Book of Birds by LM Bryski

Inline image 1Book Description

In post-war Canada during the late 1940s, Elly McGuinty and her younger sister, Dot, are newly orphaned. The girls are sent to live with their grandparents in a small prairie town. Still grieving the loss of her parents, Elly chafes at the responsibility of helping care for Dot and struggles to find a place for herself in her new life. When a travelling circus comes to town, Elly’s desire for new experiences leads her, Dot, and new friend Stammer – a shy boy mocked for his halting voice – down a path where lives are altered forever. 

Author Bio

L. M. (Lisa) Bryski, MD, is Canadian, convenient since her home is somewhere in Canada. She could reside most anywhere though, as she spends considerable time living in her own head. Lisa is a real doctor, but doesnt play one on TV. She gets to wear a lab coat at work, and she likes to fix emergencies, not cause them.

Lisa has many proclivities, including a love of pancakes and all things breakfast. She enjoys reading and writing, and is very proud of her pronunciation of difficult words. Her humour is horrible, her punctuation abysmal, but she always finds a way to end her sentences with a period piece.

The Book of Birds is Lisas first novel. The narrative is a 1940s coming of age story inspired by many childhood visits to Saskatchewan, a love of ornithology and the Marx Brothers movie, At the Circus. Somehow in Lisas oddball mind, it all came together in the form of a book. Lisas novel tells of Elly and her sister Dot, newly orphaned girls who move to a small prairie town to live with their grandparents. Ellys struggles to fit in lead both girls into danger. The consequences are unfortunate, and hopefully well worth the money to read about.

You can find L. M. Bryski on Twitter as @LMBryski. She also has a website,, and can be reached by email,  Inquiries about the author may also be made through Moran Press.

Book Review

L.M. Bryski’s Book of Birds is a story of a 1940s young Canadian teenager who faces real obstacles thrown into the life.  Elly and her younger sister, Dot, are sent to live with their seemingly grumpy grandfather and depressed grandmother.  Before he died in the war, her father gave her a book of birds.  This book becomes her refuge whenever tragedy strikes or when life throws her a curve.

Bryski does not hold back the impediments that a teenage girl may face in everyday life.  Elly runs into the death of loved ones, a broken heart, mean girls, perverted men, mental illness, and you-can’t-do-that-because-you’re-a-girl.  Elly doesn’t run from the barriers.  She faces them head on and manages to seek help when necessary.

Bryski also helps the reader manage the situations with humor.  Whenever this reader wanted to cry, I found myself laughing with a play on words or some sort of dry comment from a character.  This takes skill as a writer to face tragedy with tasteful wit.

I highly recommend Book of Birds for fans of literature set in 1940s.  I related to both Elly and Dot and the timeless issues they had to face.

Other Reviews:

Sunshine Blogger Award

Agnes Bookbinder nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award!

For those of you who don’t know, a Sunshine Blogger Award is a recognition bloggers bestow upon one another.  Anything that builds community in a positive way is a very good thing, and it was kind of her to think of me.

I am supposed to nominate some other bloggers, but in my contrarian ways, I’m not.  I’m breaking the rules.

*The Sunshine Blogger Award fine print (best fine print ever):
The rules are as follows:

  • Answer the eleven questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate up to eleven wonderful bloggers and write eleven (possibly fiendish) questions for them to answer.


1.  What is your greatest source of inspiration for writing?  This may sound strange to many of you, but I my writing is inspired by my loneliness.  My mind creates stories to remain active.
2.  What did you have for breakfast this morning (if anything)?  Chicken Biscuit
3.  What was the first book you remember reading by yourself?  It’s been so long, I don’t remember.
4.  What is your favorite color and why?  I like all colors.  My least favorite is green.
5.  Where would you visit in your transporter? Scotland.
6.  When would you visit in your time machine? 19th century
7.  What is your greatest strength?   Oh, I don’t know.
8.  Who do you most admire (living or dead) and why?  Dan Fogelberg has been my biggest musical influence.
9.  Okay, MacGyver -save the world. What will you use & how will you do it?  Depends on the circumstances.   But I don’t think I have the skills for such a task.  Goodbye, cruel world.
10. Which vice?  Dt. Mt. Dew  Which virtue?  I’m prude and proud.
11. What is your favorite genre to write?  Historical Romance  To read?   Historical Romance and mysteries.

Book Blurb

Unexpected Refuge.jpgYa know those blurbs you read on the back of the covers of Novels.  Here’s mine for Unexpected Refuge.  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment.

Circa 1800

Running from his shameful past, Niall Elliot escaped to the mountains of North Carolina to build a refuge to heal from the wounds of his heart. All he wanted was to be alone in hopes that he could forget the dreadful events that haunted him.

Uprooted from her innocent life, young Rebekah Tucker and her mother were taken by her father on a secretive, westward journey. Soon Rebekah found herself in the hands of an unsavory couple who forced her into “indentured servitude”.

When Niall answers Rebekah’s plea for help, both their lives will change forever.  They will find an Unexpected Refuge.

@beajames15 #UnexpectedRefuge

Wounded at Gettysburg

   Infectious wounds can make everything seem off kilter.  Asher was lying still on a cot not sure exactly where he was.  The pain in his leg was excruciating.  With that in combination with the fever, he was in and out of consciousness.  When his body reached a point that he could sleep, scenes from the battle would fill his dreams.  Awake, again; pain, again.
Sometimes, however, he would dream about Jane.  This was odd since the woman was not yet born.  Right now he was Stokes McRae, not Asher.  However, the feverish dreams would bring her laughter and her dry sense of humor to his mind and he would have relief.  Then the battle would take it all away:  gunfire, artillery, mortar fire.  All he had was a bayonet on the end of a rifle with little ammunition.  Artillery blast.  Awake.  Pain.
Couldn’t they give him something for the pain?  Maybe even put him out of his misery?  He believed he would die in that bed.  Through the fog of his mind, he saw a face.
“Water, Major?”  Water.  He guessed that’s all they had.  Asher took a sip and returned his head to his pillow.  “You can have more, sir.”  The young corporal held the cup into his field of vision.
“No, son.  That will be more water for the other men.  I’ll take some on your next round.”  Asher’s words sounded lucid but his mind was not.  He had memories from two different centuries roaming in his brain and he never knew which ones would pay him a visit when he closed his eyes.
Smoke.  Gunpowder.  Marching.  Shouts.  Explosions.  “Asher?”  He heard Jane’s voice through the smoke.  Jane’s face.  Artillery explosion.

Asher woke up choking on gunpowder and Jane’s head resting on his shoulder.  Asleep.

Asher’s Dream

Asher went to bed to take a nap.  It had been a strange few days.  He hoped he could sleep without the strange dreams.  He did.  Instead, he dreamed of Meggie.
They were sitting in their living room with books, like they had every Sunday afternoon of their life together.
“Asher,” said Meggie.
“It’s ok.”
Asher looked up from his book.  “OK to do what, baby?”
“To move on.”  She looked back down to read.
He opened his eyes, alone in his single bed.  He closed his eyes again to fight back the tears.
He felt a hand brushing the hair from his forehead.  “Mr. McRae?” a soft voice said.
Opening his tear-filled eyes, he turned his head toward the voice.  Emeline Pigott smiled at him and disappeared.


NaNoWriMo 2015

  Want to know more?

When the bed was made,Asher turned to get towels for a shower and he caught a glimpse of a woman glide away from the door.

   “Jane?” No one answered. He ran out the room and into the living room. No one was there and the front door was locked. The back door was locked. He searched every room. No one was there.

     Clearly, I’m imagining things.

     Grabbing his keys, he left the house and walked next door. Leaves were blowing across the brick steps of the porch. He kicked them away, marched to the door and knocked. The porch light illuminated him and he saw Jane peek through the curtain as she usually did. He heard the bolt unlock on the door and open. It didn’t open completely. She obviously did not want him to see inside.