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!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Quicky Review - Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

Bad Girls Don't Die
by Katie Alender
Hyperion
ISBN: 978-142310877-1
Suggested Ages: 11 + (nothing inappropriate)
Buy From Indigo

Description: Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents' marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.
Alexis wants to think that it's all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening--to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey -- but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore

The Good Stuff
  • Fast paced and spooky
  • Likeable heroine who reacts quite realistically
  • Darkly funny
  • Just one of those fun ghost stories that will keep you glued to the pages - & probably leave you sleeping with the lights on
  • Love story is cute and fun - the dialogue between the two is hilarious
  • Will be picking up the other two books in the series tomorrow
  • Fabulous opening chapter, really sets you in that spooky mind frame - I was hooked right away
  • Liked the bits about her photography, found it interesting and added some depth to her character
  • Usually not a fan of creepy doll stories -- because well -- dolls creep me out (hmm hence the first night after reading, I didn't sleep well) but I still couldn't put it down
The Not So Good Stuff
  • parents are sorta caricatures - not useless like in many YA books, but they still do not really have any personality or place in the story
  • A wee bit confusing at times
  • Librarian was a bit of a stereotype at first - but she redeemed herself - not really for this section but  just want to get across that library staff are usually really cool people - so stop with the stereotypical rule obsessed librarian caricatures
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I didn't know.  If only there had been a poster in the clinic: HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SIBLING IS POSSESSED BY THE DEVIL OR JUST COMPLETELY MENTAL."

"The official diagnosis was psychotic schzizophrenia, and we all went along with it because the insurance company won't pay for "made friends with the wrong ghost."

"The corner of Mrs Ame's mouth twisted up into an almost-smile, and she cleared her throat. This was promising - this was "My day hasn't takene a nosedive yet, so this is kind of amusing," not "I've had it up to here." When you spend as much time around the principle as I do, you get to know her idiosyncrasies."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Perfect for ghost story lovers of all age
  • A good one for younger YA readers as it is scary without being gory and there is nothing inappropriate for younger readers
4 Dewey's

I picked up a copy of this at the Chapters Shawnessy

Friday, September 28, 2012

TLC Blog Tour - Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher & Kid Needs to Know about Ending the Circle of Fear by Carrie Goldman

Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher & Kid Needs to Know about Ending the Circle of Fear
by Carrie Goldman
HarperOne (William Morrow)
ISBN: 978-0-06-210507-3
Buy from Indigo

Description: The mother of a bullied first grader, popular blogger Carrie Goldman's inspiring true story triggered an outpouring of support from online communities around the world. In Bullied, she gives us a guide to the crucial lessons and actionable guidance she's learned about how to stop bullying before it starts. It is a book born from Goldman's post about the ridicule her daughter suffered for bringing a Star Wars thermos to school--a story that went viral on Facebook and Twitter before exploding everywhere, from CNN.com and Yahoo.com to sites all around the world. Written in Goldman's warm, engaging style, Bullied is an important and very necessary read for parents, educators, self-professed "Girl Geeks," or anyone who has ever felt victimized by a bully, online or in person.

The Good Stuff
  • Practical real life information written in easy to understand language - unusual as most of bullying stuff I have read is overly scholarly without real life solutions
  • Lots of real life situations that readers can learn from and understand
  • Incredible amount of research was put into this
  • Index extremely thourogh
  • Fabulous detailed Resources list and Reading recommendations for children
  • Interesting relavant statistics
  • Lots of positivity and hopeful messages
  • Fantastic emphasis that their are wonderful people and resources on the internet for kids - many of these books only talk about the negativity for social interactions on the internet when their are fabulous supportive people out their to connect with
  • Highlights the types of kids who are at risk for being bullied
  • Heartfelt - you can tell the author just really wants to help & uses her real life experiences
  • Really makes you take a look at yourself and how just you can help make a difference
  • Learned some fantastic ideas that I can use to help Jake deal with the bullying he has been experiencing
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Some of the stories sickened me and the thought that kids can be so horribly cruel scares the living hell out of me -- especially as my child (he has spina bifida & wears a diaper) is a child that is at very high risk for bullying
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"All too often, scholars conduct their research studies and disseminate their findings to other scholars and rarely attempt to translate their findings into practical solutions for schools. Thus, this academic isolation or elitism leaves the practioners questioning the commitment of researchers to impart real-world solutions to prevent bullying."

"In a time when parents are all fired up about the Internet tearing their kids down, I experienced quite the reverse; my child was lifted up and bolstered by online support."

"But the reality is, many of our own children are doing the bullying, and we need to acknowledge this. It starts with examining our behaviour as parents and role models. We can have a huge impact on how our children act, simply by being aware of the subtle messages we send through our conversations and body language, through our parenting styles and home environments, because children learn about social relationships at home and bring their knowledge into school."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • A must read for all teachers, parents, kids - in other words practically everybody
  • Perfect for any family that has had to deal with this behavior & perfect timing for me as my child is being bullied
  • This needs to be in every school, library and house
4.75 Dewey's

I received this from TLC Tours in exchange for an honest review

TLC Book Tours

About the Author

Carrie Goldman blogs about issues related to adoption and parenting for ChicagoNow.com, the online community of the Chicago Tribune. She has been featured on Babble.com, Mamapedia.com, HuffPost Parents, CircleofMoms.com, and other top parenting sites. Goldman received her B.S. from Northwestern University and her M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three daughters.
Connect with Carrie on Twitter.

Carrie’s Tour Stops

Friday, September 7th: Moments of Exhilaration
Tuesday, September 18th: Voracious For Books
Wednesday, September 19th: The Girl Revolution
Thursday, September 20th: Surviving the Madness
Saturday, September 22nd: A Life Sustained
Monday, September 24th: Between the Covers
Tuesday, September 25th: Here’s To Not Catching Our Hair On Fire
Wednesday, September 26th: Library of Clean Reads
Thursday, September 27th: Misbehavin Librarian
Thursday, October 4th: she treads softly
Date TBD: GeekMom/TotalFanGirl
TBD: Being 5
TBD: Mommy Uncensored

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

150 Essential Whole Grain Recipes by the Candian Living Test Kitchen

Sorry Guys - Chef Jeff is a little over extended right now, so I am in charge of this review (Don't worry, he will be back)

150 Essential Whole Grain Recipes
by the Candian Living Test Kitchen
Transcontinental Books (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-9877474-2-6
Cooking Level: Beginner - Advanced
Buy from Indigo

Description: You've heard the buzz: whole grains are ultra-healthy energy foods that should be on your table. Now, with Canadian Living's recipes and expert cooking advice, incorporating these superfoods into your everyday menus is easy and utterly delicious.

Not sure exactly what qualifies as a whole grain? No problem. Canadian Living: 150 Essential Whole Grain Recipes clears up the mystery and offers nourishing recipes that make the most of these nutritional powerhouses. Salads, soups, side dishes, main dishes, breads and snacks are all represented.

Tucked into each chapter, helpful sidebars profile specific grains: what they are, how to store and prepare them, and the benefits of including them in your diet. Complete nutrient analysis on each recipe and dietitian-approved tips help you plan meals and rest assured that you're getting the nutrition you need -- deliciously.

- 5 recipe chapters, each focused on different grains
- 70-80 colour photographs
- Helpful cooking, shopping and preparing tips scattered throughout
- In-depth sidebars that focus on specific grains, with nutrition information, as well as storage and preparation suggestions
- Full nutrient analysis of each recipe


The Good Stuff
  • Easy to read and follow recipes
  • Fabulous variety of grains and uses for them
  • Stunning pictures - that aren't artsy fartsy so you actually know what finished product should look like
  • As in all Canadian Living cookbooks the index is phenomenal (yes I am a nerd, but when you need to find a recipe quickly and cannot remember the name -- it makes a difference)
  • The Whole Grain basics section at the beginning is very helpful
  • Indgredients are easy to find in most grocery stores
  • Nutritional info for each recipe is a nice added bonus
  • Cover is yummy looking and makes me want to eat beans (and I am not a huge bean fan)
The Not So Good Stuff
  • I want a picture for every recipe - and so do most people I know
  • Not enough dessert recipes for me
  • Cookbook doesn't stay open easily so you definitely need a recipe stand (hint hint ALL cookbook publishers - this would be a nice added bonus to make these more user friendly)
Favorite Recipes

Wild Rice Crepes with Chicken & Mushrooms (Pg 96)
Lightened Up mini Corn Muffins (Pg 194)
Lemon Cornmeal Cookies (Pg 200)
Wild Rice Mushroom Soup (Pg 112)

Who Should/Shouldn't Use
  • Good present for  the person who is wanting to eat a little healthier without giving up taste
  • Perfect for cooks of every level
4.25 Dewey's

We Recieved this in exchange for an  honest review

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

The Eleventh Plague
by Jeff Hirsch
Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-545-29015-9
Suggested Ages: 12+
Buy from Indigo

Description: In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving. the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing--and their lives--forever.


The Good Stuff
  • Realistically dark and intense yet has a hopeful message within
  • Has a bit of The Road/The Stand feeling to it 
  • Stephen is an intriguing character, you often understand his actions even if you don't agree with them
  • This is a good story for those boys who really just don't enjoy reading - fast paced, intense and violent (nothing too graphic though)
  • Doesn't drag too much which was perfect for my state of mind while reading
  • Unpredictable
  • Nice to see some light moments amidst the darkness 
  • Teens that act like teens - not like mini adults - refreshing
  • For reluctant readers the little glimpses of back story are fabulous (I wanted a bit more, but I think these types of books are brilliant for engaging kids who dislike reading)
  • Realistic post-apocalyptic setting - very believable

The Not So Good Stuff
  • I really didn't like Jenny -- found her unpleasant and selfish
  • Did I mention how much I disliked Jenny - Stephen could do so much better
Favorite Quotes/Passages

" When I was in med school," she explained. "one of my teachers told me that my only job was to treat the patient in front of me. He said I couldn't change the world, I could just treat what's in front of me."

"Grandpa had told me a hundred times that life wasn't fair and that expecting it to be was for fools.'

"Because there was a time when people helped each other," she said. '"And that made the world a little bit better. Not perfect, but better. We'd like to think  we can have that time back."


Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Perfect for the reluctant reader 
  • A fab story for classroom discussion

4 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, September 23, 2012

TLC Tour: Pills are Not for Preschoolers by Marilyn Wedge (Contest)

Pills Are Not For Preschoolers: A Drug-Free Approach for Troubled Kids
by Marliyn Wedge
W.W. Norton and Company
ISBN:978-0-393-34316-8
Buy from Indigo

Description: Where can parents turn when their child exhibits disturbing behavior and they want to avoid psychiatric labels and drugs? Pills Are Not for Preschoolers presents a much-needed alternative: child-focused family therapy a brief, effective approach that involves family members in the child s therapy. A family therapist for more than twenty years, Marilyn Wedge treats children s problems not as biologically determined disorders but as responses to relationships in their lives that can be altered with the help of a therapist. Parents can now respond to symptoms of ADHD, depression, and anxiety with respectful family prescriptives, not prescriptions and Wedge brilliantly shows us how easy it can be to understand and implement her path-breaking approach

The Good Stuff
  • As a mom of a child with ADHD (and a distrust for mood altering drugs for children) this was a book that I was very much interested in reading 
  • Thoroughly researched
  • Practical approaches to treatments for children (and their families) with behavioral issues
  • author doesn't blame the families for their children's' issues but does  imply that in order to help a child the whole family must work together
  • Good range of case studies to help readers understand why her approach is a good alternative to strong medications
  • Gives a strong powerful and hopeful message for those kids and their families dealing with behavioral problems - that things will get better without drugs turning their kids into zombies
  • Focuses on everyone working together (even encouraging 'evil" school boards to get on board-- oops sorry we have dealt with so much negativity and prejudice from school boards in regards to our son who has adhd and spina bifida)
  • Stresses that each kid and situation is different and you have to tailor the therapy to each individual and what works for one family may or may not work with every family
  • Very readable -- not too much medic speak and never does the author talk down to the reader
  • useful appendix for helping readers to find a therapist
  • Detailed notes and reference section (yes I know I am a geek but this is important especially when dealing with medical information) 
  • Just really felt like she honestly wanted to help children and families and the book wasn't all about making money
 The Not So Good Stuff
  •  At times it felt a little too |"all those in pharmaceuticals are evil and only out to make money" when there are so many in the field who just have an honest desire to make things better for troubled kids

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The most eccentric and colorful figure in family therapy's early history, Erickson was committed to  the idea that the therapist must actively take responsibility for changing his patient's lives. He believed that if a therapist sat back passively, he could not bring about change,"

"Erickson's ingenious interventions vitalized the development of strategic therapy, adding creativity and imagination to systems thinking.  One of his legacies is the idea that strategies need to be tailor made to each individual case. Like Tolstoy, Erickson believed that all unhappy families were unhappy in their own way - and therefore the therapist had to create a unique strategy to fit each case."

"But shouldn't we be questioning what psychiatry is saying about our children's troubles and how to fix them, especially if it conflicts with the most ordinary dictates of common sense? Doesn't the mind boggle at the notion of giving two-year-olds anti-psychotic drugs meant for adults? Doesn't commons sense balk at the idea of a teenager taking Zoloft or Prozac, drugs that have been associated with suicide in young people?  Most of us have known children who were a little odd or defiant or impulsive, without concluding that their differentness is a sign of a psychiatric disorder.  Do we really believe there is no better way to help these children conform to our expectations than to brand them with a psychiatric label and insist they take drugs to "Cure their mental illness?"

Who should/Shouldn't Read
  • Fabulous for parents who have had children labeled with any kind of behavioral disorder
  • A must read for educators and others who deal with children
  • Honestly just a good parenting book as well since it makes you think about your parenting techniques and a reminder that you are a family and must all work together for everyone's benefit
4 Dewey's

 

I received this from TLC book tours in
 exchange for an honest review 
 
 Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., is a family therapist in Westlake Village, California, with twenty years of experience helping parents find safe, drug-free solutions for troubled children and teens. She is the originator of “Strategic Child-Focused Family Therapy,” and the author of the book Pills are Not For Preschoolers: A Drug-free Approach for Troubled Kids. She has blogs on The Huffington Post and Psychology Today, and her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Babble, Natural Health Magazine and People Magazine.  Marilyn has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and had a post-doctoral fellowship at the Hastings Center for Bioethics. She has taught at The College of the Art Institute of Chicago and The California State University, East Bay. Marilyn lives in Oak Park, California with her husband Gene. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

 She can be found at www.MarilynWedgephd.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Tour Stops


Monday, August 27th: There’s a Book
Tuesday, August 28th: Just Joanna
Wednesday, Augut 29th: Family Volley
Thursday, August 30th: Attention Deficit Whatever
Friday, August 31st: Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs
Tuesday, September 4th: Family Dysfunction and Mental Health Blog
Wednesday, September 5th: Earnest Parenting
Friday, September 7th: Here’s to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire
Tuesday, September 11th: Gone Bookserk
Tuesday, September 18th: Surviving the Madhouse
Friday, September 21st: Misbehavin’ Librarian
Date TBD: Buried in Print

CONTEST
1 Copy of Pills are Not for Preschoolers
US/Canada Only
Ends: September  28, 2012
To enter: Just leave a meaningful comment in the comments section (Please try to be more creative than just saying "I really wanna read this book" or "nice review" (Trust me I have been that lazy myself LOL!) 

Born or Bitten Book Tour: The Night Has Teeth by Kat Kruger

The Night Has Teeth (The Magdeburg Trilogy #1)
by Kat Kruger
Fierce Ink Press
ISBN: 9780988106710
Suggested Ages: 13+
Publication Date: September 23, 2012
Purchase

Description: There’s a darkness that lurks in the City of Light

Seventeen-year-old Connor Lewis is chased by a memory. On his first day of kindergarten he bit a boy hard enough to scar the kid for life. Since then he’s been a social outcast at a New York private school.

Through an unexpected turn of good fortune, he lands a scholarship to study in Paris, where everything starts to look up. On the first day he befriends two military brats, and he may finally get a taste of what it’s like to be a normal teenager.

It doesn’t last.

His host family — an alluring young tattoo artist and her moody, handsome boyfriend — inadvertently introduce him to the underworld of werewolves where there are two types: the born and the bitten. Those born to it take the form of elegant wolves, while the latter are cursed to transform into the half-man, half-beast creatures of horror movies. The bitten rarely survive. Unfortunately, Connor is on the wanted list of a four hundred-year-old bitten human who’s searching for both a cure and a means of wiping out werewolves for good.

Connor’s loyalties are tested as he becomes embroiled in a conflict where werewolves, mad science and teen angst collide

The Good Stuff
  • Won't lie I was nervous about reading this one. A friend asked me to review it and was worried about what I would say if I hated it. Thank goodness it ended up being a fun and wild ride
  • Fabulous opening
  • Intriguing and unusual storyline -- hooked me in right away and found it absorbing enough for me to keep reading it eventhough not big fan of reading on an electronic device
  • Great use of humour
  • Fast paced and lots of surprises that I didn't see coming
  • New take on werewolf genre - not a big fan of werewolves - but gotta say I just really enjoyed. 
  • This is an author to watch for kids, she is going to write some fabulous stuff - can't wait to see what she comes up with next
  • Hero is such a realistic character
The Not So Good Stuff
  • had to read it on an ereader -- I know I know I am so old fashioned
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"There's a long uncomfortable silence in which I contemplate might happen next.  Maybe like the villain in a movie, this is where she gives me a long spiel about her hard up life  before she kills me.  Not that I totally believe she is nefarious. Real life isn't made up of heroes and villains. Just ordinary people making choices that they have to live with."

"On my first day of kindergarden, I bit a kid. Hard. In my defense he deserved it."

"Among wilderness survival tips, punching a wild animal in the face probably isn't on a checklist."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Really is for everyone,  but I think it would be absolutely perfect for a reluctant reader
4 Dewey's

I received this from Fierce Ink Press in exchange for an honest review

Born or Bitten Blog Tour

Kat Kruger is a freelance writer and social media consultant with a degree in public relations from Mount Saint Vincent University. The Night Has Teeth is her first novel and won the 34th Atlantic Writing Competition. She splits her time between Toronto and Halifax with her husband.
 
What is a typical day like for you?
Like most authors, I have a day job. In my case, it's freelance writing mostly. That means a lot of my days are pretty different. Sometimes I'll be going from one client meeting to another. Other days are spent sitting/standing in front of my laptop. I get up at around 8 and often skip breakfast unless you count coffee (sorry Mom!). A "typical" day consists of a combination of checking emails, research for whatever project I'm working on, and writing. I might snack on a yogurt or bit of fruit but usually don't break until around 1 for lunch. At that point I either do a half hour of yoga or go for a walk. Then I work straight until around 5. After supper I'll typically work on my novel writing unless I have social plans. A girl's gotta have fun too, right?

What was the first story you remember writing? What was the plot?
The first story I have a clear picture of writing was actually a play in Grade Three. It was about a panther who escaped from the zoo and went off on a city adventure. I wrote a bunch of plays with the same character and performed them around my elementary school in subsequent years, adding friends as cast mates. Most of the plots I've forgotten but I do remember having a lot of fun.

How do you think you will deal with negative reviews?
With grace, I hope. Seriously though, I have no expectation that everyone who picks up the book will love it. Writing is just way too subjective and one person's MUST READ book of the year is another's MOST OVERHYPED book of the year. That said, do I think I'm a perfect writer? No. But I make a living off of words so I'm always open to constructive criticism. In fact, The Night Has Teeth wouldn't be what it is without my beta readers. I have pages of acknowledgements to attest to that fact. The mean personal stuff that you see in threads sometimes though ... what can you do about it except back out of the room quietly and try to avoid eye contact?

If you could be a character in your book, who would it be? and why?
That's a tough one! I wrote each of my characters with their own little quirks and flaws but they're all dear to me at the same time. If I had to pick one though it would probably be Roul (a.k.a. Rodolfus de Aquila). He's a fairly minor character but fills a big role. What I love about him most is that he's seen so much in his lifetime. That's not written specifically into this book but I tried to leave hints of it in his name, his scars, the stories he tells. He also has a very cool confidence about him without being arrogant. I'd like to have that myself.

What genetic modification do you think it would be awesome to have?
Now that's a very cool question and one that I probably should have been a lot more prepared to answer! Um ... I've always found it pretty amazing to see in the animal world how other creatures kind of have a sixth sense about things. Like a dog or cat cuddling with you when you're particularly emotional, or cows lying down because they know a storm is coming. Stuff like that. So, if I was going to be genetically modified I think it would be awesome to have that extra sense that doesn't really seem to be built into humans.

Contest
1 Ebook of The Night Has Teeth
Ends: September 30, 2012
Canada Only
In Comment section leave what genetic modification would you like to have

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-545-42492-9
Suggested Ages: 13+
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Buy From Indigo

Description: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.



My Thoughts:  Maggie Stiefvater is a brilliant writer whose talent for setting mood and landscape is unparalleled. In this book she has once again showcased her talent brilliantly. That being said I cannot lie, I just could not get into this one at all.  For regular readers of my blog you know I usually do point form, but in this case it would just make the book look awful, and that is just not the case.   To be fair to the author, I think a lot of lack of enjoyment is because of my state of mind right now. I have actually kept the book to read it at another time because I am usually a huge fan of Maggie and want to give it another chance. That being said while reading it this time around  I  felt confused about what was going on (and after finishing I am still wondering)and I felt no real connection to any of the characters. I kept forcing myself to keep reading hoping that I would love it more. I actually feel horrible giving it such a low rating but I have to be honest guys.  I still say give it a shot and I hope you like it better than I did -- in fact check out some other reviewers opinions on this one. Sorry Maggie you know I love ya.  I would recommend this for those far more intelligent and poetic than myself and most definitely not for the reluctant reader.  Now for the good things, it is truly a unique and unusual story and the opening chapter will suck you in.  Lots of surprised that you will never see coming and some delightfully dark humour added in in exactly the right spot. She is one of the most talented YA readers out there today and I still feel horrible about not loving this. BTW, will still pick up everything she writes.

Favorite Quotes

"He wasn't naive; he carried no illusions that he'd ever recover the Ronan Lynch he'd know before Niall died.  But he didn't want to lose the Ronan Lynch he had now."

"Helen was beautiful in the way a super computer was beautiful; sleek with elegant but utilitarian styling, full of top-notch technological know-how, far too expensive for most people to possess."

"Gansey knew he had to make a difference, had to make a bigger mark on the world because of the head start he'd been given, or hew was the worst sort of person out there."

2.5 Dewey's (Not based on authors talents, just on my enjoyment of the story)

I picked up a copy at Book Expo America 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Addicts Haul

For Review
Thanks TLC Book Tours and Random House (I actually squeeled Lindsey when I got it)
Thanks Random House

Thanks HarperCollins Canada
Thanks Scholastic (Jesse LOVES the Hungry Bear)
Purchased
Purchased at Chapters Shawnessy
Purchased at the Best Little Wordhouse in the West (Bragg Creek, AB)
Purchased at Chapters Shawnessy

Purchased at Chapters Shawnessy
Gift
Thanks Amanda - love it!
Thanks Jenn and Lesley - this made my day - wish I could have been there in public!
Smart Chicks Event In Edmonton

Not all of these are mine - but they are all signed!! (have Crossed signed but forgot to put in pic)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Up and Down by Terry Fallis

Up and Down
by Terry Fallis
McClelland & Stewart (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-7710-4796-1
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Buy from Indigo

Description: The author of the Stephen Leacock Medal-winning The Best Laid Plans brings his trademark humour and sharp storytelling to a new novel set in the high-stakes world of a global public relations agency.

On his first day at Turner King, David Stewart quickly realizes that the world of international PR (affectionately, perhaps ironically, known as "the dark side") is a far cry from his previous job on Parliament Hill. For one, he missed the office memo on the all-black dress code; for another, there are enough acronyms and jargon to make his head spin. Before he even has time to find the washroom, David is assigned a major project: devise a campaign to revitalize North America's interest in the space program - maybe even show NASA's pollsters that watching a shuttle launch is more appealing than going out for lunch with friends. The pressure is on, and before long, David finds himself suggesting the most out-of-this-world idea imaginable: a Citizen Astronaut lottery that would send one Canadian and one American to the International Space Station. Suddenly, David's vaulted into an odyssey of his own, navigating the corporate politics of a big PR agency; wading through the murky but always hilarious waters of Canada-U.S. relations; and trying to hold on to his new job while still doing the right thing.


The Good Stuff
  • Descriptions of the PR world - dead on accurate. Ok, I only worked in a PR agency for a year, but I think I worked with some of the characters in this novel
  • Oh so very Canadian - and I mean that in a good way
  • Could not put the book down, eventhough it wasn't my usual fast paced type novel - it was just so damn interesting and funny I was affected that very same way. I stayed up way too late reading it and would even read it while brushing my teeth and drying my hair
  • Absolutely hilarious yet heartwearming and honest
  • Plot is so unusual, yet at the same time, you cannot believe someone hasn't thought of this already
  • If you do not fall in love with L. Percival there is something horribly wrong with you
  • Filled with tons of commentary on US/Canada relations - but not done in a mean way
  • Now if every Canadian writer could write like us I would stop making those snarky comments about Canadian literary writers (you know the ones that are depressing and write about the Bush -- ok, come on my schooling did it to me -- one can only take so much Laurence, etc)
  • You know what, check out the passages section and if it appeals to you -- go pre-order the book, you will not be disappointed - think I better make sure my chapters store has lots of copies as I will be selling the shit out of this one, it is so good and will appeal to so many
The Not So Good Stuff
  • It ended and I was just having so much fun I wanted more -- get back and write me some more Fallis!
  • Quite frankly I am really disappointed that the story isn't real -- man I loved Landon Percival so much
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Docking procedure" may be the better way to describe the manoeuvre that rolled her up to the strealined chrome and glass desk that would not have looked out of place on the bridge of a Federation starship. I half-expected an order to lay in a course for the Vega system. She caught my stare.
"I know. It's ridiculous, isn't it?" she said, running her hand across the gleaming elliptical surface. "The jackass before me was into sci-fi and spent an obscene sum redecorating before New York toasted him last year. Now I'm stuck with it."

"He's started out as an arrogant, right-wing, conceited jerk who viewed Landon, and everything about her with undisguised disdain, bordering on contempt. Now as the launch approached, he seemed to have evolved int an arrogant, right-wing, conceited jerk who had come to accept, respect, and even enjoy Landon, largly through her own generosity towards him. I still thought he was an ass, but Landon would hear none of it."

"But I was about at my limit. I hate when people use the word "tolerant" to describe how enlightened they are about gays and lesbians. It would never be acceptable to say that someone is "tolerant" of women, or blacks, or Roman Catholics. But somehow it's still okay to be "tolerant" of a lesbian."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Um - well - if you are Canadian you will not stop laughing and shaking your head at times
  • Americans - you might be a little ticked off - but just remember its all in good fun & lets face it most of you think we all live in the Great White North, say Eh and wear lumberjacks. Don't worry we sometimes do the same thing and think you are gun toting maniacs -- we are both wrong and I love ya all (Well except for that Bush guy -- we kinda know he is a moron)
  • If you have worked in the PR field - you will get it and enjoy
  • Most importantly if you have an interest in space travel this will appeal to you - Fallis obviously has a passion for it
5 Dewey's

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review - thanks guys stayed up much too late reading this and now must go buy his other books - damn you book pimps you LOL!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dear Canada: A Sea of Sorrows by Norah McClintock

Dear Canada: A Sea of Sorrows: The Typus Epidemic Diary of Johanna Leary
by Norah McClintock
Scholastic Canada Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-4431-0710-5
Suggested Ages:
Buy from Indigo

Description: In the midst of the Irish famine, Johanna flees one disaster — only to land in another.

After a massive potato famine strikes Ireland, thirteen-year-old Johanna Leary flees to Canada with her family.

But typhus and other illnesses plague the "coffin ships," so named for the staggering number of immigrants who died enroute. One by one Johanna loses the members of her family — first her baby brother on the journey over, then her mother in the Grosse Isle fever sheds where sick passengers are quarantined when they reach the port of Qu├ębec, and her father soon after. Johanna has only her brother Michael left when she sets foot on Canadian soil.

When her brother is mistakenly told that she too has died, he sets off to find their uncle "somewhere in Canada," leaving Johanna to face a new life in a strange land... totally alone.

A Sea of Sorrows captures a dreadful time in history for those desperate, impoverished Irish families who hoped to make Canada their home. Johanna's incredible journey of survival is told with insight and sensitivity by master storyteller Norah McClintock



The Good Stuff
  • Intriguing heroine - well developed character for the time period
  • Another one where I cannot lie -- I was totally bawling my eyes at time
  • Really impressed with these series from Scholastic - they really do give kids a glimpse into the lives of everyday people during various periods of history. So much more relevant and interesting than just memorizing dates and facts about history
  • Perfect for class discussions on prejudice
  • Scholastic website for each of the titles in the series have bonus content including activities and teaching resources 
  • Encourages kids to learn more 
  • thoroughly well researched
  • Sensitively written 
  • As mentioned in previous review - these books make history relevant to the intended audience as they are written in the words of kids their age and their thoughts and experiences which make the reader relate to 
  • Extremely realistic

The Not So Good Stuff
  • A tad repetitive
  • May be a struggle for sensitive readers with the harsh reality of small children dying
  • Made me miss my wonderful Irish neighbor in Bolton even more

Favorite Quotes/Passages




 "Just thinking about sizzling sausage makes my mouth water, even though I have never eaten it.  Sizzling is such a fine word. I think anything that sizzles must taste delicious."

"I knew for myself that the sheds were filled with many decent people who had never needed any charity until they were forced to watch their loved ones dies of hunger."

"Da had always supposed that everything would be different across the ocean. But I am beginning to think that things are a misery for the least fortunate no matter where they may find themselves."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read

  • A must have for all middle school libraries
  • would be a good addition to classroom collections as well
  • fabulous for middle school history classes - like I also mentioned in previous review - history teachers please remember to stop focusing so much on dates and facts and deal more with what we can learn and how these events effected people  - far more important
  • Good for reluctant readers too

4.25 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

I Am Canada: A Call to Battle: The War of 1812 by Gillian Chan

A Call to Battle: The War of 1812,  Alexander MacKay Upper Canada, 1812 (I Am Canada Series)
by Gillian Chan
Scholastic Canada Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-4431-0006-9
Suggested Ages: 10+ (mostly for disturbing and realistic scenes - may be tough for sensitive readers)
Buy from Indigo

Description: The War of 1812 comes to life through the eyes of a young Canadian boy.

It's 1812. War has begun, and thirteen-year-old Alexander (Sandy) MacKay is jealous when his older brother Angus goes off with their father to fight the Americans attacking the Niagara region. Too young to know the darker side of battle, he resents being left to shoulder the work on his family's farm.

Itching to get in on the action, he sneaks away from home and heads to Lundy's Lane to join up with the local militia. But battle is imminent, and now there's not much his father can do except try to shield him from the worst of the fighting.

Sandy's idealized notions of what battle will be like are shattered when the man standing before him is killed by a musket ball and Sandy's own brother is severely wounded. At the battle of Lundy's Lane, the united Canadian/British forces turn the tide against the American troops, but Sandy comes to know how chilling war can be.

Just in time for the bicentennial of the War of 1812, A Call to Battle is a sobering look at the realities of war. Author Gillian Chan skillfully depicts the transformation of an impetuous young boy, full of boyish enthusiasm, into a more realistic young man who emerges on the other side of war

 
The Good Stuff
  • This series is fabulous for bringing history to life in a way that will have meaning to the suggested reading level
  • Story feels so real that you believe this was an actual boy who lived through the War of 1812 
  • Very impressed with the incredible amount of research that went into this &it is very unbiased, especially from a Canadian author, about a war that there is still so much controversy about which side won. (yup I am totally going with the Due South Version - Benton Fraser: ...which makes the border between Canada and the United States the longest undefended border in the world. So that since their formation, our countries have found a peaceful way to coexist. Except for the War of 1812, where your country invaded ours and we sent you packing - but that's hardly worth mentioning)
  • Heartbreaking - I won't lie I cried
  • Good commentary about the horrors of war done in a not so in your face sort of way that ticks of the kids
  • Makes learning history interesting and relevant to the intended reading audience (these kids are in the same age range and living quite a different life than the youth of today)
  • Fabulous for middle school grades to learn about history in a way which is so much more interesting than just having to memorize dates and facts. Canadian history is in fact fascinating - don't let those dull history teachers make you think otherwise
The Not So Good Stuff
  • More jaded kids may notice that they are being taught a history lesson disguised as a book
  • Quite harsh & realistic may upset sensitive younger readers (not a bad thing -- just a heads up that you might want to discuss it with your child)

    Favorite Quotes/Passages

    He looked upward. "Is it always going to be the province of the young to be so foolhardy and brave."

    "Abell was one of our enemies, enemies I hated with my heart. Yet he was just a boy like me. I shuddered when I thought that. I could see so many similarities between us. I sank down again and rested my back against the tree, unsure what to do next."

    "I could not stop the tears that came then. I bawled like a baby, not caring if my howling drew the enemy to me. I cried for Abell and his Abigail.  I cried for myself. I cried for Angus and Father. I cried for shattered dreams of glory and adventure that had ended with a bloody, broken boy in a wood. I cried for oblivion and was granted it, for I fell into the arms of exhaustion and slept."

    Who Should/Shouldn't Read
    • Fabulous for grade school history classes - teachers, this may get your kids interested in learning more
    • Might be a challenge for sensitive younger readers to deal with - it can be harsh reading at times 
    • Passing this on to Jake to read next
    4.25 Dewey's 

    I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

    Drama by Raina Telgemeier

    Drama
    by Raina Telgemeier
    Graphix (Scholastic)
    ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8
    Suggested Ages: 10+
    Release Date: September 1, 2012
    Buy from Indigo

    Description: Raina Telgemeier, the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the Eisner Award winner, SMILE, brings us her next full-color graphic novel . . . DRAMA!

    Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school's production of Moon Over Mississippi, she's a terrible singer. Instead she's the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she's determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn't know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier! Following the success of SMILE, Raina Telgemeier brings us another graphic novel featuring a diverse set of characters that humorously explores friendship, crushes, and all-around drama!




    The Good Stuff
    • Boy does Raina grasp adolescent angst and honestly and realistically portrays it
    • Illustrations are delightfully appealing
    • Reminds me of the awkward stage of growing up and the confusing feelings we have towards boys at that stage
    • Sweet and funny
    • a story that will actually appeal to the suggested age range and not what parents think kids want to read - Librarians, Teachers, Parents take note -  you might want to get a couple of copies of this one
    • very realistic - damn think I have said that over and over - but that is one of its biggest strengths
    • Strong realistic gay character - makes the character accepted for who he is without the typical gay guys are bullied that we see in most books - I think it is age appropriate as well
    • Great messages about friendship, love and acceptance
    • Don't want to spoil the ending but it is beautiful, realistic and isn't stereotypical disney type ending
    The Not So Good Stuff
    • Callie is an intelligent girl, do not understand why she would fall for Jesse when she already knows  he's gay -- doesn't really go with her character -- but than again hey us girls are always falling for boys that are not right for us

    Favorite Quotes/Passages (Have to see the graphic novel to really get it)

    "When you say he's cute, do you mean like.."
    "Like, I Like boys? yeah."
    "Oh. Huh."
    "Um, is that cool? Is it okay that I told you?"
    "It's cool.. I guess I was never really sure if anyone I knew was actually ..um.."
    "Gay? you can say it. I don't mind."

    "You are the best friend EVER!"
    "Darn right I am."

    "I want the audience to believe that the actors really live inside of the world on stage."
    "I'd live in a world like this."
    "It's one thing to dream it..and another thing to actually build it."

    Who Should/Shouldn't Read
    • Absolutely perfect for theatre geeks (that is a compliment - love the theatre geeks)
    • Most likely will appeal more to girls, but boys might enjoy as well (just going by my experience with my 2 kids)
    • Recommend highly for all public and middle school library collections
    • Also teachers who don't freak out about the gay character - would be great for a classroom discussion (And for those teachers/parents/librarians who freak out about the gay character -- get over it - some people are straight - some people are gay - its all normal)
    4.25 Dewey's

    I picked up a copy at Book Expo America 2012

    Origin by Jessica Khoury

    Origin
    by Jessica Khoury
    Razorbill (Penguin)
    ISBN: 978-1-59514-595-6
    Suggested Ages: 12+
    Release Date: September 4, 2012
    Buy from Indigo

    Description: Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

    Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

    Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost. This is a supremely compelling debut novel that blends the awakening romance of Matched with the mystery and jungle conspiracy of Lost


    The Good Stuff
    • Fast paced and never boring. Got hooked into this one really quickly and didn't want to put it down (Yes I was up to midnight reading it!)
    • Intriguing heroine who develops beautifully
    • Sweet love story
    • Constantly had some movie quotes in my head while reading.  The good of the one outweigh the good of the many(Star Trek) & Just because they can doesn't mean they should (Jurassic Park)
    • Good moral commentary - done nicely so not in your face and obvious. Also a book that could lead to fascinating discussions about right and wrong & science vs nature
    • Kept me guessing on what the secret was -- not overly obvious - actually understands that her readers are intelligent
    • Loved the character of Aunt Harriet - would like to know more about her - her actions were very realistic
    • Richly drawn world - quite imaginative, yet very realistic
    • It's a standalone book -- sorry I am just so very very sick of trilogy's
    • Honestly guys just an entertaining read that makes you think - highly recommend - go forth and buy with my approval LOL!
    The Not So Good Stuff
    • We get it she's perfect - says it so many times I was irritated
    • Didn't think the epilogue was really needed - unless its to leave things open for a sequel or a story about Harriet - which quite frankly I think I would probably read
    • Pia's mother is all kinds of awful & the scene with Sneeze broke my heart
    • Not a bad thing, but for sensitive souls like me, some of the scenes involving animal testing are very hard to read
    Favorite Quotes/Passages

    "We Ai'oans do things differently, yes, but in many ways we are just the same as you."
    "How?"
    "He shrugs and picks a fern frond, pulling one tiny leaf off at a time and rolling back into little beads." We eat, we sleep, we breathe. We smile when we're happy, and we cry when we're sad. When we swim, we must come up for air. When we work all day, out backs get sore. When we get cut, we bleed."
    I look at my pale wrist, Not all of us."

    "You can't take someone's gods away. You can try, but they'll hide them and pray to them anyway."

    "Everything he does, each movement, each word, is so vivid and strange. I feel like I've discovered some fascinating new species. Homo ferus: wild human. An unpredictable, nocturnal creature usually found in trees. Caution: may cause bewilderment and disorientation. Also, prone to teasing."

    Who Should/Shouldn't Read
    • If you like a fast paced intriguing story with heart - no matter if you are YA or Adult you will enjoy this one
    • Sensitive readers may be disturbed by the scenes involving animal testing
    4.5 Dewey's

    I picked up a copy of this at Book Expo America 2012

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Nobody's Dog by Ria Voros

    Nobody's Dog
    by Ria Voros
    Scholastic Canada Ltd.
    ISBN: 978-1-4431-1913-9
    Suggested Ages: 9-12
    Release Date: September 1, 2012
    Buy From Indigo

    Description: A powerful debut novel about a boy who must face his past before finding a way to move forward.For thirteen-year-old Jakob, the summer is looking pretty bleak. His only friend has moved away and no one else seems to have any time for him - except the girl who lives downstairs. But she''s a little weird. Then again, so is Jakob. A few months ago, he was in a car accident that killed both his parents, and though he can''t remember exactly what happened, he can''t stop turning it over in his mind. No wonder people leave him alone.
    Then out of nowhere, a stray dog befriends Jakob. Together they begin to roam the city streets by night, discovering an exhilarating secret world where they can both taste a new kind of freedom. But as their nocturnal adventures take Jakob farther and farther away from the safety of home, the truth of that awful night begins to emerge.
    Will he be strong enough to face it - and who will be there for him when he does?
    Exploring the heartbreaking loneliness of grief with sensitive assurance, Nobody''s Dog is a powerful and uplifting tale about family, love and survival, and finding friendship in the most unexpected places.

    The Good Stuff
    • Sensitive and not in your face tale of a boy dealing with grief
    • Characters are realistic and interesting - nobody is perfect
    • Chilko is adorable and I have a sudden urge to adopt a dog
    • A great book for bringing up conversations about death & grief
    • Darkly funny at times
    • Very moving -- I won't lie I cried
    • Extremely hopeful
    • Jakob is a likeable character whom the reader will really cheer for
    • Deals with surviving guilt and grief and becoming stronger for it all - done is a way that kids will appreiate because it isn't preachy or sugar sweet
    • A fabulous book for classroom discussions - will be recommending this to my sons teacher
    • This will be an author to look out for - and hey she's Canadian & from the west coast (Nudge nudge @indigogreenroom BC or Alberta event - I can help)
    • The relationship between Patrick and Jacob is lovely & their conversations so deftly written.
    • Love some of the conversations between Jakob and Libby - trust me they will make you smile
    The Not So Good Stuff
    • Could have been fleshed out a bit more - but than again hey maybe wouldn't appeal to reluctant readers as much
    Favorite Quotes/Passages

    "Wait - draw this leaf." She holds out a salmonberry branch. "Sit right there and draw what your hands see."

    "My mom always knew when I was lying. It was some kind of superpower, like she could see inside me and find the lie circling around in my bloodstream. When I was five I lied about taking cookies from the package we were saving for a party.  She stared me down until I started blubbing and confessed, in tears. From that day on, I couldn't lie to her. Her power was too strong."

    "The way he greeted you. His wagging tail. It was pure happiness. I'd love to draw that."

    Who Should/Shouldn't Read
    • Perfect for the reluctant reader, especially one who is dealing with grief
    • Must have for middle school and public libraries
    • Also perfect for those kids that are just a little bit different & feel apart from everything
    4.5 Dewey's

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