Beth Fish Reads.You are invited to add a link to your food related post.  When you visit the other bloggers who have joined in the fun, be sure to leave them a comment.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

It's 1981 and Jay Porter is a young, black lawyer in Houston, Texas.  As a university student he spent much time involved in civil rights walks and protests.  He thinks he is done with that, now he was preparing to become a first time father and is building his struggling legal practice..   He finds that life has a way of telling you when you have unfinished business. 

While the black population  now appear to have all the same rights and privileges as their white neighbours, they are still earning less for performing the same work and not being promoted regardless of merit.  You will have to read the book to find out what this refers to.

Jay is torn between his memories of what he personally has struggled to overcome and the possible risks to his freedom and the safety of his wife and unborn child. 

I think that Bob Marley said it best, "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind..."

Jay will not be truly free until he is free in his own mind.

Within the first pages author Attica Locke had my empathy for Jay while he was on trial.  As she described the bus load of church woman who attended each day of his trial, I could picture those women dressed in their sunday best and sitting for hours in that hot courtroom to show support for a boy they didn't even know.  It's bringing tears to my eyes to even think that there truly are people who would do that.  From that point on I was totally on Jay's side; I knew that he was a "good guy" and that he would ultimately make the right decision, whatever that might be.

I was a child when these marches and protests were happening.  I didn't read the newspaper yet, so I missed the whole thing.  If my parents had talked about it, it wasn't when I was in hearing range.  I found it informative to read the details of such a pivitol point in American history.  It never felt like a lecture, it flowed in and blended with the story. 

2010 nominee for the Hurston Wright Legacy Award.
This book is one of six books that has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.  I feel that it's an excellent choice.  Along with being a skillfully told story,  it also addresses unresolved issues in our society.  There are still many ways in which various groups of people are not treated equally and I feel that we are all diminished as long as that is happening.  I am ranking this ahead of Wolf Hall .  While that one was a terrific book, I feel that Dark Water Rising is more socially relevant at this time.

Read what Deanna at My Tragic Right Hip say about Black Water Rising by Attic Locke.
Read what  Carina at Reading Through Life has to say.
Marie has posted her review at Daisy's Book Journal.
Petty Witter has posted her review at Pen and Paper.  Her comments are quite different than mine, so be sure to visit there.  Petty Witter's husband has jumped in with his comments also posted at Pen and Paper.
Thanks to HarperCollins for my review copy.

Since I can't get it out of my head, I added in a link to Bob Marley's Redemption Song.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Needlework Tuesday

I finally have enough done to show.  Each band is 4 rows, two with slipped stitches and two where you knit/purl all the stitches.  The second photo shows where I slipped stitches.

This is the back view. It is a little tough leaving enough slack when I carry the yarn at the back of the slipped stitches, though I do like the little bit of a puffy look when its the slightest bit tight. I'm not getting much time to work on this as I am trying to keep it from hubby. Not sure if he will get it, or son will claim it instead. Either way, I know I am going to like this one.

I'll post regular pictures of my progress on this project.  When i find a link with this knitting stitch, I'll post that as well.

Karen over at Quilts ... etc. was talking about how she transfers her quilting lines to her quilt top.  She showed her light table.  I don't think I have posted a pic of the wonderful light table that hubby made for me a few years back.  Its made from oak and he add shiny brass fittings and a carrying handle.  It has little feet on the bottom and some so that I can also store upright like a briefcase.  It used to have two  florescent lights inside, but they were kind of flakey. This year he upgraded them to 99 LEDs.  They provide a wonderful all over light.  Guess its Light Table 2.0 now

On of my most frequent uses for this light box is making labels.  I print out the label on my computer, using whatever fancy font I want and what ever line drawing.  I then tape it down on the surface of the box, tape my fabric on top and trace with a fabric marker.  I have to say that I make fancy labels in this manner that are a thousand times better than if I wrote them freehand

For next week I need to make an orange/yellow quilt block.  Our local guild president will leave her post and we are having a hard time replacing her.  This happens every year.  One of our program people figured that bribery might help get a volunteer.  So, we are making blocks for the retiring president in colours of her chosing.  She will probably end up with over 30 - 12 inch blocks.  The guild management is hoping that the promise of a set of quilt blocks at the end of the president's term will encourage volunteers for the post.  Guess we'll find out soon. 

Come back next week to see what block I make and how bright of orange I use.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Night Runner by Max Turner

I have been wanting to read this one since I first heard about it over a year and a half ago.  A variety of reasons, some beyond my control, kept me from it until yesterday.  Daughter brought it home from her school library.  While it is intended as a teen novel, it has enough to keep an adult interested.

Fifteen year old Zach has lived  at Peterborough Civic Hospital, in the "nut ward" since he was eight.  His father was killed in  a freak accident while on an archeological dig.  Zach was bitten by something and lapsed into a coma.  When he awoke he was changed, he couldn't go outside during the day and he had trouble eating almost any food. As he had no living family, it seemed the best choice was to care for him in the hospital until a cure for his unknown illness could be found.  All is well until one night when a man driving a motorcycle crashes into the hospital and tells Zach to flee.

The story just kept getting better from that point.  I found myself calling out to my hubby, who was raised in Peterborough, the changes in location as the story progressed.  Rather fun plotting Zach's progress threw out town and the surrounding area.

This is not quite your typical vampire novel with blood and gore and frequent feedings on unsuspecting civilians.  I can't tell you anything further without spoiling the story.  I will recommend this to anyone who enjoys a vampire story.

Click here to read an interview with Max Turner.

Read another review at Young Adult Fiction.

Browse Inside Night Runner by Max Turner.

This is my 20 read for the Canadian Book Challenge 3

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Turning Pages: A Literary Festival

Last evening my daughter and I attended the inaugural "Turning Pages: A Literary Festival" hosted by Words Worth Books and held at The Museum.  This was our first author event.  It was a full day event starting with children's authors in the morning and early afternoon and progressing to young and then older teen authors in the evening. (note: the authors aren't teens, they are writing for a teen audience).  As  my daughter is fourteen, we chose to attend the four final authors: R. J. Anderson, Lesley Livingston, Alyxandra Harvey, and Kelley Armstrong. 
We arrived as R. J. was fielding questions from the attentive audience.  It was interesting to learn why she named her main character Knife and why she chose the other faery names as she did.  When I do get to read Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter, I'll be smiling each time his name is mentioned.

One of my earliest reviews was the debut novel Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston.  I was enchanted by this book and was thrilled when she took to the stage.  After reading an excerpt from her first novel she talked about the covers of her books.  We found out that the model who posed for them has the same initials as her main character Kelley Winslow.   We were also given a sneak peak at the cover for book three.  I love it, but we were sworn to secrecy, so no hints are coming from me.

Even before we made it to The Museum, daughter had informed me that we would be purchasing a copy of Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey.  She is a new author to both of us, and after having heard her read the prologue to the book, I can't wait to get started on it.  The second book in the series will be out shortly and books three and four and finished and waiting their turn.

The final author of the evening was Kelley Armstrong, author of both adult and teen novels. She read us an excerpt of her latest teen novel The Reckoning.   The audience was held  motionless as she related the story of the pendent/necklace that Chloe wears in the cover artwork of all three of the books in this trilogy.  We were also treated to the opening chapter of the book that will be the start of a follow-up trilogy to The Darkest Powers Trilogy.

Photo Left to right: Kelley Armstrong, Lesley Livingston, R. J. Anderson, Alyxandra Harvey. 
At the conclusion of their presentations, we were all invited to meet the authors, ask for autographs and pictures and ask any additional questions.  They were generous in their time and willlingness to sign all the books they were presented with.  I don't know if these ladies have met each other previously, but they seemed as though they were close friends whose friendships extended back many years.  Daughter and I are both  glad that we decided to attend and look forward to reading more of their many books (which I have listed below with as many links as I could find).

Our other reason for attending, was to see what authors are really like.  What do they do at these events.  Are they approachable.  Are they still real people.  Oh yes, they are so real, and fun and everything we imagined them to be.  We are both looking forward to attending more such events, both of authors we are familiar with, but also of those we haven't heard of previously.  Hopefully daughter will post comments on her blog and then I can link with it.

It was pleasure to meet Mandy, blogger at Edge of Seventeen, and one of the co-ordinators of this event.

And yes, the cake was delicious, chocolate with gobs of gooey, sweet frosting.

R. J. Anderson - Stratford, Ontario author

Browse Inside Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter
Read more about her upcoming book: Wayfarer

Visit R. J. Anderson's blog

Lesley Livingston - Toronto, Ontario author

Browse Inside Wondrous Strange
Browse Inside Darklight

Visit Lesley Livingston's blog

Alyxandra Harvey - Ontario author

My Love Lies Bleeding
The Drake Chronicles:  (this is cool, the series has its own website)
 Read an excerpt:   Hearts at Stake
  Read a descripton:   Blood Feud (due out June 2010)

Visit Alyxandra Harvey's website

Kelley Armstrong - Ontario author

Otherworld Series:
Read an Excerpt: Bitten   Read my review
Read an Excerpt: Stolen
Read an Excerpt: Dime Store Magic
Read and Excerpt: Industrial Magic
Read an Excerpt: Haunted
Read an Excerpt: Broken
Read an Excerpt: No Humans Involved
Read an Excerpt: Personal Demon
Read an Excerpt: Living with the Dead
Read an Excerpt: Frostbitten
Read an Excerpt: Tales of the Otherworld
Read and Excerpt: Men of the Otherworld
Waking the Witch (due out August 3, 2010)
Darkest Powers Trilogy:  visit Chloe's website and learn more about the series.
Read an Excerpt: The Summoning
Read an Excerpt: The Awakening
Read an Excerpt: The Reckoning
Nadia Stafford Series:
Exit Strategy
Read and Excerpt: Made to Be Broken

Visit Kelley Armstrong's website

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Set in the early 16th century, Hilary Mantel, through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell,  tells the story of Henry VIII's quest to dissolve his marriage to Katherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn.  Right from the very first pages where we meet a young Thomas, who is in the process of having the beating of his life at the hands and feet of his father, I was pulled right into the story. To me it seemed that the words on the page flowed together in such a way that I had no choice but to follow them.  As the pages fled by I found myself immersed in a world that existed almost 500 years ago.

I was surprised.  When I first picked up the book I had braced myself for something I thought would be dry and maybe even tedious.  I quickly found that I was wrong.   My previous exposure to King Henry VIII was a high school study of A Man for All Seasons: A Play in Two Acts by Robert Bolt.  The play was written from the perspective of Thomas More, a man who died for his convictions rather than agree to uphold the King's annulment from Katherine.  I was attending a Catholic school at that time and surrounded by nuns, so of course I learned that Thomas More was correct and that we should pray from him and his decision.

 I also learned that Thomas Cromwell was a bad man and that his beliefs were corrupt.  His protrayal in this book was nothing of the sort.  He appeared to me a man who had no choice but to make a life for himself and for those who had become dependent on him.  A roll he filled extremely well.   I hated to put the book down and I had to, I  couldn't wait to get back to it. 

This is the first book I have read of the six books shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.  While I think that it was wonderfully written, I don't know that it will have a wide enough appeal to be selected as the overall winner.  Don't quote me on that as I still have five more books to read.  Next I plan to read Black Water Rising by Attica Locke.

Winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize
Shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction

Deanna, at My Tragic Right Hip is also reading the six books and posting her comments.
Thanks to HarperCollins for sending me this review copy.

This is my 6th book for the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challenge hosted by  There is still time to join in the challenge.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

General Update

Today I go out of town to pick up son.  Tomorrow he has dental surgery and I admit to being a bit nervous.  Usually this is dad's domain, but this time son wants me nearby. 

 I have a few books picked out to read or at least hold onto while waiting for him.  Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction) has been in my hand all week.  Its a long one, about 650 pages, but I am loving every one of those pages.  Haven't decided what else to take with me, perhaps  Tame the Wild Wind by Anna Small.  I won this over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance a week or so ago. 

On my drive to pick up son, I'll pass through Shakespeare, Ontario and plan stop at Green Cottage Gallery and release some books that I have registered with  Bookcrossing.  My dad reads books like many people drink water.  Tons and tons of them.  Most he takes to the used book shop, but occasionally a bag finds it way to me so that I can have the fun of releasing them. 

Hopefully I'll be back by Sunday with my review of Wolf Hall.   I don't have a recipe to post today, but will try and have two for you next Thursday.

5pm Friday 14th - Son is now back from the hospital and recovering.  The surgery went well.  He's a bit swollen, but seems upbeat.  I am so happy that is over.  Thanks for your messages of encouragement.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Cut by Patricia McCormick

Callie has been cutting herself.  She knows of no other way to express the anguish/doubt/pain she is feeling.  Her parents have sent her to Sea Pines, and adolescent mental health care faciltiy. It's up to Callie to accept the help that is being offered there by both the staff and the other young people.

I listened to this audio book twice.  The first time I was crying so much that I felt I had missed too much of the story.  Why did this hit me so hard.  I think it's the helplessness that a parent feels when his or her child is hurting.  You trust that the doctors and nurses can fix them up.  But mental health issues aren't resolved with a simple medication, they often are lifelong and need constant vigilance.  It's a work in progress.

Tears aside, I thought this was a well written and researched book.  An excellent read for teens to make them aware of issues that they or their friends might be dealing with.  As a parent, when you find these books in your child's knapsack, give them and read and ask if your child wants to talk. 

You might want to read my earlier reviews that deal with various mental health issues:
Lullabies for Little Criminal by Heather O'Neill
Total Constant Order by Crissa-Jean Chappell
Don't Look Down by David Laing Dawson

Cover photo is from the author's website.
Read by Clea Lewis.

Do you know someone who needs help because they are cutting themself, check the SAFE Alternatives website.

Needlework Tuesday

For the past few months I have been receiving "stash builder" shipments from Sew Sisters, a quilt shop I favour.  Last month I received a fq of this brown, green and purple fabric with bees.  I rather like it, but the colour is wrong for me.  Alas, what shall I do.

When at the local needlework show with my mother a week ago, that specific shop was a vendor and lo and behold they had the fabric in orange.  I was estatic. I now have two metres of orange and one metre of a brown that works well with it.
By the end of May I vow to have made myself a tote bag using the two fabrics.  I have an idea of what I want to make, but no pattern.
In the mean time I am stitching away on the afghan I gave you a peek at last Tuesday.  Then I had the stitches cast on  and a few rows worked.  I now have a few repeats of the pattern.  The next picture shows my selection of yarns.  They are all worsted weight.  I started with the varigated that is shown at the top and worked from there.
I didn't go searching high and low for matching colours, I wanted it to be more eclectic and look as though I really did use leftover balls and bits and pieces.  Three of the skeins are from long ago projects.
This final picture shows you my progress.  Or rather it would show the rows I've finished other than they have all rolled in on themselves.  Guess you'll be left in suspense till next week when I'll have added more rows and perhaps it will lie flat and behave for the picture.

Tee Hee.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

This is the first book in the Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula Le Guin.  It was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of "The Big Read", a program designed to get people to pick up a book and get reading.

Years ago this book was made into a movie that's been on television numerous times.  It never really caught on with me and I don't know that I ever sat through the whole thing.  It was rather confusing and thus I was not inspired to read the book.  When I saw that it was included in "The Big Read" and that we had the book on the shelf already, I thought I would give it another go.

It if can be said about a book involving magic and wizards, this was much more realistic than Harry Potter and far more lively than Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

On the Island of Gont, in the village of Ten Alders, a young boy named Duny gathers together tiny clues to the use of magic.  When his village is threatened with invasion he magically blankets the village in fog.  This draws him to the attention of the Wizard Ogion, who in turn becomes his teacher.  Duny, renamed Ged, is not satisfied with the pace of learning from Ogion and travels to Roke Island to pursue his studies at the wizard school located there.    And so the story goes....  I don't want to give anything further away, so you'll have to read the book yourself.

This is a coming of age story.  Ged needs to learn patience and the way of the world.  He also needs to learn about himself and how to combine his lust for power and knowledge with the will to use it properly.  He must learn how to deal with the shadow within him and not let it overwelm the light. 

I enjoyed the book form much more than the movie, though I do admit that images from the movie kept breaking into my mind at a number of points.  Oh well, I can't un-see what's already been.

This is my 5th book for the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challenge hosted by

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Known World by Edward P. Jones

Henry Townsend was born to Augustus and Mildred Townsend, slaves on the plantation of William Robbins in Manchester County, Virginia.  We first meet him at the time of his death, around 1855, when he is a just 31 years old.  From there we learn how a black man came to be free and how he managed to purchase property as well as the slaves to provide labour for the running of the farm.  We also meet the other free black people who surround him and the white people who control Manchester County.
In the opening chapters of this book the reader is diluged with the introduction of the many characters and their connections with each other.  Each character is tied with numerous other characters in this story.  Their livesweare so tightly woven together that a happening with one resident of that county would affect the lives of dozens of others, black and white alike.  I had to reread the first forty of so pages to get all these connections straight, though there is a complete list and description of characters at the back of the book. 

Once I got past the introductions, the story flowed quickly and begged not to be put aside.  By that point I had no doubt that this story was a fictionalized, though true, historical account.  That these were real people who's lives had been documented in the state census and in plantation ledgers.  I was truly surprised to find that it was all a work of fiction.  Having said that it was fiction I believe that many of the event depicted did occur during the times when slaves were held in the United States.  Black people worked as overseers on plantations, that they learned skills that enabled them to earn money with which to buy their freedom, and that there were white people who would never see them as free and equal people.

Plot spoiler
One of the most difficult passages for me to read was when Augustus was detained by the slave patrollers and sold back into slavery.  The tears were rolling down my cheeks unchecked.   It did help when a bit later in the story, Barnum, the only patroller who objected to the enslavement, confesses the events to the sherriff.  Barnum knew that what they had done was wrong and he wanted to do the right thing. He called for a stronger law or some sort of "body" that could discern right and wrong to ensure that this didn't happen again.A moment of true insight.

This book provides many opportunities for discussion: interactions between the free and the enslaved blacks, the treatment of the free blacks by the white population, and the very act of slavery then and today.

Winner of the 2003 New York Times Best Book of the Year Award for Fiction
Winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize

As a companion read, I highly recommend The Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.  Click the link for my earlier review of this title.

This is my 4th book for the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challange hosted at  You still have lots of time to join in the fun as the contest runs till April 2011.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Recipe Thursday - Pasta with Cauliflower, Currants and Nuts

Vegetariana by Nava Atlas is one of those cookbooks that I come back to year after year when I am looking for something different to make.  I bought this book through a bookclub in the early 1990's, and while its not the most used in my collection, it is definitely the most imaginative.  This book appears to be out of print, but the author has several newer vegetarian cookbooks available.
The three of us enjoyed this meal.  I didn't use all of the head of cauliflower as I thought it was a bit big.  I used walnuts which managed to maintain their "snap" even when reheated the next day for lunch.
I also used light ricotta and milk, not cream.

"Pasta with Cauliflower, Currants and Nuts"

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk or light cream
pinch of nutmeg

1/2 pound (225g) medium-zided shaped pasta, I used Fusilli
3 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces and florets
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup toasted pinenuts, or 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup currants (raisins may be substituted)
2 tbsp butter
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, mix well and set aside.

Begin cooking the pasta at this point.  When it is done, drain it and transfer to a covered casserole dish.

Heat 2 tablsepoons of the olive oil in a large skillet.  When it is hot, stir-fry the cauliflower pieces over the moderate heat until they are tender-crisp.  Beat the egg in a bowl large enough to accommodate the caulifower, then transfer it in and mix until the pieces are evenly coated with the egg.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and saute the garlic over moderately low heat until it is golden.  Add the cauliflower and saute, stirring continuously, until the egg is set.  Add the nuts, currants, butter, salt and pepper, and ricotta mixture and simmer just until thoroughly heated through.  Pour over the pasta and toss well.

Serves 6.

For more food related posts, visit Beth Fish Reads for her "Weekend Cooking" meme.  Join in the fun and add a link to your recipe, book or movie review or other food based post.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

I was visiting at The Savvy Reader today and there was a link for this intriguing video "How to be an Expert at Anything".  Followed it and found that I wanted to share it with my readers.  I have not read the book, though it does sound fascinating.

Click the following link to get to the video:

Browse Inside Bounce

Cover photo courtesy of HarperCollins.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Needlework Tuesday - Star Afghan Finished

I wasn't all that long ago that I began this project.  This first picture was taken when I had knit a handful of rows.  Nothing exciting at this point and not all that many stitches. 
The rows went quickly and the size grew.  It was still fairly small in this second photo, maybe 18 inches across.
I am thrilled that it is now finished.  I decided to add some tasels made from the fancy yarns, and to embroider some of the eyelash yarn at that first colour change.  The shift from the bright pink to the mauve was just to jarring on the eye.

The third picture shows it spread out on a queen size bed.  The edges curl up a bit, but I will try and see if I can steam them into proper behavior.  Next picture is a close up and the lighting shows some of the wonderful yarn textures.
You didn't really think that I would stop here did you.  I had to start a new project for those moments when my fingers want to do something other than type blog posts.  No hints about what I am making, just a small photo.

I did get to my sewing machine this week and am working again on the "Wild Blue Yonder" blocks.  Four rows are now sewn together; one more to go then I can add the borders.  Yippee.

My mom was here on the weekend, rather, I drove to London to pick up my son and also got my mother as a wonderful bonus.  We attended the Quilting show that was held at Bingeman Park on saturday.  I bought some terrific (or some might say, terrifying) orange fabric to make myself a big tote bag.  Don't have a pattern, but I have an image in my mind of what I want to do.  I set myself a target of finishing it before the end of May.

Visit Lit and Laundry for their "Finished for Friday" meme.  If you have finished a project that you want to share with the world, add  your link.  Be sure to visit the other sites that have posted their "finishes".

Monday, 3 May 2010

Vote for the Best Canadian Book of All Time

This poll is from John at the Book Mine Set.

The Bridge of An Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder - audio

Could you imagine crossing a raging river by means of a bridge made from braided grass.  Not a thought I am comfortable with.  It could collapse beneath my feet. 

Thornton Wilder was inspired by a such a collapse that occured in the 1890's in Peru over the Apurimac River.  In his 1927 book he ponders the lives of the people who were lost in his fictional bridge collapse. 

Brother Juniper, a Franciscan monk, witnesses this collapse and while most people thank God that they weren't on that bridge, he wonders why God choose that moment, when those specific people were on the bridge, to tumble the bridge into the river.  He spends the next six years investigating the details of the lives of those five victims to try and find a scientific rational.  Did these people know each other, were they tied together, were they good people or were they bad, was this a punishment or a reward that they died at that moment.

Very quickly our narrator, Brother Juniper, delved into the life of the first victim Dona Maria the Marquesa de Montemayor.  I was a bit confused as to why we were being told all these intimate details of her life, but figured if I kept listening all would be made clear.  Perhaps I missed a detail as I was driving while listening and my attention was foremost on the road not the story.  Turned out that I needed to know the true person to Dona Maria to understand her frame of mind and her relationship with her daughter so that I could later understand her death. 

The life of each victim of the diaster was equally presented; Pepita, the companion of Dona Maria; Esteban, the surviving orphan twin; Uncle Pio, man of all trades; and finally little Jaime, sickly young boy, nephew of sorts to Uncle Pio.

Mr. Thornton had me convinced that this story was absolutely true.  That he had travelled to Peru and searched out the documents of the Friar and presented a synopsis of that massive tome.

So what did I get out of this?  That we are put on this earth for a reason, to learn a lesson that perhaps we didn't learn in a previous life.  Each of these five people had reached that point in their lives where they had to answer or face that final question  and because they showed they had learned that lesson, they were granted the grace of dying. Next they could be reborn to a new life and a further lesson to be learned.  I don't know what you will find when you read this book, but that's one of the great things about reading, we can all read the same words and we each can get something totally different from them.

The picture shown above is of a new grass bridge made by the Inca in June of 2003.  Visit the website: The Last Inka Suspension Bridge: A Photo Album  for a wonderful photo tour of the building of one of these bridges.  (the picture was borrowed from that site)

The Thornton Wilder Society has information on other books by this author.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize.

This audio book (which I downloaded from my library) is produced by Highbridge Audio and is read by Sam Waterston.

This is my third read for the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challenge.  It's not too late to join in the fun. Contest runs till April 2011 and you have the chance to win some fun prizes.