In the Black by B. Denham Jolly (7)

This is a story about getting your own voice in a community. It is a book with breath and depth that will make you think and that will lift you up and inspire you to be your best.

From Hanover Parish, Jamaica to Toronto, Canada, Jolly has been at the forefront of social activism for many years. His entrepreneurial ventures in Canada have been challenged by instances of systemic and casual racism since he immigrated to the country in the mid-50’s.

Unjust discrimination, however, has only fuelled his ambition to strengthen the voice of the Black community in Canada.

Among his many accomplishments, in 2001, Jolly successfully launched the first entirely Black-owned Canadian radio station called FLOW 93-5, which went on to act as a model for urban radio stations across the country. FLOW helped to launch the careers of artists like Shad, Jully Black and Drake, and created a voice and platform for the Black community in Canada.

This book is part memoir and part manifesto, documenting Jolly’s personal struggles while also chronicling the stories of an entire generation of social activists.  It is a passionate narrative about personal ambition, a community’s hardships and successes, and its search for a voice. It is a story about the search for social justice.

I loved this book from the beginning to end. I hope everyone who wants a serious yet uplifting memoir will read it.

Posted in Author from Ontario | Leave a comment

All Beauty is Now by Sarah Faker (6)

Well, here I am taking a reviewer’s vacation to Cape Breton. By reading this book, I am fulfilling by Canadian Book Review Challenge. It is also on the East Coast.  So, I am just going to keep reading from east to west during 2018-2018 for the Canadian Book Review Challenge.

This story is set in 1962 in Rio De Janeiro.  A young woman walks into the waters off a crowded beach and vanishes.

A year later, her family–once a golden family of their privileged community, now prepare to leave behind the seeming paradise of Brazil in the wake of their eldest daughter’s presumed drowning.

As they attend a series of goodbye parties and count down the days to their departure, we are taken into the heart of a family whose many charms belie more troubling truths.

There is the family’s charismatic father whose bipolar extremes are becoming increasingly disturbing. His long-suffering wife has made a mistake that has shattering consequences for the family she was meant to protect. And their two remaining daughters, both on the precipice of joining the adult world with all its secrets and lies. Then there is the lost daughter herself, a woman undone by her attempts to grasp at happiness.

This story captures the soul of a family living in the shadow of tragedy, one on the brink of a new life, if only they could make peace with the past.

This book is captivating and beautifully written.  It is so characteristic of East Coast writers.


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Get Real: 26 Canadian Women Share the Secrets of Authentic Success by Patricia Lovett-Reid (5)

I love books about successful Canadian women. There is nothing more uplifting than that.  And I always follow Patricia Lovett-Reid even on television every evening when she used to do the business report.

But this book is about something different.  It is about how women can achieve authentic success, and 26 accounts from women who have done just that. The book is a powerful testament to the fact that you can do anything that you put your mind to if it is authentic and real and not fabricated.

Another main theme of the book is that if you do what you love, and love what you do, you will be successful. This is TD Waterhouse senior Vice-President Patricia-Lovett Reid’s new guide to achieving happiness and success in both your personal and professional life.

While most women follow a conformist track in life, this book is about getting you on the authentic track in life–one that will lead to personal happiness and fulfillment, professional satisfaction and financial prosperity.

From finding your passion to getting real about relationships, career, money, lifestyle and life, Lovett-Reid offers valuable advice and real-life success stories from sports figures to CEOs to artists and broadcasters.

In this book, she shares their secret to authentic success for the very first time. These 26 Canadian women, along with Lovett-Reid herself, show how money, lifestyle and happiness are all part of the same package. Her message is that all of this is achievable for anyone looking to get real and stay real.

What a great message for all women, young and old. We tend to be followers and we never believe in ourselves enough to really think that we are good enough to do any great things. But we are.  Each and every one of us.  The trick is that we have to believe in ourselves first and foremost.  And this should be achievable, right?

Posted in Acceptance, Authenticity, Lives of Women, Ontario | Leave a comment

Vi by Kim Thuy (4)

Here is another wonderful book by Kim Thuy!  She is become one of the most cherished writers I have ever read!  And she is from Montreal, where I was born and raised.

Vi is a role model for all teen girls and women.  She is the youngest of four children and the only girl. Here name, Vi, means precious, tiny one.  She was destined to be cosseted and protected.  he was her family’s little treasure.

Vi is the daughter of an enterprising mother and a wealthy, spoiled father who never had to grow up. He lived through the Vietnam War. It destroyed the life they’ve known.  Vi, along with her mother and brothers managed to escape. But her father stays behind, leaving a painful void as the rest of the family must make a new life for themselves in Canada.

While her family puts down their roots in Canada, Vi has different life plans. As a young woman, she finds the world opening up to her. Taken under the wing of Ha, a worldly friend, and Ha’s diplomat lover, Vi tests personal boundaries and crosses international ones, letting the winds of life buffet her.

From Saigon to Montreal, from Suzhou to Boston to the fall of the Berlin Wall, she is witness to the immensity of the world, the intricate fabric of humanity, the complexity of love, and the infinite possibilities before her.  She is always the quiet observer. Somehow Vi must find a way to finally take her place in the world.

This is a coming of age story like no other.  I just loved every part of this story, and will recommend it to everyone I meet, especially young girls and women who feel lost and hopeless.  Vi is SO full of hope it is palpable through the pages of the book.


Posted in Author from Montreal, Berlin Wall | Leave a comment

Man by Kim Thuy (3)

Well, I am starting my journey across Canada for the Canadian Book Review challenge.  I will start with Montreal.

I love Kim Thuy.  I have read other books by her before and I am always impressed by how unique her style is and how gripping her stories are. This book doesn’t disappoint in this realm.

The story is about Man who has three mothers.  The first one gives birth to her in wartime, the second is a nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and lastly her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive.

Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Man a husband — a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal.

Thrown into a new world, Man discovers her natural talent as a chef.  Gracefully, she practices her art with food as her medium. She crates dishes that are much more than sustenance for the body: they evoke memory and emotion, time, and place, and even bring her customers to tears.

Man is a mystery–her name means perfect fulfillment, yet she and her husband seem to drift along, respectfully and dutifully. But when she encounters a married chef in Paris, everything changes in the instant of a fleeting touch, and Man discovers the all-encompassing obsession and every-present dangers of a love affair.

The story is full of indelible images of beauty, delicacy and quiet power. Man is a novel that begs to be savoured for its language, its sensuousness and its joie de vivre. It is a triumph of lucid grace and a moving meditation on how love and food are inextricably entwined.

I loved this book from start to finish.



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Heal Your Drained Brain by Dr. Mike Dow (2)

This is a book about how to relieve anxiety, combat insomnia, and balance your brain in just 14 days!  It is a book that will change your life. I just love books like this because given our quick-paced world that is full and busy with different distractions and noise, we need books like this to relieve us from the burdens of modern living. And this book delivers on all these fronts.

Who is anxious, frazzled or exhausted today.  Who isn’t constantly worrying. We all seem to be running on empty. Then because of living this way, we have a problem sleeping and getting comfortable in bed. As a result, our brain has become drained.

These days, it seems like everything in our day-to-day lives from our increasingly unpredictable world, to the smartphones we can’t stop using, to the processed foods we eat all day long, to the many hours we spend at our jobs is setting us up to feel drained.

The short-term effects of becoming drained are uncomfortable, but the long-term effects can be life-threatening. Left untreated, it can quadruple your risk of high blood pressure which is the number one cause of preventable death. Finding natural solutions to anxiety and insomnia is becoming increasingly vital as sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications and hospitalizations have seen a dramatic spike recently. More and more people are desperate to heal their drained brain.

In this book, Dr. Mike Dow offers a 2-week plan designed to help you naturally balance your brain. He explains what drains modern brains and which groups are wired for it, and provides clinically proven tools to help you feel less drained.

Dr. Mike Dow offers nutritional tips, recipes, cognitive behavioral tools, supplements, breathing techniques, self-hypnosis, and mindfulness. Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline go down as feel-good neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin levels rise.

When you balance your brain, you receive countless rewards. May we all learn how to balance our brains before we get so frazzled there is no getting out of our muddled mess.

There’s a reason that there is so much written about the topic of anxiety nowadays and why our levels of depression are soaring. This book is a must-read for everyone who is concerned about how their lives are going.

Posted in Brain drain, Mind, Mindfulness, Nonfiction, Nutrition, Publisher that has distribution in Canada, Self-Care | Leave a comment

Mind Platter by Najwa Zebian (1)

And here we go!  A brand new year unfolds!  I am SO excited for this year, and I look forward to getting to know some of the new and not so new members of this Canadian Book Review Challenge!

I will continue my summer reads segment every season. I think I will try to find seasonal reads every season that displays the season uniquely. This is because I love all the seasons of the year, especially here where we have four clearly demarcated seasons.

I loved this book!  It is a book that will keep readers reading and re-reading the book because of its depth and breath.

The book is structured in a unique way as short vignettes that are meaningful and will make the reader think.

The author covers topics such as staying true to yourself, resting your heart, let the mask fall off, be honest with others, how we treat others and how they treat us, care for the soul, don’t be shallow, how to be content, the power of silence, the philosophy of life, how to forgive and forget, how to protect your happiness, how to lead your heart, follow your soul, and much, much more.

I loved the book. These short snippets can be read once through or read and pondered slowly. The choice is yours. But it is a great summer read regardless of how you look at it!

Posted in Creativity, Critical thinking, Genuineness, Integrity, Lebanese-Canadian Author, Mind, Publisher that has distribution in Canada | Leave a comment