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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Jan 22 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Everyone seems to be sick around me, fighting colds and sore throats. I've been doing great up until a few hours ago when I started sneezing and getting watery eyes and sniffles. Hopefully with some vitamin C and a good night rest I can fight this.

Hope you're all having a great reading week!

Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


My mailbox!
For review:

I'm reading and reviewing this book for Multicultural Children's Book Day on Jan 27. Isn't she adorable?



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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I read and/or featured last week:

Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (Book Spotlight & Giveaway!) I read this one last fall and the paperback is on tour with Italy Book Tours in January.

The Monkey House by Boyd Taylor (Book #3 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series) Review and Giveaway Third book in the series and still loving it

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Resolutions/Goals I'm working on a few things in 2018 to improve my overall blogging experience

Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach (Review and Giveaway!) Wow! This one blew me away with its emotional intensity. Hard to believe this was a debut novel.

Halley's Casino by Mark JG Fahey (Review and Giveaway) Sandra loved this highly entertaining and funny story. I'm reading it next.


Reading Now:

This is the final instalment in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. 
I hope the author is planning on writing more!


Stop by and enter my giveaways!



Also posted on the right sidebar.



Hope you all have a great reading week.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Halley's Casino by Mark JG Fahey (Review and Giveaway)


Sandra says: As soon as I read the quote at the beginning of this book I was drawn in. While not a sci-fi fan I love time travel - this novel is a perfect balance of the two genres.

Book Details:

Book Title: Halley's Casino by Mark JG Fahey
Category: Adult Fiction, pages
Genre: Science Fiction / Time Travel
Publisher: Mark JG Fahey
Release date: Jan 25, 2016
Tour dates: Jan 8 to 26, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (No profanity, readable for all ages 12 and up, pure fun and witty story)

Book Description:

Halley’s Casino is set in 1986. 26-year old Nebula Yorker (Neb to his friends), is patiently awaiting the return of Halley’s Comet. He is about to discover that the world is not what it seems.

Upon the arrival of Halley’s Comet, Neb is confronted by a mysterious stranger who literally swoops out of the night sky. What happens next will change the course of Neb’s life and that of all he befriends.

This stranger (Mr. Tict) reveals to Neb that Halley’s is not a comet at all, but an Intergalactic Casino that has been posing as a comet for countless years. Mr. Tict is the Concierge of the Casino and he has come back to Earth to recruit Neb as his assistant.

What happens next is an eye-opening experience for young Neb that no one on Earth can imagine. It can only be explained by watching old Star Trek reruns, while eating cheese sandwiches and drinking hot chocolate. From androids with attitude to a vast assortment of alien beings and historic individuals, with a touch of time travel from ancient Babylon to 1757 London and back to Rome of 12 BCE, Neb soon learns that his past, present and future have always lain in the stars above.

It’s a rock and roll ride chock full of chaos, a formidable nemesis, drama, satire, humour, death and new beginnings, with revelations that Neb never saw coming.

Even John Lennon is amused!

Starting out on a quiet evening of star gazing, Nebula Yorker finds himself caught up in the most extraordinary time travel and planet saving adventure of a lifetime.

And that’s only the beginning of what is to come.


My Review:
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

As soon as I read the quote at the beginning of this book I was drawn in. While not a sci-fi fan I love time travel - this novel is a perfect balance of the two genres.

Nebula Yorker ("just call me Neb") is stargazing in 1986 California, waiting for Halley's Comet, and thinking about his parents, who mysteriously disappeared in the Amazon. What he experiences is Halley's Casino – an intergalactic casino disguised as a comet! Upon boarding it Neb's life changes forever. Eventually his nagging, lingering questions about his father and mother are resolved, too.

This is a highly entertaining, funny read, with a creative plot, filled with a few earthlings, many androids (some with attitude) - "ladies and gentlemen and bisected species." John Lennon and the Stones, make "appearances" in this cleverly-crafted, somehow familiar atmosphere for Star Trek fans. It’s the same but different!

I appreciate the author's attention to detail as shown in the description of Archibald Tict (from the Casino who becomes Neb's friend and mentor) a five-foot man hailing from 1707 England with pure white hair, a black tuxedo and bowtie, intense red shoes equipped with anti-gravity hopper inserts that cushion his feet. I could visualize him!

The author reminds us that the ever-present problem with time travel is being tempted to change history and/or in the words of a time traveller in the novel, "you can keep going back, though not at the same instant or you might bump into yourself." Wow!

I highly recommend this exciting, fast-moving, excellent blend of time travel and science fiction!

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Buy the Book:



Meet the Author:


Mark JG Fahey is not an alien, contrary to what you may have heard, though he swears he has been to space. Mark has dabbled in various undertakings throughout his illustrious career, from on-air hosting/reporter/stand-up comic to messenger for the Prime Minister of Canada. Mark also holds a degree in Restaurant Services. His family and friends can attest to his excellent cooking skills. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Mark was raised and still resides in Aylmer, Quebec, Canada. Halley's Casino is the first book in the Halley's Casino trilogy.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 3


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Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach (Review and Giveaway!)


I chose to read Degrees of Love as the first book of the year and oh my, the year started with a bang because this book was so intense! Read why I liked it so much and then enter to win a copy of the book or a $25 Amazon gift card.

Book Details:

Book Title: Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach
Category: Adult Fiction, 344 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Bookbaby
Release date: Dec 1, 2017
Tour dates: Jan 3 to 31, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Adult themes including infidelity, occasional F-word, non-explicit sex scenes)

Book Description:

At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She's just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style.

Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt's work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.

Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Working and traveling together, she and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time—maybe ever—Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is. Certain she would never allow their friendship to cross the line, Susan lets herself stray dangerously close to the edge.

A moment of weakness changes everything. Now, unable to stomach the façade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream.


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Degrees of Love is an emotionally gripping story of one woman's life as she gets caught up in an affair of the heart that turns into infidelity and changes her whole life. Slabach's character development and psychological portrayal of a career woman and mother who is emotionally starved caught my attention and didn't let go until the last page was turned. I read this book in almost one sitting. It was like sitting in a train that picks up speed to the point where you wonder how bad the crash is going to be and how unscathed you'll be from the ride.

Although I strongly believe that loyalty in marriage is sacred and I don't condone adultery, I can certainly understand that when it happens it is a signal that there is something wrong with a marriage. From a psychological perspective, I could empathize with the main character, even as I disagreed with her actions. I could still feel compassion for her emotional pain. And as a woman, my own emotions were all over the place as I became invested in the story.

It's been awhile since a book did that to me. Got me so carried away into a woman's life as she got caught into a love affair so intense that it overrode everything else even as she struggled with protecting her children and not hurting her husband. It emphasized to me the truth of how important it is for married couples to fulfil each other's physical and emotional needs.

Regarding content, this book explores the theme of infidelity, not as a light fun topic for a romance story, but as a sign of a broken marriage and the consequences that avoiding the painful process of fixing it can bring. And, oh yes, there are passionate sex scenes, not too explicit but "hot" nonetheless!

It's hard to believe this is Lisa Slabach's debut novel. To be able to build such tension, so much emotional upheaval and bring it to a realistic ending takes writing talent. This is an author to watch out for and I will eagerly be waiting for her next novel. Degrees of Love will be added to my best of 2018 list!



Praise for Degrees of Love:

"Slabach crafts a relatable, heartbreakingly real story that will no doubt resonate with those at a similar station in life: women who love their families yet yearn for just a little more—to feel wanted rather than needed, to feel passion rather than complacency. In engaging prose and through skillful storytelling, Slabach captivates with an all-too-familiar story that raises questions with no easy answers."
- Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"This does not read like a debut author’s book. Slabach shows herself to be adept at portraying the complex emotions of the human condition. Her characters live and breathe on the page in a way that every author strives for, but few actually manage. Susan’s struggles ring true, and the way she handles everything makes her a very likable and relatable character."
- Sarah Perry, San Francisco Book Review, 5 Stars

"Profound, heart wrenching and very emotional, it is hard to believe that Degrees of Love is a debut novel by Lisa Slabach. This is one of the best novels I have read this year."
- Rabia Tanveer, Readers' Favorite


To read more reviews, please visit Lisa Slabach's page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the Book:






Meet the Author:





Degrees of Love is Lisa Slabach’s debut novel. She is currently working on her third full-length manuscript and a collection of short stories inspired by her experiences growing up in a small farm community in Washington’s Yakima Valley. In addition to writing, Lisa works for a Fortune 500 Company, leading a sales team in the financial industry. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and has two daughters, who are both pursuing careers in film. In her free time, she enjoys drinking wine with friends and cooking in her pink kitchen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 7


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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Resolutions/Goals

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 10 is just a suggestion to aim for if you can hit it. You can do a list of 3 or 5 or 20, whatever you decide. And you can put a spin on the topic if you need to. Each week there is a new list to create. This week the list is:

Bookish Resolutions/Goals

I've been book blogging for awhile now and have come to know my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to books and blogging. I find that setting goals keeps me grounded. So this is what I would like to accomplish this year.

1. Prepare more blog posts ahead of time

When I do this I noticed I am less stressed and enjoy blogging better. I feel more organized and less rushed.

2. Keep a better list of review books 

I used to have such a great track list that kept me organized and somehow after I started working full time, I did not keep track of all the review books that entered my home. I'm working on this.

3. Every month, read at last one book that I choose that is not part of a blog tour or review request

Pleasure reading with no expectations and no deadlines.

4. Visit more blogs and participate more by commenting

After I started working full-time, I was unable to visit as many blogs as I wanted. I'm more balanced now and making the time to visit blogs keeps me in the loop and enjoying the blogging experience again.

5. Add reviews on Amazon and Goodreads right after posting on my blog

If not, I will forget to do it!

If I can do or improve on all this, I'll be super happy!


Do you have any bookish resolutions of goals?

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Monkey House by Boyd Taylor (Book #3 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series) Review and Giveaway



The Monkey House is the third book in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. I liked it just as much as the first two books and have now become familiar with the cast of characters. Check out my review and enter the giveaway to win a copy of Necessities, the fourth book in the series.

Book Details:


Category: Adult Fiction, 212 pages
Genre: Political Suspense
Publisher: Katherine Brown Press
Release date: May 29, 2015
Tour dates: Jan 3 to Feb 28, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Some adult language and elusion to sex.)

Book Description:

This, the third Donnie Ray Cuinn book, pits Donnie against the old friends and new enemies guilty of land fraud and corporate greed. Donnie returns to Austin from his law practice in the Texas Panhandle to confront All-American football player Wesley Bird, his former best friend. In the company of beautiful, athletic Anna Kaye Nordstrom, Donnie experiences the "new" Austin of glitzy condos, trendy restaurants and social media. He also revisits the "old" Austin of barbecue, power politics and greens versus developers. Donnie finds that not much has changed.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The Monkey House is the third book in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. I liked it just as much as the first two books and have now become familiar with the cast of characters. It's a stand-alone novel and can be read without having read the first two books, but I liked that I had background knowledge of Donnie and his family, especially since this instalment takes place mostly back in Austin where it all started and includes characters prevalent in the first book Hero.

Time has passed since the end of the last book, and Donnie Ray Cuinn has now bought the law practice from his former law partner. He is no longer the inexperienced lawyer, but is still struggling with the death of his wife years ago and continues to blame himself, not permitting himself to move forward in a permanent relationship.

His former best friend Wesley starts a project in real estate and Donnie's family is involved, forcing Donnie to face his old enemy. The law issues are therefore more personal and we see Donnie as a grown man trying to take care of his family. Donnie is such a likable character. He is less cynical in this story and has accumulated "street smarts" in his law practice. Again, as is this author's trademark, the story takes unexpected twists and turns, has a good dose of humor and leads us to a satisfying ending. Regarding content, there are f-words and religious profanity, that I've become good at skipping over these because I'm enjoying this series too much.

We are introduced to Dave Lewis who is one of the main characters in Necessities, the fourth book in this series that I will begin reading shortly. I feel like this book would make a great TV series, and I am eager to start the next book and get back into the world of Donnie Ray Cuinn with its setting in Texas, a cast of memorable characters and intelligent plots that keep me turning the pages.

If you like to read books in a series, this one is worth starting. If you especially like crime fiction with good humor and great courtroom drama, then this one is definitely a good choice. And the book covers and titles. Spot on!

To read reviews, please visit Boyd Taylor's page on iRead Book Tours.



Buy the Books:

Watch the book trailer for Necessities (Book #4 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn Series):




Meet the Author:


BOYD TAYLOR lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and their Havanese dog Toby. Necessities is the fourth novel in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. In a former life, Boyd was a lawyer and a corporate officer. A native of Temple, Texas, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in government and an LL.B. from the law school.

Boyd's first novel "Hero" was prescient in its story about fake news. His second novel, "The Antelope Play," dealt with drug trafficking in the Texas Panhandle, an unfortunately accurate forecast. The third, "The Monkey House", involved commercial development of a large green space in the center of Austin, all too familiar to Austin residents. Whether his upcoming novel "Necessities" predicts future events with the accuracy of the earlier books remains to be seen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends March 7, 2018


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Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (Book Spotlight & Giveaway!)


I'm thrilled to be kicking off the tour for Adriana Trigiani's Kiss Carlo which has just been released in paperback. I got a signed copy at BookExpo and read it last fall. You can read my review here. It's a fun book with a big Italian family, the trademark of Trigiani's books. Scroll down to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy!

Book Details:

Book Title: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani
Category: Adult Fiction, 560 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Release date: January 2018
Content Rating: G (For general audience. Depictions of violence are minimal. No bad language, religious expletives, sex scenes, drug use or underage drinking.)

Book Description:

From Adriana Trigiani, the beloved New York Times-bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife, comes an exhilarating epic novel of love, loyalty, and creativity—the story of an Italian-American family on the cusp of change.

It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.


Buy the book:

Watch the book trailer:



Meet the Author: 

Photo Credit: Tim Stephenson
Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 17 books, which have been published in 36 countries around the world. She is a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the film version of her novel Big Stone Gap, which was shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. She is co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than a thousand students in Appalachia. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 7


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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Jan 15 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

So the weather's been...shall we say, schizophrenic, here in Montreal. We went from Arctic -30 degrees F with tons of snow to 50 with pouring rain. We just had another snowstorm yesterday and got another 30 cm of snow with temps plummetting once again to -16 F. All this has caused havoc on our streets in the form of potholes, some so big they look like a portal to another dimension.

Besides this, kids are back in school with the stress of upcoming exams and science projects. I swear, my hubby and I feel like we're back at school. Thank goodness for escapism through books! Watched Guardians of the Galaxy too. It was funny and surprisingly touching with a heart-tugging ending.

Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


My mailbox!
For review:


I loved loved the Roma series from this author and so excited about this new series


Waking Isabella by Melissa Muldoon
An author who knows how to bring Renaissance art and Tuscany alive in her novels



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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I read and/or featured last week:

CAST: Art and Objects Created Using Humanity's Most Transformational Process by Jen Townsend and Reneé Zettle-Sterling (Review) Captivating art book with stunning photography, helped me to appreciate the work of craftpeople

The Antelope Play by Boyd Taylor (Book #2 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series) Review and Giveaway
This was just as good as the first book. I'm loving this series.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To (and totally plan to get to in 2018!!) Compiling this list made me aware of how many awesome books I own and need to get reading!

Reading Now:



Stop by and enter my giveaways!



Also posted on the right sidebar.


Hope you all have a great reading week.

Friday, January 12, 2018

CAST: Art and Objects Created Using Humanity's Most Transformational Process by Jen Townsend and Reneé Zettle-Sterling (Review)


This beautiful book of 9.5 x 1.8 x 12.5 inches is a first-of-its-kind book on the process of casting that shows how prevalent and important this art form is in our lives. A fascinating read for anyone who loves art and learning new things.

Book Details:

Book Title: CAST: Art and Objects Created Using Humanity's Most Transformational Process
Authors: Jen Townsend and Reneé Zettle-Sterling 
Category: Adult Non-Fiction,  456 pages
Genre: Art/History/Photography
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Release date: June 23, 2017
Content Rating: G 

Book Description:

Featuring exquisite photos of 800 contemporary and historic works, this first-of-its-kind book reveals how the process of casting―pouring material into a mold―has transformed our world through its history and omnipresence. In these image-rich pages, craft, fine art, design, and everyday objects offer us perspectives on casting’s unique possibilities, its place in history, and its role in contemporary object creation. Comprehensive and insightful, the book includes writings on casting as it relates to Art History (by Suzanne Ramljak), Ceramics (by Ezra Shales), Glass (by Susie Silbert), Large Metal (by Joe Becherer), Jewelry (by Jen Townsend), and Alternative Materials (by Elaine King). A multi-disciplinary approach―including everything from traditional lost wax casting in non-ferrous metals to casting rubber, glass, porcelain, plaster, and some very unexpected materials―makes this an essential resource for artists, craftspeople, historians, designers, and everyone interested in the objects that populate our world.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Reading this book brought back a cherished memory. When I was a little girl, my mother had my baby leather shoes cast in bronze, which she then displayed on the dresser in her bedroom. One of the shoes (white moccasin-like Italian-made) had become unsewn in the front and my mom had wanted to resew it before the casting, only to be told that it would be more original to leave it as it was. She did. Those baby shoes are still displayed on my parents' dresser, and it made me appreciate art made from everyday objects.

When I first learned of this book CAST, I was interested because I have an appreciation for art instilled in me by my parents, especially on my trips to Italy. I was not disappointed. This book is a true treasure. And it made for some fascinating reading, educating me further in the art of casting, which unfortunately has gotten a bad reputation because of the saturation of mass production since the Industrial Revolution. It's clear the authors (both renowned craftpeople) have a love and passion for this art form and have produced a book that goes into detail, not only about the process, but its history and impact as well as its role in metalwork, ceramics, glasswork, jewelry and many other materials.

This beautiful book of 9.5 x 1.8 x 12.5 inches is a first-of-its-kind book on the process of casting that shows how prevalent and important this art form is in our lives. It includes stunning photography on almost every page, 800 photos in all to be exact. So although the font is small, the book layout invites one to read its content.


I especially enjoyed the history section, and the ones on glass and jewelry. The book also introduces us to 17 casting artists. Some of the art pieces in this book are amazing, original and creative. Others I didn't care for, but that's art. What one person thinks is amazing another may think is hideous. The point is that man has a wonderful imagination for art and for making objects to simplify and contribute to our daily life, such as the toilet bowl! Yep, it's part of the casting process.

The book contains a glossary, bibliography and index at the back of the book, making this an excellent reference book. CAST is a beautiful coffee-table book that can grace a living room and would be very useful in a library for artists, historians, and anyone who loves learning new things.


Disclosure: Thanks to Smith Publicity for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Buy the Book:

CAST is available at independent bookstores


About the Authors:




Jen Townsend and Renée Zettle-Sterling are metalsmiths, authors, and teachers with an insatiable passion for casting of all varieties.

TOWNSEND has been making jewelry since she was 13 years old. She earned an MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she studied under Richard Mawdsley. For fifteen years, she has run a successful jewelry studio, focusing on bespoke pieces for clients. She has taught throughout the United States, including Millersville University, the metal studio at Dartmouth College, the Penland School of Crafts, and the Mendocino Art Center, among others. In addition, Jen's work can be seen in Metalsmith Magazine, Showcase: 500 Art Necklaces, and in Art Jewelry Today 2. Her work has been shown at The Orkney Museum in Scotland, Shanghai Design Week, and her work is in the permanent collection of the Imperial War Museum in London.

ZETTLE-STERLING always knew she wanted to be an artist. She was introduced to casting in high school at the prestigious Governor’s School for the Arts and Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Summer Art Program. She studied fibers and papermaking at Indiana University, where she cast using paper pulp, but her real passion for casting was ignited in graduate school. She earned an MFA in sculpture/installation and an MA and jewelry/metalsmithing at the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. In her studio practice, she casts and fabricates in a wide range of materials. She has exhibited and curated both nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in Tokyo, New York, and Art Prize in her local community of Grand Rapids. In service to her field, Renée served as President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths. She is also a tenured professor at Grand Valley State University where she has taught for seventeen years.

Find more on the book at www.castartandobjects.com. Follow the project at on Facebook and Instagram.

Connect with Townsend at http://jentownsend.com and Zettle-Sterling at www.zettle-sterling.com

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Antelope Play by Boyd Taylor (Book #2 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series) Review and Giveaway


The Antelope Play is the second book in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. I liked it just as much as Hero, the first book and maybe even more. Check out my review and enter the giveaway to win a copy of Necessities, the fourth book in the series.

Book Details:


Category: Adult Fiction, 260 pages
Genre: Political Suspense
Publisher: Katherine Brown Press
Release date: July 25, 2015
Tour dates: Jan 3 to Feb 28, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Some minor cursing.)

Book Description:

When Austin native Donnie Cuinn accepts a job as an associate in a Texas Panhandle law firm, his boredom and disdain for Velda, a sleepy Texas town, is forgotten when he gets caught up in a struggle over water rights, possible radioactive contamination of the nation's largest underground fresh water supply, and the violence of an invading Mexican drug cartel. Along the way, Donnie learns to respect the local rancher, whose brother is at the center of the troubles, and to come to terms with the violent death of his young Mexican wife.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The Antelope Play is the second book in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. I liked it just as much as Hero, the first book and maybe even more. It's a stand-alone novel and can be read without having read the first book, but I liked that I had background knowledge of Donnie and his family.

In this second instalment, several years have passed from where the first book left off and Donnie is not the happy-go-lucky young university graduate. Instead he is grieving the loss of his murdered wife, has left his career as a historian and on a whim has pursued a law degree from an obscure law school. He is a broken man who has settled in the Texas Panhandle as an associate in a law firm.

Once again, he is the underdog lawyer who takes on a case that becomes more complicated when it involves water rights, a government secret and Mexican drug smuggling. Along the way, Donnie begins the healing process and meets a woman who makes him feel he might be able to love again.

As in the first book, the author's experience as a lawyer and knowledge of Texas history, government and politics make this series an intelligent read. I am simply loving this series. I like the author's writing style, the cast of characters, the comical elements even as it tackles serious issues, and the twist at the end of the story. Regarding content, there are a few f-words and religious profanity, but not as much as the first book.

If you like John Grisham novels, smart plots and a memorable cast of character then you will definitely like this series. I'm currently reading the third book which I will review on Jan 15. You can also check out my review of Hero.


To read reviews, please visit Boyd Taylor's page on iRead Book Tours.



Buy the Books:

Watch the book trailer for Necessities (Book #4 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn Series):




Meet the Author:


BOYD TAYLOR lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and their Havanese dog Toby. Necessities is the fourth novel in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. In a former life, Boyd was a lawyer and a corporate officer. A native of Temple, Texas, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in government and an LL.B. from the law school.

Boyd's first novel "Hero" was prescient in its story about fake news. His second novel, "The Antelope Play," dealt with drug trafficking in the Texas Panhandle, an unfortunately accurate forecast. The third, "The Monkey House", involved commercial development of a large green space in the center of Austin, all too familiar to Austin residents. Whether his upcoming novel "Necessities" predicts future events with the accuracy of the earlier books remains to be seen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To (and totally plan to get to in 2018!!)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme is great for those who love lists. 10 is just a suggestion to aim for if you can hit it. You can do a list of 3 or 5 or 20, whatever you decide. And you can put a spin on the topic if you need to. Each week there is a new list to create. This week the list is:

Ten Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To 
(and totally plan to get to in 2018!!)

I have yet to read any book by this author and I think it's time.


Loved her previous book The Wicked City which made it on my 2017 best reads list.


Loved her previous book Love, Lies and Spies which made it on my 2017 best reads list


I loved her Birthright trilogy.


I loved her very first book, but have not read any others.


I've read great reviews of this book and I met the author who was easy to chat with.


I enjoyed the first book and this is the sequel


I just love the premise of this book


Action-packed time travel


I loved her first book


Have you read any of these books?



Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Jan 8 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I've missed posting MM in December. Although I wanted to, I needed a break and it felt good to re-energize and spend time with family. I'm entering my 10th year of book blogging this year! Has it been that long? I hope I will keep on book blogging for another ten years. Who's with me?

Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


My mailbox!
For review:


From a Quebec author who won 3rd place in World's Best Story

Romance and French cuisine? Oui, merci!


If you've been reading my blog long enough, you'll know that I love neuroscience and psychology.



Free on Kindle:

YA espionage I am tempted to read.


Bought on Kindle:


Habits of a Happy Brain by Loretta Graziano Breuning
Yep, another brain book...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I read and/or featured last week:

First Book of the Year 2018 (I started my 2018 reading with a bang! LOVED my first book of the year)

The Donnie Ray Cuinn Series by Boyd Taylor (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!) I discovered a new author who has become one of my favorites. I've already read two of the four books in the series. This series reminds of John Grisham's novels.


HERO by Boyd Taylor (Book #1 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series) Review and Giveaway! The first book in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. And it's a great debut because it's got me hooked on the series!

Best Reads of 2017! I know I was late this year compiling the list but it's finally done and I'm happy with the great books I've read.


Reading Now:


This is the 3rd book in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. I enjoyed the first two books immensely and this one promises to be just as good.


Stop by and enter my giveaways!


Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

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