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