Author Archives: Kim

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  An unpublished author querying a complete stranger via social media?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

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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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Thank you. All of you.

(Image found @ The Reasonably Prudent Law Student)

I just got home.  Just walked in the door.  Just sat down.

I need to say thank you.  To you.  All of you.  And to Books & Co.

Because of a personal scheduling mishap I was able to pick up a shift tonight to help a friend.  This was the first time I’d worked the Books & Co. register for the better part of two years.  After I got my bearings and started to lose some of my OMG-what-am-I-doing-!? stress, I had a blast!

I got to play with books, talk about books, got to know one of your amazing Booksters I had not had the pleasure of working with until this evening, caught up with some of my favourite (regular) people and was able to catch Eric Tompkins and Tom Young in action!  You made it possible.  You, the outstanding patrons ofPrince George’s favourite independent bookshop.  And you, the phenomenal Booksters and Voltarians – the people I look up to and envy the heck out of!

Thank you, all of you, for making this an awesome night!  You are truly the finest that Prince George has to offer.  You absolutely rock!

City and Colour – Fragile Bird

UNT.

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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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Book review: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I finally did it folks, I jumped on the Hunger Games bandwagon.

Absolutely outstanding.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded y twelve outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. 

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games.  But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature.  Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.  But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (The Hunger Games book jacket.)

A post-apocalyptic, dystopian tale beginning with the incredible, macabre The Hunger Games and ending with the shocking, appalling and encouragingly hopeful Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games trilogy is written from the (first person) perspective of heroine Katniss Everdeen, District Twelve candidate and champion of the seventy-fourth Hunger Games: a brutal fight-to-the-death between twenty-four children, televised for mandatory viewing by all citizens of Panam.  The sixteen-year-old daughter of Panam’s mining district finds her life turned upside down when her beloved young sister, Primrose (Prim), is chosen as Hunger Games tribute for their district.  Though wisely fearful of the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place in them without hesitation.

While intended for a young-adult (fourteen to twenty-two-year-olds, roughly) audience, The Hunger Games trilogy has something for everyone.  Collins has given us an opportunity to study the fall and subsequent recreation of her imagined society: a post-apocalyptic world where Nineteen Eighty-Four meets Lord of the Flies, with hints of A Brave New World.  If you take a look beyond the horror and gloom of cataclysmic themes, this series is about hope.  Here you have a collection of characters, surviving an unforgiving world, who are heaved into unimaginable trials.  The major players in these books – Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne, Haymitch Abernathy and even Finnick Odair – travelled the road from innocence to experience.  Sure they had all witnessed cruelty, tragedy and tyranny, from the get-go, but they were also always distanced from it.  The Hunger Games changed that, for those directly involved in them and for those whose loved ones were directly involved in them.  All the same, they fought on.  Katniss, despite her inner turmoil, is an incredibly strong, capable and independent woman who did not give up and did not stop finding ways to thumb her nose at despotic Capitol even when she knew that such egregious insult could cost her her life.  Even Peeta, while suffering grievous injury, neither slowed nor backed down in the face of adversity.  In both of these character cases tucking tail and running would result in pain to their loved ones and would strengthen Capitol’s hold on the districts and their people.  Katniss, Peeta and their family and friends fought because they believed it would help.  They loved, they lost, they grieved and, ultimately, they hoped.  Not a bad lesson.

My only real objection in this series is static nature of several of Collins’s characters.  She spent a great deal of energy, understandably and rightly, on Katniss, so much so that some of her other principles felt a little hollow.  Most glaringly, and unfortunately, Peeta and Gale.  Where they should have been just as dynamic and sympathetic, they were a bit too “Edward and Jacob” for my liking.  Though inherently more valuable (and considerably better written), these men seemed to act as little more than love interests for Katniss (neither of whom she was terribly passionate about) or plot drivers.  Miss Everdeen stands in the ranks of Princess Cimorene and Hermione while Peeta and Gale stumble to keep up.  It’s a terrible shame, they have great potential.

All in all?  An amazing read.  I can’t recommend the series enough.  It makes a fabulous gift for your favourite reader or a wonderful treat for yourself!  Pick up a copy . . . at Books & Co.  Then have a soup and a Panini, or a muffin and a coffee.  And read.

PS. The Hunger Games is going to be released as a feature film this month (March 23, 2012)!

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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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September 20 – Upcoming Events Email!

Hello Prince George, we hope this note finds you well!

Local percussionist Tony Tabora will be in Café Voltaire on Friday September 23rd at 8pm with vocalists Zona and Gail!  This will be a fabulous showcase of Prince George’s local talent!  We can’t wait to see you at Books & Co. for this amazing, 100% free show!

Canadian darling singer-songwriter Garnet Rogers is returning to Prince George on September 21st and will be at Artspace at 8pm!  You won’t want to miss this gentleman and his “smooth, dark baritone” and “literate, passionate, highly sensitive, and deeply purposeful” music.  There is a reason Rogers has been lauded “one of the major talents of our time” – come down to Books & Co. and discover that reason on Wednesday!  Tickets are $20 each and are available at Books & Co.!

Please join us in welcoming local wordsmith Vivien Lougheed to the Artspace stage as she launches her new book Sidetracked: The Struggle for BC’s Fossils from 7-10pm on Thursday September 22nd!  On her visit, Vivien will talk about this thrilling new book in which she “tells the fascinating tale of the [Monroe Dinosaur Trackway]’s discovery and, in the telling, weaves in stories of other major fossil finds in British Columbia and across North America, many of which demonstrate how egos, turf wars and a lack of resources diminish the science of palaeontology.”  Exhilarating indeed!  You do not want to miss this event!

From 7-10pm on Friday, September 23rd the contributing authors of British Columbia’s Inland Rainforest: Ecology, Conservation and Management will be at Artspace for an evening celebrating the paperback edition of their landmark book and they want you to join them!  Please come up to Artspace and meet the authors of this exciting book, which “illuminates the unique ecology of BC’s other rainforest, the one 500km inland, and provides  insight into the physical, social and ecological dimensions of the rainforest.”

We have another author event for you!  At 7pn on Friday September 30th please join us in Artspace for a visit from Andrew Nikiforuk and Charlotte Gill as they give a reading from their books Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests and Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe!  Very poignant, very timely subject matter!

Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard will be taking the Artspace stage on October 13th at 8pm!  How many times have you walked passed the registers at Books & Co. and chuckled at the staff as they sing along to the Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard classic VLT?  Too many to count – absolutely!  Tickets for this spectacular show are $25 each and are available now at Books & Co.!

One of our very favourite performers is returning to the Artspace stage!  That’s right folks, Roy “Bim” Forbes is coming back to Prince George at 8pm on October 21st!  You won’t want to miss this Canadian musical juggernaut who truly needs no introduction!  Tickets for this event are $25 each and are available at Books & Co.!

That’s it for this week, folks!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (we love your feedback), Twitter (140 characters or less), our blog and on our fantastic homepage!

 

 

 

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September 9 – Upcoming Events Email!

To Prince George and beyond,

This Friday (September 9th) evening Books & Co. and Café Voltaire are proud to announce that Prince George’s very own Karl Standeven will take the Friday Night Mics stage at 8pm!  This singing and song-writing Blues guitarist is bound to knock your socks off!  Please c’mon down to the café, grab a coffee and a seat and take in this absolutely free performance by one of PG’s finest!

Retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Charles Scheideman is proud to announce the printing of a sequel to his wildly popular Policing the Fringe: The Curious Life of a Small-Town Mountie!  His new book Tragedy on Jackass Mountain: More Stories from a Small-Town Mountie is chalk full of the same wry humour and irresistible small-town-Canada stories you loved in Policing the Fringe!  Better yet – Scheideman is visiting Books & Co. at 2pm on Saturday September 10th to chat with you, swap shop talk, read from his new book and sign your dog-earred copies of his books!  See you there!

Come down to Café Voltaire Tuesday September 13th at 6pm and join members of the Prince George Safe Water Coalition as they come together for a Safe Water Panel to discuss water safety in Prince George and its mighty region.

The very next day, Wednesday September 14th, we are hosting another epic instalment of Café Scientifique!  Come down to the shop for 7pm for a scientifique discussion (we have not been advised of the topic yet, but we’re sure it’s going to be fabulous . . . and we’ll let you know as soon as we do)!

Your favourite Booksters have something very special planned for you and your family on Sunday September 18th at 2pm!  Come down to the shop for the Roald Dahl Day Peach Party!  Did you know that James and the Giant Peach was first published 50 years ago!?  Join us for a reading from that epic young adult novel and stay to play and make new monsters like those that menace your beloved Dahl heroes!  AND!  Your monster masterpieces will be posted and strung all around Books & Co. to strike fear into the hearts of customers and staff alike . . . or you can take them home to play and scare the wits out of your siblings, parents and friends!  This is going to be a super fun (and free) event – please c’mon down!

Oh family, friends and fans – we have some amazing musical acts lined up for you in the coming weeks!  We’re starting on September 21st at 8pm with “one of the major talents of our time” Garnet Rogers (tickets are $20 and available now at Books & Co.)!  Then, on October 13th at 8pm, we are so excited to present Canadian greats Valdy & Gary Fjellgaard (so excited – how many times have you walked passed the Books & Co. counter and saw your favourite Booksters singing along to VLT?  Too many to count – you’re absolutely right) – tickets for this event are $25 each and also available now!  Finally, on October 21st at 8pm, Canadian musical juggernaut Roy Forbes is returning to the Artspace stage!  That’s right, we have tickets for that show available for you now for $25 each!

Please join us in welcoming local wordsmith Vivien Lougheed to the Artspace stage as she launches her new book Sidetracked: The Struggle for BC’s Fossils from 7-10pm on Thursday September 22nd!  On her visit, Vivien will talk about this thrilling new book in which she “tells the fascinating tale of the [Monroe Dinosaur Trackway]’s discovery and, in the telling, weaves in stories of other major fossil finds in British Columbia and across North America, many of which demonstrate how egos, turf wars and a lack of resources diminish the science of palaeontology.”  Exhilarating indeed!  You do not want to miss this event!

From 7-10pm on Friday, September 23rd the contributing authors of British Columbia’s Inland Rainforest: Ecology, Conservation and Management will be at Artspace for an evening celebrating the paperback edition of their landmark book and they want you to join them!  Please come up to Artspace and meet the authors of this exciting book, which “illuminates the unique ecology of BC’s other rainforest, the one 500km inland, and provides  insight into the physical, social and ecological dimensions of the rainforest.”

Books & Co. is very proud to announce the birth (so to speak) of another new project of our own!  We have a brand new book club for all of the new parents in the crowd!  The Shhhh, Mommy’s (or Daddy’s) Reading book club has been designed for new parents who need to get out of the house to chit-chat about new literature and who are curious about new titles their new little bundles of joy would enjoy listening to just before bedtime!  While the books discussed won’t just be about babies and parenting, we may just throw one or two in for fun!  Our inaugural meeting is scheduled for Monday September 26th at 10am in Café Voltaire, where the books The Help by Katherin Stockett and Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin will be discussed.  Please come out and socialize over books, coffee and scones with us!

We have another author event for you!  At 7pm on Friday September 30th please join us in Artspace for a visit from Andrew Nikiforuk and Charlotte Gill as they give a reading from their books Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests and Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe!  Very poignant, very timely subject matter!

That’s it for this week, folks!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (we love your feedback), Twitter (140 characters or less) and on our fantastic homepage!

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September 1 – Upcoming Events Email!

Hello Prince George and surrounding area!  Welcome to back-to-school and frosty mornings!

We’re at it again!  This Friday, September 2nd, at 8pm Café Voltaire and Books & Co. are pleased to be hosting another Open Mic Night!  We know that Prince George has got talent and we could not be more pleased to provide a stage for it!  Bring your comedy routine, guitar solos or tap shoes and show us what you’ve got!  Or if you’re not quite ready to take the stage yourself, drop in and watch!  As always this event – that Eric Tompkins promises us will be “superific” – is 100% free of charge!

Retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Charles Scheideman is proud to announce the printing of a sequel to his wildly popular Policing the Fringe: The Curious Life of a Small-Town Mountie!  His new book Tragedy on Jackass Mountain: More Stories from a Small-Town Mountie is chalk full of the same wry humour and irresistible small-town-Canada stories you loved in Policing the Fringe!  Better yet – Scheideman is visiting Books & Co. at 2pm on Saturday September 10th to chat with you, swap shop talk, read from his new book and sign your dog-earred copies of his books!  See you there!

Books & Co. is very proud to announce the birth (so to speak) of another new project of our own!  We have a brand new book club for all of the new parents in the crowd!  The Shhhh, Mommy’s (or Daddy’s) Reading book club has been designed for new parents who need to get out of the house to chit-chat about new literature and who are curious about new titles their new little bundles of joy would enjoy listening to just before bedtime!  While the books discussed won’t just be about babies and parenting, we may just throw one or two in for fun!  Our inaugural meeting is scheduled for Monday September 26th at 10am in Café Voltaire, where the books The Help by Katherin Stockett and Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin will be discussed.  Please come out and socialize over books, coffee and scones with us!

And hey?  About those frosty mornings?  Café Voltaire has a wide variety of amazing hot beverages to take the chill off – hot chocolate, coffee and lattés, oh my!

That’s it for this week, folks!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (we love your feedback), Twitter (140 characters or less) and on our fantastic homepage!

 

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August 10 – Upcoming Events Email!

Welcome to another stunning week and the beginning of the PGX weekend!

This Friday, August 12th, we have southern Ontario belle Andrea Gauster in Café Voltaire!  Andrea’s mission this week: “to folk you up!”  Please come down to the shop at 8pm this Friday for an amazing show presented by this gifted singer/songwriter!  As always, we’re proud to present this show completely free of charge!

We have a super special treat for all of our writers, wannabe-writers and anyone entertaining the thought of someday putting a pen to a piece of paper for any reason whatsoever THIS Wednesday, August 10th!  C’mon down to Café Voltaire at 7pm for a meeting with the members of the Federation of BC Writers!  This event will be hosted by PG darling Vivien Lougheed (FBCW’s Northern Representative), will feature an introduction to the Federation by FBCW President (the honourable) Craig Spence, and will be graced by readings from local legends Jacqueline Baldwin, Joylene Nowell Butler (who you may remember from this month’s author visit to Café Voltaire) and a host of other awesome homegrown talent!  Another amazing event you do not want to miss!

Remember when we told you that local gent Ray Olson just published his first book From Liaboe to Loos and Beyond, which he described as “a collection of stories and photographs tracing the Olson/Liaboe family’s migration from Liaboe, Norway to the U.S. and on to the Fraser River/Robson Valley?”  Well guess what!  Ray is slated to visit the shop on Saturday August 21st at 1pm for a signing and chit-chat about his exciting new book!  This is another absolutely free event and we strongly encourage your attendance, it’s going to be fascinating!

Author of House Calls by Dogsled and Cold Land, Warm Hearts and another of Books & Co.’s favourites, Keith Billington is returning to the shop on Tuesday August 23rd! You may remember Keith from one of his past visits to Books & Co. and if you do, you’ll remember the stories he’s told about the times when he and his wife Muriel lived in a village just South of Inuvik and how they provided stanch care throughout the 1960s, most importantly you’ll remember that they have incredible tales of sending a dogsled over a frozen waterfall, or of being towed behind a snowmobile on a frozen river while wearing water skiis, all in the line of duty!  If you don’t remember, haven’t heard the stories before, or are just super interested in this amazing man and his breathtaking stories, please visit the store at 7pm for a slideshow, signing and chat with Keith about his life and work!  This event is absolutely free and we can’t wait to see you there!

On Wednesday August 24th we have a fantastic adventure in music for you!  Join us upstairs as Ingrid Gatin and Matthew Tomlinson take the Artspace stage at 8pm!  Gatin, one of Winnipeg’s finest, is travelling across Canada “with her signature accordion, piano, vocals, handclaps, foot-stomps and tambourine!”  Tickets are $10 each and are available at Books & Co.!

May we jog your memory again?  Do you recall the book Policing the Fringe: The Curious Life of a Small-Town Mountie?  Well!  The author of that popular book, Charles Scheideman, is at it again!  He has recently released a new book Tragedy on Jackass Mountain: More Stories from a Small-Town Mountie to add more of his incredible experiences as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, harnessing the same wry humour you loved in his first book!  Better yet?  Scheideman will be at Books & Co. on Saturday September 10th at 2pm to chat with you, swap shop talk, read from his new book and sign your dog-earred copy!  Don’t miss this event!

If you’ve found that you’re not a big fan of banned books and nitty-gritty non-fiction just aren’t your bag, we’ve got another opportunity for you to get your book on!  This brand new book club is geared to get you and your lil’ tyke out of the house, get you some much needed adult conversation and get you as far away from Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po and Tinky Winky as is physically possible!  That’s right folks, a Mom and Dad book club, the Shhhh, Mommy’s (or Daddy’s) Reading book club – specially designed for new parents who need to get out of the house.  The books discussed will not just be about babies and parenting, but we promise that they will be easy to read while Little Angel is taking a nap and so riveting you won’t want to put them down at bedtime!  The first meeting for this book club is Monday September 12th at 10am in Café Voltaire and the first books to read and discuss are The Help by Katherin Stockett and Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin.  Can’t wait to see you!

That’s it for this week, folks!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (we love your feedback), Twitter (140 characters or less) and on our fantastic homepage!

Enjoy the rest of your (beautiful sun-shiny) week!  For those of you attending the 99th Annual PGX – have a wonderful, safe and super fabulous time!  For the rest of you – you have a wonderful, safe and super fabulous time, too!

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