Note about my Reviews

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

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dear Lena Dunham

For the regular readers of my blog, this will be a wee bit of a departure for me.  I usually just like to stick to promoting books, libraries, literacy and all things geek.  However I read a quick blurb in the local Metro that filled me with disgust.

I waited a couple of hours to post this so I could calm down and write somewhat articulately (yes and please remember writing is soooo not my thing)  The headline said. Apology, Actress takes back Bernardo tweet that "crossed that line."  I was intrigued so I kept reading. Basically the jist of articlest is that Lena Dunham had sent out a tweet that said "You guys go as killer Canadian couple Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka. I'll be her sister they murdered."  Well if that didn't get my anger going her "so called apology" sent me over the edge.  Her trite apology was this "Obviously didn't understand what a painful part of the Canadian identity the Bernardo/Homolka case was." 

I gasped in disbelief and than ranted about it towards my co-workers who also very much agreed with my sentiments.  I immediately wanted to contact Lena and berate her over her lack of sensitivity, but instead I have decided to put out a little letter to her on my blog.  The chance of her ever reading this is nill, but I have to get it off my chest.

Dear Lena

I don't want to come across as rude or hateful towards you, but what I read in our local paper actually sickened me.  I understand you were just trying to be funny  and that comedy is very subjective.  But I was actually offended by your apology.  The anger we all felt towards your tweet had nothing to do with being Canadian.  The brutal torture, rape and murder of those 3 girls experienced at the hands of those psychopaths (yes both of them, it was a travesty of justice and humanity that Homolka is now out of jail and raising a child after what she helped do to those girls) and you making light of it, is what angered people.

I can't even begin to imagine what those young girls suffered (I stayed away from the details of the trial, but still you couldn't avoid it entirely) and you thinking that pretending to be their killers would be funny disturbs me.   I actually recommend that you read some of the actual detailed information about the trial so that you know how horrifically those girls were sexually tortured before they were murdered. Maybe than you can truly understand why most people were horrified (and quite frankly I am disturbed that not everyone was horrified) by your costume idea.

 You should be apologizing to the families of those girls, not Canadians for your insensitivity.  These families are still suffering and you bringing back attention to those horrible memories must be devastating for them. 

Again I just want you to know, and many others, there are just some things that you cannot make light of.  

Please next time just think before you tweet,

(Mom to two boys and I worry constantly that they will become desensitized to the impact of violent behavior when they hear so called " throwaway" comments by somebody just wanting to test the boundaries of comedy.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club
by Will Schwalbe
Knopf Canada (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-307-39966-3
Buy from Indigo

Descpription: What are you reading?

Thats the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less.

This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a book club that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isnt the opposite of doing; its the opposite of dying.

Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each otherand rediscover their livesthrough their favorite books. When they read, they arent a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Wills love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page

The Good Stuff
  • Obviously it reiterates something that I have always believed, that books are a way of bringing people together
  • Hopeful and beautiful
  • Wonderfully honest bonding experience between mother and son - never saccarine
  • Darkly funny
  • Makes you really think about those you love and encourages you to talk things over before its too late
  • Mary Anne was a truly inspiring and courageous women (Reminded me very much of my father)
  • Introduced me to some books that I have never heard of and now desperately want to read
  • Such wise observations on how we should all live our life
  • Fascinating discussions about books and the affect they have on us all
  • Very respectful, yet deeply personal
  • Loved the list of books at the end
  • The discussions on religion and faith were very honest and loved that Will was honest about his lack of faith, but also respected his mothers beliefs
The Not So Good Stuff
  • It made me cry -- not really bad, but I had to put something here
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Books had always been a way for my mother and me to introduce and explore topics that concerned us but made us uneasy, and they had also given us something to talk about when we were stressed or anxious."

"She never wavered  in her conviction that books are the most powerful tool in the human arsenal, that reading all kinds of books, in whatever format you choose - electronic (even though that wasn't fo her) or printed, or audio - is the greandest entertainment, and also is how you take part in the the human conversation.  Mom taught me that you can make a difference in the world and that books really do matter: they're how we know what we need to do in life, and how we tell others.'

"And were you trying to teach me not to get too attached to things?"
"I wish, I'd given it that much thought! I really was just thinking of the orphans."
I can't help but feel sad when I think about Turtle, even if I remind myself to think about the orphans instead.
"I think I was pretty mad at you," I told Mom as we sat there.
"I was pretty mad at myself,"  Mom said. "Are you still?"
"Maybe a little bit," I said. Then we both laughed. But I was ... just a bit."

"One of my cousins and his wife had written to say, in a way they knew would make her smile, that even though they were 'heathens' they were praying for her. Mom loved this. Whe said to me - and to them - that she suspected heathen prayers were even more effective than Christian or Jewish or Muslim ones - perhaps because heathens prayed less."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • It might be a very hard read for someone currently living through watching a loved one dying
  • Something for everyone in this one
4.5 Dewey's

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

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Addicts Haul

For Review
Thanks Scholastic
Thanks Random House
Thanks Random House

Thanks William Morrow

From Chapters Shawnessy (To Help Jake - cuz I sure as hell don't understand it)

From Chapters Shawnessy (The blanket is sooo comfy)

Book Pimp Deliveries 
Thanks Jen and Terry - best signed books EVER!
Thanks Jen - cannot wait to read

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

The Spindlers
by Lauren Oliver
ISBN: 978-0-06-219025-3
Suggested Ages: 8-12 (But hey I am 42 and I truly enjoyed it)
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Buy from Indigo

Description: One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.

When Lizas brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.

She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.

To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly testsor else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.

The Good Stuff
  • Absolutely positively delightful -- where were books like this when I was in grade 3?
  • Reminded me of those wonderful adventure stories like Alice in Wonderland, Spiderwick Chronicles, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Wonderfully created world - Oliver you are bloody brilliant when it comes to creating new and fantastical worlds
  • Such wonderful commentary on the importance of hope, love and loyalty. Done in such a masterful, simple and never talking down way
  • Fast paced and never boring - quite frankly never said that before about a middle school book
  • You gotta love Liza - such a strong, yet realistic, kick butt heroine
  • Liza fights against what is easy to do what is right - such a fabulous role model
The Not So Good Stuff
  • a wee bit of repetition
  • For older readers it is a tad predictable
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"That was the problem with grown-ups; they told you not to lie, and then got angry when you told the truth! And it was Liza who was punished, because the rest of the world was blind."

"And is it natural," the rat thundered, quivering with rage, "for some to be cuddled and coddled and hugged, while others are hated and hunted and hurt, because of differences in fur, and tail, and whisker length? I ask you -is that natural?"

"This was exactly how things were Above: There were rules, but nobody told you about them, and you were somehow expected to know them anyway, and punished when you didn't"

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Will be recommending this to each and every 8 - 12 yr old girl that comes into my Chapters
  • Thank goodness I have 2 copies (Thanks sweet Teri) I have passed on this copy to my new neighbors daughter - she is going to love this
  • Librarians - this book is perfect for that girl -- you know the one -- who loves to lose herself in a good story
4.5 Dewey's

I received a copy of this at Book Expo America & sweet Teri gave me a signed copy

Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed & Larkin Reed

Amber House
by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed and Larkin Reed
Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic)
ISBN: 978-0-545-43416-4
Suggested Ages: 13+
Buy From Indigo
Release Date: October 1, 2012

Description: Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that's been in her family for three centuries. She's never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she's never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.

But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds--and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house's past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house's secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever

The Good Stuff
  • Delightfully dark and gothic ( you know not the book you want to read while you are all alone at home)
  • Intriguing storyline
  • Lots of dark humour
  • Reminded me a wee bit of those wonderful Victoria Holt novels I grew up on
  • Absorbing - I hated putting it down (well, except for when it got dark & I was all alone - than I put this puppy down and turned on all the lights LOL!)
  • Wonderfully sweet relationship between Sarah and Sammy
  • Some good twists and turns that you didn't see coming
  • Sarah is a likeable honest character that you route for
  • If you don't fall in love with Sammy you are one cold hearted person
  • Neat twist on a ghost/gothic story

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Was a wee bit confused at times - but please remember I am old and have children
  • Really disliked the mom

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The voice belonged to my mom, remembering all of a sudden that she was a mom, and therefore supposed to keep track of her child. If she spotted me, she'd ask me to do the track keeping. And I'd already done enough of that for the moment."

"The play of light on the moving leaves made it look almost as if someone crouched there in the darker shadows. But the limbs of the bushes danced again in the breeze, showing it was just an illusion."

"Way to rep the Hebrew people," I told her. "I'm pretty sure tats aren't kosher.  Does the rabbi know? Never mind that, does your mom know?"

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Perfect for those who enjoy a dark creepy tale
  • A wonderful book for a cold winters night

4 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose

Sad Desk Salad
by Jessica Grose
William Morrow
ISBN: 978-0-06-218834-2
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Buy from Indigo

Description: A tongue-in-cheek novel from a former Gawker writer about a savvy blogger who stumbles upon the biggest scoop of the year-and must reconcile her true values with the ruthless demands of a gossip- and reality-obsessed culture

Alex Lyons gets paid to be a bitch. As writer for Chick Habit, a website for women and one of the most popular blogs on the Internet, she's fulfilling her dream of being a professional writer. Maybe she's not quite championing the women's rights issues she used to write about in college-but Alex churns out several posts a day, beginning with hard news at 8 am (a meth-addicted former beauty queen, perfect); morning and evening gossip roundups; and especially juicy posts for blog primetime , when women in their offices all over both coasts eat their sad desk salads.

So what if it means burrowing into the couch while her boyfriend is at work, compulsively scouring the Web from 6 am until 6 pm to find the next big celebrity scandal, and only moving for five minutes to grab a sad couch salad of her own...but the last time she left her computer for more than 10 minutes, Farrah Fawcett died, and she missed the scoop. It's a chick-eat-chick world; and since Chick Habit's parent company has been cracking down about page views, Alex knows her job is at risk.

So when an anonymous tipster sends Alex the juiciest scoop of the year-a politico's squeaky-clean Ivy League daughter caught in the act of some very R-rated activity-it's a no-brainer. As she prepares to ignite the next Internet feeding frenzy, she hesitates: is she ready to ruin the girl's life? What Alex doesn't anticipate is how the big scoop will send her own life spiraling out of control

The Good Stuff
  • Delightfully wicked and fun
  • Perfect for a day at the beach or for commuting
  • Good character development and relevant to today's life (Damn people get paid to blog -- cough cough somebody pay me please)
  • Actually makes you think about the moral dilemma involved - what would I have done in the same situation - do we have a right to intrude into the family of celebrities, etc
  • Laugh out loud funny yet almost heart warming at times
  • Nice to see realistic friendships between the characters
  • Actually quite fast paced for this type of story - was engrossed could not put it down (Um maybe not good for commuting after-all  - nothing worse than missing your stop because you were too engrossed in a book - not that that has ever happened to me or anything--  cough cough LIAR)
  • I really enjoyed her commentary on judgmental mothers and those that propose that staying home with your kids is the ONLY way to raise healthy, happy, successful children
  • Love the real relationship between Alex and her mom

The Not So Good Stuff
  • A tad repetitive at times
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"These days if feels like I get paid to be a bitch. It makes me feel pretty terrible when I think about it, but the meaner I am, the better my posts do - and I can't afford to meet my quota."

"If I had rebelled by doing whippets in the woods rather than reading in my room, would it have been because my mom wasn't home to open the front door for me every day of her damn life." Who is Darlene West anyway, to tell people that they're bad parents? Now that she's running for office, she has the potential to have even more influence on American women than she already does."

"Now I go silent. I thought my mom would have an easy, soothing answer for me. But now I realize that was a foolish expectation. I have to take responsibility for my own choices."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Perfect for fans of Jennifer Weiner, Jen Lancaster, Jenny Lawson and Helen Fielding
  • Blog writers will get a kick out of it
  • Anyone who just wants a smart but fun read

4.25/5 Dewey's

I received this from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Nation Worth Ranting About by Rick Mercer

A Nation Worth Ranting About 
by Rick Mercer
Random House
ISBN: 9780385676809
Buy from Indigo

Description: An all-new collection of furiously funny rants from the most recent seasons of the Rick Mercer Report plus three brilliantly written, previously unpublished pieces by Rick. Illustrated throughout with photos and snatches of dialogue from Rick's encounters and exploits across Canada.
Within these pages you'll find every rant that Rick has so brilliantly and blisteringly delivered since the publication of his previous bestseller, Rick Mercer Report: The Book. Together these rants form a chronicle of human folly, mostly featuring politicians, of course, but with honorable mentions going to people who don't know how to use escalators and Canadian drivers who don't think they need snow tires.

Is Mercer getting better or are the fools among us getting worse? Whatever the inspiration-Rick Mercer's ranting has never been stronger or more on target.

There is a loud, cathartic laugh to be found on almost every page here-with the exception of Rick's impassioned rant on bullying in schools, words that touched thousands of Canadians, went viral and helped widen the debate on a major problem. Also reprinted here is the rant encouraging students to vote, which resulted directly in a campus ballot and outrage in Ottawa.  (People still are still standing on the left on escalators, and the prime minister is still very much the man he was, but you can't win them all.)

In addition, Rick has authored three new essays specially for this book: the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of his meeting with Rick Hansen, a hero who absolutely was not a disappointment in real life; a heartfelt reflection on public reaction to his bullying rant; and an account of his response-mystified, followed by delighted-to the news that he'd inspired a "vote mob."

Illustrated throughout with photographs and dialogue from Rick's travels across Canada, A Nation Worth Ranting About will make you proud, will make you think, will make you almost as angry as Rick, and over and over again will make you laugh out loud.

The Good Stuff
  • The chapter on Rich Hanson is worth the price of the book alone
  • Self-deprecating, honest and extremely wise
  • Makes me want to go and vote 
  • Was constantly laughing, nodding my head in agreement and on quite a few occasions there may have been snorting laughter (sorry Chapters co-workers in lunch room that day)
  • loved it so much I made it my staff pick at work
  • The chapter on proper escalator and elevator etiquette should be a must read for anyone over the age of 5 (Hmm wonder if he could writer a chapter on proper uses of hole punches and staplers for kids in College and University)
  • No one is safe from his rants but they are never meant to harm 
  • His love of Canada - warts and all - is so very apparent
  • He is willing to try anything
  • Very touching and open for a man who likes to guard his private life & the reason why he opened up is heart breaking (As I mentioned on many, many occasions some people are straight and some people are gay -- get over it - it is none of your business)
  • As a Canadian it is your duty to read this -get thee to your local Chapters/Indigo (and tell them JR from Shawnessy sent you - LOL!) as fast as you can - you will not be disappointed
 The Not So Good Stuff
  • Wanted it to be longer
  • Do you know how incredibly hard it is to only pick 3 quotes from this
 Favorite Quotes/Passages 

"I pledged then and there that someday, come hell or high water, I would be a member of that program - I too would be an astronaut. When I proudly announced my ambition to the class, Miss Barnes said, "Not with your math marks, buster," and my dream fell to earth." A greater man than I would have ignored those comments, studied hard, excelled at mathematics and science and made it into the space program, but I am not that kind of man. More likely, I spotted something shiny and became distracted."

"This is what I want to know. How can a guy be smart enough to have a job that lets him drive a $59,000 car and be stupid enough to say he doesn't need snow tires when he's standing next to his Audi that's wrapped around a pole? This is Canada. There's no such thing as all-season tires, just like there's no such thing as all-season footwear."

"Being a political junkie in this country is a bit like being a diehard Leafs fan. Year in and year out, they believe they will witness magnificence and magic, and year in and year out, they witness the opposite. But still they continue to show up, cheer, pay through the nose for a hot dog and leave in tears."

"So if you're gay and you're in public life, I'm sorry you don't have to run around with a pride flag and bore the hell out of everyone, but you can't be invisible either. Not anymore. Three hundred kids is three hundred too many." (in regards to in Canada 300 kids take their own life each year)

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  •  Every Canadian (even those who have no knowledge or interest in politics)
  • Americans - from this they will get to know us a little better
4.95/5 Dewey's

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