Sunday, 18 January 2015

Amnesia: A Novel by Peter Carey

A Novel
by Peter Carey

Hardcover, 320 pages

This was a bizarre trip of a book. Certainly original, intelligent and tangential in scope, it reads briskly and brusk in a mad dash to help a cyber activist. But really it hints and jabs, parries and thrusts at the much forgotten relationship between Australia and the CIA.

Edgy characters, edgy writing, edgy subject matter. Fun, smart, and completely unlike anything I have ever read before.

From the Back Flap:

From the two-time Booker Prize winner: a masterful, exceedingly timely new novel--at once dark, suspenseful and seriously funny--that takes us on a journey to the place where the cyber underworld of radicals and hackers collides with international power politics.

     When an internet virus throws open the gates at thousands of American prisons, the hacker turns out to be an unlikely young Australian woman. Has she declared cyber war on the United States or was her "Angel Worm" intended only to free the victims of Australia's immigration policies? Is she innocent? Can she be saved? The answers are up to journalist Felix Moore, a.k.a. Felix Moore-or-less-correct. His career is tanking when he gets this chance to write a biography that will vindicate the young woman. Funding is to be provided by an old friend--an outrageous millionaire property developer--and further impetus by an old flame: the young woman's actress mother whom Felix worshipped when they were at university together. And it will be our great good fortune to see the world through Felix's comic, cowardly, angry, yet fundamentally humane eyes as he attempts to save the young woman--and redeem himself in the bargain.

Peter Carey is the author of twelve previous novels and has twice received the Booker Prize. His other honors include the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Born in Australia, he has lived in New York City for the past twenty years.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - A Flavia de Luce Mystery

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
A Flavia de Luce Mystery
by Alan Bradley

Hardcover, 384 pages

Banished! Flavia de Luce has been sent, with disagreeable travelling companions, all the way to Canada to be schooled in her mother's Alma Mater.

Loneliness gives way to curiosity as the mysteries of the school, its history, staff, grounds and pupils consume our intrepid sleuth.

I think this is my favourite book of the series so far. We see Flavia a little more mature, less pinging off of the familiar family members and more relying on her own wits and sense of self.

I hope the series never ends.

From the Back Flap:

"One of the most remarkable creations in recent literature" (USA Today), Flavia de Luce, "part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire" (New York Times Book Review) is back in Alan Bradley's captivating internationally bestselling mystery series.

     Flavia rules! In this internationally bestselling series of enchanting mysteries, youthful chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce once again brings her knowledge of poisons and her indefatigable spirit to solve dastardly crimes--but this time, she leaves behind her beloved English countryside, and takes her sleuthing prowess to the unexpectedly unsavory world of Canadian boarding schools!

ALAN BRADLEY was born in Toronto and grew up in Cobourg, Ontario. He coauthored Ms. Holmes of Baker Street, to great acclaim and much controversy, followed by a poignant memoir, The Shoebox Bible. Now the internationally bestselling author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, A Red Herring without Mustard, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, Speaking from Among the Bones and Dead in Their Vaulted Arches. Bradley lives with his wife and two calculating cats, where he is at work on future Flavia de Luce mysteries.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Girl on the Train: A Novel

The Girl on the Train
A Novel
by Paula Hawkins
Trade Paperback, 320 pages

Wow. Wow. Wow.

This book blew me away. I would say that it is my favourite this year, but as it is only the first week of the year... it hardly seems fair to such a phenomenal book.

It had me at "hello".

Each page draws you in further into the lives and psyches of three women and deeper into the connections between them.

In a twist on Rear Window, a chance glimpse of wrong-doing in what otherwise looked like the perfect household has Rachel hooked on figuring out what is going on. Unfortunately she has more than a few of her own problems and the mystery gets murkier. Each attempt to help putting her and those around her in jeopardy.

I loved every second. It travelled with me everywhere until I was done.

I also feel somewhat more psychologically healthy after living in these tormented minds.

From the Back Flap:

Three women, three men, connected through marriage or infidelity. Each is to blame for something. But only one is a killer in this nail-biting, stealthy psychological thriller about human frailty and obsession.

Just what goes on in the houses you pass by every day?

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared.
     Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan's body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage.
     A sinister and twisting story that will keep you guessing at every turn, The Girl on the Train is a high-speed chase for the truth.

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in London. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller. It is being published all over the world and has been optioned by Dreamworks.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.

Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle
Transform Your Body Forever 
Using the Secrets of the Leanest People in the World
By Tom Venuto

Trade Paperback, 400 pages

To tell you the truth - I likely would not have picked this book up in the local bookstore. I am not into fad type diet regimens and am also a little on the lazy side. But at this time of year... and not having gotten back into exercising since an illness almost a year ago... I figured I would give it a go.

Truly, I found the book to be tremendously helpful. With a 4-fold path of mental training, cardio, resistance training and nutrition, Tom Venuto helps you to get on to a permanent fitness lifestyle that is based on, and adaptable, to your body type, goals, and lifestyle.

I found myself inspired and excited to start working on getting my goals written down and met. He gives information and encouragement in every aspect that you can imagine - and helped me realize just why I have had so much trouble in the past.

I heartily encourage you to give this a read. After all, you only have that muffin top to lose, and energy to gain.

Contents Include:

Part 1: Philosophy
  • Chapter 1 Fat-Burning Secrets of the Leanest People in the World
  • Chapter 2 Why Diets Fail and Why This Plan Won't
  • Chapter 3 Understanding Your Body Type and Customizing Your Plan
Part 2: The L.E.A.N. Plan of Action
  • Establish Your Baseline
  • Chapter 4 Measuring Body Composition
  • Chapter 5 Tracking Progress: The Feedback Loop System That Won't Let You Fail
Learn: Mental Training (The First Element)
  • Chapter 6 Setting Goals and Training Your Mind
Eat: Nutrition (The Second Element)
  • Chapter 7 Understanding Calories
  • Chapter 8 Balance Your Macronutrients 
  • Chapter 9 Good Fats, Bad Fats
  • Chapter 10 Protein, the Muscle Builder and Metabolic Stimulator
  • Chapter 11 Clearing Up Carbohydrate Confusion
  • Chapter 12 Hydrate Like an Athlete and Burn More Fat
  • Chapter 13 Nutrient Timing
  • Chapter 14 The Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle Meal Planning System
Activate: Cardio Training (The Third Element)
  • Chapter 15 Maximize Your Fat Loss with Cardio Training
New Body: Weight Training (The Fourth Element)
  • Chapter 16 Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle Weight Training: The Principles
  • Chapter 17 Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle Weight Training: The Program
The Next Level: Advanced Strategies
  • Chapter 18 Breaking Plateaus 
  • Chapter 19 How to Accelerate Your Fat Loss

From the Back Flap:

Tom Venuto's "Bible of Fat Loss"--Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle--unlocks the nutrition, training, and motivation secrets of the leanest, fittest people in the world. Now available in a new print edition, this guide to total body transformation has been completely revised and updated.

Tom Venuto has trained hundreds of men and women in person and thousands online through his fitness websites. When Venuto self-published his fat-burning system as an ebook, he was able to help more than 300,000 people in 154 countries transform their bodies with the same insider methods he had tested and proven on himself and his personal clients for over two decades.

Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle teaches the four elements of body transformation, including a fat-burning food plan that can be customized for your body type, a new 28-day training plan for sculpting lean muscle, and the motivation strategies for sticking with your plan. The program is not about getting as ripped as a fitness model or becoming a bodybuilder like Tom did (unless you want to), it's about using their secrets to achieve your own goals to get permanent results the healthy, safe, and natural way.

TOM VENUTO is a fat-loss expert, health and fitness writer, and steroid-free bodybuilder. Tom holds a degree in exercise science and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the International Society for Sports Nutrition, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO).