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!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mom and Me Mondays: Halloween Edition (Yes I know its Sunday)

I might have to beat my little one, I had finished this post a week ago and when I was highlighting something on the page a few minutes ago, the little heathen did something on my keyboard and this whole post was lost!  Now I have to work from memory -- and well we know how good my  memory is!

Zen Ghosts
by John J Muth
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-439-63430-4
Suggested Ages: 5-7

Description: On Halloween, Stillwater the panda, who dons a spooky costume and mask, promises his friends Addy, Michael, and Karl a spine-tingling ghost story to be told by a mysterious storyteller.
The storyteller--who looks remarkably like Stillwater--tells the children an unforgettable ancient Zen story about a girl named Senjo who hopes to marry Ochu, the boy next door.
But Senjo's parents have different plans for her future. They want her to marry a more prosperous man than Ochu--someone who will care for the family and her ailing father.
Heartbroken by the prospect of being separated, the two run off to a far away village and marry.
As the years pass, Senjo's regret for having left her family slowly eats away at her happiness, and she and Ocho return home to make amends.
But a surprise ending is in store. For Senjo's father swears his daughter has been sick and living at home with him the entire time. Yet Ocho knows differently, for he has been living with Senjo for many years. What is the truth? Who is the real Senjo?
The story of Senjo was originally written down by a Chinese Buddhist Monk Master named Wu-men Hui-hai in the early 13th Century. This type of story, called a Koan, is used by students of Zen to attain enlightenment. It provokes thought and conversation--yet has no concrete answers.
With Zen Ghosts, Muth has once again presented an original, beautifully crafted story, perfect for Halloween--or any time

Jake's Review:  This book is really cool. I have never read anything like this before. It's like something Jason would read to us for our Karate Class.  The illustrations are really cool and different.  I think even Jesse would like the pictures, but don't let him touch it, because you know how he is with books (mom's note: sniff, sniff I know).  Wicked ghost story within the main story. I liked that Stillwater also enjoyed candy like us kids, made him less serious. The book is definitely for younger boys than me, but I still liked it.  I think it should be part of the class library for JK and SK.  Although some of the words were way too big for the little babies

Jake's Rating: 9/10

Mom's Review:  The illustrations are breathtakingly beautiful, I spent quite a few minutes on each page just taking in the art.  I agree with Jake some of the words are a bit much for the younger reader, but I am pretty sure they will be so entranced with the art, they won't notice.  The story is also unusual and unlike any other picture book I have ever seen before too.  Definitely going to be an award winner.  Another must for any school or public library.  We will be passing this around the Karate School too, since many of the kids I think would really enjoy this

Mom's Rating: 9/10

by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone
Scholastic Canada
ISBN 978-0-545-98030-2 PBK
56 pages
Ages 7 to 12

Description: Get ready to brew up some scary fun!

Frighten your friends with shrunken heads, rotting zombies and spooky sounds. Gross out your family with festering ooze, squishy eyeballs and bubbling alien blood. Learn how to make spider webs, rubber bones and things that glow in the dark. And find out the real-life story behind things like deadly spiders, zombie worms, vampires and exploding snakes.

Its eerie, its spooky and its all science!

Mom and Me Mondays: The Haunted House That Jack Built by Helaine Becker REPOST for HALLOWEEn

The Haunted House That Jack Built
by Helaine Becker
Illustrations by David Parkins
Scholastic Canada
ISBN 978-0-545-98539-0
32 Pages
Suggested Ages: 3-8 (But Marlene working beside me loves it too and she's older than 8)

Description: Jack has assembled a creepy cast of characters in his haunted house. As they chase each other around the dark halls, we meet a mummy, a ghost, a monster or two, and many more creatures that are sure to delight young readers. More fun than scary, this spooky twist on the classic rhyme is the perfect read-aloud even if you are a scaredy-cat!

This is the mummy,
That chased the ghoul,
That scared the ghost,
That sampled the stew
That cooled in the house that Jack built.

Jake's Review: Cool its by Helaine Becker, I like her books. It is a fun story with lots of really funny pictures. It is easy to read and I think it would be a better story for younger boys like my midget brother. The guy who did the pictures has a great imagination and the pictures are fun not scary.  This book reminded me that Halloween is coming up and I haven't thought of a costume yet (Mom, I am NOT going as Dr Horrible -- none of the other kids will get it) I really liked the little rhyme at the end of the book, it made me laugh. I think it is too young for kids my age, but definitely good for young kids.
Jake's Rating: 8.5/10

Mom's Review: O.K. I will admit it I am prejudiced on this one, I adore Helaine Becker and I LOVE Halloween, so you know it's probably going to get a good rating just based on those facts.  But it really is a lovely book. The illustrations are absolutely adorable, and nice and bright and colourful. My little one, who has no interest in books thank you very much, actually let me read this one to him (Sorry Helaine, he could have cared less about the words, it was all about the pictures in this one). I loved the rhyme and the injection of a few big new words for the little ones to learn.  We had a fun conversation on the use of the word Forlorn in the book. Hubby and Jake thought the author should have used a different word, since it was an old fashioned term. I only objected to the word, because the illustration didn't jive with the illustration of the forlorn faerie -- I know - picky picky, but I am a Librarian after all!  This would be a great book to read to the little ones in the 3- 5 age at Halloween, and a great story for the 5 1/2 - 8 yr old to read by themselves. A great addition to any
Mom's Rating: 9/10
(And Yes I do know its Tuesday, NOT Monday -- but I'm a Mom and things got way too hectic last night and didn't have time to post -- OK, OK, Chuck and Castle were on)

I received this book from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor: Book Review

The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide
by Eva Talmadge & Justin Taylor
ISBN: 978-0-06-199740-2

Description: The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide is a guide to the emerging subculture of literary tattoosa collection of more than 150 full-color photographs of human epidermis indelibly adorned with quotations and illustrations from Dickinson to Pynchon, from Shakespeare to Plath. With beloved lines of verse, literary portraits, and illustrationsand statements from the bearers on their tattoos' history and the personal significance of the chosen literary workThe Word Made Flesh is part collection of photographs and part literary anthology written on skin.

The Good Stuff
  • Fascinating stories and some exceptionally artistic tattoos
  • Very unusual and interesting selection of literary tattoos
  • Inspiring if you are interested in getting a piece of body work
  • Great story about girl with the Hungary Caterpillar Tattoo
  • Information and story about living book called "Flesh"
  • Tons of Librarians with Tattoos ( we are cool people!!!!)
  • Very creative and talented artists
  • The photo's of the tattoos are wonderful

The Not so Good Stuff
  • Would have like a story for everyone of the tattoos
  • Would have liked to have seen more modern literary examples as well
Favorite Tattoos

  • The Very Hungary Caterpillar - Pg 82/83
  •  Passages from Neuromancer - Pg 98
  • For Marcel Proust - Pg 130
  • Kerouc - Pg 156
  • The Stand - Pg 158

What I Learned
  • There are some really "interesting" people in this world
  • That I really, really want to get another tattoo -- now I just have to decide what
  • About a fascinating living book called Flesh, that I would love to take part in
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Those interested in tattoos 
  • Anyone looking for an interesting coffee table book
  • People who like the unsusual
  • Not for the prudish 
  • This would be excellent for a College, University and Public Libraries
4 Dewey's

I received this book from HarperPerennial in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Of Mice and Men: Seriously mini Book Review

Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Penguin Books
ISBN: 0-14-017739-6
Originally Published 1937

Description: The tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. They are George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a very large, simple-minded man, calming him and helping to reign in his immense physical strength.

Mini-Review: Beautifully written, scenes written so realistically you feel like you can touch and smell the landscape. Lovely simple telling of the american dream and the failure to find it. Also some insightful commentary into male friendships.  That being said I found it to be depressing and the characters so  truly pitiful, that I can't say I really enjoyed it.  I'm a simple girl, I like to read stories about interesting people that are likeable and the ending must have some expectation of hope.  Steinbeck was an incredible storyteller with a magical gift, but this sort of story just isn't my thing.  And a side note, now I understand all those references to tell me about the Rabbits George.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heat Wave by Richard Castle: Book Review and Contest

Heat Wave
by Richard Castle
Hyperion (Harper Collins)
ISBN: 978-1-4013-1040-0

Description: A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.

Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads. She's hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York's Finest. PulitzerPrize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren't her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

The Good Stuff
  • I Love the TV show, so I HAD to buy this tie in to the series
  • Delightfully campy and fun at times
  • Definitely some of the same cheekiness as the series
  • The Characters in the book are thinly veiled caricatures of the main characters on the tv show. Nice tie in to the series
  • Fun snappy dialogue between the characters, just like on the show. The camaraderie between the fictional detectives and the camaraderie between the fictional "Rook" and "Margaret" matches that of the the tv show characters (Does that make sense)
  • You must watch the reading of Pg 104 here
  • The conversation with Richard Castle at the end of the book is cute
  • Just a fun light read that made me lmao at times.  Made me want to put on my DVD of Season 1 of Castle (And no I don't own Season 2 yet, if anyone is looking for ideas for xmas )
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Writing isn't the greatest --but I think it was written that way intentionally -- I'm dying to know who wrote it. Could be one of the writers on the show or maybe one of "Rick's" writing buddies on the show like James Patterson (Really don't think its Patterson, as it doesn't feel like one of his books)
  • Chapters jump from scene to scene a lot, not a nice flow to the story. Does read more like a script that way
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Did you kill a story that made him look bad?" "Yes. God, you make me feel cheap. But you'll get nothing more."

"I think Agda's just one of the deals Matthew Starr never got a chance to close before he was killed."

What I Learned
  • That I soo want to be a hot kick ass detective 
  • I am 99% sure that the ghost writer is a male, after reading the sex scene
Who should/shouldn't read
  • A must have for fans of the TV show
  • Those interested in a nice light beach read
  • Honestly not sure those not into the show would really enjoy, half the fun is matching up the book characters with the tv characters, but maybe just maybe someone will pick it up, like it, and want to start watching the show and this will help keep Castle climbing in the ratings
3 Dewey's

I purchased this book because I am a geek and did not have to review it, just want to selfishly promote anything Castle or Nathan Fillion related


Was thinking about who the ghost writer is for the book, so I thought it might be a fun idea to have a contest

Prize - Paperback of Heat Wave and Hardcover of Naked Heat
To be ordered from Book Depository - So if it ships to where you live, you can enter

Contest Rules
1. Must be a follower (Sorry guys, I need for followers to get more attention from publishers, so I can give away more books -- I am way too poor to do this all the time)
2. In Comment - Your theory on who you think "Actually" wrote the book

Will give1  bonus points for promoting in any way (1 point for each way)

Contest Ends: November 11, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Vermont Ghost Guide by Joseph A. Citro: Book Review

I've always been fascinated by ghost stories. Really not sure why, I have never seen a ghost and have never met someone who has.  While on one of our camping vacations, years ago, I found a book called "Haunted Ontario".  It detailed some local ghost stories and mysterious occurrences in different parts og Ontario.  Ever since than I decided that each time I went on vacation, including camping, I was going to go to local, new and used bookstores,  to find "local" ghost story books.  I have found some spectacular collections like the one I picked up while in  PEI  and the one our roommate picked me up from Scotland, as well as a few duds, like the one I got from Oakville. In many cases, I wasn't able to find anything due to time constraints while on vacation or lack of bookstores.  From now on, I think I will do some research BEFORE I go on vacation to see what is available.

The funniest part of this is that each time I read one of these books I get the heeby jeebies and have to turn on all of the lights in the house -- and there is no way I am going to read these while home alone or at night.  Here is the book I picked up on our trip to Vermont last March.

The Vermont Ghost Guide
by Joseph A. Citro
Art by Stephen R. Bissette
University Press of New England
ISBN: 1-58465-009-5

Description: "What's So Scary about Vermont?" In The Vermont Ghost Guide, Vermont's Ghostmaster Joseph A. Citro teams up with award-winning artist Stephen R. Bissette to answer that question definitively. Organized alphabetically by town, this remarkable pocket-sized collection of lore and line art points travelers toward dozens of mystifying sites to discover -- or perhaps avoid. Both a guidebook and a reference tool, The Vermont Ghost Guide contains over 100 entries with 39 illustrations of haunted houses, ghostly spots, and mysterious events from every Vermont county. Many of the stories have never been published before.

Vermont's mysterious mountains, hills, and hollows are rich with timeless tales of ghosts, phantoms, and horrible haunts, and Joe Citro has been covering that "dead-beat" for over a decade. In The Vermont Ghost Guide you'll encounter:

- Charles Dickens's ghost guiding a writer's hand in Brattleboro;
- a doppelganger's prediction of death in Cavendish;
- the Midnight Cow, haunting the highways;
- and many, many more.

But Be Warned! Citro's Vermont is not the idyllic New England wonderland of tourist bureaus and scenic postcards. These are shadowy haunts and whispered horrors, the ghosts, ghouls, gores, and mysteries of the Green Mountain State, rendered in eerie black-and-white by artist Steve Bissette. Perfect for visitors and residents, children and anyone else with an interest in or curiosity about Vermont history, legend, and lore, The Vermont Ghost Guide is sure to have a long shelf life and be of continuing interest for years to come

The Good Stuff
  • Organized alphabetically by Town
  • Map at the back with locations of the stories
  • Some light humour
  • Some of tales read nicely like a good ghost story
  • Good introduction for further investigation into some of Vermont's ghostly tales
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Way too little information or details about most of the stories.  Each only a paragraph long
  • Jumped from story to story, with no break, so you had to keep looking up at the top of the page to see what town the story was set in
Favorite Quotes/Passages
  • Sam Connor's Other Self
  • The Spanish Shawl
  • Library Prankster
  • Ghostly Companion
What I Learned
  • Never to read ghost stories while alone in the house, my imagination went into overdrive -- and it was daylight (Yes I am a dork)
  • That I need a back-story about haunting's -- otherwise I'm not really interested
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Those who are interested in Vermont's ghostly happenings
2.5 Dewey's

I purchased this for my amusement and didn't have to review it

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mom and Me Mondays: The Rink Rats by Irene Punt

The Rink Rats
by Irene Punt
Scholastic Canada Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-4431-0442-5
Suggested Age: 7  -10

Description: Tom loves playing hockey with his friends on the Glenlake Hawks. When he suggests using an outdoor rink for their annual Family Day game, he promises a perfect sheet of ice. It wont be easy. The game is two weeks away, and its a cold and snowy February. Can he and his teammates stick together and do the job, no matter what?

Jake's Review: So mom, can you get me more of this series (hmm, I know what Mommy is going to buy at Chapters tomorrow for Jake for Christmas). This book was really cool mom and nice and easy to read. I didn't want to put it down (mom's note: had to turn the light off in his room to get him to stop reading it).  It is funny, exciting and I really, really liked it.  I think Brian would like it because it is about hockey and we KNOW how much he likes hockey.  I liked the main boy Tom.  He's really good at hockey and he is funny and does really nice things without being too girly. I wish the book was longer.

Jake's Rating: 10/10

Mom's Review: I'm surprised Jake liked this so much, since it is about hockey, and he pretty much knows nothing about hockey (I know a Canadian boy who isn't into hockey, shame, shame).  I love it when Jake reads a book and wants to read more, so even before I read this book, I gave it a 10/10.  Anything that grabs a boys attention and encourages them to read more is cool with me. I liked how the author wrote about kids working together to do something without making it too goody goody, that appeals to boys.  The boyish humour and the way the characters interact with each other will definitely appeal to boys in the 7-9 range. A nice chapter book with a non obvious or overly sugary lesson in teamwork, responsibility and friendship . Oh yeah and it is obviously Canadian, which is nice too.

Mom's Rating: 10/10

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review and Jake would just like to say that he has the best Mommy in the whole world for getting him this book -- Jake's note I did not say that Mom, I said thanks for getting me this book

Friday, October 22, 2010

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick: Book Review

by Becca Fitzpatrick
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8943-1
Suggested Ages: 13+ (Due to mild sexuality and violence)

Description: The sequel to the New York Times Best selling phenomenon, Hush, Hush! Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

The Good Stuff
  • Fantastic cliff hanging ending - damn, when is the next book coming out
  • Patch is one sexy bad boy angel -- technically he ISN"T a teenager, so I can think he is sexy (hmm, I know it still is pretty Cougarish)
  • Constantly surprised that I like a book about fallen angels, when it really isn't my thing
  • Becca is fantastic at setting the mood of the story and also keeping the story going
  • Incredible cover!!!!
  • Unusual back history for the angels (it did confuse my old brain though)
  • Marcie is a total b***ch but she gets some of the best lines
  • I like Vee, she is quite delightfully sassy, even-though she isn't exactly the best friend one could have, but very realistic
The Not so Good Stuff
  • I want to smack these girls upside the head for putting themselves into so many dangerous situations (Hey, I'm a Mom, I can't help myself)
  • Nora really is quite dense at times (Remember I am a 40 yr old women reviewing this)
  • Parents are portrayed as completely self involved and useless -- oh  never mind that's what all teens think we are anyway, might as well accept
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I hadn't woken up this morning looking for another reason to hate Marcie Millar, but there you go."

"What would you do if you woke up tomorrow to find your dad had been murdered? Do you think your mom's part-time job at JC Penny would pay the bills? Next time, before you bring up my family situation, put yourself in my shoes for a minute?"

I cannot put in my other favorite quote -- it would kill the story for you

What I Learned
  • Parents of teens are Morons and I am dreading the thought of being a parent to teens one day
  • Angels can be sexy and REALLY REALLY BAD
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Fantastic book for YA, but I think older readers will struggle with the stupidity of some of the characters
  • BTW, reviewers have to remember when reviewing books who the audience is for these books. I'm a 40 year old Mom - these books are not written for me -- so I try not to judge too much on this
  • Obviously people who read Hush Hush will also enjoy
4 Dewey's

I received this book from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review -- no cash was exchanged -- but would be even better if t here was -- I have 2 kids to put through University you know

"Thank Goodness It's Friday" Lottery Calendar (Ontario ONLY)

As many of you know I am the mom of a 9 year old boy who has Spina Bifida and I also write a blog about our life living with this disability (although I am VERY behind on posting).  Every year I sell charity lottery calenders to help raise funds for the SB&H: Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario. If you live in Ontario or know someone who would be interested, please pass on the information below.  When purchasing if you wouldn't mind mentioning you heard about the calenders from the Rayment Family, so that they know that I am living up to my name as the "charity whore".  Thanks from Jake and the rest of our Family

Don't forget you CAN WIN by buying at the same time as doing something good!

"Thank Goodness It's Friday" Lottery Calendar

Support a worthy cause and give a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year!

The 2011 Thank Goodness Its Friday Lottery Calendar is now on SALE!
Not only is the calendar beautifully designed and functional but there is an added bonus - the opportunity to win cash prizes from $100-$1,000.
Buy several as gifts! The calendar is a unique gift for everyone on your holiday list from family members to colleagues and is a fantastic way to promote awareness of spina bifida and hydrocephalus in your community.
Calendars costs just $20. Proceeds support vital SB&H programs and services.
Become a calendar seller and help SB&H make this years calendar fundraiser the most successful yet!

Why BUY a Calendar? 

  • Proceeds will assist children, youth and adults living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus across Ontario.
  • This beautifully designed calendar features the unique artwork of 12 children who are living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus. Every month is an interesting expression of their talents.
  • The calendar is an excellent way to inform friends, family and the community about spina bifida, hydrocephalus and the Association.
  • A great gift idea for the holiday season or just to show youre thinking of someone.
  • Everyone has a chance to win in the raffle lottery in fact you can win more than once since winning tickets are returned for the next draw.
  • We are giving away 99 cash prizes throughout the year worth a total of $15,000!
  • A win guarantees a minimum cash prize of $100!
  • Thank Goodness Its Friday means that you can win cash every Friday throughout the year.
  • Bonus draws on the 1st, 15th and 27th of the month bring added value.
  • Win once and the calendar pays for itself!

Buy a Calendar for Your Chance to Win!

When you purchase a Thank Goodness It's Friday Lottery Calendar, not only do you support SB&H programs and services you have a chance to win your share of $15,000 in prize money!
99 cash prizes totalling $15,000 ranging from $100 to $1000 will be awarded:
$200 Thank Goodness Its Friday (each Friday January to May & July to December) 48 prizes
$200 Thank Goodness Its Friday June Special (Fridays in June for Awareness Month) 4 prizes
$100 First of the Month Bonus (First day of each month) 12 prizes
$250 Mid-Month Madness (15th of every month) 12 prizes
$100 Payday Advance (27th of every month) 12 prizes
...PLUS 10 fabulous bonus draws:
$200 Valentines Day
$300 Family Day
$200 St. Patricks Day
$200 Victoria Day
$200 Canada Day
$1,000 SB&H Anniversary
$200 Labour Day
$250 Thanksgiving
$200 Remembrance Day
$500 Holiday Giveaway
$750 Year End Special
Win more than once! Winning tickets are returned to the drum so that you can win again! 

How to Order: (Mention Rayment Family when Ordering)

Place your order with SB&H to have your calendar mailed out today.
Order By Phone:  Simply call 800-387-1575 or 416-214-1056.
To Order by Fax or Mail
1. Download and print an order form . Lottery License M659430
2. Fax your completed to 416-214-1446
3. Mail your completed order form to:
P.O. Box 103, Suite 1006
555 Richmond Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 3B1

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rick Springfield - Book Signing

So, I attended the book signing yesterday for Rick Springfield's Memoir. .  I left work early to meet up with my buddy Tosca (who I hadn't seen in 15 years) and we hung out and caught up with each  other for two hours and than I headed over to the Indigo at Bay/Bloor to check out if I could get my copies signed since I hadn't bought them from that location. Well much to my surprise/shock there was already a line up for the event. It was only 3:45 and the event didn't start till 7:00.  Since I didn't have anything else to do, I grabbed a chair and got in line.

I had brought  my Kobo with me since I was going by myself and didn't know if there was anyone I would want to chat with.  Much to my surprise, I only had it turned on for a minute before I was chatting away with the ladies in the line (I still find it odd how social I am these days, considering I was so shy growing up)  and the Kobo didn't get turned on again till I was on the subway home.

The ladies -- who I never got any of their names, were tons of fun to talk to and I am really glad that I got to hang with them.  One of the ladies was from Orangeville and her  friend was here from London.  The friend has to be the best Aunt I have ever met. She took her niece 3 times to see Adam Lambert and 1 time stayed in line for like 6 hours without the chance to eat, drink or go to the bathroom.   I also met a very sweet and friendly Archivist who is taking her mom on the Rick Springfield Cruise.  There was also a nice women from I think it was Palgrave who was also interesting to talk to.

There were also tons of "interesting" people at the event who knew way too much about Ricky, which explained the huge amount of security.  We also had some entertainment from these extremely colorful and fun ladies from Ottawa.  It was definitely  not boring.

The Chapters and other staff organized everything like clockwork (even though the area was way too closed in) and they even had some music playing and trivia and giveaways. I had no chance in winning any of these contests, as I was with tons of women who really knew there Rick Trivia.

Now actually meeting Rick was a little bit of a let down, since they put you through, an assembly line and there was no way you could say more than thanks or hi to him.  He also got distracted by someone talking to him and fucked up on the inscription for the copy of the book I bought for the SWWR for Spina Bifida.  On a good note I got a nice squeeze from him and he smelled really good -- and I still am convinced he made a pact with the devil to look that Hot at 61.  The poor bastard looked exhausted though and I really felt sorry for him, because it looked like he would rather be anywhere than here.   Also the photographer took the picture at the wrong time when I was "supposed" to have my pic taken, Rick thought the picture was already taken so was getting ready to move on to the next middle aged women.

As promised here are some of the pictures of the book signing for Rick Springfield's Late, Late at  Night
(Sorry my Camera takes CRAPPY pictures)

Early Group - the 1st 5 ladies have been here since 10am

Near the end of the line at 4:00

Simon and Schuster's Photo posted on FB

Crazy Ottawa ladies - resting for a brief moment

Orangeville women

Damn Photographer (Me and Rick)

In My Mail Box

For Review
From Simon and Schuster (And check out my cute little Jesse)

From Nikole at Scholastic
From HarperCollins
From HarperPerennial

Won from


From Chapters (Also got Web of Lies which I lent to Natasha)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Late, Late at Night a Memoir by Rick Springfield

Ok, before I get into this review -- lets talk about Rick Springfield.  Now a lot of this will date me, but most of you already know I'm a 40 year old women, so this shouldn't be a surprise.  I've always liked Rick Springfield, I never had a crush on him mind you, at the time he was a little too pretty for my tastes (Back than my loves were Tom Selleck, Parker Stevenson, Joe Elliot of Def Leppard & Tom Wopat), but he looked like a decent fellow and I really enjoyed his music.  Any of you who have ever lost your Dad will know of his
hauntingly beautiful and honest  "My Father's Chair".  I find that I cannot listen to the song without thinking of my beautiful Dad and how emptier the world is without him (& how sad that my boys will never get to meet him) I also loved his song Like Father, Like Son and used to play it over and over. And well I think we all love Jessie's Girl (NO I did not name my boy after the song - Jesse is the name of my maternal Grandma - Jesse Porter) even you youngster's.

Over the 80's and 90's I liked some of his songs and enjoyed watching him in various TV shows, But it wasn't until I caught him in Californication that I really became interested in him. Anyone who can poke fun at himself liked he did on Californication, has to be alright (and wow he's got a nice little bod on him).  A few months after that I heard he had written a memoir so I begged my Simon and Schuster contact to get me a copy to review.  Well, I am glad I did as you will see in the review

One last thing, I hope I have the chance to tell him how important and decent it is to write of his struggle with depression.  This can really help those who are suffering and thinking of ending it all realize that they are not alone and that things will get better. It's nice to see a celebrity speak so openly and honestly and non-judgmentally  about depression, it really makes up for schmucks like Tom Cruise. Hmm, maybe I will ask Rick that if he ever meets up with Tom Cruise to give him a smack upside the head from this Canadian girl who suffered from Post Postpartum Depression and didn't have time to exercise because she was too busy taking care of her special needs child.  Screw you Tom!! Ooops,  sorry about the rant, every time I hear that boys name I get fired up

Late, Late at Night: a Memoir
by Rick Springfield
Touchstone Book (Simon and Schuster)
ISBN: 978-1-4391-9115-6

Description: In a searingly candid memoir which he authored himself, Grammy Award-winning pop icon Rick Springfield pulls back the curtain on his image as a bright, shiny, happy performer to share the startling story of his rise and fall and rise in music, film, and television and his lifelong battle with depression.
In the 1980s, singer-songwriter and actor Rick Springfield seemed to have it all: a megahit single in Jessie's Girl, sold-out concert tours, follow-up hits that sold more than 17 million albums and became the pop soundtrack for an entire generation, and 12 million daily viewers who avidly tuned in to General Hospital to swoon over his portrayal of the handsome Dr. Noah Drake. Yet lurking behind his success as a pop star and soap opera heartthrob and his unstoppable drive was a moody, somber, and dark soul, one filled with depression and insecurity.

           In Late, Late at Night, the memoir his millions of fans have been waiting for, Rick takes readers inside the highs and lows of his extraordinary life. By turns winningly funny and heartbreakingly sad, every page resonates with Rick's witty, wry, self-deprecating, brutally honest voice. On one level, he reveals the inside story of his ride to the top of the entertainment world. On a second, deeper level, he recounts with unsparing candor the forces that have driven his life, including his longtime battle with depression and thoughts of suicide, the shattering death of his father, and his decision to drop out at the absolute peak of fame. Having finally found a more stable equilibrium, Rick's story is ultimately a positive one, deeply informed by his passion for creative expression through his music, a deep love of his wife of twenty-six years and their two sons, and his life-long quest for spiritual peace.

The Good Stuff
  • Beautifully honest and raw
  • The book leaves you feeling very hopeful and you really, really, want to give him a hug
  • As mentioned above what he is doing is a good thing by revealing his struggle with depression
  • Delighted to see that he has nerd qualities -- I love a man who has Star Wars toys!
  • Extremely witty and self deprecating
  • Made me cry, many, many times
  • The love for his Mom and Dad is written so beautifully and with no accusations, just observations
  • He Loves Dogs - really that is enough for me. He writes so wonderfully about his love for his many canine companions
  • He really doesn't sugar coat his mistakes
  • Loved the 1st chapter, really grabbed my interest and loved to hear about his travel adventures on the way to England
  • The part about his suicide attempt is heartbreaking -- the first, and not last time I cried while reading
  • The chapter on Sahara is beautiful and so very sad at the same time -- again there were tears and really must learn not to read sad stuff on the TTC, I was crying and people were staring like I was some kind of freak -- normal people cry assclowns!!!
  • Also Chapter where the dog dies is brutal but beautiful -- and yes -- more crying
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Would have liked more pictures (The picture of him with his son Liam is beautiful!!)
  • At times I was a little ticked off at him for some of his choices and the hurt being done to his two boys by those choices. I would be very interested in how they feel about this memoir
  • The first chapter may be a little difficult for those who like things in a more linear way. In my case, I liked it because it reminded me of how I tell stories sometimes. It really endeared him to me, but I am putting it in here, because it might be a struggle for some. Do not let it stop you from reading the book!!
  • Damn you Rick, I stayed up late, late, late at night reading the book because it was so damn good.  Don't be making any comments about the bags under my eye's when I get my picture taken with you!
Favorite Quotes/Passages (There are tons of good ones, but I'm not giving you any more than this)

"The idea of that little kid hopping around a tiny Aussie country town on a pogo stick versus the guy I see in the mirror today is one of the biggest mind-fucks of my life."

"Maybe it will help prevent wars over the color of the flag, but I doubt it. And nothing will ever stop us all fighting over the true name of God."

"And I am finally made aware of the "myth of fame". It may seem like an obvious revelation, bu honestly, unless you've gone through it, you can't imagine what kind of mind-fuck it really is to truly understand that, in and of itself, fame is not ultimately transformative."

What I Learned
  • I sooo don't want to be a celebrity -- no no never mind - always knew that
  • A lot about depression and addictions and a better understanding of them
  • About the background of certain songs
  • That his wife is a saint, because HONESTLY, I don't think I would have put up with the infidelities (Yup, I totally made a distant judgment call -- sorry Rick)
  • I really like the word mind-fuck
  • That I Really would like to sit down with him and talk about things.
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Anyone who has suffered or is still suffering from Depression or thoughts of suicide
  • Anyone interested in Rick Springfield OBVIOUSLY
  • Not for the prudish or judgmental -- and if you are one of those types of people, probably not best to keep following this blog.
5 Dewey's

OK. Now I'm off to meet with my buddy Tosca who I haven't seen in over 15 years and than it's off to the signing at Indigo. I've got my IPOD charged with some Ring Spring field tunes, 2 copies of the book (1 for MY Jesse and 1 to raise money for the Spina Bifida Association walk next year) and my push up bra (Hey, ever since Californication I find him a lot hotter than he was back in the 80's)

Hopefully I don't come across as a total nerd when I see him and hopefully sound more articulate than the time that I met Paul Gross.

Will post picture of the event tomorrow

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian: Book Review

Not That Kind of Girl
by Siobhan Vivian
Push (Scholastic Inc)
ISBN: 978-0-545-16915-8
Suggested Ages: I would say 13+ due to sexual content (Just a suggestion - it's up to each individual reader)

Description: Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things. But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you wants to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out. Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

The Good Stuff
  • Very realistic and true to life, so I think teens will really gravitate towards it, especially teens that are a little mature for their age like Natalie
  • Author understands the whole high school experience and the drama involved
  • Lots of thinly veiled moral situations that could start some great discussions about sexuality
  • Made me really think about sexuality and teens and having the power to portray your sexuality without being judged for it
  • Nice character development of ALL of the main characters, especially for Natalie
  • Adults are also portrayed a little more realistically (less of the stereotypical adults are morons theme in many YA Books -- but again I am a Mom so I'm sensitive about that)
  • It was nice reading the book and remembering the fire that burned through us when we were that young
  • Great first chapter, gets you interested right away
The Not so Good Stuff
  • I found Natalie really self involved and irritating a lot of the time (But lets remember I am a 40 yr old women) and she really was a crappy friend at times
  • Irritated that school would think of suspending Spenser for her sexuality but not the guy
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Probably because I was one of a rare few at Ross Academy to see guys like Mike for who they really were -- power drunk meatheads who'd do anything to get a laugh.  High School was the best Mike Domski's life would ever get."

"Part of me thought Spencer was a smart girl.  And the other part of me thought she was a fourteen-year-old Rosstitute who knew even less than I did."

"Time had taught her. And now she was teaching me."

What I Learned
  • If you are a staight A student than you think too much -- no never mind I learned that from Billy Joel
  • High school sucks (again never mind - I lived through high school already and it does suck)
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Teens will love it, because they will totally understand the actions and feelings of the characters
  • Not really for adults unless they are like me and never really completely grew up (and still remember what it was like to be that age)
  • There is some sexual content so probably not suited for the less mature YA reader. It is tastefully done though
4 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vampire Wire's Why Haven't You Read My Books Contest

One of my favorite Author/Blogger's Marta Acosta of Vampire Wire is having a contest on her blog right now and it is seriously simple for you to enter.

The following is taken directly from her blog

" I know you're tired of my online Haunted Honeymoon book tour and wish I'd get on to the more important business of writing a blog for you every day. But I have to talk to people who don't know about me and hopefully convince them to buy my books so I can continue to write and also blog.

If you haven't bought my books, what's held you back from this highly praised, funny, romantic series? In fact, if you haven't bought my books, but you've thought about it, tell me why you haven't and I'll GIVE AWAY CASA DRACULA BOOKS (your choice) to THREE WINNERS in a random drawing.

Is it the covers, the titles? Is it that you don't think you'd identify with a character named Milagro? Do you only read romance? Is it that they're not in your bookstore? I'll tell you one of the reasons I won't read a beloved series: I won't read J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series because of the  names and spelling. Rhage? Phury? Rheally? Maybe I'm missing out on something great because I won't give these books a chance.

So I am dying to know your reasons.  Don't be shy. I'm putting on my big girl panties and can deal with the harsh realities. Contest runs through the 25th of October and is limited to the US and Canada, but I have been known to make exceptions."

Now, I think most of you know I love Marta -- even if she is American (it's a joke fellow American friends, I love you guys) so go enter the contest and if you can - grab one of her books - hopefully you will enjoy her as much as I do


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mom and Me Mondays: Sometimes I worry too much, but now I know how to stop

I know, I know it is Tuesday, but it was Canadian Thanksgiving yesterday and non-geek hubby would not let me near a book or computer -- we got you hubby - Jake and I were not REALLY doing homework last night after dinner!

Sometimes I worry too much, but now I know how to stop
by Dawn A Huebner, Ph.D.
Illustrated by Robin C. Morris
Childswork Childsplay
ISBN: 1-58815-060-7
Suggested Ages: 5 - 10

Description: A surprising number of children worry too much, often for reasons that may seem completely illogical to others. This sensitively written book helps children cope with their predisposition toward excessive worry, and will help prevent more serious anxiety disorders.

Jake's Review: I know why you got me this book mom!  Obvious much! Ok, Ok, lets talk about the book so I can get back to playing Wipeout on my DS.  I think the author had some great suggestions on how I can deal with my problems.  I liked the pictures, they were really funny to look at.  I wish the book was longer and gave me more examples of ways to help me.  Can I go see somebody like the Dr in the book that I can talk to (mom's note: sniff sniff) I think the book would have been better if I had read it when I was younger, as I think it is written for younger kids.  Can I go now.

Jake's Rating: 9/10

Mom's Review:  Jake's anxiety is really taking its toll on him and the rest of the family.  We are at total loose ends on how to help him, so we are always on the look out for things that might be able to help him.  He is currently on a waiting list to attend an anxiety group for kids with Spina Bifida (Seems that many kids that spend a lot of time in health care settings suffer from anxiety) So when I found out about this book, I knew we had to check it out. I think Jake got quite a lot out of it and hopefully he will be able to put some of the ideas into practice. The text is simple and easy to read and the illustrations are comforting to a child.  I think I expected  more from it, but you could definitely tell it was written by an adult and some of the ideas were a little too adult for a child to be able to simulate.  Other than that it was a great conversation starter for Jake and I too discuss some of the issues he is dealing with. Since he read it, he has opened up and has been able to express his thoughts and emotions about some of the things that scare him or make him feel anxious.  I would recommend this for any family dealing with kids with anxiety issues as a starting page to help them deal with their issues.

Mom's Rating: 8/10

I got our Inter-library Loan Librarian Marlene to  request it from Nipissing University so that Jake and I could read it

Monday, October 11, 2010

Two Beach Reads: Mini Book Reviews

Countess of Scandal
by Laurel McKee
Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 978-0-446-54478-8

Description: As children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England, while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess. Years later, Will finally makes his way home-as an English soldier sent to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza's passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict. When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will's regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between his duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.

Review: A lovely beach read with interesting characters and a fast paced storyline. I'm hoping that there will be a story about Eliza's sister as there is a hint of something interesting about her. Would have liked to have been given more information on the historical conflict and the plot was a little too predictable, but still a good read overall. Going to be passing this one on to my Irish neighbor, who will really enjoy. 
Rating: 3 Dewey's
I won this from a blog and just wanted to put up a quick review (Plus it is part of my challenge)

by Nicole Richie (yup the one you are thinking of)
Atria Books (Division of Simon and Schuster)
ISBN: 978-1-4391-9690-8

Description: Meet Charlotte WilliamsRich, gorgeous, blonde and a talented singer, she has everything going for her. Spoiled and indulged, her life has always revolved around fashion, gossip, partying and men.When Charlottes father her only family since her mothers tragic death years ago is arrested on fraud charges, her glittering world shatters around her. Alone and penniless, she must make her own way for the very first time. Harassed by paparazzi and the outraged victims of her fathers crimes, Charlotte flees to New Orleans to escape the scandal. But what happens when a Park Avenue Princess is forced to fend for herself? How will she adapt to the Big Easys bohemian lifestyle? And in the face of anonymous death threats, can she keep herself out of danger? From the stylish avenues of Manhattan and dark clubs of the French Quarter to the bright lights of Los Angeles, Nicole Richies scintillating tale shows that the very life you run from is the one that wont let you hide

Review: Natasha lent me this one.  When I made the face when she told me who wrote it, she said to  trust her, she wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised.  Well, I have to tell you I was also pleasantly surprised.  Nicole puts together a nice story about a young privileged girl who out of the blue has to grow up and learn to do things for herself. The story is well written and Charlotte develops nicely from a spoiled little rich thing to a likable and strong women.  I'll be honest at times I was irritated by how quickly she got on her feet and the mentions of clothes and places that I will never be able to afford.  But than again this is the world Nicole is from, I shouldn't expect for her to understand what us lower middle class women live like.  Nicole definitely has some potential writing in the chick lit genre. I applaud her efforts and I have a feeling that she also tells her child some lovely bedtime stories.

Rating: 3 Dewey's
Natasha lent me this one and I didn't have to review it, but I just felt like it

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bookscene Launch at The Bata Shoe Museum

Natasha and I attended the Bookscene Launch at the Bata Shoe Musuem in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, here are some Pictures

In this picture - I am the one with no ass and in this picture
I am the one who looks all Twilight sparkly

In My Mailbox

Just realized I hadn't put this up in a while. Here is what I have received since my last post

For Review
Venom from Simon and Schuster

Nancy's Theory of Style from Simon Schuster 
From Scholastic

From Tundra Books' Blog Talking with Tundra
From Facebook Contest at Help We've Got Kids
Swag from Bookscene Launch
FromTwitter @SpotlightRogers

From Chapters
From Chapters
Natasha lent me
From Chapters


Duplicate copy at work and its MINE now!

Help out a Fellow Blogger

If you can please help out a fellow blogger and MOM and vote for her kids, she is also offering prizes if you do -- hey Bribes work - trust me we are Mom's
From a fellow Blogger and Mom - Dee from Good Choice Reading 

I really need your help! I entered my boys in two contest and I really want them to win :0( !

I am offering a $25 Gift Card and a $15 Gift Card to a bookstore of your choice for voting!!!
For more details click here: VOTE & WIN WIN WIN!!!

I know the post seems like a lot, but it really is simple! For Ethan Michael, the contest ENDS Monday and he only has 48 votes! If you could please please vote for Ethan Michael on Facebook I would love ya forever LOL! 

When you click on the link, if it does not show Ethan Michael, you can go into the search box and type in ETHAN MICHAEL and he is the little boy with the green Jets hat!!! Thank you a bunch!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

CSN and Christmas Shopping

CSN has generously gave me the opportunity to review another item from one of their FABULOUS stores, so I thought -- hey I have no extra money for Christmas, why don't I buy one of my family members presents from them

If you haven't heard of CSN - and would be surprised if you haven't,  they are a fantastic online shopping site with tons of fantastic things to buy such as a funky platform bed, wonderful kitchen gadgets and some fun and educational toys.

I haven't decided which member of my family to buy for, but here are some of my idea's so far

For my Nephew Jack
For my niece Sarah

For My Hubby Jeff (To replace the one I ruined)

For my youngest Jesse

For my oldest Jake

I will post next week with my final choice and later when I receive the item.

If you haven't had a chance to check them out -- I seriously recommend it. A heads up to my fellow Canucks, the international fee is a bit steep -- but it does ensure AWESOME service.