St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the August 8, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Lands of lost bordersLands of lost borders : a journey on the Silk Road

By Kate Harris

The chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore–the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here.



Measure of my powersThe Measure of my powers : a memoir of food, misery, and Paris

By Jackie Kai Ellis

Armed with nothing but a love of food and the words of the great 20th century food writer M.F.K. Fisher, Ellis begins a journey – from France to Italy, then the Congo and back again – to find herself. Along the way, she goes to pastry school in Paris, watches gorillas grazing deep in the Congolese brush, has her heart broken and, ultimately, finds a path to life and joy.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

35260159FICTION CAN BE MURDER by Becky Clark

When Charlee Russo’s literary agent is murdered using the same method that Charlee used to kill off one of her characters, she quickly goes to the top of the suspects list.  Determined to clear her name, Charlee begins her own investigation to find the murderer.  When her car is struck from behind and then later almost T-boned by the same dark coloured SUV, she begins to think that someone doesn’t want her to continue with her investigations.  The novel continues in this pattern until the denoument where, unfortunately, Clark loses all credibility by a glaring misrepresentation of some basic science.  I was stunned that this passed the editorial process, and though trying to remember that this is a work of fiction, I just can’t let this fact go.  Clark is definitely off my list of authors to read in the future.

36134655THE LIAR IN THE LIBRARY by Simon Brett

“Pompous author is murdered after giving a book talk to an audience of interested readers”.  This could be a genre all by itself, though Brett handles the premise a bit better than some of the other books I’ve recently read (i.e. Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany) which utilize the same theme.  Giving a nod to the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, Brett provides some colour to this almost formulaic mystery.  With a pinch of humour here and there he moves us towards the “who dunnit” part of the novel where the motivations of the murderer come as quite a surprise.  This is the 18th in the Fethering Mystery Series and I’d be quite happy to read another of these cozies by Simon Brett.

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the August 1, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Dear Mrs. BirdDear Mrs. Bird : a novel

By A.J. Pierce

London, 1940. Emmeline Lake takes a job as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any Unpleasantness must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant notes from women, she secretly begins to write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.



GlitchThe Glitch : a novel

By Elizabeth Cohen

A fast, funny, deeply hilarious debut–The Glitch is the story of a high-profile, TED-talking, power-posing Silicon Valley CEO and mother of two who has it all under control, until a woman claiming to be a younger version of herself appears, causing a major glitch in her over-scheduled, over-staffed, over-worked life.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

51tvssbdnzl-_sx326_bo1204203200_PAPER GHOSTS by Julia Heaberlin

It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I started this book.  The whole “young girls, serial killer thing” wasn’t something I really wanted to read about, due to its often gruesomeness. However, that was not at all emphasised in Heaberlin’s novel.  Not only is this a suspenseful, cleverly-plotted work, but it’s also extremely well-written.  Heaberlin definitely has a way with the English language.

Carl Feldman, a documentary photographer, might have dementia (or not), and might be a serial killer of girls across Texas (or not).  He’s lured out of his half-way house by a young woman who claims to be his daughter.  She’s the sister of a girl who went missing years before, one of his supposed victims. They’re going on a ten-day road trip to re-visit crime scenes linked to photographs that he had taken, with the hope that he’ll confess to his crimes, though he claims that he has not committed any.

This road-trip is like none other anyone’s ever taken.  At times hilariously funny, frightening, sad, and poignant, Carl is often the one in “the driver’s seat”.  What they find at the end of the road is something that no one could have imagined.

I’ve added Julia Heaberlin to my list of “must reads”.  Hopefully her other novels are as good as this one.

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the July 25, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

It all falls downIt all falls down : a novel

By Sheena Kamal

Finding the truth about her father’s life and his violent death takes Nora Watts from Vancouver to Detroit. Thanks to a disastrous government policy starting in the 1950s, thousands of Canadian native children like Sam Watts were adopted by American families. Nora discovers that the circumstances surrounding Sam’s suicide are more unsettling than she’d imagined.



Fierce kingdomFierce kingdom : a novel

By Gin Phillips

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo. A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself.