Note about my Reviews

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield: Mini Book Review

Leviathan 
by Scott Westerfield
Simon Pulse (Simon and Schuster)
ISBN: 978-1-4169-717-3-3
Suggested Age: 10+
Buy From Indigo
Buy from Kobo

Description: Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn war machine and a loyal crew of men. Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected waytaking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.


Mini Book Review: Intriguing Steampunk novel for the middle school and YA reader.  I struggled a little with the fantasy element as it is not my favorite genre, but still found myself enjoying the story and wanting to know more.  The illustrations were spectacular (even on this Kobo edition) it actually made me go out and buy a copy for Jake so that he can read it in a year or two.  The characters are likeable and well developed, especially Deryn, who I just adored.  The storyline moves pretty quickly with plenty of action and some nice light humor. All in all I would definitely recommend it to the more mature middle school reader and the younger or more reluctant YA reader. Both boys and girls will enjoy as the story is told from both a male and female protagonists voice.  Looking forward to reading the next book in the series which I think I will start to read on the way home. 


3.5 Dewey's

This is from my Kobo and was not asked to review

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Winner of Witchlanders

I wish I could give you all a copy of this fab book, but unfortunately I didn't win the lottery, so there can be only one

Thanks to Random.Org I have the winner for a finished copy of Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

Congrats to:

Indigo
 


I will email you and you have 48 hrs to respond or I will have to pick another winner

Dear Bully, 70 Authors Tell Their Stories: Edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones

Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories
Edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-206097-6
Suggested Ages: 11+
Release Date: August 23, 2011  or September 6, 2011
Buy From Indigo

Description: You are not alone. Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the funny guy into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Todays top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullyingas silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetratorsin a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.

The Good Stuff

  • Extremely personal tales and I admire some of the authors bravery in coming forth with their at times extremely heartbreaking tales
  • Powerful messages will hopefully help teens who are bullied or have been bullies themselves
  • Portion of proceeds got to Stomp Out Bullying
  • Really emphasizes the need for better trained educators and counselors
  • Inspirational
  • Heartrendingly sad at times
  • Found many new authors that I want to read because of their history
  • A couple of graphic novel style stories 
  • Really did like the mix of different types of tales: Letters, Stories, Poetry and Graphic stories
  • Brilliant idea - would have liked even more authors to take part -
  • Hopefully will make a difference to children struggling with bullying and maybe a bully will see themselves in a story and make a change
  • The story "The Eulogy of Ivy O'Connor" is extremely painful and uncomfortable to read, but the message is an important one
  • Kiersten White's tale is very human
The Not so Good Stuff
  • There was poetry and not my thing - but if you like it that is totally cool and they are well done
  • The odd story didn't really fit it, but hey that is just getting a little picky
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I don't spill guts, I spill other people's guts - my characters'. It's safer that way. But as I write this, I'm aware that by walking into my own hot, steaming discomfort, you might feel that someone else gets it - gets you." Lisa Haines

"So I did the easy thing. I walked away. And I've always regretted it. I wonder how much of an impact I could have made if I'd really always had something to say. If I'd said the things that mattered, stood up for people who actually needed my help, gotten involved instead of keeping my head down." Kiersten White

"And what you get right down to it, that's really what life is; one long opportunity to find "your" people. The ones who make your world a better place and the ones for whom you can make the world a little brighter as well." Michelle Zink

Who should/shouldn't read
  • Everyone - book suggests 12+ -- but I think kids even as young as 10 could pick up something
  • Required book for every library - these are messages that bring hope to those who have suffered that they will make it through and may even become stronger because of it
4.75 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

Fury by Elizabeth Miles: Book Review

Fury
by Elizabeth Miles
Simon Pulse (Simon and Schuster)
ISBN: 978-1-4424-2224-7
Suggested Ages: 14+
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Buy From Indigo

Description: Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

Its winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this years even better--the guy shes been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, theres no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Ems best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But thats nothing compared to whats really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And its only a matter of time before hes exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girlsthree beautiful, mysterious girlsare here to choose who will pay.

The Good Stuff
  • Unusual and intriguing storyline -- lovin this Mythology genre
  • Deals with Karma and having consequences for your actions
  • Cover is awesome
  • Unpredictable plot you really don't see where things are coming from and it keeps you enthralled, a  wicked paranormal YA mystery
  • Realistic portrayal of teen emotions and actions
  • Some nice dry humour (see below)
  • Opening prologue sucks you in and you're hooked
  • Unpredictable in a good way
  • Lots of commentary on the horror of high school and struggling to fit in
  • Good ending for leading to the next book in the series
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Emily really didn't do anything that should attract the furies wrath in my opinion
  • Parents are useless and uninvolved (I know, I know get over it Jen you old Mom)
  • Could have used more of the dry humour but hey that's just a personal preference n
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"My mom's involved in another classic bread-making experiment. And you know how much I love those yeasty, crustless creations."
"About as much as you love eating gravel?"
"Exactly. About as much as I would love to eat that nasty mush I can only assume was once cereal." he said, picking up Em's bowl and dumping it down the sink. "Next time, just tell me when you're have a nine-one-one breakfast situation. I would have gotten two Egg McMuffins if I'd known things had gotten so dire over here."


"Em blushed. Sorry that I'm not some junior-wizard-Hermione-on-crack."


"Pay more attention to where different cliques hang out for next time you're being homicidally stalked by someone-something-that wants to punish you for your mistakes."

What I Learned
  • Karma's a bitch
  • Some mythological info & Furies just aren't nice girls
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Those with an interest in mythological thrillers will enjoy
  • Great for YA and adult readers
  • Not for those who like a lighter type of read -- this be intense. I would also suggest 14 + due to violence and mild sexuality
4 Dewey's


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

Monday, August 29, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen: Mini Book Review

What Happened to Goodbye
by Sarah Dessen
Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-670-01294-7
Suggested Age: 12+
Buy from Indigo

Description: Who is the real McLean?  Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Mini Book Review:  A delightfully real and honest story.  All of the characters ring true and the dialogue is very authentic for the target audience.  The parents of course were a wee bit clueless but they owned up to their mistakes and acted very human. I got a kick of some of the scenes involving the restaurant, as I worked in the field , and when they mentioned "being in weeds" it brought back memories.  I enjoyed her style of writing and the plot moved along nicely.  None of the characters were stereotypical like in many YA books, You know the bitchy cheerleader, the angsty boy, the loner, etc. Very impressive I highly recommend this to everyone, especially teens who have been through Divorce. For those who are concerned with the following, there is no sex or violence and very little mention of drinking so it is also a clean read and good for even readers as young as 10. I will definitely be checking out other books by Sarah and really wish there had books like this when I was growing up.  I went straight from Judy Blume into adult books, there was no in between stuff like this.

4.5 Dewey's

I borrowed this from Jenn on recommendations from Teri who absolutely loves Sarah Dessen

Mom and Me Mondays: Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes
by Jonathan Auxier
Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-670-06466-3
Suggested Ages:  12 + (But my 9 yr old loved it, just some of the language was a wee bit challenging for him)

Buy from Indigo


Description: Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is the beguiling tale of a ten-year-old blind orphan who has been schooled in a life of thievery by his brutal master, Mr. Seamus. One fateful afternoon, as he's picking the pockets of townspeople enraptured by a travelling haberdasher, he "discovers" (steals) a box of magical eyes. When he tries on the first pair, he is instantly transported to the island at the top of the world, where he meets the maker of the eyes, Professor Cake. The Professor gives Peter a choice: travel to the mysterious Vanished Kingdom and try to rescue a people in need ... or return back to his master and a life of crime. Peter chooses wisely, and together with Sir Tode, a knight errant who has been turned into a rather unfortunate combination of human, horse and cat by a grumpy witch, he embarks on an unforgettable adventure in a book destined to become a classic.


Jake's Review: Mom you were right (mom's note: now this is in print so you all know he actually said I was right.) The story is really exciting and lots of fun. Sort of reminds me of the Percy Jackson book you made me put down so that I could read this one. Some of the stuff was kinda scary and I didn't like that people were killed in such not nice ways.  Also some of the words were really hard to figure out. Other than that it was a good book that I wanted to read to the end. Oh yeah and couldn't the story have been a bit shorter, I don't like it when books are so long (mom's note: wait till he has to read Moby Dick). I wouldn't recommend this one to Brian but I think Benjamin would like it.  More for kids who like to read and probably better for older kids because of the killing and stuff.

Jake's Rating: 9/10

Mom's Review: What an absolutely enchanting magical tale that even a 9 yr old can enjoy. We read it together on many occasions as some of the language was a wee bit difficult for him and well it was just fun to read aloud. A great old fashioned epic story filled with adventure, magic, plenty of twists and turns and quite frankly just a fun ride.  Some nice dry humour as well.  A truly enjoyable story that even adult readers will enjoy. My only complaint is that the last 3 quarters was so good I didn't want to put it down, and I ended up reading till 1 am. Damn you Jonathan you so owe me a Tim Horton's Xtra Lg Coffee -- the American XL too!  I would recommend for 10 up as there is some difficult language and some violent scenes that the sensitive or younger reader might have difficulty with.  Would be a fun one for a class story in which the teacher could read a chapter a day.

Mom's Rating: 9/10

Don't usually put in quotes for Mom and Me Monday's, but really enjoyed these two

"There are times when Justice demands from us more than we would give."

"Now there is a wonderful thing in this world called "foresight." It is a gift treasured above all other because it allows one to know what the future holds. Most people with foresight end up wielding immense power in life, often becoming great rulers or Librarians."  (Hmm love nice quotes about Librarians)


We received this from Penguin in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox

For Review
Thanks Penguin

Thanks Random House will make  you some with this
From Simon and Schuster - not sure about this one guys might be a wee bit too intelligent for me

Purchased 

Virals & Seizure already had, but bought the other 3 as gifts
Fan Expo Canada

Will post about the Expo later this week, but here is the stuff I got free and bought
Check out the Whedon shirts I got and Thanks HarperCollins and Penguin for books and swag
My fave, going to wear this to pick up kids at sitters (she has a crush on Edward)
I wish!

All the Firefly cast on this one

Back of Browncoat t-shirt and signed Jeff Smith stuff for Jake

We ran into Lesley during a panel and she was sweet enough to sign the books we had just bough - the girl can multitask too! Will buy all her books just because I enjoy chatting with her

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper: Mini Book Review

The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf
by Molly Harper
ISBN:  978-1-4391-9587-1
Simon and Schuster

Buy from Indigo

Description: Baring It All. Generations of werewolves have been secretly residing in a secluded valley a stones throw from Grundy, Alaska. So when a snooping Outsider comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of lycanthropic shenanigans in the area, the valleys pack alpha, Maggie Graham, resolves to chase him away, even if doing so takes a quick bite on the butt. What a pity that researcher Nick Thatcher turns out to be so drool-worthy, and that his kisses make Maggie want to sit up and beg. Maggie just cant seem to convince Nick to leave . . . and even worse, she cant convince herself to stay away from him. Cross-species dating is problem enough for a harried alpha female, but on top of that, a rival group of werewolves is trying to move into the valley. With interpack war threatening, Maggie cant afford to be distracted. Combining romance and a career can be tough for anyone; for a werewolf in love with a human, it may be disastrous. . . .

Mini Book Review:I love Molly Harper! Once again she has written a delightful book that makes me laugh my ass off while at the same time makes me tear up.  Any book that has a studly Star Trek Nerd in love with a kick ass snarky chick who had a crush on Spock is good with me.  The storyline is fast paced and fun and the characters are lovable and sprout snappy and witty dialogue that would be at home in a Whedon TV show. Love, Love, Love.  I will read anything this women writes, she just makes me laugh and smile.   Man this review is seriously lame, but I'm tired and too excited about going to Fan Expo on Sunday to write anything coherent. Just do yourself a favor and go pick this book up you won't be disappointed. While you are at it also pick up a copy of her How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf too.  


4.5 Dewey's

I borrowed this from Natasha

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Signings various Indigo locations

Just wanted to thank Cammy, Melissa and the rest of the Indigo crew for hosting all of these AWESOME events.  They are always tons of fun and very well organized, you should all be proud of the fantastic jobs you have done and know that you are appreciated.  Also thanks to all of the publishers, publicists, and authors for your time and effort.  You guys are my rock stars!



Maggie Stiefvater

Brought my son to this one so that he could meet Nikole from Scholastic.  Maggie was lovely and quite funny. My buddy Joan came because her daughter is a huge fan, but was in Ireland for the summer.  Joan filmed Maggie for her and Maggie was so sweet and talked to Kiera on tape.  Had a fab time as always with Terri, Jenn and Joan.  Waiting for pictures of Maggie et all from Joan

Maggie was raffling off this for 1 lucky fan
Teri and crowd

Charlaine Harris

This was my favorite signing so far this year and I owe that to Captain Awesome Cammy himself.  He got me into the greenroom and I actually got to spend a few minutes with the charming Charlaine and her assistant Paula (She sends me signed books each year for my Spina Bifida raffle).  We had a lovely conversation and Cammy took a pic for us. It was a wonderful experience and I can't thank Cammy enough for it.  Gave her some chocolate covered Pralines for Charlaine and Paula, I had tried to make them myself, but they didn't turn out.  Had fun hanging with Terri and Chrissy.





Kelley Armstrong

Forgot my camera for this one, so Joan took pictures for me -- unfortunately, I am still waiting for them. Kelley was a lot of fun and took the time to answer all of her fans questions and gave away some great swag.  She also did a reading from the Gathering and gave a little talk.  Its such a inspiring thing to see all these fabulous girls and their enthusiasm -- made me feel so young and old all at the same time. Wish these sort of things happened when I was their age, back then I had very few people around me who understood my passion for books.
Took this one with my Cell - Joan, Terri and Jenn are all in the pic

Meg Cabot

Again forgot my camera for this, so these are either Natasha's photos or the ones I took with my cell phone.  Meg was all sorts of fantastic. She did a little talk and answered questions from the crowd. She was wonderfully with each of her fans and really took the time to talk to them and was so utterly charming. One of the young girls had asked her a question and she talked to her just like a little girl would. It was so sweet.   Will definitely be buying more of Meg's books, since I had such a fabulous time and really appreciated her humour.

Love the teacup!

Veronica Roth and Lauren Oliver

This was a lot of fun too! We got there super early and just had lots of fun chatting with each other and eating the yummy treats I had brought.   The event was well organized and the talk at the beginning was interesting. The authors both took questions and they were both quite wickedly funny. I spoke to Veronica about her anxiety and if she had any suggestions that might help with my older boy.  They took the time with each of their fans and I was impressed with how generous they were.  They gave us some great swag too!


For my Spina Bifida Raffle, had them sign the Kobo

Swag Bag

Teri got to meet both of them in the greenroom
Kathy Reichs

Kathy is a fascinating and extremely busy women. She talked about some of her current and upcoming projects as well as took questions from the audience. It was a quick event, but still lots of fun.  I bought along bone shaped cookies decorated with blood red icing that she seemed to have enjoyed.

Checking out my cookies


Copies for Cindy, Colleen, My niece Tanya and 1 for the boys and for me


Here are some more pics from the signing on the Simon and Schuster Facebook page

Frankie Flowers

Couldn't make it to the signing so Melissa Mateus from Indigo took a pic for me and I love it!


Naked Heat by Richard Castle: Mini Book Review

Naked Heat (Nikki Heat #2)
by Richard Castle
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-1-4013-2402-5
Buy from Indigo

Description: When New York's most vicious gossip columnist, Cassidy Towne, is found dead, Heat uncovers a gallery of high-profile suspects, all with compelling motives for killing the most feared muckraker in Manhattan. But Heat's murder investigation is complicated by her surprise reunion with superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook. In the wake of their recent breakup, Nikki would rather not deal with their raw emotional baggage. But the handsome, wise-cracking writer's personal involvement in the case forces her to team up with Rook anyway. The residue of their unresolved romantic conflict and crackling sexual tension fills the air as Heat and Rook embark on the search for a killer among celebrities and mobsters, singers and hookers, pro athletes and shamed politicians. This new, explosive case brings on the heat in the glittery world of secrets, cover-ups, and scandals.

Mini Book Review: I have to read these since I am a huge Castle fan, I just can't help myself. I love the fact that they have a picture of Nathan Fillion on the back cover as the author, makes me giggle.  I know they are gimmicky and the writing not the best, but I still really enjoy them. This story was no exception. It's fast paced and filled with fun TV style dialogue. The characters are loosely based on the actual characters on the show which makes it lots of fun. Also some of the plot is taken from various episodes of the show and it appeals to my nerdy humour to figure out which one. My only complaint no naughty scenes between Rook and Nikki, that was hilarious to read in the first installment. A perfect book for a day at the beach and a must have for fans of Castle. I have the first book in paperback and will be buying this one as well when it comes out in that format.  Hopefully one day I will be able to get Nathan Fillion to sign my copies, and I am still dying to know who ACTUALLY writes them.

3.5 Dewey's

I borrowed this from Natasha and didn't have to review (But I will be buying my own copy when it comes out in paperback)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Random Act of Kindness Contest

Go do something nice for a stranger and than tweet me @mountie9 or leave a comment in the comment section

Book of your choice up to $15
Ends August 25th at Noon (EST)

Please promote as much as possible & you DON'T have to be a follower

Now go forth and be nice

I'm doing this in honor of my father David Porter the most decent man who ever lived. Miss ya Dad!

Interview with Lena Coakley and CONTEST

About Lena:  Lena Coakley was born in Milford, Connecticut and grew up on Long Island. In high school, creative writing was the only class she ever failed (nothing was ever good enough to hand in!), but, undeterred, she went on to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She got interested in young adult literature when she moved to Toronto, Canada, and began working for CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Childrens Authors, Illustrators and Performers, where she eventually became the Administrative Director. She is now a full-time writer living in Toronto. Witchlanders is her debut novel.
Website
Twitter

 Interview with Lena Coakley

I was thoroughly impressed with your novel being from a male point of view, which is quite unusual in YA.  Where did you get the inspiration for this?  BTW, I plan on keeping this for my 2 boys to read when they get older.

LENA: Im so glad you intend to keep it for you boys!  The whole inspiration for the book came from an idea I had to put these two characters from two very different backgrounds together on top of a mountain.  It never crossed my mind that a book with a male protagonist might not sell, or that I should be intimidated by the idea of writing from a male point-of-view, until people started to bring it up, and by then I was committed to the characters!

Will there be a sequel to Witchlanders?

Im not sure.  I think the book stands alone, but Im tempted to write something about what happens to Ryder and Falpian when they go to the Bitterlands.  I guess it will all depend on how Witchlanders does.

What are you writing now?

Something Im really excited about!  Its a historical fantasy that takes place in England in the 1830s, but its very new so I cant say much more.

What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write?


Mornings are the magic time for me.  I like to get up by about 7, have a swim, and get to my desk by about 8:30 or 9.  Then Ill write to about 2 or 3.  I try to keep the writing momentum going by not taking two days off in a row, but its hard!  Weekends are ingrained in me, so I find I dont get quite as much done on a weekend day as I do on a weekday.  I have a perfect little office with a floor to ceiling window looking out onto Lake Ontario in the distance, but sometimes I just have to get out of the house and write somewhere else.  Then I pack up my mini and find a friendly coffee shop. 

Did you have any input into the cover design or the description of the book on the back cover?

I didnt have any input into the cover, but I actually wrote the jacket description myself.  Some people dont like it because it doesnt mention Falpian, whos such an important character, but my idea was to keep that part of the book a bit of a surprise.  The cover was already set, so I tried to write something that would highlight the themes the cover had already touched upon.  My wonderful cover designer, Sonia Chaghatzbanian, has agreed to be interviewed on this tour, so if youd like to hear more about the cover, check out her interview over on Reading Angel on September 7th. 

Who are your favorite authors?

Oh, so many!  For childrens books I love Maurice Sendak and Anthony Browne; for MG and YA, Kenneth Oppel and Garth Nix; for adult, Jorge Borges, Margaret Atwood and China Mieville.  I could go on and on!

What inspires you?

Authors who take risks like Philip Pullman, Melvin Burgess, Cheryl Rainfield and Aidan Chambers.  I have a strong urge towards self censorship and I need authors who are braver than I am to remind me not to water down what I have to say.

Thoughts on Librarians/Libraries

They rock!  What more can I say? I had a school librarian when I was growing up in ConnecticutMrs. Carman, her name waswho may well have saved my life.  People underestimate what literature can do for a child.  My parents were wonderful people but they were both very ill.  There were times when they simply couldnt care for me, and so I had an extremely chaotic childhood.  I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I hadnt had books to broaden my world.

How did you adjust to living in Canada

Its harder than it seems.  You might think that Canada and the States have almost identical cultures, but seeing each one from the others point of view has been a real eye opener for me. In fact, Im sure there is some of that in Witchlanders.  After all, theres a lot in there about crossing borders, living on two sides of a border etc.  Im sure the fact that I am a cross border girl was rattling around in my subconscious when I wrote the book.

Thank you so much, Jen, and thank you for having me on your blog!!


Review for Witchlanders: http://raymentsreadingsrantsandramblings.blogspot.com/2011/08/witchlanders-by-lena-coakley-book.html

CONTEST TIME

1 copy of Witchlanders
Fill out FORM
Ends August 30, 2011 Noon EST
Canada and US ONLY


The  Witchlanders Tour is also holding a contest to win a brand new Kindle. Details can be found at Books Complete Me

Tour Stops

Monday, August 22nd -The Page Turners
Tuesday, August 23rd- The Unread Reader
BONUS post! Tuesday, August, 23rd - The Zealous Reader
Wednesday, August 24th - Books Complete Me
BONUS post! Wednesday, August 24th - Rayment's Reading Rants and Rambles
Thursday, August 25th - We Fancy Books
Friday, August 26th - Read.Breathe.Relax

Monday, August, 29th  - Emilies Book World
Tuesday, August, 30th - The Mundie Moms
Wednesday, August, 31st - Enchanted Ink
Thursday, September 1st- Well Read Wife
Friday,September 2nd - A Journey of Books

Monday, September 5th- The Story Siren
Tuesday, September 6th - One A Day Y.A.
Wednesday, September 7th  - Reading Angel
Thursday, September 8th - Soul Unsung
Friday, September 9th - Alice Marvels



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley: Book Review

Witchlanders
by Lena Coakley
Simon and Schuster
ISBN:978-1-4424-2004-5
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

Its all a fake.

At least, thats what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithesone quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his peoples old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?

But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything hes ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies hes always scorned

Are about him.

The Good Stuff
  • Cover is hauntingly beautiful, found myself just looking in awe
  • Leads are male which is unusual in YA fiction. 
  • Wonderful conflicted and interesting characters, from the lead right on down to the secondary character, with plenty of realistic character development
  • I'm in love with Bo the dog
  • Lots of action, twists and turns and surprises that you won't see coming
  • Witches but at the same time has an almost Lord of the Rings feel to it (really wish I could explain that, but trust me)
  • Just a fantastic tale that sucks you in from the first line and doesn't let you down. Lena is a born storyteller
  • Nice morals thrown in about the stupidity of war, prejudice and forgiveness
  • Wasn't majorly frustrated or lost as I often am with fantasy fiction involving different worlds & races - speaks to the magic of the storyteller that Lena is
  • Vivid descriptions of the landscape make you feel like you are there
  • One side is almost matriarchal and the other side patriarchal and the conflict between the two is fascinating
  • Just go buy the thing, I don't have the right works to state how much I enjoyed it or why tonight -- damn you excessive heat keeping me up at night (BTW, this review was written July 6th)
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Some readers that would probably really enjoy (read males) may be turned off by more feminine cover
  • Hoping there is a sequel planned or the ending would be a might frustrating -- there better be a sequel Lena, I need to know what happens
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Ryder threw up his hands. "Yes, the Goddess and the lucky man.  They're the ones responsible for this harvest. I might as well go back to bed."


"They were beautiful in their opposition: dark and light, like morning and evening, like two sides of a coin."

"No," he said. "He is not on our side. But Skyla, are we only allowed to care about people who are on our side?"


Who should/shouldn't read
  • Perfect for both male and female YA readers
  • Anyone who enjoys fantasy especially involving magic and witches - you will totally dig this
  • Quite frankly anyone who enjoys a tale will enjoy
  • Passing it on to Natasha -- will be interested if she enjoys as much as I did
4.75 Dewey's


I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review - Thanks guys this was fantastic!


Witchlanders

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox

For Review
Thanks Simon and Schuster

Purchased / Borrowed

Thanks Natasha andChapters Brampton
From Jenn, Natasha and Teri (Jenn also lent me Leviathan and Behemoth)

Quick RAK Contest

Do Something nice for someone today and than tweet me at @mountie9

Prize: Personalized signed copy of Kathy Reichs books
Ends: Midnight tonight: August 21, 2011

Please promote this if you can. If you don't have a twitter handle, just leave your RAK (Random Act of Kindness) in the comment section

Friday, August 19, 2011

Winner of Good Food to Go

Sorry very late on this one

The winner of Good Food to Go is

Lisa Elchuk

I will email you now and you have 48 hrs to get back to me or I will pick a new winner

Congrats!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Cleopatra's Moon
by Vicky Alvear Shecter
Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic)
ISBN: 978-0-545-22130-6
Suggested Age: 13+ (A mature 12 also)
Buy from Indigo 

Description: Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antonythe most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she's ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus's household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destiniesuntil she reaches out to claim her own.

This stunning novel brings to life the personalities & passions of one of the greatest dramas in history, & offers a wonderful new heroine in Selene.

The Good Stuff
  • Thoroughly researched
  • Wonderfully written so that history comes alive and you learn some fascinating information about Cleopatra and her ancestors, but done in a lovely fictional way as to entice YA readers into wanting to learn more
  • Author mentions where she has taken creative license with the history so you won't mistake fact for fiction
  • Gives a brief Facts within the fiction section, which is nice
  • Fast paced story with some angst for the YA reader to appreciate, but not too much to irritate the adult reader
  • Intriguing historical figure
  • Lots of love and worship of cats - hey I'm a cat lover, I had to mention it
  • Cleopatra's daughter was a bit of a kick ass kinda girl, you gotta like the positive female role model
  • Enjoyed all of the questions Cleopatra Selene had about faith and women 
The Not so Good Stuff
  • A wee bit slow at times 
  • Didn't like how it starts when she's 17 than jumps to her younger years, gave me too much foreboding of what was going to happen. Would have preferred something a little more linear, but that is just a preference thing not a judgement
  • Rome comes across a little too much as EVIL - but really it is from Cleopatra's point of view, but it just threw me off a little
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"There is no insulting She Whose Bite is Sharper that a Serpent's."

"But if both the man and the women ate of the fruit, why does the women get all the blame?" I interrupted, sitting forward on the wooden bench. I did not look at Euphronius, guessing he was glaring at me.
"Because she is weaker and tempted the men," he said, seemingly surprised at the question. "Therefore, she is more evil."
"But-" Euphronius cleared his throat. I ignored him. "But wasn't she just curious? Isn't curiosity a useful human trait? Why would your god give humans curiosity and tell them not to use it?"

"If the husband catches the wife with a lover, he is allowed to murder the lover without question or consequence." continued Juba. " And he is allowed to divorce the wife without having to return her dowry?"
"And if the wife catches the husband with a lover?" I asked
He looked blankly at me.
"There is no consequence for the husband cheating?"
"Well, no" Juba said, seeming nonplussed by the very question.
I sighed. Of course not.:


Who should/shouldn't read
  • Perfect for getting the YA interested in learning more about Cleopatra and her descendants -- hell I didn't even know that Cleopatra had children  so good for adults too, now I want to learn more
  • Even good for the YA set who really have no interesting in learning anything, its just a good story with action, political intrigue,  blood, and romance. 
4 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Hollywood by Mona Simpson

My Hollywood
by Mona Simpson
Vintage Contemporaries (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-307-47502-2

Buy From Indigo

Description: Claire, a composer and a new mother, comes to L.A. so her husband can follow his dream of writing TV comedy. Suddenly, the marriage changes, with Paul working all hours and Claire left with a baby, William, whom she adores but has no idea how to care for.

Enter Lolaa fifty-two-year-old mother of five who comes to work in America to pay for her own childrens higher education back in the Philippines. Lola stabilizes the rocky household, and soon other parents try to lure her away. What she sacrifices to stay with Claire and William remains her own closely guarded secret.

The Good Stuff
  • Characters are very realistic
  • Makes you think about the life of a Nanny
  • Very honest
  • some nice dry humor
The Not so Good Stuff
  • I disliked pretty much all of the characters.
  • Couldn't understand the decisions the characters made or have any understanding of the worlds they are from
  • Quite depressing
  • Writing style seemed to be almost fragmented, which left me lost and confused
  • Uncomfortable to read at times, as some of the thoughts the characters mention bring back my thoughts while I was suffering postpartum depression with my 1st son
  • Just wasn't my thing, I don't like to give a DNF but in this case I was tempted too, no insult to the author at all, it just wasn't the type of story I enjoy. Have a feeling though that my sister in law will love this so I will pass it on to her & add her comments to my review when she is done
  • Her characters while honest, have some unlikeable qualities and manner of speech.  For example Lola uses the term retardeds and has some racist commentary
Quotes/Passages

"Was he lacking because he wouldn't take off the extra hours, or was I for not appreciating what he did in fact give. The unanswerable riddle of our marriage."

"My problem was the lack of a sister. Or Mother. One tends not to emulate the mentally ill."


"No one will bomb Hollywood. Even Muslims, they like to watch movies."

Who should/shouldn't read

  • Those with similar tastes to mine, will not enjoy
  • Those who enjoy something a little more cerebral and honest will enjoy -- yup Holly I think this one is for you
2 Dewey's (Based on MY enjoyment of the story, not on the talents of the author)

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review -- sorry guys, just ended up not being my thing

Mom and Me Mondays: Big Nate on a Roll by Lincoln Peirce

Big Nate on a Roll
by Lincoln Peirce
HarperCollins Childrens
ISBN: 978-0-06-194439-0
Suggested Ages: 8-12
Release Date: August 16, 2011
Buy from Indigo

Description: Big Nate is on a roll! 

Nates a big deal in his scout troop . . . until Arturaka Mr. Perfectjoins up. Now Nates stuck in second place. And Artur means business.

Will Nate take the grand prize? Or wipe out, big time?




Jake's Review: I love when you get me these books mom, because I get to share them at school and all my buds like them.  Nate is so funny and he is sorta like me. He gets in trouble all the time and likes to skateboard as much as I do.  The story goes by really fast and I wish it was longer.  Nate's Dad is kinda dumb but I like him because he is dumb.  I hate Spitzy the Dog because he is annoying and really ugly looking.  The only thing I didn't like were that some of the pictures were not complete, but Mom explained to me that this copy is an ARC and the completed version will look better.  I really can't wait till the next Nate book comes out, because I like these books as much as I like the Wimpy Kid books.
Jake's Rating: 9/10


Mom's Review: These books are absolutely delightful and perfect for the middle school reader, especially for the reluctant ones.  Jake loves lending these to Brian because Brian will actually read them (Books and Brian do not go together) and Brian's mom loves them because of this.  These are also great books for adult readers because we all have a bit of Nate in us.  His honesty and wit will make even the more jaded reader laugh.  The story is nice and fast paced so most kids will be hooked and not want to put it down -- which will keep them away from their iPods for a while (Jake's note: I heard that and totally know who you are talking about). School and Public Libraries would be smart to have a couple of copies of each of the titles in the series -- trust me they will be well used.  

Mom's Rating: 9.5/10

We received this from Harper Collins Children's in exchange for an honest review and Jake totally loves them for it (me too of course)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox

For Review
From HarperCollins & will love you forever for Drama
From Penguin Canada


Borrowed/Purchased
Borrowed from Jenn
Borrowed from our friend and ex roommate Rob

Got the button for Mel, but didn't get the book signed because of the massive line & the little heathen below

If he had been like this during the line up I WOULD have got the book signed