Sunday, May 31, 2015


In a few days, I proudly celebrate my first anniversary as a vegan! Well, vegan with a very small “v”. I’m still a sucker for dairy in particular – ice cream, cheese, and yoghurt. However, Alissa Hamilton’s Got Milked? proposes that I should consider cutting down on dairy. Especially in North America, children are told to drink milk from toddlerhood, preferably at every meal. Despite that, it seems that TV commercials tell us that we are still not getting enough milk and dairy. In Got Milked?, Hamilton confronts our dairy dilemma by examining dairy myths and the chilling truths of the milk industry.

While milk is great, Hamilton proposes many interesting reasons why it does not live up to the hype. Whole milk contains so much fat that even the USDA and FDA cannot consider it “healthy”. Many children (and adults) also enjoy their dairy as ice cream, flavoured, or in cereal, which contain sugar levels comparable to soft drinks. Furthermore, research points to a strange paradox in which the countries with the highest calcium intakes also have the high rates of bone fractures. Interestingly, calcium also comes from many other sources, such as many dried herbs. Basil, for example, contains more calcium per gram that milk! Why then, is milk still the food group with only one choice of food source? Hamilton provides evidence like this and much more in Got Milked?. It’s certainly enough for milk drinkers to sit up and question their dairy paradigms.

Yet despite such compelling evidence, it is certainly hard to say if we should ditch milk for good or not. While studying biomedical science, I did a research project with the human nutrition department. A PhD student was saying that it became harder for her to make conclusive statements about foods the more that she researched human nutrition. It seems that one day one might hear about a study in the news saying that Food A has shown to be good for you, only to discover a few days later that Food A in fact has been linked to cancer. In fact, even while reading Got Milked? in a coffee shop, a couple with a young son noticed my copy and said that they had heard about it on CBC news. Now, they are having their son avoid dairy. Are certain foods really purely good or evil?

I like to think that Got Milked? does not condemn milk as devil’s saliva. However, Hamilton does show us that our unquestioning reliance as a society on the milk industry for calcium is excessive and rather odd. Hamilton even includes tried and tested milk-free recipes to guide us along a more sensible path. In an age of constantly shifting evidence and murky intentions, we should certainly strive for balance, variety, and critical thinking when it comes to our food choices. The bottom line of Got Milked? seems to be: take what is thrown at you with a grain of salt (or dried basil), do your homework, and make the decisions that are best for your health and sanity.

Mike Fan is a Chinese-Canadian classical baritone. Mike plays five instruments and speaks three languages (with a few in progress). He holds degrees in piano performance and biomedical science, but it was obvious from an early age that music would win out. On the literary side, Mike wrote 365 sonnets in his teens and writes for his poetry blog Follow @MikeZFan for Mike's adventures, musical and otherwise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Let me first start out by stating that I was incredibly skeptical when I first started reading this book. An unprecedented amount of questions started running through my mind, including, but not limited to: Is there a real formula for guys to get girls to like them? How does a mathematical equation like that even exist? Is this going to be funny? It says the author is a comedian, so I really hope it will be funny. Is this going to be another one of those cheesy boy likes girl or girl likes boy and the feelings are not reciprocated until the end of the book story?

Let me first state that by reading this book all of those ridiculous questions are answered, and my expectations were blown out of the figurative water by Galgorithm. Because lets all be honest, I did not write my expectations on a piece of paper, set them in a body of water, and watch them explode while simultaneously reading Aaron Karo's novel.

I am not going to lie to you though, this book will impart no prophetical wisdom to you, nor will it challenge your mind and open your eyes to a new calling. But rather, it allows you to escape your own dramatic life, and allows you to experience the drama of a fictional reader while reading. Shane Chambliss is a teenager whose life keeps the drama and the excitement coming, especially after he decided to play cupid, and come up with a ‘galgorithm’, which helps boys attract the girl of their dreams. 

This book was hilarious, and not just in the Funny, but I am not laughing kind of way. Think Laughing and people around you might think you are slightly insane kind of way. I am also a sucker for books with references to other books and movies, and Galgorithm brought just that to the table. How can a girl not love a hilariously funny YA novel with constant references to Harry Potter? Also, the the immense amounts of math jokes kept the story real, and something that you feel could really happen inside of a high school. These kinds of things in books make me think of “Fictional Characters; They’re Just Like Us!” articles in tabloids, though those are not real articles (but they totally should be). 
Galgorithm was enjoyable, funny and entertaining. What more can one ask for? Well, maybe a unicorn if you are five. But that would be acting like the square root of two (irrational). And yes, that joke was taken from the book. And if you read it, you can be witness to all the amazing math jokes and puns as well! 

Hannah is a 16-year-old bibliophile with dreams the size of a continent. She blogs at 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


When I met Kevin Cahill over 8 years ago I didn't know if I should take him seriously and the sense I got was he was misunderstood. Sometimes we find the truth in the most surprising places. Now that I know Kevin I know that he knows thing we don't know but we should!

Kevin understands adversity first hand! But he discovered the secret to his own success and that of others. This book reveals to the reader what it takes to overcome challenges in life, in business and relationships. The key lies within the stories of others. You can handle any difficulty effortlessly and easily as the stream and river moves around rocks and obstacles in their path.

This book contains multiple short stories demonstrating compassion, generosity, kindness and belief. The stories provide a mix of insight and inspiration and are able to make you feel humbled and empowered. Many of the stories create an emotional reaction and connect with our humanity. Many also provide solid guidance and support and ready access to experience that we can benefit from with relevance to our improvement efforts.

Most of the stories are not of the well known or famous but are guaranteed to be thought provoking. What I like is that you can carry the book with you and read it when you have little more than a spare minute. The stories are really good at giving a kick start to your emotions and your thinking, often in unexpected ways.

When the majority of inspirational books available today are stories of individuals overcoming their own adversity, Gaining Clarity reminds us that the seeds of our own personal power were generally planted by that one special person who crossed our paths in the past. Whether it be a teacher, a parent, a child or a chance meeting with someone famous. We live in an ocean of energy where everything is in a constant flow of exchange. I heard Kevin say numerous times in his presentations that you can cut open an apple and count the seeds inside the apple but that you can never count the apples that those seeds will produce.

They say 'Good things come in small packages'. So it is with this pocket-sized book of motivational stories that brings words of encouragement for tough times. These words of wisdom from the relatively unknown and some special thoughts from Kevin that he wrote while searching for the truth are just the beginning of what is possible when we show gratitude to the giants who have helped us along the way.

- Doug Dane

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Peace of mind can be fragile and fleeting. That’s what Catherine Ravenscroft discovers when a mysterious novel arrives at her home and throws a monkey wrench into her previously well-constructed life. Happily married to her soulmate. Respected and admired by her colleagues.

But all that’s about to be blown to smithereens. 

The mysterious novel's disclaimer, “Any resemblance to persons living or dead,” has been neatly crossed out with red ink. To her horror, Catherine realizes she is the protagonist of a novel that revolves around an undocumented incident from her past. The resemblance is uncanny with all details intact, even down to what she was wearing on that ill-fated day. Without revealing too much of the plot, I will say the secret involves her son Nicholas and the tragic death of a nineteen-year-old man.

As Disclaimer progresses, we hear another voice, a mournful one belonging to the author of the poisonous novel – who, by the way, is the victim’s father, a man intent on destroying Catherine’s quiet happiness.

At first, my sympathies were with Catherine, but as the storyline unfolded, I empathized more and more with the lonely widower struggling to make sense of a senseless tragedy.

But not all is as it seems.

Shocking disclosures emerge as author Renée Knight adds more levels of deceit, turning blame upside down and making it difficult to distinguish between victims and villains. As for true survivors... Can there be any? Interestingly enough, I asked the same question after reading Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

Joanne Guidoccio is the author of Between Land and Sea and A Season for Killing Blondes. Visit her website at

Monday, May 4, 2015


Where Did You Sleep Last Night is a beautifully written artistic piece about a teenage girl, Evelyn, who is unsatisfied with her life. She is bullied at school, she is constantly being ridiculed by her mother, and she has an unwavering crush on the late Kurt Cobain. When she tries to take her life via a heroin overdose, she finds a new life is waiting for her when she wakes up. The person in the bed next to her is Kurt Cobain reincarnated as Celine Black.

So begins a tragic love story between Evelyn and Celine, filled with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Evelyn and Celine each start their own bands and reach fame in very different ways. When the whole world is watching your relationship, it definitely adds more conflict for the people involved. Jealousy and sketchy characters soon begin to erode Celine and Evelyn’s relationship.

Will they be able to conquer their addictions and expectations, and remain in a happy relationship? Well, you will have to read the book to find out for yourself. Author Lynn Crosbie’s seems to paint the words on the page, rather than write them. If everyone could write like she does, the literary world would be a much more beautiful place. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Kurt Cobain, the rock and roll lifestyle, and a love story that’s against all odds. This truly is a wonderful book, and it really shows the reader that what you read about celebrities may not be entirely truthful, and it’s important to remember that they are people too.

Wesley Wilson is a zoology student at the University of Guelph and works on campus at a microbiology lab. When Wesley isn't studying away, she spends most of her time reading. 


James Rebanks is a shepherd whose family has lived and worked in the same area of England for over 600 years! In an age where people cannot wait to grow up and get away from the area of their youth and family, it is refreshing to read an account of a person who always knew where he belonged and knew what he wanted to do with his life. The Shepherd's Life expresses to the reader the deep-rooted love and affection that a man feels for a way of life and his family in a picturesque piece of Britain.

Even as a young lad in grade school, James couldn’t wait to get home to be on the land with the animals and his beloved grandfather. His book tells the story of a year in the life of a shepherd, sending the sheep to the fells in the summer, and gathering the hay into the barn for the coming winter months; buying and selling livestock in the autumn to strengthen the flock; the hard months of winter, when sheep must be rescued and fed through the snow; and the hard work and euphoria of spring, during the lambing season. This is a family who work hard all year round, whose lives and fortunes are tied to the seasons and to the land they live and work on. 

I found the book to be engrossing and well written, to realize there is still a corner of Britain following the ancient ways, and to see part of that lifestyle through the eyes of another person, I found to be invigorating and quite an emotional journey.

- Catherine McGratton