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, September 28, 2011

The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey: Book Review

The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist #3)
by Rick Yancey
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8452-8
Suggested Ages: 14+ (Very Gory)
Buy From Indigo

Description: When Dr. Warthrop goes hunting the "Holy Grail of Monstrumology" with his eager new assistant, Arkwright, he leaves Will Henry in New York. Finally, Will can enjoy something that always seemed out of reach: a normal life with a real family. But part of Will can't let go of Dr. Warthrop, and when Arkwright returns claiming that the doctor is dead, Will is devastated--and not convinced. 

Determined to discover the truth, Will travels to London, knowing that if he succeeds, he will be plunging into depths of horror worse than anything he has experienced so far. His journey will take him to Socotra, the Isle of Blood, where human beings are used to make nests and blood rains from the sky--and will put Will Henry's loyalty to the ultimate test.

The Good Stuff
  • Get a real kick out of the prologues in this series & this one was my favorite
  • A lot more humour in this which I really enjoyed - laughed out loud quite a few times
  • Dr. Warthrop comes across as more likeable & human in this one
  • Fast paced story most of the time
  • Not as much icky gory stuff like in the first two installments in the series (Boys will love that, 40 yr old Mom's, not so much LOL!)
  • Main characters are very realistic, warts and all
  • Unique
  • Like the play on character names and the part about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is just plain delightful
  • Lots of moral quandaries which make it a great book for class discussions
  • Good character development from one book to the next
  • Plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Still way too much violence and gore for me personally - if that doesn't bother you, than ignore this - more like an FYI
  • Story drags a little for my preference
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Ah." He was smiling slyly at me. "William James  Henry, do you have literary ambitions? I am astounded."
"That I might have literary ambitions?"
"That you have any ambition at all."

"I don't wish to pick the case! The entire idea was yours to begin with. But you've shown your hand in this, and rest assured I will disavow anything you dare to publish under the guise of preserving my legacy. Holmes had his Watson indeed! And Caeser had  his Brutus, didn't he."

"No I'm lying to you. It is actually the Greek word for 'stupid child'. Yes it means 'nothing' in Greek, and there is no such thing as a pyrite tree."

Who should/shouldn't read
  • A must have for fans of the other 2 books in the series
  • Perfect for YA boys who like the gore and creepiness (or girls of course)
  • Wouldn't recommend this if you haven't read the first two books in the series
  • Not for the squeamish or younger audience as it is quite violent and dark
3.5 Dewey's

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

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Drama: An Actor's Education by John Lithgow: Review & Book Signing Information

    Drama: An Actor's Education
    by John Lithgow
    ISBN: 978-0-06-173497-7
    Release Date: September 27, 2011
    Buy from Indigo

    Description: Through the vivid stories in "Drama", John Lithgow shares a backstage history of his struggle, crisis, and discovery, and the scenes of his early life and career that took place before he became a nationally-known star. Above all, "Drama" is a tribute to the most important influence in John Lithgow's life: his father, Arthur Lithgow. An actor, director, producer, and great lover of Shakespeare, Arthur brought theatre to John's boyhood, where performance and storytelling were a constant and cherished part of family life. Lithgow brings the theatre worlds of New York and London to life as he relives his collaborations with renowned performers and directors including Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse, Liv Ullmann, Meryl Streep, and Brian De Palma. Lithgow's ruminations on the nature of theatre, performance, and storytelling cut to the heart of why actors are driven to perform, and why people are driven to watch them do it. At once hilarious and reflective, "Drama" pulls back the curtain on the making of one of our most beloved actors

    The Good Stuff
    • Charming and honest
    • Hilarious and self deprecating 
    • The bit about how he got out of Vietnam is very honest and you really can feel his shame about what he did - honest and powerful
    • Loved how he talked about his Dad and his faults but never laid blame and owns up to his own mistakes
    • Fascinating information about the theatre scene during the sixties and seventies
    • Great background information on some now famous stars
    • Never gossipy, tacky or lurid, although some real life actors are very thinly disguised (hmm Cliff Robertson)
    • Impressed with his writing style, sort of like he is talking to you
    • Loved how he talked about how lucky he was to have had the contacts and the luck he did.  Comes right out that he got his breaks it due to nepotism - very frankly done
    • There better be a second book because I am very interested in his stories about his tv and film career

      The Not so Good Stuff
      • Hoping there is going to be a second memoir that explores his later life and career. Slightly disappointed that there is very little about his movie and TV career, as this is how I was introduced to his talent (his portrayal of Roberta in The World According to Garp is brilliant and on Dexter he creeped the s**t out of me he was so good)
      • Some of it comes across as a little theatrical pretentious but he's up front about that and it is something that is prevalent in most actors, so not really a bad thing, just more of an FYI

      Favorite Quotes/Passages

      "All of this urgent artistic activity took place before I was ten. Years later, big sister Robin told me that she'd found it all insufferably pretentious. Looking back, I have to agree. But at the time, and for many years later, I was deadly serious."

      "Adults never entirely forget that they are watching actors pretend. You can certainly have an impact on them. You can surprise them, move them, shock them, and make them laugh. But you're not fooling them for a moment.  Adults always sit in the theatre with the smug, unwavering knowledge that they are watching a calculated piece of fiction. Not so children."

      "Before he went to sleep, Dad thanked me for the story as if I had given him a treasured gift. But he'd given me a gift, too. It was the gift of a father's love.:

      Who should/shouldn't read
      • Fabulous for fans of Lithgow and his stage work
      • Theatre buffs will also enjoy
      • Those who were looking forward to more tales of his TV and movie career, will be a wee bit disappointed

      4.25 Dewey's

      I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review- Thanks guys, now I am totally counting down the days to his signing -- hope not to gush too  much when I meet him -- hmm wonder what cookies I am going to make for him

      In Person: John Lithgow
      About this event:
      Meet award-winning actor John Lithgow as he shares his fascinating memoir and backstage history of an illustrious career, Drama: An Actor's Education.

      Indigo Eaton Centre
      Toronto, Ontario -Monday, October 24th -7:00 pm

      The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: Book Review

      The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
      by Michelle Hodkin
      Simon and Schuster
      ISBN: 978-1-4424-2176-9
      Suggested Ages: 13 +
      Release Date: September 27, 2011
      Buy from Indigo

      Description: Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

      It can.

      She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

      There is. She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

      The Good Stuff
      • Sucks you in and doesn't let go -- I hated putting it down (see I love you kids, I put down a fab book to spend time with you )
      • Mysterious, spooky, and dark
      • Parents aren't horrendous self absorbed morons (you get extra points just for that)
      • Love interest is a yummy bad boy with an English accent
      • Some nice humour - quirky and a little bit snarky - just what I like
      • Lots of twists and turns and it keeps you on the edge of your seat
      • Love the relationship between Mara and her brothers
      • Love Jamie
      • Did I mention her parents weren't horrendous self absorbed morons- I really have to let this go -- nope not going to I'm old and set in my way
      • Liked all the pop culture references - yes I do know I am a nerd thank you very much
      • Author is a fab storyteller - give you a little bit and than makes you wait with anticipation
       The Not so Good Stuff
      • Was a wee bit confused near the end with what was going on
      • If there is a sequel than the ending was good if not - Michelle Hodkin I will hunt you down and make you (not really but I'd be pissed if that was the final ending to the story)
      • WTF with the everglades and the leeches - yeah really didn't like those parts
      Favorite Quotes/Passages

      "I decided not to tell her about my little adventure today; if she watched me any closer, she'd turn into the Eye of Sauron"

      "So A-holes aside, how's your first week?"
      Oh, you know. Saw a dead guy. Losing my mind. Same Old. "Not too bad."

      "I gracelessly darted into the crowd and only narrowly avoided being elbowed in the face by a girl attired in what could only be described as "slutty Gryffindor" apparel. So wrong."

      Who should/shouldn't read
      • This one is good for both YA and adults
      • I would say probably 14+ due to violence and sexuality -- but that is just a suggestion, nothing a more mature 12/13 yr old couldn't handle
      • Not for those who like a light read, you have to be paying attention
      • Kelley Armstrong fans will enjoy

      4.25 Dewey's

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

      Monday, September 26, 2011

      Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean

      Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend
      by Susan Orlean
      Simon and Schuster
      ISBN: 978-1-4391-9013-5
      Release Date: September 27, 2011
      Buy From Indigo

      Description: He believed the dog was immortal. So begins Susan Orleans sweeping, powerfully moving story of Rin Tin Tins journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. From the moment in 1918 when Corporal Lee Duncan discovers Rin Tin Tin on a World War I battlefield, he recognizes something in the pup that he needs to share with the world. Rin Tin Tins improbable introduction to Hollywood leads to the dogs first blockbuster film and over time, the many radio programs, movies, and television shows that follow. The canine heros legacy is cemented by Duncan and a small group of others who devote their lives to keeping him and his descendants alive.

      At its heart, Rin Tin Tin is a poignant exploration of the enduring bond between humans and animals. But it is also a richly textured history of twentieth-century entertainment and entrepreneurship and the changing role of dogs in the American family and society. Almost ten years in the making, Susan Orleans first original book since The Orchid Thief is a tour de force of history, human interest, and masterful storytellingthe ultimate must-read for anyone who loves great dogs or great yarns

      The Good Stuff
      • Honestly when I first got this I was a wee bit worried that I wouldn't enjoy, as I knew very little of Rin Tin Tin, but was amazed by how interesting it ended up being
      • Learned so much fascination information about dogs during the war and the history of the German Sheppard (My fav type of Dog)
      • Interesting background info about the beginnings of the film and tv industry
      • Incredibly well researched 
      • What could have been a dry book, has life brought to it by Orleans writing ability and her passion for the subject matter
      • Lots of background on dogs in the entertainment industry and their valiant efforts during the war (The stuff about the dogs during the war made me cry)
      • You really get a feel of the emotions of the depression in the US and understand how this dog brought light and hope into the lives of those who were struggling
      The Not so Good Stuff
      • Would have like more pictures
      • The organization of the book jumps a little so you have to be paying attention - I'm a speed reader so this is a little disjointing for me
      • Now I want a dog -- damn you I got enough needy male creatures in my house (Dogs are boys, Cats are girls LOL)
      • Really liked Orlean's writing style and I look forward to reading more by her
      Favorite Quotes/Passages

      "I began to understand that what drew me to Rin Tin Tin most of all was his permanence - how he manged to linger in the minds of so many people for so long, when so much else shines for a moment only and then finally fades away. He was something you could dream about."

      "I had wanted to create something permanent in my life- some proof that everything in its way mattered, that working hard mattered, that feeling things mattered, that even sadness and loss mattered, because it was all part of something that would live on. But I had also come to recognize that not everything needs to be durable. the lesson we have yet to learn from dogs, that could sustain us, is that having no apprehension of the past or future is not limiting but liberating."

      "A singular passion helps you slice through the mess of the world, but I had also come to believe that cutting such a a narrow path plays tricks with proportion and balance and pushes everything that much closer to the edge. It's not that passionate people are crazy; it's that by necessity, the have traded the sweep of a big view for one that's contracted and focused. which can give their world a peculiar shape."

      Who should/shouldn't read
      • Dog lovers will enjoy
      • Obviously fans of Rin Tin Tin will be enthralled by this
      4 Dewey's

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

      Sunday, September 25, 2011

      In My Mailbox

      For Review

      Thanks Scholastic, this one is truly unique

      Thanks Random House, Simon and Schuster and Natasha

      From Bzzz Agent
      Signed books from Word on the Street

      Freebies, Swag and books (+ signed book Danny in New Fangled World) from Word on the Street

      Monday, September 19, 2011

      The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey: Mini Book Review

      The Curse of the Wendigo
      by Rick Yancey
      Simon and Schuster
      Suggested Ages: 14+
      Buy From Indigo

      Description: While attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, Dr. Warthrop is asked by his former fiancee to rescue her husband from the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, which has snatched him in the Canadian wilderness. Although Warthrop also considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and rescues her husband from death and starvation, and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo. Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied? This second book in The Monstrumologist series explores the line between myth and reality, love and hate, genius and madness

      Mini Book Review: Well, I definitely enjoyed this more than the Monstrumologist based solely on the fact that it wasn't as graphic.  The storyline was a lot more fast paced and easier to read, less Victorian Gothic. There was a lot more scenes dealing with the relationship between Will Henry and the Dr, and you really started to actually feel that the Dr was more of a human character and less of a caricature. I now am actually looking forward to The Isle of Blood which Simon and Schuster has sent me for review.  Just a warning this is still a quite dark and often depressing series, and definitely not for the sensitive or squeamish reader. But the writing is outstanding and the plot highly original.  These would be great fit for male YA readers who like some gore and excitement.

      3.5 Dewey's

      I borrowed this through the Inter-library Loan service at the Albion Bolton Public Library

      Sunday, September 18, 2011

      In My Mailbox - Strike Issue

      For Review

      From Random House

      Jesse got these for his Birthday

      Borrowed through Interlibrary Loan from the Bolton Public Library

      CONTEST for The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando: Review by Chef Jeff and Jen (who made all the cookies)

      The Cookiepedia: Mixing, Baking, and Reinventing the Classics
      by Stacy Adimando
      Quirk Books (Random House)
      ISBN: 978-1-59474-535-5
      Buy From Indigo

      Description: Trendy cupcakes may come and go, but cookies are a timeless treat! If you miss the days when snacks were simple and handmade, youll love this homespun encyclopedia of cookies. Full of hand-drawn illustrations and gorgeous photographs, The Cookiepedia features recipes for everything from Amaretti and Almond Biscotti to Mint Thins, Macaroons, Chocolate Chip Cookies and dozens of other favoritesmore than 50 recipes in all. With a lovely lie-flat binding and a delightfully whimsical design, The Cookiepedia is a trusted companion for a new generation of bakers.

      The Good Stuff
      • The spiral binding of this is outstanding and oh so practical. Easy to lay open and flat so that you can easily consult your recipe without damaging or getting chocolate all over the book
      • Has a space on each recipe for you to make notes - love, love this feature (so did Chef Jeff)
      • Nice simple, quick easy to make and delicious cookie recipes
      • Easy to follow steps, nice size font, everything spaced out perfectly so you see what you need
      • Both simple and more fancy type cookies - lots of variety
      • Nice tips, tricks and variations for every recipe
      • Most recipes have pictures
      • Recipes actually made the amount of cookies listed due to proper description on how big each cookie should be before cooking
      • Fabulous tasting results - I made the Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodles and Thumbprint cookies and they all came out delicious
      • Good brief nice introduction and acknowledgments were a nice touch
      • The ABC's of Cookie Baking are perfect for the novice cookie maker (and I learned a few things too)
      • This will be a very well used cookbook in this house - we are actually entering the Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Bolton Fall Fair next week
      • We watch the movie Hoodwinked a lot and Snicker-doodles are mentioned, but we had no idea what they were. Now thanks to this fab recipe for them, I am hooked
      The Not so Good Stuff
      • Would have liked a picture on each of the recipes - although the simple group shots were a good idea too
      Favorite Recipes
      •  Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bittersweet Chocolate Chips - Pg43
      • Snickerdoodles - Pg 123
      • Jam Thumbprints - Pg 101
      Who should/shouldn't read
      • Perfect for the beginner and advanced cook
      • Will definitely be buying a copy for Tanya for Christmas
      • For anyone who loves cookies & wants to make them
      4.75 Dewey's

      Photographic Evidence of how simple and easy the cookies are to make
      Chocolate Chip Cookies

      Pre Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

      Finished Chocolate Chip Cookies - Delish

      Snickerdoodle Recipe

      Pre Baked Snickerdoodles

      Finished Snickerdoodles

      Jam Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

      Finished Jam Thumbprint - don't look as nice, but they be yummy!

      Jake loves all three - but his fav hands down is the Snickerdoodle

      We received this from Random House in Exchange for an honest review - thanks guys this is a keeper & one that we are going to buy for Tanya

      Prize: 1 Copy of The Cookiepedia
      Ends September 23rd
      To Enter: Leave a Comment with name of your Favorite Cookie with contact info
      Canada Only

      The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey: Mini Book Review

      The  Monstrumologist 
      by Rick Yancey
      Simon and Schuster
      ISBN: 978-1-4169-8448-1
      Suggested Ages: 14+ (Scary and extreme description of murdered victims)
      Buy From Indigo

      Description: These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for nearly ninety years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me. So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was feeding on her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagi--a headless monster that feeds through the mouthfuls of teeth in its chest--and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatening to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.

      Mini Book Review:  I  won't lie to you, I had a really hard time with this one. There are a lot of rather gross and extremely descriptive passages about murdered victims - and some of them involved children, which is something I have a difficult time with it.  After a while I just skipped over the parts and tried to enjoy the story. It is extremely well written, almost reminiscent of the Gothic stories of Lovecraft and Poe.  The storyline is unique and fast paced and will really appeal to male YA readers.  There is some fun dark humor which appealed to me and the characters are fascinating.  But I can't say I really enjoyed it due to the very darkness of the storyline and the unpleasantness of one of the main characters. Will Henry himself, is a delightful character that I cheered for and will continue reading the series (with a lot of skipping of the overly descriptive parts) to find out what happens to him. This is a very dark read so I would not recommend it to the sensitive reader and this will not be one I keep for Jake.

      3 Dewey's

      I borrowed this through Inter-library loan from my local public library.  I was given the 3rd book in the series to review by Simon and Schuster, so I am reading the first 2 books in order to give it a proper review

      Thursday, September 15, 2011

      The Scorch Trials by James Dasher: Book Review

      The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2)
      by James Dashner
      Ember (Random House)
      ISBN: 978-0-385-73876-7
      Suggested Ages: 12+
      Buy From Indigo

      Description: Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

      In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

      Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegratedand with it, orderand now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.

      The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

      Thomas can only wonderdoes he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

      The Good Stuff
      • Spectacular second book in a trilogy -- we all know that is a rarity - honestly I think it was better than the The Maze Runner
      • Non stop action with plenty of twists and turns
      • Will appeal to both male and female readers
      • Dystopian novel with hints of the Outsiders, The Running Man, Death Race and even a bit of Lost, Serenity (you will think of the Reavers trust me) and The Stand
      • Could not put it down, I actually counted down till nap time today so I could put my toddler to bed and read the last 80 pages. Stayed up last night to midnight to read, my eyes were drooping but I still wanted to read more
      • Realistic characters who develop nicely
      • Nice moral questions put in, would be great for a High School literature course & far less dull than  The Lord of the Flies
      • The writing is so vivid and spectacular you feel like you are one of the characters
      • Just go buy The Maze Runner and the Scorch Trials if you wanted to become immersed in a fantastic tale that you just can't stop yourself from reading
      • Now off to hunt someone down who has a copy of The Death Cure -- I'm still totally buying my own copy for my bookshelf (its shelf worthy - hey I got limited space I gotta be selective) but I NEED to read it now 
      • Some nice humour in this one, which was a little lacking in The Maze Runner
      The Not so Good Stuff
      • Damn wish I had got an arc of The Death Cure so I could find out what happens. Ah well I guess I can practice patience and wait till Oct 11th when it comes out
      Favorite Quotes/Passages

      "Yeah , right," Minho said. "And Frypan's gonna start having little babies, Winston'll get rid of his monster acne, and Thomas here'll actually smile for once."
      Thomas turned to Minho and exaggerated a fake smile. "Ther, you happy?"
      "Dude," he responded. "You are one ugly shank."

       "With thoughts of revenge actually comforting him in a sick and twisted way, he finally fell asleep."

      "Sometimes I wonder." Thomas murmured.
      "Wonder what?"
      "If being alive matters. If being dead might be a lot easier."
      "Please. I don't believe for one second you really think that."
      Thomas's gaze had lowered while he'd delivered the depressing sentiment and he looked up sharply at Newt's retort. The he smiled, and it felt good. "You're right. Just trying to sound as miserable as you."

      Who should/shouldn't read
      • Fans of dystopian literature will be hooked
      • Would recommend reading The Maze Runner before you read this, otherwise you might be totally lost
      • Fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and Stephen King's The Running Man will enjoy
      • Not for the squeamish or sensitive - it be intense
      4.75 Dewey's

      I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review - damn you couldn't you have sent me the next book too -- ah wait a second, I get it -- this intrigues me enough for me to go BUY my own copy -- good one LOL!

      Wednesday, September 14, 2011

      The Maze Runner by James Dashner: Mini Book Review

      The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1)
      by James Dashner
      Delacorte Press (Random House)
      ISBN: 978-0-385-73795-1
      Suggested Ages: 12+
      Buy From Indigo

      Description: Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You're in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids -- the Runners -- venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.

      Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he's unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and
      does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?

      Mini Book Review: Totally hooked from the first chapter, this book is a fabulous addition to the dystopian genre. Sorta reminds me of a mix of The Running Man, Lord of the Flies, The Outsiders,  Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games all mixed into one. I couldn't stop imagining the characters of Thomas and Chuck as Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly from The Game of Thrones.  The storyline is exciting with tons of non stop action and plenty of twists and turns guaranteed to keep even the most reluctant reader entertained.  It is quite bleak and violent at times so I wouldn't recommend it to the sensitive reader.   I was sent the second book in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials to read, and now I am counting down the hours until the kids go to bed so I can finish it.  I need to know what happens and what is really going on.  Only complaint is that I felt as lost as the characters into what was happening, but I guess that's half of the enjoyment I guess, just left me a little frustrated and thinking WTF at times.  Now hubby leave me alone and kids go to bed, Momma wants to read -- this might be a late night

      4.5 Dewey's

      I bought this from Chapters because I was intrigued with the storyline -- and read it now because I received the second book from Random House to review

      Tuesday, September 13, 2011

      Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

      Goliath (Leviathan #3)
      by Scott Westerfeld
      Simon and Schuster
      ISBN: 978-1-4424-3073-0
      Suggested Ages: 12+  (A stronger 10+ could handle)
      Release Date: September 20, 2011
      Buy From Indigo

      Description: Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Aleks throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they werent technically enemies.

      The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board: secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is at it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfelds brilliant trilogy

      The Good Stuff
      • Fabulous ending to a good series
      • Boys and Girls will equally enjoy the series
      • Incredibly imaginative and unique
      • Delightfully feisty and brave heroine with a wonderful cheeky sense of humour 
      • The Illustrations are worth the price of the book alone
      • Lots of excitement and twists and turns
      • Perfect addition to the steampunk genre for the stronger middle school reader. Also enjoyable for both the younger YA and adult reader
      • As a mom and Library worker I really appreciate the real historical information included at the end of each book in this series. Encourages readers to look into the history that inspired the story
      • I totally wish the Perspicacious Loris were real, a truly delightful fantastical creature
      • Characters are realistic and they develop nicely
      • Loved the dialogues between characters and some of the phrases that Deryn uses'
      • I will definitely be giving this to Jake in about a year to read
      The Not so Good Stuff
      • It does get a little dull for me at times with the descriptions of the machinery/beasties, but that will definitely attract the male reader (yes I know its sexist, but it is quite true in most cases)
      Favorite Quotes/Passages

      "Then Alex remembered a saying of his father's: The only way to remedy ignorance is to admit it."

      "Barking kings!" Deryn shouted. Divine right didn't change the laws of gravity and hydrogen, that was for certain."

      "You're right. Killing is ugly, whatever shape it takes. That's why we have to stop this war."

      Who should/shouldn't read
      • Fans of Steampunk, especially those in the middle class early YA range
      • History buffs would get a kick out of it
      • Would highly recommend reading the first two books before you read this, as you might miss out on some things
      4.25 Dewey's

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

      Review of Leviathan (Book #1)
      Review of Behemoth (Book #2)

      Saturday, September 10, 2011

      The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

      The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
      by Siddhartha Mukherjee
      Simon and Schuster
      ISBN: 978-1-4391-7091-5
      Buy from Indigo

      Description: Cancer is among the most dreaded of diseases, often mentioned in whispers or euphemisms. (The very word is a curse in Dutch.) Whatever we call it, "the big C" is unavoidable in any language: According to the World Cancer Report, it will become the worldwide leading cause of deaths in 2010. Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies lifts the taboo by presenting a history of cancer in the context of both of miscomprehensions and advances in its detection and treatment. As a cancer physician and researcher whose articles have appeared in a wide variety of publications, the author approaches the subject with a rare combination of expertise, humanity, and writing skills. A Discover Great New Book Selection. (A sample of prepublication testimonials: "Rarely have the science and poetry of illness been so elegantly braided together as they are in this erudite, engrossing, kind book.")

      The Good Stuff

      • I won't lie, when I opened up the mail and saw this my first thought was WTF - pulizter prize winner, hello this is not my thing. I am not an overly intelligent women and well quite frankly was thinking dullsville. Well, I was very, very wrong!
      • This is brilliantly written and relatively easy to understand -- even for me
      • I was so fascinated and learned so much I actually found it difficult to put down
      • Medical information is in depth, interesting and written in more layman terms - which very much surprising
      • Incredibly well researched & some fantastic notes and detailed index (yes I know its geeky but I am an anal Library Technician
      • Fascinating to see the denial through history of the connection between tobacco and cancer -- especially from educated medical personal 
      • Horrified and disgusted at times of all the research done on unsuspecting patients, even knowing the benefits it had in the medical field 
      • Actually teared up a couple of times which very much surprised me
      • The author has a very honest, sensitive and personal manner which is a rarity in a Dr (Trust me I have spent my whole life surrounded by those in the medical profession)
      • The writing is almost lyrical which again surprised me
      • Cancer really does suck ass & hopefully one day we will kick its ass
      The Not so Good Stuff
      • At times it jumps from time frame to time frame which was a little disconcerting
      • Some noticeable repetition - better editing would have made it a tighter piece of writing
      Favorite Quotes/Passages

      "As a doctor learning to tend cancer patients, I had only a  partial glimpse of this confinement. But even skirting its periphery, I could still feel its power-the dense, insistent gravitational tug that pulls everything and everyone into the orbit of cancer."

      "When Wynder presented his preliminary ideas at a conference on lung biology in Memphis, not a singles question or comment came from the members of the audience, most of whom had apparently slept through the talk or cared too little about the topic to be roused.  IN contrast, the presentation that followed Wynder's, on an obscure disease called pulmonary adenomatosis in sheep, generated a lively, half hour debate."

      "Germaine fought cancer obsessively, cannily, desperately, fiercely, madly, brilliantly, and zealously - as if channeling all the fierce, inventive energy of generations of men and women who had fought cancer in the past and would fight it in the future."

      Who should/shouldn't read
      • Anyone who has been affected in any way by Cancer
      • All medical professional dealing with Cancer
      • So yeah, its pretty much required reading for everyone over the age of 16 (Terminology and subject matter might be hard to deal with by those younger than 16)
      4.5 Dewey's

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

      Friday, September 9, 2011

      The Sookie Stackhouse Companion Edited by Charlaine Harris

      The Sookie Stackhouse Companion
      Edited by Charlaine Harris
      Penguin Books
      ISBN: 978-0-441-01971-7
      Buy from Indigo

      Description: Charlaine Harris has topped the bestseller charts and has become a nationwide phenomenon, thanks to the unconventional-and otherworldly- life of Sookie Stackhouse. Now, in her own words, Sookie gives readers a look at her family, friends, enemies, adventures, and-of course-the lovers who set her world on fire...

      Readers will:

      Tour Bon Temps, the small Louisiana town that Sookie calls home, and visit the houses of her Gran and her sometime vampire lover, Bill
      Prowl around the werewolf and were-panther communities
      Browse through her best friend Tara's dress shop
      Belly up to the bar in Merlotte's, where Sookie works
      Get must-have Bon Temps recipes-including Caroline Bellfleur's famous chocolate cheesecake
      Test themselves with trivia questions from the series

      The Good Stuff
      • Enjoyed the latest Sookie novella included.  It was such a nice story that shows the love and respect that Sam and Sookie have for each other
      • Love the recipe section filled with tons of fun southern recipes with familiar True Blood names. Will be making the Perdita's Bread Pudding with Bourban Sauce (My fav dessert) and Portia's Sweet Potato Pie in the next couple of weeks
      • The "Life in Bon Temps" time-line is a fantastic addition and will be handy as a quick read before you read the new stories in the series. Basically it gives you a synopsis of each book with some often hilarious "Secret Dialogues of Bill and Eric" at the end of each synopsis.
      • I totally geeked out with the Map of Bon Temps and the Sookie Family Tree
      • Love the way Charlaine Harris turns a phrase. Some of the stuff that comes out of Sookie's mouth makes me LMAO
      • A good background piece on Sookie's thoughts on the various paranormal beasts that she is surrounded by. Not really new stuff but a good summary
      • Again not new, but  a nice little background to Charlaine's various literary works
      • Nice having everything in one place
      The Not so Good Stuff
      • Trivia section really is only for true fans who pay attention to every little detail -- which I guess wouldn't be me as I had no idea to many of the questions
      • The section on the Duck Pond, couldn't figured out why it was included. I understand the need to mention the fan clubs, etc -- but I really could care less about the author and why she became a fan. No offense, I am sure she is lovely, but it was not needed
      Favorite Quotes/Passages

      "Some women have long careers as bridesmaids; I had a long career of being a pretend girlfriend."

      "I didn't say anything, but I could sort of understand feeling sympathy for someone who'd suddenly discovered his wife changed into a different creature. Of course, shooting that wife was a gross overreaction, but watching your wife transform into a dog ... That would shake any man."

      Who should/shouldn't read
      • Fantastic for the long time fan and those new to the series
      • Will have to buy a copy for both Melanie and my niece Tanya
      • Not really for fans of the TV show as it mostly deals with book Sookie and not Alan Ball's take on the characters

      3.75 Dewey's

      I received this from Penguin in exchange for an honest review

      Wednesday, September 7, 2011

      Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld: Mini Book Review

      by Scott Westerfeld

      Simon Pulse (Simon and Schuster)
      Kobo Edition
      Buy from Indigo

      Description: The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker Powers. Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory. Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face whats ahead.

      Mini Book Review: I was surprised how much I enjoyed this 2nd book to the Leviathan trilogy.  Behemoth has plenty of non stop action that kept me hooked.  I am in awe of Westerfeld's creativity in describing such a fantastical steam-punk world, done is such a thoroughly believable way.  As a mom I also appreciated the background history that he puts at the end of each story,  really encourages the reader to do some reading into such a momentous time in history. As I mentioned in the review of Leviathan I loved Deryn/Dylan with all her feisty behavior and her delightful way of speaking.  Strangely even-though I know the treatment of women is portrayed realistically I do still bristle when women are talked of in a condescending tone by some of the characters. Sorry can't help myself but I cannot wait until Alek figures out that Deryn is a girl - it will be so much fun. The artwork is outstanding even on this Kobo edition, so I will also be purchasing a hard copy for Jake to read in a couple of years. I look forward to reading the final installment of the series. I would seriously recommend this as a class book to be read by the teacher and than discuss the real history with the students . I think it would be a fabulous and fun way to learn history.

      4 Dewey's

      I have this on my Kobo and did not have to review it

      Tuesday, September 6, 2011

      To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt: Mini Book Review

      To Beguile a Beast (Legend of the Four Soldiers #3)
      by Elizabeth Hoyt
      Hachette Book Group
      ISBN: 978-0-446-40693-2
      Buy from Indigo

      Description: CAN A WOUNDED BEAST . . . Reclusive Sir Alistair Munroe has hidden in his castle ever since returning from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But when a mysterious beauty arrives at his door, the passions he's kept suppressed for years begin to awaken.

      TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST . . . Running from past mistakes has taken legendary beauty Helen Fitzwilliam from the luxury of the ton to a crumbling Scottish castle . . . and a job as a housekeeper. Yet Helen is determined to start a new life and she won't let dust-or a beast of a man-scare her away.

      TO TAME HIS MOST SECRET DESIRES? Beneath Helen's beautiful façade, Alistair finds a courageous and sensual woman. A woman who doesn't back away from his surliness-or his scars. But just as he begins to believe in true love, Helen's secret past threatens to tear them apart. Now both Beast and Beauty must fight for the one thing neither believed they could ever find-a happy ever after.

      Mini Book Review:  Honestly, I wasn't expecting much when I picked this one up. My union is on strike and I am too stressed to read anything very deep right now, so I was looking for fluff.  This really was a pleasant surprise, and it helped my mind escape from reality for a little while. The characters were realistic and didn't fall into the usual stereotypical romance novel archetypes. The storyline was a intriguing twist on the Beauty and the Beast story.  The plot moved quickly, with some unexpected twists and some nice light humour.  I will definitely be seeking out the rest of the books in this book series.  A great book to take you away from reality and would be perfect for a day at the beach or a cold winters night -- or while camping at Killbear with an active bear on the campsite -- right Natasha LOL!.

      3.5 Dewey's

      I picked this up at the annual Bolton Public Library Book Sale & it cost me a whole .25 (hell of a bargain I tell ya)

      Saturday, September 3, 2011

      In My Mailbox


      Won the Black Kobo Touch from the Indigo Fall Party + gave us a gift bag with book, notebook & giftcard