Book Review: The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton

I read a book last month that I’ve been meaning to talk to you about. It is a great book. A super fun read!

A little under a year ago I stumbled across a completely wonderful member of the Twitterverse, an aspiring author with a heart of gold: @InkMuse, Rebecca Hamilton to those of you still refusing to reduce your thoughts to 140 characters or less.  After a few mentions and one or two direct messages to each other, Ms. Hamilton excitedly offered to send me the first two chapters of her upcoming book to take a look at.  I admit, though excited to read her work (I am always curious and up for reading new and virtually unknown writing), I took this with a dash of salt.  An unpublished author querying a complete stranger via social media?  I knew better than to get my hopes up.  Of course, it would turn out that I was completely off base and that I would wind up in thrall and so, so eager for the actual book.  It did take me a little longer than I would have liked to get a hold of the book, as I was holding out for an actual print copy that I could order from my local independent store – but when I had it I was hooked!

Hamilton’s The Forever Girl is an outstanding first offering from a promising new author, and just what the Urban Fantasy realm needed.  In this coming-of-age tale we meet Sophia Parsons, a twenty-two year old Wiccan waitress with religious prejudice and a difficult family life looming overhead.  As if that weren’t enough, Miss Parsons also suffers a mysterious and not-entirely-natural affliction.  Then we meet Charles, a smouldering centuries-old shape-shifter with sharp tongue and rock-hard abs. Could Sophia’s life get any more challenging?  Why yes, of course it could.

One of The Forever Girl‘s most striking attributes is the language found within it.  Hamilton’s mastery of language, especially descriptive language, is nothing short of impressive.  From the “wasping” sound of Sophia’s supernatural disability to the “dawn’s russet sky – a shepherd’s warning, some said” that Sophia awoke to on page ninety-one, Hamilton treats her readers to a bright, intelligent and altogether fun narrative.  A personal favourite quote comes from Sophia’s love interest Charles as he discusses his long life with her (on page one-sixty-nine): “You must understand: immortality is not an escape from death.  It’s an accumulation of loss.”  Poignant.

Another huge boon is the story’s mythology.  While The Forever Girl certainly contains shades of vampires and shifters, it is a story with a new perspective entirely.  Hamilton took traditional myths and legends, popped them into the blender and hit purée.  This new take on a somewhat tired subject is hugely refreshing and the addition of Hamilton’s title focus, the forever girl, helps to make this a can’t-put-it-down read.

Particularly endearing, an absence of glitter-free fanged creatures notwithstanding, is the care and respect Hamilton has taken in her creation of a Wiccan protagonist.  Not Wiccan herself, Hamilton did a great deal of research to ensure the validity of Sophia’s spiritual voice.  From all accounts – testimonies from Wiccan readers – Hamilton hit the nail on the head with the utmost consideration to the religion and its followers.

There are, however, two discernible downsides to this novel: Sophia and Mrs. Franklin.  Hamilton’s protagonist is a phenomenal character; she’s intricately woven, dynamic, fun, challenging and unbelievably insecure.  While a very common trait, especially in young women, hyper-insecurity in literature needs to stop.  Hamilton did redeem Sophia by feeding her challenges to overcome that would help to build her waning self-confidence and gave her a cheering section that was not solely populated by dark, dangerous and lip-bitingly handsome Charles – that was lovely to read, as so often we are confronted by a strong, formidable woman who withers to a shade of her former self when not near her (supernatural) counterpart.  Hamilton allowed Sophia some weak(-in-the-knees) moments, but was, for the most part, consistent in providing a fierce, independent, introspective role-model for her readers.

The Mrs. Franklin storyline also left me wanting more.  This was a secondary plot, something extra to help build more depth to the new, supernatural world Sophia is discovering in The Forever Girl.  It is also the point of antagonism I prefer and would have loved to read more into.  This could easily have been a novel unto itself.

Fans of romantic Urban Fantasy will love The Forever Girl.  It’s vibrant, it’s refreshingly different and our boy Charles is just too wonderful to pass up – you will develop a crush, there’s simply no avoiding it.  Fans of good writing will love The Forever Girl.  It is wonderful to see a book this well written in a genre that is beginning to become dishearteningly sloppy.  With authors like Hamilton at the helm, there is hope yet!

Happy reading, ladies and gents!

Santana – Black Magic Woman

UNT

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This post brought to you by your friendly neighbourhood Kim “G-Unit” G: former Books & Co. bookster, current UNBC bookster and constant reader.
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Concerts, a summer sale and other fantastic things are happening at Books & Co, ArtSpace and Cafe Voltaire

What a wonderful summer we’ve having! The hot sunny days are so wonderful and make the Café Voltaire patio the perfect place to read with a cool drink in hand (we have new blended ice coffees, did you know that? And Italian sodas).  We’ve also got some great concerts coming up (The June Bugs and Fish & Bird, you should go to both), a fantastic sale on summer reads, and some great events at Books & Co, Café Voltaire and ArtSpace!

More great summer reads have arrived at Books & Co! All Touchwood Mysteries including Always Kiss the Corpse on Whidbey Island – An Islands Investigations International Mystery, the Opposite of Dark – A Casey Holland Mystery, Death as a Last Resort – A Margaret Spencer Mystery, The Vanishing Track – A Cole Blackwater Mystery, and Seaweed on the Street are 30% off!  These fantastic Canadian mysteries (most are even set in BC) are the perfect read for a hot summer day at the beach, in the park or with an iced coffee on the Café Voltaire Patio!

Smithers’ own Non-Prophet Society is back in Café Voltaire for Friday Night Mics this week! Be ready for a rocking night of blues-rock-funk-fusion starting at 8:00 pm in Café Voltaire on Friday, July 20! Non-Prophet Society nights are always awesome, so come out and be ready to rock along! As always, this event is free!

Hey Moms and Dads, did you know every Saturday morning at 10:00 am we’ve got a fantastic storytime?  This week is extra special because we’ve got Guest Storyteller Owen Lubbers!Come in and browse (or have a coffee and a chat) while Owen delights and amuses your young ones with books and crafts!

CANCELLED (well postponed to an unknown date) Saturday, July 21 at 1:00 pm in ArtSpace you can learn The Way of the Bodhisattva from Buddhist monk Lama Tsewang.  You will learn special methods for transforming yourself from a person who acts only for your own interest into a bodhisattva, a being who have awakened into his or her inherent potential to e of benefit to all living creatures.  Lama Tsewang first became a Buddhist monk in 1977 and has practiced both the Theravadin tradition and the Tibetan tradition.  He acquired the title of lama or teacher after completing a three and a half year retreat under the guidance of Kalu Rinpoche, one of the Dalai Lama’s teachers. This event is free.

Scrabble Addicts Unite! Do you know all of the 2 letter words for Q, X and Z (qi, ax, ex, xi, xu and za)?  Are you always playing Scrabble on your phone or Facebook? Do you do a little dance when you get a Bingo? Then we want you! Books & Co is starting a Scrabble Club (because a lot of us here are spending a lot of time playing Scrabble online and we want some human contact).  Come out on Tuesday, July 24 at 6:30 pm and meet other word addicts.  Bring your own board (if you’ve got one).  Scrabble club will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month!

Please join the Sea to Sands Conservation Alliance (www.sea2sands.ca) at 7:00 pm in ArtSpace on July 24 for a chat with Kim Slater who is currently running the length of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in order to promote dialogue about alternative energy ideas, the hazards of the pipeline and thoughts about the direction that we, as Canadians, want our economy to be going.  Running nearly a marathon a day, Kim is a true symbol of the drive and creativity needed to stop this pipeline in its tracks. For more information about Kim and to follow the course of her inspiring run please visit www.bandtogetherbc.com

Café Voltaire is very excited to be hosting a reading of Ashoona Daughter of the Winds: An Inuit Woman’s Journey by Yvonne Harris on Wednesday, July 25 at 7:00 pm.  Based a true story told to the author by an Inuit Elder on Baffin Island, Ashoona Daughter of the Winds is the compelling tale of a woman who comes of age during a time of great upheaval in Canada’s most remote, Northern regions.  It gives a glimpse into a different world, and illuminates a part of Canada few people know much about through the lens of one woman’s life in this difficult landscape.

The June Bugs are back in ArtSpace on July 26th! This night of fantastic vocal harmonies is not to be missed.  If you love blue grass, folk or gospel, you will love The June Bugs! Tickets are only $15 and are on sale now at Books & Co!

Are you an insane and slightly masochistic individual who occasionally dallies in the written word? Then the 3 Day Novel Support Group wants you! If you’re planning on attempting the 3 Day Novel Contest this year and want to meet other PG writers just as crazy, we’re the place to be.  For more information email Kayli at pyschopencils@hotmail.com.  There will be meetings throughout the summer up until the big weekend in September! The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 31 at 4:30 pm.

We’ve also got tickets to one of the hottest concerts this summer, Fish & Bird are back in ArtSpace on Thursday, August 2 at 8:00 pm! This fantastic night of music is not to be missed so hurry in and get a ticket (only $15) right away! (We suggest getting tickets to both The June Bugs and Fish & Bird, you can’t go wrong with either concert!).

Books & Co, Cafe Voltaire and ArtSpace will be CLOSED for BC Day on August 6.  So pick up your long weekend reads on Saturday, August 4 or Sunday, August 5 (I heard we’ve got some great mysteries on sale).

If you wish ArtsWells lasted more than a long weekend (don’t forget you can pick up your ArtsWells weekend passes at Books & Co), you need to read Susan Safyan’s All Roads Lead to Wells: Stories of the Hippie Days.  In the late 1960s and ’70s a small group of idealistic young women and men, self-described as “volunteer peasants,” moved to the tiny town of Wells in British Columbia’s Central Interior.  All Roads Lead to Wells tells the story of these young settlers, their migration, their values, the unexpected friendships forged between the town’s old-timers and newcomers and the inevitable clash—occasionally violent—of generations and cultures. Susan Safyan will be reading from and signing this fantastic book of local history on Tuesday, August 7 at 7:00 pm in Café Voltaire!

Correspondents’ Club (that letter writing thing we do).  Come in and write a letter to whomever you want (seriously, it can be anybody) and we’ll give you a coffee or tea and stamps.  We’ll even mail your letters at the end of the night! So, whether you’re a regular writer or want to start writing, come and visit us! We encourage all kinds of correspondence, personal, professional, recreational, everything! The PGCC meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month! Because of the holiday, we’re closed on the first Monday of August but that doesn’t mean you should stop writing letters. The next meeting is Monday, August 20 at 6:30 pm.

There’s still time to pick up your weekend passes to the fantastically fantastical ArtsWells Festival of All Things Art! The festival runs August 3 – 6 (in Wells of all places)!  If you just can’t wait to experience the wonderful world of Wells, we’ve got copies of Susan Safyan’s new book All Roads Lead to Wells: Stories of the Hippie Days, a fabulous book of tales that tell how a group of hippies in the 1960s and 1979s turned Wells into a renowned arts-based community.

Books & Co also has tickets to some of BC’s other amazing music festivals! Hurry in for your ticket to the Robson Valley Music Festival (August 17 – 19 in Dunster) if you buy your tickets in advance they’re only $85 for all three days of spectacular music! For a complete list of the acts visit: http://www.robsonvalleymusicfestivalbc.com  And, we’ve also got tickets to the spectacular Music On the Mountain (MoM) Festival (August 24-26 in Ft. St. James).  Early bird tickets (you’ve got until July 31) are only $60 and your weekend pass includes camping! For a list of performers and activities visit: http://momfestival.com.  If you get tickets to everything, your August weekends will be marvelously musical!

That’s it for this week folks, for more information about upcoming events or just the cool things that happen here, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter and did you know we’ve got a blog?  Well we do, find out our thoughts on all things books related atbooksandcompany.wordpress.com

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We’ve got events as hot as the weather here at Books & Co, Cafe Voltaire and ArtSpace

Feeling hot, Hot, HOT! Finally summer with blue skies and hot days has arrived in PG.  The new iced coffees in Café Voltaire to a lot to help beat this unaccustomed heat and a nice refreshing event does a lot more.  We’ve got events for kids, and adults, concerts and lots more all of July at Books & Co, Café Voltaire and ArtSpace!

The tickets you’ve all been waiting for have arrived at Books & Co! We’ve got tickets to one of the hottest concerts this summer, Fish & Bird are back in ArtSpace on Thursday, August 2 at 8:00 pm! This fantastic night of music is not to be missed so hurry in and get a ticket (only $15) right away!

And speaking of tickets, we’ve got – hot off the press – tickets to The June Bugs concert in ArtSpace on July 26th! This night of fantastic vocal harmonies is not to be missed.  If you love blue grass, folk or gospel, you will love The June Bugs! Tickets are only $15 and are on sale now at Books & Co! (Get tickets to both The June Bugs and Fish & Bird, you can’t go wrong)

PG Idol is back in ArtSpace for the semi-final rounds TONIGHT and TOMORROW (July 11 and 12)! Come in and support your favourite local talent! Come out and cheer your PG Idol on these fantastic nights of wonderful music! Tickets available at the door.

Café Voltaire favorites Mike Vigano, Tony Tabora and Meagan Alspaugh are back for Friday Night Mics this week! Be ready for some fantastic guitar, percussion and vocals from some of the best musicians in PG at 8:00 pm in Café Voltaire on Friday, July 13! Keep your clapping hands and tapping toes ready for this great local talent.  As always, this event is free!

Hey Moms and Dads, did you know every Saturday morning at 10:00 am we’ve got a fantastic storytime?  Come in and browse (or have a coffee and a chat) while our booksters delight and amuse with books and crafts!

If you go into the woods today…well don’t go into the woods come to the Café Voltaire Patio at 3:00 pm on Sunday, July 15 for a Teddy (Berenstain) Bear Picnic! We will have a special story time of Berenstain Bear favorites and a craft! Bring your best stuffed friend (who doesn’t have to be a teddy.  Rabbits, piglets and stuff friends of all types are welcome).  In case of rain, we’ll meet in ArtSpace.

Correspondents’ Club (that letter writing thing we do).  Come in and write a letter to whomever you want (seriously, it can be anybody) and we’ll give you a coffee or tea and stamps.  We’ll even mail your letters at the end of the night! So, whether you’re a regular writer or want to start writing, come and visit us! We encourage all kinds of correspondence, personal, professional, recreational, everything! The PGCC meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month! The next meeting is Monday, July 16 at 6:30 pm.

Are you an insane and slightly masochistic individual who occasionally dallies in the written word? Then the 3 Day Novel Support Group wants you! If you’re planning on attempting the 3 Day Novel Contest this year and want to meet other PG writers just as crazy, we’re the place to be.  For more information email Kayli at pyschopencils@hotmail.com.  There will be meetings throughout the summer up until the big weekend in September! The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 17 at 4:30 pm.

Saturday, July 21 at 1:00 pm in ArtSpace you can learn The Way of the Bodhisattva from Buddhist monk Lama Tsewang.  You will learn special methods for transforming yourself from a person who acts only for your own interest into a bodhisattva, a being who have awakened into his or her inherent potential to e of benefit to all living creatures.  Lama Tsewang first became a Buddhist monk in 1977 and has practiced both the Theravadin tradition and the Tibetan tradition.  He acquired the title of lama or teacher after completing a three and a half year retreat under the guidance of Kalu Rinpoche, one of the Dalai Lama’s teachers. This event is free.

Scrabble Addicts Unite! Do you know all of the 2 letter words for Q, X and Z (qi, ax, ex, xi, xu and za)?  Are you always playing Scrabble on your phone or Facebook? Do you do a little dance when you get a Bingo? Then we want you! Books & Co is starting a Scrabble Club (because a lot of us here are spending a lot of time playing Scrabble online and we want some human contact).  Come out on Tuesday, July 24 at 6:30 pm and meet other word addicts.  Bring your own board (if you’ve got one).  Scrabble club will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month!

Café Voltaire is very excited to be hosting a reading of Ashoona Daughter of the Winds: An Inuit Woman’s Journey by Yvonne Harris on Wednesday, July 25 at 7:00 pm.  Based a true story told to the author by an Inuit Elder on Baffin Island, Ashoona Daughter of the Winds is the compelling tale of a woman who comes of age during a time of great upheaval in Canada’s most remote, Northern regions.  It gives a glimpse into a different world, and illuminates a part of Canada few people know much about through the lens of one woman’s life in this difficult landscape.

Don’t forget to pick up your weekend passes to the fantastically fantastical ArtsWells Festival of All Things Art! The festival runs August 3 – 6 (in Wells of all places)!  If you just can’t wait to experience the wonderful world of Wells, we’ve got copies of Susan Safyan’s new book All Roads Lead to Wells: Stories of the Hippie Days, a fabulous book of tales that tell how a group of hippies in the 1960s and 1979s turned Wells into a renowned arts-based community.

Books & Co also has tickets to some of BC’s other amazing music festivals! Hurry in for your ticket to the Robson Valley Music Festival (August 17 – 19 in Dunster) if you buy your tickets in advance they’re only $85 for all three days of spectacular music! For a complete list of the acts visit: http://www.robsonvalleymusicfestivalbc.com  And, we’ve also got tickets to the spectacular Music On the Mountain (MoM) Festival (August 24-26 in Ft. St. James).  Early bird tickets (you’ve got until July 31) are only $60 and your weekend pass includes camping! For a list of performers and activities visit: http://momfestival.com.  If you get tickets to everything, your August weekends will be marvelously musical!

That’s it for this week folks, for more information about upcoming events or just the cool things that happen here, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter and did you know we’ve got a blog?  Well we do, find out our thoughts on all things books related atbooksandcompany.wordpress.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Emails, Friday Nights at Cafe Voltaire, Literary Event

Summertime, and the living is easy at Books & Co, Cafe Voltaire and ArtSpace

Happy Pride Week, Prince George! There are some awesome things happening around the city this week including the fantastic Drag Queen Bingo in ArtSpace tomorrow and you can get tickets to all of the other fabulous Phoenix Pride events at Books & Co.  But that’s not all that’s happening at Books & Co, ArtSpace and Café Voltaire in the next couple of weeks, we’ve got fantastic and fun events for everyone all month long!

Drag Queen Bingo! Pride week is in full swing and we’re super excited that ArtSpace is going to be the site of Drag Queen Bingo on Thursday, July 5 at 6:30 pm! Hosted by the Northern Pride Centre Society, this showcase of fantastic Drag Kings and Queens will take on Bingo and Karaoke! Sing your heart out, win cool prizes and support the Northern Pride Centre Society’s work on the UNBC Campus.  Entrance by donation.

And Books & Co has tickets to the other fabulously, fantastic Phoenix Pride Week Events! Drop in and pick up your tickets to Pride Bowling Night on July 4 (only $12), the How Rude Drag Show on July 6 (only $15), the giant Pride Celebration Party on July 7 ($20) and the Pride Brunch on July 8 ($20) or you can get tickets to everything for $60! Details and a complete list of all of the Pride events are available on the PG Pride website:  www.pgpride.com

And speaking of tickets, we’ve got – hot off the press – tickets to The June Bugs concert in ArtSpace on July 26th! This night of fantastic vocal harmonies is not to be missed.  If you love blue grass, folk or gospel, you will love The June Bugs! Tickets are only $15 and are on sale now at Books & Co! 

We’ve also got our semi-regular OPEN MIC NIGHT for Friday Night Mics this week! Bring in your banjo and tune that trumpet because you’re on at 8:00 pm in Café Voltaire on Friday, July 6! Or simply keep your clapping hands ready for all of this great local talent.  As always, this event is free!

Hey Moms and Dads, did you know every Saturday morning at 10:00 am we’ve got a fantastic storytime?  Come in and browse (or have a coffee and a chat) while our booksters delight and amuse with books and crafts!

Scrabble Addicts Unite! Do you know all of the 2 letter words for Q, X and Z (qi, ax, ex, xi, xu and za)?  Are you always playing Scrabble on your phone or Facebook? Do you do a little dance when you get a Bingo? Then we want you! Books & Co is starting a Scrabble Club (because a lot of us here are spending a lot of time playing Scrabble online and we want some human contact).  Come out on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:30 pm and meet other word addicts.  Bring your own board (if you’ve got one).  Scrabble club will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month!

And PG Idol is back in ArtSpace for the semi-final rounds on July 11 and 12! Come in and support your favourite local talent! It’s a great night of fantastic music so come out and cheer for your PG Idol! Tickets available at the door.

If you go into the woods today…well don’t go into the woods come to the Café Voltaire Patio at 3:00 pm on Sunday, July 15 for a Teddy (Berenstain) Bear Picnic! We will have a special story time of Berenstain Bear favorites and a craft! Bring your best stuffed friend (who doesn’t have to be a teddy.  Rabbits, piglets and stuff friends of all types are welcome).  In case of rain, we’ll meet in ArtSpace.

Correspondents’ Club (that letter writing thing we do).  Come in and write a letter to whomever you want (seriously, it can be anybody) and we’ll give you a coffee or tea and stamps.  We’ll even mail your letters at the end of the night! So, whether you’re a regular writer or want to start writing, come and visit us! We encourage all kinds of correspondence, personal, professional, recreational, everything! The PGCC meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month! The next meeting is Monday, July 16 at 6:30 pm.

Saturday, July 21 in ArtSpace you can learn The Way of the Bodhisattva from Buddhist monk Lama Tsewang.  You will learn special methods for transforming yourself from a person who acts only for your own interest into a bodhisattva, a being who have awakened into his or her inherent potential to e of benefit to all living creatures.  Lama Tsewang first became a Buddhist monk in 1977 and has practiced both the Theravadin tradition and the Tibetan tradition.  He acquired the title of lama or teacher after completing a three and a half year retreat under the guidance of Kalu Rinpoche, one of the Dalai Lama’s teachers.

Don’t forget to pick up your weekend passes to the fantastically fantastical ArtsWells Festival of All Things Art! The festival runs August 3 – 6 (in Wells of all places)!  If you just can’t wait to experience the wonderful world of Wells, we’ve got copies of Susan Safyan’s new book All Roads Lead to Wells: Stories of the Hippie Days, a fabulous book of tales that tell how a group of hippies in the 1960s and 1979s turned Wells into a renowned arts-based community.

Books & Co also has tickets to some of BC’s other amazing music festivals! Hurry in for your ticket to the Robson Valley Music Festival (August 17 – 19 in Dunster) if you buy your tickets in advance they’re only $85 for all three days of spectacular music! For a complete list of the acts visit: http://www.robsonvalleymusicfestivalbc.com  And, we’ve also got tickets to the spectacular Music On the Mountain (MoM) Festival (August 24-26 in Ft. St. James).  Early bird tickets (you’ve got until July 31) are only $60 and your weekend pass includes camping! For a list of performers and activities visit: http://momfestival.com.  If you get tickets to everything, your August weekends will be marvelously musical!

Are you an insane and slightly masochistic individual who occasionally dallies in the written word? Then the 3 Day Novel Support Group wants you! If you’re planning on attempting the 3 Day Novel Contest this year and want to meet other PG writers just as crazy, we’re the place to be.  For more information email Kayli at pyschopencils@hotmail.com.  There will be meetings throughout the summer up until the big weekend in September!

That’s it for this week folks, for more information about upcoming events or just the cool things that happen here, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter and did you know we’ve got a blog?  Well we do, find out our thoughts on all things books related atbooksandcompany.wordpress.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Emails, Friday Nights at Cafe Voltaire, Literary Event

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, not wait it’s just the long hidden sun over Books & Co, Cafe Voltaire and ArtSpace

What’s that in the sky? The hot, bright thing? Oh, it’s the sun. It’s been so long – not as long as in the marvelous Ray Bradbury story “All Summer in a Day” but still a long, long time – since we’ve had some uninterrupted sun and, if you’re like me, your pasty northern flesh isn’t used to it.  Why not take a time out on Stay Out of The Sun Day (July 3) and pop into Books & Co or Café Voltaire for a break?  Or, stay in the sun with a treat and a book (and lots of water and sunscreen) on our patio.  ArtSpace, Books & Co and Café Voltaire have also got some awesome events to keep you cool all summer long!

Are you an insane and slightly masochistic individual who occasionally dallies in the written word? Then the 3 Day Novel Support Group wants you! If you’re planning on attempting the 3 Day Novel Contest this year and want to meet other PG writers just as crazy, we’re the place to be.  For more information email Kayli at pyschopencils@hotmail.com.  There will be meetings throughout the summer up until the big weekend in September!

TOMORROW, Thursday, June 28, ArtSpace has a great concert!  Doug Koyama, the fabulous singer and improviser will be in with special guest Benedict Beattie! Come out and experience a night of unique music! Tickets will be sold at the door on a sliding scale of $5 – $10 (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)! Doors open at 6:30 pm and the fun starts at 7:00 pm!

In honour of Pride Week (which runs from July 4nd to 8th with events all over the city) ArtSpace is excited to be the venue for a Pre-Pride Open Mic/Literary Karaoke! Come out for a fantastic night of readings and music.  Things kick off at 6:00 pm on Friday, June 29 and tickets are by donation at the door.

We’ve also got our semi-regular OPEN MIC NIGHT for Friday Night Mics this week! Pop in with your pan pipe and warm up your washtub bass because you’re on at 8:00 pm in Café Voltaire on Friday, June 29! Or simply keep your clapping hands ready for all of this great local talent.  As always, this event is free!

Hey Moms and Dads, did you know every Saturday morning at 10:00 am we’ve got a fantastic storytime?  Come in and browse (or have a coffee and a chat) while our booksters delight and amuse with books and crafts!

Books & Co, Café Voltaire and ArtSpace are CLOSED on Sunday, July 1st for Canada Day so you’ve got a chance to go to the Huble Homestead’s Dominion Day Celebrations! Celebrate Canada the old fashioned way with contests, prizes and cake! Events run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and a family admission is only $10! (We like to give the Huble Homestead a shout out once in a while, their office is just off ArtSpace and they’re great neighbours) Don’t forget the fantastic children’s book Mr. Huble Builds a House (illustrated by another ArtSpace neighbour, June Swanky Parker) is available at Books & Co NOW!

Monday, July 2 is the latest installment of the Prince George Correspondents’ Club (that letter writing thing we do).  Come in and write a letter to whomever you want (seriously, it can be anybody) and we’ll give you a coffee or tea and stamps.  We’ll even mail your letters at the end of the night! So, whether you’re a regular writer or want to start writing, come and visit us! We encourage all kinds of correspondence, personal, professional, recreational, everything! The PGCC meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month!

And every Tuesday, members of the Sea to Sands Conservation Alliance will be in Café Voltaire from 7:00 to 8:30 pm to help people put together their Joint Review Panel presentations.  If you’ve registered to make an oral presentation and want some help polishing your thoughts and keeping to the time limits, they are the people to see!

Drag Queen Bingo! Pride week will be in full swing and we’re super excited that ArtSpace is going to be the site of Drag Queen Bingo on Thursday, July 5 at 6:30 pm! Hosted by the Northern Pride Centre Society, this showcase of fantastic Drag Kings and Queens will take on Bingo and Karaoke! Sing your heart out, win cool prizes and support the Northern Pride Centre Society’s work on the UNBC Campus.  Entrance by donation.

And Books & Co has tickets to the other fabulously, fantastic Phoenix Pride Week Events! Drop in and pick up your tickets to Pride Bowling Night on July 4 (only $12), the How Rude Drag Show on July 6 (only $15), the giant Pride Celebration Party on July 7 ($20) and the Pride Brunch on July 8 ($20) or you can get tickets to everything for $60! Details and a complete list of all of the Pride events are available on the PG Pride website:  www.pgpride.com

Scrabble Addicts Unite! Do you know all of the 2 letter words for Q, X and Z (qi, ax, ex, xi, xu and za)?  Are you always playing Scrabble on your phone or Facebook? Do you do a little dance when you get a Bingo? Then we want you! Books & Co is starting a Scrabble Club (because a lot of us here are spending a lot of time playing Scrabble online and we want some human contact).  Come out on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:30 pm and meet other word addicts.  Bring your own board (if you’ve got one).  Scrabble club will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month!

And PG Idol is back in ArtSpace for the semi-final rounds on July 11 and 12! Come in and support your favourite local talent! It’s a great night of fantastic music so come out and cheer for your PG Idol! Tickets available at the door.

Don’t forget to pick up your weekend passes to the fantastically fantastical ArtsWells Festival of All Things Art! The festival runs August 3 – 6 (in Wells of all places) and if you get your passes before June 30 you get a great discount so drop in before Saturday!  If you just can’t wait to experience the wonderful world of Wells, we’ve got copies of Susan Safyan’s new book All Roads Lead to Wells: Stories of the Hippie Days, a fabulous book of tales that tell how a group of hippies in the 1960s and 1979s turned Wells into a renowned arts-based community.

Books & Co also has tickets to some of BC’s other amazing music festivals! Hurry in for your ticket to the Robson Valley Music Festival (August 17 – 19 in Dunster) if you buy your tickets in advance they’re only $85 for all three days of spectacular music! For a complete list of the acts visit: http://www.robsonvalleymusicfestivalbc.com  And, we’ve also got tickets to the spectacular Music On the Mountain (MoM) Festival (August 24-26 in Ft. St. James).  Early bird tickets (you’ve got until July 31) are only $60 and your weekend pass includes camping! For a list of performers and activities visit: http://momfestival.com.  If you get tickets to everything, your August weekends will be marvelously musical!

That’s it for this week folks, for more information about upcoming events or just the cool things that happen here, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter and did you know we’ve got a blog?  Well we do, find out our thoughts on all things books related atbooksandcompany.wordpress.com

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Book Review: The Taste of Ashes by Sheila Peters

Sheila Peters’s novel, The Taste of Ashes, does not feel like a first novel.  It’s carefully crafted, multi-layered family narrative is complex and lyrical in a way that reveals Peters’s history as a poet and short-story writer.  The three primary narratives, that follow Isabel, Álvaro and Janna’s individual stories, are interwoven in such a way that even a few convenient coincidences – which could have seemed contrived and artificial – feel genuinely spontaneous and natural.

Each of the three main characters, Isabel, Álvaro and Janna, is flawed and complicated, but ultimately sympathetic.  Isabel, the heart of the novel, is a study in duality.  Her sensuous – in the most literal sense of the word – nature makes her an excellent mother when she is present, but also causes her to frequently fall off the rails and into the arms of random men.  Because we meet her after she’s sobered up and calmed down, her rift with Janna seems unfair and undeserved, but as we learn what ultimately precipitated their separation, Isabel becomes a more complete, if not more likeable character.

Álvero’s history is the most complex and his broken psyche and body, the result of brutal torture at the hands of Guatemalan authorities, are what bring The Taste of Ashes out of the realm of the ordinary.  Peters’s masterful description of the aftermath of torture, the anger and shame and fear that Álvero still feels creates a character that readers will find both frustrating and sympathetic.  His interactions with the other priests in his brotherhood, his questions about faith and God’s role in his life and the stages of his healing are fascinating and have an air of authenticity.

The third story, Janna’s thread in this narrative tapestry, is just as complex as Isabel and Álero’s and her character is just as flawed.  Peters wonderfully captures the voice of a very young woman with Janna’s aggravatingly know-it-all stubbornness.  Readers will be exasperated by her self-reliance, even when what she really needs is help and care, but that’s what gives her such verisimilitude.  We know women, particularly young women, who take the hardest path simply because help, especially from their mothers, makes them feel as if they failed.  Janna is not particularly likable but she is ultimately sympathetic and it’s refreshing that Peters does not have her change dramatically when the three stories are brought together.

Place plays a very important role in The Taste of Ashes and where the characters are from is as important as the characters themselves.  Peters intertwines small town northern British Columbia – which every northern reader will recognize as Smithers, BC– with the Vancouver of UBC students, the Vancouver of oblate priests, and exotic and turbulent Guatemala into a detailed and complex web.  Where the characters are from shapes them in subtle and significant ways and their individual histories in each place, especially the small northern town creates a narrative depth and beauty that few debut novels can achieve.

The Taste of Ashes, isn’t just the complicated history of one small town family, it’s a lyrical, richly detailed saga that draws the reader into the complexity of family relationships and ultimately reveals that redemption and healing are always possible.  The Taste of Ashes is a novel to savor.

Nicole Larson

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A Summer of Hot Events Starts at Books & Co, Cafe Voltaire and ArtSpace!

Happy First Day of Summer everybody and Happy National Aboriginal Day tomorrow!  At least all the rain has been good for the gardens – my peas and radishes and carrots and kohlrabi are all growing vigorously despite their late start.  There are some wonderful things happening in the city right now, The Two Rivers Gallery is putting on the 10th Artists in the Garden Tour soon, it’s almost Pride Week and the Huble Homestead has great events to celebrate their 100th Anniversary all summer long.  Even though June is coming to an end and despite a rainy spring, we here at Books & Co, Café Voltaire and ArtSpace anticipate a hot summer full of hot events!

Are you an insane and slightly masochistic individual who occasionally dallies in the written word? Then the 3 Day Novel Support Group wants you! If you’re planning on attempting the 3 Day Novel Contest this year and want to meet other PG writers just as crazy, we’re the place to be.  For more information email Kayli at pyschopencils@hotmail.com.  There will be meetings throughout the summer up until the big weekend in September!

You’ve still got a couple of chances to hear The PG Idol Preliminary Rounds!  TONIGHT, June 20 and TOMORROW June 21, we’ve got the best in Prince George’s undiscovered talent so come in for a great night of fantastic music! The list of performers is up on the Dawn Boudreau Music website (http://www.dawnboudreau.com/node/6995), so come out and cheer for your PG Idol! Tickets available at the door!

We’ve also got our regular Friday Night Mics at 8:00 pm in Café Voltaire on Friday, June 22!  This week we’ve got the fantastic song stylings of PG favorite Dawn Boudreau!  Dawn’s back in town for a few days and we can’t wait to hear her sing again! As always, this event is free!

Hey Moms and Dads, did you know every Saturday morning at 10:00 am we’ve got a fantastic storytime?  Come in and browse (or have a coffee and a chat) while our booksters delight and amuse with Star Wars books and crafts!

Tickets for Sweet Serenade – Summer Edition (Saturday, June 23 at 7:30 in ArtSpace) brought to you by Dawn Boudreau Music are still available!  This amazing night of musical excellence features Olivia Johnson, Victoria Gabriel & Alyssa Gould with special guests Lorna Jane Simmons, Mackenzie Clarke & Sophia Egan.  Tickets are only $10!

Scrabble Addicts Unite! Do you know all of the 2 letter words for Q, X and Z (qi, ax, ex, xi, xu and za)?  Are you always playing Scrabble on your phone or Facebook? Do you do a little dance when you get a Bingo? Then we want you! Books & Co is starting a Scrabble Club (because a lot of us here are spending a lot of time playing Scrabble online and we want some human contact).  Come out on Tuesday, June 26 at 6:30 pm and meet other word addicts.  Bring your own board (if you’ve got one).  Scrabble club will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month!

And every Tuesday, members of the Sea to Sands Conservation Alliance will be in Café Voltaire from 7:00 to 8:30 pm to help people put together their Joint Review Panel presentations.  If you’ve registered to make an oral presentation and want some help polishing your thoughts and keeping to the time limits, they are the people to see!

ArtSpace has a great concert on Thursday, June 28! Doug Koyama, the fabulous singer and improviser will be in with special guest Benedict Beattie! Come out and experience a night of unique music! Tickets will be sold at the door on a sliding scale of $5 – $10 (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)! Doors open at 6:30 pm and the fun starts at 7:00 pm!

And in honour of Pride Week (which runs from July 4nd to 8th with events all over the city) ArtSpace is excited to be the venue for a Pre-Pride Open Mic/Literary Karaoke! Come out for a fantastic night of readings and music.  Things kick off at 7:00 pm on Saturday, June 30 and tickets are by donation at the door.

And Books & Co has tickets to the fabulously, fantastic Phoenix Pride Week Events! Drop in and pick up your tickets to Pride Bowling Night on July 4 (only $12), the How Rude Drag Show on July 6 (on $15), the giant Pride Celebration Party on July 7 ($20) and the Pride Brunch on July 8 ($20) or you can get tickets to everything for $60! Details and a complete list of all of the Pride events are available on the PG Pride website:  www.pgpride.com

Books & Co, Café Voltaire and ArtSpace are CLOSED on Sunday, July 1st for Canada Day so you’ve got a chance to go to the Huble Homestead’s Dominion Day Celebrations! Celebrate Canada the old fashioned way with contests, prizes and cake! Events run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and a family admission is only $10! (We like to give the Huble Homestead a shout out once in a while, their office is just off ArtSpace and they’re great neighbours) Don’t forget the fantastic children’s book Mr. Huble Builds a House (illustrated by another ArtSpace neighbour, June Swanky Parker) is available at Books & Co NOW!

Monday, July 2 is the latest installment of the Prince George Correspondents’ Club (that letter writing thing we do).  Come in and write a letter to whomever you want (seriously, it can be anybody) and we’ll give you a coffee or tea and stamps.  We’ll even mail your letters at the end of the night! So, whether you’re a regular writer or want to start writing, come and visit us! We encourage all kinds of correspondence, personal, professional, recreational, everything! The PGCC meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month!

Books & Co also has tickets to some of BC’s best music festivals! Hurry in for your ticket to the Robson Valley Music Festival (August 17 – 19 in Dunster) if you buy your tickets in advance they’re only $85 for all three days of spectacular music! For a complete list of the acts visit: http://www.robsonvalleymusicfestivalbc.com  And, we’ve also got tickets to the spectacular Music On the Mountain (MoM) Festival (August 24-26 in Ft. St. James).  Early bird tickets (you’ve got until July 31) are only $60 and your weekend pass includes camping! For a list of performers and activities visit: http://momfestival.com

That’s it for this week folks, for more information about upcoming events or just the cool things that happen here, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter and did you know we’ve got a blog?  Well we do, find out our thoughts on all things books related atbooksandcompany.wordpress.com

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Filed under Emails, Friday Nights at Cafe Voltaire, Literary Event