Summer Reads: The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris

Summer ReadsThe Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder

Hardcover, 464 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by HarperCollins
Synopsis

Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham…

Jasper is not ordinary. In fact, he would say he is extraordinary…

Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder.

He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. The knife and the screams are all mixed up in his head and he’s scared that he can’t quite remember anything clearly.

But where is Bee? Why hasn’t she come home yet? Jasper must uncover the truth about that night – including his own role in what happened…

SummerReview
What a unique read. Perfect for those stormy summer nights.

Our protagonist, Jasper is a bit off the rails. Chaos follows him. Jasper’s neighborhood has become chaotic since Bee Larkham moved back home. Jasper, however, is thrilled to meet Bee.

Bee’s “color” is sky blue, the closest color to the cobalt blue Jasper has visualized and artistically rendered to represent his mother. Jasper begrudgingly agrees to deliver notes for Bee in exchange for viewing rights from her bedroom window while she gives music lessons. Using his binoculars, Jasper can get a close and unobstructed view of the parakeets in Bee’s oak tree. Strange things occur. A music student files charges against Bee. Bee goes missing! There can be terrible colors in the world. Jasper is unsettled by color he cannot understand-the color of murder.

“The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder” by Sarah J. Harris is a unique, engrossing mystery. Author Harris has created a tome with many twists and turns, and with great sensitivity, in sharing Jasper Wishart’s struggle, within his limited frame of reference, to help unravel the mystery. Kudos to Harris for a superb five star read.

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Summer Reads: The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner

Summer ReadsThe Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner

The Husband Hour

Hardcover, 360 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
Review Copy Provided by Raincoast Books
Synopsis
When a young widow’s reclusive life in a charming beach town is interrupted by a surprise visitor, she is forced to reckon with dark secrets about her family, her late husband, and the past she tried to leave behind.

Lauren Adelman and her high school sweetheart, Rory Kincaid, are a golden couple. They marry just out of college as Rory, a star hockey player, earns a spot in the NHL. Their future could not look brighter when Rory shocks everyone-Lauren most of all-by enlisting in the U.S. Army. When Rory dies in combat, Lauren is left devastated, alone, and under unbearable public scrutiny.

Seeking peace and solitude, Lauren retreats to her family’s old beach house on the Jersey Shore. But this summer she’s forced to share the house with her overbearing mother and competitive sister. Worse, a stranger making a documentary about Rory tracks her down and persuades her to give him just an hour of her time.

One hour with filmmaker Matt Brio turns into a summer of revelations, surprises, and upheaval. As the days grow shorter and her grief changes shape, Lauren begins to understand the past-and to welcome the future.

SummerReview
At first glance, I wasn’t sure how relatable this novel would be after reading the synopsis that describes the main characters as a power couple with an NHL husband. I quickly learned that The Husband Hour was about much more.

Rory, the husband, decides to leave he NHL, enlist in the Army, and is later killed in combat. Lauren is devastated and lives completely hidden away in her family’s beach house. That is, until a stranger approaches her about filming a documentary on Rory.

What an emotional ride. This was a complex tale of the various stages of love and heartache, the secrets families keep, and a messy beginning at forgiveness and redemption. There is so much to love about this story.
There were so many twists and turns I didn’t anticipate, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that everything wasn’t tied up in a neat little package by the end. The story is messy and uncomfortable, but the writing is crisp and poetic as we are left with a glimmer of hope and a feeling of endurance. Highly recommended to those looking for a novel that warms and aches the heart in equal dose
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Almanac: Summer 2018

2018Almanac

WHAT ARE THE BEST DAYS TO…
Activity Best Days
begin diet to gain weight Jul 17, Jul 21, Aug 13, Aug 17, Sep 14
begin diet to lose weight Jul 31, Aug 5, Aug 27, Sep 1, Sep 28
begin logging Jul 25, Jul 26, Aug 21, Aug 22, Sep 17
breed animals Jul 20, Jul 21, Aug 16, Aug 17, Sep 13
can, pickle, or make sauerkraut Jul 30, Jul 31, Aug 8, Aug 9, Aug 27
castrate animals Jul 27, Jul 28, Jul 29, Aug 23, Aug 24
cut hair to discourage growth Jul 30, Jul 31, Aug 4, Aug 5, Aug 27
cut hair to encourage growth Jul 18, Jul 19, Aug 14, Aug 15, Sep 10
cut hay Aug 1, Aug 2, Aug 3, Aug 29, Aug 30
destroy pests and weeds Aug 1, Aug 2, Aug 3, Aug 29, Aug 30
end projects Aug 10, Sep 8, Oct 8, Nov 6, Dec 6
go camping Jul 22, Jul 23, Jul 24, Aug 18, Aug 19
graft or pollinate Aug 8, Aug 9, Sep 4, Sep 5, Oct 2
harvest aboveground crops Jul 16, Jul 17, Aug 12, Aug 13, Sep 18
harvest belowground crops Aug 4, Aug 5, Sep 8, Sep 27, Sep 28
have dental care Jul 16, Jul 17, Aug 12, Aug 13, Sep 8
plant aboveground crops Jul 20, Jul 21, Aug 16, Aug 17, Aug 26
plant belowground crops Jul 30, Jul 31, Aug 8, Aug 9, Sep 4
prune to discourage growth Aug 1, Aug 2, Aug 3, Sep 6, Sep 7
prune to encourage growth Jul 14, Jul 15, Aug 18, Aug 19, Aug 20
quit smoking Jul 31, Aug 5, Aug 27, Sep 1, Sep 28
set posts or pour concrete Jul 25, Jul 26, Aug 21, Aug 22, Sep 17
slaughter livestock Jul 20, Jul 21, Aug 16, Aug 17, Sep 13
start projects Jul 14, Aug 12, Sep 10, Oct 10, Nov 8
wean animals or children Jul 31, Aug 5, Aug 27, Sep 1, Sep 28
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Almanac: July Moon Phases

2018AlmanacMOON PHASES FOR JULY 2018

bloodmoonAll dates and times are ET.

Last Quarter: July 6, 3:51 A.M.
New Moon: July 12, 10:48 P.M.
First Quarter: July 19, 3:52 P.M.
Full Moon: July 27, 4:20 P.M.

MOON FACTS

  • On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the Moon. He also placed the U.S. flag there.
  • On July 31, 1999, the ashes of astrogeologist Eugene Shoemaker were deposited on the Moon.

JULY FULL MOON NAMES

full buck moon

July is the month of the Full Buck Moon. At this time, a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode. This Full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.

How did the Full Moons get their names? The Full Moons have descriptive names that come from Native American tribes who used the Full Moons as a sort of calendar to keep track of the seasons. The Almanac tends to use the names of the Algonquins who were prominent along the Atlantic Coast and into the interior along the St. Lawrence River and around the Great Lakes.

Here are a few other Native American names for the July full Moon (translated literally into English):

  • “Ripe Corn Moon” –Cherokee
  • “Middle of Summer Moon” –Ponca
  • “Moon When Limbs of Trees Are Broken by Fruit” –Zuni
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Book Review: Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

Summer ReadsHer Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

HerPrettyFace

Digital arc provided by Netgalley
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Gallery/Scout Press
Synopsis

The author of the bestselling novel The Party—lauded as “tense and riveting” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Mirandareturns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.

A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?

SummerReviewOh, wow.

This book was something else. Absolutely not what I expected – it was so much more. This was my first Robyn Harding read and it will not be my last.

The story is told via 3 multiple, ambiguous story lines – Frances, Daisy & DJ. Frances Metcalfe is an outsider in the private school world of “perfect” moms. Enter Kate Randolph who is beautiful, funny, chic and the kind of woman all the moms want to be friends with. Surprisingly, Kate snubs the elite moms and befriends Frances. The women forge an immediate friendship. Too good to be true, right? Of course it is! Both women are hiding secrets about their past and one of them is a murdering sociopath.

I found the story entertaining and it was a quick read. Probably so quick because I couldn’t put it down!

The twists and turns, some predictable, kept the story moving. We had a glimpse into the mind of a sociopath and it was quite chilling!

We are left to ponder if people can really change. If they should be forgiven for the wrongs they have committed and paid for.

Fantastic read.

Thank you, NetGalley for the review copy.

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Travel Alberta: Trek To Alberta Badlands For Vulcon

IMG_3727Trek To Alberta Badlands For Vulcan

Star Trek fans unite—in Vulcan, Alberta. ​

Vulcon

A small town in Alberta has become the Star Trek Capital of Canada—and a haven for Trekkie’s around the world. The towns name generated attention, which Vulcan immediately capitalized on, changing their namesake to represent a world in Star Trek, rather than the original roots of Roman mythology.

vulconlogo3-ai

Star Trek is at every turn in Vulcan County, the local businesses all share space themed décor, murals and charming Star Trek inspired names. Danielle Debolt, assistant tourism manager, loves the warm, family oriented atmosphere of Vulcan. It is a road stop destination for friends and families alike.
In the heart of downtown Vulcan, stands one of the County’s most treasured pieces of Star Trek history– the bust of Spock. The bust contains a handprint of Leonard Nemoy that he put in while he was visiting, shares Debolt. Nemoy’s character is the namesake of the town. With his recent passing, this piece of history is even more cherished.

Nimoy isn’t the only famous face to have been spotted in Vulcan, each year the County hosts a convention for Star Trek fans; Vulcon. Vulcon has been going strong for over 25 years, according to Debolt. Much like the dynamic of Edmonton and Calgary Expo, Vulcon hosts multiple celebrities for fans to meet for photos and signatures. Star Trek fans from around the world travel to the tiny town for the weekend event. The 2018 edition of Vulcon Convention falls on July 27th and 28th. “This summer’s event will have a variety of vendors and artists, 5 famous faces, a parade followed by a costume contest and a dinner and dance.”

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Spock Days, another Nimoy influenced event, happen the second weekend in June. Slo Pitch teams can camp out in Vulcan and enjoy playing some ball with a team of their choice. The legacy of Leonard Nimoy is honoured throughout Vulcon. His iconic Spock image is seen on almost every street corner.

Debolt ranks the tourism centre and the enterprise as the towns top two, ‘must sees’. “The Tourism and Trek Station provide tourist information, displays Star Trek memorabilia and allows visitors to participate in the Vulcan Space Adventure, virtual reality game. A replica of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek V is mounted on a pedestal which includes writing from Trek alien languages like Klingon.”

In 2013 the TrekCetera Museum opened boasting film props, pre-production items and varying costumes (not limited to the world of Star Trek). Props and costumes from films such as Harry Potter, Thunderbirds, Titanic and Superman are on display. TrekCetera holds a piece of Titanic history—an actual dish from the original ship. This precious artefact is paired with a display discussing both the film and the real-life tragedy. TrekCetera needed a bigger space to expand in, and moved to Drumheller, Alberta in 2016. Vulcan and Drumheller are neighbours in the Alberta Badlands so the move made perfect sense.

It is shaping up to be a busy summer in Vulcan. From Vulcon to Canada Day celebrations there are events each weekend to keep visitors entertained. This eclectic town is full of fun photo ops and even if you’re not a Trekkie, the kookiness of it all will compensate.

Vulcon Tickets & Information

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Book Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Summer ReadsBefore I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go

Hardcover, 358 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire
Synopsis
Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…

SummerReviewI can’t articulate how  much I loved this book. The world. The dialect. The words. The characters. It was heartbreakingly sad, but beautiful.
There is so much beauty to be found within these pages. Wisps of hope, faith and reminders of why this life is so beautiful.
Mental illness serves as both a protagonist and a villain in the story. As it does in life. It doesn’t define us, it just simply is there as a part of us.
Alaska is a stunning setting for this world. The metaphors that exist within a world of extremes – light and dark are perfect.
I cannot recommend this book enough.
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