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The BookGossip

Archived Editions:

2018 BookGossip Editions:

Check out what The BookGossip has to say by clicking on the book covers below!

A Garden to Remember

June 8, 2018

Thinking of gardening? Whether you’re looking to spruce up your green thumb, build an herbal garden, vegetable garden, or a flower garden for the bees, these books will help to get you started. Maybe you are looking for ways to keep your home healthy inside with houseplants, or you are looking for new creative projects for your current garden. These titles provide all of these topics and much more!

Everyone could use a little greenery in their lives! Easy Garden Projects features 150+ creative garden projects of all skill levels and styles to help you liven up your home and yard. This book is full of fabulous, creative ideas for any garden. It provides a list of supplies with clear instructions. If you are looking for a fun easy project to enhance your garden over the weekend, this is the book for you!

This book offers a fun and lighthearted guide to growing your own salads, herbs, vegetables, and fruit, armed with little more than a trowel and some seedlings. Aimed at complete beginners, it de-mystifies the gardening process with sound practical and seasonal advice, lots of hints and tips for successful growing, delicious recipes, and fun weekend projects to help you make the most of your outdoor area, however small. This completely new kind of gardening book is ideal for first-timers who have busy working lives but still want to grow their own produce without spending all weekend digging.

The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion is a beautiful guide for the modern day homesteader. From learning how to incorporate herbs and essential oils around your home, to learning how to enhance your family’s health and well-being, this book is the go-to resource for those wishing to live a more natural homesteading lifestyle. This book takes readers through the basics of herbalism, including the different types of herbs and their uses. It also breaks down how herbs are used in tinctures, salves, essential oils, and infused oils.

This A-to-Z guide illuminates the numerous health benefits of 50 common, easy-to-grow houseplants along with detailed care instructions and beautiful illustrations of each plant. Plants are a quick and easy way to add life, color, and texture to any indoor space. But houseplants offer so much more than just visual interest to a room. They can purify the air, reduce stress, improve sleep and much more! Houseplants for a Healthy Home will introduce you to houseplants bound to brighten your life.

The world wouldn’t get very far without bees. This is your chance to help out these often misunderstood, docile, pollinators. The Bee Friendly Garden is a guide for all gardeners to encourage bees and other beneficial insects like Monarch butterflies to enjoy your green space. This manual is full of ideas for gardens of all sizes, it includes a comprehensive plant guide to bee friendly plants, as well as companion planting advice and recommendations on natural pest control. Learn how bees forage, why your garden needs them, and implement simple changes anybody can make. Whether you only have space for a few pots of fresh thyme or rosemary in a window planter, or want to plant wide beds of flowers, you won’t have to wonder which are the most beneficial to these hard working ladies.

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden” ~ Thomas Jefferson

The BookGossip

A Salute to Mothers

May 9, 2018

This issue of The BookGossip is dedicated to the women in our lives that nourish us, guide us, love us and even frustrate us.   Barbara Walters said, “Motherhood is tough. If you just want a wonderful little creature to love, you can get a puppy.” Discover books that explore mother’s who fear for their child’s safety, struggle with identity when their child leaves, show compassion through strength and create pain through ignorance.

A Mother’s Love is a Christian romance. Rose Raber, a recent widow, learns from her mother’s deathbed confession that she was adopted. Living in a close-knit Amish community, Rose’s birth mother was an unwed teenager who still fears the revelation of her transgression. This story of determined women inside the Amish community provides the reader with a comforting tale of love and forgiveness.

One Day Closer is a Canadian biography.  On August 23, 2008, Lorinda’s daughter Amanda was kidnapped in Somalia.  The kidnapper’s demand was $2.5 million, or Amanda would be killed.  Lorinda and the RCMP worked together for months until negotiations broke down.  Faced with the possibility of her daughter’s death, Lorinda takes matters into her own hands by fundraising money from donors and hires a private hostage negotiator.  In the end, this book is a tribute to the power of a mother’s love.

Mrs. Fletcher is for mature audiences. Eve Fletcher is a forty-six year old divorcee whose only child left for college. Adjusting to her new found freedom, Eve receives an erotic text from an anonymous number. Over the months Eve becomes obsessed with the text and finds herself following an erotic lifestyle. Meanwhile, her son is not welcomed by his fellow college peers due to his chauvinistic ideas of sex. This humorous fiction is an examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood and the mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.

Physician Bess Codman returns to her family’s summer home of four generations, to extract her mother before the house slips off its Nantucket bluff, victim to the passage of time and the ravages of weather and erosion. Book of Summer is a book started by one of the first residents of Cliff House in 1914. Entries in the book are highlighted throughout the novel, revealing the difficulties faced by other residents, most notably Bess’s beloved grandmother Ruby, who lived in the home during World War II. This is a splendid multigenerational novel about the strength of the women of Cliff House.

What Remains is a Canadian biography. Karen Von Hahn reveals in her memoir her stylish and captivating mother, Susan, whose search for glamour and fulfillment of beautiful things proves ultimately hollow. What Remains is a tale of growing up in Toronto in the 70s and 80s: the fabulousness of a bourgeois Jewish family that valued panache over pragmatism. She also describes the misunderstandings and sometimes hurt and pain that come with being raised by her stunning, larger-than-life mother.

“Blessed is a mother that would give up part of her soul for her children’s happiness”. ~ Shannon L. Alder

Happy Mother’s Day!
The BookGossip

Spring into a Fantasy

April 6, 2018

Have you ever wanted to try a new author or new genre? Why not spring into a fantasy novel this month. Fantasy opens the door to experiencing the magic that is in the world around us and more importantly the magic in ourselves. It can encompass a whirlwind of images and plot twists and is one of the few genres in which the same book can be read by an adult and a 12-year old – comfortably and without any explanation.

A magical debut novel for readers who enjoyed Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Neil Gaiman’s mystical fantasies. Arden evokes a vivid version of medieval Russia, all snow and woods and biting cold, blending fairy tale and fantasy for a lush and engrossing story. Vasya is a quintessential young fairy-tale heroine. She has a kindly father, a deceased mother, a new stepmother – with whom she is irrevocably at odds – and she has magic. Vasya has inherited, from her mother and grandmother, the ability to see the spirits that pervade her world. It turns out that Vasya’s new stepmother can see the spirits too, but she calls them demons and fears them, and forbids Vasya to have any contact with them. But, as we know from fairy tales, attempting to deny the old magic only makes it stronger and more dangerous. Can they live happily ever after?

If you love mythology, folktales, and legends then this is the book for you. Norse mythology has always had a strong impact on Marvel’s movies, metal music and even epic fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien.  In Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman has instilled life into myths existing for thousands of years. He brought to life giants, demons, gods, dwarves and crafted a marvelous collection of stories. Gaiman takes those stories and weaves them into an arc of magical proportions while staying true to the source material.

Pullman returns readers to the world of Lyra Belacqua and His Dark Materials with The Book of Dust, a companion trilogy that begins with La Belle Sauvage, taking place during Lyra’s infancy. The story is about an eleven year old boy named Malcom, who with the help of a teenager named Alice, must protect an uncannily charismatic infant named Lyra from a psychotic disgraced scientist, agents of the Consistorial Court of Discipline, and an extraordinary natural disaster with fantastical and frightening implications. This novel shines when it comes to world-building and classical adaptation. Anyone who has started The Golden Compass will be drawn by daemons, animal-like creatures that represent your soul.

Mare Barrow is a young unassuming girl slumming her way through her unfortunate situation only to discover that she is special. In a world divided by blood – Red or Silver – the Reds are commoners who are ruled by the Silver-blooded elite (who have god-like superpowers). While working in the silver palace Mare (a Red) is discovered to have a god-like superpower. This discovery could topple an already precarious hierarchy. In this first novel of the series, Victoria Aveyard writes a high fantasy dystopian novel that has the elements of The Hungers Games, Game of Thrones, and The X-Men all wrapped into one epic series.

Once upon a time, the moon goddesses Celene, Arianrhod, and Luna created three new stars fashioned out of fire, water and ice as gifts for their new Queen. However, the Mother of Darkness, Narezza coveted the stars and their power, so the moon goddesses hid them in three different locations. Now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces and recover the three stars while discovering their own magical powers. In this first novel of the Guardians trilogy Robert’s superior storytelling and magical setting will keep readers happily turning the pages.

Twenty four years later, Tad Williams brings back his beloved universe and characters from his memory, Sorrow and Thorn series. The enchanting world of Osten Ard is layered with mystery. It starts in high fashion with Sithi and some poisoned arrows and then it’s off to the adventure from there. The action is brisk and bold and the writing is lyrical and full of beauty. Many of today’s top-selling authors from Patrick Rothfuss to George R.R. Martin credit Tad Williams with being the inspiration for their own series.

Find more fantasy  reads on Novelist Plus  or by signing up for the monthly Fantasy & Science Fiction Newsletter. 

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one” ~ George R.R. Martin
The BookGossip

March Mystery Madness

March 7, 2018

Who says that only basketball players can participate in March Madness? This month is the Elgin County Library’s Mystery March Madness! While the ice and snow is melting away and we are getting prepared for Spring, these variety of mystery books are the perfect solution to the transition. If you like psychological thrillers, suspense, twists, or mysteries that keep you guessing until the last page, these books are for you!

A missing child, a murder, and a community torn apart. This is a complicated story that shows off Lackberg’s successful mix of soap opera and crime. When a four year old girl disappears in the woods just outside Fjllbacka, the community is horror struck, especially when they realize they could be harbouring a murderer in their midst. Thirty years ago, a young girl from the community went missing from the exact same spot and was later discovered murdered, coincidence? This story is irresistible for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo.

Anna has been trapped inside her home. She can’t bring herself to take a single step outside. No grocery shopping, no walking through the park, not even to pick up a package from the front stoop. Anna is agoraphobic (the extreme or irrational fear of crowded spaces or enclosed public places). When she witnesses an attack in the home across the street, no one believes her, not her neighbours, or even the police. Anna then begins to question herself… Was it the side effects of her medications? This fast-paced psychological thriller has a twist you’ll never see coming…

From the author of the best-selling novels “I Let You Go” and “I See You” comes a new psychological thriller. Anna Johnson is a new mother and desperately wishes her infant daughter could meet her own mother, Caroline. Both of Anna’s parents, Caroline and Tom, committed suicide within months of each other, leaving behind a tragic loss and unanswered questions. As she struggles to understand why her seemingly happy, well-adjusted parents would end their lives, she begins to question whether it really happened at all. Most distressingly, someone else seems to think there’s more to her parent’s deaths and begins sending Anna cryptic clues that could lead to the truth, but is the truth even more horrible?

Crime thriller queen Lisa Gardner returns with the 9th book in the Detective D.D. Warren series. This mystery tells the story of a murder of a family. Juanita Baez, her two kids Lola and Manny, and her live-in boyfriend Charlie are shot to death in a home invasion. The only survivor is sixteen-year-old Roxy. The question is: was she lucky to escape or is she the killer? And, in any case, where is she? Detective D.D. Warren and Flora Dane return in a race against the clock to either save a young girl’s life, or bring her to justice. A great, entertaining crime read that crime fiction fans will absolutely enjoy.

“My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me, I’m in a coma, my husband doesn’t love me any more, and sometimes I lie.” Amber wakes up but she can’t move a muscle, not even to open her eyes. She soon realizes she’s in a coma, totally lucid but unable to move. She can hear everything that is happening around her and gradually discovers she had a car accident and is in the hospital in a coma. She has no memory of the accident. What follows is a narrative by Amber, with the chapters alternating between the week before the accident and the current day with Amber trying to regain her memory and make sense of the conversations of the staff and family members who visit her. Interspersed among these two timelines are childhood diary entries. This must read thriller is full of multiple twists throughout the entire novel. This is one of those books that will mess with your head and have you thinking about it long after you have finished it.

“I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose” ~ Stephen King
The BookGossip

True Love

February 9, 2018

February has a nip in the air but these titles will warm your heart. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I have selected some books about true love – stories based on actual people and events. Cuddle up with your favourite drink, coziest blanket and read to your heart’s delight.

Mildred and Richard Loving embody the spirit of true love. The Lovings’ fight with the State of Virginia to be together is beautifully photographed in The Lovings: an intimate portrait with photographs by Grey Villet and text by Barbara Villet. If you wish to view a 2013 DVD documentary, we have The Loving story [DVD], an HBO Documentary directed by Nancy Buirski. Elgin County Library also has the 2017 movie Loving [DVD], written and directed by Jeff Nichols.

Based on an incredible true love story, this book is set during WWII. Helen Eberhart Daley, an army nurse, and Lieutenant Frank Daley, M.D. wed after a whirlwind romance. With the horrors of war around them, they find it difficult to keep their marriage alive.

Inspired by a true story about love and friendship – and set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair – an orphaned young boy, moving from home to home is offered as a prize in the daily raffle at the fair in order to find a forever home. A madam of a brothel wins the raffle and the boy becomes a houseboy. He is befriended by the madam’s daughter and a young Japanese girl and finally gets the family he never had.

The story revolves around a young poet, Walter Scott in the early 1800’s Scotland. He falls in love with young Mina and believes this love will last forever until she rejects his marriage proposal. Walter leaves for London and meets a twenty-six year old Charlotte Carpenter. She believes she will never find love, being a Catholic-born Frenchwoman. As the story continues, the three collide and Walter has to decide between his first love or his best love.

This non-fiction title discusses the perfect fairy tale romance of anxious, heart pounding passion. The reader is guided to recognize loves complexities and decide for themselves how to love. What Love Is explores what it means to say “I love you.”

Set in 15th century Italy: the beautiful Simonetta is educated and an ardent reader of poetry. Her beauty and brains make her desirable. She finds herself in a societal circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. Although she is married, her heart yearns for Botticelli. She and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
The BookGossip

New year, new aspirations!

January 11, 2018

As we get into the groove of 2018, many people take the fresh start of a new year to set goals and ambitions for things they would like to improve in their lives.  Among the most popular resolutions are those centered on health and wellness.  While many people aspire to new resolutions, few actually stick to that goal beyond February.  We’ve got lots of health and wellness books to keep you motivated and give you the tools you need to succeed!  Here are just a few…

This book covers all your health ambitions and describes how sleeping, eating, moving and thinking in a more conscious way can contribute to both a well balanced and healthier life.  Synthesizing modern and traditional approaches, Wells gives you small tools you can implement that ‘ripple’ into a bigger change.

If you want to learn to cook, Jamie Oliver is a fan favourite for recipes in the kitchen and his newest cookbook does not disappoint! Over 130 simple 5-ingredient recipes in a variety of categories for quick, easy and creative dishes.  Each is accompanied by a visual ingredient guide, serving size and nutritional information and the gorgeous photos are sure to inspire you and make your tummy rumble. 

The goal of setting a New Year’s resolution is to keep it!  Rubin has written extensively on happiness and habits and her newest book explains a personality framework that helps to make those things easier to attain.  Learn about your ‘tendency’ (are you an: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner or Rebel?) and how this will help you stick to your goals and help those around you reach their potential. 

If your goal in health is to be happier then you may want to take tips from the Danes (the happiest nation in the world).  In my opinion, anything that marries living well with getting cozy gets two big thumbs up!  Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) originates from the Norwegian word that means ‘well-being’.

“Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life.” –Goodreads

Want to alleviate stress, fatigue and negative emotions?  Start your wellness journey with the power of breath.  Coach Rebecca Dennis offers tips and exercises that she has used to help clients through anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem as well as to expand their creativity and improve sleep.  See how breathing more deeply can transform you into your best self!

Happy New Year!  We wish you health and happiness in 2018,
The BookGossip