Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stardust (Gift Edition)
by Neil Gaiman
by William Morrow (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-220039-6
Buy from Indigo

Description: This special gift edition is beautifully packaged in a smaller trim size with a one-piece fine cloth case, a gold-stamped cover, and a whimsical interior design, featuring a frontispiece illustration and line chapter opener ornamentation by noted artist Charles Vess. It also contains an introductory note by Neil Gaiman.


Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria Forester?even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that stone barrier, Tristran learns, lies Faerie . . . and the most exhilarating adventure of the young man''s life.

The Good Stuff
  • A truly delightful and fun adventurous fairy tale (not for young kids though)
  • Wickedly funny
  • Fast paced
  • Kicking myself for never having read Gaiman before (Gasp - I know) - ok and I have never seen the movie either so yes I will be scouring the internet tomorrow to pick up a copy
  • love the format of this gift edition - looks beautiful on my bookshelf -- hmm wonder when he will come to visit Calgary so I can get it signed
  • Characters are unique & wonderfully odd
  • The wit is dry and cutting
  • Fabulous book for losing yourself in  - will be saving this one for Jake and Jesse (There be a wee bit of sex in it) to read in a couple of years
  • The opening paragraph hooked me in right away & it was extremely difficult to put down
  • The witty banter between Tristan and "the star" is snarky yet sweet
  • Usually not a huge fan of Fairies -- but like these fairies 
  • Yvaine (the star) is a truly intriguing character
 The Not So Good Stuff
  • Could have been longer and fleshed out more
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"She made a face to indicate just how old five-and-forty is, when you happen to be seventeen."

"They certainly were fine new clothes. While clothes do not, as the saying would sometimes have it, make the man, and fine feathers do not make fine birds, sometimes they can add a certain spice to a recipe. And Tristan Thorn in crimson and canary was not the same man that Tristan Thorn in his overcoat and Sunday suit had been.  There was a swagger in his steps, a jauntiness to his movements, that had not been there before."

"There is something about riding a unicorn, for those people who still can, which is unlike any other experience: exhilarating and intoxicating and fine."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read

  •  A truly perfect gift for a Gaiman fan or quite frankly any lover of adventure and fairy tales
  • Fans of The Princess Bride will thoroughly enjoy

4.75 Dewey's

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Soup Sisters Sharon Hapton visit Chapters Shawnessy



Meet Sharon Hapton, editor of The Soup Sisters Cookbook, a scrumptious collection of recipes from the "souper volunteers" of the Calgary-based non-profit Soup Sisters, plus recipes from many of Canada's top celebrity chefs. Soup Sisters is a Calgary-based non-profit enterprise dedicated to making a difference to the lives of women and children in need. The perfect feel-good gift that keeps on giving. (From Indigo facebook page)

Chapters Shawnessy 
Wednesday November 28, 2012
7:00 PM  



16061 Macleod Trail S.E
Calgary, Alberta
T2Y 3S5
Canada
(403)201-5660

For more about Sharon and her wonderful charity - Check out http://www.soupsisters.org/

I'm working 6-9 that night too - come say Hi

Monday, November 26, 2012

Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People by Douglas Coupland & Graham Roumiey

Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People
Douglas Coupland & Graham Roumiey
Vintage Canada (Random House of Canada)
ISBN: 978-0-307-36067-0
Buy from Indigo

Description: In the grand tradition of Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies, Tim Burton's Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Hillaire Belloc's Cautionary Tales for Children, comes Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu's Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People.

Ever wonder what would happen if Douglas Coupland's unhinged imagination met Graham Roumieu's insane knack for illustrating the ridiculously weird? The answer is seven deliciously wicked tales featuring seven highly improbable, not only inappropriate, characters, including Donald the Incredibly Hostile Juice Box, Hans the Weird Exchange Student, Brandon the Action Figure with Issues and Kevin the Hobo Minivan with Extremely Low Morals. If you are over the age of consent, seriously weird or just like to laugh, you'll love the unlovable miscreants who unleash their dark and unruly desires on every page of these unsuitable, completely hilarious tales.


The Good Stuff
  • Won't lie this book is way to cool and intelligent for me
  • Truly unique
  • Odd and disturbing yet snort out loud funny at times
  • Illustrations too are one or a kind
  • Have a feeling this will be loved by some, truly hated by others and for simple girls like me just meh and way over my head
  • Truly in the spirit of Grimm's Fairy Tales
  • Wonderfully imaginative- this is a man you never have to worry about being predictable
  • Dialogue of the characters is odd yet refreshingly honest
  • The zombie substitute teacher story was seriously funny
 The Not So Good Stuff
  • Expected so much better
  • Very small book for such a steep price - I know quality vs quantity but maybe it's just me
  • Sorry Coupland - just could not get into this -- don't worry its me not you -- I am more a simple in your face girl
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The library front desk let him use the bathroom in exchange for guarding the property from grafitti taggers."

"Don't throw math in my face. I hate math. It's hard, it's stupid, and it;s nature's way of separating spinsters from women who end of breeding."

"More than once, in desperation, he tried luring senior citizens inside, but when he started his shakedown, they sounded like snapping pretzels, which creeped him out. And all they left behind were coupons, dentures and half-used packets of Sanka."


Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • only for those who enjoy the obscure and unique
  • you want something completely different, this one is for you
3 Dewey's

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review - sorry guys just not my thing I guess

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer

Sutton
by J.R. Moehringer
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-1-4013-2314-1
Buy from Indigo

Description: Willie Sutton was born in the squalid Irish slums of Brooklyn, in the first year of the twentieth century, and came of age at a time when banks were out of control. If they weren't failing outright, causing countless Americans to lose their jobs and homes, they were being propped up with emergency bailouts. Trapped in a cycle of panics, depressions and soaring unemployment, Sutton saw only one way out, only one way to win the girl of his dreams.

So began the career of America's most successful bank robber. Over three decades Sutton became so good at breaking into banks, and such a master at breaking out of prisons, police called him one of the most dangerous men in New York, and the FBI put him on its first-ever Most Wanted List.

But the public rooted for Sutton. He never fired a shot, after all, and his victims were merely those bloodsucking banks. When he was finally caught for good in 1952, crowds surrounded the jail and chanted his name.

Blending vast research with vivid imagination, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer brings Willie Sutton blazing back to life. In Moehringer's retelling, it was more than poverty or rage at society that drove Sutton. It was one unforgettable woman. In all Sutton's crimes and confinements, his first love (and first accomplice) was never far from his thoughts. And when Sutton finally walked free - a surprise pardon on Christmas Eve, 1969 - he immediately set out to find her.


The Good Stuff
  •  Was completely enthralled with the story and with Wilie
  • Little hints throughout story grab you throughout the story and keeps you from wanting to put book down. Had a couple of late nights with this one - not to mention a couple of times I really didn't want to go back on the sales floor I was so engrossed
  • Makes you think about so many things - especially about nature vs nurture
  • How can you not love a bank robber who went out of his way not to kill people
  • Need to know more about Sutton -- think I will be looking into some of the research
  • Author obviously thoroughly researched Sutton 
  • Authentic & you feel like you are back in the era
  • The characters love of the written word is delightful and gives you another reason to be intrigued by him
  • The part with the psychiatrist really gives  you pause for thought
  • Get a real understanding of America during the depression
  • Delightfully dark and funny at time
  • I dare you not to fall in love with Willie and cheer him on - a moral quandary for sure, you know what he has done is wrong,  yet you can understand what brought him to this place and think maybe just maybe if you were in the same place, you to0 might make the same choices
  • An intriguing and unusual love story
  • O.K. - enough - it's also a Heather's Pick. I'm usually not the type of girl that goes for the Oprah picks or Globe and Mail lists and definitely not anything literary - but man I think Heather and I have similar tastes (If it wasn't already a Heather's Pick I would give it a JR staff pick)
  • Just go buy it - you will thank me
 The Not So Good Stuff
  • A wee bit slow moving at times
  • Still confused about one part (And damn you Moehringer - it just broke my heart if I get what happened)
Favorite Quotes/Passages 

"Because Sutton robbed banks, the TV reporter says, and who the hell has a kind word to say for banks? They should not only let him out, they should give him the key to the city."

"He invited death in with that suicide note. Once you let death in, it doesn't always leave."

"Oh kid, it's all about confidence. That's the whole game right there. Whatever you do, do it with your nuts.  That's how Ruth swung a bat - with his nuts. Rob a bank, date a girl, brush your teeth - whatever. Do it with boldness, with swagger, with nuts, or don't do it all." 

"A man is his job, kid, and I had no job, so I was a bum. A loser. America's a great place to be a winner, but it's hell on losers."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Not to be sexist or anything but this one will really appeal to men but at the same time most women will be as enthralled with the story as I was 
  • Perfect Christmas gift for pretty much everyone on your list -- there is something for pretty much everyone in this one
  • Not for those who need things clear cut and fast paced
  • One that you could give to both Non-Fiction and Fiction lovers 
4.5 Dewey's
Borrowed this one from our staff room library - basically a bunch of ARC's from publishers and we can borrow and pass around - another truly awesome part of my job

Friday, November 23, 2012

Chef Jeff Reviews: The Epicurious Cookbook

The Epicurious Cookbook
Tanya Steele & The Editors of Epicurious
Appetite (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-449-01581-0
Buy from Indigo

Description: Epicurious is, undisputedly, the most respected website for people who like to cook. In their first-ever cookbook, the Epicurious editors have culled their extraordinary database of 180,000 recipes and selected their most popular recipes.

Organized seasonally and by meal type, The Epicurious Cookbook offers everything from 30-minute weeknight dinners to weekend warrior show-stoppers. Also included are comfort food favorites, small dishes perfect for parties and plenty of repertoire-building mains and sides, plus breakfasts, breads, and desserts. All new stunning four-color photography shows Epicurious at its most irresistible. Throughout are Epicurious member suggestions for tweaking recipes, ideas for menu planning, smart substitutions, and homespun recipes from dozens of Epicurious members newly tested for this cookbook. Recipes include:

Easy comfort foods: Chicken and Fall Vegetable Pot Pie, Beef Short Ribs Tagine, Spicy Mac and Cheese with Pancetta, Deviled Fried Chicken, Chili con Carne with Chili Cheddar Shortcakes

Fast Weeknight Dinners: Quick Paella, Wild Rice with Pecans, Raisin, and Orange Essence, Brussels Sprouts Hash with Caramelized Shallots, Rosemary Lamb Chops with Swiss Chard and Balsamic Syrup, Pan-Fried Spicy Orange Tilapia

Please-Everyone Vegetarian and Vegan Dishes: Chilled Soba with Tofu and Sugar Snap Peas, Spiced Lentil Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream, Roasted Eggplant Salad

Special occasion show-stoppers: Tom Colicchio’s Herb-Butter Turkey, Beef Brisket with Merlot and Prunes, Wine-Braised Duck Legs

American Classics Updated—Burgers, Pizzas, Salads, Pastas, and Grilled Cheese: Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburger with Texas Barbeque Sauce; Hearty Asparagus, Fingerling Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza; Lobster Pasta in a Roasted Corn Sweet Bacon Cream; Grilled Cheese with Onion Jam, Taleggio, and Escarole

Breakfast and Brunch Stars: Extreme Granola with Dried Fruit, Kitchen Sink Frittata, Crème Brulee French Toast, and Ultimate Sticky Buns

Decadent Desserts: Double Layer Chocolate Cake, Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce, Frozen Lemon Ginger Snap Pie, Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts

Destined to be that classic you’ll turn to daily, The Epicurious Cookbook enhances the very best online content in a gorgeous cookbook


The Good Stuff
  • Incredible variety of recipes 
  • Lots of interesting & unusual combinations
  • Each recipe has comments from Epicurious users
  • Wife wants you to know the Index is fabulous
  • The banana bread recipe is the best we have ever used - Jen makes an excellent banana bread but this one is even better 
  • I didn't have time to make any of the recipes so Jen actually did all the cooking and baking -- she's getting better too
  • The pictures make the recipes look appetizing -- however there are very few pictures for such a large cookbook
  • I wasn't sure about Jen making the zuccini fritters but damn they were tasty
  • Everyone at Jen's work loved the two cookie recipes she made & they ate them all - she barely saved any for me
  • Like the organization of the cookbook into seasons
  • most of the recipes use ingredients that are readily available at most grocery stores

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Needs a lot more pictures
  • Many of the recipes have way too many steps for my wife
Favorite Recipes
  •  Amazing Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies Pg. 282
  • Sweet n' Smoky Meatloaf - Pg 352
  • Zucchini Patties With Feta - Pg 114
  • Beef Stew w/ Potatoes and Carrots - Pg 252
  • Dark Chocolate & Cherry Oatmeal Cookies - Pg 199 (Jen substituted almond extract for the vanilla & it really gave the cookies a spark)
  • Banana Bread w/ Chocolate Chips & Walnuts - Pg 208
  • Wild Mushroom Lasagne - Pg 236 (A lot of steps but wonderful flavor)
Who Should Use
  • There are quite a few easy to make recipes, but still wouldn't recommend it for the truly beginner cook
  • For the cook who wants to experiment
4/5 Dewey's

We received this from Random House in Exchange for an honest review


Pictures
Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Beef Stew w/ Potato & Carrots (Perfect for cold Calgary night)

Wild Mushroom Lasagna (Note use smaller dish)

My little helper for the cookies

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

Reflected in You (Crossfire #2)
by Sylvia Day
Penguin
ISBN: 978-1-405-91205-5
Buy from Indigo

Description:Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn't stay away. I didn't want to. He was my addiction . . . my every desire . . . mine.
My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We'd never work. It was too hard, too painful . . . except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity.
We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession . . .
Intensely romantic, darkly sensual and completely addictive, Sylvia Day's Reflected in You will take you to the very limits of obsession - and beyond.


The Good Stuff
  • Fabulous character development 
  • As mentioned in the first novel I was extremely impressed with the discussion of therapy and working towards a healthy relationship
  • Understand Gideon a lot better but still don't approve of his controlling behaviour
  • Extremely erotic
  • As mentioned before I find the relationship between Eva and Cary to be beautiful - true friendship
  • Intriguing mystery (though I totally figured it out)
  • The inclusion of Eva's dad into the story is a wonderful added touch
  • Nice to see Gideon opening up about what happened
  • Looking forward to reading the next book in the series and am cheering for these two damaged souls to work things out
  • Raw, dark, honest and yet that hint of hope

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Frustrating at times because of the decisions the characters make - works for the story though
  • A lot of repetition
  • Eva was a wee bit of a wuss through the first half of novel -- but it does get better - again just frustrating
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Most suits made the man.  Gideon did things to a three-piece suit that should've been illegal."

“The only way I'm keeping my hands off her is if I'm dead. Find another way to fix us.”

"Expect believe him.  Which is what you should have done  as his mother."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Definitely for those who enjoyed the first book

4 Dewey's

I received this from Penguin UK in exchange for an honest review

Judging a Book by It's Lover by Lauren Leto

Judging a book by it's lover: A field guide to the hearts and minds of readers everywhere
by Lauren Leto
HarperPerennial
ISBN: 978-0-06-207014-2
Buy from Indigo

Description: Lauren Leto, humor blogger and co-author of Texts from Last Night, now offers a fascinating field guide to the hearts and minds of readers everywhere. Judging a Book by Its Lover is like a literary Sh*t My Dad Says--an unrelentingly witty and delightfully irreverent guide to the intricate world of passionate literary debate, at once skewering and celebrating great writers, from Dostoevsky to Ayn Rand to Jonathan Franzen, and all the people who read them. This provocative, smart, and addictively funny tome arose out of Leto's popular "book porn" blog posts, and it will delight and outrage literature fans, readers of Stuff White People Like and I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar--people obsessed with literary culture and people fed up with literary culture--in equal measure.
 
The Good Stuff
  • Wickedly funny often good naturedly snarky
  • Actually learned a lot & not just how to pick up a guy in a bookstore/library 
  • Love the fact that she adores Evanovitch as much as the literary elite
  • Wonderful suggestions that will help me in my job as a bookseller and Librarian
  • Cannot say enough about the chapters Book Critic's Bag of Tricks - which has given me many new words for my reviews
  • Fabulous message about the importance of books
  • Touching and personal 
  • Loved the chapter What your child will grow up to be if you read them .. It's hilarious and spot on -- and btw I read them a lot of Seuss so phew things are looking good for my boys
  • The chapter How to Fake it will come in extremely well at my part time job ; )
  • A compelling, pithy read - see chapter Book Critic's Bag of Tricks
  • And no I will not lend this book to you --- go buy your own
  • Thinking I should really make my hubby reading this
 The Not So Good Stuff
  •  Wanted more
  • The Classifying literature chapter was far too intelligent for me
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"You would've thought I'd learn after that. Books aren't good gifts for people who don't read. But like a maniac, I keep shoving books into nonreader hands.  I picture myself as not unlike John the Baptist. But instead of preaching for Jesus, I'm preaching for stories."

"Considering yourself a serious reader doesn't mean you can't read light books. Loving to read means you sometimes like to turn your head off. Reading  is not about being able to recite passages from Camus by memory."

"They're BEAUTIFUL THINGS, tangible books. The iPad, Nook, and Kindle are swiftly taking away our ability to instantly judge people by their choice of reading material in public places, but for a little while longer, you'll be able to strike up a conversation with a stranger, or silently mock them, as you notice them cracking open a wonderfully bulky copy of I am Charlotte Simmons."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read 
  • For those who passionately love the written word
  • Perfect gift for the book lover
  • Not for those who aren't crazy about books
4 Dewey's

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

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

This is a review for a book that is considered Erotica - please ignore if this type of book offends you & if you are my family please also skip ; )

Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
by Sylvia Day
Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-425-26390-7
Buy from Indigo

Description: Our journey began in fire... Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness—beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily...

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart..



The Good Stuff
  • Writing is far superior to that of 50 Shades of Grey (which this book is always compared to)
  • Love the relationship between Eva and her best friend Cary - very supportive and honest
  • Erotic and hot without all of the S&M stuff usually thrown in for Erotica
  • Interesting character study -  perfect for a book club discussion
  • Eva is a strong character -  she knows there is some serious unhealthy aspects to their relationship and talks about it with Gideon, Cary and her therapist
  • Love, love, love that the couple go into therapy 
  • I can see the fascination for Gideon (see the not so good stuff section for more on this) Day's descriptions really makes him sound hot
  • Did I mention how hot this book is - I was blushing on many occasions
  • Fabulous use of dark humour
  • Looking forward to reading the sequel now to see how things are going to work out for these two seriously damaged souls
  • Brings up rape and the lasting damages & discusses it openly and honestly which I find to be very important
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Gideon - I am not completely in love with the guy - he is far too controlling for my tastes - don't get me wrong I like a masculine type of man - but hello any man that has you followed or tells you what you can or cannot do -  I consider to be in serious need of therapy (Yes good thing about book is that this is addressed)
  • Do both characters have to be beautiful and rich -- us plain poor girls deserve hot sex too ya know ; )
  • ok and I was slightly irritated by the obsessive exercising in my opinion - but than again that could be why I am not as hot as Eva LOL! - off to the treadmill now
  • Again I more a romantic type of girl so some of the sexual descriptions were a little too base for me -- but again not a bad thing -- just personal preference
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"That sexy length was the crowing touch of bad-boy allure over the successful businessman, like whipped cream topping on a hot fudge brownie sundae. As my mother would say, only rogues and raiders had hair like that."

"I want there to be happily-ever-afters for the fucked-up crowd. Show me the way, Eva honey. Make me believe."

"New York was a brand-new love affair for me. I was starry-eyed and it showed."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Good book club read - no really - the discussions about their relationship would be fascinating
  • For those looking for something erotic but not all S&M
  • Definitely for readers who thought 50 Shades of Grey was awesome -- this is so much better
 3.75/5 Dewey's

I purchased a copy at Chapters Shawnessy as I am receiving the sequel for review

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass 
By Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury Books (Penguin)
ISBN: 978-1-59990-695-9
Suggested Ages: 13+
Buy from Indigo

Description: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined


The Good Stuff
  • Intriguing, well developed kick ass heroine.  An assassin with a bit of a softness to her, you gotta like that (Reminds me a wee bit of Gin from Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassins series)
  • Fast paced, had a hard time putting it down when real life needed me -- but I did cause that is the way I roll -- but it was really tempting just to keep reading
  • Lots of little hints about Celaena's back story kept me intrigued and guessing
  • Even though there are hints of a love triangle its not all irritating or overly angsty (Though I am definitely cheering for Chaol)
  • Love that she is an avid reader - a kick ass book loving heroine -- that is so awesome! And a book burning evil king to hate - hello you hooked me in Ms Maas
  • Great mystery weaved with Magic - gives the storyline an original edge in what could have been a predictable story
  • Excellent uses of humour - love some of the snark and swagger that came out of the characters

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Jumps around a little and uneven at times
  • Cover doesn't do Celaena justice - have seen another cover which gives me a much more realistic image of her
Favorite Quotes/Passages
 "Oh, how wrong he was! Libraries were full of ideas – perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons."

"Though it was the oldest and most shameless trick in the book, he reached over her and put his hand on top of the one that gripped the cue. He then positioned the fingers of her other hand on the wood before lightly gripping her wrist. To Dorian's dismay, his face became warm."
His eyes shifted to her, and to his relief, he found that she was as red as he, if not more so.
"If you don't stop feeling and start instructing, I'm going to rip out your eyes and replace them with these billiard balls."

"There was good in people - deep down, there was always a shred of good. There had to be."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Both teens and adults will get something out of it
  • Definitely will appeal more to women than men
4/5 Dewey's

I received this from Razorbill/Penguin in exchange for an honest review

Mom and Me Mondays (On Thursday): Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Ungifted
by Gordon Korman
Scholastic Canada Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-4431-1920-7
Suggested Ages: 10-14
Buy from Indigo

Description: The word "gifted" has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It's usually more like "Don't try this at home." So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he's finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.

It wasn't exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn't be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his "gifts" might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.



Jake's Review: It's a bit boring and there are lots of run on sentences.  The kid kinda reminds of me and I wanna do the same sorts of things he does.  But my mom and teachers will kill me if I did, but I understand his feelings.  Its funny the situation he gets himself into.  I think kids my age will like it.  The geek kids are really smart but they are actually funny and cool and way smarter than me.  The storyline isn't realistic, there is no way something like this would ever happen.  Like the idea that sometimes teachers are just plain dumb, sort of like my teachers.  I like that the geeks and the real kids got along with each other.

Jake's Rating: 7/10

Mom's Review: Love Korman books, he really knows how to write books that kids will enjoy (Not to mention - adults) This one is definitely more for kids but I still highly recommend it.  Donovan is your typical middle grade boy. Nothing really special, goofs up all the time, but oh so very human.  He isn't a mean spirited kid at all, just a kid who doesn't think about the consequences of his actions. Reminds me a wee bit of a certain someone.  He is a kid the intended reader will relate to and have some fun with. Korman also tries to get across to kids (and to adults) the huge problems with labeling and separating kids based on educational level. I did find this one uneven at times and some of the thought processes seem to be a little to adult for a middle grader. Also way too many points of view.  but still a fun read.

Mom's Rating: 7.5/10

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mom and Me Mondays (on Wednesday) The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates
By Liz Pichon
Scholastic Canada Ltd.
ISBN: 978-1-4431-1936-8
Suggested Ages: 9-12
Buy from Indigo

Description: Meet Tom Gates - a master of excuses, an expert doodler, a comic story writer extraordinaire, and the bane of his teacher''s existence! In this recent recipient of the 2011 Roald Dahl Funny Prize, readers will find an honest, silly and laugh-out-loud book in the format of Tom''s battered homework diary, crammed full of his scribbles and stories.
And in his wacky journal, you''ll find all sorts of comic craziness to make you groan with glee! Hear about Tom''s worst holiday ever ("camping sucks") and the time his parents went to parents'' evening ("groan"). Tom''s battered homework diary is crammed with his scribbles and stories, cartoons and ideas - as well as comments from the long-suffering Mr. Fullerman.
Warning! Do not attempt to read this in public. You will laugh loudly!


Jake's Review: A really funny book that is a lot like Diary of a Wimpy Kid except for the fact that Tom is a lot cooler of a kid. The beginning of the book was lame but it got a lot better after about 20 pages.  It is a really easy book to read so kids like Brian who don't like to read will actually like to read a book.  The pictures make it fun to look at too.  I didn't  understand some of the words, but after mom showed me the glossary at the end, I could figure them out.  I really think it would be a better idea for the glossary to be at the beginning though.  I hope there are going to be more books in this series since I have already read all The Wimpy Kid books.  Could have been longer too.

Jake's Rating: 9.5/10

Mom's Review: Perfect book for the reluctant reader and also for fans of The Diary of A Wimpy Kids, Dork Diaries and The Loser List.  The story is delightful and the artwork just adds to its charm.  This is one that both middle school boys AND girls will enjoy. Tom is a character that everyone can relate to and the language and situations are very realistic.  Really enjoyed the relationship between Tom and his sister Delia & its one that anyone with a sibling can relate to.  I will definitely be recommending this one to any of my customers with kids who really don't like to read. Hope to see more from this author.  Enjoyed the glossary at the end which gives the reader explanations into the English terms (Published 2011 in the UK)

Mom's Rating: 9/10

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review


What is Sexy? and Contest

Family please don't read this post - especially M.I.L. and Kids : )

Well its that time of year again - yup People's Sexiest Man issue & once again I had to say what -- really (happens every year -- well except for when it was Ryan Reynolds (Dude he is Canadian & funny) and Matt Damon (doesn't do it for me but at least he has personality) Now no offense to Channum Tating -- I'm sure you are a decent guy & well you really do have a nice chest -- but you just don't do it for me.

It made me think & want to discuss.  However, I am home alone today and in a new Province so I have no one to talk to. So figured what the hell - how about I write something on my blog.    Forgive me for my lack of writing ability & for those who only want to read my opinions on a book, just skip this post.

I have always been teased about my taste in men - even as far back as middle school. My first crush (which btw lasted until college) was Mike Tobias Tinker.  Ever other girl liked the conventional pretty boys, but no I had to have a crush on the smart, geeky and pimpled guy.  I was teased unmercifully but I didn't care.  There was something just special about him, he had more than just looks - I could see past the pimples people.  Update, I still find him handsome & he developed into a truly talented musician -- check him out Tobias Tinker.  

When all the other girls had crush's on the guys from Duran Duran & The Dukes of Hazzard Boys - I had a crush on Joe Elliot from Def Leppard and Alan Alda .

Even now I find myself attracted to men who are not conventionally handsome.  Usually comments I get are really -- Seriously Rayment -- the dude is short and bald & you are thinking naughty thoughts about HIM - that is nasty.  or JR you want to get it on with THAT guy - have you seen the size of his nose (Won't go farther into that conversation - totally inappropriate!)

I like to think that it's because I am a more developed person and am above petty things such as good looks, but yeah that is probably a load of shit.  The truth is I am just a practical girl who is plain & has self esteem issues.  I would be too worried about what I look like naked to have a good time in bed with some chiseled hunk (thought I might make an exception for sex on a stick Daniel Craig).  Plus those greek god looking types just don't look like they would be fun in bed.    Now Steve Carrell is more the type of guy I want to go to bed with. He wouldn't take him self too seriously and I wouldn't have to worry about my love handles with a guy like that.  Plus in my experience (again kids stop here) the hot ones are never worth the effort -- you know who I mean diver boy!  I also need more than great sex to be happy. I want a man who will make me laugh, wants to talk about books, cooks, great father & just plain decent.  Yup my hubby fits all of the above (well except for the book thing -- but hey at least he reads to the kids)

To make a long story short -- way toooooo late.  This is my top 5 votes for who should grace the covers of World's Sexiest Men - but probably never will.

Nathan Fillion  (He is mine people -- back the hell off) - He is handsome, doesn't look like he wastes every day in a gym, intelligent, self deprecating, promotes literacy, Reads & Canadian.  That is why he is my top choice


Zachary Levi 


Adam Baldwin

Steve Carrell

Daniel Craig - ok he is just on the list for sex alone - hey a girl has to have one hot stud

Now I want to hear from you.  What do you think is sexy in a man? and who are your top 5?

Contest
US & Canada
Ends November 30, 2012
Prize: Copy of 2012 People's Sexiest Man issue & Book of your choice up to $15
In Comments just answer one of the two questions: What do you think is sexy in a man? and who are your top 5?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mom and Me Mondays (on Tuesday) Goodnight Canada

Goodnight Canada
By Andrea Beck
North Winds Press (Scholastic)
ISBN: 978-1-4431-0782-2
Buy from Indigo

Description: A bedtime book that opens children''s minds to the wonders of the world around them.
Award-winning Canadian author and illustrator Andrea Beck has created a unique gift for parents as they wind their little ones down for bedtime. Goodnight, Canada inspires a sense of community, as a child who lives in Newfoundland lies in bed wondering about other children in his country and the world at large. He quietly bids a goodnight to them all, and to Canada itself, province by province, territory by territory.


Jake's Review:  This one is a little lame but I am sure little babies like Jesse would like it. I think it might be a fun way for little kids to learn about the different provinces.  The illustrations are very nice and mom would probably like them.  The rhyme is easy to read so I would be willing to read it to the midget at bedtime if mom forces me to.

Jake's Rating: 6.5/10

Mom's Review: A simple and sweet bedtime story with delightful illustrations.  A nice introduction to the provinces and territories of Canada for a young child.  Each page has some illustrations of highlights of each of the individual provinces. A wee bit stereotypical but hey it is for the young.  The images are very dreamlike and will appeal to both the adult and the child. Also nicely multicultural. Not going to lie Jesse was all meh about this one, but he tends to prefer more bright quirky images. 

Mom's Rating: 8/10






Monday, November 12, 2012

Mom and Me Mondays Finding Christmas by Robert Munsch

Finding Christmas
by Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Michael Martchenko
North Winds Press (Scholastic)
ISBN: 978-1-4431-1317-5
Buy from Indigo

Description: For the first time ever, Canada''s best loved author and illustrator team creates a festive story to ring in the holiday season - with all of the zaniness fans have come to expect, of course!
Every year Julie finds the Christmas presents her parents hid: in the basement, under the bed, in the garage. But this year it''s Christmas Eve and she has found nothing. NOTHING! She''s worried - will be there no presents at all?
Her investigation takes her to a mysterious box on the rooftop, which - lo and behold - houses all of the gifts! But, in classic Munsch mayhem, she becomes trapped inside, creating the biggest surprise of all for her family on Christmas morning.


Jake's Review: Munsch books are so much fun to read even for big kids like me.  It's also cool that its not all mushy like most of the Christmas books usually are.  I will definitely read this to the little midget at bedtime.  This book would be really good for little kids cuz Munsch's writing sounds like a little kid talking.  I like how fun the drawings are and each time you look at it you see something different.  The pictures are really funny and even kids my age will like them. I think mom also likes this one because she is always telling me to stop looking for presents and to just be patient.  Wish the book was longer.

Jake's Rating: 8.5/10

Mom's Review:   I love Munsch he is always so much fun to read and kids just lap it up.  Jesse liked this one too and got a kick out of all of the illustrations and kept stopping my reading to point out little things in the illustrations.  I agree with Jake its nice to read a fun Christmas story that isn't saccharine or mean spirited.  The family is real and quirky and just plain fun -- sort of like our family.  This will appeal  to readers of every age - including adults.  Who hasn't gone snooping for presents -- yes Jake you mom too was a present snooper once. As always Martchenko's illustrations will delight and as Jake mentioned, you find something new each time you read. The prose is simple and childlike (this is a good thing) and perfect for reading out loud. Trust me you will love this one! Another instant classic for Munsch

Mom's Rating: 9/10

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mom and Me Monday (On Thursday) The Very Hungry Bear

The Very Hungry Bear
by Nick Bland
Scholastic
ISBN: 978-1-4431-1906-1
Buy from Indigo
Recommended Age: 3-7 (or in my opinion any age)


Description: He’s been VERY CRANKY, VERY ITCHY and now he’s VERY HUNGRY. Maybe it’s time to hook a deal with a lost polar bear…. Bear is back...and he''s very, very hungry! 
Bear is hungry! He''s trying to fish, but instead of food, he only manages to catch...a polar bear? The poor bear is lost and his ice floe is rapidly melting. The polar bear makes a deal - he''ll give Bear a pile of fish in return for a new home. Bear takes his new friend on a tour, and finally they find just the right home for a polar bear.



Jake's Review:  For a kiddie picture book, this one is pretty cool.  The illustrations are really nice to look at and the story is pretty good.  I think a lot of kids Jesse's age will really like this and I won't get bored when my parents make me read to the little midget. I think the author is trying to teach little kids about habitats at the same time which is pretty cool, cause it is not obvious like when teachers try to teach us stuff. I liked the cranky bear better because it was funnier, but this is pretty good too.

Jake's Rating: 8/10

Mom's Review: How can you not love a Nick Bland book. The illustrations are truly delightful, the story charming and the rhyme engaging.  I have a mad love for the Very Cranky Bear and while not as perfect as that, this is still marvelous.  A nice moral included done in a non preachy way which is a true gift.  Jesse grabbed this one out of my hand as soon as I opened the package and has made me read it to him every night since.  So really that is all you need to  know, my previously book hating toddler now loves the books - well as long as they are as cool as this one.  Thanks Bland, I owe you one.  Now must pick up a copy of The Very Itchy Bear!

Mom's Rating: 9.5/10

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review


Book Addicts Haul - The I am truly behind edition

 Wow haven't done this in a while! (Sorry for some of the upside down pictures, was having technical issues today)

For Review
Thanks Random House
Thanks Penguin
Thanks WilliamMorrow (HarperCollins)
Thanks Random House 

Thanks HarperCollins
 Purchased
From Scholastic Book Fair at Jake's Schools
Chapters Shawnessy
Scholastic Book Order
Chapters Shawnessy (Recommended by Karen)
Chapters Shawnessy
Chapters Shwnessy (Thanks Jen!)
Chapters Shawnessy
Calgary Zoo

Miscellaneous
Borrowed from Our staff room book shelf
From HarperCollins Book Preview

Borrowed from Cindy
Borrowed from Our staff room book shelf
HarperCollins Book Preview
Borrowed from Sim

Book Signing
Who I Kissed Book Launch (Janet Gurtler) at Chapters Shawnessy
Thanks Teri (and Rhiannon for delivering)

Lemony Snicket Book Event at Calgary Public Library (Best book event I have EVER attended)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie

Forgotten 
by Catherine McKenzie
William Morrow (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-211541-6
Buy from Indigo

Description: Emma Tupper is a dedicated lawyer with a bright future. But when she takes a month-long leave of absence to go on an African vacation, she ends up facing unexpected consequences. After she falls ill and spends six months trapped in a remote village thanks to a devastating earthquake, Emma returns home to discover that her friends, boyfriend, and colleagues thought she was dead and that her life has moved on without her.
As she struggles to recreate her old life, throwing herself  into solving a big case for a client and trying to reclaim her beloved apartment from the handsome photographer who?s taken over her lease, everyone around her thinks she should take the opportunity to change. But is she willing to sacrifice the job, relationships and everything else she worked so hard to build?


The Good Stuff
  •  Simply put, I just adore anything that McKenzie writes, and this is no exception.  She is just the perfect storyteller. She hooks you in with great characters that you can relate to and puts them into intriguing tales with plenty of twists and turns
  • The perfect book for just losing yourself into too 
  •  nothing cliche or predictable - thank you - now lets make this into a movie 'kay - cuz we need some romantic movies that are not cliche and predictable - this is a smart romance people - us girls like that you know
  • Characters are never caricatures, these are people that you can either relate too or feel that you know someone just like them
  • Definitely felt myself attracted to Dominic 
  • Loved the banter between Dominic and Emma - it was truly delightful
  • Such an honest loving relationship between Sam and Stephanie
  • Great secondary characters
  • Liked Emma's development - Its more realistic that she does change but not a complete change like in so many predictable stories where a heroine does a complete about face. Emma becomes more human but not completely goody goody. 
  • Fabulous dialogue - McKenzie always makes me giggle, yet at the same time nod my head in agreement or understanding
  • Love Kevin and his family - trust me so will you
  • Oh yeah and she's Canadian
 The Not So Good Stuff
  •  Would have liked a little more of what happened to Emma in Africa
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"You okay? You look pale."
I let the phone drop to the table. "You ever have to call someone to let them know you're not in fact dead?"
"God, no."
"Yeah, well, I don't recommend it."

"Because the truth was, I wanted to be a lawyer because I liked arguing. I liked it so much I'd argue either side of anything just for the hell of it, whether someone asked me to or not. Anytime, Anywhere.
And that's not an appealing characteristic, right? Being argumentative? I want to go to law school so I can learn to argue so well no one will ever dare to disagree with me again  ... Won't I be popular then? Won't I be happy? Oh well, at least I'll be right."

"Big family?"
"You could say that. I'm the youngest of twelve."
"You're making that up, right?
"Nope."
"Your parents really had twelve children?"
"The Catholic Church has a lot to answer for."
"I'll say."


Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  •  Yes this will mostly only appeal to women -- I know I know - they will call it Chick Lit - but who the fuck cares - its a good book hands down
  • Other than that -- you like a good story with great characters and snappy dialogue -- than this be what you are looking for
5 Dewey's

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