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!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Archon: The Books of Raziel by Sabrina Benulis

Dear Author: Please do not be offended by my review, it just wasn't my type of story and does not apply to your ability as a writer

Archon: The Books of Raziel
by Sabrina Benulis
HarperVoyager (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-206940-5
Buy From Indigo
Suggested Ages: 16+ (This is MY suggested age as it is very dark and writing style is difficult)

Description: Angela Mathers is plagued by visions of angels, supernatural creatures who haunt her thoughts by day and seduce her dreams by night. Newly released from a mental institution where she was locked away for two years, she hopes that her time at the Vaticans university, the West Wood Academy, will give her a chance at a normal life. Unlike ordinary humans, Angela is a blood head a freak, a monster, the possible fulfillment of a terrifying prophecy of overwhelming death and destruction. Only in Luz, the Vaticans wondrous enclave, are blood heads accepted and encouraged to discover what kind of powers or special abilities they might possess.

But within West Wood, a secret coven plots, and demons and angels roam the streets searching for the key to open Raziels book a secret tome from a lost archangel. Some are determined to destroy Raziel, while others, like the beautiful Supernal Israfel, one of the highest of the high, wish to free him. And when the Archon the human chosen to possess the spirit of a dead angel rises as foretold, they will control the supernatural universe.  Torn between mortal love and angelic obsession, Angela holds the key to Heaven and Hell and both will stop at nothing to possess her.



The Good Stuff
  • Unusual and unique storyline
  • Poetic writing 
  • Wonderful ability to set mood and landscape
  • Cover is awesome!
  • Scenes involving sexuality were done extremely tastefully
The  Not So Good Stuff
  • Religious in nature & has Angels and Demons -- soo not my type of story
  • Extremely violent and dark
  • Very little humour -- you guys know I need some 
  • Seriously confused with who was who and what they were -- please remember I have no religious background so my confusion could be do to this (That and obviously she is far more intelligent than me)
  • Didn't care for or like anyone in the story - had nothing emotionally invested in anyone which made it a real challenge for me to finish
  • No sense of hope & really frickin depressing
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Far from lovely and delicate, he was the picture of beautiful terror."

"Kim was expendable in the long run, but there was no way she would let go of a toy without a fight."



Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • For the mature YA reader who has a real interest in Angels
  • Not for those who like a lighter read
2.5 Dewey's


I received in exchange for an honest review -- sorry guys have to be honest

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

77 Shadow Street
by Dean Koontz
Random House
ISBN: 978-0-553-80771-4
Buy From Indigo

Description: I am the One, the all and the only. I live in the Pendleton as surely as I live everywhere. I am the Pendleton's history and its destiny. The building is my place of conception, my monument, my killing ground. . . .


The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartland city, a Gilded Age palace built in the late 1800s as a tycoons dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residentsamong them a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money managerthe Pendletons magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.

But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendletons past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a dark tide from which few have escaped.

Dean Koontz transcends all expectations as he takes readers on a gripping journey to a place where nightmare visions become realand where a group of singular individuals hold the key to humanitys destiny. Welcome to 77 Shadow Street

 The Good Stuff
  • Unique, spooky storyline
  • Intriguing characters with good back story development
  • Story slowly builds until you are on the seat of your pants wondering what is going to happen
  • Loved the kid Winny - very unsusual kid, found myself worried that something would happen to him 
  • The two old eccentric sisters are adorable and get the best dialogue
  • Hilarious dialogue at times which was exactly what you needed to read when the storyline was so creepy
  • Forgot how much I enjoyed reading Koontz's books, my fav is the Watchers
  • Love how he puts together groups of people in strange situations and shows how different characters react and how they work with each other - always fascinating
  • Like the maps of the layout of the building
  • nice little social commentary at times
  • Just a fun spooky wild ride - perfect for snuggling on the couch with on a cold winters night
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Spooked while reading had to sleep with the lights on -- you owe me a coffee Koontz, barely slept the night I finished reading
  • Could have used a wee bit of editing in terms of unneeded characters -- but hey he just kills them off anyway
  • A couple of stereotypical remarks about Librarians that made me snort in disgust
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Offending a concierge was a bad idea. Your mail might go missing.  The suit you expected back from the dry cleaner by Wednesday evening might be delivered to your apartment a week later. With food stains.  Although flashing the finger at Norman would be satisfying, a full apology would require doubling the usual gratuity."

"Being famus and never knowing what to say would be the worst, everybody hanging on your every word but you didn't have any words for them to hang on. That would be like falling facedown into manure in front of everybody like twenty times a day, everyday of your life."

"Quick, vaguely glimpsed, and enigmatic describes my first husband`s performance in the bedroom and he wasn`t supernatural.``
``No, but he was cute,`` Edna said.

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  •  Fans of Koont`s works will enjoy, I also think fans of Stephen King will get something out of this
  • Those who like supernatural spooky stories will love
  • Not for those who don`t like to read scary stuff
4 Dewey's

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

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In My Mailbox

For Review
Thanks HarperCollins

Miscellaneous

Thanks Cammy!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Good Reads Challenge - Completed

Forgot this one -- just remember this number included recipe books and picture books -- I am not some super reader : )



 

   


      2011 Reading Challenge
   

        
             
     
          2011 Reading Challenge 
       

           
 
        Jennifer has     
             
            completed her goal of reading 175 books in 2011!
                        
     

     

       
hide

     
 
     

        193 of 175 (110%)
     

     
       
   
          view books
       

     
   
   
 
   
 
     
 

Savvy Reader's 50 Book Pledge Challenge - Completed

And the final Challenge I took part in was the 50 Book Challenge organized by HarperCollins Canada

Savvy Readers 50 Book Pledge

 To read 50 books by December 31, 2011:

  1. Prom and Prejudice
  2.  Lake of Dreams
  3. The Guardians
  4.  Nerd Do Well
  5.  Incendiary
  6.  The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud
  7.  The Book of Tomorrow
  8.  Quest for the Spark #1 (Bone)
  9.  Don't Be Afraid
  10.  The Atheists Guide to Christmas
  11. Nocturne
  12.  Trapped
  13.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  14.  Plain Kate
  15.  The Mental Floss History of the United States
  16.  How to Raise a Boyfriend
  17.  The Border Vixen
  18.  Drinking Closer to Home
  19.  She-Wolves
  20.  Strings Attached
  21.  The Big Crunch
  22.  Home to Woefield
  23.  Bite Me: A Love Story
  24.  Crossing the Heart of Africa
  25.  Dressmaker of Khair Khana
  26.  My Dead Dad was In ZZ Top
  27.  The Final Reckoning
  28.  Wither
  29.  Tales of the Otherworld
  30.  A Lesson in Secrets
  31.  Da Vinci Code
  32.  Shade
  33.  Blue Bloods
  34.  Entwined
  35.  Masquerade
  36.  Vanished
  37.  Revelations
  38.  The Gathering
  39.  The Confession of Katherine Howard
  40.  The Van Alen Legacy
  41.  The Kennedy Detail
  42.  Red Glove
  43.  An Atlas of Impossible Longing
  44.  The Land of Painted Caves
  45.  Heads You Lose
  46.  Evermore
  47.  The Anti-Romantic Child
  48.  Divergent
  49.  Vanished (Book 3&4)
  50.  The Great Gatsby

BBC Top 100 Challenge - Completed

For this challenge I wanted to read 10 more books from the BBC's List of Top 100 Books. So as of today I have now read 39 of the

These are the 10 I chose and actually managed to finish, which I was very proud of

My Favorites

A Tale of Two Cities
Da Vinci Code
The Little Prince

BBC Top 100 Challenge

Lolita
A Tale of Two Cities
Oliver Twist
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Vanity Fair
Da Vinci Code
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Catcher in the Rye
The Great Gatsby
The Little Prince

A Year in Picture Books Challenge Completed

This was a fun Challenge as I adore picture books!!

Hard to pick only 3 favorites on this one

Favorites

The Butter Battle Book
The Lorax
Scaredy Squirrel




24 Picture Book Level

1 You by Stephen Michael King
2 Scaredy Squirrel has a Birthday Party
3 A Porcupine in a Pine Tree
4 The Underpants Zoo
5 Uh Oh, I'm Sorry
6 The Butter Battle Book
7 Harold and the Purple Crayon
8 The Backyardigans: Race to the Tower of Power
9 Russell The Sheep
10 Curious George Visits the Library
11 Drumheller Dinosaur Dance
12 Stanley's Wild Ride
13 How the Grinch Stole Christmas
14 I Love You Forever
15 Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach
16 Brady Brady and the Runaway Goalie
17 Polar Bear Express
18 Paper Bag Princess
19 Where is the Green Sheep
20 Giant or Waiting for the Thursday Boat
21 I'm a Manatee
22 Pippin the Christmas Pig
23 Grumpy Bird
24 Peg and the Yeti

YA Reading Challenge - Completed

This was an easy challenge to complete - next year I am going to up my challenge since I read so much YA -- Read some brilliant books this year in this category

Favorites

Divergent
The Gathering
The Maze Runner



2011 YA Reading Challenge - The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge Read 40 Young Adult novels


1 Prom and Prejudice
2 The Book of Tomorrow
3 Trapped
4 Plain Kate
5 Strings Attached
6 The Big Crunch
7 Wither
8 Shade
9 Blue Bloods
10 Entwined
11Masquerade
12 Vanished
13 Revelations
14 The Gathering
15 The Van Alen Legacy
16 Red Glove
17 Evermore
18 Divergent
19 Vanished (Book 3/4)
20 Abandon
21 Unearthly
22 Wake
23 Fade
24 Catcher in the Rye
25 Ten Things We Did
26 Beauty Queens
27 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
28 Forever
29 The Princess Diaries
30 Supernaturally
31 Dark Souls
32 Wildefire
33 There is No Dog
34 Delirium
35 Cleopatra's Moon
36 Witchlanders
37 What Happened to Goodbye
38 Dear Bully
39 Fury
40 The Maze Runner

Historical Fiction Challenge - Completed

Surprised that I didn't read more than what I challenged myself too

Favorites

The Border Vixen
The Dovekeepers

Detested: The Land of the Painted Caves


Historical Fiction Challenge - Struggling the Addiction Level: 10 books

1 The Border Vixen
2 She-Wolves
3 The Confession of Katherine Howard
4 The Land of Painted Caves
5 Queen by Right
6 A Midnight Dance
7 When Passion Rules
8 To Beguile a Beast
9 The Dovekeepers
10 The Gilded Web

E-Book Challenge - Completed


Addicted Level

  1. Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg
  2. The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud
  3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  4. Oliver Twist
  5. Bossypants
  6. Delirium
  7. Leviathan
  8. Behemoth
  9. Vanity Fair
  10. .A Tale of Two Cities
  11. I Am Number 4
  12. The Power of Six
Favorites for this Challenge Were

Nerd Do Well
I am Number 4
Delirium

100 Books in a Year Challenge - Completed

Well I managed to complete all my challenges this year.  Decided to post them all as individual posts.

Favorite Books from this list were

The Dovekeepers by Alice  Hoffman
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Dressmaker of Kahir Khana







To read 100 books by December 31, 2011:

  1. Prom and Prejudice
  2.  Lake of Dreams
  3. The Guardians
  4.  Nerd Do Well
  5.  Incendiary
  6.  The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud
  7.  The Book of Tomorrow
  8.  Quest for the Spark #1 (Bone)
  9.  Don't Be Afraid
  10.  The Atheists Guide to Christmas
  11. Nocturne
  12.  Trapped
  13.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  14.  Plain Kate
  15.  The Mental Floss History of the United States
  16.  How to Raise a Boyfriend
  17.  The Border Vixen
  18.  Drinking Closer to Home
  19.  She-Wolves
  20.  Strings Attached
  21.  The Big Crunch
  22.  Home to Woefield
  23.  Bite Me: A Love Story
  24.  Crossing the Heart of Africa
  25.  Dressmaker of Khair Khana
  26.  My Dead Dad was In ZZ Top
  27.  The Final Reckoning
  28.  Wither
  29.  Tales of the Otherworld
  30.  A Lesson in Secrets
  31.  Da Vinci Code
  32.  Shade
  33.  Blue Bloods
  34.  Entwined
  35.  Masquerade
  36.  Vanished
  37.  Revelations
  38.  The Gathering
  39.  The Confession of Katherine Howard
  40.  The Van Alen Legacy
  41.  The Kennedy Detail
  42.  Red Glove
  43.  An Atlas of Impossible Longing
  44.  The Land of Painted Caves
  45.  Heads You Lose
  46.  Evermore
  47.  The Anti-Romantic Child
  48.  Divergent
  49.  Vanished (Book 3&4)
  50.  The Great Gatsby
  51.  Water for Elephants
  52.  Abandon
  53.  Crash Into Me: A Survivor's Search For Justice
  54.  Dead Reckoning
  55.  Unearthly
  56.  Queen by Right
  57.  The Tiger
  58.  Vaclav and Lena
  59.  How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
  60.  Catcher in the Rye
  61.  Ten Things We Did
  62.  Beauty Queens
  63.  Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children
  64.  Hit List
  65.  Carte Blanche
  66.  Oliver Twist
  67.  Forever
  68.  Sex on the Moon
  69.  Spell Bound
  70.  Supernaturally
  71.  Dark Souls
  72.  Wildefire
  73.  A Midnight Dance
  74.  When Passion Rules
  75.  Then Came You
  76.  There is No Dog
  77.  Cleopatra's Moon
  78.  Witchlanders
  79.  Naked Heat
  80.  Dear Bully
  81.  To Beguile a Beast
  82.  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
  83.  Drama: An Actors Education
  84.  The Dovekeepers
  85.  The Gilded Web
  86.  The Hundred-Foot Journey
  87.  The Scorpio Races
  88.  A Touch of Frost
  89.  Clockwork Angel
  90.  The Death Cure
  91.  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me
  92.  Double Dexter
  93.  iBoy
  94.  We Bought a Zoo
  95.  The Vampire and the Virgin
  96.  11/22/63
  97.   Firelight
  98.  The Summoning
  99.   Triangles
  100.  Clockwork Prince

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore: Mini Book Review

The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies #2)
by Pittacus Lore (
HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780061974557
Suggested Ages: 12+ (Violence)
Buy From Indigo

Description: I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed usif we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohioand failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight


Mini Book Review: I didn't enjoy it as much as I am Number 4 but it was still a fast paced fun story. I think the real problem with it was the character of Number Seven who was just a blah forgettable character. I did enjoy some of the secondary characters in her storyline, but not her.  I found I skimmed her chapters just so I could get back to John and Six who were far more intriguing.  Their storyline is moving along nicely and there are some lovely fun light moments interspersed within the intense on the run plot. John is a loveable character who you cheer for even when he makes stupid mistakes and Six is the kick ass chick that I would love to be.  I also liked the development of Sam's storyline and I look forward to finding out what happened to his Dad. The ending is fantastic and has left me counting down the days until the next installment comes out.

4 Dewey's

I purchased this for my Kobo

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mom and Me Mondays: Picture Book Edition

Pippin the Christmas Pig
by Jean Little
Illustrated by Werner Zimmermann
North Winds Press (Scholastic)
ISBN: 9-780-7791-1420-5
Buy From Indigo

Description: Pippin the pig shows the boasting barn animals that giving of yourself is the best Christmas gift of all. Tomorrow is Christmas, and all the animals are boasting to little Pippin the pig about the important gifts their VERY-great-grandparents gave to the special baby that was born in a stable long ago. When Pippin wants to know what the pigs gave, the animals scoff - what could a pig have given a holy child? Dejected, Pippin heads out alone into a raging snow storm. There he meets a lost mother and baby, and leads them to the warmth of the barn. And in caring for this family in need, the animals see that giving of yourself is the best Christmas gift of all.

Jake's Review:  This is a nice easy book to read about how a bunch of animals (Especially the little pig) help a mom and baby find a warm place to sleep on a cold Christmas night.  Sorta of like the baby Jesus story.  Its kinda cute and I like how the illustrator drew the little pig Pippin.

Jake's Rating: 8/10

Mom's Review:  A lovely simple tale about the meaning of Christmas and of family with sweet illustrations. There is some nice humour and the animals have very honest human like emotions.  A perfect book for a Christmas story-time session or just to read to your kids over the Christmas holiday.

Mom's Rating: 8/10

Peg and the Yeti
by Kenneth Oppel
Illustrated by Barbara Reid
HarperColllins
ISBN: 9-780-00-200538-7
Buy From Indigo

Description: If you've already plumbed the depths of the sea by the time you're eight, there's nothing left but to climb the world's tallest mountain. So figures Peg, the feisty heroine of a delightfully outrageous tall tale by award-winning children's fantasy writer Kenneth Oppel (author of Airborn and the Silverwing trilogy). A follow-up to Oppel's equally whimsical picture book Peg and the Whale, Peg and the Yeti describes the incredible journey of this pint-sized adventurer to the top of Mount Everest and back.



Jake's Review:  The pictures are really funky but I found the story kind of stupid.  The Yeti was cool though!

Jake's Rating: 6/10

Mom's Review:  I'm not a fan of the Peg series as I find her a bit irritating, but Reid's illustrations really make up for it. She is truly a unique illustrator. The storyline is cute and I can see young girls being a fan of Peg as she can do anything, which is a nice message, but in general not my favorite picture book.

Mom's Rating: 6/10

I'm a Manatee
by John Lithgow
Illustrated by Ard Hoyt
Alladin Paperbacks (Simon and Schuster)
ISBN: 978-0-689-85452-1
Buy From Indigo

Description: From time to time I dream that I''m a manatee, Undulating underneath the sea.  A little boy dreams of becoming a manatee, and what a dream it is! With his new gigan-atee manatee proportions, he sets off on an underwater adventure with his manatee friends.

Jake's Review:  This is really funny to listen to, the guys voice is hilarious. I like the pictures in this one and think the midget will like it too.  When you read the book without the CD it isn't as fun, much better with the weird guy reading and singing.  Mom says this guys is an actor and I think I would like to watch movies with him in it, cause he sounds like he's just a big kid.

Jake's Rating:  8/10

Mom's Review:   This is a truly charming book to listen to as Lithgow has the perfect over the top voice and gives so much personality to a rather simple story.  The illustrations in the book are delightful and go nicely with the imaginative tale.  I would recommend this one to read to your child as some of the language is quite difficult.  However, it would also be fabulous for expanding vocabulary with older children.  Honestly, this works so much better when Lithgow reads it as he makes all the big words sound so delightfully silly that kids will pick up the words and not realize they are actually learning something. 

Mom's Rating: 9/10

Grumpy Bird 
by Jeremy Tankard
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-439-85147-3
Buy From Indigo

Description: Bright and fresh with an innovative art style, this debut picture book from a huge new talent is sure to win lots of fans!

Bird wakes up feeling grumpy. Too grumpy to eat or play -- too grumpy even to fly. "Looks like I'm walking today," says Bird. He walks past Sheep, who offers to keep him company. He walks past Rabbit, who also could use a walk. Raccoon, Beaver, and Fox join in, too.

Before he knows it, a little exercise and companionship help Bird shake his bad mood. This winsome, refreshingly original picture book is sure to help kids (and grown-ups) giggle away theirs, too!


Jake's Review:  This is a really funny  book.  Grumpy reminds me of both my parents and the midget.  I like how the bird is in a bad mood and than slowly with the help of his friends loses his grumpiness.  The pictures are funky and I would like to read more books by the author that are more for my age, as this one is more for little babies.

Jake's Rating: 9/10

Mom's Review:  I love Grumpy Bird, he totally reminds me of my kids, ok and me on some days. This is a truly delightful little story that everyone can relate too. It is sweet and honest and it will delight everyone from the littlest baby to the grumpiest Mom.  The illustrations and colour scheme are very unique and add to the appeal of the story.   I highly recommend this one for story-time and a perfect book to read to your kids on a rainy day.  I met Tankard at the OLA last year and he was hilarious and a truly unique man as well. 

Mom's Rating: 9/10

All of the above books are from our personal library and they all are signed (Jean Little & Werner Zimmerman, Barbara Reid, John Lithgow and Jeremy Tankard)

Friday, December 16, 2011

I am Number 4 by Pittacus Lore: Mini Book Review

I am Number 4
by Pittacus Lore

HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780061969553
Suggested Age: 12+ (Mild violence)
Buy From Indigo
Buy From Kobo


Description: In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I Am Number Four is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their futureand live a normal life on Earth.

I AM NUMBER FOUR.
I AM NEXT



Mini Book Review:  Really enjoyed this one. The writing isn't the best, but the fast paced interesting plot really makes up for it.  The characters are interesting and likeable and the story is non stop action with some humour and romance tossed in.  My only real complaint, and not really much a complaint  more of a a personal preference, is the love scenes are nauseatingly mushy.  But you have to remember I am a 41 yr old women and these books are written for young teens.   I was hooked in from the opening chapter and did not want to put the book down I was so engrossed in the excitement of the story. In fact I figured I was going to finish the book on the bus ride home so I purchased (For my Kobo) The Power of Six just in case my commute went a little longer.  Highly recommend for teens and even adults who just enjoy a good story. Perfect book for a day at the beach.  Now must go and read some more of The Power of Six on my lunch break.


4.5 Dewey's


I purchased this for my Kobo (on suggestion from Liam)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost: Mini Book Review

One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress #6)
by Jeaniene Frost

Avon Books (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-178319-7
Buy From Indigo

Description: Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans' voodoo queen just keeps on giving--leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit.

Centuries ago, Heinrich Kramer was a witch hunter. Now, every All Hallows Eve, he takes physical form to torture innocent women before burning them alive. This year, however, a determined Cat and Bones must risk all to send him back to the other side of eternity--forever. But how do you kill a killer who's already long dead?


Mini Book Review:  Realized while I was reading this I must not have read the previous novel, its on my shelf but totally missed reading it.  Ah well, didn't really affect my reading just a couple of times was thinking when the hell did that happen.  This is a typically wonderful Jeaniene Frost story with plenty of action, laughs and hot naughty bits. Like most women I wish Bones was real and I was Cat, since he is so incredibly yummy.  I also love all of the other secondary characters, especially Ian who always makes me laugh. Enjoyed the plot in this installment as it was highly original and intriguing.  My only complaints with this one is that it was a tad repetitive at times and maybe could use a bit more Ian. Highly enjoyable wild ride!

4 Dewey's


I borrowed this from Natasha

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: Mini Book Review

A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens
Originally Published 1859
Kobo Edition
Buy From Indigo

Description: After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine. 
 

Mini Book Review: It was the best of books and the worst of books all at the same time (LOL I know cheesy, but I couldn't help myself) I won't lie it was a tough book to get into at first (I always struggle with the language and overly descriptive passages in classics) , with the exception of the opening chapter which is bloody beautifully written.  But once I was halfway in I was completely engrossed and did not want to put it down which surprised me.  I actually cried throughout the last chapter too, it was so moving.  It is really hard to review a classic as so much has been written about it there really isn't nothing new to say that hasn't already been said. Its just a fabulous tale of social justice, sacrifice, vengeance and redemption set during the years leading up to, during and after the French Revolution.  The characters are intriguing, the plot surprisingly fast paced and melodramatic and a truly magnificent social commentary of the time.   I recommend everyone read this one as it is unlike many of Dickens other stories (less characters and unnecessary sub plots).



4.5 Dewey's

I read this as part of the BBC Top 100 Challenge and I downloaded it free to my Kobo

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mom and Me Mondays: Picture Book Edition

The Polar Express
by Chris Van Allsburg
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780395389492
Buy From Indigo

Description: A magical train ride on Christmas Eve takes a boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa.

Jake's Review:  Mom reads us this every Christmas and its a nice story. The wolves in the one picture are pretty scary and I think it will freak out some smaller kids like the midget.

Jake's Rating: 7/10

Mom's Review: I love the artwork in this Christmas favorite and we read it every Christmas eve. It is a simple beautiful story about the importance of keeping the magic of Christmas alive.  The story is simple, yet heartfelt and like so many others have a sudden urge to be a child again and believe in Santa every-time I read it.   I honestly had never heard of it until my Sister in Law gave us a copy for our son on his 1st Christmas 10 yrs ago.  BTW, I found the movie version seriously creepy due to the special effects and it seemed to miss so much of the heart of the book.
Mom's Rating: 9/10


The Paperbag Princess
by Robert Munsch Art by Michael Martchenko
Annick Press
ISBN: 9-7809-2023-616-1
Buy From Indigo

Description: The Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald--who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance.

Jake's Review:  I pretty much like all Robert Munsch's books because they are funny and easy to read.  They are never boring and he talks more like a kid than an adult. I like the dragon in this one and its kinda funny how Elizabeth convinces him to do stupid stuff.  The pictures are really funny and I like that the princess calls Ronald a bum.

Jake's Rating: 9/10

Mom's Review:  Even Jesse lets me read him this one, so you know its good when a book hating toddler likes to listen and look at the pictures.  Like so many women I appreciate the message about the importance of staying true to yourself and of being a strong resourceful women who doesn't need to depend on a man.   At the same time its just a delightfully fun sweet story that the whole family will enjoy.  The artwork is hilarious and melds perfectly with the story.  Win win when Munsch and Martchenko get together! This is a true classic (and my copy is totally signed by Munsch!)
Mom's Rating: 10/10

The Giant, or Waiting for the Thursday Boat
by Robert Munsch
Firefly Books
ISBN: 9781550370713
Out of Print (Buy Used from Indigo)

Description: Upset with St. Patrick for chasing the other giants out of Ireland, McKeon throws church bells into the sea, until St. Patrick tells him God will come on the Thursday boat



Jake's Review: Mom REALLY likes this book and read it all the time to me when I was a kid (Mom's note: yup he's now an adult at age 10). I like the giant  because he is funny and tells everybody he want to punch the Peter guy for taking away all the snakes  and I like that God is a little girl and not some scary looking guy who is always telling you to be good (Mom's note: maybe a little religious training would be a good thing).  I really don't get why mom LOVES this book though. Its funny and the pictures are cool
Jake's Rating: 7/10

Mom's Review: It took me forever to find a copy of this book years ago when I had first heard of it. I was taking a children's literature course and the professor told me about this wonderful book.  This title has been challenged and banned in many school districts across Canada and the US which just totally blows my mind. It is a beautiful, sensitive and honest look at stereotypes in religion. God is a wise plain spoken little black girl and I guess that freaks out those who are extreme in their religious beliefs. I don't mean to offend anyone and you have to understand I was raised in a loving, good family who just didn't do the church thing. My parents had faith but it was more a non denominational type of way.  But those who have challenged this must have missed the point of the story being about diversity and acceptance and that is the type of god I want to believe in - rant over : )
Mom's Rating: 10/10

Where is the Green Sheep
by Mem Fox Art by Judy Horacek
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9-7801-5206-704-5
Buy From Indigo

Description: There are red sheep and blue sheep, wind sheep and wave sheep, scared sheep and brave sheep, but where is the green sheep? The search is on in this cozy, sheep-filled story from acclaimed author Mem Fox and popular Australian cartoonist Judy Horacek. Complete with sleepy rhymes and bright illustrations, this book is sure to delight children of all ages, from the very young to those just beginning


Jake's Review:  Mom says she used to read this to me all the time as a kid, but I don't really remember. The pictures are really bright and funny and I like the rhyme. This is one that I think Jesse will like because it is simple to read and he's not really good at reading.

Jake's Rating: 8/10

Mom's Review:  My buddy Carianne lent this one to me a long time ago because the night she babysat Jake, he made her read it over and over and over again.  He loved  it so much that I had to go out and buy my own copy of it because I was worried it would fall apart from overuse. The delightfully silly artwork is worth the price of the book alone. This is a lovely board book for just reading to a young child and also for the the child beginning to read on their own. For younger readers it nicely and simply introduces concepts like opposites and colours (Dear spell-check I am Canadian this is how we spell it - stop telling me I am spelling it wrong)  I - all done in a fun quirky manner. A fabulous book for story-time -- and I can attest great for establishing a bedtime ritual -- I can still recite it word for word.

Mom's Rating: 9/10

Brady Brady and the Runaway Goalie
by Mary Shaw and Chuck Temple

Brady, Brady Incorporated
ISBN: 9-7809-7355-571-4
Buy From Indigo

Description: When the Icehogs goalie goes missing before the big game, Brady Brady saves the day!




Jake's Review:  I love the Brady Brady books even now. The story is really easy to read and the pictures are really funny. Brian would love these books because he is as obsessed with hockey as Brady is. Brady is a good friend but he is kinda goody goody. Mom and dad have been reading this to Jesse and he actually sits and listens without throwing the book so its gotta be good.

Jake's Rating: 8/10


Mom's Review: The whole family (even Jesse) adore the Brady Brady series. The kids love the adorable colourful artwork and the simple fun stories that deal with Hockey (which as you know is a Canadian passion - especially for young boys).  Each story teaches important lessons like telling the truth, teamwork, believing in yourself and the importance of being a good friend. This story was our introduction to Brady Brady and it hooked us all in and we have each and every one of the Brady Brady stories. In this installment we learn more about Chester the Goalie and how he learns, with the help of his team, to believe in himself. The books are self published and you can get them online (with some fun swag too) and also at many bookstores.  Good stories for reluctant hockey obsessed boys.

Mom's Rating: 9.5/10

All of these books belong to the Rayment library and nobody gave us nothing for telling you all about them

In My Mailbox

For Review

Thanks HarperCollins!

THANKS Simon and Schuster - This be my Christmas Reading

Thanks Random House

Miscellaneous
Signed by THE Bill Clinton (CD is from lovely boy I met in line)

Sabrina Jeffries mails these a couple times of the year - love them!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mental Floss: The Book (The Greatest Lists in the History of Lists) Edited by Ethan Trex, Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudor

Mental Floss: The Book (The Greatest Lists in the History of Lists)
Edited by Ethan Trex, Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudor
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-206930-6
Buy From Indigo

Description:  For ten years, the knowledge seekers at mental_floss have been hunting and trapping the worlds rarest facts, locking them into captivating lists for the world to admire. Thanks to their tireless efforts, Mental Floss: The Book is packed with a decades worth of the smartest, quirkiest stories around, including:
 Five Presidential Fashion Flubs
Four Toys That Have Gone to War for America
Seven Reasons Mister Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever
Five Things Your Body Can Do After You Die
Six of Baseballs Strangest Trades
Seven Things Walmart Has Banned
Four TV Shows That Changed the Course of History
Five Doomsdays Weve Already Survived

The Good Stuff
  • A trivia buffs wet dream - this is full of tons of little tidbits that fellow trivia nerds will enjoy
  • Quirky humour goes well with the subject matter
  • Well researched
  • Quick and easy to read
  • Learned tons of interesting facts
  • Truly fascinating historical tidbits
  • Loved the list Seven Shameless Abuses of Diplomatic Immunity
  • Nicely organized (Hello I am a nerdy Librarian, these things matter)
  • Awesome section: Lists You can share with your kids (or your inner child)
  • Also enjoyed Lists to Lighten the Mood at the E.R. (Hey reading it out loud would help pass the time and make everybody feel better, which in turn may empty out some of the ER)
  • I am sooo going to kick butt at trivia games thanks to this book - I mean its filled wit h fun facts at the bottom of each page like "Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he died in 2008, his ashes were buried in one."
  • Tons of fun pop culture references and lists

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Some of the pages are a little too busy for this scatterbrained mom
  • the lines on left hand side of each page really bother my eyes
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"If you remember one thing from the first Bush administration, it's probably not the 1992 state dinner during which President George H. W. Bush, ill with the flu, lost his lunch in the lap of the Japanese prime minister.. Well, a lot of Japanese remember that incident a little better. Turns out, Bush's faux pas coined a Japanese slang word, bushusure, which translates as "to the Bush thing," meaning "to vomit".

"In 1943 Philip Morris ran an ad acknowledging "Smokers cough" They claimed it was caused by smoking brands other than Philip Morris."
 

"At the chain Fatburger, you can order a "Hypocrite" a veggie burger topped with crispy strips of bacon."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • A Must have for Trivia Nerds
  • Would be a fun housewarming gift - perfect for the coffee table
4.5 Dewey's


I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2)
by Cassandra Clare
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4424-3353-3
Suggested Ages: 14 + (Due to mild violence)
Buy From Indigo
Release Date: December 6, 2011

Description: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.


With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?  As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.


The Good Stuff
  • Can see what the fuss is all about now - Clare is a brilliant storyteller and I cannot wait to read the Mortal Instruments series
  • Fascinating characters - love each and everyone of them --even the bad guys because they are so richly drawn
  • Good continuation of Clockwork Angel
  • Plenty of twists and turns that will keep you enthralled with the story and not want to put it down
  • The Steampunk Victorian England she has created feels so very real
  • Lots of fun snarky dialogue mixed with beautiful heartbreaking moments
  • Love the scenes between Will -- and -- well pretty much everyone -- such a wonderful character
  • Totally in love with Magnus, what an intriguing character, need to know more about him
  • The scene between Tessa and Will near the end of the book is so beautifully done and so achingly sad -- I was tearing up
  • Jem is so sweet and wonderful -- but I would still choose Will -- like the naughtier boys myself - but Tessa would work with either choice - I say let her have both
  • Strong witty female characters
  • Good cliffhanger ending - that doesn't frustrate, but intrigues -- damn how long am I going to have to wait for that
  • Relationships are very realistic and not typical of much of the YA stuff -- nice character development too
  • Love the covers of Clare's books, they look oh so pretty on my book shelf
The  Not So Good Stuff
  • Drags a wee bit about  half way through -- but does pick up
  • A little bit too much of the choosing between two hot boys for this jaded 41 yr old mom -- but the teens will definitely swoon
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"There was something about the smell of books, the ink-and-paper-and-leather scent, the way dust in a library seemed to behave differently from the dust in any other room - it was golden in the light of the witchlight tapers, settling like pollen across the  polished surfaces of the long tables."

"He was really going to have to do something about this annoying softhearted impulse to assist the desperate, Magnus thought."

"Oh, I'd say a friend." said Tessa.  "One doesn't usually let one's business associates lick one's face. Although I could be wrong. What do I know about these  things? I'm only a silly woman."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Pretty much everyone will enjoy (would recommend reading Clockwork Angel first though)
  • Fans of Cassandra Clare -- obviously will enjoy
  • Will definitely be introducing this series to my niece
4.5 Dewey's

I received this from Simon and Schuster in Exchange for an Honest Review