The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

A Dickensian Tale with a Brothel Backdrop

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

Ami McKay is the author of the bestselling novel The Birth House which also happens to be one of my favourite books of all time. I reviewed the novel shortly after it was published so I like to say I "called it" first as a bestseller!  I had the awesome opportunity to have lunch with Ami at a recent Random House Canada author event. Ami was such a dear, and just like I expected, she was very approachable right from her first hug hello to the gracious signing of her new book.

Ami McKay's anxiously anticipated new novel The Virgin Cure was just released to the sighs and cheers of fans all across book club land. After only a few weeks on the bookstore shelves, the accolades are collecting and anticipation for a sequel is mounting. 

The Virgin Cure is set in the 1871 lower Manhattan tenements and inspired by Ami's own great-great-grandmother who was a groundbreaking female physician during this era. The novel starts out in the voice of Moth,

“I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart.”

At the tender age of 12, Moth's mother sells her to serve as a personal maid to a woman of means. Moth learns just how cruel a person can be at the hands of Mrs. Wentworth but she also leans kindness from the butler Nestor who teaches her to write and gives her some advice and skills to survive. Eventually Moth finds a friend in Mae who shows her the path to a better life in Miss Everett's brothel house. This is where the title of the book is referenced since the young women of the era were falling prey to the myth of using an unspoiled girl to cure a man of disease.

Moth wants better for her life and reflects on her upbringing,

"I hated being poor. Mama never did anything to make our life seem better than it was. She'd spend her days making something out of nothing for everyone else but when it came to inventing happiness for me, it was too much trouble. I won't be like you, Mama. I won't fade away."

Check out the book trailer to get a feel for the story:

To read more of Moth's story you can check out an excerpt from The Virgin Cure and don't forget to enter the book draw at the end of this post!


The Yummy Mummy Book Club will be reading The Virgin Cure for the month of December. Our #VirginCure Twitter chat will take place on Wednesday, January 11, 2012.


To find out more about Ami McKay, her books and author events, visit her website You can follow Ami's tweets on Twitter: @sideshowami and like Ami's Facebook Page.



Random House Canada has 2 copies of Ami McKay's THE VIRGIN CURE to give to 2 lucky Bookalicious readers. To enter the book draw leave a comment saying why you would like to read Moth's story.

Yummy Rules and Regulations
You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until December 12, 2011. Contest open to Canadian residents. Winners will be picked using Please mark the email [email protected] as a "safe sender" when you enter a Bookalicious giveaway and respond within 1 week to claim your prize!

Follow Random House Canada on Twitter: @RandomHouseCA @BookLounge and find them on Facebook:

Book and CD Cover images published courtesy of Random House Canada. Photo of Ami courtesy of © Ian McKay


Jann Arden Memories and Music

Humour Is The Only Way To Get Through Life

Jann Arden Memories and Music

Jann Arden is a musical talent quite unlike any other songstress in Canada or the world for that matter. She is an award winning songwriter who sings about heartache with lyrics born from melancholy musings. The interesting thing that sets Jann apart from other balladeers is her indomitable sense of humour. Her keen sense of irony comes through in her witty and wise words but her silly side really shines through her public persona.

"Humour is the only way to get through life. I chose to be happy." - Jann Arden

If you've ever witnessed any of Jann's interviews then you will know what I'm referring to. To view a sample of this candid, comical woman's witty ways check out the Random House Canada interview outtakes video. I recommend you keep some tissue handy in case you laugh so hard you end up crying as in my case!

 If you want to see more videos of Jann then check her out on the Rick Mercer Report and her recent interview on the George Stroumboulopoulos show.

I can tell you, and Jann if she happens to stumble upon my blog, that's it's about time she shares her stories in a memoir. In Falling Backwards Jann shares memories of teachers who inspired her and recalls her fear of the contents of her baby blue thermos. Jann tells tales of teen angst and dreams, from her first kiss to her first perm that still haunts her today. Jann recollects the dynamics of her close family unit - photos included - and reflects on the early signs that her younger brother was headed down a troubled road. Jann relays stories of her coming of age as a musician and harkens back to a time when she would fall asleep with her father's transistor radio under her pillow. So, without further ado, I'm pleased to share an excerpt from Falling Backwards. Enjoy!


I was reluctant, to say the least, to get here. My mother tells the story on pretty much every birthday I have ever had. She most often smiles—a laugh lurking inside of her little bird–like chest—and says, “When you were born, I said, ‘Let me die, let me die.’” She really isn’t kidding.

For some reason, that line always made me laugh too. Not that it was a prelude to a happy tale, but it was a funny one nonetheless. She’d go on to say that the doctor just let her suffer through two long days of pushing and pushing and pushing to no avail. I guess I was backwards or feet first or probably just refusing to come out of her at all. Why would I want to fly out into the abyss without really knowing what in God’s name I was getting myself into? I’d still be in there now if I’d had my way.

One thing about being born: it’s hard for everybody involved. You learn within a few seconds that it’s not going to be easy being a person. That first breath must really be something. I am kind of glad I don’t remember it. The human body is an extraordinary thing. What it is capable of doing is, quite simply, miraculous.

I can’t even begin to figure out how an eight– or nine– or, God forbid, twelve–pound body inches its way out of something that seems to be smaller than the slot in a slot machine. And never mind that, after the twelve–pound body has fought its way out of the womb, the whole bloody layer–upon–layer works suddenly just folds itself back together like a book with a few ripped–up pages. Like nothing ever happened. Kind of like a Slinky.

My mother would disagree with me, I’m sure, as something did indeed happen. I am in pain just thinking about childbirth. In fact, I suddenly have to fold my legs together and hum “Happy Birthday.” My poor mother; all that suffering, and for what?

Oh yeah, me.

My mom said that back in those days they didn’t just give women C–sections like they do now. I mean, now women pick the day they’d like to have their baby.

“Ah yes, Doctor, I have March 27th open after 4 p.m. after my pedicure.” I can just picture that in my head. In 1962, they made you push until you thought you couldn’t push anymore. Epidurals weren’t even that common. It was natural childbirth or bust. She almost did bust.

“I thought it was either going to be you or me,” she’ll often say. I tell mom that I am really very glad that it wasn’t either of us.

I always ask the same questions. Where was dad? Wasn’t he in the room? Didn’t they let men in the birthing room?

“He didn’t want to come in,” she says. “He went home and went to bed while I was lying there thinking I would die.”

My mom was apparently just about to throw in the towel on the both of us when the doctor appeared. They were finally, after two days, going to do a C–section. They had to call him at home to come in to do the operation and, according to my mother, he took his sweet time getting there. You’d think they could maybe have found another doctor who was in the hospital? To top things off, I think he got caught in a snowstorm. Yes, a snowstorm in March, which is fairly typical for Alberta. It can snow in Calgary in July.

Fortunately for my mother and for me, we didn’t end up needing him after all—not for a C–section, anyway—because I decided to come out into this complicated world all on my own. I think all the doctor ended up doing was grabbing my legs and turning me around. I mean, turning a person around? In a womb? My dear mother said it was nothing short of agony. I have given her the odd sympathy card on my birthday. It seems fitting, somehow. The card simply reads, “I am sorry about your vagina. Love, Jann.”

Excerpted from Falling Backwards by Jann Arden Copyright © 2011 by Jann Arden. Excerpted by permission of Random House of Canada.


Random House Canada has 5 Jann Arden prize packs each containing a SIGNED copy of Jann's memoir Falling Backwards and Uncover Me 2 CD to give to 5 lucky Bookalicious readers! To enter the draw leave a comment sharing why you love Jann Arden.

Yummy Rules and Regulations
You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until November 28, 2011. Contest open to Canadian residents. Winners will be picked using Please mark the email [email protected] as a "safe sender" when you enter a Bookalicious giveaway and respond within 1 week to claim your prize!

Follow Random House Canada on Twitter: @RandomHouseCA @BookLounge and find them on Facebook:

Book and CD Cover images published courtesy of Random House Canada. Photo of Jann courtesy of

Relish reading,

Wanda Lynne Young


Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

The Many Shapes and Forms of Love

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

What does a story look like when the lives of three lovelorn women intersect? The tale takes on the shape of a triangle. Ellen Hopkins shares a torrid tale of love, lust, friendship and trust in her new novel TRIANGLES. Hopkins' signature poetic verse style, lends an intimate and honest tone to the voices of three women who share the common midlife crisis cry: If I'm in the middle of my life, is this really all I've got to show for it?

Holly is a stay-at-home-mom who is filled with regret. She sheds sixty pounds and then her skin in the world of extramarital sex.

Andrea is a single parent who has resigned herself to a celibate lifestyle. She watches with contempt as her friend Holly casts away a committed relationship, something Andrea has always yearned for. 

Marissa is the mother to a terminally ill daughter and a gay teenage son. Her day-to-day is full of challenges, which includes her workaholic husband.

As one woman's marriage unravels, another's rekindles. As one woman's family comes apart at the seams, another's reconfigures into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman's up is another one's down, and all of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal and forgiveness.

Readers might see a bit of themselves or recognize a friend in these three complicated characters. Hopkins puts it best when she says, "This book is dedicated to some very special friends, who shall remain nameless here. But you know who you are." 


Ellen Hopkins is the bestselling YA author of the popular Crank triology that includes Crank, Glass and Fallout. Hopkins can be found on Facebook and followed on Twitter: @EllenHopkinsYA. Vist her website for more information on the author and her books.

YUMMY MUMMY BOOK CLUB with special guest author Ellen Hopkins!

The Yummy Mummy Book Club is reading TRIANGLES for the month of November. Our Twitter virtual book club chat is scheduled for Wednesday, December 7th, and runs from 9:30 -11:00 PM EDT (Toronto time). We will have the opportunity to chat with Ellen Hopkins, so get your questions ready and mark your calendar! If you want to participate in the #YMBC discussion on Twitter just follow my @YMCbookalicious tweets and use the hashtag #Triangles during the chat. Participants will have the opportunity to "RT" tweets to win a copy of TRIANGLES or BAG OF BONES by Stephen King.


If you want a heads up on future book club updates, hear about author events and get in on book giveaway perks then join the Yummy Mummy Book Club by signing up for the Bookalicious Newsletter and/or the Bookalicious Facebook Page!


Simon & Schuster Canada has copies of Triangles to give to two lucky Bookalicious readers who leave a comment expressing why you would like to read Triangles.

For more Simon & Schuster Canada books and author information visit their website, follow @SimonSchusterCA on Twitter and find Simon & Schuster Canada on Facebook.

You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm EDT on November 18, 2011. This contest is open to Canadian residents. Winners will be picked using Please mark the email address [email protected] as a "safe sender" when you enter a Bookalicious giveaway and respond within 1 week of notice to claim your prize!


This blog is proudly sponsored by our friends at
Simon & Schuster Canada