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, June 30, 2011

Carte Blanche (James Bond) by Jeffery Deaver: Book Review

Carte Blanche
by Jeffrey Deaver
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4516-2069-6
Buy From Indigo

Description:  The face of war is changing. The other side doesn't play by the rules much anymore. There's thinking, in some circles,that we need to play by a different set of rules too"

James Bond, in his early thirties and already a veteran of the Afghan war, has been recruited to a new organization. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of MI5, MI6 and the Ministry of Defense, its very existence deniable. Its aim: To protect the Realm, by any means necessary.

A Night Action alert calls James Bond away from dinner with a beautiful woman. Headquarters has decrypted an electronic whisper about an attack scheduled for later in the week: Casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected. And Agent 007 has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to fulfill his mission . . . .

The Good Stuff
  • This is my first James Bond book ever and I was seriously impressed. I love spy movies but have never been a fan of spy books, usually way too much detail and bored with all the spy stuff. But this was fabulous
  • Fast paced plot with lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing
  • The right blend of action and intrigue for both the spy novel fan and those who usually are not keen on this sort of thing
  • Stays true to the James Bond mythology but at the same time brings him into the modern age. Done without losing what makes you love Bond, fabulous cars, great gadgets, excitement and hot bond girls
  • Great character names
  • After reading this I am off to pick up some more Jeffery Deaver books, I really enjoy the way he writes
  • Lots of intrigue and on the edge of your seat scenes - sort of like watching a Bond flick
  • Writes a good Bond, sort of pictured him as a mix of Daniel Craig and Timothy Dalton with a little bit of Connery thrown in - would totally want to wake up in bed with him
  • Nicely multicultural and not as misogynistic
  • Interesting back history on James Bond's parents
The Not so Good Stuff
  • M is a man -- I know historically he has been a Man, but I have loved that in the movies M is now a women 
  • Some boring spy descriptions -- now for true spy novel fans this point should go in above section, but hey I am being honest about MY particular enjoyment of the book
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"He shaved with a heavy, double-bladed safety razor, its handle of light buffalo horn. He used this fine accessory not because it was greener to the environment than the plastic disposables that most men employed but simply because it gave a better shave - and required some skill to wield; James Bond found comfort even in small challenges."


"Evil, James Bond had learned, can be tirelessly patient."


"And don't worry. My second favorite way to wake up is to the sound of champagne opening."
She responded to this with a subtle smile."

Who should/shouldn't read

  • Perfect for James Bond purists and those new to the genre
  • Great for fans of intrigue and spy stories
4 Dewey's

My Blog Post from the Jeffery Deaver signing


I received this from Bookalicious at the Yummy Mummy Club. Plus I bought my own copy to be signed for my hubby and me

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan: Book Review

Ellis Island
by Kate Kerrigan
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06207153-8
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: Rural Irish girl Ellie loves living in New York, working as a lady's maid for a wealthy socialite. She tries to persuade her husband, John, to join her but he is embroiled in his affairs in Ireland, and caught up in the civil war. Nevertheless Ellie is extremely happy and fully embraces her sophisticated new life. When her father dies she must return home, but she intends to sort her affairs quickly and then return to her beloved America. But once home her sense of duty kicks in and she decides, painfully, that she must stay to look after her mother and resume her marriage. Ellie is suddenly thrown into the simple, rural life she believed she had grown out of.

The Good Stuff
  • Has a good strong sweet beginning
  • Reminds me a little of some of the book I read of Mom's growing up. Very simply told tale, nothing flashy or overly exciting
  • Ellie is a good strong character
  • Descriptions are beautifully written
  • You can feel the author's love for her country
  • Some  nice little scenes with Ellie's interaction with strangers
The Not so Good Stuff
  • I felt it was almost superficial in nature and quite stereotypical. I think I just expected something a little better 
  • It starts out really good but sort of goes downhill midway through
  • I think I just really expected better from the author -- it just didn't seem fresh or memorable
  • Had a pretty hard time getting into it as it just seemed to jump from scene to scene with very little character development
  • Ellie was quite sanctimonious and judgmental at times and just wanted to smack her
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Ireland was in my heart, but under my feet was America."

What I Learned

  • Some interesting historical information about those who leaved Ireland to find work in America
Who should/shouldn't read
  • More for the more mature reader (read more for grandma's and the old fashioned). 
  • Joan will probably enjoy as she is Irish -- who's being stereotypical now (hey I never said I was perfect LOL)
3 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review - sorry guys just wasn't my thing

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mom and Me Mondays: Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers

Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers
by Dav Pilkey
Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-545-17532-6
Ages: 6+ (Especially parents who are cool like Jake's)
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Buy From  Indigo

Description: The Baby is back!!!!!George and Harold (the co-stars of the enormously popular Captain Underpants series) are in big trouble again! Their mean principal, Mr. Krupp, has demanded that they stop making comics about poop. Always resourceful, the boys decide to create an all-new graphic novel about a totally different subject: Pee!
Rip Van Tinkle started his career as an ordinary, everyday evil genis/inventor/bank robber. But when he awakens one morning to find himself transformed into a walking, talking puddle of pee-pee, he becomes determined to destroy every toilet in town. Will they terrifying Rip Van Tinkle and his smart-alecky cat Petey ruin restrooms for the rest of us? Or could this be a job for the amazing Super Diaper Baby?

Jake's Review:   Give it to me I want to read it now! Ok, Ok, please may I read the book now my lovely mother.  This book rocks you have to totally read it. It is full of potty jokes and gross stuff that all boys my age like. I don't think girls will like it, other than you mom, you are not a real girl, because of all the gross pee and poo stuff.  It makes me laugh though, I can't wait to bring it to school tomorrow to show my buddies.  This is one of the books that Brian will actually read.  I like that there are lots of flip o rama's and it was a book I could read in one night before going to bed. This is just like all the rest of the Captain Underpants books -- funny and a book that even if you don't like reading, you will like!
Jake's Rating: 11/10

Mom's Review: Ok, I know I am a 40 yr old Mom and really shouldn't enjoy these books as much as I do -- but I will not lie, I totally LMAO everytime I read them.   This book has all of the usual Pilkey innocent and fun potty humour. The artwork is delightful and the storyline perfectly engaging for the typical 7 -12 yr old kid (and dorky mom's who never grew up).  I think these are fantastic books for the reluctant reader and a must have for all libraries.  Don't tell kids but there are some hidden morals in the story and some very wise truths that they won't even realize they are picking up. Urine (come on you know I couldn't help myself from putting that in) for a real treat with this one!
Mom's Rating: 10/10

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Nikole -- Jake thinks I am totally cool for bringing him home this one to review!

Mom and Me Mondays Part 2: Aquatan (Battle of the Worlds Boy Vs Beast) by Mac Park

Aquatan (Battle of the Worlds Boy Vs Beast)
by Mac Park
Scholastic Canada Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-4431-0747-1
Suggested Age: 6-8
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: Only a wall divides Earth from the Beasts of Beastium. Only a boy and his dogbot defend the wall and protect Earth. Kai Masters. Border guard and beast battler.  In this exciting, action-packed new series, a young boy must use various technological weapons at his disposal to defeat the Beasts of Beastium. With every battle that Kai wins, he unlocks more gear to help him defend Earth. In this installment, when dead fish covered in glowing moss wash up on the beach, Kai knows it''s time for battle.
 

Jake's Review: This book was totally sic (old person note: this means cool, awesome etc) mom, can you pick me up some more of these.  I loved it, there are all sorts of cool gadgets, a robotic dog and awesome monsters. It was really exciting and I didn't want to put it down. The robotic dog, BC, was super cool and I wish I had one.  Other boys like me would like to read this since it is a really quick read with lots of pictures.  I think even Brian, who hates to read, would actually liked it.

Jake's Rating:10/10


Mom's Review:  Good book for reluctant male readers or even as a beginning chapter book for the younger but more sophisticated boy.  If Jesse could read, he would probably like.  I could not get into it, but it is not my thing and I am not the target audience. But hey if it interests reluctant readers and they read it, its all good.  I do think it will appeal more to adventuresome boys and not so much to girls (I know its sexist). The big font, cool diagrams and funky illustrations (even a couple of comic looking pages) will really appeal to the intended audience. I know Jake will totally be bugging me to get more of the series.
Mom's Rating: 7/10


We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Mom and Me Mondays - Part 1: Zac Power, Sudden Drop by H.I. Larry

Sudden Drop (Zac Power)
by H.I. Larry
Scholastic Canada
ISBN: 978-1-4431-0726-6
Suggested Ages:  6-10
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: When BIG hijacks a secret water supply, Zac Power faces yet another dangerous mission. But to rescue the water, Zac has to find it - in the middle of the harsh outback and protected by some of BIG''s deadliest defence systems yet.

Jake's Review:  This book is really cool because Zac gets to play with all these wicked gadgets. There is also tons of action and the book isn't really long so I can read it in one night.  My favorite character is Zac because I already told you he gets to play with wicked gadgets and my least favorite character is B.I.G, but I won't tell you why because that would ruin the book for you.  My friends would definitely like to read this because it is really short and well they aren't the biggest fans of books, so short books are good for them. Plus I think they would like the gadgets and the action. Mom says its like James Bond without the gratuitous violence and scantily clad girls.  I cannot wait to read the next Zac Power book. I would recommend that my school get the whole series.
Jake's Rating: 9/10

Mom's Review:  Zac Power books are always delightful fun. Its sort of like James Bond for the younger set.  This installment will not disappoint. Lots of action and great gadgets.  I noticed this time there were a lot less reliance on gadgets (which was also my complaint with the 80/90's Bond Flicks - Hubby disagrees with me on this though)  which I am very impressed with. Zac actually had to use his mind and his body to get out of some scraps. Love the bit with the IPOD - trust me will be hiding the ipod from Jake.  This is a wonderful series for the reluctant reader as the action is extremely fast paced and fun.  I highly recommend this series for all middle school libraries and they would be a great addition to a class library.  My only complaint with this installment was there wasn't enough interaction with the rest of his family.
Mom's Rating: 9/10

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, June 25, 2011

In My Mailbox - Canada Post Edition

All books listed here were couriered since feckin Canada Post is on Strike - Scholastic and Simon and Schuster - You guys rock for this -- hmm might have to go to Indigo and buy a book published by you both in return -- shh don't tell Hubby!

For Review

From Scholastic - Both the BeastQuest and DiaperBaby booked were ripped out of my hands by son

From Scholastic - look library books on the front (can you say I'm a Nerd!)

From YummyMummy Club and Simon and Schuster -- totally picturing Daniel Craig while reading -- although he describes Bond as having Black hair

Friday, June 24, 2011

Winners of Ashes, Ashes and Whole Foods to Thrive Contest

Totally forgot to do this -- so without further adieu

Winner of the Brendan Brazier Contest

tina p

who said I would love to try these products. I very recently went raw vegan for 10 days and am still, mmmmm 80 % raw. definitely becoming vegetarian but not sure about the 100 % ra just yet. I think this product would be a welcome addition to my diet.

and

Winner of Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Cupcake who said
Zombies. They are relentless and hungry. They are already dead, and every person the kill is recruited to their side. THAT is terrifying to me. Emailing you now and you have 72 hours to get back to me or I pick another entry

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Against All Odds by Natale Ghent: Book Review

Against All Odds
by Natale Ghent:
HarperTrophy Canada (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-1-44340-625-3
Suggested Ages: 8 - 12
Buy from Indigo

Description: The Odds (Boney, Itchy and Squeak) have vanquished their mortal enemy, Larry Harry, and his two sidekicks, but that doesn’t stop these dastardly bullies from trying to compete against Squeak in a radio-controlled airplane contest. But everyone is blown away when the winner turns out to be a girl. And not just any girl. Samantha Moss is eerily similar to Squeak -- she can match him note for scientific note.

Itchy isn’t too keen on inviting her into the clubhouse, but it turns out the boys need all the help they can get: aliens have landed in their town . . . and have cloned the Odds! There are Itchys and Boneys and Squeaks all over the place.

It takes all their imagination and scientific know-how to come up with a plan to stop the clones -- but will it work?

The Good Stuff
  • A fabulous sequel to The Odds Get Even with enough back story included that you won't be lost without reading the first book. At the same time not too much repetition of the original story so those who have read The Odds Get Even, won't get bored
  • Nerdy kids and oddball aliens what's not to like
  • Fast paced storyline
  • Squeak talks like Spock
  • Addition of new character Sam might intrigue the girl reader to pick up the story. Sam is also not overly girly so she won't turn off the boy readers
  • Jake will love this book, can't wait for him to read it and hear what he has to say
  • Lots of gross out stuff for the middle school kid to enjoy
The Not so Good Stuff
  • drags a wee bit
  • Icky's character was almost a caricature at times, does develop, but was a little irritated with his lack of development
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"They'd brushed their teeth and kissed their parents good night and gone to sleep right away, like all good boys do ....  As if."


"Boney and his uncle peeked at each other in fear. At least when they knew what was coming they could prepare themselves for the shock."

"Little green men. I hate those guys."
"Actually, they're grey," Sam quietly corrected him."

Who should/shouldn't read
  • Perfect for the oddball boy/girl who feel a little different
  • Nerdy adults will enjoy and get a kick out of the characters
4 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In My Mailbox

For Review
From Scholastic (And teaching resource for my toddler Jesse LOL!)

Purchased
Indigo Purchases (My copy of Carte Blanche is signed)
Slave Lake Library Auction

Signed by Jean Little and Werner Zimmermann (And hand delivered to my office my Werner himself)

Slave Lake Library Auction organized by the awesome Colleen of Lavender Lines

Friday, June 17, 2011

Indigo's Carte Blanche James Bond Event

Last night hubby (Jeff) and I attended the book release for Jeffrey Deaver's Carte Blanche (James Bond) at the Indigo Manulife in Toronto

Jeremy Cammy (the man behind Indigogreenroom) and staff did a fantastic job of setting up this event.  There was Bond music playing in the background getting us all in the mood. The Roulette dealer was awesome and taught us how to play and I ended up winning a lot of chips (no there was no real money involved). The chick beside me was a serious gambler and there was no way I was going to catch up with her so I just quit -- I definitely never have to worry about becoming addicted to gambling.  They also had Indigotini's (mock cocktail) for all of us to sip upon while we played roulette and just had fun chatting with others.  Jeffrey Deaver even came over to play Roulette with us and of course he bet on the #'s OO and 7. He has quite the dry sense of humour too btw!

Than Jeffrey got up to the stage and talked about his writing process, about being asked to write Bond and just a little bit about himself. Hubby was less than impressed with him talking about his writing process, but hey the boy doesn't like books, he just wanted to hear more about the Bond stuff.  After that he took questions from the audience, which as usual I was too shy to put up my hand and ask the questions I wanted to ask. Don't worry I did ask him when we went up for the book signing later. I talked to him about if he has any plans or has been asked to be on Castle like his fellow writer buds James Patterson and Michael Connelly.  He said they were planning on it but since  he is so busy touring and writing he hasn't been able to make it work. I also talked to him about how much control the Fleming estate had over the final product.  He mentioned that they made some adjustments to some of the language and in one scene suggested that James Bond would never turn down a drink even if he was on the job. (Deaver had written a scene where he turned down a drink because he was working & they asked him to change it to stay true to the character)

I was really disappointed by the fact that no one other than Jeff, Me and the staff dressed up.  It would have been so much more fun if other people dressed up -- Their loss - I love dressing up.  I also was looking forward to the James Bond trivia that never happened -- I may not be a gambling addict, but I am so a James Bond trivia addict!  Jeremy and his crew did a bang up (hee hee) job of putting this event together and they should be commended for it.  Jeff even got a $10 gift card from Cammy for his costume -- Jeff is still laughing and says he isn't going to give it to me since I have a book addiction. I showed him I bought the books before he met me at the store. I got a copy of Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach which you guys so have to buy!


Here are some Pictures from the event

Martinis - Encore Catering


Indigotini (Very refreshing!)

Big Slick Party Rentals - The Dealer was awesome!

Pussy Galore (Yeah I so do not suit the blond look)

Ernst Stavro Blofeld & Kitty (hubby wouldn't let me do up his face since we were the only 2 customers in costume)


The charming and very suavely dressed Cammy, Jeremy Cammy

Jeffrey Deaver chatting about his writing process

Me talking to Deaver about when he is going to be on Castle


Car from Carte Blanche provided by Grand Touring Automobiles

My buddy Jenn and hubby Jeff posing with the sweet car
Me totally trying to touch it

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Plague and Pestilence and other Disasters tour (And Contest): Ashes Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Ashes Ashes
by Jo Treggiari
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-545-25563-9
Suggested Age: 13-17
Release Date: June 1, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares. Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

The Good Stuff
  • characters are pretty realistic for a dystopian book
  • Good character development with Lucy. At the beginning I really didn't like her, but she developed and grew and by the end I was cheering for her
  • intriguing secondary characters that I would have liked to have more of
  • Love the cover, would have picked it up for that alone
  • Intriguing and creepy beginning hooks you into the story
  • Fantastic job at setting the mood and the landscape. At times when I stopped reading I became disjointed because I felt so much a part of their world
  • The landscape is almost another character in the story, its almost haunting
  • Story was nice and fast paced and kept you intrigued with what was going to happen next
  • Some nice dry humour
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Needed some more back-story to characters - might have worked better as a trilogy or at least a book 1 and 2 - but hey I'm just being selfish and wanting more
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Instead of globe-eyed aliens or a gigantic meteorite headed straight for Earth, it was the resurgence of a killer disease that had reduced the global population to less than 1 percent of what it had been within three short months. Eating healthy, exercising, living in a big house, driving a fancy car - none of that mattered at all. The pox took almost everybody, and it seemed that people between the ages of thirty and sixty died faster and harder than anyone."

"You're a lot like Del," he said. "Hot-tempered. What's the nice word? Impetuous." His mouth twisted into a wry grin.

"She estimated that she was around Second Avenue and 92nd Street, although acres of road and earth had been shifted in the big quake,the landscape completely reconfigured. Sometimes she thought it looked as if a toddler had built a city out of blocks and then knocked them all down in a rage."


What I Learned

  • Must get me a Survival handbook - or I am a goner if this particular scenario came true
  • Have no urge to ever eat Turtle
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Just sayin, probably not a good one to read after 5 days of continuous rain, it will freak you out (trust me, it was creepy reading it when the weather was so crappy here)
  • This one is pretty intense, not for the sensitive reader
  • Obviously fans of Dystopian fiction will enjoy
4.25 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Just for fun thought I would give you a list of some excellent survival websites and books (Guys I am a library professional what do you expect)

Books
Websites

Wildwood Survival
Survival Expert
Canadian Survival
Popular Mechanics
Government of Canada: Preparedness
Public Safety Canada


Contest

Prize: 1 Copy of Ashes, Ashes: Generously donated by Scholastic
Rules: Canada Only - Ends June 21, 2011 Noon est - Must answer comment question with contact email
Question: What would be your own scariest end of world scenario (eg: Killer Virus, Earthquake, Zombies, Forced to listen to only country music)

My Personal end of world scenario would probably be a world where there were no books, tons of bugs, no access to clean bathroom facilities and the world was being run by book-burners

Plague and Pestilence and Other Disasters Tour Stops

Midnight Bloom Reads     June 14th
Lavender Lines Blog         June 15th
21 Pages Blog                  June 16th
Geek Girl's Book Blog     June 16th
The Moody Teenager       June 17th
Dreaming of Books Blog  June 17th
YA Bookshelf                  June 17th
ShelfElf Blog                    June 18th
SMS Reviews Blog          June 19th
Crazy Book Worm           June 19th
In the Next Room             June 20th
Lost in the Library            June 20th
He Followed Me Home   June 20th
Book Madam YA            June 21st

Jo will be also making the following in-person appearances in Nova Scotia:

June 18                         Atlantic Author Day, Woozles, Halifax NS, 11-12pm
June 18                         Atlantic Author Day, Chapters Bayers Lake, Halifax NS, 2-3pm
June 24                         Fables Club, Tatamagouche NS

For More Information on Jo Treggiari


Web: www.jotreggiari.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Jo-Treggiari/171420636245473
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jotreggiai

Chapter One of Ashes, Ashes Audiobook on Youtube
Interview with Jo Treggiari on YouTube

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hit List by Laurell K Hamilton: Book Review

Hit List (Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter #20)
by Laurell K Hamilton
Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-425-24113-4
Buy from Indigo

Description: A serial killer is hunting the Pacific Northwest, murdering victims in a gruesome and spectacular way. The local police suspect “monsters” are involved, and have called in Anita Blake and Edward, US Marshals who really know their monsters, to catch the killer.

But some monsters are very real. The Harlequin have been the bogeymen of the vampire world for more than a thousand years; they are a secret so dark that even to speak their name can earn you a death sentence. Now they are here in America, hunting weretigers…and human police.

The Harlequin serve the Mother of All Darkness, the first vampire. She was supposed to be dead, but only her body was destroyed. Now she needs a new one, and she’s decided that Anita Blake’s is the body she wants. Edward thinks the serial killings are a trap to lure Anita closer to the most dangerous vampire they’ve ever hunted. The vampires call Edward “Death,” and Anita the “Executioner,” but Mommy Darkest is coming to kill one and possess the other, and she doesn’t care how many others have to die along the way

The Good Stuff
  • Lots of Edward and Anita -- I love the dialogue between the two
  • Anita is back to her kick ass self with a lot less of going on and on about the relationships between all the different types of Were's and their hierarchy
  • Will be frank, I'm no prude, but I was happy that there wasn't the typical 7 or 8 kinky sex scenes like in the last few books. I've got no problem with it, but it was getting almost boring and it was taking away from the story
  • Series is taking an upswing with this one, hopefully it will lead back into more of the stories that got me hooked on Anita in the first place
  • Lots of fun snarky Anita dialogue
  • Storyline moves quickly and the Marmie Darkness storyline is hopefully fully put to rest now
  • Interesting plot twist with Olaf -- thinking that is what the next book will be about
  • Liked the introduction of two new characters, Karlton and Ethan -- think they would be great regular characters
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Repetition of the Olaf is going to kill me or I'm going to kill him bit got on my nerves a little -- I got the point - let it go
  • Ending was sorta rushed, like she just wanted to get it over with
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Edward still took assassination jobs if the pay was high enough, or the hit interesting enough. He specialized in killing only dangerous things, like wereanimals and vampires. Crime fighting had actually begun to take up most of his time. Work does interfere with your hobbies."

"Some days it's not about catching the bad guys. Some days it's about helping the good guys feel better. It had taken me a few years to realize that second part of the job was every bit important as the first."

"He still wants me to be his serial killer girlfriend?" I asked
"He still thinks you are his serial killer girlfriend"
 
What I Learned
  • I could handle being Anita for a while -- that girl gets a lot of pretty boys
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Strictly for Anita Blake fans, as the new reader might get lost
  • A good one for getting back into the series, if  like me, you weren't impressed with the last 3 books
3.5 Dewey's


I received this from Penguin in exchange for an honest review

In My Mailbox

For Review
Thanks HarperCollins, Random House and Penguin
Love you Nikole!

Miscellaneous
Picked up at Value Village ($10 for everything)

For Jeff for Father's Day (Purchased at Chapters in Woodbridge)

Gift from Natasha

Borrowed from Natasha and Bolton Public Library

Purchased from Forsters Book Garden in Bolton

Friday, June 10, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Quirk Books (Random House)
ISBN: 978-159474-476-1
Suggested Age 12+ (Nothing sexual, no offensive language - some creepy stuff though)
Buy From Indigo

Description: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

The Good Stuff
  • Wonderfully odd, creepy and fascinating tale
  • Plenty of twists that you won't see coming
  • Bizarre photographs add a realistic morbid edge to the story
  • Authors description of the landscape and the setting of the mood is wonderful, while reading you actually see the landscape and can almost feel the mist on your hair. At the same time you have a creepy feeling while reading and when you stop reading it will take you a few seconds to shake off the story
  • Some nice dark humour
  • First quarter of the book is full of moody creepiness that sucks you in to the story
  • Engrossing and almost nostalgic at time
  • Very original storyline - haven't read anything like this one
  • Intriguing characters

The Not so Good Stuff
  • Really drags in a few spots
  • Expected more creepiness
  • The age of Jacob's characters seems off - at times I found him too young for his supposed age and what he had been through
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen."

"But these weren't the kind of monsters that had tentacles and rotting skin, the kind a seven-year-old might be able to wrap his mind around - they were monsters with human faces, in crisp uniforms, marching in lockstep, so banal you don't recognize them for what they are until it's too late."

"Yeah, he was a psychobabble-spewing prick. But that didn't make him wrong."

Who should/shouldn't read
  • I would say for the more mature YA, based on the way the book is written and language - almost old fashioned like. I wouldn't be surprised if more adults enjoyed this
4 Dewey's

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review

Whole Foods To Thrive by Brendan Brazier Blog Tour and Contest

Whole Foods to Thrive
by Brendan Brazier
Penguin Canada
ISBN:978-0-14-317690-9
Buy From Indigo

Description: What impact do food choices have on your health? Have you ever been curious as to where your food came from, who grew it, and the path it took to get to your table? Have you every wondered how much of each natural resource was used to produce your food—in other words, the soil-to-table environmental cost? In Whole Foods to Thrive, Brendan Brazier clearly explains how nutrient-dense, plant-based foods are the best choice, not only for your health but also for the health and sustainability of the planet.

Versatile and packed with flavor, whole foods have an abundance of health benefits for those who want sustainable energy, high-quality sleep, physical strength, and mental sharpness. Whole Foods to Thrive builds upon Brendan’s stress-busting, energy-boosting approach to nutrition and food introduced in his acclaimed bestseller The Thrive Diet, and includes 200 delicious, easy-to-make, plant based recipes that are all allergen-free and contain no wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, dairy, or corn.

• Breakfast Cereals • Salads • Dressings, Dips, and Sauces • Soups and Sides • Burgers, Wraps, Pizza, and Rice Bowls• Cookies, Ice Cream, and Pies • Kale Chips and Nori Crisps• Energy Bars and Gels

Features recipes for dishes such as • Gorilla Food Green Tacos • Quinoa Falafels • Indian-Spiced Lentil Hemp Burgers • Maple Crispy Rice Treats.


The Good Stuff
  • Brilliantly and extremely thoroughly researched
  • Explained in depth but not too scholarly so that the everyday person can understand
  • Really gives some intriguing arguments on why you should eat this way, if you want to kick stress out of your life and get better sleep (Hell - I could do some of that by fostering out my kids)
  • Author is obviously dedicated to research and belief in what he is talking about
  • Obviously works, since the boy is in phenomenal shape
  • Good variety and selection of recipes for all meals 
  • If I had the time and money I would very much like to change over to his way of eating.This would be too difficult at this point in our life, but I will definitely be putting some of what I learned to improve our meals
  • Book itself is organized wonderfully with the inclusion of in-depth notes and resources
  • Must go find some Sacha Inchi seeds -- thinking probably not in Bolton - but if anyone knows where I can find them, give me a shout

The Not so Good Stuff
  • If you live in a small town like I do, the ingredients, when you could actually find them, were very expensive
  • Many of the meals there is no way in hell my kids would even try so it would be difficult to completely change over our eating habits - especially since I am not making different meals for everyone
  • Won't lie, would have liked some pictures to go with the recipes -- would have made them a bit more intriguing
Favorite Recipes

  • Dilled Spinach Salad with Avocado (Pg. 150)
  • Spinach Cream Soup (Pg. 170)
  • Spiced Sesame Sauce (Pg. 210)
Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • For whole food enthusiasts -- it is a must have
  • a good introduction for someone interested in making a serious change in their diet
  • Better suited for someone who has easier access to unusual and organic ingredients
3.75 Dewey's


Sacha Inchi Baked Apple Cinnamon Cereal (pg 137).


Chocolate Almond Smoothie with Sacha Inchi Milk
Rich in protein and omega-3, this smoothie will keep you going for hours with sustainable, non-stimulating energy.
Time: 5 minutes • Makes about 3 ½ cups (2 large servings)
1 banana
2 fresh or presoaked dried dates
1 cup water
1 cup Sacha Inchi Milk (or chocolate variation) (see p. 126)
¼ cup almonds (or 2 tbsp raw almond butter)
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp hemp protein powder
1 tbsp roasted carob powder
• In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

Contest
Canada Only
Ends June 17, 2011 at 12PM (EST)
In Comments (With your email address included) just tell me why you wanna try the products
Prize: Contains six Vega smoothie mixes (either Shake & Go Smoothie mixes or Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer mixes) in an assortment of flavours like Vanilla Chai, Bodacious Berry, and Choc-a-Lot.




Check out the other fantastic blogs participating

May 23 The Literary Word
May 24 Jacob’s Beloved
May 25 In the Next Room
May 26 Tales of a Ranting Ginger
May 27 Library of Clean Reads
May 30 Lavender Lines
May 31 A Bookworm’s World
June 1 Rowangarth Farm
June 2 Thrifty Momma’s Tips
June 3 Books and Quilts
June 6 Book Blab
June 7 Jennifer’s Story
June 8 Curled Up With a Good Book and a Cup of Tea
June 9 Simple Stacie

I received the book from Penguin in exchange for an honest review 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: Book Review

Beauty Queens
by Libba Bray
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-439-89597-2
Suggested Age: 14+
Buy from Indigo

Description:From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island. Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count

The Good Stuff
  • One of the most unique, hilarious and truly unusual books I have ever read (and that my friends is a compliment)
  • Sort of a modern retelling of Lord of the Flies but a hell of a lot more fun and interesting (and I totally didn't fall asleep like I did reading Lord of the Flies - awful bloody book I tell ya)
  • Beautiful morals thrown in and done in such a fun way that kids will get it, but not feel like you are pulling something over their heads
  • Quirky dialogue and characters
  • Acceptance of non traditional sexual preferences by the girls which was impressively done
  • Wonderful character development
  • Cover is AWESOME
  • A not very thinly veiled commentary on beauty, marketing and consumerism & done hilarious btw
  • There are quite a few more things I would like to put in here but they would be seriousl spoilers, just do yourself a favor and grab the book (and don't let their mindless talk at the beginning throw you off)
The Not so Good Stuff
  • slow in a few parts and the mindlessness of the girls at the beginning might stop someone from getting into the book, which would be a shame
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Really, being a librarian is a much more dangerous job than you realize." (Jen's note: ain't that the truth!)

"I'm talking about my personal copilot, Jesus Christ."
"Someone should tell her personal copilot that his landings suck"

"Che Guevera, the Argentine Marxist revolutionary who later became a bestselling T-shirt icon."

"Let's not speak ill of the dead, no matter how hideous their fashion sense."
What I Learned
  • Beauty queens not so lame after all and some of their skills work well in the jungle
Who should/shouldn't read
  • I'm just saying this will probably not be loved by most serious beauty queen contestants
  • Those who enjoy the unusual and quirky will really enjoy
4.5 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest

Book Trailer - Frickin Hilarious

Mom and Me Mondays (yes I know its Tuesday): Watch Wolf (Wolves of the Beyond #3) by Kathryn Lasky

Watch Wolf (Wolves of the Beyond #3)
by Kathryn Lasky
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-545-09314-9
Suggested Age: 9-12
Release Date: June 1, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: A wolf's eye view of the legends of Ga'Hoole in this stirring third installment of the Wolves of Beyond series by bestselling author Kathryn Lasky. 
 Born with a twisted paw, Faolan was abandoned as a wolf pup and left to die. But not only did he survive and make it back to the wolf clan, he proved himself to be one of the most worthy wolves of all.
But just as Faolan is about to take his place as one of the revered Wolves of the Watch, a fellow watch wolf goes missing. Faolan is sent to track her down and makes a horrifying discovery - she has been kidnapped by bears. A war is coming between the wolves and the bears, and only Faolan can stop it.


Jake's Review: Mom do I really have to read this, I have no idea whats going on and it is like it is written in a different language. I'm on Chapter 4 and am completely lost.  Ok - fine (mom's note: imagine the voice of a teenager for that fine) I will at least give it to Chapter 10. ....20 minutes later. That's it, I give up, you said I only had to read to Chapter 10 (yet he doesn't remember when I tell him that it is his job to bring in the trash every Thursday)  Sorry Mom I think you really need to begin at the start of the series with this one, I just don't really care about anyone and I don't get all the weird words the author uses. There are no really funny parts and I need the funny or at least something more interesting than this stuff.
Jake's Rating:DNF

Mom's Review: Sorry Scholastic and Author, had no idea this wasn't the 1st of a new series (must have skipped some of the preview).  I read through the whole book and I could see why Jake had such a hard time with the language and the characters. The writing is wonderful and perfect for the suggested age and the characters are interesting, but if you haven't read the rest of the series, you would be quite lost.  I did find some humour in it, but I did get farther than Jake since I am the never give up, never surrender type of girl. The storyline was fast paced and interesting, and I will be checking out the rest of the series and than reread this one to see how much of a difference it makes.
Mom's Rating: 6/10 (prob would be higher if I had read more of series)

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't have) 
by Sarah Mlynowski
HarperTeen (Harper Collins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-170124-5
Suggested Age: 14+ (due to sexuality)
Buy from Indigo

Description: 2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.

If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.

The Good Stuff
  • Sweet and funny and just very, very realistic
  • Teens will love it, very teenage ansty stuff that they will be able to relate to
  • The language and actions of the characters really ring true and honest
  • Made me smile thinking about the same emotions I went through when I was deciding whether to have sex with my boyfriend for the 1st time (really should have waited, quite the disappointment)
  • Storyline moves along very smoothly and even-though there isn't anything really thrilling or exciting, you find yourself engrossed in the story and cheerinfor April
  • Great opening chapter really gets your attention 
  • Love the background characters
  • Love the friendship between the girls
The Not so Good Stuff
  • OMG, my kids are going to do this shit, aren't they -- sorta made me think too much -- ok not really a not so good stuff, but kept thinking this while reading (Obviously if you are a teen, this won't affect you , so for you it would be 5 Dewey's)
  • A lot of sex and alcohol and not any real consequences for the bad choices they made (Dude I'm a mom, what do you expect)
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"We're Jewish, so to me it was the Day Dad Told Me He Was Moving, but to the majority of the world it was Christmas."


"You know," Vi commented, "I've never been blackmailed before."
"Me neither," I said
"I always thought that it would happen eventually." VI said, "But I assumed it would be for having an illicit affair."

"You can't live with a friend." Penny said, emphasizing the word friend like I had said "Family of anacondas."

 
What I Learned
  • Teens have sex and drink -- never mind already knew that -- I am so screwed in a couple of years -- I know what I did as a teen, and now my kids are going to do the same.
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Teens real really enjoy and relate
  • Fans of Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot will enjoy
  • Not for the more sophisticated teen as it is quite fluffy
4 Dewey's



I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an  honest review

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Mini Book Review

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Kobo edition

Description: A colonel receives five seeds in the mail--and dies within weeks. A young bride disappears immediately after her wedding. An old hat and a Christmas goose are the only clues to a stolen jewel. A son is accused of his father''s murder. These mysteries--and many more--are brought to the house on Baker Street where detective Sherlock Holmes resides. No case is too tricky for the world''s most famous sleuth and his incredible powers of deduction.

Mini Book Review: I have to be honest, it took me a little while to get into it.  I grew up with the Basil Rathbone's version of Holmes so it was a bit jarring to read the original description of Holmes, which is so much closer to Robert Downey Jr's portrayal. Once I got over that and some of the overly formal English, I quite enjoyed it.  The stories are quite short and entertaining to read and  I actually laughed out loud a couple of times. Holmes is quite the interesting character and I enjoyed seeing him through the eyes of Watson.  I would recommend that you give it a go, its quite fun and now must go watch the Sherlock Homes movie with Robert Downey Jr, think I will make it through this time thanks to reading this. Sorry for the short and not too helpful review -- very tired and lets face it, its hell to review classics!

3.75 Dewey's


I read this on my Kobo as part of the BBC top 100 Challenge

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: Mini Book Review

Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 0-316-76948-7
Buy Froom Indigo

Description: Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

Mini Book Review: Honestly, I expected a lot better after hearing all the praise and how many top 10 lists I have seen this book on. I kept waiting for the story to start, when I realised there wasn't actually going to be one, I settled down and enjoyed it slightly more. That being said after reading in, I can see why so many people relate to Holden. He is the perfect archetype of the lost, hopeless and confused teen on the cusp of adulthood. He is obviously suffering with depression, rambles on like my 9 yr old or someone with serious ADHD (or me after 2 beers) and has no helpful guidance from any of the adults in his life.  There is some wonderful dry humour and some very wise observations of life, but it was a tough read.   I like to read books to escape or to at least learn something, not the biggest fan of this type of self indulgent writing. I found that I did enjoy it  more when I just read a chapter a day.  That way I didn't want to just slap Holden upside the head as much.  This is definitely not something you take to the beach or escape with.

2.5 Dewey's

I borrowed this through Interlibrary loan from Sheridan College (since our copy at Humber has been stolen).  Had to read it as part of my BBC Top 100 Challenge

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mom and Me Non-Fiction Review (Part 2): Ontario (Canada Close Up) by Adrianna Morganelli

Ontario (Canada Close Up)
by Adrianna Morganelli
Scholastic Canada
ISBN: 978-0-545-98904-6
Suggested Ages: 7-9
Buy from Indigo

Description: Niagara Falls and the Great Lakes; the War of 1812 and the Rebellion of 1837; Algonquin Park and the CN Tower… Ontario really is “yours to discover!”

Jake's Review: I liked the one about the Dinosaurs better, this one is too much like the books we have to read for school. I did like that it was easy to read, had a lot of pictures and learned some interesting stuff. It would be a good book if you were working on a project about Ontario because it has a little bit of everything in it. But to just read its sort of boring. Mom, why are you shaking your head? Just so you know when she read about that lady who wrote books about early Ontario, she said the following (substituting a word for the bad one she used) Not that bleep bleep boring Susanna Moodie again - had way too much of her in College.

Jake's Rating: 7/10

Mom's Review:  In my defense, and anyone who has taken College English, you have to read so much of Susanna Moodie and her sister that you hear their names and you start to shudder.  Now back to the review, it is a good introduction to Ontario for kids in the 7-9 range. It would be a perfect book for a classroom library, for working on assignments, and public libraries. Included are various  facts that all Ontario kids should know and those moving here should learn. A nice variety of illustrations, maps, etc to keep the kids reading and learning.  Some of the cultural stuff is a little stereotypical and there was very little mention of Canadian literature, with the exception of bleep bleep Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill. A very useful glossary and index at the back of the book is especially helpful to students.

Mom's Rating: 8.5/10

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Mom and Me Non- Fiction Review (Part 1): Canada's Dinosaurs by Chelsea Donaldson

Canada's Dinosaurs
by Chelsea Donaldson
Scholastic Canada
ISBN: 978-0-545-98972-5
Suggested Age: 6-9

Buy from Indigo

Description: Dinosaurs once lived in Canada, and we have the fossils to prove it. Digs across the country have turned up fascinating finds. Each fossil discovered tells us more about the creatures that used to live here. Some of the amazing dinosaur fossils found in Canada include: Anchiasaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Troodon and Triceratops.



Jake's Review: Loved the pictures in this book, they looked sort of real without being super scary.  The book was quick and easy to read and I got it done while waiting for mom to burn cook dinner. I thought the book was probably written for younger kids since I found it easy to read. I learned a lot about Dinosaurs and for a non-fiction book it was actually fun to read. I would be willing to read more like this, especially if they use the word poop like in this one.

Jake's Rating: 9/10


Mom's Review: Really good introduction to Dinosaurs that lived in Canada for kids in the 6 to 8 range. It is written in the perfect language for this age range, simply, but at the same time introducing them to the odd more challenging word.  There are nice bits of humour thrown in to keep the kids interested.  What really impressed me was that it was informative, but not too scientific or too cutesy, as is often the case in the age group.  A good selection of illustrations and photographs to keep them focused on the learning.  The kids will enjoy the chapter that deals with 2 young boys that found a fossil, they will feel a connection and maybe even encourage them to look further into the subject.  The fact file at the back of the book is a very useful tool. I think this would also be a good series for older kids with reading difficulties.

Mom's Rating: 9/10


We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review