Tag Archives: Brian Brennan

Best Books Read in 2016 – Part 2

In Part 1, I listed all the Indie-Authored Books I had read this year that I considered to be the Best Books I Read in 2016.

During 2016, I was fortunate to read many other books, traditionally published, that I considered to be excellent. Some authors I list here are new-to-me and were recommended by reader friends – who definitely did not steer me wrong! Other authors are long-time favourites, some who I have promoted on Reading Recommendations and this blog (links to those promotions are included here), and a few are personal friends who I have known for many years in real life and whose writing I have always enjoyed.

These books are not listed in any particular order at all, but every one receives at least a 5-star rating from me.

So I give you Part 2 of the Best Books I Read in 2016!

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A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, Brett-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman
Without a doubt, Backman is one of the very best “discoveries” in years! Not only are all three novels good, the writing is consistently good and I am now a fan for life, eagerly waiting for the next book by this author to be translated into English and available to read. If I were to rate books, I would give this author 11 stars on a scale of 10.

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Running Toward Home and Odd One Out by Betty Jane Hegerat
I recently reread Running Toward Home, Betty Jane’s first published novel, and read her new novel, Odd One Out, shortly after it was released. As with everything Betty Jane writes, i enjoyed both immensely!

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig
Sadly, this was his final book as Doig died earlier this year. He had long been one of my favourite authors.

Brief Encounters by Brian Brennan

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
I reread this important book on writing and wrote a blog post about it.

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What’s Left Behind by Gail Bowen
The 16th book in Bowen’s Joanne Kilbourn novels and I have every one! I was Gail’s sales rep for the first book way back in the early 90s.

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

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Mennonites Don’t Dance by Darcie Friesen Hossack, published by Thistledown Press
I reread this book recently and it’s now available as an eBook. Darcie and I first “met” online when we were students in the Humber School of Creative Writing, but did not meet in person until she published this collection of short stories in 2010.

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Well-deserved winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The Hanging Girl by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Number 6 in the Department Q series of crime novels by an accomplished Danish author. I’ve read them all and am eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

In the Woods (series) by Tana French
I thought so highly of the writing of this first novel by French that I immediately read the next three in the Dublin Murder Squad series and have the fifth book on hold at the library.

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The Three Sisters Bar & Hotel by Katherine Govier

Nutshell by Ian McEwan
McEwan is another long-time faourite author who never disappoints. With this book, I think he may win the award for “Most Unusual Narrator Ever”! (AND … I just discovered Ian and I share the same birthday, June 21st!)

Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: an organizing guide by Daniel Hunter
I received a free download of this book and found it a fascinating read on organizing activists. An excellent book for these current times …

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The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee
Lewis and I not only worked at similar jobs during our careers (bookseller, sales rep, writer), we repped the same publisher at the same time during the 1990s! The link above will take you to the blog post I wrote about Lewis and his book.

And here’s a link to Part 3 in this series.

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One Woman’s Island – more advance praise!

As I prepare the manuscript to be sent off for eBook formatting and online sales, I’m also receiving great blurbs about the new novel, One Woman’s Island, from advance readers who offered to write a review for promotion purposes.

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Great news, Susan Toy fans! The long-awaited sequel to her acclaimed novel, Island in the Clouds, has finally arrived. With a sharp eye for description and a well-tuned ear for dialogue (and local dialect!) Toy tells how a recently widowed Canadian woman moves to the tiny Caribbean island of Bequia to find solace, only to discover it’s not quite the paradise she hoped for. A tasty meal of storytelling that comes with complementary recipes!
~ Brian Brennan, Postmedia newspapers best-selling author

One Woman’s Island blends up a splash of sun and fun, with a hearty dose of reality about island life and its people. Toss in a murder or two and you have the perfect recipe for a memorable visit in paradise. Susan Toy has once again toured us around the island of Bequia, where she’s shown us that all is not as it appears in this lush and tropical setting, and that people often hide their flaws and indiscretions not only from the world, but also from themselves. P.S. I think this book should come with a warning that snacks will be necessary to stave off the hunger incited by the contents!
~ Cheryl Schenk, author of The Stibil Forest Adventures: Little Synni’s Moonlight Mischief

I just finished reading One Woman’s Island and thought it was splendid. Once again, Susan Toy brings the real Bequia to a fictional world and uses that combination to great effect. Toy does a wonderful job with the characters’ emotional lives and backstories, using a certain level of implication about a lot of it, which I always like. This wasn’t just the main character, Mariana’s, romp in Bequia. It was a powerful effort to make sense of her life up till then and to figure out, in many ways, who she really is. It’s a character study and an exploration of a foreign culture, maybe on the order of Under the Tuscan Sun. Congratulations to Susan Toy on another feather in the Bequia Perspectives cap!
~ Kevin Brennan, editor and author of Parts Unknown, Yesterday Road, Occasional Soulmates, Town Father

And here’s the link to a previous review I received from Felicity Harley!

Thanks to all reviewers! I’ll share more reviews and blurbs with you here as I receive them.

Brian Brennan – “Brief Encounters” in Facts & Opinions

BrianB-03E square web Brian Brennan, a journalist and author currently living in Calgary, Alberta, was previously featured on my promotion blog, Reading Recommendations in Nov. 2013. When I read Brian’s memoir, Leaving Dublin, I was fascinated by the numerous stories he told of meeting and interviewing various celebrities of stage and screen for a column he wrote at the time for the Calgary Herald. I thought there could be value in resurrecting these original columns and repurposing them as new pieces, so I made the suggestion to Brian and was delighted when he wrote this blog post explaining the genesis of his new Brief Encounters column in the online journalism magazine, Facts & Opinions. Brian is a founding feature writer with the magazine and his profile of Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, the first original feature in the journal’s inaugural issue, won Runner-up, Best Feature Article, in the 2014 Professional Writers Association of Canada Awards. (This is a very interesting magazine, available only online by subscription, that has been able to sustain itself, so far, without advertising revenue. So, if you are interested in reading quality non-fiction journalism, you may want to consider subscribing.)

Now the very good news Brian has permitted me to share with you here is that he will eventually be gathering all of his original interview pieces together and publishing them in book form! Congratulations, Brian!

Traditionally Published Authors on Reading Recommendations

I recently reblogged a post by Dylan Hearn in which he pledged to support his fellow self-published Authors and “Pay It Forward” by buying, reading and reviewing their books. In that blog post, I listed eight self-published Authors who had been promoted on Reading Recommendations – Authors whose writing had impressed me.

I also said I’d be back with a list of traditionally published Authors I have featured on my blog … again, those whose writing has impressed me, or whose books I’ve read and enjoyed immensely. (I am only listing Authors here if I’ve actually read one of their books. I still have many books yet to read, so I will no doubt be adding to this list at a later date.)

So, in alphabetical order, here is my list of traditionally published Authors! (All links take you to their promo page on Reading Recommendations.)

Brian Brennan
Katherine Govier
Linda Granfield
Jacqueline Guest
Betty Jane Hegerat
Rebecca Heishman
Barb Howard
Dave Margoshes (While I have not yet read this book nor the latest being published in Sept., I do know that Dave is a fine writer!)
David A. Poulsen

Now that I look back over this list, I realize most of these Authors have been writing and publishing for many years (a few of them for many, many years!) and I know most of them personally, having met all but one during my career as a bookseller and sales rep. In fact, I was a sales rep for four of these authors! So many good memories, and I’m pleased that all are still writing and publishing.

I highly recommend the books by all of these traditionally published Authors!

Reading Recommendations – a wrap-up for 2013

It’s been just over a month since I began posting to a new blogsite, Reading Recommendations, where I ask authors to reply to a list of questions, to tell us a bit about themselves and their work, and ask that they in turn recommend an author or book they are reading. I’m very pleased with the response I received from authors – some known to me, some recommended to me, and others who contacted me out of the blue – and have been happy to give all of them some promotion on this site. I thought that, since I was taking a break from this blog over the holiday season, it might be interesting to recap what’s been happening over there on Reading Recommendations, just in case you readers of this main blogsite have not yet gone over there to check it out. I’ve created some handy-dandy lists for you with links to all the authors. I’m hoping this will be of help to those of you who are seeking out your next great read!

For those who read according to an author’s nationality …

Canadians (A = Alberta author): Michael Fay, Mike Martin, Inge Bremer-Truman (A), Brian Brennan (A), Lisa Bowes (A), John Gilchrist (A), Lockard Young, Jerry Auld (A), Jacqueline Guest (A), Jo Dibblee (A)

US Authors: Armand Rosamilia, Tim Baker, Melanie Neale

UK Authors: Mitzi Szereto, Bridget Whelan, Maria Savva

And here is a list of genres …

Fiction:
Armand Rosamilia (Horror)
Tim Baker (Thriller/Suspense)
Michal Fay (Literary Fiction/Longform Short Story)
Mike Martin (Mystery)
Inge Bremer-Truman (Coming-of-age Novel)
Mitzi Szereto (Erotica)
Jerry Auld (Mountain Short Stories)
Maria Savva (Dark Fiction/Short Stories)

Non-Fiction:
Brian Brennan (Autobiography)
John Gilchrist (Restaurant Reviews)
Bridget Whelan (Writing Instruction)
Jo Dibblee (Memoir)
Melanie Neale (Memoir)

Children and Teens:
Lisa Bowes (Picture Book)
Lockard Young (Middle Grade Fiction)
Jacqueline Guest (Teen Fiction)

And a list of the authors/books each featured author has recommended …

Tim Baker’s Unfinished Business and Mark Tufo’s Zombie Fallout 7
Greg Isle’s Black Cross
Bruce Hunter’s In the Bear’s House
Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda
Fran Kimmel’s The Shore Girl
Wayne Grady’s Emancipation Day
Lisa Wheeler’s Dino Baseball
Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project
Will Ferguson’s 419
Jaclyn Aurore’s Standing Up
Jennifer Bogart’s Remember Newvember
Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game
Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses
Flann O’Brien’s At Swim Two-Birds
Lois Lowry’s The Giver
Andrew Peters’s Blues Detective series and Joe Soap
Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Cecelia M. Fernandez’s Leaving Little Havana

For 2014, I have already heard from four Canadian authors (all Albertans!), and one author each from the US and UK, so I’m excited to continue bringing you even more Reading Recommendations in the months to come!

If you are a published author (self or traditional, in print or eBook format) and would like to be featured on the Reading Recommendations site in 2014, please read the About Page on the site and contact me.

And if you are a Reader or an Author and have not yet subscribed to Reading Recommendations – what are you waiting for???

Reading Recommendations – 7 Authors Listed!

And many more to come!

If you haven’t yet checked out the site since I first announced its inception, you may want to mosey on over to Reading Recommendations and find out about some terrific authors and their books. There are now seven authors listed and many more queued up for posting on the site in the coming weeks. You may read now about Armand Rosamilia, Tim Baker, J. Michael Fay, Mike Martin, Inge Bremer-Trueman, Brian Brennan and Lisa Bowes. There’s already something here for everyone: Horror, mysteries, coming-of-age fiction suitable for teens and adults, short stories, a picture book for children, and an autobiography. There are print books and eBooks listed by American as well as Canadian authors, and each author has provided us with links where their books may be purchased. You’ll also read about the authors’ own reading recommendations!

Coming up – watch for more fiction for adults, a just-published eBook (the first from a brand new ePublisher!), a restaurant review guide for Calgary and area, and erotica as well, all written by Canadian and UK authors. As I said earlier, there will be something here for everyone! So please, subscribe to the Reading Recommendations site and receive notice every time I post a new listing. You never know what new author you will stumble across on there …

And, Authors, please remember that you too may be listed on this new promotion site. Just read the About Page for information on how to submit your name for consideration.

ABC Friday Reads – Brian Brennan and Lee Kvern

This week, I’m recommending books for your weekend reading pleasure that are written by two Alberta authors who are currently serving as writers-in-residence in Calgary. I have had the opportunity this week to consult with both authors on my own writing, so I wanted to give them a shout-out for making themselves available to emerging writers and so ably helping all of us improve our writing, as well as continuing to write and publish their own fine work.

Brian Brennan is this year’s Calgary Public Library Writer-in-Residence with an office in the Memorial Park Branch. Brian’s most recent books are his own story and the history of the Calgary Public Library.

Leaving Dublin: Writing My Way from Ireland to Canada
Paperback ISBN: 978-1926855745
Published Rocky Mountain Books
Inspiring Life Stories: 100 Years of Calgary Public Library
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1926832-11-1
Published by Calgary Public Library

Lee Kvern is the Canadian Author’s Association writer-in-residence this year and is meeting with writers at Owl’s Nest Bookstore in Calgary. Lee’s most recent novel was published in 2011.

The Matter of Sylvie
Paperback ISBN: 9781926972220
Published by Brindle & Glass