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!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gone by Lisa McMann: Book Review

Gone (Wake Trilogy #3)
by Lisa McMann
Simon Pulse (Simon and Schuster)
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7921-0
Suggested Ages: 13+
Buy from Indigo

Description: Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought shed made her peace with it. But she cant handle dragging Cabel down with her. She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. Hes amazing. And shes a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves: She has to disappear. And its going to kill them both. Then a stranger enters her life and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than shed ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out. . . .

The Good Stuff

  • Enjoyed the ending
  • Found the Morton's Fork scenario interesting and bringing it up really worked for the story
  • As a Mom I was impressed that Al Anon was brought up
  • Heartbreakingly sad at times
  • Great dark humour interlaced within the story
  • Love the relationship between Janie and the police force
  • Funeral scene and just after made me tear up
The Not so Good Stuff
  • this one is a little bit of a downer at times, it works for the story, but just a heads up
  • Story drags a little, since there isn't any secondary storyline
  • read it just after finishing Fade, which is fabulous, so it was a little disappointing
  • Mom really is a horrific weak character and any scenes with her made me feel disgusted
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Well," Janie says. "There goes my dream of a magical surprise inheritance. Dude's poorer than us."

"She feels like stomping on his foot. And pushing her mother into the grave hole. Wonders what sort of sitcom that would turn this scene into."

"He looks like a cross between Captain Cavema and the Unabomber," she whispers.
Cabel nods slowly. "Whoa, That's some funky Alice Cooper frizz."

What I Learned

  • About Morton's Fork
Who should/shouldn't read

  • Definitely only for those who have read the rest of the series, wouldn't be a good one to start with
4 Dewey's

I borrowed this from Kiera

Monday, May 30, 2011

In My Mailbox

For Review
From Scholastic and HarperCollins Children

From HarperCollins Children
Won
From Marcy Berg (And will probably offer up for Raffle as well)
Book Signing
My copies of Bitten and Tales of the Otherworld plus new copy of The Summoning signed by Kelley Armstrong at Forster's Books Read In Bed A Thon event (plus a book for the boys)
Spina Bifida Raffle

More for the basket for who raises the most for the Bolton SWWR event

Signed by Kelley Amrstrong (purchased my me) for a special prize to someone who promotes the raffle

Signed by the handsome Joel Sutherland (The Barbarian Librarian)

Mom and Me Mondays: Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Sidekicks
by Dan Santat
Arthur A. Levine (Scholastic)
ISBN: 978-0-439-29811-7
Suggested Ages: 9-12
Release Date June 1, 2011

Buy from Indigo

Description: Look up in the sky! It's a BOLD new graphic novel about SUPERHERO PETS!
Captain Amazing, superhero and savior of Metro City, is getting old. He's out all hours battling arch-villains, catching thieves, and helping little old ladies cross the street. He doesn't even have time for his house full of pets. He needs - a SIDEKICK!

Captain Amazing's four pets agree. But each one of them thinks HE should get the sidekick spot - and a chance for one-on-one time with the Captain. Get ready for sibling rivalry royale as pets with superpowers duke it out for the one thing they all want - a super family. A BOLD and BRILLIANT graphic novel romp by whiz kid Dan Santat.


Jake's Review: This book was funny and exciting.  I wanted to keep on reading it in one night, but my mean old mom told me to turn out the lights and go to sleep. Something about it being a school night or something.  The story fit together really well and the illustrations are awesome.  I love these comic books (Mom calls them graphic novels) that Scholastic sends us they are so much fun and easy to read. Even Brian who doesn't like books would probably read this one.  I would have liked more colour pictures, but mom explained to me that this was an uncorrected proof and the final copy would all be in colour.  Fluffy was my favorite character because he is cute and funny and I like his USA costume.  I didn't like Dr. Havoc because he is just really mean. I really liked the panel on Page 76 with the hippo and his butt showing, it really made me laugh.  I can't wait to read more comics graphic novels by this guy.

Jake's Rating: 10/10

Mom's Review: Absolutely charming family friendly graphic novel that is still edgy and fun.  Love the superhero pet angle, and the way the story is told through their eyes.  This would be a great pick for a middle school library and especially the reluctant readers.  Jake has read this 3 time already and he made sure that I knew that this was his book and I was not to add it to the spina bifida raffle.

Mom's Rating: 9/10

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How to Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
by Molly Harper
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4391-9586-4
Buy from Indigo

Description: Even in Grundy, Alaska, its unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Grahamwho has been openly critical of Mos ability to adapt to life in Alaskahas trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, its love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, hes worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if hes not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . . .

The Good Stuff
  • A truly funny, sweet, charming adorable read
  • Some very naughty bits that had me wishing werewolves were real  - however I would be quite pissed for their obvious disregard for expensive lingerie (but hey if he was willing to replace it all, I could get over it)
  • Love the quirky secondary characters
  • The sense of community is so nicely written about that I had a sudden urge to move to  Grundy , Alaska
  • Funny as hell that I found myself giggling and snorting out loud on many occasions
  • The dialog between characters is quirky and reminded me a little of Buffy
  • Opening paragraph had me hooked and knew right away that this was going to be a book I would love. 
  • Will definitely be looking for more books by  Molly Harper
  • Mo is wonderful character and I loved her sass and her bravery
  • The conversations between Mo and her Mom are awesome
  • Great sexual chemistry between Mo and Cooper
  • Love the flirting between the men of Grundy and Mo
The Not so Good Stuff
  • the forgiveness is way too quick for my taste
  • Way too many favorite quotes for me to narrow down to just three
  • The descriptions of the food made me extremely hungry
Favorite Quotes/Passages
"Abner told me that if I moved into his cabin on the outskirts of town, my feet would always be warm and the toilet seat would always be down. I thanked him for the tempting offer.

"No, actual meat, It's sort of a tradition in Grundy, a macho provider thing.  They want to show you that they can feather your nest, so to speak. It's pretty Neanderthal of them, but sweet at the same time. When a Grundy man offers you a rump roast, it's the equivalent of asking you to go steady."


"Maybe its just an overabundance of hormones, a response to a sexual starvation diet. I'd been without for so long that my body was craving the worst possible thing for me.  Cooper was a carnal triple chocolate cheesecake , deep-fried on a stick."

What I Learned

  • Werewolves make excellent lovers, with the exception of their lingerie ripping ways
  • That Alaska sounds like a wonderful place to live
Who should/shouldn't read
  • For anyone with a sense of humour
  • Fans of Jennifer Estep, MaryJanice Davidson, Ilona Andrews, Julie Kenner, Marta Acosta, and even Jeaniene Frost will definitely enjoy
4.5 Dewey's


I borrowed this from Natasha

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On a Stick: 80 Party-Perfect Recipes by Matt Armendariz: Cook Book Review with Chef Jeff

On a Stick: 80 Party-Perfect Recipes
by Matt Armendariz
Quirk Books (Random House)
ISBN: 978-1-59474-489-1
Buy from Indigo

Description: Why do the worlds most delicious foodsfrom grilled meats and vegetables to deep-fried pickles and corn-dogstaste even better served on a stick?

This beautifully photographed cookbook answers the question with dozens of quick and easy recipes for party food, street-fair food, junk food, and more. From high-end hors doeuvres to humble street-cart meals, its all here: pizza skewers, beef teriyaki sticks, deep-fried mac n cheese, fudge puppies, cake pops, and more.

Arriving just in time for summer, On a Stick! is loaded with color photography, fun entertaining ideas,
and fascinating historical trivia. There are even recipes for preparing delicious marinades, dips, and sauces. See for yourself why everything tastes better On a Stick

The Good Stuff
  • Dips and sauces are a wonderful addition to each recipe
  • Enjoyed the individual intros into each recipe. A good way to let people know how and when each recipe can be added to an everyday meal or when guests show up unexpectantly
  • A wide variety of foods, from many different cultures, for you to try
  • I chose to make the Breakfast Pancake dogs first, because I love making Sunday morning breakfasts (although the wife usually insists on having her healthy all bran and fruit all the time).  For this particular recipe I would have mentioned the importance of choosing a good quality breakfast sausage as that would seriously impact the finished product.  The recipes was very easy to make and the flavour of the batter was out of this world.
  • Jen made the Caramel Popcorn Balls and the taste of these really reminded me of that sponge toffee we used to have as kids.  The only  problem with the recipe is Jen didn't read over all of the instructions first. She missed the part about having a pair of heat proof gloves, so when it came time to roll the caramel popcorn into balls -- well it was quite entertaining -- I did save the day for her though and they turned out well
  • All of the ingredients are readily available and many are your everyday staples
  • We are going to make the homemade marshmellows and if they work out we will continue onto the S'mores on a stick recipe (Photos to follow)
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Introduction went on way too long. Nice to know what motivates the making of a cookbook, but this went on way too long
  • Hard to find some of the recommended sticks and skewers when living in a smaller town
  • Lack of healthy on a stick type recipes
Favorite Recipes
  • Breakfast Pancake Dogs
  • Homemade Marshmallows
  • S'mores 
  • Frozen Elvis
  • Red and White Sangria Pops
  • Mojito Melon Fruit Skewers
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Good for anyone who likes to have fun in the kitchen, you don't have to be a great cook, just one with a sense of adventure
  • But make sure you read the recipe straight through before you start (hint hint Jen)
4 Dewey's

Breakfast Pancake Dogs: Page 32




We received this book from Random House in exchange for an honest review. I'm personally loving it since it gets Jeff doing even more of the cooking

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In My Mailbox

For Review

From Harper Childrens
Won

From Ann Aguirre on Twitter

Book Signings

Picked this up at Meg Cabot signing - got my copy of Abandon and Vanished signed
First 100 people at the Veronica Roth/Lauren Oliver signing got these
This is Evil Andie's copy signed - I also got my copy of Divergent signed plus Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver signed

For Spina Bifida Raffle

Signed by Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver, Meg Cabot and Jeremy Cammy

Fade by Lisa McMann: Book Review

Fade (Wake #2)
by Lisa McMann
Simon Pulse (Simon and Schuster)
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7448-2
Suggested Age: 14+
Buy from Indigo

Description: For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open -- but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability -- and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared..

The Good Stuff
  • Even better than book 1 of the trilogy
  • Love the honesty between Cabel and Janie
  • Storyline is so fascinating I didn't want to put it down - thank god my toddler had a long nap and the book wasn't too long
  • A non stop exciting read. I enjoyed  her sparse writing style a lot better this time, since I was more used to it
  • sex scene was done very sensitively
  • Love authors way of writing dialogue - funny stuff up there with Whedon and speaking of Whedon loved the Buffy comments
  • Love, Love the Police Captain
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Some very bleak disturbing plot points about Janie's future
  • Some of the scenes with the teachers was quite disturbing for the intended audience
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Can we rearrange the furniture this weekend?" she asks sleepily. "So when I sleep out here, you don't shine all of Satan's fiery hell lights in my eyes first thing in the morning?"


"I'm glad you're taking that class. You're really getting buff, you know that? It's very sexy. As long as you're not beating me up."

"Captain suppresses a smile. "I'd make you stay home if I didn't know you'd sneak out, anyway. While you are watching in agony, feel free to take note of anyone who comes or goes that's not on the list."


Who should/shouldn't read
  • For the more mature YA reader as their is sex and a disturbing date rate scene (not overly graphic but the imagery is there so just a heads up)
4.5 Dewey's


I borrowed this from Kiera

Friday, May 20, 2011

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau: Book Review

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings
by Helene Boudreau
SourceBooks
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4412-4
Suggested Age: 9-12
Buy from Indigo

Description: Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning...If she hadn't been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever. Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke? This summer is about to get a lot more interesting...

The Good Stuff
  • Absolutely positively one of the most delightful pieces of tween fiction I have ever read
  • Heroine is a very real and refreshingly honest
  • Strong opening grabs your attention and you are hooked into the story
  • Sort of reminded me of a hipper Judy Blume book (This is a compliment)
  • Snappy witty dialogue
  • Love the relationship between Jade and her Dad
  • Positive relationships between Jade and her friends and boys
  • Very unique storyline
  • Author really remembers what its like to be a 13 yr old girl
  • Author's Canadian
The Not so Good Stuff
  • I wanted more -- there better be a sequel
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Pleasantly plump girl bumps into cute (but evil) boy. A few polite words were exchanged. Girl and boy from parallel universes part ways, never to speak again."


"Geesh! They really should invent a brain implant with a drop-down menu of witty comebacks because right then, I had nothing."




"Hey Jade?' He called out holding two packages of maxi pads.
I shook my head violently to stop Dad from talking, but from where he stood, I doubted he could see I was talking to a boy. A mildly annoying, but nonetheless cute boy.
'Do you want wings or no wings?'
It was official. This was shaping up to be the Most. Embarrassing. Day. Ever." 


"I was in no mood to negotiate with the Tampon Terrorist."
 
Who should/shouldn't read

  • Perfect book for the middle school or tween girl
5 Dewey's

I picked this up at the OLA Conference and didn't have to review it, just loved it and wanted to pass it on to you guys too

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I So Don't Do Famous by Barrie Summy: Book Review

I So Don't Do Famous
by Barrie Summy
Delacorte Press (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-385-73790-6
Suggested Age: 9-12
Buy From Indigo

Description: Having a boyfriend in eighth grade makes me kind of a celebrity at school. I'm also known throughout the spirit world--I've helped my ghost mom solve some tough cases. And now I'm on my biggest one of all . . . in Hollywood!


Everyone is so famous here. But there's no time for stargazing. Somehow I managed to stumble upon a mystery right on Hollywood Boulevard. Homes of young celebs are being burglarized, and it's up to me to figure out who's behind the million dollar crimes--and prove it to the Beverly Hills police. And to complicate things? The ghost of a teen star is dying to help me. One thing you never hear in the land of glitz & glamour? I so don't do famous.

The Good Stuff

  • Realistic relationships between Sherry and her friends and family
  • Like the relationship she has between Sherry and her stepmom - very realistic but loving
  • Adorable engaging heroine - you just want to hug her, going to have to check out the rest of the series
  • Nice light mystery for the younger set - Perfect for the suggested age group
  • Full of fun Hollywood trivia and pop culture references
  • Short quick moving story will hold the interests of even the most reluctant reader
  • Middle school girls will be able to relate to a lot of Sherry's emotions ( I vaguely remember them)
The Not so Good Stuff
  • As an adult reading it, I wanted to roll my eyes a couple of time, but just kept telling myself this book isn't written for a 40 yr old women
  • Not a lot of conflict so the more mature middle school girl might get frustrated or bored
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Hmpf." he says. "I can think of some music that would really get this place hopping."
"Dad, Celine Dion is not the musical answer to all situations." I say.

"I can't believe I just rode in an elevator with my dad and my ghost mom. And didn't think about how bizarre it was, especially given that my dad is totally oblivious to  my mom's presence."
"Lorraine, Stef and I traipse to the restroom together, because even burglary girls hit the restroom in groups"
What I Learned

  • That I wish I could talk to the ghost of my dead Mom
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Perfect for middle school girls, I would have loved to read it at that age
  • Not for the more mature middle school girl, as it is sort of light and fluffy (and that is not a bad thing, just a heads up)
4 Dewey's
 
I received this from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Monday, May 16, 2011

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner: Book Review

Vaclav and Lena
by Haley Tanner

Knopf Canada (Random House)
ISBN: 978-1-4000-6931-6
Release Date: May 17, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: Set in New York's Russian emigre community, Vaclav & Lena is a timeless love story from a stunningly gifted young novelist. Vaclav and Lena, both the children of Russian emigres, are at the same time from radically different worlds. While Vaclav's burgeoning love of performing magic is indulged by hard-working parents pursuing the American dream, troubled orphan Lena is caught in a domestic situation no child should suffer through. Taken in as one of her own by Vaclav's big-hearted mother, Lena might finally be able to blossom; in the naive young magician's eyes, she is destined to be his "faithful assistant"...but after a horrific discovery, the two are ripped apart without even a goodbye. Years later, they meet again. But will their past once more conspire to keep them apart?.

The Good Stuff
 
  • Unique and charming story from a new, but extremely gifted novelist - trust me this will be on some award winning lists this year
  • Breathtakingly real characters, these are so richly developed and so very real
  • Powerfully emotional, teared up a few times, so sad and  so hopeful at the same time
  • Complex and conflicted real life emotional portrayal of children of immigrant parents
  • The relationship between Vaclav and his mother is beautiful and so honest. I really enjoyed the parts of the story that come from her point of view, it gives the story even more depth and understanding
  • Traumatic scene written very sensitively
  • Vaclav is just a beautiful character but also very real and enabling 
  • Dryly funny at times
  • Love the imagination of the young Lena and Vaclav
  • Wise observations of love, friendship and family - warts and all

The Not so Good Stuff
  • A little slow at times and it was a tough one for me to get into a first, but glad I persevered
  • Have a sudden urge for Borscht and I don't like Borscht  
 Favorite Quotes/Passages

"IT is not safe, for Vaclav, out in the world, with his eyes open to everything and  his heart beating right on his sleeve, with his dreams in his hands, ready to show and tell."



"Rasia thought that this Houdini person probably drove his mother to an early grave, worrying her with all his death-defying feats and doing Chinese water torture, and was not someone Vaclav should be so interested in.  But Vaclav wanted to hear a story about a little boy who came to America and became a big, brave, magical man, and this she understood."


"Watching him, you would think that he changed his clothes, maybe into a tuxedo with tails, but you would look and be surprised that he is still wearing the same jeans and T-shirt."


What I Learned


  • Some interesting facts about magic, magicians and Coney Island
Who should/shouldn't read

  • This is not for those who need a quick paced storyline
  • For those who like something just a little different and real
4.5 Dewey's

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review -- Thanks Jess you were right on!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In My Mailbox

For Review
From Scholastic
From Scholastic

Won

Early people in line for Meg  Cabot signing got this from Scholastic

Won from Mabel's Labels on Twitter


Purchased
Purchased from Indigo for Lauren Oliver signing

For Spina Bifida Raffle

Got Kobo signed by Meg Cabot - next Veronica Roth and Lauren Oliver

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spina Bifida Spirit Wheel Walk Run Raffle

As most of you know my 1st born son, Jacob, was born with Spina Bifida.  I won't go into much detail since you can find out more about our joys and tribulations of living with the challenges of Spina Bifida here

An organization called the Spina bifida and hydrocephalus association of Ontario has been an invaluable help to us on so many occasions that I take part in their annual Spirit Wheel Walk Run event each year.  The work I do for the event will hopefully help pay them back for all the assistance they have provided to our family and other families just like us.  Please give generously and just remember even $5 can help make a difference.

To thank people for donating to my annual Spirit Wheel Walk Run event I am hosting a raffle.  For EVERY $5 you donate to the cause you can choose a chance to get one of the items listed in the form

I also want to thank all the generous author's, blogger's, publishers and companies that donated to this wonderful event.  We couldn't have done this without you!

US and Canada (Sorry International unless you want to pay for shipping) only (unless otherwise mentioned.)

Raffle Ends June 20th, 2011

Online Payment

You can make your donations in person, or on the following SITE.  Choose Donate NOW
and under Fund Designation choose 2011 SWWR: Jakes Journey (Rayment Family) THEY ACCEPT PAYPAL TOO! If you don't feel comfortable doing this please contact me at jrayment AT rogers DOT com and I will make other arrangements with you

Please fill out the following form AFTER you have made the donation. This raffle is separate from the donation form so just make the donation and than come back here.  Canada Helps has nothing to do with the actual raffle.  Also since I am not tech savy and could not figure out how to do multiple entries for one prize -  if you donate over $5 and want all your raffle tickets to go to one prize only, put it in the comment box at the end of the form.  (Form is at end of post)

PRIZES

Signed Kobo by Meg Cabot, Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver & Jeremy Cammy 

Nexxus Haircare (Worth $125)


Fido Motorola W3888 Cell Phone and Your Shape for Wii
Scrapbooking Pack - Worth Aprox $450
Gardening & Food Pack
Signed Naughty But Nice Pack (NC17)
Signed YA Pack
Signed Jen's Favorites Pack
Signed Kelley Armstrong + $15 Indigo Gift Card
Signed Mary Janice Davidson
Signed Romance Pack

Signed Best Sellers
Middle School Pack (3 Signed + Joel Sutherland book not shown)
YA ARC Pack (3 more books to come)
ARC Pack + $15 Indigo Gift Card
Picture Book Pack (Plus 3 more to come)

 Please fill out the following form AFTER you have made the donation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Tiger by John Vaillant: Book Review

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
by John Vaillant
Vintage Canada (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-307-39715-7
Release Date: May 3, 2011

Buy From Indigo

Description: It's December 1997 and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia's Far East. To the horrified astonishment of a team of hunters, it emerges that the attacks are not random: the tiger is engaged in a vendetta.

Injured and starving, it must be found before it strikes again, and the story becomes a battle for survival between two main characters: Yuri Trush, the lead tracker, and the tiger itself.

Culminating in a showdown deep in the Siberian forest, The Tiger is a haunting, spellbinding tale of a hunt to the death; of man and nature in collision; of the ancient relationship between predators and prey; and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal and its increasingly threatened world., horrifyingly, his own.

The Good Stuff
  • One of the most brilliantly written non-fiction that I have ever read
  • Factual and Informative without being dry or boring and at the same time fascinating, powerful and intriguing
  • This is the first piece of non-fiction that I just didn't want to put down, I was totally riveted 
  • The geography is so eloquently explained that you are amazed and interested by it all
  • Author does a fabulous job of making you truly understand and see the strengths of Trush. You can also see the authors fascination and respect for Trush
  • The way the author describes the Tiger is almost poetic (But in a good way as you all know of my dislike of most poetry)
  • Extremely thoroughly researched and impressive Bibliography
  • Fascinating glimpse into the lives and world of people in the Russian Far East which I am ashamed to say I pretty much knew nothing about
  • Ok at times I was totally cheering for the Tiger to win, after all we are in their territory, not the other way around -- however you can see mans point of view as well. Really makes you think
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Could have left out some of the detail
  • Didn't like seeing the pictures of dead Tiger's - I'm a wee bit sensitive that way
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"One of the many negative effects of perestroika and the reopening of the border between Russia and China has been a surge in tiger poaching. As the economy disintegrated and unemployment spread throughout the 1990's, professional poachers, businessmen , and ordinary citizens alike began taking advantage of the forest's wealth in all its forms."


"The Amur tiger, it could be said, takes a Stalinist approach to competition."

"The one certainty in tiger tracks is: follow them long enough and you will eventually arrive at a tiger, unless the tiger arrives at you first."

What I Learned
  • The Sanskrit word for tiger *vyagghra* was Anglicized into "viagra" -- hmm I wonder why
  • Tigers have fabulous memories and if hurt by a human they will exact revenge (Must remember that when playing with my kitten Oreo, as I am convinced she is part Tiger)
  • So many other interesting things, I really don't want to spoil it for you -- go buy the book already
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Anyone with an interest in Tigers
  • There is pretty much something in this for everyone. That being said there are some nasty descriptions that might upset the sensitive reader and there are some pictures of dead tigers

5 Dewey's

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much guys, you are constantly opening my eyes to works that I might never have picked up on my own

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The White Devil by Justin Evans: Book Review


The White Devil
by Justin Evans
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-172827-3
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Buy from Indigo
Suggested Ages: 17 + (Due to sexuality and violence)


Description:Set in a four-hundred-year-old boys' boarding school in London, a chilling gothic thriller by the author of the critically acclaimed A Good and Happy Child . . .

A fierce and jealous ghost . . .

A young man's fight for his life . . .

The Harrow School is home to privileged adolescents known as much for their distinctive dress and traditions as for their arrogance and schoolboy cruelty. Seventeen-year-old American Andrew Taylor is enrolled in the esteemed British institution by his father, who hopes that the school's discipline will put some distance between his son and his troubled past in the States.

But troubleand dangerseem to follow Andrew. When one of his schoolmates and friends dies mysteriously of a severe pulmonary illness, Andrew is blamed and is soon an outcast, spurned by nearly all his peers. And there is the pale, strange boy who begins to visit him at night. Either Andrew is losing his mind, or the house legend about his dormitory being haunted is true.

When the school's poet-in-residence, Piers Fawkes, is commissioned to write a play about Byron, one of Harrow's most famous alumni, he casts Andrew in the title role. Andrew begins to discover uncanny links between himself and the renowned poet. In his loneliness and isolation, Andrew becomes obsessed with Lord Byron's story and the poet's status not only as a literary genius and infamous seducer but as a student at the very different Harrow of two centuries priora place rife with violence, squalor, incurable diseases, and tormented love affairs.

When frightening and tragic events from that long-ago past start to recur in Harrow's present, and when the dark and deadly specter by whom Andrew's been haunted seems to be all too real, Andrew is forced to solve a two-hundred-year-old literary mystery that threatens the lives of his friends and his teachersand, most terrifyingly, his own.

The Good Stuff

  • Author really knows how to create mood -- it felt eerie and spooky - almost gothic like
  • Wonderfully moody ghost story, which there should have been much more of over the constant mentions of the scholarly politics
  • Love the scene between Dr Khan and Andrew in the library
  • lots of twists and turns
  • Sensitive portrayal of homosexuality
  • Interesting characters
The Not so Good Stuff
  • The beginning is very slow and a tad confusing at times, but really picks up by Chapter 9 - but honestly almost put it down quite a few times, I just felt like saying - get on with it!
  • It just never lived up to its fabulous back cover description, I just expected better
  • Not enough ghost story and too much politics of the school
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Andrew held a cold, fragrant martini in his hand, wondering what the protocol was for drinking gin in the apartment of your housemaster when you were underage and had narrowly escaped lynching for being a teenage drug lord."


"I am an archivist. A research librarian. Not a book retriever. When Fawkes goes playing literary historical sleuth, he has all the self-important silliness of a boy playing dress-up in his father's shoes and hat, or better yet, a Sherlock Holmes hat and pipe."

What I Learned
  • Some interesting background on Byron and tuberculosis
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Even-though the protagonist is a teen, I would not recommend it to younger readers, I would say 17 and up. Quite graphic at times
  • Those who enjoy moody ghost stories
3 Dewey's

More Positive Reviews here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10156337-the-white-devil  and http://leeswammes.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/book-review-the-white-devil-by-justin-evans/

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

Queen By Right by Anne Easter Smith: Book Review

Queen By Right
by Anne Easter Smith
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4165-5047-1
Release Date May 10, 2011
Buy From Indigo

Description:   In Cecily Neville, duchess of York and ancestor of every English monarch to the present day, she has found her most engrossing character yet.History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of the Market Cross at Ludlow, facing an attacking army while holding the hands of her two young sons. Queen by Right reveals how she came to step into her destiny, beginning with her marriage to Richard, duke of York, whom she meets when she is nine and he is thirteen. Raised together in her fathers household, they become a true love match and together face personal tragedies, pivotal events of history, and deadly political intrigue. All of England knows that Richard has a clear claim to the throne, and when King Henry VI becomes unfit to rule, Cecily must put aside her hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and their country. Queen by Right marks Anne Easter Smiths greatest achievement, a book that every fan of sweeping, exquisitely detailed historical fiction will devour.

The Good Stuff
  • Reminded me a little of the Jean Plaidy novels I read as a teen - I was a huge fan of historical fiction back then
  • A fabulous way of teaching some history without getting too dry and serious.  
  • Brilliantly researched
  • Important for the nerdy anal library worker that I am - Awesome Genealogical chart, nice map, detailed bibliography and glossary -- this stuff really helps when reading historical fiction
  • Loved the background of Cecily as a young little spitfire
  • The authors fascination and love of the subject matter really shines through
  • Interesting look into the world of young people during the 1400's
  • Although the story lacks in the middle, it does become more interesting during the last quarter of the novel
The Not so Good Stuff
  • way too much flowery lovey declarations - this is not my thing so I was irritated with it at times. But in authors defense this is how they spoke during this era - but still icky lovey dovey
  • A little slow at times, but still better than reading a history book on this subject. This should be read over a period of time and not like a typical novel where you curl under a cover and get lost in the story
  • The story sort of looses steam when Cecily becomes a mother and focuses much on that over the fascinating history going on
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Rowena was shocked by Cecily's candor, frowned a warning, and jerked her head at Joan's stiff back. "I believe his grace of York will be the one to determine that my lady," she whispered back. "He may have a dynasty in mind for the two of you."

"Then he may have to do it all by himself!" Cecily retorted."


"I suppose you will learn the hard way that women will never be a man's equal in the world.  We may lend an ear, we may even counsel our husbands when asked, but we are a man's property from one end of our lives to the other. First 'tis our fathers who own and use us to profit from a marriage contract, and then we must honor and obey any husband thrust upon us. You would be well advised to learn obedience to your husband's wishes, Cecily, for to disobey is unforgivable in a wife and is a reminder of Eve and her first sin; that of listening to Satan."  (Jen's note: Doesn't that make you want to puke!)


What I Learned

  • Tons of fascinating historical facts and not going to tell you what or you just won't read the book
  • Really sucked to be a women in the 1400's
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Perfect for those who know little of Cecily and Richard, a good interesting introduction to further historical reading
  • Not for those who enjoy something a little more intense, this is very slow at times

3.5 Dewey's


I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review

Neverisms by Dr. Mardy Grothe: Book Review

Neverisms: A Quotation lover's guide to things you should never do, never say, or never forget
by Dr Mardy Grothe
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-197065-8
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: Never let 'em see you sweat. Never bring a knife to a gun fight. Never underestimate the power of a woman. Never trust someone who tells you to never trust someone. Quotation anthologist Dr. Mardy Grothe has coined the term neverisms for emphatic warnings about things people should never do. Neverisms go by many other terms: admonitions, cautionary warnings, rules of living, negative persuasion (or dissuasion) and dehortation (the opposite of exhortation). All are related to a classical figure of speech called dehortatio, dissuasive advice given with authority. Neverisms are among history's most fascinating quotations, and Grothe has assembled nearly 2,000 of them, organizing them into eighteen chapters on such topics as sex, marriage, sports, politics, business, stage & screen, and the literary life. In this new collection, the bestselling author also tells the back stories behind some of history's best-known pieces of advice. "Neverisms" is sure to make a delightful gift for quotation lovers and language aficionados


The Good Stuff
  • Some of the dryer information was made enjoyable by the author's self deprecating wit
  • Extensive collection of some fabulous quotes and the background behind many of them
  • Actually uses some recent and hip quotes, which I was surprised by
  • Love the smaller size of the book, great for keeping as a reference item
  • Found a whole bunch of new quotes to put out on Twitter
  • Perfect for keeping out as a Coffee table book or Bathroom book -- come on I know you people read in the loo too
  • This author has done some serious research into neverism quotes - truly impressive
  • I read this over a couple of weeks and I recommend you do the same, it is more enjoyable this way
  • Great for conversation starters
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Didn't include my favorite quotes. Never Give Up, Never Surrender (Galaxy Quest)
  • Would  have loved to have an index of some kind, so if you wanted you could go back and find a particular quote more easily
  • Didn't like how the book was organized -- but hello what do you expect I AM an anal librarian after all - I need me an index
Favorite Quotes/Passages (Quotes from a Quote book - how unusual)

"But unless you have the vocabulary of a five-time Jeopardy! champ or you're a professor of rhetoric, the word is almost certainly not in your current vocabulary."

"I was a young idealist with a reputation for spending countless hours attempting to reason with people who held what I regarded as unfounded or irrational beliefs. Smith's admonition was like a reminder from Dr. Phil, gently tapping me on the shoulder and asking, "So how's that working for you?"

AND THE WISEST QUOTE OF ALL - REMEMBER THIS PEOPLE!

"Never ask a single person if they're "seeing anyone special," and unemployed person if they found a job, or a married couple when they're planning to have children."
(I would also like to add - never, ever ask a women if she is pregnant or if there is a big gap between someones children, was it an accident -- tacky people - very tacky)

What I Learned
  • Some interesting background information of famous quotes
  • Definition of a Neverism and some other useless information like this that I will probably always remember - yet forget to pick up milk on the way home
Who should/shouldn't read

  • anyone who likes quotes
  • Speech writers, Teachers, Librarians, etc
  • A good resources for public libraries
4 Dewey's

I Received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review