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, March 28, 2012

A Day in the Life Allan Stratton: Author

Today I welcome Allan Stratton, author of the fabulous (and one of my favorite books this year) The Grave Robbers Apprentice. I had the pleasure of meeting him at OLA and  Teacher's/Librarian's he also does school visits - I highly recommend you give him a shout


What’s a “Typical” day like for you?
I don't have a typical day, actually, which is one of the main things I love about my life. When I'm working out a new book idea or I'm blocked, I travel the world or see movies and work out at the gym. If I'm working on a draft, I'll start at the computer with my coffee and cats about 7:00 am and work till noon or whenever, then exercise. I work longer hours if I'm doing revisions or proofs. My days always include snuggling with my four cats, aka my Luv Bunnies (Soly, Misha, P2 and Penster.)

What books have most influenced your life most?
The Complete Works of Shakespeare for sure -- my mother took me to the Stratford Festival every year from age five and that certainly kindled my love of theatre and the arts. And I went to Sunday School as a kid, and remember how I loved all the bible stories, they were so exciting and scary: Daniel in the lion's den; Judith chopping off the head of Holofernes; Shadrak, Meeshak and Abendago in the fiery furnace. and wondering what I'd do if I was Isaac and my dad wanted to sacrifice me, or just how hairy Esau was if Jacob was able to impersonate him by pretending a sheepskin was his chest. Not to mention Noah and the flood and all the angels and spirits. It was all YIKES! I think Shakespeare and the Bible have love, depravity and everything in-between covered, and they sure make you think about human nature.

What was the first story you remember writing -- this could even be something you wrote in Grade 1?
I wrote from before I could spell, sounding out words, but I have no idea what the stories were about. In grade six, I wrote a fifteen-minute lay called Henry Hudson that was produced by my class for the school. In grade 12, James Reaney published my play the rusting Heart -- and CBC got me to adapt it for radio.

How do you deal with negative reviews?
Badly. :)

What are you working on now?
A Middle Grade novel called Curse of the Dream witch. Fans of The Grave Robber's Apprentice should enjoy it. Lots of fun with kids figuring who they are and what they stand for. Identity, self-discovery, and coming of age have always been big themes for me.

If you could be one of the characters in your books, who would it be?

Gosh, I'd love to have Chanda's character (from Chanda's Secrets and Chanda's Wars). And I'd love to be Hans and angela in The Grave Robber's Apprentice, except for stuff like being buried alive which has always been a fear of mine since I was a kid and saw the movie ad for Ray Milland in Premature Burial.

What One book would you bring if you were stuck on a desert Island?
The Complete Words of Shakespeare. It's so long that as I got crazier and crazier, what with the sun and bugs and dehydration, I'd forget what parts I'd already read so I could always feel like I was reading something new. Also, of course, he's pretty amazing.

What is one thing that really ticks you off?

People texting at the dinner table.

Yrs.,
Allan



http://www.allanstratton.com
http://allanstratton.blogspot.com

Thank you Allan for stopping by. Don't forget everyone who makes a comment on ANY of  A Day in the Life Posts is entered into a special contest in December where you can win a selection of books mentioned in these posts

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Devil's Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell's Kill Room by Steve Lillebuen

The Devil's Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell's Kill Room
by Steve Lillebuen
McClelland & Stewart
ISBN: 978-0-7710-5033-6
Buy From Indigo

Description: Reality and fantasy collide with shocking results in this riveting account of the notorious case of Mark Twitchell - and the police investigation into one of the most bizarre murders in recent memory.


In October 2008, Johnny Altinger, a 38-year-old Edmonton man, was on his way to a tryst with a woman he had met on an online dating website when he emailed the directions to their rendezvous to a concerned friend. He was never seen again. Two weeks before Altinger's disappearance, independent filmmaker Mark Twitchell began shooting a low-budget horror film about a serial killer who impersonates a woman on an online dating website to lure his victims to their gruesome deaths. But these are just the starting points of the stranger-than-fiction case of Mark Twitchell, a man with a startling plan to turn his life-long love of fantasy and desire for fame into reality:

- Did Twitchell, in a horrific example of life imitating art, act out the grisly premise of his own script?
- Obsessed with Dexter, the popular TV show and book series about a fictional vigilante serial killer, Twitchell assumed Dexter Morgan's profile on Facebook. But how far did he intend to take his fascination with Dexter?
- Is the shocking document "S.K. Confessions" a graphic work of fiction that, as Twitchell claims, he wrote to promote his film? Or is it a diary he kept of his transformation into a killer, and proof that the police stopped a prolific serial killer at the very beginning?

Veteran journalist Steve Lillebuen provides a gripping investigative account of the nesting doll intricacies of the case, plunging us into the world of pop culture fanaticism and into the mind of a self-professed psychopath. Drawing on extensive interviews, Lillebuen illuminates what can happen when some of our culture's darkest obsessions are pushed to extremes.


The Good Stuff
  • Fast paced & truly fascinating
  • Very detailed and obviously very well researched
  • Not too sensational or descriptive of the more gruesome aspects of the case (I would have liked a lot less, but I am sensitive)
  • Author really tries hard not to put in his own opinions -- slips a little sometimes, but it would be hard not to
  • Impressed with the dedication of the Edmonton police force on making sure he didn't have the opportunity to kill again
  • Also impressed with the fact that justice system tried to protect his wife and child and I very much hope that they have a chance to have a decent life
  • Learned some interesting information on the work done by the police to catch someone like Twitchell
  • Writing style is easy to read, story sucks you in and disturbs you, but keeps you wanting to know what happened
  • Could lead to some fascinating discussions
  • I had never even heard of this case before I got the Random House list of books for review
  • You get a little glimpse into Jeff Lindsay's thoughts on what he thinks about this case
  • Good index (I know I am such a nerd, but hey it helped when I forgot things while I was writing this review)
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Could have done with a bit less of the gruesome descriptions (I am sensitive 'kay)
  • I am concerned that Twitchell will get attention from the publications of this, which he obviously gets off on
  • Concerned with the fact that the thought of him getting killed in prison wouldn't be all that bad to me& that disturbs me
  • The constant mentions of the comparison between Twitchell and the fictional Dexter were almost to the point that the author was saying that if it wasn't for Dexter, Twitchell never would have killed - think that is a cop out
  • Might be moving to Alberta and the crime statistics are very scary to me - definitely not moving to Deadmonton now!
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Edmonton is not the end of the world -it's just easier to see it from there; Once quipped Ralph Klein, a colourful and well known politician. Many have adopted a similar self-deprecating attitude, wielding such ethos like an invaluable tool while residing in the northernmost major city of North America."

"Antsey had been waiting for lab results for three days, trying to be patient, but he was frustrated. Detectives started rolling their eyes when told the lab results for the new items taken from Johnny's condo still weren't back. They would joke that lab techs from television crime shows like CSI could get DNA results in an hour. In real life, there were city cases that had been stalled on DNA analysis for weeks, sometimes months.

"The burn lasted only a few minutes and died down as the fuel disappeared. Twitchell might have been smarter to mix some oil with the gasoline to make it burn longer, but he was a city boy and some things can't be learned on the internet."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Obviously fans of true crime will eat this up
  • Those living in Edmonton might be a little offended by the less than stellar comments about their city
  • Fabulous book for a book club or classroom discussion
4 Dewey's

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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In My Mailbox

For Review
Thanks Random House

Thanks Scholastic and Random House

Won
Thanks ContestCanada
From Pampers

Purchased

Yup I'm a Titanic addict
Purchased at Chapters Brampton
Thanks Niece and Sister for getting me this at Picoult event!
Titanic and Iceberg ice-cube tray (you know I had to buy)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Winners of Blogoversary/Day in the Life Contest

Thanks everyone for all of the lovely comments, wish I could give you all a prize - but alas I did not win the lottery this weekend

Without further adieu (and since I too tired from last nights midnight screening of The Hunger Games) here are the winners

Hugo Prize Pack

Michele (justalittlelost)

Hunger Games Prize Pack

Gillian Plummer

The Lorax Prize

Jen (librarygal)

I will contact you all by email today

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Day in the Life - Missy Jane

Today for those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading her works, I introduce you to Missy Jane. Also, if you don't already follow her on Twitter, I highly recommend you do -- I do and I only follow the very best.

Don't forget all comments go into a draw at the end of this series and you can win a selection of books by the authors involved!

Missy Jane - Author

www.authormissyjane.com

What’s a “Typical” day like for you? 
My first and foremost role is as “mom”, so Monday through Friday I wake at 6 am. I get my four girls up and fed then leave them to get ready for school. I walk the little ones to the bus stop and the older two leave later. By 8am it’s just me and my husband, but since he works nights he’s usually still asleep. I try to walk at least a mile if the weather and my walking partner are up for it. Once I get home, I shower then eat breakfast. After all of that I can finally log onto my computer.

I usually spend at least an hour checking emails and looking through Twitter and Facebook. I honestly don’t start writing until the afternoon when my husband leaves for work. If I log out of all the distractions, I can get at least 1,000 per hour added to one of my WIPs. I have a lot of Works In Progress, so I usually open a couple and wait to see which characters speak up first.

What books have most influenced your life most?
As for writing inspiration, the first book I wrote (unpublished) popped into my mind after reading The Obsidian trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. My character Alexia in They Call Me Death was inspired by Anita Blake (LK Hamilton) and Dante Valentine (Lilith Saintcrow).
As for my life in general, I’ve been very moved by the work of Joyce Carol Oates. I Lock My Door Upon Myself is one of my faves, but my ultimate favorite book of all is Of Mice and Men.

What was the first story you remember writing -- this could even be something you wrote in Grade 1?
I remember writing stories as a child, but don’t really remember specifics. I didn’t write for a very long time and picked it up again as an adult. That was the fantasy novel I wrote inspired byThe Obsidian Trilogy.

How do you deal with negative reviews?
It kind of depends on the review. I’ve met a lot of bloggers and readers online, so when it’s someone I feel I “know” I get a little bothered by it. I’ve gotten better about not taking it personally, and it helps when there’s an actual critique rather than just “I didn’t like it”. But when it’s a complete stranger, or there’s really no info in the review as to why it’s negative, I just ignore it.

What are you working on now?
I’m actively working on two different WIPs with two others on standby if needed. I work this way because sometimes I don’t feel inspired to work on a specific book for days or weeks at a time. I’m concentrating mostly on the sequel to my vampire urban fantasy Day Shift. It’s tentatively called Blood Rush and is from the hero’s POV rather than the heroine’s this time. I’m also working on a companion story to my EC stories Two-Week Trial and Two Dates Max. It’s tentatively titles Two Can Play and is also a contemporary erotic romance. My back-up WIPS are Redemption, a sequel to Resignation about Heather, and Much More Than Human, about Kotori in my shifter world.

If you could be one of the characters in your books, who would it be?
I really like my female characters in my EC romantic contemporaries. It’s kind of hard to choose between them and they all have similar traits. I think I would like to be that kind of independent, sexually adventurous woman who doesn’t mind taking a risk for the man who is worth it.

What One book would you bring if you were stuck on a desert Island?
My initial thought was Of Mice and Men, but then I decided something longer might be a smarter choice. So, I’d take The Lord of the Rings.

What is the stupidest question you have ever been asked or what is stupidest thing someone has said to you in relation to being an author?
Hmmm, well I don’t think I’ve ever been asked anything really stupid. I guess the inevitable “is your book any good?” is the closest. I think I’ve been asked that at a couple of signings.

How do friends/family react when you mention you also write Erotica?
My mom was shocked by my first erotic book cover, but everyone else seemed to take it in stride. I think they were all so proud of me for being published, it just didn’t faze them. I’ve got a great family and wonderful friends.


If you could be one Joss Whedon character, which one would you be and why (Some poor uniformed people actually have no idea who Joss Whedon is so I had to make back up questions)
Lol, I do know who Joss Whedon is but don’t really watch enough TV or remember enough from his older shows to pick a character.

What are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading an older Thea Devine novel called Tempted by Fire. I’ve owned it for years but just recently picked it up and so far it’s pretty good. On my Nook I also have a whole list of ebooks I just downloaded to go through, but I don’t know any specific titles off the top of my head.

Thanks for letting me participate in your post!

-Missy Jane
*Make reading a guilty pleasure…*
www.authormissyjane.com 
Missy Jane on Twitter
Missy Jane on Facebook

COMING March 23rd!


He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me…okay, the truth is he doesn’t really like me right now, but I have a plan to change his mind. I see the way he looks at me with heat in his eyes. Sean Maxwell might be a confirmed bachelor, but a taste of Ms. Megan Nettle is just what he needs to soften his hard exterior. And once I get him in my bed, he won’t want to leave. There’s nothing some hot lovin’ can’t fix.
But my persistence backfires when he decides he’s too dangerous for little ole me. Something in his past is driving a wedge between us, and he’s determined to stay away. That’s not going to happen. This calls for some serious seduction. I’ll use those sparks between us to melt away his rule of two dates max.
EXCERPT

Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Black Swans by Caroline B. Cooney

Three Black Swans
by Caroline B. Cooney
Ember (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-385-73868-2
Buy from Indigo
Release Date: March 27, 2012

Description: Lives are in the balance in bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney’s newest young adult thriller, Three Black Swans.

Missy and her cousin Claire are best friends who finish each other’s sentences and practically read each other’s minds. It’s an eerie connection—so eerie that Missy has questions she wants to put to her parents. But she’s afraid to ask. So when Missy hears an expert discussing newborn babies on the radio, it makes her wonder about her family.

Missy just can’t let go of those nagging questions, and decides to use a school project about scientific hoaxes to try to uncover the answers. She enlists Claire to help. As part of the project the girls perform a dramatic scene that is captured on video at school. After the video is posted on YouTube, Missy and Claire realize that they’ve opened Pandora’s box and much more than they ever imagined has come out. Not only are their identities called into question, but so is the future of everyone involved.

In this riveting, heartrending story by thriller author Caroline B. Cooney, the truth changes the lives of three families—as the bonds of blood must withstand the strains of long-hidden secrets that are at last revealed

The Good Stuff
  • Story is fast paced with plenty of cliffhanger type moments
  • Some interesting ethical questions could be brought up for discussion
  • The three young heroines are likeable and there is some nice character development
  • Liked the relationship between Genevieve and her grandmother
  • Good little mystery, makes you keep guessing what is actually going on
  • I want Genevieve's grandma to be my grandma
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Story jumps arount in terms of point of view which was very confusing
  • One of the main characters of the story isn't introduced till at least a quarter way through the book
  • Believability is way off
  • Genevieve's parents are horrible and not at all believable in their turn around
  • Minor plots are put in that really don't need to be there
  • I think I am just too old for this one so please remember that when deciding wether to read or not. I'm going to pass this one on to my neighbors teenage daughter to see what she thinks
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"But these days, no one kept adoption a secret. If you adopted a baby, you bragged about it. "I chose you," the parents said to their adopted child. "We chose our baby girl," they proudly told other parents."

"A radio sat on a sorting table. It was small and black with a long cord, and probably as old as her mother."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • This is one I would suggest would appeal to actual YA readers (those in tween to teen ages) and not to the adult YA reader
  • A good one for reluctant readers
3 Dewey's

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

Mom and Me Mondays: Hands on edition

Boom, Splat, Kablooey: Expolive science that's a real blast
by Pat Murphy & the Scientists of the Klutz Labs
Klutz
ISBN: 978-1-59174-677-5
Suggested Ages: 8+
Buy From Indigo

DescriptionBoom! Splat! Kablooey! comes with all the special equipment you need to make ordinary ingredients from your kitchen go boom in impressive — yet non-destructive — style. A Geyser Tube™ and a depth charge make table salt and a bottle of soda into a backyard geyser. A bevy of balloons turns a regular pop into a big ol’ BOOM. And the Can o’ pops is specially designed to explode again and again and again and… you get the idea. We’re all charged up to get kids learning about science. And have a blast doing it. Written by Pat Murphy and the Scientists of Klutz Lab.
WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD! Children under 8 yrs can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.


Jake's Review: This was so totally sic (mom's note: that means it is cool or awesome to us old people) I had so much fun playing with this book. It was loud and messy and made mom jump and made the little midget cry (mom's note: that would be his little brother).  I want a whole bunch of books like this for me and my friends to play with.  I wish our teachers used experiments like this to teach us science instead of the boring things they make us do.   I wish the book was longer and had more things with it that we could experiment with.  The only other thing I didn't like was that mom made me clean up everything after we were done while she sat in the front room reading and drinking a glass of wine - not fair, she was playing too!

Jake's Rating: 9/10


Mom's Review:   I have to agree with Jake this book was so much fun and that kids would be far more interested in science if they had the opportunity to try experiments like the ones in this book.    There are tons of bright colours, funky fonts and silly pictures to grab the children's attention and encourage them to keep looking through the book.  The experiments are easy to follow and use items that most people either have available in their own homes or can easily pick up at the dollar store.  This is a fabulous book to use during a rainy day and something the whole family can do together.  I love that kids will learn science in such a fun and interesting way and they won't even know that they are learning something -- nothing better than tricking the kids : ) Take note teachers, if you want kids to learn make it fun and hands on, it will make your job a lot less stressful.  Also the experiments are easy for the kids to clean up afterward so you can enjoy some time to yourself while the little heathens tidy up.

Mom's Rating: 10/10
Follow the Directions: No Cook Snacks:Easy & Healthy Step-by-Step Recipes That Help Children Build Beginning Reading Skills 
by Immacula Rhodes
Scholastic Inc
ISBN: 978-0-545-20824-6
Suggested Ages: PreK-1
Buy From Indigo


Description: Make snack time learning time with tasty no-cook recipes that kids can make all by themselves! Each easy-to-follow reproducible recipe features step-by-step cards that kids can color, sequence, and then compile in a take-home mini-book. Designed to connect with holidays and special days throughout the year, the recipes feature healthy, low-cost ingredients that are easy to gather. A tasty way to foster good nutrition and build beginning reading skills! For use with Grades PreK-1.

Jake's Review:  I like how easy everything was to make, but there wasn't a lot of recipes that I actually wanted to eat. Way too many items with vegetables and hummus.  Also this is way too babyish for me, I already know how to cook and bake. This would probably be better for little kids like Jesse, ah well kids like Jesse who actually eat stuff other than pizza and grilled cheese (mom's note: shhh don't tell everybody that Jesse only eats that stuff, they will think I am a bad mom).  It was fun making all the different snacks even-though I didn't eat them. I liked how you cut out each of the recipes and make them in to little books and you even colour in the little books to make them look nicer - they are kinda boring in all black and white.  I would like more books like this that are a little more for my age and use chocolate, chips and no hummus! That would be much more fun!
Jake's Rating:  7/10

Mom's Review: This was another fun book that the whole family worked together to do -- even Jesse!  The directions are easy to follow even for a child as young as 3 (Well, with the help of parents of course) to try.  It was a lot of fun cutting out all of the recipes into little booklets.  At first I was disappointed that the pictures were all black and white, but Jake suggested we use them as little coloring books which was a fabulous idea.  It also prolonged the excitement of the book as the kids got to cut, colour and make stuff. This was perfect as it was kinda wet and cold the day and it turned into an almost all day event which kept everyone busy and not whining about how bored they were.  I agree with Jake on one point what is up with all the hummus -- my kids HATE hummus (we substituted cream cheese & cream cheese dip for it btw). The only other complaint and a really minor one is the font size was a little small for a child in the PreK age range which is who the book is geared towards - they are going to struggle with it.
Mom's Rating: 8/10

We received the books from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox

For Review

Thanks Random House

Thanks William Morrow (HarperCollins)

Purchased

From Indigo for Birthday presents (And I bought nothing for me GASP!)
 George RR Martin Indigo Event

For lavender_lines hubby

Liam and GRRM - sorry crappy photos

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Falling Backwards by Jann Arden

Falling Backwards
by Jann Arden
Vintage Canada (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-307-39985-4
Buy from Indigo

Description: This long-time darling of the music industry and singer-songwriter of international renown will capture your heart--and keep you in stitches--with her powerful stories about coming of age as an artist and as a human being.


Jann's legions of fans are drawn to her sincerity, wit, humour and that infectious sparkle she brings to everything she does. Oh, and did we mention her sense of humour? Jann's natural comedic talents translate seamlessly into her writing, and her dedicated fans will delight in the details of this memoir--where there is no such thing as too much information. Readers will learn about how her brother used to steal her maxi pads to repurpose as GI Joe bunk beds and how she once got gum stuck in her hair so badly that when she woke up her head was glued to the pillow. But with the good times come the bad, and Jann opens up about the darker side of her so-called prairie-perfect nuclear family and the first signs that her brother was a uniquely troubled young man. Jann's readable prose keeps the reader tuned in as she reminds us of the inestimable value of having a teacher who believes in you, wide-open spaces to play and be a child, and a good mother

The Good Stuff
  • I love Jann, she is so delightfully honest and hilariously funny -- and so very accessible, you will feel like you are just shooting the shit with one of your pals while reading it
  • She talks about things that we all felt while growing up but didn't always have the honesty to talk out loud about
  • The paragraph when she talks about God and wonders if he had a Penis made me laugh so hard coffee came out my nose
  • Never lays blame or talks mean spiritedly about anyone
  • The love for her family is so real and loving
  • I really enjoyed how she describes her passion for music and for the written word
  • Self deprecating sense of humour
  • In the paperback copy I received for review - my pal Lavender Lines is quoted!
  • Honestly she is just a straight forward down to earth fun and wise broad that I would love to hang out with 
  • Enjoyed the commentary on her parents taste in music - yup my mom and dad loved Nana Mouskouri and Roger Whittaker too -- and I hated that crap as much as she did (My brother and I used to take their albums and play Frisbee with them)
  • I totally agree with her description of brussel sprouts as tasting like dog farts and copper pennies!
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Sorry Jann if I ever see you out in public I am going to give you a big hug & talk to you like we are old friends
  • Might not want to read out in public because you will be laughing so hard
  • The last chapter sort of ends abruptly - I can understand why, but still its a little jarring 
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"In a womb? My dear mother said it was nothing short of agony. I have given her the odd sympathy card on my birthday. It seems fitting, somehow. The card simply reads, "I am sorry about your vagina. Love, Jann."

"You find out early on that life is not based on a system of punishment and reward. Bad people often get ahead and good people can will die of cancer. There is no sense to be made of any of it. You just have to get up and deal with the day."

"M yidea of pigs has never been the same. Charlotte's Web has never held much water with me. You can forget Babe as well. Pigs are vicious killers with no regard for a child's young life. I am lucky to be alive. Yes,I  am dramatic."

"All of the other singers that my parents owned on vinyl seemed to me to have one foot in the grave. Roger Whittaker whistled, for crying out loud, and Nana Mouskouri had big, thick, black glasses. Only old  people wore glasses. Only old people whistled. My shop teacher whistled and wore bifocals, that's how I knew the singers on my parents' records were ancient. I was grateful to finally be exposed to artists with whom I had something in common- first and foremost among which was being alive."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • If you are a fan of Arden's music,  you will love this book
  • If you are Canadian -- and most importantly a self deprecating Canadian women (Is there any other such Cdn women) you will frickin love this book
5 Dewey's


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

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road
by Moira Young
Doubleday Canada (Random House)
ISBN:  978-0-385-67185-9
Suggested Ages: 13+
Buy from Indigo

Description: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.


Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.


The Good Stuff
  • Sorta have a crush on Jack with his swagger and his cockiness - love me those kind of boys (Yes I try to pretend he's not that young, don't want to be called a cougar or anything)
  • Author is Canadian
  • Had a Mad Max sorta feel to it - that is how I pictured the world they lived in -- not as violent as Mad Max of course -- as it is marketed towards YA
  • Saba is a strong feisty heroine and there is some great character development with her - didn't always understand her decisions, but I still liked her
  • Love Nero - I want me a bird like that
  • Like the intriguing secondary characters and want to know more about them 
  • Exciting fast paced story - on the edge of  your seat moments
  • good use of humour - right when you need it most 
  • Strong female AND male characters - working together  
  • Fabulous ending 
  • Just a really good adventure tale to lose yourself in for a while
  • Author is Canadian -  yes I know I mentioned that fact already - but I'm Canadian and well I have to promote a fellow Canuck (and yes I know she lives in England now)

The Not So Good Stuff
  • sort of creeped out for her obsessive love for her brother, but maybe its a twin thing 
  • I don't get the appeal of Lugh - but maybe we will get to know him more
  • The writing style took a little to get into at first, but keep going it really does add to the story

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"There ain't nuthin written in the stars. There ain't no great plan. The world goes on. Our lives jest go on and on in this gawdfersaken place. An that's it. Till the day we die."

"Sometimes I think, if only I'd come earlier, if only I'd been there, maybe Allis would have lived. But you cain't think like that. If you do, you'll make yourself crazy. I did get there in time to keep you alive, red little scrap that you were, and I comfort myself with that."

"I ain't never seen a creature like that before, she says. He's so smart, he's --
More like a person than a bird? I says.
Yeah, she says. That's it.
Whatever you do, I says, don't tell him that. I'll never hear the end of it."


Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Fans of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction will enjoy
  • Will appeal to both adult and YA readers - there isn't too much angst and adult bashing so us older readers won't get offended
  • I can see the Hunger Games comparisons, but don't read it based on that - it is different
4.5 Dewey's
    I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    A Day in the Life: Janet Murie from Scholastic

    One of the first people I met when I began blogging was the lovely and hilarious Janet Murie from Scholastic - actually everyone I have met from Scholastic has been awesome -- hmm must get job there. She is extremely passionate about her job and  about books so you can see why I love her so much.  She is also one of the members of the Dewey Diva's

    BTW, anyone who comments on any of the A Day in the Life series (over the year) will be put into a pool and I will randomly select a commenter to win a prize pack including some of the books/authors mentioned or profiled

    Janet Murie
    Job Title: National Accounts Manager, Library and Educational Retail Markets (Scholastic)

    Education/Work Experience (that led to current job) 
    My first job out of university was being The Special Orders Department in a university bookstore. From there, a job selling books with a commission agency. Now it is 30 years later.

    What’s a “Typical” day like for you?
    A typical day is driving to a library or library wholesaler in the morning, another one in the afternoon, and presenting forthcoming titles from new catalogues. In between, I field emails on my blackberry and listen to CBC on my car radio.

    Have you ever “geeked” out over an author
    No, but I have escorted some very fine authors. I was so scared of Robertson Davies I was nearly speechless for two solid days of having him in my car, and when I wasn't speechless I was stupid.

    Who has been your favorite author to deal with ?  

    Robert Bateman, hands down. Such a gracious, intelligent and interesting man.

    Any advice for people who would like to do what you do?  
    People think selling anything - including books - is all about talking. Listening is the most valuable tool anyone selling books can have.

    What One book would you bring if you were stuck on a desert Island? 

    Arg! One????

    Cats or Dogs  - Why?   
    Both! Dogs are joy on paws, and cats are deep thinkers.

    If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
    Lisa Simpson

    Thanks Janet for taking part!

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Overbite by Meg Cabot

    Overbite (Insatiable #2)
    by Meg Cabot
    William Morrow (HarperCollins)
    ISBN: 978-0-06-173511-0
    Buy From Indigo

    Description: Meena Harper has a special gift, but it's only now that anyone's ever appreciated it. The Palatine Guard — a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican — has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena's ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead.  Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames. Now Meena's sworn off vampires for good ... at least until she can prove her theory that just because they've lost their souls doesn't mean demons have lost the ability to love.

    Meena knows convincing her co-workers — including her partner, über-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf — that vampires can be redeemed won't be easy ... especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just lives of the Palatine, but Meena's friends and family as well.  But Meena isn't the Palatine's only hope. Father Henrique — aka Padre Caliente — New York City's youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case.  So why doesn't Meena — or Alaric — trust him?

    As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare ... and  temptations she never even imagined existed, but finds impossible to resist.  This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more than she can chew.


    The Good Stuff
    •  Good ending to the story  - can't go any further on this point as it would be to spoilerish - but it worked for me - not what I wanted, but I could see how it could come about
    • Lots of Meg Cabot humour which I adore. Some of her dialogue makes me LMAO
    • Quite a significant improvement in the maturity of the characters, which was a major complaint from most readers of Insatiable. It actually felt more like an adult novel than a young adult story
    • Meena is a likeable character and you feel yourself routing for her. She's just so adorable and has a good strength of character  
    • Cabot's writing style is enjoyable to read, so even when you don't love the story, you still want to keep reading
    • Alaric is an intriguing character and would have liked more of his back story
    • Also cannot mention why I loved Lucien as this would give away the ending -- but nice one Lucien
    • As always she drops some fun pop culture references and the names of the characters are deligtful for any fan of Dracula.
    The Not So  Good Stuff
    •  Not enough of Cabot's trademark humour, felt she went a little too dark considering the first book in the series
    • Actually a little dull in parts
    • Was a little disappointed as I expected much better from Cabot who is one of my favorite writers.  The story felt a little rushed and the characters actions didn't always ring true for me.
    •  Also not enough development of the character of Alaric. He had huge potential but he kinda felt a little flat and I can see why others were disappointed in the ending
    • Secondary characters were not developed enough for my taste, again they had potential, but its like Cabot lost interest in the story
    Favorite Quotes/Passages

    "I didn't know you were stopping by," he said. "Sharp-looking tux there, dude. Very Daniel Craig in Casino Royale."

    "Well, I have to be honest with you," she said, pulling her wrist from his grasp. " The only reason I'm wearing this necklace is because members of your species keep trying to bite me. So if you don't mind, I'm going to keep it."
    "She lifted her head from the door and whipped it around to face Meena - completely ignoring Jon - letting out a  hiss that revealed a set of blood-soaked fangs. Clearly dental hygiene was no longer a priority in the Delmonico household."

    Who Should/Shouldn't Read
    • If you read Insatiable I know you will want to read this just to get a closing to the story
    • If you are a huge fan of Cabot you might be a tad disappointed
    3.25 Dewey's


    I received this from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review

    Winner of Leah Bobet's Above

    The Winner of Leah Bobet's Above is

    Jackie  the Hardcover Obsession

    Congrats Jackie I am emailing you now

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Mom and Me Mondays: Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

    Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero
    by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
    Scholastic
    ISBN: 978-0-545-29882-7
    Suggested Ages: 8 - 10
    Buy From Indigo

    Description: A hilarious new series from Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver, authors of the bestselling Hank Zipzer books! 
    Billy Broccoli is a boy with questions: about his new school, his new stepfamily...his whole new life, in fact.
    Hoover Porterhouse is a ghost with all the answers.
    When a trick of fate makes them roommates, Billy discovers that having a ghost around might not be so bad after all. The Hoover is funny and cool, a great baseball player, and is a real people person (even if Billy is the only one who can see him). And with obnoxious school bullies out to demolish him, Billy can use all of the advice he can get. With Hoover by his side, Billy just might get in style, get even, and conquer the school.


    Jake's Review: This book is a little too boring and I think its for younger kids than me.  I also don't like books with Ghost's in them (mom's note: um Jake you have 10 goosebumps books). Ok mom I just don't want to read this book.  Do I have to read it?

    Jake's Rating: 4/10

    Mom's Review:  The Fonz co-wrote this -- I know I am a nerd, but I think that is pretty cool.  I agree with Jake it is definitely more suited for a younger audience (he is 10).  So I didn't make Jake finish the book since there is nothing worse than being forced to read something you don't like (Hello Canadian public schools 12 year old kids HATE Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel -- it is dull and depressing).  I thought it was a funny story that was fast paced and not at all boring.  Good moral lessons thrown in, without being too obvious. Billy is a likeable kid that most middle grade boys can relate to.  These books will definitely be in high use at most school and public libraries. I even laughed out loud a couple of times!

    Mom's Rating: 8/10

    We received this from Scholastic in Exchange for an honest review

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    In My Mailbox

    For Review
    Thank Rosalyn - You are my Hero!!
    Thanks Simon & Schuster and Random House
    Thanks Penguin
    Borrowed or Swapped
    Traded Wendy for Dead to Me
    Thanks for lending to me Jenn
    Indigo Hugo Tweet Up  (Thanks for the awesome bag Captain Awesome and Scholastics!)

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Insatiable by Meg Cabot

    Insatiable 
    by Meg Cabot
    William Morrow (HarperCollins)
    ISBN: 9780061735080
    Kobo Edition
    Buy from Indigo

    Description: Sick of vampires? So is Meena Harper. But her boss is making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them. Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die (not that you’re going to believe her; no one ever does).

    But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side . . . a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

    The problem is, he already is dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own.  And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.  Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . .  If she even has one.


    The Good Stuff
    • Strong and sorta feisty (Starts off a little mousy but grows stronger as story progresses) heroine
    • Trademark Meg Cabot humour which I totally love
    • Love scenes are hot without being too graphic, so older YA could read too (hell I was reading Wifey at 12 so I'm not judging or making decisions for your kids)
    • Dialogue is laugh out loud funny - so heads up if you are reading on public transit -- or while your hubby is watching the hockey game 
    • Storyline is exciting and keeps you flipping the pages (well in this case I was tapping the Kobo touch screen)
    • Got a kick out of the play of names = Meena Harper (um Meena Harker) - since Dracula is one of my favorite books you can see how this would amuse the hell out of me
    • Nice historically accurate research done which I was very much impressed by
    • The pop culture references were cute -- Cheryl Trent (obviously based on Susan Lucci), mentions of Sookie Stackhouse, etc
    • Male love interests are both intriguing  and side characters are fun
    The Not So Good Stuff
    • The characters come off a little juvenile for their supposed age, but I imagine due to the fact that Cabot has been writing YA for years
    • The constant references to the dog's full name of Jack Bauer and why he was called that were a wee bit irritating after a while
    Favorite Quotes/Passages

    ".on the seat next to her, so that Meena could sit down beside her. No New Yorker would ever have done such a thing. Not when there were a dozen other empty seats on the train."

    "She was never going to give up hope. Without hope, what did you have?"

    "He was in Burberry," Meena said, knitting her brow. "But he definitely didn't sparkle."

    "Well, the fact that he's.." Abraham looked uncomfortably at Sister Gertrude and Yalena and whispered," A bastard."
    Meena had to suppress a smile. "In America we call that being raised by a single mom," she whispered back. "And its actually not that big a deal. It happens to a lot of people."


    Who Should/Shouldn't Read
    • Fans of Meg Cabot's YA, Jennifer Estep, Julie Kenner and Marta Acosta will enjoy
    • This is like paranormal chick lit, so if you like that, you will enjoy this
    • Perfect light read after reading something intense or serious

    4.25 Dewey's


    I purchased this for my Kobo and didn't have to review it or nothing : )

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    A Day in the Life & Blogoversary Contest

    Picture by Sara Hamil 
    Jeremy Cammy

    Job Title: Executive Producer, Events & Music – Indigo
    Education/Work Experience: Graduated university but went back to school (college) and received a Certificate in Corporate Communications. Worked in PR for  both agency & corporate and was lucky enough to  approach Indigo and work as a Marketing Manager for one store (only 4 Indigo stores existed at the time).  From that one store it progressed to a series of stores as a Regional Marketing Manager, followed by the entire country as National Marketing Manager, Director Event Marketing – finally – Executive Producer.

    What’s a “Typical” day like for you?
    Typical isn’t in my vocabulary. No two days are alike. Working with both internal and external stakeholders my day includes meetings with publishers, conference calls, on-site event walkthroughs, developing new thematic for cross country events, programming the in-store music play-list, tweeting, and of course – lots of laughing. Laughing is key.

    Have you ever “geeked” out over a celebrity/author
    I don’t have time to geek out. I’m concerned mostly for the customers and our employees – ensuring they have a great experience. Though it was surreal standing in the Green Room with President Clinton, Leonard Cohen, and Andre Agassi (but not at the same time)

    What was your favourite author/celebrity even that you have hosted so far?
    So many. Each event is unique – but having Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) give me a kiss – that’s just dreamy.

    What Author/Celebrity would you like to book for an event?
    I get asked time and time again. I defer to all the customers to answer that question – and most have said J.K. Rowling

    What One book would you bring if you were stuck on a desert Island?
    If I can bring a Kobo it can store 1,000 books

    What have you learned never to do again, when hosting an event?
    Never assume. Don’t be too sure of yourself. Every event is a learning opportunity.

    If you could be one Joss Whedon character, which one would you be and why? 
    Meaning  Buffy? Probably a vampire. Would be fun to get stabbed by Sarah Michelle Gellar. But only if I lived.

    IF you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
    Easy. Fly.  Two words: Toronto traffic

    Cats or Dogs  - Why?
    Dogs. Cats are smarter than me.

    If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
    I think the real question is – who would I like to see play my love interest. I think too many celebrities would line up for that role. A bidding war.

    Thank you so much for being my first ---- Day in the Life victim Captain Awesome.  In celebration of this new series and to celebrate my 2 year Anniversary of being a book blogger, I have decided to loosen the purse strings (I'm cheap!)  and host a contest to thank you all for coming by to visit and to make comments.  Since I had the extreme good fortune to attend a Indigo Tweet Up a couple of weeks ago of Hugo I have decided to offer up a special Hugo related prize pack. There will also be a secondary Hunger Games prize pack since I am seriously excited to see the movie (please don't suck like the Twilight series did) and as well since I LOVE the Lorax their will also be a 3rd prize of a copy of The Lorax by Dr Seuss.  

    Blogoversary Contest


    Prize Pack #1: DVD & Book

     










    Prize Pack #2: The Hunger Games: Movie Tie in Edition & Mockingjay Pin



    Prize Pack #3: The Lorax by Dr Seuss












    Ends March 23, 2012
    US/Canada Only
    Fill out Form
    10 Bonus Entries if you are an old or new follower (Don't want to insist you follow, but want to encourage new followers & reward long time sufferers of my blog)

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    A Million Suns by Beth Revis

    A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2)
    by Beth Revis
    Razorbill (Penguin)
    ISBN: 978-1-59514-398-3
    Suggested Ages: 12+
    Buy from Indigo

    Description: Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

    It''s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He''s finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.

    But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that''s growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

    In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship



    The Good Stuff
    • Talented writer, she is fantastic at making you feel like you are part of the world the characters live in
    • A lot of fun nerdy references for SCI FY geeks - hee hee "Trust No One" hee hee
    • Noticed a lot less of the made up words like Frex which I really appreciated
    • Fabulous character development for Amy and some realistic development for Elder
    • Lots of action to keep you interested - this story is far more dark and violent than Across the Universe
    • Like the cover, not as much as Across the Universe, but it still is a cover that makes me want to pick up the book 
    • Orion is an intriguing character, deeply flawed, but fascinating

    The Not So Good Stuff
    • Same problem as with the first book, some of the plot points just are not  logical 
    • Has the issue that most second books in a trilogy have, filler from the first book to the finale  - not bad but I think this series would have worked better as a book 1 and 2
    • Elder was a bit of  wuss through this installment, felt as frustrated with him as the characters are - I would have mutinied too
    • New characters didn't intrigue me at all and felt no connection to them  
    • Main complaint what was the point of Orion making all the stupid clues -- seriously just tell them what is going on if time is an essence (more filler if you ask me)

    Favorite Quotes/Passages

    "if I had my choice between Elder at school or at a club or on a blind date, if I had my choice between Elder and every other boy in the world .... Would I love him then?
    Would he love me?
    Love without choice isn't love at all."

    "You can be objective. You will know which is the greater evil. When you know all that I know, all that Eldest tried to keep hidden, then you will know what to do."

    "A sky Kayleigh had never seen.
    And she couldn't live without the sky."

     Who Should/Shouldn't Read
    • For fans of Sci Fy YA 
    • Would only recommend you read it if you had read the first book in the series first, other wise you would be what the frex is going on
    3 Dewey's


    I received this from Penguin in exchange for an honest review

    The Grave Robber's Apprentice by Allan Stratton

    The Grave Robber's Apprentice
    by Allan Stratton
    HarperCollins
    ISBN: 948-1-55468-825-8
    Suggested Ages: 10-14
    Buy From Indigo
    Release Date: March 6, 2012

    Description: Hans is on the run from his adoptive father, a grave robber who found him as a baby hidden inside a wooden box that washed ashore. Now fate has introduced Hans to Angela von Schwanenberg, a young countess fleeing the evil forces of Archduke Arnulf, who has chosen her to be the next in his long line of brides, and the dreaded Necromancer.

    Together, Hans and Angela gallop through dark forests, treacherous lands and secret passageways on their quest to uncover the truth about Hans’ shadowy past and save Angela’s parents from the archduke’s monstrous asylum. In this world of highwaymen, hermits and dancing bears, anything is possible—even for a grave robber’s apprentice. Brimming with action and ghoulish delights, The Grave Robber’s Apprentice is a grand fantasy adventure from one of Canada’s most acclaimed authors for young readers.


    The Good Stuff
    • Fabulous opening chapter - will grab the kids (and adults) attention right away
    • The banter between Angela and Hans is delightful
    • Angela is a fantastic heroine - feisty and brave, yet compassionate and hilarious
    • Hans is a perfect companion for Angela and they work so well together
    • Wonderful adventure story full of nasty villians and wacky secondary characters
    • Lots of scary and gross bits will attract the middle school boy reader
    • Young kids save the day -- kids eat that sorta thing up
    • Humor and scary stuff - what's not to like
    • The secondary characters are just as well written as the main characters
    • Has a fairy tale, quest feel to it with a hint of Peter Nimble thrown in
    • Good messages of friendship and forgiveness
    The Not So Good Stuff
    • Some of the more complicated language may turn off the more reluctant reader which would be a shame
    Favorite Quotes/Passages

    "Tonight, the raging wind had promised a shipwreck- two or three, God willing - so Knobbe had scrambled down the steep cliff path to the beach, hoping to plunder the bodies of the drowned."

    "Don't play your baby tricks on me," Knobbe warned. "Your sort are all alike. Sneaky,little schemers, out to make a fellow weak."

    "Angela rolled her eyes at Hans: a hermit speaking in riddles was as irritating in real life as it was in storybooks."

    "Shush. Who knows the future. Do the best you can and never regret a kindness. To live a coward is not to live at all."

    Who Should/Shouldn't Read
    • I would say for the stronger middle school reader due to more sophisticated language
    • Not for the sensitive reader as there are some scary bits
    • Adults will enjoy just as much
    4.5 Dewey's

    I picked this up at the 2012 OLA Superconference and my copy is signed

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Perception by Kim Harrington: Guest Review

    Tasha , My Disorganized Ramblings, has taken pity on the fact that I am seriously behind on book reviews and agreed to review my copy of  Perception for me - Thanks Tasha!


    Perception (Clarity #2)
    by Kim Harrington
    Scholastic Point
    ISBN:  9780545230537
    Suggested Ages: 14-18 (Tasha says 11+ as nothing objectionable)
    Buy From Indigo
    Release Date: March 1, 2012

    Description: When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?

    Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

    Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

    But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

    One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared



    What I Learned:
    • is that Kim Harrington writes really sweet, simple, awesome mystery/romance-y stories.
    • is that I love how uncomplicated they are.
    • is that they are a very enjoyable break from the emo/horrific/dystopian YA's that are popular today.
    •  is that despite having a touch of paranormal (Clare's family all have some sort of psychic power) it isn't a real paranormal.
    • is that Clare is (again despite the psychic-ness) is a very real teenager. She has crushes on boys, she likes two of them actually!
    •  is that yes, it is a sequel to Clarity, but you could probably get away with not reading it (although my OCD nature screams at you to read them in order!!).
    • is that it's hard to really write a review for this book - it's almost as though in it's simplicity, it is too simple and yet so much more. This is bare bones. There is no filler. I feel like every word is carefully chosen.
     4/5


    I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review & made Tasha pinky swear to be honest -- trust me on this one she is brutally honest

    Mom and Me Mondays: Middle School Books

    Luna the Moon Wolf (Beast Quest Amulet of Avantia #22)
    by Adam Blade
    Illustrated by Ezra Tucker
    Scholastic
    ISBN: 978-0-545-27213-1
    Suggested Ages: 8-10
    Buy from Indigo

    Description: Tom must battle the most dangerous Ghost Beasts yet!At night, the Dead Wood comes alive with wild animals made ferocious by the spell of Luna the Moon Wolf. To save his father, Tom must collect the pieces of the Amulet of Avantia-which means battling Luna's murderous magic..

     Jake's Review:  I really like these books because they are easy and fast to read.  They are never boring and always have tons of action and no boring girly stuff (Mom's note: that means dialogue in his sexist brain).  I Like the powers that Luna uses even though she uses them to do bad stuff.  The description of Luna was kinda creepy and I had to leave the book face down so I couldn't see the cover when I go to bed.  My favorite characters were the little wolf puppies, although I think its kinda weird that they wanted to play with Tom after he killed their mom.  I didn't like how Silver was mean when he was being controlled by Luna.  I think my buddy Trevor would like to read this book because it is short and exciting and scary. He really likes the scary stuff, but doesn't like to read a lot. While I was reading it I thought how tough it must have been for Tom to fight Luna when he was so sleepy.

    Jake's Rating: 10/10


    Mom's Review: A good fast paced adventure story for the reluctant reader. There is plenty of action and gory stuff that will keep the boys hooked in this installment of the series. There is a nice message of friendship and about true bravery done in non shmaltzy way that I was impressed with. I like that his friend Elenna is a strong, brave female character who helps Tom along the way.  It's nice to see a strong fun female character in books that are definitely geared more to boys - maybe will get through to boys that girls can kick butt too.  My only issue in this one is that the character mentioned in the first chapter is never heard from again.  Why introduce her, have her go through something scary and than she's never heard from again -- I'm guessing filler or author is just cranking out these to make more cash and doesn't really care about plot holes. Ah well Jake eats these ups and anything that keeps him reading is good with me.

    Mom's Rating: 6/10


    Animorphs: The Capture
    by K.A. Applegate
    Scholastic
    ISBN: 978-0-545-29158-3
    Suggested Ages: 9-12
    Buy From Indigo

    Description: The wildly popular series by K.A. Applegate is back! The first six books of Animorphs return, with striking new lenticular covers that morph.It was bad when Jake found out his brother was one of them. A Human-Controller. A slave. But that was nothing compared to this.When the Animorphs decide to visit the Yeerks' new base, it seems simple. But then they get caught and Jake falls -- just for a moment -- into the Yeerk pool.Now they're out, and his friends can't see it. To them he's just like normal. But Jake is screaming for help. His worst fear has finally come true. He's become the enemy.

    Jake's Review: This book is the most boring of the series so far, because there wasn't any exciting stuff in it.  They did way to much talking and not enough fighting. I would have changed the story so when a Morph thought talked to a human the human could actually thought talk back to the morph.  My favorite character is Ax because he is like the last living Andalite and that is pretty cool. I kinda feel sad for Marco because he doesn't have a Mom because she died (Mom's note: What is this a Disney movie where we have to kill off the mom).  I don't like Jake's brother Tom because he threw food at Jake and generally he's being controlled by an alien slug in his brain which is sorta scary. Kids who like aliens and fighting will like this book, even though the other books are better because there is more fighting in them.  I still want to read the rest of the series and hopefully the next one will have more butt kicking of the aliens and less talking.

    Jake's Rating: 6/10

    Mom's Review: Jake totally loves this series and I can definitely see the appeal in them.  Honestly at my age I would have have adored these too. I won't lie it was a bit of a struggle to get through it as I am obviously way too old to be reading these. The series probably could have ended already as this installment  really goes nowhere. It was interesting to see the thought process' of the Yerks, but other than that it really is the same old story, very formulaic  . But enough about my thoughts, the kids will dig this as the kids are saving the day without the help of bumbling adults.  Good message about working together and friendship also done in a non shmalzy way which kids will appreciate -- they hate it when you force feed them the moral crap. Also giggled when they used the phrase "resistance is futile"  - yes I am that much of a nerd.  Also for those who read these when they first came out, they have updated many of the pop culture and technology references to be a little more modern.

    Mom's Rating: 6/10


    We received these books from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

    Hugo: Movie Review and IndigoHugo Tweet Up

    One of the most amazing things about being a book blogger are some of the spectacular events I have been invited to and the incredible people I have met because of these events.

    I once again had the opportunity to attend an Indigo Tweet Up organized by the ever charming Jeremy Cammy  This time around the aptly nicknamed, Captain Awesome, organized a viewing of the Oscar nominated Hugo for us. Not only did Indigo treat us to the visually stunning Hugo, they also gave us all Indigo gift cards much to hubby's dismay (yup once again  he called Cammy a bastard for fueling my unhealthy obsession with books). Scholastic (we all know how much I love these guys) also sent along a wonderful gift bag with some books and swag. .  The night was full of laughs and fascinating discussions about books, movies, social media, travel,  my new fiery red hair (and Sarah's not so new hair),  hot boys (yes , one of my favorite topics) and food..  I met some delightful new faces as well as being able to reconnect with  3 of my fellow #indigotweet girls.  Thank you Cammy, Indigo, and Scholastic for the spectacular night of freedom.  Also thank you Jenn for letting me crash at your place instead of traveling home to the boonies that late at night.  The accommodations were wonderful and I truly felt spoiled being surrounded by books and chocolate -- not to mention that I totally want a Tassimo now!

    Don't forget to come back on Wednesday when I feature Jeremy Cammy in my new Feature called A Day in the Life

    What a stunning group of people - Photo Courtesy of Sara Hamil



    Hugo
    Paramount Pictures
    Director: Martin Scorsese
    Writers:John Logan (screenplay), Brian Selznick (book)
    Stars:Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sasha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory and Christopher Lee
    Release Date: November 23, 2011
    Suggested Ages: 10+ (my personal opinion)

    Description: Hugo is an orphan boy living in the walls of a train station in the 1930s in Paris. He fixes clocks and other gadgets as he learned to from his father and uncle. The only thing that he has left that connects him to his father is an automaton that doesn't work; Hugo has to find its heart-shaped key. On his adventures, he meets with a cranky old man who works in the train station and his adventure-seeking god-daughter. Hugo finds that they have a surprising connection to his father and the automaton, and as he discovers it, the old man starts remembering his past and his significance to the world of film-making.


    The Good Stuff
    • Visually stunning, I was absolutely mesmerized by the fantastical world created on the screen
    • The only film in the past 10 years that I have enjoyed viewing in 3D
    • Sasha Baron Cohen was absolutely brilliant and the character 
    • Fell in love with Isabelle, a truly delightful spunky character- now girls this is a positive role model - not Bella from Twilight
    • One of the best adaptations of a book I have ever seen. I adored the book and this was very much true to the story 
    • The secondary characters really come to life far more than they did in the story 
    • Hilariously funny yet poignantly sad and beautiful all within minutes of each other
    • I adore Ben Kingsley and once again he does not disappoint. One of the most gifted actors alive today
    • Made me cry 
    • Did I mention Sasha Baron Cohen -- such a beautiful performance in what could have been a silly caricature - loved him!
    • Definitely worthy of all of the nominations and awards

    The Not So Good Stuff
    • Drags a wee bit -- honestly 20 minutes could have been cut out with no impact in the enjoyment of the story
    • Holy crap it was loud (OMG I am totally sounding like my mom when she used to go to the theatre)
    Favorite Quotes

    Isabelle: We could get into trouble.
    Hugo Cabret: That's how you know it's an adventure. 

    Lisette: Don't forget to smile.
    Station Inspector: Which one? I've mastered three!
      
    Georges Méliès: If you've ever wondered where your dreams come from, you look around... this is where they're made.

    Hugo Cabret: Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do... Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose... it's like you're broken.
    Who Should Watch
    • I think 10+ as there are some dark and tragic moments and quite frankly many younger viewers will be bored - Jake would have totally hated this and it would have freaked him ou

    4.5 Dewey's