Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones: Book Review

First Grave on the Right
by Darynda Jones
St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 978-0-312-66275-2
Publication Date: February 1, 2011

Description: A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

The Good Stuff

  • You have to read this one folks, a wonderfully unusual and creative premise
  • Just plain adored Charley with her creative, and extremely witty and sharp tongue
  • Loved the relationship between Charley and her family and friends
  • Great introductory chapter that grabs your attention (not to mention made me lmao!) and doesn't let it go
  • Everything I want in a book including a strong and fun female protagonist, sexy boys, paranormal twists and turns, naughty stuff and tons of excitement. 
  • Made me lmao on so many occasions that I had a hard time picking only 3 favorite passages
  • Also very sweet and sad on occasion, but done in such a marvelous non mushy way -- I think Charley and her family are related to mine
  • Love the dead lawyers -- trust me so will you!
  • Very much looking forward to further books by this author
  • I really felt a connection to her family and friends
The Not so Good Stuff
  • I was confused about what was happening at times and sometimes the chapters just jumped around too much -- but that could also be blamed on the fact that I was reading it while home on xmas vacation with my two boys
  • Would like more back story on her sister and some other secondary figures, and hope that will happen if there will be further books in the series
  • Enjoyed it so much that I turned on Handy Manny (toddler crack), ignored my toddler and kept reading -- I know, I know -- Bad Mommy!
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I eyed him with my infamous death stare, second only to my infamous fluster stare, and got a response immediately." "Sorry, sorry." he said, stumbling over his words, "didn't meant to frighten you." Did I look frightened? Clearly my death stare needed work."

"You set one foot in this bathroom, and I will melt your face with my transcendental pest repellent." His eyes widened. "Seriously?"  "No," I said, my shoulders deflating.  I had a really hard time lying to the departed. "It's just water. But don't tell Mr. Habersham, the dead guy in 2B. This bottle is the only thing that keeps that dirty old man out of my bathroom."

"I know what kind of man it takes to get involved  with something as barbarous as human trafficking." I get it,  Swopes. He's not the kind of man you take home to meet your stepmom." I rethought that. Wait a minute. Maybe my stepmom would like to meet him. Do you think he ships to Istanbul?"

Ok, I lied I had to put in a fourth quote -- but it's a quickie!

"Dead thirteen-year old gangbangers were so moody!"

What I Learned

  • Being a Grim Reaper isn't a downer and quite frankly sounds like a lot of fun
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Fans of MaryJanice Davidson, Jennifer Estep, Julie Kenner, Jill Myles, Marta Acosta and Charlaine Harris will probably really enjoy
  • Anyone who loves fun quirky smart kick ass chicks with a wonderfully dark sense of humour

4.5 Dewey's

I won this from GoodReads and didn't have to do a review but well I really enjoyed it and I love Goodreads so what the heck

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with tons of book prezzies and TIME TO READ THEM TOO!  (Really that is all I want for Christmas)

And since this is a time of reflection and charity, I leave you with a special message from my pal Barney

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In My Mailbox (And my Secret Santa)

To Review
From Scholastic - check out the Bone book at the back -- Jake is going to freak

From CSN

Secret Santa

The Neverending Shelf was holding a Secret Santa this year and I thought it would be tons of fun to take part. Look at all the awesome stuff I got from Colleen aka Lavender Lines who lives in one of my favorite places in the world, Prince Edward Island.  Also check out what happened to my Marsh-mellow Santa -- I hope  he appreciates how much I love him to actually give up chocolate.  The best part is that she got me Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep.  My buddy Natasha lent me her copy, but I have been wanting a copy of my own to keep and I haven't been able to find it! Also the poinsettia's are now being used as coasters beside our bed for my weekly (yeah who's kidding who - daily glass of -- made it through day without killing students or children) glass of wine. And I gave the other one to  hubby for his glass of wine. I hope she enjoys what I picked out for her as much as I liked what she chose for me - also the little note pad and pen will be perfect for my Kobo holder!




Misc.
Nerd Herder Badge (Not the Scaredy Squirrel - he's just taking care of it for me)

Top 100 Challenge - 2011 (And begging for someone to make me a button)

So this isn't a formal challenge with Buttons or anything.  Because -- well -- I suck at making buttons -- and I am too lazy.  If anyone wants to make me one, I will send you a free book!

For 2011 I am challenging myself to read 10 more of the books from the BBC's Top 100 list

After asking friends and family and fellow blogger's, this is the list I came up with

The Great Gatsby

Catcher in the Rye

Oliver Twist

Lolitta

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

DaVinci Code

Vanity Fair

The Little Prince
A Tale of Two Cities

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
 
I will start reading in January 2011 and the challenge must be completed my December 31, 2011. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French: Book Review

A Tiny Bit Marvellous
by Dawn French
Penguin Books
ISBN: 978-07-18156-0-46

Description: This first novel by Dawn French is told through the eyes of a mother and her two teenage children. There's seventeen-year-old Dora, a stroppy teenager who's just come out of her first relationship (it lasted a whole six weeks) and who's longing to escape to university; her long-suffering mother, Mo, a child psychiatrist who's baffled by the antagonist behaviour of her children; and sixteen-year-old Peter, who prefers to be known as Oscar due to his obsession with Oscar Wilde. Written in diary format, with each chapter narrated by a different voice, this is a hilarious, sharp and utterly compelling novel about the ups and down of family, sibling rivalry and growing up. With each chapter told from the point of view of one character, Dawn French's witty and engaging novel offers us an honest and insightful account into the relationships between children and parents


The Good Stuff
  • Bloody hilarious and witty at times.  You gotta love the English, they have such a way with words
  • Oscar and Pam were my favorite characters. Would have liked to have some of book written from Pam's voice
  • Some lovely wise and very real moments about living with ones family
  • The sheer audacity of Mo's inner dialogue is wonderful
  • Made me LMAO on many occasions -- note to self mus learn to stop snorting out loud in public places -- people tend to stare
  • The scene between Dora and her grandma Pam about sex is delightful.  My god I wish Pam was my grandma
  • The opening chapter is extremely funny
  • You will fall in love with Oscar. His way of speaking comes straight out of an Oscar Wilde story
  • A lot more dysfunctional than most families, but there is still the echo of truth about family life and the misunderstanding and judgement between different generations
The Not so Good Stuff

  • Very slow in the middle, might have deleted 50 pages or so
  • Dora is an annoying selfish little git and I disliked the chapters written by her. I honestly wanted to slap her upside the head on many occasions
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"What would be a good title for a self-help book for parents of teenagers? Two possible ideas at the moment under consideration: 1. Whatever and 2. Teenagers: The Manual. Hmm. Think the exclamation mark on the 1st suggestion might preclude it from being a serious contender."

"Her name is Pamela. I ask you, how was she ever supposed to make anyting of herself with that ghastly  moniker as her albatross?"
"Oddly, it is Veronica that I find most disappointing. George is just behaving like the reactive Pavlov’s dog with many cocks that he is. Has always been. It’s a given with him, mandatory, if there’s a pretty girl and she shows any interest at all in him, he is helpless. Ring the bell, the dog salivates. He’s not even choosy, really anyone will do, and they do do. Often"

What I Learned
  • tons of english slang
  • Damn, I am a really good mom
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Those who like English Humour
  • Not for the prudish - as the dialogue is quite salty at times
  • Fans of Dawn French
3.5 Dewey's

I won this from  LibraryThing

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Toni by Cyndi Sand-Eveland: Book Review

Dear Toni
by Cyndi Sand-Eveland
Tundra Books
ISBN: 978-1-77049-249-3
136 Pages (Paperback)
Suggested Ages: 8-12
Silver Birch Express Winner for 2010
Hackmatack Award Winner

Description: When sixth-grader Gene Tucks moves south, she dreads being the new kid at school and almost everything else about her life as a “nobody.” But what she dreads most is the hundred-day journal-writing assignment her teacher has given the class. His brilliant idea is to have the journals locked in the town museum’s vault for forty years so that future grade-sixers can read them.


At first, Gene has trouble writing to someone who isn’t even born yet. But little by little, Dear Nobody becomes Dear Somebody, who evolves into Dear Toni. And bit by bit, Toni, a good listener, becomes a best friend to whom Gene tells everything. And, there’s lots to tell. Gene’s family is in transition to say the least. Her dad is looking for work, they are moving — again, her brother is the bane of her existence, and, more than anything else in the world, Gene wants something she can’t have — a dog. Toni is the first to learn that Gene is moving to a rent-free empty apartment at the back of a gas station, so her dad can manage it. And wonder of wonders, the owner’s dog needs looking after. Not just any dog; a St. Bernard who happens to have three pups. Through Gene’s one hundred entries the whole story unwinds and in the end, just like Toni does forty years later, we have come to know one of the freshest, funniest characters to grace the pages of a book in a very long time.  Decorated with doodles by the author, Dear Toni has the look and feel of a journal, but the heart of a special 12 year old.

The Good Stuff
  • A truly outstanding absolutely delightfully honest and real book
  • The 1st chapter grabs your attention right away - especially for the 8-10 set
  • Loved the design of the book with the lined paper look and the doodles all over the pages
  • Gene has a fantastically biting sarcastic wit
  • The book really feels like it was written by a 12 year old -- and no that is not a dig -- just that it will really resonate with the pre-tweens and their feelings and thoughts are portrayed honestly
  • Love the doodles
  • The ending is beautiful!!!!!
  • Stop reading my review and buy the book already - crap now I have to adjust my Top 5 of 2010  middle school list

The Not so Good Stuff
  • It was about a girl and dammit Jake would love this if it was written from a boy instead -- sexist little bastard that he is LOL. 

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Mr. Mackenzie has promised that he won't make us do any corrections because he's not going to read our journals. Yeah, right. He's just saying that now. Teachers always make you do corrections."

"I think it should be against the law for parents to make kids pee at the side of the road.  The Fly thinks it's no big deal, but he has no idea how it is for a girl!!"

Why do adults always take so long to make up their minds about good things when they are so quick to decide about things they don't want?"

What I Learned
  • It really sucks to be the new kid
  • 12 year old girls really are bitchy - thank god I have 2 boys ; 0
  • Must really carefully listen to my boys when they talk to me and make sure they know I understand what they are going through

Who should/shouldn't read
  • A must have for middle school libraries and public libraries
  • Passing this one on to my niece because I think she will love it in a year or two
  • Great for anyone who has been the new girl/boy in town
  • The perfect  book for 8-11 year old girls -- especially if they aren't in the popular crowd -- it's ok kids, the popular crowd really fall apart in their 30's and us geeks are the happy ones
5 Dewey's

I received this from LibraryThing and wasn't required to do a review, but I really wanted to bring your attention to it

Every Year (Christmas Story) by Cecelia Ahern

I am going to be doing a review sometime in February for the latest book by Cecelia Ahern called "The Book of Tomorrow".   My rep from HarperCollins sent me the story, so I thought I would pass it on to you. Just click on the link after the picture to read it.  Enjoy


http://files.harpercollins.com/Mktg/HarperCollins/AhernXmas/everyyear.html

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gravol and The Children's Wish Foundation

I just found out about this site for Gravol and I thought I would pass it on to you.  They have lots of great information on Gravol and some links to access some fabulous tips and answers to tricky parenting questions.  Gravol is sponsoring the Children's Wish Foundation which as most of you know is a Kick Ass charity.  Go take a peek kiddies and remember Gravol is only to be used when your kids are sick and not when you need them to just sleep for a couple of damn hours -- not that I was ever tempted to do so (yes that is BS -- I was tempted on  many, many occasions - but I have resisted so far) And NO I am not judging you if you have -- we parents have to stick together!




For More Information: http://smr.newswire.ca/en/gravol/gravol-welcomes-second-year-of-childrens-wish-foundation

The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason: Book Review


The King's Daughter
by Christie Dickason
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-197627-8

Description: Superb historical novel of the Jacobean court, in which Princess Elizabeth strives to avoid becoming her father's pawn in the royal marriage market The court of James I is a volatile place, with factions led by warring cousins Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon. Europe is seething with conflict between Protestants and Catholics. James sees himself as a grand peacemaker -- and what better way to make his mark than to use his children in marriage negotiations? Into this court come Henry, Prince of Wales, and his sister Elizabeth. Their louche father is so distrusted that soon they are far more popular than he is: an impossibly dangerous position. Then Elizabeth is introduced to Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine. He's shy but they understand one another. She decides he will be her husband -- but her parents change their minds. Brutally denied Henry's support, how can Elizabeth forge her own future? At once a love story, a tale of international politics and a tremendous evocation of England at a time of great change, this is a landmark novel to thrill all lovers of fine historical fiction.

The Good Stuff
  • Wonderfully written
  • Intriguing characters
  • Emotions deftly written, you really feel as you can understand and feel her pain and loneliness
  • Fictional character of Tallie is fascinating
  • Historical facts/names/places done very well and done in such a way that it is easy to understand the who's, what's and where's. Let me tell you that is not an easy thing to do during this period of history
  • Very well researched
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Quite dry and repetitive at times
  • The small chapters done in the voices of other characters are distracting and in most cases, really unnecessary. The ones in Tallie's voice though are exceptional and add to the story
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Everywhere I looked, I began to see how sex ruled appetites, that thing I feared, the thing I had come to study. I saw it in the eyes of the leaning women and the strolling ones, and in the heaving shadows of the side streets."




"I began to wonder if the devil would be so bad after all" I said to Tallie. "So far as I can learn, he's neither Catholic or Protestant."

What I Learned
  • That I am happy not to be royalty. Being a Princess really sucks!
  • James the 1st of England was a royal prick and will not be winning any father of the year awards
  • Tons of fascinating historical information
Who should/shouldn't read
  • For lovers of historical fiction
  • not for those who need a lot of excitement. Probably not a great read for the beach
  • Great for those who are intrigued with minor and fascinating royals
3 Dewey's




I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

Friday, December 3, 2010

Top Books Reviewed by Me For 2010

Since it's Christmas time and I think books are the best presents.  Here are my top 5 for each category that I have reviewed this year. Hopefully this will help with your gift giving!  Also this list contains great suggestions for you to check out at your local library -- that's right folks, don't forget to support your local library-- and hey I'm just saying -- since its that time of year and if you want to  bring us a little gift, chocolate and bookstore gift cards make us VERY HAPPY -- and personally I'm good with a Timmy's and if you really want to show your love -- Nathan Fillion under my tree would be very much appreciated (Shhh don't tell Jeff)

BTW -- This is just based on the books I had for review -- there are tons of other fantastic books out there!

Rayment's Top Reviewed Books for 2010

Fiction

Death's Excellent Vacation
Eternal Kiss of Darkness
Motorcycles and Sweetgrass (MY TOP FAVORITE FOR 2010)



Venom
When Blood Calls


Non-Fiction


Everything is Going to Be Great
It Could be Worse You Could Be Me
Late, Late at Night
Shut Up and Eat
Zoo Borns

Young Adult

Ghosts of  Ashbury High
Mockingjay
Paranormalcy

Wondrous Strange
You Are Not Here

Middle School

Be a Writing Superstar
Insecto Files
Quiz Book For Boys
Smile
Zac Power
Any Books by Jake Bell for American Middle School Students

Picture Books

A Bear in War
Chester's Masterpiece
My Brother Charlie
Vanishing Habitats
Zen Ghosts

Winner of Challenge Completed Contest

I had 25 entries and used random.org to pick the winner.  The winner is

Carla said... Congrats on finishing the challenge! and I would pick Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohen and David Levithan

Congrats Carla, I have emailed you and you have 48 hours to get back to me or I have to choose someone else

Thanks for dropping by everyone and I will be posting a  new contest soon

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello: Book Review

Salting Roses
by Lorelle Marinello
Avon (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-144374-9
December 1, 2010

Description: Gracie Lynne Calloway-once left on a coal bucket on a front porch in a small Southern Alabama town-discovers on her 25th birthday that she is the kidnapped daughter of a late New England financier and   Heiress to a fortune.

When the tabloid press and her unwanted greedy relatives descend on her, she has to admit the quiet secure life she's known and loved is gone for good. As Gracie struggles to stabilize her world and come to terms with her new identity, she learns that belonging is not about where you came from but who you are.

The Good Stuff

  • A sweet charming, beautiful and wise book
  • Don't let the slowness of it make you put the book down, the characters slowly grow on you and you realize how much you have grown to care about them
  • Bloody brilliant and realistic character development
  • It's the perfect book for a cold winter's night. You want to curl up, grab a tea (or a nice Australian red wine) and lose yourself in a delightful small town full of quirky and all too real characters
  • Some nice humour and fun dialogue
  • Great starting chapter - but I warn you it slows down a little after that, but please don't give up
  • Lovely messages about truth, money, forgiveness,family, love and being human
The Not so Good Stuff

  • It was very slow at times and I had a hard time getting into it, but it really grew on me so don't let the slowness get to you
  • Gracie irritated me at times because she was so stubborn and I didn't always understand her choices
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Gracie was convinced God had invented Jeans to make up for his mistake of letting Eve into the Garden of Eden naked as a jaybird."

"She had to be all of one hundred and ten pounds - what Alice's Hollywood magazines called fashionably thin, a polite word for anorexic."

"Happiness was something that came from having the freedom to be who you really were - not someone else's version of your ideal self, but the deep down you, with all the good and bad mixed up thick."

What I Learned

  • That I secretly hope that I am some kidnapped heiress and one day someone will come along with 6 million dollars for me to do with as I please. 
  • Books like this make me glad that I decided to become a book reviewer and jump out of my reading comfort zone
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Fans of Fannie Flagg and Debbie Macomber will probably enjoy
  • Those who enjoy Southern fiction
  • Not for those who like tons of action and/or hot steamy sex
4 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review -- thank you once again HarperCollins for sending me a book that I probably never would have picked out, but am glad I read

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mom and Me Mondays: Scaredy Squirrel

While we were messing around with our Scaredy Squirrel puppet this weekend, we realized that we have never done a Mom and Me post on our families favorite modern picture book.  That's right the infamous Scaredy Squirrel. If you have never heard of him, shame on you -- get thee to a bookstore and buy a copy RIGHT NOW!  Even better buy a Puppet/Book Combo from select Chapters/Indigo/Coles stores and proceeds go to benefit the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

Scaredy Squirrel
by Melanie Watt
Kids Can Press
ISBN: 978-1-55337-959-1
Suggested Ages: Any age, but don't let your babies hurt the book
Scaredy Squirrel on the Web
Scaredy Squirrel on FaceBook (And Yes I belong to it - don't judge)

Description: Scaredy Squirrel never leaves his nut tree. It's way too dangerous out there. He could encounter tarantulas, green Martians or killer bees. But in his tree, every day is the same and if danger comes along, he's well-prepared. Scaredy Squirrel's emergency kit includes antibacterial soap, Band-Aids and a parachute. Day after day he watches and waits, and waits and watches, until one day his worst nightmare comes true! Scaredy suddenly finds himself out of his tree, where germs, poison ivy and sharks lurk. But as Scaredy Squirrel leaps into the unknown, he discovers something really uplifting


Jake's Review: Scaredy is really funny but he has some issues, as Mom would say.  Mom also says that Scaredy reminds her of me, but I think she is exaggerating. I think the books are more suited to younger kids like Jesse and old people like my Mom -- who is currently playing with the puppet right now. Did I also mention that she has a Scaredy Squirrel Bag and Lanyard and doesn't let Jesse touch her puppet!  I like the book because the pictures are awesome and really different. Scaredy is really funny and he can fly and he is  like me in that he is scared of lots of weird things.  But I guess if Scaredy can get over his fears, maybe I can too.
Jake's Rating: 9.5/10


Mom's Review: Scaredy Squirrel is up there with anything created by my hero Dr Seuss.  We have all of his books and adore each and everyone of them. Jake is just acting supercool by not going ga ga over Scaredy right now, but when he was 5 he made me read it to him every night.  Scaredy is so real and loveable you will find yourself out buying the rest of the series.  The stories have some wonderful coping strategies for those who are scared of the unknown and done in such a wonderful blase way. I really wish I could express more effectively how wonderful this book is, but I guess I will just let you have to see for yourself. Trust me just go buy the book, you will understand and thank Me! By the way note to self, don't let 9 year old boys play with puppet while mentioning nuts (and with Daddy encouraging him too) -- trust me! This is a MUST HAVE book for every household, Library and School Classroom!

Mom's Rating: 5 Million/10

Other Books In Series

Scaredy Squirrel at Night
Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach
Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend
Scaredy Squirrel has a Birthday Party - Coming February 2011




I received this copy "SIGNED" at the OLA conference a couple of years ago. Melanie is just as sweet and quirky as Scaredy himself

Cheerios Milestone Party & Kleenex Hand Towel Review

I was given the opportunity from Mom Central Canada to host an intimate Cheerios Milestones Sponsored Get-together in my home with my Mommy friends and their kids. Mom Central Canada provided me with a Get-together kit that included everything I would need to host a fun and entertaining get-together. 

Unfortunately a week before my scheduled party I got sick, so I had to adjust the originally planned event.  However, even with the scaled down production and a few cancellations, we still managed to have a fantastic time. We had tons of food to sample and lots of arts and crafts for the little ones.


The Layout
The Spread 
Cheerio Lollipops

Make your own Cheerio Necklaces

All set up for kids potty time

Crafts 

The Guests

Me prepping blog post --must get wireless one of these days(Check out spanking new laptop won from Urbanmoms.ca)

The gang sampling

Glad I left the house like normal with toys everywhere

Mommies bonding over sweets

Josh and his Cheerios necklace


Jesse saying Hi to Carter

Peekaboo!
The Recipes

Banana Nut Cheerios® Energy Bars (I substituted with Honey Nut Cheerios)

Prep Time:20 min
Start to Finish:50 min
Makes:24 bars
 
4cups Banana Nut Cheerios® cereal
1cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/3cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3cup roasted unsalted sunflower nuts
1/2cup light corn syrup
1/4cup packed brown sugar
1/4cup creamy peanut butter
1teaspoon vanilla

1.Spray 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix cereal, cranberries, almonds and sunflower nuts.
2.In 2-quart saucepan, heat corn syrup, brown sugar and peanut butter to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
3.Pour syrup mixture over cereal mixture; toss to coat. Press firmly in pan. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.

1 Serving: Calories 110 (Calories from Fat 30); Total Fat 3 1/2g (Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 55mg; Total Carbohydrate 18g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 11g); Protein 1Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 2%; Vitamin C 2%; Calcium 4%; Iron 6Exchanges: 1/2 Starch; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Chocolate Hazelnut Marshmallow Balls (I used Honey Nut Cheerios)
Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:15 min
Makes:14 servings

1/2cup hazelnut spread with cocoa
1/4cup milk chocolate chips
14large marshmallows

Toothpicks
3cups Chocolate Cheerios® cereal

Round wooden sticks with one pointed end or craft sticks (flat wooden sticks with round ends)

1.In medium microwavable bowl, microwave hazelnut spread and chocolate chips on High 30 seconds; stir until smooth. Place cereal in shallow dish.
2.Insert toothpick into marshmallow; dip in chocolate mixture. Roll in cereal to coat completely. Place on large plate; remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining marshmallows. If desired, insert round wooden sticks into each for pops.
3.Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.

1 Serving: Calories 120 (Calories from Fat 40); Total Fat 4 1/2g (Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 50mg; Total Carbohydrate 19g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 13g); Protein 1Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 2%; Vitamin C 2%; Calcium 4%; Iron 8Exchanges: 1 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.



Cheerios String and Eat Necklaces

Prep Time:30 min
Start to Finish:30 min
Makes:4 necklaces
Tip:
Dip licorice ends into flour before poking through marshmallows to prevent stickiness

1/3cup Cheerios® cereal
1roll (1.5 oz) ring-shaped gummy candy
1package (1 1/4 oz) tube-shaped candies
1/2cup colored miniature marshmallows
4pieces red shoestring licorice (about 36 inches each)

1.For each necklace, string cereal, candies and marshmallows onto shoestring licorice.
2.When licorice is three-fourths full, tie ends together in double knot to make necklace    


Review's of the Recipe's and Crafts

Angie (2 1/2) loved the cheerios lollipops and when Mom (Tammy) asked if she could have a bite -- she said "NO" you can get your own over there! Her mom preferred the ones I made with the Cheerios over just the plain chocolate covered marshmallows -- as they were too sweet. With theCheerios on them it mellowed the sweetness.  Mom and Angie both thought the squares were too hard, thought they would have been better if they weren't so thick.  The taste was good though

Joanna and her 2 children Abi (4 yrs) and Josh (15 months) also sampled all of the treats.  Abi loved the Cheerios lollipops, but wasn't sure she would like them with the chocolate Cheerios that the recipe suggested (So far haven't seen the chocolate Cheerios in Canada, saw them in Buffalo last week though).  Abi wouldn't try theCheerios squares because they had cranberries in them  (both of my boys weren't going to try those squares either -- since they are also not fans of cranberries).  Mom thought they were delicious, but also thought they were a little too hard (must get proper size bake pan so I can make them thinner).  Abi loved making the Cheerios necklaces and Mom thought they were a fantastic craft for little girls.  Josh had a few pieces of the Cheerios lollipop and loved it and probably would have eaten the whole thing if Mom would have let him (trust me I am with Mom, I would only let Jesse have a little bite since they are so sugary,they would have been bouncing off the walls!).  Joanna also wanted to mention that Abi only likes regular cheerios, not the multi-grain ones.  As a Mom, Joanna, also mentioned that she is a little turned off of the multi-grain Cheerios as they seem to have an almost candy like coating. When she buys"multi-grain" she expects them to be healthier-- not candy coated!

Pam has three children, Jalene (4), Taryn (2 - and future wife to Jesse) and Carter (3mths).  Both Jalene and Taryn loved the Cheerios lollipops and devoured them!  Jalene loved the chocolate ones a little better than the Cheerios ones, because they weren't as messy.  Jalene loved the squares but Taryn wouldn't try them -- due to once again those nasty looking cranberries (note to self -- cranberries are a turn off to most young kids).  Both girls enjoyed making the necklaces.  Something they definitely were going to try doing again.  Pam has Coeliac disease, so she could not try any of the Cheerios recipes. However, both of the girls and her husband are huge fans of the Banana Nut Cheerios.  We also bought some this week to try out!  Carter just slept most of the time and wasn't ready to try anything since -- he's only 3 months old. But I got to cuddle with him and kiss his beautiful little head! Thank goodness hubby has been fixed or I would have been tempted to have another one asap.


Lori has two children, Meghan(4 1/2) and Joshua (17months).  Both Meghan and Josh loved the lollipops, especially the ones with the Cheerios on them!  Mom also liked theCheerios lollipops and the Cheerios squares.  The squares were much too difficult for the kids to eat, since they were so wide and hard -- but they did have a great flavor to them.  Mom loved the idea of making necklaces with the kids and was going to do that in the future.  Mom found the lollipops a little too sweet and found the ones with the Cheerios quite a bit better as the Cheerios calmed down the sweetness.

Things I learned & Misc. Notes

  • Things were a little too hectic for all of us sitting down and doing the crafts.  If I was to do this again, I would get one of the neighborhood girls to come in and help out with the little ones.
  • I love to host parties with kids.  If I had been feeling better I would have loved to have planned more crafts for the kids to do
  • Everyone loves cheerios. Great first solid food for all kids.  Everybody has their favorite type, but I am old school I love snacking on the plain ones.
  • Told them all about the milestones contest and Mom Central and handed out the cards. Also emailed them a list of the recipes, the contest and some information about Mom Central
  • Everybody liked the prizes provided by Cheerios and Mom Central. I also added some prizes of books, so that everybody could go home with a little extra
  • It was so nice to have so many little girls in the house for a change. I am usually surrounded by boys and fart jokes, so it was kinda fun to talk about barbies and crafts.
  • It is times like this that I really miss being a stay at home mom, surrounded by tons of noise and chaos and just hanging with other Mom's

Kleenex Hand Towel Review

Since I already had some mom's handy I wanted to get their opinion on the Kleenex Hand Towels that were also provided by Mom Central Canada

Most of the mom's agreed it wasn't something that they would purchase regularly, but would definitely keep on hand for parties and for when someone in the house was sick, to prevent the spreading of germs.

The product itself was extremely strong and really did the trick.  It was the perfect size and it felt nice and soft.  Our complaints about the product were that it was a little pricey for what it was, and it wasn't the most environmentally friendly product as it promoted throwing things away.  However, we were still all going to make sure we kept some handy. Great for keeping in the car and diaper bags!!!

RIP Leslie Nielsen

One of my fav actors passed away yesterday.   Here are a few clips of him when he was on Due South (Plus a bit from Due South which makes me laugh everytime -- Leslie is not in this particular clip (Transcript now since video has been taken off YouTube -- but Canadians everywhere will laugh their ass off ) and a wonderful tribute someone did on youtube






Since The video was taken off YouTube - here is the transcript from the scene I was talking about

Constable Benton Fraser: [Fraser, dressed in his red Mountie uniform, is teaching Social Studies in an elementary classroom] ... which makes the border between Canada and the United States the longest undefended border in the world. So that since their formation, our countries have found a peaceful way to coexist. Except for the War of 1812, where your country invaded ours and we sent you packing - but that's hardly worth mentioning. Now, I think I'll open the floor to questions.
[a boy raises his hand]
Constable Benton Fraser: Yes?
Schoolboy: Do you have to undo all your buttons to go to the toilet?
Constable Benton Fraser: No. Anyone else?
[the boy raises his hand again]
Schoolboy: How many do you have to undo?
Constable Benton Fraser: Just enough to get your trousers undone.
[the boy raises his hand yet another time]
Constable Benton Fraser: Yes.
Schoolboy: Do they have toilets in Canada?
Constable Benton Fraser: Yes. We do. Anyone else?
[the boy raises his hand]
Constable Benton Fraser: Anyone else a'tall?
[the boy is frantically raising his hand as Fraser ignores him]
Constable Benton Fraser: Any other questions a'tall?




Thursday, November 25, 2010

Challenge Completed and Contest

I completed my very 1st Challenge (ok and the only 1) since I stared blogging

2010 Bottoms Up Reading Challenge hosted by Ellz Readz


My pile had 33 books on it in February 2010 -- and I managed to read the last one last night!  It feels so good to be done

Hopefully next year I will take on a few more challenges


These are the books that were on the bottom up my pile

A Black Tie Affair
Confections of a Master Baker
Cougar Club
Countess of Scandal
Desire Me 
Ghosted
Heat Wave 
Hunger Games
It Could be Worse You Could be Me
Knights of Pleasure
Missile Mouse
Motorcycles and Sweetgrass
My Wife's Affair
Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders
Of Mice and Men
Priceless
Ravished by a Highlander
Seduced by a Rogue
Shiver
Smile
Spider's Bite
The Deadly Sister
The Journal of Mortifying Moments
The Odds Get Even
The Outsiders
The  Princess Bride
The Queen's Mistake
To Surrender to a Rogue
Vermont Ghost Guide
What I Saw and How I Lied
Wondrous Strange
Would You
Zac Power

And since I felt so good about finishing - I decided that I was going to do a quick contest

CONTEST

Open US, Canada or anywhere the Book Depository ships
Prize: Any book from the Book Depository - up to $15 (Its xmas after all, money is tight)
Contest Ends: December 3rd, 2010
Rules: Must be a Follower and Comment below what book you would order if you won

The Odds Get Even by Natale Ghent: Book Review

The Odds Get Even
 by Natale Ghent
HarperTrophy Canada (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-1-55468-412-0
Suggested Ages: 9 - 12

Description: Boney, Itchy and Squeak are the Odd Fellows, just a bit different from everybody else, and the best of friends. They hang out in their tree house in Boney’s backyard, where five lookout posts and three escape hatches allow them to keep an eye on (and get away from) their mortal enemy: bully Larry Harry. But after getting pelted with eggs, pummeled in gym class and sabotaged every year at their school’s Invention Convention, the Odds have had enough. They’re going to put an end to Larry’s reign of terror, and they’re going to use their knowledge of science and the local legend of a haunted mill to do so—if, that is, they don’t get tangled up in their own schemes first. Natale Ghent, award-winning and critically acclaimed author of No Small Thing and All the Way Home, returns with a hilarious story of friendship and comeuppance. The Odds Get Even perfectly captures the childhood spirit of secret plans and adventures while showing that being different isn’t such a bad thing

The Good Stuff
  • Wonderful story that boys in the 9 - 12 age will love, especially if they are not hockey obsessed stereotypical Canadian boys (Yup folks, Jake is going to love this one)
  • Delightfully unusual characters
  • There is a ghost story, its minor, but its still there and I LOVE ghost stories
  • The friendship between the boys really rings true and is very honestly portrayed
  • It reminded me of my youth as an "Odd kid"
  • Very realistic portrayal of boys and some of the situations they find themselves in - especially with dealing with bullies
  • Quirky good fun 
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Come on, must all parental figures come off as completely clueless morons
What I Learned
  • That sometimes it really sucks to be a geeky young boy
  • That I'm not such a bad cook after-all, at least I don't make only soup casseroles
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Perfect for middle school age boys, especially those that are considered a little bit different
  • A great book for kids who have been bullied
  • Hockey obsessed Canadian boys probably won't get into this one
4 Dewey's

I got a signed copy for Jake at the Ontario Library Association conference last year and didn't have to review it, just felt like passing on a recommendation for a good book for middle school boys

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas Shopping Surprise

CSN and Christmas Shopping

CSN has generously gave me the opportunity to review another item from one of their FABULOUS stores, so I thought -- hey I have no extra money for Christmas and hubby and I agreed not to buy anything for each other -- now I can surprise him with a little something

If you haven't heard of CSN - and would be surprised if you haven't,  they are a fantastic online shopping site with tons of fantastic things to buy such as some funky and oh so practical sling backpacks, wonderful kitchen gadgets and some fun and educational toys.  In other words, pretty much anything you can think of.

I also used to think their International Fee was way too steep -- but after experiencing a truly steep unexpected charge from UPS when I ordered a  special watch for my son from the States, I take it back. Their international fee is EXTREMELY reasonable and more importantly it is out in the open, so there will be no surprises.

Now SHHHHH -- don't tell hubby I am buying him something!  And also to bribe you for not telling, I am having a contest next week  for you guys!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers -- Enjoy!  And btw CSN is having tons of Black Friday specials already -- Go Shop NOW!

Winners of The Transformation of Things

Hi Guys

Sorry about the lateness on this one!!!!

The following have won a copy of The Transformation of Things.

Nise' said...


Your likes outweigh your dislikes that I will put this book on my "check it out list". Great review.

Mom vs. the boys said...

I loved your review, honest and thorough!

I'm interested

debbie said...

I think this one sounds really interesting. I liked your what I learned list. I am a gfc follower.

Congrats!! I will email you from my work email and you have 48 hrs to respond or I have to pick another person

Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost: Book Review

Eternal Kiss of Darkness
by Jeaniene Frost
Avon (Harper Collins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-178316-6

Description: An immortal war has been brewing in the darkness…and now one woman has stumbled into the shadows. Chicago private investigator Kira Graceling should have just kept on walking. But her sense of duty refused to let her ignore the moans of pain coming from inside a warehouse just before dawn. Suddenly she finds herself in a world she’s only imagined in her worst nightmares.

At the center is Mencheres, a breathtaking Master Vampire who thought he’d seen it all. Then Kira appears—this fearless, beautiful…human who braved death to rescue him. Though he burns for her, keeping Kira in his world means risking her life, yet sending her away is unthinkable. But with danger closing in, Mencheres must choose between the woman he craves, or embracing the darkest magic to defeat an enemy bent on his eternal destruction

The Good Stuff
  • It's written by Jeaniene Frost 
  • Hot and steamy and fun
  • Absorbing, as usual Frost grabs your attention right away and doesn't let go until the very end, I never can put down any of her books
  • Kira is a great kick ass heroine, even if she does get herself in all spots of trouble. She is compassionate and has an incredible strength of character.  A very realistic heroine who I admire
  • Lots of my favorite secondary characters are in this, but would have likde more Vlad and Hey where was Ian
  • Cat and bones show up, so that is always fun and entertaining
  • I know a lot of people didn't like this one as much as her Cat and Bones stories, but I loved it, loved it, loved it!
  • Lots of Vlad in this story, with his lovely sense of wit -- hoping that JF will do a whole story on him, and cross my fingers,  Ian
The Not so Good Stuff
  • I hate the name Mencheres - reminds me too much of menarche which is basically a women's first menstrual cycle-- sorry male readers of blog
Favorite Quotes/Passages (So very many, could have gone on for pages)

"Cat cleared her throat in the tense silence that followed. “Uh, before this goes any further, let’s at least introduce ourselves to your friend. I’m Cat, and this is my husband, Bones. We’re part of Mencheres’ twisted little fang family"

“First bubble baths. Now Disney parks. You’re shattering every creepy vampire myth I’ve ever heard.”

"Kira knew that his tongue felt like a vibrator set to the speed of Oh Hell Yeah."

"Vampires like you piss me off,’ Vlad muttered.  ‘Leaving a trail of bodies for humans to be suspicious over when there’s no need to kill to feed.  Ever had a mob of villagers armed with torches ad pitchforks burn your house down while screaming ‘death to wampyre!’?  I have, and it’s irritating beyond belief."

"I will not ask for pointers from Dracula, she swore to herself. I will not. “Yeah, I’d feel better about that. So, ah…look into my eyes.”
Another strangled sound came from Vlad’s direction. Now Kira was sure it was a laugh. She was determined to ignore him.
Lewis obediently stared at her, and Kira tried to make her voice sound confident. “You don’t feel anything. You’re not afraid.”
“I am,” came Vlad’s immediate reply. “If you tell him wolves are the children of the night next, I might hurt myself laughing.”

What I Learned
  • Vampires have an extremely dry and witty sense of humour
  • Ceiling sex sounds like tons of fun -- hey Nathan Fillion or Ryan Reynolds -- you interested?
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Obviously long time fans of Jeaniene Frost will enjoy
  • Those who enjoy an exciting and fun ride with hot and steamy sex
  • Not for the prudish or those without a sense of humour
4.5 Dewey's

I bought a copy of the book since I am a big fan of Jeaniene Frost and didn't have to review it, but  I did anyway so there

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby: Book Review

The Clockwork Three
by Matthew J. Kirby
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-545-20337-1
Suggested Ages: 8 - 14 (And up)


Description: When Giuseppe finds a green violin washed up in New York docks, somehow he knows it will change his life. But how? The very same day, Hannah, a maid at a local hotel, gets a strange new mistress. Why are Madame X and her mysterious Russian minder living in a hotel? What are they hiding from? Across the square, Frederick, a clockmaker's apprentice, hides his dark terrors, and an amazing gift. There is nothing to link these three children, except the green violin and a chance encounter on the street. But soon they are swept away in an epic adventure. This is a mesmerizing story of chance, friendship, and courage.

The Good Stuff
  • Absolutely, positively delightful historical fantasy fiction for the 8-14 range
  • Both girls and boys will adore
  • Absorbing and addictive, I got lost in the story many a time
  • Wonderfully descriptive - you can almost smell and touch your surroundings
  • Intriguing characters introduced one by one so you really get a sense of their personality and their place in the story
  • Heartrendingly sad at times, but also very hopeful
  • Has a bit of Steampunk, fantasy and history all wrapped up into one, even at times a little reminiscent of Oliver Twist
  • Really enjoyed the characters of Madame Pomeroy and Yakov
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Could have taken out maybe 50 pages, but that is only the opinion of an scattered brain 40 year old mom
  • Also the part with the clockwork man should have been left out or developed more - it just didn't fit in, in my opinion
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Stacks and stacks of books lined the walls and stood ready as if they hoped to be on shelves one day."



"But I've learned that in most cases it's best to just keep my opinions to myself." The women laughed, a tinkling, trembling laugh. "Would that everyone were as wise as you."

"But the old fiddle sang so true, so tender, he gave it more life, and more still, until it did not feel like he was playing it at all. And in that moment, it did not matter which instrument he held in his hands."

What I Learned

  • That I am lucky to have been born in this era, to the parents I was born to.
Who should/shouldn't read
  • YA's who prefer a more substantial story
  • Not for those YA's who prefer a lighter story, this is a heavy one
  • A good starter steampunk for the younger set
4 Dewey's

I received this book from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Monday, November 22, 2010

In My Mailbox

Won (And for Review)
From CSN - Must Review

From LibraryThing.com

Book Signings (And pics from Steven & Chris Show)
Up Close and Personal

He wants me, you can tell LOL

See we totally have a connection

2 Signed Copies (only 1 shown)

Me and the boys -- btw - they smell really good!

Free stuff we got from the show

Bought From Scholastic Flyer from Jake's School


Purchased
People, for obvious reasons, Book was a suggestion from Vicky at Mom Who Runs
HAD to buy a dress for DH's Xmas Party - he bribed me with Cash & trip to Victoria's Secret

Won

From Bitten By Paranormal Romance
Pure by Alfred Sung Coat from Fashion Magazine Contest
From Dee at Good Choice Reading

From Jenn at Baci on Facebook (Trivia Question)