Category Archives: Mostly About Reading

Book Review: Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart – by Syr Ruus

Book: Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart
Author: Syr Ruus
Publisher: Breakwater Books
Date: August 1, 2012
Genre: fiction, comedy
Pages: 250
Price: $18.95
My rating: great reading for those looking for something different with humour and wit regarding the human condition

Having met the author, Syr Ruus, at another author’s (Laura Best) book launch, I made it a point to find this book. (It was on Amazon.)

Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart is an adult novel, fictional and amusing.

Emmanuel Taggart is a forty-five-year-old man who feels his life is stuck in a rut. His two sons are grown and out, leaving just his wife and him. One cold February day he feels ill so leaves the office early. From there the story takes the reader on an adventure unlike any this reader has journeyed before – in a good way.

Believing himself to be living his last months of life, Emmanuel Taggart sees doctors, endures tests by specialists, and meets people along the way whom he never would have approached before.  His mind takes him places he wouldn’t have dared to think until then, and he begins – not without feelings of guilt – keeping secrets from his wife. It gets more and more complicated, and more and more amusing, as he convinces himself that he is dying while he spins a web in which he traps … himself.

Syr Ruus tells a marvellous story, one that has twists and turns and delightful visuals to keep the reader devouring the pages. It is enjoyable the way she words things, such as this when Emmanuel’s secretary, Rose, is concerned about him:  “I looked out and saw your car still sitting here in the lot. Then I started thinking you weren’t feeling so good and maybe you passed out or something, and I says to myself, Rose, you better check this out. And here you still are, Mr. Taggart. Are you okay? You don’t look so good.” Shivering. Pulling her coat together to protect her scrawny neck, sleeves blowing empty at the sides.

Can’t you just see those empty sleeves flapping in the breeze, and feel that shivery cold? brrrr

Emmanuel Taggart makes discoveries about himself along the way, and not only about himself. There are surprises – some nice, some awkward, some that shock him. And there are surprises for the reader. This is a novel to add to your library.

Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart by Syr Ruus won the H. R. (Bill) Percy Prize from the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. I hope you will read it to find out why this author’s writing is so highly regarded.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)



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Book Review: Treasure Me, Book One in the Liberty series – by Christine Nolfi

Treasure Me by Christine NolfiBook: Treasure Me
Author: Christine Nolfi
Publisher: Christine Nolfi
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Date: April 19, 2011
Genre: romantic fiction for adults
Pages: 352
Price: $12.95 paperback; $5.00 Kindle
My Rating: Captivating characters and a story line that reels the reader in.

I received a copy of Treasure Me from Christine Nolfi to review.

Treasure Me starts out at a nervous pace, snagging the reader’s attention immediately. The main character, Birdie, is hanging from a ledge three stories above street level, trying to escape from a very angry man from whom she had just lifted a wallet. Now, is that enough to reel you in?

Birdie is a petty thief, taught by her mother. She has had a hard life alongside her mother who moved from town to town, stealing and playing her con games as she went, using her daughter to sweeten the con until cutting her loose at a young age, leaving her to fend for herself. Birdie learned well, and when the opportunity arose to strike it rich she grabbed at it.

Striking it rich, though, didn’t turn out to be as simple as she thought it would be. The only clue she had to hidden treasure in a lazy little town was passed down through generations and she could only hope it still existed. Little did she know her life was about to be drastically influenced by the unsuspecting people of that town in a way that would cause her much regret.

I won’t tell you any more! If this interests you then you will have to read it for yourself. ;)  But, beware: the author sprinkled flirtation, seduction and adult information (although not explicit) throughout so that this is not a book for pre-adult readers.  If it weren’t for that, I would recommend Treasure Me for advanced young readers because the main story line is a good one, well-executed with humour and mystery mixed into the interwoven relationships and fabric of the town’s history.

Christine Nolfi created memorable characters – although a couple are a little exaggerated, perhaps – who made Treasure Me a story in a fictional little town worth visiting.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)



News about best-selling author Sue Harrison’s Alaska books! (Interview)

Today I’m doing things a little differently. For those of you who haven’t made this discovery yet on your own, I have an exciting announcement about Sue Harrison’s Alaska novels. Now you can purchase them for yourself for your electronic reader! Instead of a book review today, the rest of this post is a sort of interview and is dedicated to Sue for her relating of her e-book experience. Links are included to make it easy to find where you can purchase copies – if you are so tempted and just can’t resist. :)

My question to Sue was: Sue, I haven’t yet mentioned on my blog about your books becoming available as e-books. Do you have information for me regarding that? The following is her reply.

Lynn has asked me to share about the story of  the ebook release of my 6 Alaska novels, so this is a story about a little dream becoming a lot bigger than I ever thought it would.

In August 2012, my husband Neil mentioned that we really should look into my old contracts and see if we could get the ebook rights assigned to us by the publishers of my Alaska books, Doubleday, William Morrow, and HarperCollins. We weren’t all that motivated, thinking that it might take us a long time to jump through all the necessary hoops, but we dug out the contracts and were met with a very welcome surprise. We already owned the rights! The literary agent who represented my Alaska novels, Rhoda Weyr (now retired), had retained those rights – way back in the 1990s before ebooks were “invented,” and I am extraordinarily grateful for her foresight and wisdom.

My husband set to work finding a company that would scan my novel MOTHER EARTH FATHER SKY in preparation for us to self-publish the novel in ebook format. We found Golden Images LLC, and Stan Drew and his people did a super job for us. However, our plans did an abrupt turn around when I received an email on November 7, 2012, from Maggie Lichota Crawford. Maggie was the Avon paperback editor for my first two Alaska books, MOTHER EARTH FATHER SKY and MY SISTER THE MOON. Maggie wrote that she was now working at Open Road Integrated Media, a digital publisher based in New York City. She told us that Open Road publishes many distinguished authors digitally, including James Joyce, Pearl S. Buck, Pat Conroy, William Styron, Anne Perry…. 

And they wanted MY novels?  Wow, serious happy-dancing.

The next few months were filled with fun activities like updating and submitting my biography, reviewing cover artwork, and posing for new author photos. (Thank you, Erin Johnson!) The six novels were released in May 2013, and are available from Open Road and all ebook retailers. What a dream come true!

These are links to each novel (click link to see where to purchase book):

ebook mother-earth-father-sky 


Mother Earth Father Sky


ebook my-sister-the-moon


My Sister the Moon


ebook brother-wind



 Brother Wind


ebook song-of-the-river  


Song of the River


ebook cry-of-the-wind


Cry of the Wind


ebook call-down-the-stars



Call Down the Stars


But wait, we weren’t finished. Open Road decided to send producer Corey Maloney and cinematographer Luke Locurcio to our house to shoot a publicity video. Here’s the finished product:

Meet Sue Harrison   <– click here to watch the video

For those who are wondering, most of the video was shot here at our house and on our beach and surrounding woods. The hand hefting the axe is my husband’s. And no, we do not have that spectacular waterfall in our backyard. That is Tahquamenon Falls, located about an hour and a half drive northwest of us, and is one of the most recognized landmarks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Open Road had another big surprise for us in September 2013. It was a Tuesday, and I had begun the mundane work of washing bedding, cleaning, and generally getting back into a routine after a three-day weekend of company. I sat down at the computer and buzzed through the emails that had accumulated and just happened to notice that one of them was from my aunt, Ruth Danner. Ruth’s message said that she’d turned on her Kindle and up popped a very nice advertisement about my novel MOTHER EARTH FATHER SKY.

I immediately did a little sleuthing, found an email from my publicist Laura at Open Road and discovered that MEFS had been selected as the Kindle Daily Deal. Wow! Was that a shocker.

The rest of the day, I was pretty much involved in watching the numbers. (I know that’s vain.) Wednesday was more of the same. Although my novel was back to normal price, people were still buying it. During those two days, MOTHER EARTH FATHER SKY rose to #3 nationwide for Amazon ebook sales, and my author ranking rose to #4 nationwide . That author ranking lasted only a few hours, but I have to admit that it was heady to see myself ranked higher than Stephen King and Clive Cussler.

Despite all this talk about fame, please know that I know fame is a very brittle, unstable foundation for life, for self-worth, or for happiness. I’m so grateful that I don’t need accolades to tell me that I’m loved. My Bible tells me that. My family tells me that. My friends tell me that. I don’t need high author ranks to motivate me to work each day in whatever way God intends. But I did enjoy my 15 minutes of fame, and this is my opportunity to thank all of you for your support, for your help, for your kind words, and for reading my books.

Sue Harrison

Thanks, Sue, for this fabulous and thrilling story of the revival of your books! 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)



Book Review: Adventures in Mother-Sitting – by Doreen Cox

Adventures in Mother-Sitting by Doreen CoxBook: Adventures in Mother Sitting
Author: Doreen Cox
Publisher: Olmstead Publishing
Date: January 1, 2010
Genre: Memoir (adult reading)
Pages: 266
Price: $18.00; Kindle under $6.00
My Rating:  A good book for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia

* from the book blurb: ADVENTURES IN MOTHER-SITTING is a memoir that speaks to a journey through grief, through losses of many kinds.

I read this book with the intention of reviewing it, especially since I also am a caregiver of a loved one.

Adventures in Mother Sitting is a book written by the daughter of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Doreen Cox wrote from raw and real emotions and experiences. She took the reader through her journey, preserved in journals, in a way that draws the reader into her life, and into her home which she shared with her mother for whom she became a “care bear”.

Three things that stood out to me in a less positive way are:  1. I have never read anything where the author used quotation marks as freely as in this book.  2. It felt as if chapters 11 and 12 yanked me right out of the story and were not necessary.  3. Some repetition seemed unneeded as the reader can understand what was said and will likely remember most of it from before when encountering things that relate back.

Now, that out of the way, the great things about this book are the honesty with which the author wrote and her willingness to share it all. She told in great detail, some parts difficult to read because of the exposed reality of the disease, about how Alzheimer’s (dementia) steals from its victim. Not only are memories stolen, but the memory of how to do even the simplest things disappears. The brain is confused and damaged by the disease, affected in such a way so as to make it stop relaying the usual messages we all take for granted, such as how to eat, dress, carry on a conversation. There is so much to learn about Alzheimer’s, so much to understand in caring for someone afflicted. Doreen opens a window into seeing what it is like living with that horrible disease, and how acutely needed are love, compassion, patience, understanding.  She also bravely shared how it sometimes became too much for her when she was sleep deprived and exhausted, and how she coped – or failed to cope – with the demands on her.

Adventures in Mother Sitting is told with humour, love, and tenderness, but also with a sometimes shocking truth. It is raw, revealing, and perhaps awkward for some people to read, but it should be read anyway.

Two years ago I wrote a review of Still Alice  – a fiction novel about a woman who learned she had Alzheimer’s, and covers two years of her life as the disease gradually takes over her brain’s ability to function. It is a book highly recommended among caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, and during our Alzheimer Caregiver Support Group meeting this month I recommended Adventures in Mother Sitting by Doreen Cox.

If you are facing dementia in any way, particularly as a caregiver of someone so afflicted, I suggest you read this book. It will help you to understand more from the viewpoint of the caregiver, enabling you to see from the author’s experience how the disease changes a person’s abilities and mind to that of total dependence.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)



We have our winners of Shadows in the Stone!

We have our winners of Shadows in the Stone!


Tonight my husband drew two names out of the basket.  Betty and Darlene will each be receiving an email from Diane with the coupon for them to obtain their copy of Shadows in the Stone.

Congratulations, ladies!  :)



Please watch for more book reviews, interviews, and the occasional book giveaway.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)



‘Read More Books’ challenge: Week 12: 572-623 of the list of 623 of the best books ever!

Are you ready for week twelve of our Read More Books challenge?

Read HERE to learn about it. Although this is the last post of my reading challenge, it’s never too late to check what volumes you may have read on the popular books list. Be sure to visit the site where this list originated, noted at the end.

Look at the ones you may have missed or want to review:

WEEK 1  WEEK 2   WEEK 3  WEEK 4   WEEK 5    WEEK 6  WEEK 7   WEEK 8  WEEK 9   WEEK 10  WEEK 11

How did you do with your reading? Even if you didn’t finish the book you selected, it counts if you select one for this week to add to your TBR pile.

Here is week twelve’s list of books – 51 this time and the final list in this compilation: (Please take note of the credits at the end.)

572. Money — by Martin Amis
573. The Universal Baseball Association, inc. — by Robert Coover
574. Creamy and Delicious — by Steve Katz
575. Tobacco Road — by Erskine Caldwell
576. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge — by Rainer Maria Rilke
577. The Selfish Gene — by Richard Dawkins
578. The Blue Sword — by Robin McKinley
579. An Artist of the Floating World — by Kazuo Ishiguro
580. This Side of Paradise — by F. Scott Fitzgerald
581. Rubyfruit Jungle — by Rita Mae Brown
582. Jurassic Park — by Michael Crichton
583. La Modification — by Michel Butor
584. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money — by John Maynard Keynes
585. The Clan of the Cave Bear — by Jean M. Auel
586. The Colour of Magic — by Terry Pratchett
587. More Than Human — by Theodore Sturgeon
588. The Origins of Totalitarianism — by Hannah Arendt
589. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting — by Milan Kundera
590. The Prince of Tides — by Pat Conroy
591. The Alchemist — by Paulo Coelho
592. Goodbye to All That — by Robert Graves
593. Cry, the Beloved Country — by Alan Paton
594. Mulligan Stew — by Gilbert Sorrentino
595. L. A. Confidential — by James Ellroy
596. The Affluent Society — by John Kenneth Galbraith
597. The Rosy Crucifixion — by Henry Miller
598. Katherine — by Anya Seton
599. A Little Princess — by Frances Hodgson Burnett
600. The Beautiful and Damned — by F. Scott Fitzgerald
601. Wise Children — by Angela Carter
602. The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights — by Richard Burton
603. A People’s History of the United States — by Howard Zinn
604. The Van — by Roddy Doyle
605. The Good Soldier Svejk — by Jaroslav Hasek
606. The Autobiography of Malcolm X — by Malcolm X
607. Easy Travel to Other Planets — by Ted Mooney
608. The Postman Always Rings Twice — by James M. Cain
609. Where Angels Fear to Tread — by E. M. Forster
610. Sometimes a Great Notion — by Ken Kesey
611. Gaston, tome 1 — by André Franquin
612. Tours of the Black Clock — by Steve Erickson
613. Girls in Love — by Jacqueline Wilson
614. Earthly Powers — by Anthony Burgess
615. Eminent Victorians — by Lytton Strachey
616. The Ginger Man — by J. P. Donleavy
617. Hawaii — by James A. Michener
618. In Memoriam to Identity — by Kathy Acker
619. The Princess Diaries — by Meg Cabot
620. The Second World War — by Winston S. Churchill
621. The Education of Little Tree — by Forrest Carter
622. The Horse Whisperer — by Nicholas Evans
623. Hogg — by Samuel R. Delany

Note: I got permission to share this list on my blog. Please go HERE for the complete list of “623 of the best books ever written”; see them all at once for yourself with full colour book covers. (Thank you, Stuart, for allowing me to share your list over twelve blog posts.) Stuart has also provided links to Amazon for purchasing your own copies of the books you want to read, so please visit his site and bookmark it. This will make it easier for you to revisit the complete list and shop easier, plus read reviews on Amazon by other readers.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through a library of some of the best books ever written. It seemed a fun way to bring to your attention many more books than you may have considered reading. This exercise has shown me I am not the reader I thought I was, and stirred my interest in many of the books on this list.

I love to hear from you!  From the above list:
  • Which books have you read?
  • Which books do you want to read?
  • Which books are you going to obtain this week?(Even if you did not officially take the Read More Books challenge I would love to hear about your reading.)

Thank you for going on this adventure with books with me. Now, to sum it all up, if you would like to go back over all twelve posts that make up this list, once you add up the ones you’ve read I’d like to know how many you can claim to have read. Please leave a comment.     

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

‘Read More Books’ challenge: Week 10: 468-519 of the list of 623 of the best books ever!

Are you ready for week ten of our Read More Books challenge? 


Read HERE to learn about it. It’s never too late to join in.


Check the ones you may have missed or want to review:




How did you do with your reading? Even if you didn’t finish the book you selected, it counts if you select one for this week to add to your TBR pile.

468. A Room of One’s Own — by Virginia Woolf
469. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy — by John le Carré
470. Berlin Alexanderplatz — by Alfred Döblin
471. Cold Sassy Tree — by Olive Ann Burns
472. Look Homeward, Angel — by Thomas Wolfe
473. The Martian Chronicles — by Ray Bradbury
474. Skinny Legs and All — by Tom Robbins
475. Oliver Twist — by Charles Dickens
476.It — by Stephen King
477.A High Wind in Jamaica — by Richard Hughes
478. Cities of Salt  — by Abdelrahman Munif
479. You Shall Know Our Velocity — by Dave Eggers
480. Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein — by Marguerite Duras
481. The Death of Artemio Cruz — by Carlos Fuentes
482. The Power and the Glory — by Graham Greene
483. War and Remembrance — by Herman Wouk
484. Baudolino — by Umberto Eco
485. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant — by Anne Tyler
486. The age of wire and string — by Ben Marcus
487. The Sorrows of Young Werther — by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
488. Where the Wild Things Are — by Maurice Sendak
489. Night Watch — by Terry Pratchett
490. Tropismes — by Nathalie Sarraute
491. Tlooth — by Harry Mathews
492. The Godfather — by Mario Puzo
493. Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me — by Richard Fariña
494. Pricksongs & descants — by Robert Coover
495. Waiting for the Mahatma — by R. K. Narayan
496. The Journal of Jules Renard — by Jules Renard
497. Notes from a small island — by Bill Bryson
498. Centennial — by James A. Michener
499. the man in the high castle — by Philip K. Dick
500. The Last Chronicle of Barset — by Anthony Trollope
501. Night — by Elie Wiesel
502. The Pickwick Papers — by Charles Dickens
503. Écrits — by Jacques Lacan
504. Silent Spring — by Rachel Carson
505. Jayber Crow — by Wendell Berry
506. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont — by Elizabeth Taylor
507. The road from Coorain — by Jill Ker Conway
508. The Theater and Its Double — by Antonin Artaud
509. The Three Musketeers — by Alexandre Dumas
510. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas — by Gertrude Stein
511. Little, Big — by John Crowley
512. Manhattan Transfer — by John Dos Passos
513. A Brief History of Time — by Stephen Hawking
514. Candide — by Voltaire
515. The Sheltering Sky — by Paul Bowles
516. Popol Vuh — by Anonymous
517. Time and Again — by Jack Finney
518. Moravagine — by Blaise Cendrars
519. The Left Hand of Darkness — by Ursula K. Le Guin
I love to hear from you!  From the above list:


  • Which books have you read?
  • Which books do you want to read?
  • Which books are you going to obtain this week?(Even if you are not officially taking the Read More Books challenge I would love to hear about your reading.)


Note: I got permission to share this list on my blog. (Thank you, Stuart!) You could go HERE for the list of “623 of the best books ever written” and see them all at once for yourself, and/or you can follow the list here a few at a time.


Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)