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!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lottery Dreams

On Tuesday last week I made the unfortunate mistake of not having anything to read (sniff sniff) for the tedious bus ride home to the middle of nowhere.  So instead of having a nap or chatting with the loud and obnoxious women beside me I decided to dream about what I would do if I won the lottery.  It got me thinking that I would love to hear from everybody else on what their dreams would be -- about winning the lottery -- not those naughty ones about Ryan Reynold (yummy) and a can of whip cream.  So please I want to hear what YOU would do.

So to start you all off, If I won bazillions of dollars, I would do the following:

  • Quit my job (even though I do really like it) so I could be a stay at home mom to Satan and Beazulbub
  • Fund a research lab at Sick Kids to find a cure for spina bifida, so that my son, and all the other kids living with spina bifida,  never have to wear a diaper ever again
  • Buy a beautiful property with tons of land and build a separate building to house my dream library. You know one of those libraries with 2 floors, dark wood book cases that have a ladder and lots of comfy places to read. Also has to have one of those stand up globes that open up into a liquor cabinet -- stocked with lots of Baileys.  It would be stocked with every book you could think of and tons of first edition and signed copies. It would be named after my father David Porter, since he was a genuine good man, funny guy and introduced me to books and the love of a good tale.
  • Travel to all the places I have dreamed of going like England, Scotland, New Zealand, Bora Bora, Bucharest,  Ryan Reynolds or Nathan Fillions bedroom
  • Have a maid and driver 
  • When both kids are full time in school I would go back to school to become a Librarian, so I would never have to explain the difference between being a Library Technician and a Librarian.  And yes you do go to University to be a Librarian and NO they do not have a Shushing 101 or how to put your hair up in a bun course!
  • Adopt Lindsay Lohan and get her some serious mental help and keep her far away from her parents
  • Get a serious makeover so I don't look like such a slob
  • No I would not get a nose job, even-though it would make me look better, because it gave me my sense of humor -- though might get a butt job (for my lack of one) so it would easier to find pants that fit
  • Help my family and friends so they would have less stress . Would pay for my Niece and Nephews schooling, buy Rich and Natasha a house, etc. 
  • Oh yeah and get one of those super cool ereaders!
OK - now its your turn -- bring on your dreams. Who knows if I win the lottery, I might just be able to help you all

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another Prize for Charity Raffle

Just received 2 SIGNED books from Kelley Armstrong














For more info about the UPCOMING raffle see here

Amanda Reviews for Avatar

One of my favorite people sent me her review of Avatar and it made me howl out loud, here it is for your amusement

Avatar - Review by Amanda VanMierlo

Europeans screwed over Native Americans. James Cameron thinks the best way to make himself feel more important is to make a movie about it only with smurfs.

Army guy has to be a blue thing because his brother croaked. Army guy feels loyal to army captain guy. Says he will get info for captain guy. Army guy gets lost in the woods of Smurfville. Girl smurf tries to kill him but floating jellyfish stops her. Girl smurf saves army guy's life from angry panther dogs. Smurf girl, (a.k.a Pocahontas) brings army guy (John Smith) to elders. Elders tell her that he is her responsibility.

Smurf girl and army guy fall in love. Army guy doesn't give captain guy info anymore. Captain gets mad at all of the hippies and tears some trees and shit down. Army guy goes all "oh no you didn't". Viewer feels bad because all of the nature is getting owned.

Army guy predictably does something that only a handful of legendary smurfs have done and saves the day. The end.

She also suggested the following: http://www.the-editing-room.com/avatar.html

Hump Day Hottie - Adam Beach

Going a little multicultural today. I bring you the talented, yummy  Canadian Adam Beach




http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0063440/

Also check out my review of Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Prizes have Arrived!

Wow, just received more prizes for my upcoming RAFFLE

What do you think?


Jennifer's book is signed














 All books are signed by authors!









Check out here for other prizes I have received

Monday, April 26, 2010

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell: Book Review

What I Saw and How I Lied
by Judy Blundell
Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-439-90348-6
284 Pages
Ages: 13+ (Some violence and mild suggestion of sex)

Description: When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two. As she begins to realize that almost everything she believed to be a truth was really a lie, Evie must get to the heart of the deceptions and choose between her loyalty to her parents and her feelings for the man she loves. Someone will have to be betrayed. The question is . . . . who?

Good Stuff
  • Bloody fantastic YA mystery/suspense novel
  • Heroine is realistic and interesting
  • great character development of main character
  • suspenseful page turner that will keep away from all of your chores, you will not want to put it down
  • Author really knows how to set the scene of the story. You feel like you are right there in post world war II USA
  • I loved the typical selfish and self interest thoughts of the teenage characters.
  • Very realistic in terms of the feelings of teens wanting to grow up in too much of a hurry
  • Heartbreaking at times, as main character deals with the deceptions around her
  • Wonderful insights into the idiocy of the persecution of Jews before, during and after the war
  • Really liked it even-though it didn't have the happiest of endings (see I can like something that doesn't have a happier ever after ending)
  • Hopeful!  
  • After reading it you will realize why it won the National Book Award

Not So Good Stuff
  • May lead to some interesting discussions with younger readers in regards to sex and extramarital affairs (Ok, had to find something to put in this section)

What I learned
  • Didn't realize there was still so much anti Jew sentiment after the war 
  • Don't go to Palm Beach during the fall
  • Learned about Hurricane Holes
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Margie and I believed in magazine and movies more than church"

"Ruthie had European cousins who disappeared into the camps during the war. She was so lucky - tragedy AND curly hair."

"I'm glad you saw it Evie" she said " It's a good idea for someone like you to see"
"Why, I hated seeing it! It made me sick!"
"That's exactly why"

Who Should Read
  • Teens over the age of 13 or younger teens with more mature tastes
  • Lovers of mystery/suspense novels
  • Lovers of coming of age stories
  • Not for sensitive reader as there are hints of sexuality and violence
5 Dewey's (Go now and buy the book -- trust me I'm a Librarian)

I Received this book from Scholastic in return for an HONEST review

Mom and Me Mondays: Scholastic Edition

So, we were pressed for time this weekend, so Jake and I have done a review of two of our Scholastic picture books, instead of the chapter book that we didn't get around to finishing.


Beach Day
By Patricia Lakin
Pictures by Scott Nash
Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-439-79067-0
32 Pages
Ages: Baby to Preschool (Not for my book destroying younger child)

Description: SUN! Sam, Pam, Will and Jill are hot and sweaty. It's the perfect day for the beach. And once they've put on their swimsuits and packed a picnic lunch, they're off! But with Sam, Pam, Will and Jill, nothing is as easy as it seems. Will they actually make it to the beach?

Jake's Review: This book is for little kids not big kids like me.( Mom: Dude, this was your FAVORITE book 2 years ago, so don't get all snooty on me.) I liked the picture they were really funny! It rhymes but it doesn't have too much of a story. Are we done yet, I want to go play video games with Dad. Ok, this book would be really good for babies like Jesse and Mommy.
Rating: 8/10

Mom's Review: Beautiful little book for younger readers. Lots of colorful pictures and some easy rhyming text. This was one of Jake's favorites a couple of years ago. Hopefully Jesse will learn to sit still so that I can read it to him someday. Although I'm thinking maybe Jake and I can act it out for him, he would like that
Rating: 9/10

How do Dinosaurs go to School
by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-545-10455-5
Ages: Infant (not for my book eating infant) to 6 yrs
http://www.scholastic.ca/titles/howdodinosaurs/gotoschool.htm

Description: Everyone's favourite dinosaurs are back — and this time they are going to school. More fun dinosaur antics await. These prehistoric pupils are in a class of their own! As in their previous books, Yolen and Teague capture children's rambunctious natures with playful read-aloud verse and wonderfully amusing pictures. What would you do if a very large Ceratosaurus stomped into your classroom? And what if the student sitting next to you was a gigantic Silvisaurus - who decided to jump on top of the desk? Come along and join the fun as dinosaurs ride the bus, read their favorite books, and have fun on the playground with all their friends. Filled with entertaining details and familiar scenes, each illustration includes the name of the featured dinosaur hidden in the picture. Going to school has never been so much fun!

Jake's Review: Why are you making me read all the baby books today mom? (Mom: I was hoping you would get the hints in this one on how YOU are SUPPOSED to behave at school). We have lots of this series of books and they are really funny to look at. I like how the dinosaurs are drawn to look like little kids. I like it when you read this one to me -- but why do you stop and stare at me funny after certain sentances like "Does he interrupt class with his own show-and-tell" I think Jesse and other little kids like him will really like this one! I wish the actual names of the dinosaurs were spelled out like they sound.
Rating: 8/10

Jen's Review: I love these series of books! They are great at teaching kids manners in a fun and beautiful way. The illustrations are bright, and silly and the text is delightfully fun. I recommend these books, especially this one for all parents and teachers.  Kids and parents will get a kick out of reading this one together
Rating: 9/10

These books are from Jake and Jesse's personal library.

Jesse's First Haircut

Jesse's hair was getting a little out of control, so we finally decided on Saturday to get him his first haircut.

Auntie Holly just sent me a more recent picture of Jesse and Her.  Notice the hair colour


Forgot to take a before picture, this one was taken March 2010


 Cucci's Team in Bolton: Made it a pleasant experience

Friday, April 23, 2010

25 Followers Contest Updated - More Bonus entries added

I get really sad when people don't make any comments to my posts ; )  So I figured I would bribe you all into making some comments on my post. For each and every comment you make, you will get one extra entry into the contest.  Please make the comments relevant to the post.  I would really like some honest opinions and thoughts as I am new at this.  I am also trying out something new and doing a form.

Here is the original post for the contest

Extra Entries for Cleverly Inked's Birthday Phenomenon

Wow, an already fantastic contest on Cleverly Inked has just got even better!  Go check it out -- go now - I'm serious.  http://cleverlyinked.blogspot.com/2010/04/birthday-phenomenon.html

Now you have a chance of


55 Authors
57 Books
$25 Amazon GC
Tshirt
Posters
Pins
Bookmarks
The Swag could go on for days!

PLUS 5 Extra Books to Add to the Mix for every 50 new followers!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Wife's Affair by Nancy Woodruff: Review

My Wife's Affair 
by Nancy Woodruff
Penguin Group
ISBN: 978-0-399-15629-8
269 Pages

Description: Georgie and Peter, very much in love, move to London with their three children. Once there, Georgie's dormant acting career takes off and she wins the role of Dora Jordan in a one-woman show. Dora Jordan was the most famous comic actress of the eighteenth century (she had thirteen illegitimate children, including ten by the future king of England).

As Georgie rehearses for her part, she becomes increasingly drawn to Dora Jordan, who she sees as a working mother with struggles exactly like her own. And when Georgie can no longer fight her attraction to the playwright, she begins an affair with tragic results.

Narrated by Peter, a failed-writer-turned-businessman, My Wife's Affair is about infidelity, passion, duty, and about finally getting what you want and then wanting still more.

Ok, this one is going to be a hard one to review and  would have much rather reviewed it before I read the final two chapters. It is going to so difficult to explain what I didn't like about this book without giving anything away (which is something I totally dislike in a review)  I will try my best!

Good Stuff
  • Beautifully written, but tragic
  • The narrator's obvious love for his wife is so beautifully described
  • The narrator's wife is wonderfully theatrical (although quite the self involved tramp)
  • The character of Fergus is delightful with his wise comments and constant questions
  • Painfully uncomfortable and realistic portrayal of a marriage and of the tediousness of being a parent
  • Portrayal of the life in the theatrical world is fascinating
  • Historically accurate and makes me want to know more about Dora Jordan
  • Haunting tale of betrayal, passion and not being satisfied with what you have

Not So Good Stuff
  • The frickin last two chapters.  Let's rip out your heart, stamp on it, and than stamp on it again. Way too depressing for my sensitive nature
  • I repeat, the last two chapters!
  • Irritated at times with how much of a drama queen the wife was

What I Learned (some spoilers in this - don't read if you don't want TMI)
  • Cheating bad -- don't do it!  Especially with boring sounding English guys.
  • My god, I really really want to visit England
  • Actors are extremely selfish and self involved
  • I really don't like to read things that involve bad things happening to children (oh never mind, we already know how much I hate that)
  • Loved the scenes of the play within the story, made me want to see the fictional play
Favorite Quotes and Passages

"We try, we husbands and fathers, we really do.  I just want to tell you that.  We may not find the perfect triceratops pajamas on sale four months before the birthday"

"Peter, Peter, the world is a girl you're trying to get to sleep with you, and you'll never succeed if  you tell her your failures"

"And yet had she known what was going to happen to her, to us, I know she would gladly have traded each moment of passion for decades of the tedium she then so fiercely attacked"

"It is inconceivable to me now that I could stand in a room with this man who in a matter of weeks would be F*****g my wife-who probably was thinking of nothing but that as we talked"


"Oh, Georgie, weren't there already enough of us who adored you? Why did you need one more"

Who Should Read
  • Not for the sensitive reader due to last 2 chapters
  • Those with a love for the theatre and English theatrical  history
  • Those enjoy stories of scenes from a life
  • Not for those who enjoy happy endings



(3 Dewey's: Not bad try borrowing from friend or library) 

 I received this book from a Member's Giveaway from Library Thing

Happy Earth Day - Scholastic Earth Day Titles

This is a sort of a repost, but just wanted to update it and promote it for Earth Day.  I also added the 3rd book even though it isn't an Earth Day title, I just really love it!

Scholastic Earth Day Titles


Vanishing Habitats
Robert Bateman
Scholastic Canada (My fav publisher)
48 Stunningly illustrated pages
ISBN: 978-0-545-98621-2
Ages: Anybody can enjoy the artwork alone, but recommended Ages 8 and up

Scholastic Canada Description
: In Vanishing Habitats, internationally famous artist and naturalist Robert Bateman shares his love and knowledge of the world’s habitats. Through his paintings and stories, he describes the threats facing all kinds of animals, ranging from Snow Monkeys, Jaguars, and Bison to exotic birds such as Roseate Spoonbills and Burrowing Owls. In this beautiful and inspiring book, he explains why these animals and their homes are in danger and describes what steps can be taken to save them.

Mom's Note before review: My boy does NOT LIKE books that deal with sad or scary issues and it always colors his reviews.  His rating usually reflects the subject matter and not the book itself.  Hmm, wonder where he gets that from -- If Mom reads a book in which something unpleasant happens to an innocent child, that book usually is put down and never finished! (the exception are books which I have to review and honestly it usually colors my review as well)

Jake's Review: Mom this is a bit of a downer, but the pictures are really beautiful -- especially your favorite the Otter.  The picture of the lonely Polar Bear at the end made me really sad. I think this would be a good book for kids who don't know about global warming and they can learn how to treat the earth better.  Mom, stop making me turn back to the page with the otter -- I know --  Otters cute, must save world for them, I get it already!  Let me finish talking about the book so I can get back to playing Mario with Dad.  Parents with young kids should read this book and than explain the book to their kids using easier words.  I would make this book less sad with not so many big words -- you can't even pronounce some of them -- its Bear not Beer!  I really like the pictures, they look like ones that we have all over the house (hmm note to self - maybe I have a few too many Robert Bateman prints if Jake actually notices)
Rating: 5/10  (Again it talks about difficult subjects which Jake does not like to read about)

Mom's Review:
No surprise here, I loved this book.  The artwork is outstanding and yes I am a huge fan of Robert Bateman so that colors my review as well. My god whenever I look at one of his paintings I feel that I could reach out and touch the animal!  If anyone has some cash I really would like an ORIGINAL Robert Bateman "On the brink - River Otters"  I seriously digress - sorry. In the wonderfully written book parents will learn as much as their children about vanishing habitats all over the world. It is explained very simply with very little finger pointing so that children will learn to pay more attention to the changing world around them without feeling like they are being nagged.  I agree with Jake that there could have been some simpler language used for the target audience, but it does make a fantastic teaching tool.  I would really recommend this book for inclusion into both the school library AND the classroom library.  It's unusual to find this subject matter handled so deftly with so little sanctimonious preaching that often turns kids off.
Rating: 9/10

The Magic School Bus and the climate challenge
  
by Joanna Cole & Bruce Degen
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-590-10826-3
48 pages
Ages: 7-10

Scholastic Canada Description: Ms. Frizzle’s students are putting on a play about global warming, and they need some cold, hard facts. The Friz knows just where to find them! A hope on the Magic School Bus takes the kids on a whirlwind tour. From the Arctic to the equator, they see telltale signs of climate change. But to get the really big picture, the class has to get really small – so they can see exactly what is in the air and why it is making the world warmer. What they find gives them a real cause for concern! Luckily, the Friz has some hands-on advice. With their knack for making science accessible, Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen give this hot topic a refreshing, kid-friendly spin that will inspire all to do their part. Ms. Frizzle and the class are up for the climate challenge. Are you?

Jake's Review: This book is lots of fun, but  a little too long. I liked that it has lots of things to look for on each page. I liked how a lot of the little added things on each page were written on a small piece of lined paper. Some of the pages were too busy and my eyes hurt after looking at them.  Boy we need to change a lot of things around the house so we can help the environment more.  I promise not to leave the fridge door open and also not to leave the water running all the time. Wow, I didn't know how bad some of the stuff we do is for the earth.  Mom you have to turn off the computer more, you leave it on much too long (really sucks getting narced on by your 8 year old)  Mom we need to get a clothes line to put out our clothes to dry (note to self, must never ever let Jake read this book again, I detest hanging clothes on a line, I'm sorry I do everything else I can to help, I have to draw the line for my sanity - do you know how many frickin clothes my littlest hellion uses)  I like how cool of a teacher Ms Frizz is, I think we need a lot more teachers like her, because than I would actually listen in class.  She explains things in such a fun and simple way -- she dresses kind of odd though, sort of like some of the people you work with mom -- maybe she's part  Librarian (Smart assed little kid I have raised eh?) I'm going to tell my teacher about this book tomorrow, maybe she can get it for our class. (Thinking mom will donate this one!)
Rating: 8/10


Mom's Review: A little holier than though preaching, but its heart is in the right place.   I have really enjoyed these books over the years, because they really appeal to the kids, and I agree with Jake, that if we had a lot more teachers like Frizz. schools would be so much more affective.   The book has taken a very sensitive subject and made it very kid friendly and fun.  It is very inspirational and written in a way that makes kids want to get up and help. They are our future!   I find some of the pages too busy for my old fogey brain, but  I think that is why kids like it so much.  Always something new to find on each page.   I would really recommend this book be added to any public or school library as well to parents of children from 7-10 to open up discussions on the environment.  Great Earth Day book!
Rating: 8.5/10

My Brother Charlie
by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
Illustrations by Shane W. Evans
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-545-09466-5
Pages:

Scholastic Canada Description: Callie is very proud of her brother Charlie. He?s good at so many things  --  swimming, playing the piano, running fast. And Charlie has a special way with animals, especially their dog, Harriett. But sometimes Charlie gets very quiet. His words get locked inside him, and he seems far away. Then, when Callie and Charlie start to play, Charlie is back to laughing, holding hands, having fun. Charlie is like any other boy ? and he has autism. In this story, told from a sister?s point of view, we meet a family whose oldest son teaches them important lessons about togetherness, hope, tolerance, and love.

Holly Robinson Peete, bestselling author, actress, and national autism spokesperson, has paired with her daughter, Ryan, to co-author this uplifting book based on their own personal experiences with Holly?s son and Ryan?s brother, RJ, who has autism.

Jake's Review:  Mom this book reminds me of me and how I have Spina Bifida. Lots of people treat me differently because I am a little different than them and they don't understand me. (Sorry, my tears are blurring the screen) Sometimes people are really mean to me like kids treat the boy in the book.  He is just like Chad at school who has autism and I like playing with him. You just have to play with him a little differently and keep away from him when he is in one of his moods.  I would be Charlie's friend if he went to my school, I like kids that are different like me - they don't treat me like I am weird.  I liked how you could almost feel the pictures, like in those touch and feel baby books of Jesse's (Jake, dude, those BABY books, used to be yours) The pictures are drawn kinda weird though.
Rating: 9/10

Mom's Review: This book had a very personal response from me, since my child has "special needs" as well.  I cannot tell you how many times we are treated differently and ignorantly because people don't understand.  Some of the things that have been said to Jake or to our family are just plain rude.  I try to use these situations to educate those about spina bifida, but I cannot tell you how many times I just want to smack people because of their ignorance. (Just so you know, I never have, but have been tempted -- even to friends and family who haven't thought before they have said something)
Now back to the book.  This is a beautiful, sensitive and simple explanation of Autism written by Holly Robinson Peete (Yup you old timers Officer Judy Hoffs from 21 Jump street) and her daughter Ryan.  Ryan's twin brother R.J. has Autism and wanted to help the world understand her brother and those other families/friends who are living with Autism.  I loved how they explained that the little boy Charlie loves them, but his words to express this just get locked up inside him.  It is the most wonderfully true and thoughtful explanation of the struggle that autistic children deal with.   It also did an exceptional job of explaining the struggles that siblings have to deal with when their brother/sister has Autism.  It also explains how frustrating it is for Charlie that he has autism, and how he wishes he didn't have it either.  Many books deal with how the families cope, but don't usually mention how frustrating it is for the person that is autistic.    I loved the line about how Charlie has Autism, but Autism doesn't have Charlie.    The fact that this book is told through the voice of the twin sister makes it more realistic and heartfelt.  Information card at the back is fantastic as it tells other kids that autistic children are just as much fun to play with, if you give them a chance.
Review: 10/10

I received all of the books from Scholastic Canada in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

1st of my raffle prizes

I got my first shipment of prizes for the raffle.  What do you think so far.  All 3 books are signed by  Bertrice Small and one is an ARC of her latest erotic novel Passionate Pleasures (Release August 2010). The main character is a Librarian!

The 9th Judgment by James Patterson

The 9th Judgment 
by James Patterson
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 0316036277
384 Pages

Description: Detective Lindsay Boxer chases a jewel thief, a murderous movie star, and a killer with a vendetta against women and children. A young mother and her infant child are ruthlessly gunned down while returning to their car in the garage of a shopping mall. There are no witnesses, and Detective Lindsay Boxer is left with only one shred of evidence: a cryptic message scrawled across the windshield in blood red lipstick.

The same night, the wife of A-list actor Marcus Dowling walks in on a cat burglar who is about to steal millions of dollars worth of precious jewels. In just seconds there is an empty safe, a lifeless body, and another mystery that throws San Francisco into hysteria.

Lindsay spends every waking hour working with her partner Rich—and her desire for him threatens to tear apart both her marriage and the Women's Murder Club. Before Lindsay and her friends can piece together either case, one of the killers forces Lindsay to put her own life on the line—but is it enough to save the city? With unparalleled danger and explosive action, The 9th Judgment is James Patterson at his compelling, unstoppable best!


 Jen's Review

Dear James

I can call you James right, after all your books I have read, I feel we are on a first name basis.  Now James, you know I love you, but lets talk about your latest novel, The 9th Judgment.   For the first time I have had to put down one of your books and decide not to finish it.  I know this is a first for us, so I need you to understand.  James, you murdered an infant and sweetie, I just cannot seem to handle that sort of storyline. My youngest child is close in age to the infant you knocked off and that just hits too close to home. 

Now I AM going to forgive you for this and not treat you like I did Stephen King after being horrified while reading Pet Cemetery.  I actually finished that book, but it took me 20 years to get over my disgust and pick up another one of his books, even though his book The Stand is my favorite.  Instead I have decided to treat you with the same respect that I gave Joss Whedon, even though he broke my heart twice. The first time with the sudden death of Buffy's Mom by brain aneurysm (Sorry Joss, but I like Buffy came home to find my mom dead of a brain aneurysm, I CANNOT watch that episode ever again)  The second time from the abrupt death of Wash, one of your most beloved characters.   Joss, you made me cry, but I came back for more and James I am going to do the same for you now.

Now promise me darling, no more murdering innocent children --or while we are at it no evil murdering toddlers back from the dead either.   However I do approve of the killing of psychopaths or politicians -- oh never mind, that is the same thing, so keep up with that.

Thanks for all your previous books, I know many people say you aren't a good writer, but don't listen to them.  A good writer to me, is someone who tells a good tale and makes you not want to put a story down, well except for when you murder off innocent children of course.

Thanks
Jen

Rating: DNF 

Received this at the Dewey Diva presentation at the Ontario Library Association Conference.

Hump Day Hottie - Paul Gross

Going with the Canadian angle this week.  Here is one of my favorite hotties since I first saw him as Jake Kincaid in the Canadian mini-series "Chasing Rainbows", but I really love him for his role as Benton Frasier in Due South.  He is a gifted actor and talented musician and he has got a great mischievous smile.  Sadly, had a hard time finding a nice hot picture of him today. None of these pictures "due" him justice, he's really nice and sexy in person too!




http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0343472/
http://www.paulgross.org/indexhigh.htm

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer: Book Review

The Deadly Sister
by Eliot Schrefer
Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0545165747
352 Pages

Description: Abby Goodwin has always covered for her sister. Maya's screw ups started out ordinary enough: Broken curfews. Failed classes. Hanging out with the wrong crowd. But now Maya's been accused of murder. And Abby's not sure she'll be able to cover for her anymore. Abby's certain of Maya's innocence--but she's the only one. With the police closing in, Abby helps Maya escape...and then starts investigating, hoping to clear her sister's name. What she finds, though, shows how deadly her sister can truly be. From the author of The School for Dangerous Girls comes a page-turning thriller about the things we do for family--and the limits we can reach.

Good Stuff
  • Suspensful
  • Good twists and turns
  • Lots of teen angst and drama
  • Realistic portrayal of family dynamics
  • clever dialogue makes me want to read other works by author
  • Fast paced story keeps you interested in reading more (Especially when you should be working)
  • You really become emotionally attached to main character
  • Pleasantly surprised that male author portrays a female so realistically (I know sexist). Thinking he must have a teenage daughter
  • Twisted and dark at times (yes that can be a good thing)
  • Really loved how the author talked about when someone dies how automatically people forget how the person really was (warts and all) and make them out to be saints - especially true when it involves a teen
Not So Good Stuff
  • Not enough humour for me  - I know picky, picky (honestly though, probably a good idea in this case not to have too much humour)
  • Adults are portrayed as pretty much useless (Than again, to teens that is probably how it seems)
  • Wasn't completely satisfied with ending
What I Learned

  • Hard to be a big sister (I'm the baby in the family)
  • Drugs are bad
  • Have to make sure I listen to my kids when they grow into teens (Terrifies me that they one day will be teens)
Favorite Quotes/Passages

 "I might have protected her forever, until Jefferson Andrews showed up dead"

"You thinking of coming in here, than you better get ready for a bunch of dead teenagers"

Who Should Read
  • Teens between 13 - 18
  • Parents of teens between 13 - 18 
  • YA Mystery/Suspense readers
  • Not for sensitive younger readers due to violence, drugs and hints of sexuality

4 Deweys (Worth the price of the cover)
    I received the book from Scholastic in return for an honest review

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Mom and Me Mondays; Scholastic Edition

    I'm hoping these reviews make sense, my youngest kept me up all night and I fear I am more brain dead than normal

    The Quiz Book for Boys
    by H. Becker
    Scholastic Canada Ltd
    ISBN: 978-0-545-98032-6
    89 Pages
    Ages: 8 - 12

    Description: Which superhero are you? Or are you a more of a supervillain? Are you left brained or right brained? Do you have a brain at all?  If you do have a brain, does it know much about hockey or the Olympics? Could it tell you how to survive an avalanche or a zombie attack? In this hilarious quiz book, you’ll find out the answers to questions like these and more. With a fun mix of jokes and facts, there’s something for everyone!

    Jake's Review: Mom, you are not going to donate this one to the Spina Bifida raffle are you, because I really like it -- and I broke the spine anyway (yup my 8yr old IS trained to be careful with books, much to book hating hubby's dismay)  I can't wait to do these quiz's with all my friends at school. Some of the quiz's were weird, but I still liked them.  This would be a great book for a long car ride instead of those stupid word games you make me play. Are there any more books by this author?
    Rating: 10/10

    Mom's Review:  The whole family had so much fun with this one -- well except for Jesse - who just wanted to eat it.  The quiz's are short and fun to do and in many cases made us laugh our butts off.  It actually took a long time to get Jake's opinion on it, because he just kept wanting to do the quiz's with us, instead of telling me what he though of it.   I love this author's work, because she truly understands what boys are like and what makes them interested in reading.  BTW, the quiz's are fun for GIRLS too, thank you very much! Jake told me I liked it because I was a mom and not really a girl -- I think that was a compliment.  My only complaint is that I would have liked it to be bigger, with far more quiz's to keep my boys entertained.  What was really nice about this type of book is that Dad gets involved too.
    Mom's Rating: 9/10

    The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks: Freezer Burned
    by Jake Bell
    Scholastic Inc.
    ISBN: 978-0-545-15670-7
    161 Pages
    Ages: 8 - 12

    Description: For a town in the middle of the desert, Kanigher Falls has been awfully cold lately. Sixth grader Nate Banks knows something odd is going on, especially when it starts to snow, and the snow smells like rotten cabbage! It's clear that the supervillian Coldsnap is on the loose. Nate thinks he knows how to defeat him, but superhero Ultraviolet thinks the case is too dangerous. When Coldsnap goes after an American treasure and Ultraviolet can't go it alone, it's up to Nate and his friends to save the day!

    Jake's Review: Mom I really want to like this book because it has a comic in it, but I don't.  Do I really have to finish it? I like the comic inside the story.  The front cover is really cool looking.  I don't understand the story and the author uses a lot of big words that I don't understand.  Also, I don't think this guys is Canadian, he mentions US stuff a lot.  You can give this book to someone else, maybe somebody older or Ben, since HE understands this boring stuff.  One of the characters was really irritating and just dumb.
    Rating: 4/10

    Mom's Review: Wow, this one was a tough one to get Jake to finish reading.  I think the suggested reading level is not accurate in this case. I would suggest it for at least someone over the age of 10 or younger kids with a higher vocabulary.  Also I definitely think it is better suited to an american child since they would understand many of the historical references that a 8yr old canadian boy just wouldn't get.  I also think in this case you probably would understand more if you had read the previous books in the series.   I thought it was an interesting story line and the characters were a little different.  A lot of fun moments, however I think some of them would be lost on the younger viewer, especially the character of Colleen Collins who is obviously based on a certain Hilton Heiress. The author knows how to move the story along and his dialogue is snappy and witty, but again lost on the suggested reading level.
    Rating: 5/10

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    Raffle for Charity

    Hi Everyone

    I will be hosting a raffle for a charity I very much believe in and who have helped us on so many occasions. I have another blog which mostly focus' on our families life with Spina Bifida and some of the work I do for the charity Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario.  The estimated date for the post will be May 6th.
     

    Right now I am contacting various companies -- and most importantly Authors to get some items for the raffle.

    So far I have received commitments for signed copies of books from  MaryJanice Davidson, Jennifer Estep, Bertrice Small, Marta Acosta, Patrick Rothfuss, Illona Andrews, Julie Kenner, Kelley Armstrong, Becca Fitzpatrick, Drew Hayden Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater, RG Alexander

    Also some books from Scholastic Canada and a $25 Zehrs Gift Card.

    I have also contacted MaryJo Putney, Jacqueline Carey,  Patricia Briggs, Jeanienne Frost, Charlaine Harris, Christopher Moore, Lori Devoti and Jo Beverly

    Now I thought it would be a good idea if I got some suggestions from my followers, friends and family what other Authors that they would like me to contact (Forget about Stephen King, I hear he is impossible to get)

    Thanks
    Jen

    Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep: Review

    Spider's Bite
    by Jennifer Estep
    Simon and Schuster
    ISBN: 978-1-4391-4797-9
    Author's Website

    Good Stuff
    • Witty Dialogue - We know how important that is to me
    • Fresh and interesting storyline
    • Loved the idea of Elementals
    • Heroine is awesome. Strong, Compassionate, and well just plain Kick Ass!
    • Loved the relationship between Gin, Fletcher and Finn
    • Hot steamy sex scene
    • Great introduction really gets you into the story right away
    • Fantastic story, looking forward to reading the rest of the series - when it comes out that is

    Not So Good Stuff
    • Mentioned the past about her sisters so many times I really wasn't surprised by the revelation at the end
    • Her descriptions of food made me extremely hungry and I think I gained 10 pounds just by reading
    What I learned
    • The author must love to cook!
    • That a Peanut Butter, Pumpkin puree and banana sandwich sounds really yummy and I am soooo going to try and make it
    Favorite Quotes/Passages

    "My name is Gin, and I kill people" - Come on how can you not like a book that starts that way!

    "Normally, I wouldn't have bothered with the whole assassin's exposition. Such a cliche"

    "You should have just shot me. Not talked yourself to death"

    "It's the principle of the thing, you don't puke on a Mercedes."


    Who Should Read
    • Fans of Julie Kenner, Marta Acosta, Laurell K Hamilton, Jeaniene Frost
    • Lovers of paranormal fiction 
    • Those who enjoy snappy dialogue
    • Not for the squeamish or prudish

    5 Dewey's (Go now & buy book -- trust me I'm a Librarian)


    Won this book from Vampire Wire and Reviewed it, just cause I wanted to tell you all how frickin fantastic it is!

    Updated: 25 Followers Contest

    WOW, I have hit 45 followers, so it is time to add another prize level  -- Damn, I'm going to have to give up Tim Horton's for a month to pay for the shipping ; )

    http://raymentsreadingsrantsandramblings.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-1st-contest-25-followers.html

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Ridicously Awesome Contest - Bloody Bookaholic

    One of the amazing blogs I follow is having -- wait for it -- a Ridicously Awesome Contest.  Check out some of the prizes

































    Check out her blog for more details

    In My Mailbox and Steven & Chris Show

    From Scholastic
    • Young Zeus
    • What I saw and how I Lied
    • Countdown
    • The Deadly Sister
    • Freezer Burned
    • Zac Power: Tomb of Doom

    My buddy Natasha and I went down to 2 separate tapings of the Steven and Chris Show.  It was a lot of fun and would recommend if you are in the area to try it out

    Here are a couple of pictures


     Steven and Chris - Hosts












     The Pur Minerals Gift Basket worth $1000 that Natasha won!










    All the women in the audience got the following:

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Review: Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor

    Motorcycles & Sweetgrass
    by Drew Hayden Taylor
    Knopf Canada
    ISBN: 978-0-307-39805-5

    Ok,  just before I post this review I would just like to say -- This is Canadian -- and it is FANTASTIC -- finally a piece of Canadian literature that showcases our sense of humor and doesn't depress the crap out of you!  I also would love to chat with this author on how much I loved his book and about his quirky sense of humor -- you must read this just alone for the conversation between Jesus and Nanabush (Trickster). I dare you not to laugh your ass off.

    Description: A story of magic, family, a mysterious stranger . . . and a band of marauding raccoons.  Otter Lake is a sleepy Anishnawbe community where little happens. Until the day a handsome stranger pulls up astride a 1953 Indian Chief motorcycle – and turns Otter Lake completely upside down. Maggie, the Reserve’s chief, is swept off her feet, but Virgil, her teenage son, is less than enchanted. Suspicious of the stranger’s intentions, he teams up with his uncle Wayne – a master of aboriginal martial arts – to drive the stranger from the Reserve. And it turns out that the raccoons are willing to lend a hand.

    Good Stuff
    •  The authors realistic portrayal about life on a reserve in northern ontario.  Portrays them like any other Canadian living in a small community. Trust me there are characters like those portrayed in any neighborhood
    • Wonderfully realistic and quirky characters. 
    • Snappy witty dialogue
    • Drew pokes fun at his own people, while at the same time dealing with delicate issues such as non-natives attitudes to land clams and the horrific history of  Residential schools in a way which is humorous but at the same time doesn't take away from the seriousness of these issues or to point fingers or lay blame
    • The conversation between Jesus and Nanabush is worth the price of the book alone
    • Made me laugh my ass off on many occasions
    • Hopeful story about needing both the past and present and magic and reason.
    • Loved his ideas, thoughts and opinions on religion and his portrayal of Jesus is what I sort of hope Jesus would be like - a being with a great sense of humour, compassion and love
    • The scenes between Nanabush and the raccoons -- wonderfully unusual and downright laugh your ass off funny.
    • The beautiful scene with Nanabush and the chickadee is beautifully written
    Not so good stuff
    • The only thing I can come up with that the first couple of chapters are a little confusing on who is who, but it is explained later in the book. You might have to reread the first 2 or 3 chapters
    What I learned
    • All sorts of information about the legend of the Trickster in native folklore
    • A better understanding and appreciation of native culture
    Favorite Quotes/Passage

    "I read somewhere that most religions have pretty much the same message, they just use different books"

    "Wise men and women aren't born wise - wisdom is something achieved over years of experience. And for some, that experience includes -- skinny dipping.

    "Some think everything we are is rooted in the past. It is, partially. But like evolution tells us, if things don't develop, change, evolve, adapt, they die"

    "John remembered the story of it raining for forty days and forty nights, and wondered if the Ark had started off in Vancouver"

    "I think it's called the Bible."  "Yeah, needed and editor. No offence, but it went on forever and repeated itself""

    Who should read
    • Pretty much anyone except for those who are extremely serious or sensative about religion
    • Book burners really would not like this - but who cares what they like
    • There is some violence and sex so not for the younger reader
    5 Deweys  (I know still haven't figured out how to post a permanent post about rating system - see HERE)

    Received this book from The New Face of Fiction campaign in return for an honest review

    Hump Day Hottie

    So I'm sorta keeping with the Joss Whedon Hottie theme again this week.  Now I know he was only in a few minutes of Angel (basically blink and you miss him) it still counts!  This weeks hottie is Mr (pure sex) Josh Holloway - Sawyer on Lost.  Since I am -- wait for it -- lost --  these days while watching the show, at least I still have some man candy to stare at in between figuring out what the hell is going on  Have also included a picture of him reading, since this IS mostly a blog about books.






























    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0391326/
    http://abc.go.com/shows/lost

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Contest Update

    I have added new books and a new prize category. Don't forget to comment in order to be entered into the prize draw!

    http://raymentsreadingsrantsandramblings.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-1st-contest-25-followers.html

    The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove by Marta Acosta: Mini Review

    Ok, guys, I have to make this quick. I'm at work and I REALLY should be getting some work done since I am off  tomorrow.  But I had to write something about this story and also pass it on to any other readers that may be interested.  I am going to try something different and do a point form review -- quick and easy for us busy bloggers.  Would also love to have comments on this style of review

    Available FREE at: http://www.scribd.com/The-Shadow-Girl-of-Birch-Grove-by-Marta-Acosta/d/29569907

    The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove
    by Marta Acosta
    http://www.vampirewire.blogspot.com/

    Good Stuff
    • Main character is a strong young adult who has been through hell and survived and become better because of it -- she is NO victim. (Very different from most YA books)
    • author is fantastic at setting the gothic mood of the story- Lots of thrills and chills!
    • authors wit and sense of humor is wickedly apparent even though the storyline is more serious than her other works
    • Could not put the damn thing down even though I should have been getting healthy dinner ready & ended up having to order Pizza (bad mother).  It was just such an absorbing tale --trust me - you will feel the same
    • Great friendships between the main character and her friends. Very realistic!
    • Lovable and unusual secondary characters such as Mary Violet and her mother
    • Very realistic portrayal of foster care and what often happens to older less cute children.
    • Description of Birch Grove is so well done, it feels real.  You close your eyes and you feel like you are there.
    • Marta Acosta's brilliant take on vampires 

    Not so good stuff
    • Negative portrayal of Librarian (Hey I am one so I am a little sensitive when they are portrayed badly)
    • Introduces spectacular characters that you rarely hear of again (Wilde and Orneta)
    • Wish it was made into 2 books so you could read more about the secondary characters mentioned in the point above
    • I cannot buy a physical copy of the book (damn editors/publishers)
    Great Quotes/Passages

    The poem written by Mary Violet

    Ode to an Artistic Mother
    "Your cupcakes are tender and quite delish,
    But won't you grant your childrens wish?
    A mother's love is what we cherish
    So please no coconut as pubic harish,
    Nor gummy worms as labial lips
    Or any substance for a clitoris.
    We firmly support your creative expressions
    But vulva cupcakes will cause insurrection.

    Who Should Read
    • Young Adult Readers who enjoy paranormal story-lines
    • Adult fans of paranormal fiction
    • Anyone who enjoys a good old fashioned tale
    • Anyone with a sense of humor and a love of Gothic type novels
    • Those who have spent time in a foster care environment will really empathize with the heroines plight. 
    • Readers of Marta Acosta, Julie Kenner, Jennifer Estep, etc.
    Rating - 4.5 Deweys (Sorry still working on the Graphic thing -- see post)

    Mom and Me Mondays: Scholastic Edition

    Zac Power: Tomb of Doom

    by H.I. Larry
    Scholastic Canada
    ISBN: 978-1-4431-0253-7
    90 Pages
    Ages: 7-9

    Description: Zac's family holiday is boooooring… until he gets his latest mission: Find and rescue a top GIB agent missing near the Vanishing Tomb somewhere in the Amber Sands. The tomb keeps vanishing and once inside, booby traps are everywhere. Zac will need more than a bag full of super-cool gadgets to complete the mission… and get out alive!

    Jake's Review: Mom all books for boys my age should have pictures in it, don't authors know that boys prefer books with pictures. I wish this one had more pictures, but it was pretty good anyway. I liked that he was a little boy in a family of spies and they got to do tons of cool things. He also had some really neat gadgets which is seriously wicked. It was an exciting story that I wanted to keep reading so that I could find out what happens. It figures the girl spy was bad, girls make good bad guys (moms note: Hey I'm a girl!) because they are always doing tricky things. Mom, are there any more Zac Power books because I want to read more about his adventures. I think its funny that his mom's code name is "Bum Smack".
    Rating: 10/10

    Mom's Review: Fantastic book for boys, especially around Jake's age and even a year or two younger. The story is extremely fast paced with tons of action and humour to keep a young boy or reluctant reader interested. I agree with Jake, add in a few pictures like the author did, and you keep them even more involved. It was a delightful read for me as well, and found myself wanting to be a boy spy. Zac Power is sort of a young version of a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones. There are great gadgets for the kids to read about like the Bandage be gone, Mirage Filter and the Pyramid Panic game that is actually a map to the pyramid. There is also tons of smart alecy humour that they will love. Parents reading it to their kids will also get a kick out of some of his MacGyver moments like using hair gel to fix a statute. Also as Jake mentioned having the double agent be a girl was an inspired idea since boys his age think girls are evil. My only complaint and it is a little one, that there was too much reliance on gadgets for Zac to use to get out of scrapes. I would have liked him to figure out things a little more, but Hey, I'm a mom, I need there to be some more educational moments ; )
    Rating: 9/10
    http://www.zacpower.com/

    Young Zeus 
    by G. Brian Karas
    Scholastic Press
    ISBN: 978-0-439-72806-5
    Ages: 4+

    Description: This is the story of how young Zeus, with a little help from six monsters, five Greek gods, an enchanted she-goat, and his mother, became god of gods, master of lightning and thunder, and ruler over all. in doing so, he learned a lot about family. Who knew that having relatives could be so complicated, even for a god?

    Jake's Review: Mom why is everybody half naked? Mom did you see the naked butt on the boy that Cronos ate -- that was funny? I don't like that Cronos ate his kids, why wouldn't he go to prison. Why would his family let him get away with that. Zeus' brother's and sister's are selfish, bossy and not very nice. Stories about Mythology are kinda violent aren't they (mom's note - wait to you read the original Grimms fairy tales) I liked the story but the pictures are kinda creepy -- though some of them are kinda funny. Not for little kids, Jesse would pee his pants if he read this one
    Rating: 6/10

    Mom's Review: An interesting introduction to the story of Zeus. I would personally say that it is more for an older readers like at least age 7, since I think the story would be lost on anyone younger. Also I think the idea of Cronos eating his children would frighen a younger reader. I have to be honest, the story was nicely done, but the artwork bothered me. I found it almost blah and I think most children would get bored by it, but that is just MY opinion. I also found the artwork almost uneven in terms of consistency and depth, but I am not an art major so I leave you to judge this for yourself. Again I know I am going on and on about the artwork, but it is very violent looking as well. I honestly don't think it is appropriate for a 4 year old and I am definitely not a prude.
    Rating: 5.5/10

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    New Rating System - What do ya think

    Thinking of using this for my rating of books - not for Mommy and Me books though ; )

    5 Deweys:    Go now and buy the book -- trust me I'm a Librarian
    4 Deweys:    Definite worth price of cover
    3 Deweys:    Not bad try borrowing from friend or library
    2 Deweys:    Finished, but because I had to or had redeeming qualities
    1 Dewey:      Don't frickin bother its crap (or depressing Cdn Lit)
     DNF:           Did not finish (Usually far too intelligent or too religious)
    NMT:           Not my type of book, but well written

    Grand Prize added to 25 Followers Contest

    Grand Prize added to 25 Followers Contest

    http://raymentsreadingsrantsandramblings.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-1st-contest-25-followers.html

    Hump Day Hottie

    I really had a hard time deciding between a Canadian hottie or a Joss Whedon Hottie today.  But in order to foster American/Canadian relations I have decided to go for a Joss Whedon hottie.  I introduce you to David Boreanaz (Hot, Playful and Sweet) -- for him I would forget about reading in the bathtub!



    For more Information:
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004770/
    http://www.fox.com/bones/