Island Fog by John Vanderslice & Giveaway (US/Canada)

January 16th, 2015

fogIsland Fog by John Vanderslice is an intriguing and dark collection of eleven short stories and since I enjoy the darker side of things I enjoyed it. The stories of Island Fog are linked together by the setting of Nantucket Island and the theme of the stories themselves and they range from 1795 to 2005 so the historical aspect of this collection is especially interesting. Island Fog is a novel to savor slowly – pick it up, read a story, and then reflect on it before indulging in the next one. The dark tone has made many of these stories hard to forget.

The first five stories are historical in nature. They deal with the Quakers, Native Americans, racism and more. The following six stories focus more on the island and its inhabitants. I really enjoyed these stories and the disturbing quality to some of them. Of course I liked some of the stories more than others but a few personal favorites were On Cherry Street which is about a woman who decides she may not be as distressed about being a widow as she should be. Another was Taste which is a very twisted story and that’s all I can say about it without giving away something important about it. Needless to say it is still foremost in my mind. The last I’ll share as a favorite was called Island Fog. This one combines magical realism and illusion with what one perceives as their true desires and just what they’ll give up to achieve them. Yet another story that has stayed in my thoughts.

John Vanderslice definitely has an exquisite way with words, thoughts, and feelings. Even in a short story he manages to draw you fully into the story and the characters portrayed in it. As much as these stories are centered on Nantucket Island they are also about people and the things that drive us in our lives.

Recommended for those who enjoy short story collections and literary fiction. I very much enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from the author.


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1 copy of Island Fog up for giveaway

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Draw Date January 31/15




Source: Digital review copy received from the author for an honest review.  No compensation was received. 

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Guest Post with Laura Foley, author of Joy Street & Giveaway (US/Canada)

January 15th, 2015


Please join me in welcoming Laura Foley to Peeking Between the Pages today with a guest post and giveaway.  Yesterday I reviewed her book of poetry entitled Joy Street and I really enjoyed it (my review).  Today she joins us with a guest post about where her passion for poetry came from…


My passion for poetry started in Fifth or Sixth grade when my English teacher played a recording of Dylan Thomas reading his poem, Fern Hill. His scratchy Welsh-accented male voice filled the classroom and thrilled me. I loved the mystery of the words that evoked a fairy-tale-like childhood (“When I was young and easy, under the apple boughs…”) and then moved at the end to frightening sad images of struggle and death (“…though I sang in my chains like the sea”). Later I studied English Lit. in college and received a Masters and a MPhil (everything but dissertation in American Poetry) BUT I did not write my own poem, not one, until I was forty-five years old. I didn’t think I could do it. I was content being a scholar, leaving the creative world to others. I was also busy raising three children, travelling the world with my professor-husband. At forty-five, my husband (much older than I) died, and I turned with all my passion, sorrow and energy to the creative life, and now, twelve years later, have completed six books of poetry (two are presently in manuscript, seeking publishers), won awards, published widely. I love writing poetry, little glimpses of life, and I also conduct writing workshops for those dealing with grief, loss, illness. It’s rewarding and inspiring work.


About the Book

Each poem in this radiantly plainspoken collection offers subtle and penetrating observations that swell to a rich tapestry of ordinary life, beheld from a stance of grace and buoyancy. Starting with intimations of desire in childhood, these poems travel through ordinary domestic scenes to the blessing of a maturity in which the narrator, still embracing desire and wild promise, thrives in the midst of life’s darker gifts. This collection is truly a joy to read. It puts to shame those of us who walk through our days with “the din of loneliness,” ignoring life’s many invitations for bliss.

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About the Author

Joy LauraBeachLaura Foley is the author of four poetry collections. The Glass Tree won the Foreword Book of the Year Award, Silver, and was a Finalist for the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Outstanding Book of Poetry. Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines including Valparaiso Poetry Review, Inquiring Mind, Pulse Magazine, Poetry Nook, Lavender Review, and in the anthology, In the Arms of Words: Poems for Disaster Relief. She won Harpur Palate’s Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Award and the Grand Prize for theAtlanta Review’s International Poetry Contest. She lives on a woody hill in South Pomfret, Vermont with her partner Clara Gimenez and their three dogs. Please visit her website for book information or more poems:




1 copy up for giveaway!

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date January 31/15



Source: All information and giveaway provided by the tour company.  No compensation was received.

Joy Street by Laura Foley

January 14th, 2015

Joy-Street-Front-CoverJoy Street is a short and beautiful little book of poetry that portrays in a very honest way the later years in Laura Foley’s life.  Having lived her earlier years in a traditional marriage she has chosen to live the later part of her life with her partner Clare who had also once been part of a traditional marriage.  I love that the two have found such joy in each other despite dealing with Clare’s illness.  The poems cover a wide range of things in the author’s life from her father’s wartime years, children, relationships, pets, to the sorrow of dealing with a loved one’s illness.

I liked that the poems are short and to the point.  The beauty and sensuousness of the poetry shines through in the sparseness of the words used and many times that is so much more powerful than using more words.  They portray the emotions, the awkwardness, the love and the pain that all of us feel at some point in our lives.  Joy Street is about finding what joy you can in this world wherever you can and that truly touched my heart.

I had quite a few favorite pieces but I’ll share just one…


No GPS Necessary

I love you, I say, as we leave the hotel room,

as we take the elevator down,

and stroll city blocks

to the hospital,

as we walk the antiseptic corridors,

and she’s wheeled away,

as I return to Joy Street,

where yesterday

she said those words to me.


I love how this piece of poetry reflects both the pain and ultimate joy in the love that the author shares with her partner.  I’m looking forward to reading more of the author’s work after experiencing the moving beauty of Joy Street.


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Author Links: Website




Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was received.

The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde & Giveaway (US/Can)

December 18th, 2014

hoofbeatsI’ll start right off by saying that The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde will be one of my favorite books of 2014 – I loved it, especially the audio version! It is narrated by two of my favorite narrators – Kate Rudd and Laural Merlington who I adore and they do such an amazing job of bringing these characters and this story to life. The Language of Hoofbeats is a beautiful story of love and hope and how both of those things can mend a broken spirit.

Jackie and Paula have just moved to a small town with their adopted son Quinn and two teen foster kids Mondo and Star who has several issues. It isn’t long before they get a rude introduction to their neighbor Clementine who very much disapproves of the lifestyle they are living. Things are made worse by Star who notices that the horse that Clementine owns isn’t being properly cared for or taken out to run. Needless to say Clementine resents Star and the bond she shares with the horse with a passion and forbids Star from even going on her property. Star, being the troubled teen that she is, takes it upon herself to run off with the horse believing it’s the best thing for Comet. In turn Jackie, Paula, and Clementine are thrown together and as time goes on they all have to confront the past and present in order to move on meanwhile learning that you never really know what lies behind a person’s harsh personality and that sometimes love and understanding go a long way to healing that person.

I couldn’t say enough good things about this book to fit in my review. I loved the characters. Jackie and Paula are a wonderful couple who work so well together to give their kids a good home. The kids were awesome especially Quinn who seemed so sweet and vulnerable. I even liked Clementine no matter how nasty she got. I actually found her amusing at times and what I liked most about her was her willingness to finally look inside herself and open up to the world beyond her own little house. The novel itself is an emotional and beautifully told story that captured my heart. I could feel the turmoil of these characters and most of all I could see myself having them in my life – that’s how real they seemed to me. It’s simply a brilliant story that I enjoyed so very much!

There are some novels that stay with you, in your heart and mind – The Language of Hoofbeats is one of those novels for me. Highly recommended!


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Author Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter



1 paperback copy up for giveaway!

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date January 3/15





Source: Digital review copy was received by the publisher for an honest review.  Audiobook personal copy.  No compensation was received.

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