Live from New York....!

Well, I don't have much time to post since I'm using the business centre computer at the hotel I'm staying in (note to self: bring laptop next time).

Came by train from Montreal yesterday and the trip was long but good. Took almost 12 hours but going through customs was a breeze. That took only about 45 minutes which probably had something to do with there not being very many people on the train. Had two seats to myself and so did my husband. It was coach (no first class on the train) so no luxuries but with a half empty train it was really quiet. Most people were sleeping for a good part of the day.

We're staying at the Marriott which is right at Times Square. It's busy, hectic and fun - part of the street is closed off right in front of the hotel and people are sitting in lawn chairs in the middle of the street.

We made it to The Strand bookstore this morning and then the Guggenheim museum. Tonight we're going to see Mamma Mia (I have to give my husband credit for that since he hates musicals!). Tomorrow I will spend most of the day at the BEA and will try to post about it then. That's it for now...

NEWSFLASH!! Local blogger meet-up results in comic highlights!

On Saturday, local bloggers Cindy, Tina and Donna (Avis was absent with regrets) attended an annual library book sale. Cindy remarked grimly that, “There are fewer books this year”, while another patron was overheard to say that the library has been selling their donated books right off the back of a trolley during the past year, leaving their annual sale a bit book-light. The bloggers however didn’t allow a disappointing book sale to dissuade them and they continued with their meet-up by heading to a quaint coffee shop in the nearby village. But before they got inside, the bloggers stumbled across a real find – a garage sale with all proceeds going to Rosie Animal Adoption. “Archies!” one blogger shouted, which startled several passersby and elicited a “Gesundheit” from an elderly woman. Reports from eyewitnesses stated that Cindy offered to drive Tina and her outsized box of Archie comic books home.

Apparently Cindy and Donna didn’t fare as well though they were still pleased with their acquisitions. “I got an almost new copy of Twilight,” Cindy smiled. Donna managed to buy six larg-ish books from the garage sale and 4 hefty tomes from the library sale and, after receiving a lift home from Cindy, staggered into her house with the goods.“I don’t know why I bought this one,” she admitted, “I already have three copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”.

This reporter has recommended that she seek help and gave her the number of ‘Collectors Anonymous’.

Review: AMERICAN EVE by Paula Uruburu

Many thanks to Jennifer from Penguin for sending me this fascinating book to review!

As a teenager at the turn of the 20th century in New York, Evelyn Nesbit became the epitome of the ‘it’ girl. Her likeness was on the cover of postcards and magazines and she eventually became a ‘floradora’ girl and danced in popular shows in the city. She was well on her way to becoming a popular figure in entertainment.

Then she met 48 year old Stanford White. He arranged to meet Evelyn through another chorus girl in the floradora show. He took his time with Evelyn and her mother, slowing winning their trust before showing his true colours. While still under White’s ‘tutelage’ Evelyn met John Barrymore and almost had a normal relationship with someone her own age. But fate, Stanford White and her mother intervened and it was not to be. With no adult guidance and little experience with hidden agendas, the naïve Evelyn fell prey to older men who her mother allowed intentionally or not, into their lives. Finally, Evelyn was pursued and won by Harry K. Thaw, another poor choice.

Though these events took place over a 100 years ago, Evelyn’s experiences echo resoundingly across the years to mirror those of today’s young celebrities: beautiful young girl finds success as a model or actress, becomes famous, is relentlessly pursued by fans, some become friends – their real motives cleverly hidden, but once revealed result in intense pressure from media and even tragedy. Her life has become a nightmare. Sound like anyone familiar? Britney Spears perhaps? How about Lindsay Lohan? American Eve is a cautionary tale that is undoubtedly destined to be ignored by those it could help the most.

The story is told well and the research done on the subject is meticulous. The reader is given a sense of ‘place’ and ‘prejudice’ via pictures of the principals involved and buildings and the descriptions of New York at that time. Extreme poverty as well as extreme decadence through wealth is laid out in depth. It is interesting to note in the acknowledgments that the author had the support of Evelyn’s grandson and daughter-in-law in writing this story, lending it credibility and a genuineness that might have been difficult to achieve otherwise.

I was very excited to have the opportunity to review this book. Over the years I’ve read a few articles regarding Evelyn Nesbit that I’d found intriguing. This book added a lot more detail and did not disappoint. I recommend American Eve to anyone who is fascinated by recent history and the culture of celebrity and how it has always impacted our lives.

Review: A WORLD I NEVER MADE by James LePore

Thanks to Julie from FSB Associates for sending me this book!

Life takes an interesting turn when Megan Nolan, a young American journalist investigating terrorist cells in Morocco, meets a handsome Saudi national who offers her easy access to the region where the terrorists are known to hide. Lahani, however, is not what he seems to be and Megan soon finds herself running from invisible assailants.

Fast forward a year and Pat, Megan’s father, is called and asked to travel to Europe to identify his daughter. As his journey leads him to clues that Megan has left for him to find, Pat travels across Europe with a French police detective trying to find out what happened to his daughter but is soon on the run himself from unknown assailants.

This book contains all the elements of a readable thriller: suspense, exotic locations, evil-doers and good guys and a touch of romance thrown in. Though I did not find the characters to be completely believable because they fit a mold too well, – Pat is tall and handsome and his daughter a beauty - I found their character flaws believable enough to lend the story a certain realism. They have life baggage to lug around and that added plenty of colour to the story.

The plot could have been stereotypical because the bad guys were French and Saudi Arabian, but it was saved from that fate by having characters both good and bad from those cultures. Gypsies were also featured fairly prominently in the story line and that added interest as well. I was slightly confused about the plot here and there but that probably had more to do with having to put the book down for two days while I was busy.

The story is told from two perspectives – Megan’s and her father’s. As it follows Megan, the reader is taken back a year to events that eventually lead up to Pat’s involvement. Then, it’s forward in time and we see things from Pat’s perspective as he desperately tries to figure out who is after him and why.

I recommend this book for those who enjoy fast-paced, suspenseful novels with a touch of the exotic.

Mailbox Monday

I haven’t had many books in a while so haven’t participated for the last few Mondays. But last Friday I had lunch with Cindy and she brought me several books as well as the prize that I won from her Earth Day contest. The books I got from Cindy are:

An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell;

Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn;

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick;

The Girl She Used to by By David Cristofano.

In the Earth Day contest I won:

Haley’s Hints Green Edition

A reusable tote bag (which came in handy for all the books I was taking home)
A recycled notepad
Recycled pencils

Many thanks Cindy!

I also received a book from Tina - Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce - via Cindy (they had a meet-up on Thursday). So, thanks to Tina also.

This fun meme is thanks to Marcia from The Printed Page.

I have such fun on our Friday lunches. Cindy and I talk about books (of course), the latest ARCs and which ones we got the past week (not a lot there to talk about for me though), reviews, blogs, book fairs/sales and the BEA. Not to mention the doings going on in our respective neighbourhoods. It's something to look forward to at the beginning of what I know will be a long week! I also have to say that I look forward to the monthly meet-up with Avis, Tina and Cindy where we also discuss the above and have the most interesting conversations! Owing to vacation schedules, this will be the first month since October (I think) that all four of us won't be able to meet. Happy to say though that Tina will visit Cindy's and my neck of the woods in May to attend the annual friends of the library book sale at Pointe-Claire library.


Based on a true story, this novel describes the events surrounding Maximilian’s time as emperor of Mexico in the 1860’s. With his wife Carlotta, the emperor rules the unstable country amidst intrigues from Napoleon’s military machine that have been sent to Mexico to keep the peace and support Maximilian. The military’s biggest challenge is dealing with the Juarista’s, rebel Mexican fighters trying to take back their country from the emperor and the French occupation.

Into this turbulence falls Augustin de Iturbide y Green, a baby born to Angelo de Iturbide, the son of a former Mexican ruler. With his wife, Alice Green, and extended family, Angelo tries to live a quiet life. But that doesn’t last long as Maximilian, looking to provide himself with an heir arranges to adopt baby Augustin. Promising money and titles, Maximilian convinces Augustin’s family leave for Paris where they will live in comfort. It is not long, however, before Alice and Angelo feel they’ve made a big mistake and attempt to get their son back.

I received this book through the LibraryThing early review programe based on the book’s title and description. It sounded fascinating and it was, but there were a couple of things that bothered me. First, I was confused about who was on whose side and the subtleties of connections between characters escaped me. If I’d known a bit more about the history of that era, I think it would’ve helped a great deal. Another thing was the switching of perspectives between characters. We would have Alice’s take on what was happening, then Pepa’s (Angelo’s sister), then Maximilian’s and even little Augustin’s. That was the worst part for me. I didn’t like reading the story from the perspective of a toddler and didn’t think it worked as a story device. Thankfully there was little of that.. What I thought was missing most was more perspective of Alice’s character. We know she gave her son up because it seemed a wise course of action: he would be well cared for, have the sort of education that only the emperor could provide, and fulfill his destiny as a future leader of Mexico. As young as she was, Alice comes off as a spoiled young woman who does not yet realize the consequences of her actions and it’s difficult to like this character. I think reading more of Alice’s thoughts and feelings would’ve helped with that.

That is what I didn’t like about the book but there is much I did like. The mores of the times were fascinating as well as the background story of the empress Carlotta. I also enjoyed the character of Pepa, Angelo’s sister and most importantly godmother to little Augustin and his guardian while under Maximilian’s tutelage. Her maneuvering, scheming and manipulation of the family’s situation was perfectly depicted.

The book was well written and carefully researched It was fun to do a bit of research of my own after I finished reading the book and finding different viewpoints than the ones presented in the novel. It also made the historical aspects of Mexico during that time coalesce in my mind and I liked it for that too.

I’d recommend this novel to anyone who is curious about Maximilian, Mexico and the Mexican culture.

BookBound ♣ ♣ ♣ Mamanunes Templates ♣ ♣ ♣ Inspira��o: Templates Ipietoon
Ilustra��o: Gatinhos - tubes by Jazzel (Site desativado)