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, July 28, 2010

The Princess Bride by William Goldman: Book Review

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's classic tale of true love and high adventure (The good parts version)
by William Goldman
A Harvest Book (Harcourt, Inc.)
ISBN: 978-0-15-603515-6

Description: The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a "good parts version" of "S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale...more The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a "good parts version" of "S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure." Morgenstern's original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern's mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the "Classic Tale" nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."

Goldman frames the fairy tale with an "autobiographical" story: his father, who came from Florin, abridged the book as he read it to his son. Now, Goldman is publishing an abridged version, interspersed with comments on the parts he cut out.

Is The Princess Bride a critique of classics like Ivanhoe and The Three Musketeers, that smother a ripping yarn under elaborate prose? A wry look at the differences between fairy tales and real life? Simply a funny, frenetic adventure? No matter how you read it, you'll put it on your "keeper" shelf.

The Good Stuff
  • Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya you killed my father prepare to die -- Come on who doesn't love that line -- even better when you can picture Mandy Patinkin saying it ; )
  • Love the asides by the author explaining why he cut out parts.  And I agree with why he cut them out
  • Fascinating Introductions to the book. They really make a difference and help you to understand so much. Written in a quite self deprecating style. Plus wonderful trivia, facts and historical information
  • The Characters of Wesley, Inigo, Fezzik and miracle max
  • The scene with miracle max is hilarious
  • To quote the movie "Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles..."  what is not to love.  Stop reading my damn review and go read the book, I cannot do the story justice.

The Not so Good Stuff
  • A little slow at times
  • Buttercup isn't as engaging as she is in the movie, and quite frankly If I was Wesley I would have found someone maybe a little less beautiful but more interesting and worthy of his devotion
  • Authors points of views are a little bit of a downer at times 

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya you killed my father prepare to die."

"There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C., when Saul and Delilah Korn's discovery swept across Western civilization. (Before then couples hooked thumbs.)"

"Your father is dying." "Drat!" said the Prince. "That means I shall have to get married."

"Of all the cuts in this version, I feel most justified in making this one. Just as the chapters on whaling in Moby Dick can be omitted by all but the most punishment-loving readers, so the packing scenes that Morgenstern details here are really best left alone."

 What I Learned
  • All about why the book was written
  • That Stephen King was asked to work on the abridgment of Buttercup's Baby
  • All sorts of history, facts and trivia of both the story and the movie
  • That I need to go watch the movie again -- I'm going to bring it with us camping next week
  • All about Andre the Giant
  • About "Buttercup's Baby"  - go read this version of the book to find out

Who should/shouldn't read
  • Natasha shouldn't read it because she didn't like the movie -- I know but I still love her
  • Anyone who loved the movie
  • Everybody else not mentioned above should also like this -- come on just read the book already

4.5 Dewey's

I borrowed this from the Albion Bolton Public Library and don't have to do a review for it, but wanted to anyway!

Monday, July 26, 2010

In My Mailbox (Sorry no Mom or Me this week)

Wow -- what an incredible week for books.  Also received (Why do I spell this word wrong ALL THE TIME) something from the States through DHL -- but they never came on Friday like they promised.

For Review

From Simon and Schuster

From Simon and Schuster

From Simon and Schuster (oops thought I was requesting the new Elemenatal Assasin book from Jennifer Estep)

From Scholastic Books (Fantastic ones for Mom an Me Monday's)

From Penguin Books


From the Book Belles (All the books are signed)

From Supernatural Underground (Melissa Marr)

From a Library of Clean Reads (Wait till I give this to my son tonight -- Can you say Best Mom EVER!)


For writing a post on what reading this book means to me from HarperCollins' 50th Anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird

The wonderful Auntie Holly sent $10 each for Jake and Jesse to spend on our camping vacation & a cute notepad that says "You can't scare me, I have Children" for me"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Interview with Maggie Stiefvater and Contest

OOOPS contest is for CANADIAN address' (Please see comment at end)

I was very excited to have the opportunity to interview Maggie for the blog tour. At the end of the interview you also have the opportunity to win a copy of Linger for your very own. Lucky you, the  book is great, check out my review here.

Thanks Maggie for answering my questions and for being my first blog tour author

What made you choose to write YA fiction?

A total inability to grow up. Also, because I believe that you oughta write the books that you like to read, and I love to read teen fiction. I dont ever remember the conscious decision to write YA, its just something that I always thought Id do. Except for a brief time in my teens when I thought I would write IRA thrillers narrated by Harrison Ford. But that has passed.

If you had a chance to meet any author and spend the day hanging out with, who would it be and why?

Hmm, can I spend a day in their world instead? Because I would really like to get into the world in Diana Wynne Jones Chrestomanci books. I love her magical systems and the food sounds yummy.

Since you are a writer, and we know you all hang around the house all day in your PJ's, what are your favorite type of Jammie's

I actually cant really concentrate on writing so long as I think a delivery man might come to the door and find me without a bra on. I guess that sounds slightly neurotic. But regardless, I usually climb out of bed and right into a pair of jeans. Does that count?

What are your thoughts on Librarians and Libraries.

I was practically raised by feral librarians, so Im for them. No way would I be the writer I am today if I wasnt the reader I was as a kid, and no way could I have been that reader without libraries.

What are your opinions as a Mom and an author on sex and violence in YA books.

I tend to think that by the time a reader gets to YA books, especially upper YA, they are basically ready for whatever content you can throw at them. Its an age where, before there was a lot of YA, most teens would skip right to adult books where there is sex, violence, and people with feet fetishes. Its fantastic to have an intermediate place now, where teens can actually keep reading about teens, but it harder situations. Theyd only be reading adult novels otherwise anyway. So as a mom, I have to say I dont lose a seconds worth of sleep over the content in upper YA novels, because by then, my kids have gone through a childhood of reading and will be just what the label suggests: young adults.

Otherwise, sex and violence? Why, thats Shiver and Linger, respectively. ;p

Do you read all the reviews on your books and do you ever Google yourself to find out what authors are saying - and how do you really feel about negative reviews.

Of course I google myself! Everyone googles themselves. Wait, they dont? Honestly, I used to be obsessed with reviews, but now . . . I have a few reviewers that I sit on tenterhooks, waiting for their thoughts on my latest book, and then Im fairly chill. I have a thick skin and there are hundreds of reviews for each of my books, so no single review really bothers me. I do get annoyed when someone gets personal, though. That happens very, very rarely, but when it does, it makes me wiggle my eyebrows in a mean way.

And thats not something anyone wants to see. 

Maggie Stiefvaters website:

SHIVER series site:

Maggie Stiefvaters blog:

Author Twitter:

Author Facebook:

Maggie Stiefvaters Linger Book Trailer: official Shiver page  

Also for my fellow Canadians:  Shiver (the first book) has been nominated as a Best Read in the 1st annual Indigo Teen Read Awards. Fans are more than welcome to cast their votes at this website:

And now what you have all been waiting for, here is your chance to win your very own copy of  Linger.  I don't want to complicate things so all I ask is that you Follow me and leave a Comment below. The comment really should be about the book or the author.  Please make sure you leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win.  Contest Ends Midnight August 7th and will post winner next day (Canada  Only)

For those who have entered contest already from the US -- I will send it to you if you win -- further entries for Canadians only -- sorry about the mixup!!!

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, book #2) by Maggie Stiefvater: Book Review

by Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: July 20, 2010
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-545-12328-0
Suggested Ages: 13-18 (Some slight mentions of sexuality, drugs & violence - very minor though)

Description: In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past...and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves...and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love--the light and the dark, the warm and the cold--in a way you will never forget.

The Good Stuff
  • Her description of the landscape and the wolves is so breathtakingly lovely and realistic that you feel you could reach out and touch
  • All the dialogue that comes out of Isabel's mouth
  • The relationship between Grace and Isabel and the relationship between Grace and Rachel
  • Stiefvater really understands those on the cusp of being adults. The confusion, the angst and well just the heightened emotional stages of young adults
  • Fascinating storyline that keeps you wanting more and makes you impatient for book 3 to come out
  • Cole, interesting new character with a fascinating back story
  • The character development of Isabel

The Not so Good Stuff
  • The ending of this particular book you could see coming from almost the 4th or 5th chapter.  It was still a great ride, but you knew what was going to happen

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I never knew there were so many kinds of love or that love could make do so many different things. I never knew there were so many different ways to say good-bye."

"My colleague informs me that I spoke too strongly. I am watching Grace make Italian Food."

"Hick allergy. Isabel said. Grease allergy. Where I used to live, we had real coffeehouses. When I say Panini here, everyone says bless you."

What I Learned
  • Being a wolf sounds pretty cool
  • Sucks to go from wolf to human and back again
  • Parents are almost always portrayed as selfish dufus' in YA, Than again when I was that age I thought my parents were dufus' too
  • I'm very impatient -- when the hell is the 3rd book coming out?

Who should/shouldn't read
  • Pretty good for anyone over the age of 13
  • Not for the emotionally sensitive
  • Fans of paranormal fiction

4.5 Deweys

I received from Scholastic in return for an honest review

Listen to Maggie read from Linger at Scholastic 

Check out my interview with Maggie and CONTEST

Monday, July 19, 2010

CSN Giveaway Winner

Ok,  I will make this quick since I have to run and catch my bus.  The winner using (Sorry I couldn't figure how to post the results

Is #9 Cheryl  who wrote

Boy they have a lot of good items, but I am thinking maybe the circus play tent for my girls!
I am a follower


1. Zita
2. DG
3. Rebecca Graham
4. throughthehaze
5. Andie
6. Domestic Diva
7. k_sunshine1977
8. Stacey
9. Cheryl
10. CrystalGB

Would have loved for everyone to have got their wishes, but "There can be only one". Cheryl I will email you in a few minutes.

Thanks again Everyone!! and Thank You CSN for giving me this opportunity

In My Mailbox (And Out)

So, I am trying to keep up with this, mostly so I have a record of some of the books (& other contests) I have won or gotten for review.

For Review from HarperCollins

Bought with the Chapters gift card I won from I heart Chocolate

I had to buy "What the Librarian Did" just for the title : )  Bought the Jeaniene Frost books so that I could have my own copies and not have to borrow Natasha's all the time

Won from Wicked Awesome Books -- Thanks Nikki - I passed some of it on to Jesse's babysitter, as she is a total Twilight Fan. Jake kept the keychain though, he thought it was WICKED

These are the books I sent to Helaine Becker for Airlift to La

The Card I made for Auntie Holly to send to her friend -- sorry forgot to take a picture of the inside, but it turned out awesome!

Mom and Me Monday's: Jesse Edition

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle
Penguin Young Reader Group
Ages: For reading 4-8: For chewing and reading to your child -9mths and up

Description: Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a perennial favourite with children and adults alike.  Its imaginative illustration and clever cut-out detail charts the progress of a very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through the week. This board book edition of what is surely a classic picture book is glossy, sturdy and ideal for curious little hands to get to grips with

Mom's Review: This is a delightful board book for young children and well pretty much anyone.  The story is simple and the illustrations are beautiful and appeal to even the youngest reader.  My older boy Jake loved this story and I even got him and Jesse a stuffed toy version of it. I recommend it to anyone with kids, all public and school libraries and also for colleges like "Humber College" who have ECE programs.  It is definitely a classic.
Mom's Rating: 9/10

Jesse's Review: Book -- book. Taste book, yummy, throw book -- Ball - no book -- give me ball.  Laugh at Mommy while she keeps trying to read me the book and I keep throwing it.  Silly mommy thought if she also gave me the stuffed caterpillar, that I would want to look at the book.  Not going to happen, I am smarter than you Mommy! My shame is secret no longer -- Jesse hates all books and loves to throw them. Each time I try to open a book for him he either, throws it or chews on it -- and loves laughing at me when I look disgusted with him.  He is definitely Jeff's child, and if I didn't see him come out of me, I would wonder if he was really mine too.  Well, at least Jake likes to read.
Jesse's Rating: Goes far when I throw it.  Taste's kinda yucky, sort of like that wheat free wrap my momma tried to eat this morning. Not thick enough for me to step on to get to the chocolate on the table

Next week Mom and Me will return with Jake and I reviewing Percy Jackson: The Lightening Thief.  We just started reading it last night and he likes it so far.  I love it, but it might be a  little scary for my sensitive boy.  We watched the movie on Friday Night and it gave him nightmares.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gin Blanco's (Jennifer Estep) Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich (From Spider's Bite)

 Ever since I read Spider's Bite where Gin talks about making this Peanut Butter, pumpkin & Banana sandwich, I have been dying to make it (and eat it of course). Nathasha and I were going to get together and make it, but we both decided it would be much more fun to make with my little experimenter Jake.  He loves to experiment in the kitchen -- and than make me stomach whatever he has made (Trust me this has been pretty nasty at times) so I figured this would be right up his alley.  Also had to make it today since for the next 10 days I have to go without wheat and there was no way in hell that I was going to make it  -- and not eat it.

Here are some pics and the recipe follows. Oh yeah, and if you haven't read the book -- trust me go buy it now, you will not regret it -- and you will totally understand why I had to make this too.

 No you cannot make me try that nasty looking thing!

 O.K. I tasted it, I am soo not going to swallow it -- pumpkin icky!!

Oh Yeah, thanks to Natasha for reminding me -- It tasted AWESOME !!!!!!! You gotta make it

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 banana, sliced
2 slices of your favorite bread

Mix the peanut butter and pumpkin together to form a creamy spread (there will be enough spread for more than one sandwich). Put the spread on one slice of your favorite bread. Top with the banana slices. Drizzle the banana slices with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon, if you wish. Top with the remaining piece of bread and enjoy your sandwich with a glass of cold milk.
From Gin's Recipe Box

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rayment Family Bookshelves

I love looking at other book bloggers bookshelves and thought what the heck why not post our families shelves. So here they are

Jen's Bookshelf #1

Jen's Bookshelf #2a (had to do separate pictures of shelves due to location of bookshelf)

Jen's Bookshelf #2b

Jen's Bookshelf #2c

Signed Books #1

Coffee table book that cannot be put on the coffee table as Jesse might try and eat it -- and we don't want him to drool on his "real" daddy (Hey I got preggers because of red wine and a viewing of Casino Royale)


Jake's Bookshelf #1

Jake's Bookshelf #2

Jesse's Bookshelf (Filled with Jake's hand me down books)

Jesse's chew toys (like he is actually going to open them up)

and Finally - Jeff's bookshelf - My hubby doesn't like to read, but he got these because he thought they were cute books.  BTW, he reads to Jake all the time, eventhough he doesn't like books - and that is why I love him : )

Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany: Book Review

Jane and the Damned

by Janet Mullany
Avon: Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-06-195830-4
Release: October 2010

Description: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies generated instant buzz, immediately hitting the New York Times bestseller list, and the trend has held strong with follow-up Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, as well as other takes including Mr. Darcy, Vampyre. Sharp and witty author Janet Mullany takes the legendary Austen on a wild, fabulous, and tongue-in-cheek ride readers are sure to love.

In 1797, when aspiring novelist Jane Austen becomes one of the Damned, the beautiful, fashionable, sexy vampires of Georgian England, her family insists she takes the waters at Bath, the only known cure. But the city becomes a blood bath when the French invade and the Damned are the only ones who can overthrow the French and save England.

Jane now regards her creation as a vampire as a gift. She rejects the cure and discovers a world of freedom, love, and adventure as a vampire. But as an immortal, she loses her ability to write and must sever ties with her beloved sister Cassandra and the rest of her family. Under the shadow of the guillotine, Jane will have to decide whether eternal life and love are too high a price to pay for the loss of what means most to her as a mortal

The Good Stuff
  • Jane Austen style but quirky, fun and not so polite and dry (To me anyway)
  • Could have been awkwardly written but so wasn't
  • Great storyline kept you interested (and kept me from going to bed as it was so delightful)
  • Never was a fan of reading Austen's works as they were always overly polite (Yes I know that is how people spoke in those times, but I am not from those times and it was difficult to read for someone who isn't overly polite and flowery) Loved watching the movies though
  • The vampires didn't have the typical aversions to sunlight, garlic etc
  • Lively and fun and delightfully quirky
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Kept me up reading it because I wanted to know what happened
  • Didn't "love" the ending but it was a good ending
  • Cover is dull
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I assure you my reputation will not suffer. If anything, it is you who will be talked about and speculated upon for a good many days, but as you are a visitor to the neighborhood, that would happen anyway."

"You may be one of the Damned, but you are still my daughter." He blew his nose and gave her a brave smile. "Not a word to your mother."

"How she longed for an etiquette book for the damned."

"Good God, you females need no encouragement whatsoever not to fight like gentlemen."
What I Learned
  • I would have gone completely insane in the 1700's with all the politeness and lack of interesting things for women to do. That and I wouldn't do to well with the whole women weren't equal thing
  • Vampires are hot -- ok that is so not new, I've had a thing for Vampires since I was in Grade 3 and was introduced to Dracula
  • I may now be willing to try and read Austen again -- no never mind off to the video store to rent Persuasion with Ciaran Hinds
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Die hard Austen fans may be upset or irritated by this whole concept
  • Those who need things historically accurate may also be offended by the alternative reality of late 1700 England
  • Other than that I think there is something for everyone
4 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in return for an honest review -- no money changed hands and no bribes were offered (unfortunately).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mom and Me Mondays (LATE) Scholastic Edition: Beast Quest: Tartok the Ice Beast

Sorry this is late guys, but I had too much other work to do

 Beast Quest: Tartok the Ice Beast (Book 5)
By Adam Blade
Illustrated by: Ezra Tucker
ISBN: 978-0-439-02457-0
Suggested Ages: 5-10

Jake's Review:  Mom can I tell you all about this book -- sure baby go ahead.  For sake of time, space and well quite frankly way too many spoilers, I will not type out what he said.  Basically, I didn't have to read the book because he told me the whole story -- now if he could just remember this much detail when he does his school reading.  I love these books mom, you are going to buy me the rest (Yup, I will  - since I have purchased the first 5 already.  I really am a sucker when he asks for books, I usually do buy what he wants -- but hey I never give in to his whines for candy, slushies and video games)  These books are so exciting and Tom is really "sick" (note to parents -- that means he is cool or totally wicked).  I love that he is on this beast quest to save his kingdom and help all these beasts.  I like that the author doesn't make the beasts too scary, so I won't have nightmares about them.  I am going to let Benjamin, Nathanial and Brian read them too -- especially Brian since he normally doesn't like books, I think he will like these ones.  Mom -- now it is your time to read it -- no Vampire or kissy kissy books for you today -- you have to read my stuff!  I'm going to go read "Epos, the winged flame" now (Next book in the series).

Jake's Rating:12/10

Mom's Review:  I have to be honest, I wasn't looking forward to reading this, it looked a little silly. However, I gave Jake the opportunity to pick whatever he wanted for our review this week.  So I had to read it, a promise is a promise you know,  and I was pleasantly surprised. Anything that gets my son this excited about reading, gets a great review.  It is fantastic that there are books like this out there to keep boys interested in reading.  This is the age where most boys start to lose their interest in reading so it is very important that we find them stuff that keeps that interest alive.  This would be a fantastic read for reluctant readers as it is not too long, has a few pictures and most importantly it has a very exciting storyline.  The story is continuously fast paced, so they will not get bored and the main character is a great role model that they can learn from without being too unrealistic. This is the 5th book in the series, but there is enough explanation of what is going on that you can enjoy it without having read the previous books in the series.  Although Jake really recommends that you read them in order.  I suggest that all school libraries get some copies of this series, I think your reluctant readers will really enjoy.

Mom's Rating: 8.5/10

Here is some background on the series:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vanishing and Other Stories by Deborah Wilis: Book Review

These are the hardest books for me to review, as I am not the most cerebral women in the world. But hey I do know what cerebral means, and I didn't have to spell check it, so I am not completely without intelligence.  The writers are fantastic, I do get that, but their stories are just not my thing, and I don't want my review to discourage someone from reading their work. At the same time, I cannot give the book a high rating, if I really didn't enjoy it.  Just wanted to give you a heads up and also so if for some reason the author sees this review, they won't get offended and email nasty things about me.

Vanishing and Other Stories
by Deborah Wilis
Harper Perennial
ISBN: 978-0-06-200752-0
Description: Vanishing and Other Stories explores emotional and physical absences, the ways in which people leave, are left, and whether or not it's ever possible to move on. Readers will encounter a skinny ice-cream scooper named Nina Simone, a vanishing visionary of social utopia, a French teacher who collects fiancГ©s, and a fortune-telling mother who fails to predict the heartbreak of her own daughter. The characters in this collection will linger in the imagination, proving that nothing is ever truly forgotten.

About the Author

Deborah Willis grew up in Calgary. Her fiction has appeared in Event, Grain, PRISM International, and the U.K.'s Bridport Prize Anthology. She currently works as a bookseller in Victoria.

The Good Stuff
  • Author is exceptionally talented at emotions and insights
  • Her descriptions are so beautifully written you can almost feel, hear and touch the story
  • Not overly depressing for a Canadian author - I know I have issues with this
  • Insightful descriptions of human nature and emotions
  • My favorite stories were "The Seperation", "Sky Theatre", "Caught" and Vanishing. Although I think Vanishing would have been better as a longer story, as it felt rushed at times
  • Love seeing familiar Canadian locations as settings, trust me when you read so much non Canadian books, you feel giddy when you recognize something so familiar as the Bloor viaduct or Spadina
  • Heartrendingly honest
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Far too cerebral for my tastes.
  • Some of the characters in various stories are just sort of sad and pathetic and quite frankly could care less about them.
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"He must have been such a fascinating man." Yes, she smiles. He was very clever. Vanishing, she thinks, was the smartest thing he ever did."

"They seemed comfortable in their bodies,  like Adam and Eve before they understood they were naked."

"Jay and I held hands and made our pilgrimage from one planet to the next. We started at Pluto, as this was before it was demoted."

What I Learned
  • I'm not a fan of short stories
  • Wished I was more cerebral so I could enjoy this wonderful writers work more
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Wonderful for book clubs, University/College classes
  • My sister in law's would love this and will pass it on to them
  • Not for those who just want to lose themselves in a story
3.5 Dewey's

I received this from Harper Perennial in return for an honest review -- no money changed hands and no bribes were offered (unfortunately).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wow: CSN offered to do another giveaway on my blog

Hey All

CSN has contacted me to host another review on my blog, as I am a Preferred blogger : )
They gave me the opportunity to either review an item or giveaway a gift card to one of my readers. 

CSN is a fabulous retailer that provides shoppers with over 200 stores and over 1 million products to choose from.  You can find virtually anything you have ever wanted (with the exception of Nathan Fillion) including one of these awesome platform beds.

It was a hard decision to make because they have the coolest stuff that I want, but I am going to be nice since you all supported me during my Spina Bifida raffle and offer you all the chance to win a $40 gift card from them.  These are some of the things I am giving up for you (sorry I'm a Mom, have to make you feel a little guilty -- it's my job)

In order to win all you need to do is be a Follower and tell me what you buy with you $40
in the comments section.

Don't forget to leave me your email so I can contact you if you win!

Contest Ends July 19, 2010 (U.S & Canada only)

Dyson Vacuum Cleaner Giveaway

I know, I want one so bad too.  However, it is not me giving it away, it's from another blog site. 

Randa Lee from The Bewitchin' Kitchen has done a review of the Dyson Animal DC25 and is giving away one (drool drool). Click on the button and go enter -- or not --- cause I really really want one

And if you don't want one (come on what kind of freak are you if you don't want one) enter it and send it to me ; )

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky: Book Review

Bad Marie
by Marcy Dermansky
ISBN: 978-0-06-191471-3

Description: "Bad Marie" is the story of Marie, tall, voluptuous, beautiful, thirty years old, and fresh from six years in prison for being an accessory to murder and armed robbery. The only job Marie can get on the outside is as a nanny for her childhood friend Ellen Kendall, an upwardly mobile Manhattan executive whose mother employed Marie's mother as a housekeeper. After Marie moves in with Ellen, Ellen's angelic baby Caitlin, and Ellen's husband, a very attractive French novelist named Benoit Doniel, things get complicated, and almost before she knows what she's doing, Marie has absconded to Paris with both baby and husband. On the run and out of her depth, Marie will travel to distant shores and experience the highs and lows of foreign culture, lawless living, and motherhood as she figures out how to be an adult; how deeply she can love; and, what it truly means to be bad.

The Good Stuff
  • Author has a gift for the written word, she's definitely extremely talented
  • fascinating character study
  • Very unusual and a little dark
  • The main character is not a very nice character but you still sort of wish the best for her
  • darkly funny at times

The Not so Good Stuff
  • It's not my type of read
  • Dislike most of the characters in the book with the exception of Marie, and quite frankly not sure why I wanted her to suceed, but I'm guessing that is due to the talent of the writer
  • Story just sort of ends. Again I like a more concrete and happy ending but that is just me - don't let it stop you from reading
  • What happens to the cat, hey I'm sensitive when it comes to pets and animals
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The situation would have been humiliating had Marie any ambition in life"
"Marie, of course,  had note killed anyone, but the other prisoners had not held this against Marie. It was nothing like jail on television."

"She wanted to breathe. She came up for air. It was all very romantic for Virginie to poetically disasppear off the page, but the ending of Virginie at Sea, it was complete and utter bullshit."

What I Learned
  • Prison can be comforting to a certain type of person
  • Paris is not as glamorous as you think
  • The French are rather arrogant and rude
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Not for those who like adventure and romance in their books
  • More for the jaded and intellectual reader

3.5 Dewey's
I recieved this book from Harper Perennial in return for an honest review

Love all the fun things that publishers/authors do now for promotion

Since I started blogging, I have seen some fantastic ideas for authors/publishers promoting their work.  Here is something that Random House did for John Verdon's new book: Think of a Number. I love it!

Test the mind of a killer. Play the THINK OF A NUMBER Game. From the book by John Verdon

VIDEO trailer on YouTube

Think of a Number
by John Verdon
Random House
ISBN: 978-0-307-58892-0

About this Book: An extraordinary fiction debut, Think of a Number is an exquisitely plotted novel of suspense that grows relentlessly darker and more frightening as its pace accelerates, forcing its deeply troubled characters to moments of startling self-revelation.

Arriving in the mail over a period of weeks are taunting letters that end with a simple declaration, Think of any numberpicture itnow see how well I know your secrets.  Amazingly, those who comply find that the letter writer has predicted their random choice exactly.  For Dave Gurney, just retired as the NYPDs top homicide investigator and forging a new life with his wife, Madeleine, in upstate New York, the letters are oddities that begin as a diverting puzzle but quickly ignite a massive serial murder investigation.

What police are confronted with is a completely baffling killer, one who is fond of rhymes filled with threats and warnings, whose attention to detail is unprecedented, and who has an uncanny knack for disappearing into thin air.  Even more disturbing, the scale of his ambition seems to widen as events unfold.

Brought in as an investigative consultant, Dave Gurney soon accomplishes deductive breakthroughs that leave local police in awe.  Yet, even as he matches wits with his seemingly clairvoyant opponent, Gurneys tragedy-marred past rises up to haunt him, his marriage approaches a dangerous precipice, and finally, a dark, cold fear builds that hes met an adversary who cant be stopped.

In the end, fighting to keep his bearings amid a whirlwind of menace and destruction, Gurney sees the truth of what hes become what we all become when guilty memories fester and how his wife Madeleines clear-eyed advice may be the only answer that makes sense.

A work that defies easy labels -- at once a propulsive masterpiece of suspense and an absorbing immersion in the lives of characters so real we seem to hear their heartbeats Think of a Number is a novel youll not soon forget.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird 50th Anniversary

This Sunday, July 11th is the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Harper Lee's classic TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

HarperCollins has an official website with events and celebrations planned throughout the summer. Find out more, including a list of national media coverage, events and resources for teachers and book clubs here:

I remember first picking up the book after a viewing of the brilliant movie version of the book during a history class -- I'm guessing was either Grade 9 or 10 -- hey I'm old my memory for little details is gone.  And lets face it when isn't really important, what is important was how much I was moved by this incredibly moving tale of Atticus Finch, Scout, Jem and Boo Radley. 

I know most people when talking about Atticus can only see Gregory Peck (and well I don't blame them, he was truly brilliant in the role) but when I think of Atticus I always think of my Dad.   Like Atticus, my dad David Porter, was a man of true convictions, a man who believed that we were all worthy, no matter our race, class or sex.  One of the things I will always truly be grateful for is that I was blessed with this amazing man as a Father.  He was a man who taught me right from wrong, about honesty and about the need for us to always look out and help those who need us and to never judge (ok he thought Madonna was a whore--- but hey even he was allowed a little lapse).   Both Atticus and my Dad were men that were truly good fathers, and the world needs more like them to help to teach the young about what we should all strive to be like.

Damn, I am going to have to cut this short, I'm writing this at work and the tears are starting to fall, and that really freaks out the students.

If you haven't read this powerful book, you are truly missing something.  Go now and get yourself a copy, I can't think of any library that doesn't have at least one copy -- and well hell -- I know I'm a Library Technician and should promote you going to the library to get a copy -- but don't bother -- just go buy the damn thing, read it and if you have kids, read it to them or make them read it.  Oh yeah and go rent the movie too!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In My Mailbox

Wow, just realized I hadn't done this in -- FOREVER.  Some of the items I have recieved since I last did this have been passed on already, so they are going to have to be left off this list -- which is mostly a way of me keeping track of my wins, review and purchases.

Items I won 

Items For Review (From Harper Perennial and Scholastic)