Book Review: Far From You by Tess Sharpe Review

Far From You by Tess Sharpe 16151118Published: April 8th 2014

1600108_10152164384975908_207743490_nSophie Winters nearly died. Twice.

The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick.

The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.

After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina’s brother won’t speak to her, her parents fear she’ll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina’s murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared.

1600167_10152164384800908_58508561_n I can guarantee this book will rub many readers the wrong way…and it will be the topic of many, many discussions. So, in my opinion—that is a great thing. A book that gets people talking, that is a success. It means it has made the reader feel something; it has struck a chord whether it good or bad, it has at least stirred up feelings.

Sharpe took a lot of risks writing about such heavy content. Content that really needs to be explored in contemporary fiction. Prescription drug abuse is such a critical issue that most authors tend to ignore. Most YA stories that are centered around tragedy don’t even touch on the addiction to prescription drugs. This is a topic that hits home with many readers. It is not something that is openly talked about, and that is one of the reasons this book is so stunning. It is bold. It is raw. It is gritty. The protagonist is not the most like-able character, yet the reader finds their heart aching as Sophie navigates through her journey of pain, grief and addiction.

The love triangle in this story is not the typical YA story of a broken-heart, or heart-breaking decisions. It is much more poignant and original. A very brave and bold story.

The story is not told in a linear timeline, which sometimes can be distracting, however Sharpe writes seamlessly and it is not hard to piece together the events unfolding.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very honest, compelling and really, quite sad. There are many lessons to be learned from the pages within this book.

Thank you, Hachette Book Group for the review copy.

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Book Review: 100 Years of Fashion

100 Years of Fashion by Cally Blackman


1600108_10152164384975908_207743490_nThis book documents in pictures the most exciting and diverse period in fashion: from 1900 to today, covering high society, uniforms, sportswear, streetwear, and couture. It will appeal to everyone with an interest in fashion as well as students Over 400 photographs and illustrations, many published for the first time, tell the stylish story of a fashion revolution.


My inner fashionista went crazy for this book!

It was like shopping, from the comfort of home. Seeing dozens of lovely, lovely clothing and accessories from much adored brands on each page.

What a truly beautiful book. I read this in several different sittings; some days I focused solely on the gorgeous photos, others I focused on the intriguing text accompanying the photos.

I loved learning the history of fashion, where designs originated  and how fashion has evolved. The old Hollywood photos were gorgeous, and the wartime snapshots were fantastic.

Two essays are included in this gorgeous book: one detailing fashion from 1900-1950’s, the second, 1960 to the present.

The addition of the essays was the icing on the cake. The photos themselves told a great story, but the essays sparked emotion in the reader, and it was wonderful to learn about the changing times.

Fantastic book. Every high-end boutique needs to have a copy sitting on their coffee table for shoppers to enjoy.

Thanks, Raincoast Canada for the review copy.

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Poetry: The Dead Do Tell Tales

image2The Dead Do Tell Tales

The dead do tell tales.

Our beloved dead speak to us in codes.

In signs.

A flicker of light.

A soft whisper in the darkness.

They communicate in our dreams.

The dead always tell tales.

The dead are not just gone.

Erased from this life.

They lived just like us.

Much is still to be learned from them.

When we re-examine the past.

Where the once living had been.

What they had done.

Where they finally rest.

Exploring the past finds more questions than answers.

More folklore than fact.

The dead are always waiting.

To tell us their stories.

To sing their songs.

The dead will always speak to those who listen.

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Celebrate Duran Duran Day With Durandy!

81RVV3dRsvLAugust 10th is the universal Celebration of Duran Duran! No one celebrates the glory of Duran Duran like Durandy. The Music Between Us examines the impact Duran Duran has made on audiences around the world, seen through the lens of fans’ concert memories. With rare handbills, flyers, and advertisements as context, four decades of Duran Duran’s live experience are quantified in the words of those who attended specific shows. Whether describing the first time ever seeing the band, or recounting frenzied efforts to catch John Taylor’s eye on stage, fans reveal themselves with remarkable humor, poignant candor, and absolute pride in their devotion to Duran Duran. A music icon’s history comes to life in the voices that speak the loudest: the loyal Duranies.

I will never forget my first Duran Duran live experience. The elements are etched into my memory as if not a day has passed: the accelerated heart rate when tickets were first announced, the excruciating wait for the date to arrive, the mounting anticipation before the venue doors opened, and the wave of emotional energy that went up as the lights went down. I remember being captivated by these giants in front of me, larger than life on stage, performing the songs that to this day ignite my passion, lift my spirits, and deliver happiness when I need it most. I also recall the unexpected, visceral sensation of belonging to something bigger than myself—a community of fans singing along with Simon, swaying to the rhythms, all enveloped in each magical moment. I had arrived at the venue as a lone Duran devotee, but returned home as a member of a tribe.

With concert advertisements as visual context, the following pages are filled with voices from fans across the globe, recalling when they felt touched by John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, and Simon Le Bon. These poignant testimonies remind me of my own affection for Duran Duran and how my experiences echo those of others, making me feel a little less alone in a world where unbridled passion is often misunderstood. I hope this book can offer such comfort by honoring a shared history through memorabilia, memories, and the music between us. Excerpt from introduction by Andrew Golub, also known as Durandy

Andrew Golub has been a devoted fan of Duran Duran for much of his life. His passion and love for music helped him establish a reputation with the band and global fan community. Andrew’s renowned archive of memorabilia of all things Duran Duran has been profiled across social media, radio, television, film and now, his very own book.

Durandy is more than a mega fan. He is someone that believes music can and will change the world. A hopeless romantic for the power of music and how it affects us. In all the stages of our lives, music is our steadfast companion—the one that sees us through all the triumph and tragedies. Durandy has found his muse in the work of Duran Duran and has poured his heart into collecting memorabilia and filling his veins with music. He lives and breathes for music….Just as we all should.

I was very interested to learn that The Durandy Collection has already created three massive public exhibits, loaned selected pieces to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a limited edition poster book—Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran.

The Music Between Us examines the impact Duran Duran has made on audiences around the world, seen through the lens of fans’ concert memories. With rare handbills, flyers, and advertisements as context, four decades of Duran Duran’s live experience are quantified in the words of those who attended specific shows. Whether describing the first time ever seeing the band, or recounting frenzied efforts to catch John Taylor’s eye on stage, fans reveal themselves with remarkable humor, poignant candor, and absolute pride in their devotion to Duran Duran. A music icon’s history comes to life in the voices that speak the loudest: the loyal Duranies.

This archival collection is a must-read for music buffs. It is amazing to see the transition of advertisements, tickets, posters, venus and more—change throughout the decades. Duran Duran has been a band that has stood the test of time. This is an amazing glimpse into the past and present. A love letter to one of the greatest bands of our time.


Get in touch with Durandy for a signed book!


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Book Review: Star Magic: The Wisdom of the Constellations for Pagans & Wiccans

Star Magic: The Wisdom of the Constellations for Pagans & Wiccans by Sandra Kynes22351148

Published: February 8th 2015


Sandra Kynes takes readers on a refreshing journey through constellations and the zodiac. Kynes delivers an in depth look at the constellations and how each can be tapped into for their own individual forms of energy. Constellations and stars are so much more than beacons of light in the night sky and Kynes reinforces this message consistently throughout the book.

Star Magic explains why the twelve sun signs of the zodiac are important to our everyday lives. Majority of society believe there are twelve zodiacs—one for each calendar month of the year; when in fact, there is a thirteenth zodiac constellation. This book is organized by the seasons, which make it easier for the reader to understand the gravity of the power each season holds. Each segment explores the influence and power of all eighty-eight constellations in existence in the night sky.

This book serves as an introduction to Wiccan beliefs and a bible for stargazers. Each chapter provides extensive details on where to locate constellations and what these translate to for Pagan and Wiccan interpretation. The night sky is vast and powerful and there is magic to be found each and every night. The magic of stars in constellations can be used in rituals, divinations, astral travel and other peaceful practices. Across the world, so many different likes of people find peace through the twinkling stars in the sky, this book teaches us why the stars soothe us and connect us.

Kynes discussed the history associated with each constellation, notable stars and instructions for those wishing to engage in star energy for the first time. The historical notes connected the reader to the true magic of stars throughout the ages and what they meant to different generations. It was an interesting peek into the past, learning what those before us believed and valued. Kynes simple instructions for finding constellations open up the magic of the sky to all readers.

New age enthusiasts, astrologists and those with minds hungry for knowledge will flock to this book. It is helpful, informative and charming; whilst delivering a great reminder that this life and our world ascend into something grander than we could ever imagine. The ideals behind Wiccan and Pagan beliefs are intriguing. Everything is centred in the natural world and the greatest healing powers can be found in the arms of Mother Nature.



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Poetry: Young As We Were

image2-1Young As We Were

Young as we were.

Old as I may now be.

I still miss you sometimes.

We thought being young.

Was a luxury.

I was left behind.

To learn the truth.

The true luxury.

Lies in growing old.

Experiencing life in all the ways.

We never did.

Young as we were.

As old as I grow to be.

I will always miss you.

A part of me will always live in the past.

With you at my side.

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Monument 14 Review

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne


Release Date: June 5th, 2012


Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.


Oh, wow.

What an alarming read!

Alarming as in realistic and brilliant. The mega-tsunami, the chaos that surrounds it, this almost reads like a news report than a YA targeted book. Natural disasters are very real, and very scary.

I live in Alberta, which is not a Province known for natural disasters, and this summer the Province was hit hard with flooding. This shocking experience opened up my eyes that yes, natural disasters can happen anywhere. No one is truly as safe as they believe.

I love apocalyptic stories because they really inspire you to think of every possible ‘what if’ for every situation. Some I admit, are much too far-fetched to be believable. I did not find this problem with Monument 14. The characters, the setting—everything, was believable. That is what made it such a good read, it was able to strike that emotional chord with me and make me think, what if this was me?

I loved how the pack of children banned together to survive. I know at some point, everyone has had that thought of how cool it would be to be stuck overnight in a store. These kids are literally trapped. The outside world is chaos and ruins, what is inside the walls of the super-mart become there home and their only place of comfort.

Yep, a super-mart is the ideal place to be trapped. I liked how the story was reminiscent of Lord of the Flies at times, with the children turning on eachother. It was a rich read that I read in one sitting. My only disappointment was the ending. But, it makes sense as it is serving as a segway to the next entry.

Very cool concept and great execution. At times I wished the vocabulary was more advanced, but then with the same thought I also thought it was appropriate for the target audience.

If you loved Divergent or The Hunger Games, you will love Monument 14!

Thank you, Raincoast Canada for the review copy. 

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