Jerusalem Maiden (TLC Tour Review)
reviews* / June 22, 2011

Title: Jerusalem Maiden Author: Talia Carner Publication Year: 2011 Pages: 464 Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction Source: Review copy from the publisher, through TLC Book Tours From the cover: In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, a young Orthodox Jewish woman in the holy city of Jerusalem is expected to marry and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah’s arrival. While the feisty Esther Kaminsky understands her obligations, her artistic talent inspires her to secretly explore worlds outside her religion, to dream of studying in Paris — and to believe that God has a special destiny for her. When tragedy strikes her family, Esther views it as a warning from an angry God and suppresses her desires in order to become an obedient “Jerusalem maiden.” But when a surprising opportunity forces itself on to her preordained path, Esther finds her beliefs clashing dangerously with the passions she has staved off her entire life — forcing her to confront the most difficult and damning question of all: To whom must she be true, God or herself? Ever since I moved to Toronto from my small, majority-European/Christian hometown, I’ve been fascinated by people from other cultures and religions. One of the…

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You (TLC Tour Review)
reviews* / May 31, 2011

Title: The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You Author: Eli Pariser Publication Year: 2011 Pages: 304 Genre: Non-Fiction Source: Review copy from the publisher, through TLC Book Tours From the cover: An eye-opening account of how the hidden rise of personalization on the Internet is controlling — and limiting — the information we consume. In The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You, online organizer and former director of MoveOn.org, Eli Pariser reveals just how invasive and pervasive personalization has become. Each page you land on is collecting data about you, never mind if you’ve logged in or not. It uses your online history as cues to narrow down what you will see in the future. As sites fine-tune their ability to personalize content, we will increasingly each live in our own, unique information universe, our own “filter bubble.” We’ll receive news that is familiar, pleasant, and confirms our beliefs — and since the filters are invisible, we won’t know what is being hidden from us. Using this surprising revelation as a jumping-off point, Pariser pulls back the curtain of the Internet. He peers into the server farms, the secret algorithms, and the geeky entrepreneurs…

Promise Not To Tell (TLC Tour Review)
reviews* / May 9, 2011

Title: Promise Not To Tell Author: Jennifer McMahon Publication Year: 2007 Pages: 256 Genre: Fiction Source: Review copy from the publisher, through TLC Tours From the cover: Forty-one-year-old school nurse Kate Cypher has returned home to rural Vermont to care for her mother who’s afflicted with Alzheimer’s. On the night she arrives, a young girl is murdered — a horrific crime that eerily mirrors another from Kate’s childhood. Three decades earlier, her dirt-poor friend Del — shunned and derided by classmates as “Potato Girl” — was brutally slain. Del’s killer was never found, while the victim has since achieved immortality in local legends and ghost stories. Now, as this new murder investigation draws Kate irresistibly in, her past and present collide in terrifying, unexpected ways. Because nothing is quite what it seems . . . and the grim specters of her youth are far from forgotten. More than just a murder mystery, Jennifer McMahon’s extraordinary debut novel, Promise Not to Tell, is a story of friendship and family, devotion and betrayal — tautly written, deeply insightful, beautifully evocative, and utterly unforgettable. This is the first of McMahon’s books that I’ve read, and I may have to find the others now….