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, December 22, 2013

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: Audio Book Review

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Hachette Audio
Read by Kevin T. Collins
Buy from Indigo

Description: There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

 The Good Things
  •  Really enjoyed listening to this one. All dark southern gothic love story, so much fun. Lots of paranormal activity, southern settings and nothing better than a southern drawl for the telling of this story
  • Narrator was perfect for reading the story.  Made the story come alive
  • Just want to hug and squeeze Ethan - a little angsty for my taste, but I still fell in love with him
  • Fabulous use of humour
  • Story unfolds nicely.  Little secrets let out bit by bit which totally keeps you trying to figure out what is going
  • Secondary characters are fabulous. Looking forward to learning more about them. Loved Link, Macon and Amma
  • House is a lot cleaner because I wanted to keep listening to the story and this way I could without feeling guilty
  • One of the Characters is named Marion and yes she is a Librarian - how can you not love that (if you don't get it -- give me a shout I will explain)
  • Secret Libraries - hello - awesome - want me a job there!
  • As soon as the audio book ended, I immediately borrowed the next story from the library. Hooked!  Can't wait to find out more
  • Boo Radley (FYI he lives!! -- Sorry I know its a spoiler, but I have to know if an animal dies ok)
  • Nice to have a male p.o.v.
  • Loved the scenes that go into the past
  • Lots of positive messages about literature and libraries
 The Not So Good Things
  • Was a wee bit irritated by the constant mention of key plot points.  I get it Gatlin is small town, nobody leaves, my momma dies and my dad is stuck in his room.  Made me feel like author thought I was stupid for not remembering these things
  • A lot of angst scenes (just remember I am 43 and not the target audience)
  • Have a feeling I am going to get frustrated with the drawing out of the story over 4 books
  • Remember I listened to this -- I had that damn 16 moons song stuck in my head for days (Ok honestly not really a bad thing as I really enjoyed it)
  • Would have been brilliant with some more editing
Favorite Quotes

“Teenagers. Everything is so apocalyptic.” 

“So you are a vampire."
"I most certainly am not." He looked annoyed. "That's such a common phrase, such a cliche, and so unflattering. I suppose you believe in werewolves and aliens too. I blame television.”

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future. Just ask Ray Bradbury.” 

 3.75/5 Dewey's

I borrowed the audiobook from the Calgary Public Library

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Starter House by Sonja Condit

The Starter House
by Sonja Condit
William Morrow (Harper Collins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-228305-4
Buy from Indigo

Description: In the vein of Heart-Shaped Box and The Thirteenth Tale, Starter House is a haunting and skillfully told debut novel about a newlywed couple and their first home-a home that seems to be haunted by a very malicious ghost

Lacey Miszlak grew up homeless; her crazy mother dragged her from one terrible living situation to the next. But now she thinks the pieces of her life have finally come together. She's pregnant with her first child and she and her husband Eric have moved into the home of their dreams. She knows soon its beautiful sunlit rooms will be filled with the joy of the new family she will build there.

But there's a strange darkness on the stairway and an odd little boy who won't leave Lacey alone and soon she's forced to realize that a danger she never suspected is lurking in the hallways of her beautiful new home. She's going to have to solve a decades-old mystery to save her family from an evil that has lingered in wait for them for years

The Good Stuff
  • Author fabulous at setting a mood. It felt dark and creepy
  • Fast paced, it kept me reading even thought I disliked most of the characters
  • Unique idea for a haunting
  • Good mystery kept me turning the pages just to find out what happened

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Disliked the main characters. Felt Eric was a self-righteous, self-involved jerk.  Lacey was also just plain stupid.  Sorta wished both characters had died and the baby would be born and immediately taken to a more worthwhile couple
  • No Chemistry between the characters - so when it all ends all happy and loving I was irritated
  • Last 1/4 story felt rushed, confusing and than a happy ending
  • Felt like this could have been a better story with a bit more character development and characters that quite frankly were even remotely likeable
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Lex well knew what evidence was. It was what they showed in court, to tell the things you did and make a story of it.  The lawyers told the story to each other until the thing that really happened disappeared. When you try to remember, only the story was left, until in the end you told the story yourself, the same story everybody else was telling. Evidence they called it."

"The night had taken a turn into a different kind of time, bubbling out of itself into a circle of nameless hours between three and four."

2.75 Dewey's

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Blog Tour: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

I was excited to be asked to be part of the blog tour for Catherine McKenzie’s Hidden.  Catherine has graciously agreed to answer some questions

What’s a “Typical” day like for you?
 I practice law still so a typical day for me right now is being in court. 

What books have most influenced your life most?
 I always find this question so hard to answer! My life has been enriched by so many books; I’ve been a huge reader all my life. As a kid I read L.M. Montgomery and Laura Ingalls Wilder over and over. Growing up as a teenager I was a big reader of detective fiction – Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Dick Francis, Sue Grafton. I also remember discovering 1984 and Brave New World one summer – a strange summer indeed! I only read Austen in my 20s for the first time and fell in love. I also love pretty much anything by Nick Hornby and Wally Lamb. In the past couple of years, books that stand out include: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, anything by John Green but especially The Fault in Our Stars, Shawn Klomparen’s books, The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison and most recently, The Circle by Dave Eggers. You see why I find it hard to answer?

What was the first story you remember writing -- this could even be something you wrote in Grade 1?
I never really wrote stories as a kid, just poetry. Honestly – and this is going to sound weird I know – but the first story I wrote all the way to the end was the first novel I wrote.

How do you deal with negative reviews?
 It’s much easier now than it was in the beginning. I think I take the opposite perspective on this than many authors – I read all my reviews, I seek them out. It was the way I became desensitized to it. I’m not saying that when a particularly bad review appears that it doesn’t bother me, but I’m basically able to shrug it off pretty quickly. No book is for everyone, right? The ones that do bother me, though, are ones that aren’t really reviews, i.e. I’m giving this one star because it was delivered late by Amazon. Um, how is that a review of my book?

What are you working on now?
I can’t announce my next project yet in detail (though stay tuned for an announcement soon!). Hint: it will have something to do with one of my previous books.

If you could be one of the characters in your books, who would it be?
 Huh, tough one. I have a massive crush on Henry from Spin, so I guess I’ll take Katie J

What One book would you bring if you were stuck on a desert Island?
 Can’t bring just one! Oh, wait, yes I can: my copy of the collected works of Jane Austen. I have them all in one book that I found at a second-hand shop years ago.

What are you reading now?
 I just finished The Dinner by Herman Koch (disturbing but good) and am about to start S. by Doug Dorst (it’s based on an idea by J.J. Abrams, the person who invented the TV show LOST, which is a favorite).

 Thanks for the questions!

For those who haven't had the pleasure of reading Catherine's wonderful novels before, check out below for a review of Hidden (and links to my reviews of her other books)
by Catherine McKenzie
ISBN: 978-1-44341-190-5
Buy from Indigo

Description: When a married man suffers a sudden fatal accident, two women are shattered—his wife and someone else's—and past secrets, desires and regrets are brought to light

While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Not one but two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son and contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother—her ex-boyfriend—Tim.

With Tish’s co-workers in the dark about her connection to Jeff outside the workplace, she volunteers to attend the funeral on the company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life. Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, our personal choices and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.

 The Good Stuff
  •  Natural born storyteller - to me anyone who can write  a novel that has me wanting to ignore everything around me is truly gifted. McKenzie is truly the type of author that doesn't disappoint.
  • Characters are real, warts and all. These are people you know and feel for 
  • Great for book club discussions
  • No black and white, these are realistic characters with real problems that you will relate too
  • Uncomfortable, yet makes you think and want to make changes
  • Feels deeply personal
  • Couldn't put it down, even-though its usually the kind of book I don't enjoy
  • Almost like a mystery at times, you don't know what really happened until the very end
  • Hope and forgiveness main theme of story
  • I felt and understood all of the characters and while not always agreeing with the choices they made, I can see how they would make the decisions they did (even Brian)
  • Makes your heart burst at times
  • Really delves into whether honesty really is the best policy. The truth doesn't always set you free
The Not So Good Stuff
  •  Not a lot of light moments - which is something I seem to need and even more so since McKenzie does this so very well
  • I really didn't like Brian and found him to be pushy and intense
  • OMG I think McKenzie hates Rush - that is soooo UnCanadian ROFL     : )  (Not really a bad thing but had to mention for fun)

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"It itches where it meets my collerbone, but that seems fitting somehow. I don't want to feel comfortable on the day of Jeff's funeral."

"Everyone says that, but we all lie about things. Little things, big things. We all keep stuff hidden. And the longer you're with someone, the more stuff there is like that, I think."

"But how are you supposed to feel, really, when all your worst fears, things you'd never even imagined could happen, acutually do happen, actually do come true?
Hearts don't come with an owner's manua.
Someone should do something about that."

4.5 Dewey's
I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review  

Reviews of other books by Catherine McKenzie



Blog Tour Stops

December 3rd: Literary Treats
December 4th: The Literary Word
December 5th: Brooklyn Berry
December 6th: Freda’s Voice
December 9th: The Book Drunkard
December 10th: Peeking Between the Pages
December 11th: Bookworm’s World
December 13th: Cindy’s Love of Books
December 16th: Misbehavin’ Librarian
December 17th: Feeling a Little Bookish
December 18th: Novel Escapes

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Audio book Review: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

Again, another one I don't have to review so its going to be just some random thoughts

The Twelve 
by Justin Cronin
Narrated by Scott Brick
Random House Audio
ISBN: 9780307702043
Buy from Indigo


At the end of The Passage, the great viral plague had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare. In the second volume of this epic trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by the mysterious, charismatic Amy, go on the attack, leading an insurrection against the virals: the first offensives of the Second Viral War.

To do this, they must infiltrate a dozen hives, each presided over by one of the original Twelve. Their secret weapon: Alicia, transformed at the end of book one into a half human, half viral—but whose side, in the end, is she really on?

Random Thoughts
  • A truly impressive book for the second book in a trilogy.  It felt satisfying and I am curious about what is going to happen in the final book
  • The ending was fabulous, you felt that the story could end here and you would be happy, but still be interested enough if the story kept going 
  • The problem from audio books for me is that I often have to listen to them while I am doing work or late at night, so I often miss little details.  So I think I know now what happened to Wolgast -- but I am not totally sure. Don't worry I will be buying the books for my collection so I will eventually read them again
  • Fabulous character development and truly outstanding world building, the creativity involved is positively brilliant 
  • Perfect uses of humour
  • Didn't want to stop listening too, I was often pissed at myself if I fell asleep while listening to (Yes I fell asleep I am a Full time mom, part time book seller -- I am one busy girl thank you very much)
  • Wanted more of Alicia
  • Again could have used less of the descriptive gross stuff and the thoughts of some of the depraved characters, but I am sensitive little soul so that isn't a judgement just a preference 
  • So many character point of views that it can be a tad bit confusing at times (Felt that in the first book too, but forgot to mention it)
  • Lots of twists and turns and many on the edge of your seat moments
  • Fascinating analogies
  • Great for book clubs as so many things that you can talk about (Don't want to give away spoilers)
  • Brick once again does a lovely job of the narration
  • The characters really are the heart of the story
  • Lot of surprised that you really didn't see coming 
Favorite Passages

“There was something in the pages of these books that had the power to make him feel better about things, a life raft to cling to before the dark currents of memory washed him downstream again, and on brighter days, he could even see himself going on this way for some time. A small but passable life. And then, of course, the end of the world happened.”

“Sorry, we made vampires; it seemed like a good idea at the time.” 

“The military was all about hierarchies, who urinated highest on the hydrant

"The greatest faith is the willingness to ask in the first place, all evidence to the contrary. Faith not just in God, but in all of us.”

4.5/5 Dewey's

I borrowed this from the Calgary Public Library

Audio Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

This is my first audio book review and since it isn't one I am required to read, I am just going to do a quick review. I'm hooked on audio books now. I can get shit done around the house AND "read" a book - hubby is happier now as I want to hear more of the story, so I keep finding things to clean.

The Passage
by Justin Cronin
Random House Audio
ISBN: 9781415961766
Narrated by Scott Brick
Buy from Indigo 

Description“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

Random Thoughts
  • Reminded me so much of The Stand by Stephen King. This is high praise as The Stand is my favorite book of all time
  • Extremely well developed characters 
  • Background story and world building is positively brilliant
  • Fabulous use of humour
  • Problem with audio book format for me is that usually if a part of a story is grossing me out or boring the shit out of me I can just skip the page.  In audio (well remember I am listening to it on my phone) is that skipping a bit is a pain in the ass so I had to listen to some descriptions (some of the characters are child molesters and well -- really sick bastards) that I would rather not have had to (Hey I do this for Stephen King too!)
  • Narrator had a good voice for the story, he was very easy to listen too. Unfortunately his voice was also hypnotic so when I was listening to it at night I often nodded off.  Also whenever he did the voice of Zero calling Grey -- it creaped me out (not a bad thing)
  • Now this is probably just me but I wasn't really sure what happened to Wolgast.  Again I often nodded off while listening to
  • Going to purchase a copy of the book so I can read it as well 
  • Was hooked in right away and often didn't want to stop listening to eventhough it was late at night
  • Could lead to some interesting discussions about faith and redemption
  • Truly epic literary apocalyptic tale - bravo sir!
  • I have a total crush on Wolgast
  • Spoiler - I wanna know what happened to Amy's mom!
  • This is a new favorite of mine and one I will probably be selling a lot of at work.  Already sold two copies the day after I read it
Favorite Passages

"“We live, we die. Somewhere along the way, if we're lucky, we may find someone to help lighten the load.”

“A thousand recollected lives were passing through her, a thousand stories - of love and work, of parents and children, of duty and joy and grief. Beds slept in and meals eaten, and the bliss and pain of the body, and a view of summer leaves from a window on a morning it had rained; the nights of loneliness and the nights of love, the soul in it's body keeping always longing to be known.” 

“Peter held up the book he had been reading: 'Moby-Dick; or, The Whale'.
"To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure this is English," Peter said. "It's taken me most of today to get through a page.” 

4.5/5 Dewey's

I borrowed this audiobook from the Calgary Public Library - thanks Jen  L. I am now hooked on audio books 

Quick Review: If Your Were Here by Alafair Burke

So very behind in -- well everything and since I don't have to post reviews for books that I purchased or were gifted, going to do a quick and dirty (not THAT kinda dirty) review for the next couple of books.

If You Were Here
by Alafair Burke
ISBN: 978-0-06-220835-4
Buy from Indigo

Description: Magazine journalist McKenna Wright is chasing the latest urban folktale-the story of an unidentified woman who heroically pulled a teenaged boy from the subway tracks, seconds before an oncoming train. When McKenna locates a short video snippet that purportedly captures part of the incident, she thinks she has an edge on the competition scrambling to identify the mystery heroine.

She is shocked to discover that the woman in the video bears a strong resemblance to Susan Hauptmann, a close friend who disappeared without a trace a decade earlier. Investigating her disappearance, the NYPD concluded that the nomadic Susan-forced by her father into an early military life, floundering as an adult for a fixed identity-simply left town to start over again somewhere else.

But McKenna has always believed the truth went deeper than the police investigation ever reached, and sees Susan's resurfacing as a sign that she wants to be found. Yet when she shares the image with her husband, Patrick, who was Susan's classmate at West Point, he isn't convinced.

What would have been a short-lived metro story sends McKenna on a dangerous search for the missing woman, a twisting journey through New York City that will force her to unearth long-buried truths much closer to home-to her own husband, who seems to know much more about Susan than McKenna could have ever imagined.

Random Thoughts
  • Interesting premise
  • Fast paced and never boring
  • Didn't feel a real connection to any of the characters, although they were very real and extremely well developed (though was irritated by McKenna due to stupidity at times)
  • Strong female character
  • Well done but not extremely memorable, a good beach read
  • Fabulous descriptions, made me feel like part of the story
  • Liked that one of the characters was named Porter (my maiden name, I know its a geeky thing, but it made me smile when I read his name)
  • Can't count the amount of times I wanted to slap McKenna for being so stupid and self righteous
  • Characters bonded over Buffy the Vampire Slayer - I know such a silly thing but I giggled and loved it

Memorable Quotes

"Maybe the kids hadn't changed after all. Maybe it was the adult who were different."

"McKenna was barely forty  years old, but with a Librarian mother and an English Teacher father, she was one of those rare young people who was more comfortable  with microfiche and dusty  microfiche and dusty notebooks than WAV files and thumb drives."

"But the boy was black, and Scott waas a white cop, and so - that's how this country still see things.  Maybe it will always be that way."

3/5 Dewey's

I picked this up at Book Expo America and am in no way required to say anything good or bad at it and I sure as hell received no money for it - just love to share the book love

Monday, November 18, 2013

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth
by Chris Hadfield
Random House Canada
ISBN: 978-0-345-81270-4
Buy from Indigo

Description: Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst-and enjoy every moment of it.

In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counter-intuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.

You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own

The Good Stuff
  •  Learned so much about the reality of  how much it takes to become an astronaut and about their day to day work life
  • Fabulous advice that pertains not only to those wanting to be astronauts but also to those wanting to love and succeed at just about everything
  • Surprised that in general most astronauts aren't the thrill seeking type
  • Charming, likeable and dryly funny writer
  • Realistic about how hard the life of an astronaut can be on their families
  • Self-deprecating (you guys know by now that I love that)
  • Speaks highly of his wife and he knows and appreciates the sacrifices she made
  • Likes Great Big Sea and Stan Rogers - how can you not like a guy with that taste
  • Extremely wise
  • Won't lie, never had any interest in going to space - but after reading Chris's description of his space walk I now wish I was younger and had the chance - but hey I will settle with one day being able to see the Northern Lights
  • Inspired me
  • And from the bottom of my heart - thank you. After reading I showed my 12yr old some of the video's and he was fascinated. (Also showed him video's of David Bowie - so maybe he will develop some better music appreciation LOL) We spent a couple of hours discussing and watching video's together. It was a wonderful evening.  He also asked to borrow the book which totally warmed this Librarian's heart.
  • Never comes across as cocky or better than anyone else - truly a humble man

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Confession Time: Sorry Chris on many occasions while reading it I was thinking your wife was a fricken saint and you were selfish. I know, I know, that is a horrible thing to think. But you have to understand I am a mom.  I understand how hard (and lonely) it is to raise children.  She let you realize your dream while she did all the dirty work -- that is love man and I wish I could have been as selfless as her. You better spoil her & if I ever get to meet her I am giving her a big hug and even though I make shit money I will treat  her to a girls day out at the spa.  That being said I still respect and admire you and sorta wish I had parents like you, so much drive and passion.
  • The day after I finished it I went in to work and was about to put it as my "Staff Pick" - but damn you Heather Reisman you chose it as your Heather's Pick.  That is three times you stole a pick from me ROFL!
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Success is feeling good about the work you do throughout the long, unheralded journey that may or may not wind up at the launch pad."

"We're a nation of door-holders and thank you-sayers, but we joke about it, too.  How do you get 30 drunk Canadians out of a pool? You say, "Please get out of the pool."

"So we did the true space-age thing: we broke into Mir using a Swiss Army knife. Never leave the planet without one."

"I also got bonus containers of Canadian treats like smoked salmon, buffalo jerky, a tube of maple syrup - even Tim Horton's coffee, the preferred caffeinated beverage on board (Roman took to calling everything else "deputy coffee" - second best."

5 Dewey's

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to Curse in Hieroglyphics by Lesley Livingston and Jonathan Llyr

How to Curse in Hieroglyphics (Wiggins Weird #1)
by Lesley Livingston and Jonathan Llyr
Puffin (Penguin)
ISBN: 978-0-14-318424-9
Buy from Indigo

Description: Meet Cheryl and Tweed, two 12-year-old girls who are identical twins (just not with each other!), cousins, and best pals. After a mysterious "incident" involving a plane trip when they were very young left both girls orphaned and twin-less, they are raised by their grandfather, the owner/operator of the tumbledown Starlight Paradise Drive-In movie theatre in the middle-of-nowhere town of Wiggins Cross. The girls have bonded closer than sisters through a shared love of B movies and buttered popcorn, and they firmly believe that there must be something more out there in the world than meets the eye. Something … weird.

They're about to find out just how right they are.

When Dudley's World O'Wonders, a threadbare travelling carnival, rolls into town, the citizens of Wiggins welcome the distraction. But even "Colonel" Winchester P.Q. Dudley, the carnival's shady owner, doesn't realize that among the fake and fabricated "wonders" of his traveling sham-show rests the authentic mummified remains of a young Egyptian princess … bearing a shockingly real curse!

It's up to Cheryl and Tweed, with their encyclopaedic knowledge of monster movie lore, and their flyboy friend Yeager "Pilot" Armbruster to save the town-and themselves

The Good Stuff
  • Perfect middle grade read for those girls who would rather read adventure stories than love stories
  • Cheryl, Tweed and all of the characters are positively adorable and you cannot help but love them
  • Will appeal to both middle graders and adults (especially us geeky ones)
  • The "Action" scenes are hilarious!
  • Fast paced story that will keep even the most reluctant reader entertained
  • The Egyptian Princess reminded me of something that Whedon would have created (That is a compliment)
  • Great dialogue
  • Quirky and funny
  • Setting reminded me of  Madoc where I spent most summers visiting my cousin Dee - sort of like a place out of time where things were more innocent and carefree

The Not so Good Stuff
  • May not appeal to some of the more jaded middle graders as there is a sweetness to the tale (not a bad thing, just more of an FYI for booksellers)
  • Kind of wish these kids were real, because I think they would be tough enough to deal with my two boys
  • Librarian has to be an old lady with a bunch of cats -- hmm can you say "stereotype" - than again I know you have been to quite a few OLA conferences and imagine you met quite a few of those type of Librarians : ) Love ya Lesley

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Neither of the twins were particularly fond of newfangled digital technology. It seemed somehow untrustworthy. Computers and cellphones struck them as much too easy for nefarious government agencies to track. Or space aliens."

"Yeah," agreed Artie. "We men gotta stick together and look out for the little ladies."
Pilot looked down at his companion."Art-Bart, do me a favor-- don't say that when they're in earshot."

"I did it again!" Cheryl shook her head, her pigtails bouncing furiously. "You quipped effortlessly and all I could come up with was "Got them!"

4.75 Dewey's

I received this from Penguin in exchange for an honest review

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Night Film
by Marisha Pessl
Bond Street Books (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-385-66765-4
Buy from Indigo

Description: A page-turning thriller for readers of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Stieg Larsson, Night Film tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy—the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker.

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

The Good Stuff
  • Fast paced, dark and creepy. Could not put the thing down, even thought about asking if I could come in late to work one night when I only had 75 pages left to read
  • A complete and utter mind fuck.  Sort of reminded me of something David Lynch would have created. Just like the characters, you are not sure what is real and what isn't
  • Characters are broken and very human
  • Eventhough its over 600 pages, it never feels like it.  Nothing ever drags and you are almost constantly on the edge of your seat wondering what the heck is going on
  • Love the conversations between Nora and Scott
  • The prologue is fabulous and hooked me right away. The perfect read for a dark and stormy night
  • Liked the interactive elements - gave it a little unique edge
  • Plenty of dark humour
  • Adored Nora, such a spunky adorable little thing
  • I cannot imagine how much work the author put into Cordova's films.  Eventhough you get very little of the detail, you know Ms Pessl has probably created a detailed backstory on each film
  • Makes you really think about fear and obsession
  • Just read it and than call me so we can discuss!

The Not so Good Stuff
  • It was a complete mind fuck - still not sure what to believe and what happened -- but that is ok
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Women of Manhattan, magnificent as they were, they forgot sometimes they weren't immortal. They could throw themselves like confetti into a fun-filled Friday night, with no thought as to what crack they fell into by Saturday."

"It was always surprising to me how ferociously the public mourned a beautiful stranger - especially one from a famous family. Into that empty form they could unload the grief and regret of their own lives, be rid of it, feel lucky and light for a few days, comforted by the thought, at least it wasn't me."

"Magic was all fun and games until you had the H-bomb of spell materials on the bottom of your shoes."

5 Dewey's

I received this at the Random House preview event for Chapters/Indigo employees and am not required to review it - just like to share

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

The First Phone Call from Heaven
by Mitch Albom
ISBN: 978-0-06-229437-1
Buy from Indigo
Release Date:  November 12, 2013

Description:One morning in the small town of Coldwater, Michigan, the phones start ringing. The voices say they are calling from heaven. Is it the greatest miracle ever? Or some cruel hoax? As news of these strange calls spreads, outsiders flock to Coldwater to be a part of it.
At the same time, a disgraced pilot named Sully Harding returns to Coldwater from prison to discover his hometown gripped by "miracle fever." Even his young son carries a toy phone, hoping to hear from his mother in heaven.
As the calls increase, and proof of an afterlife begins to surface, the town—and the world—transforms. Only Sully, convinced there is nothing beyond this sad life, digs into the phenomenon, determined to disprove it for his child and his own broken heart.
Moving seamlessly between the invention of the telephone in 1876 and a world obsessed with the next level of communication, Mitch Albom takes readers on a breathtaking ride of frenzied hope.

The Good Stuff
  • I think we all know by know that I am not much of a religion girl, but won't lie I am a sucker for Albom's stories.  Mostly because they deal more with faith than with religion
  • pulls at your heart strings and makes you think - and cry
  • A neat little mystery woven into this tale of faith, death, grief, forgiveness and hope 
  • You get a little history lesson about Alexander Graham Bell 
  • Realistic, likeable characters who have faults that we can all understand
  • Gave me hope
  • Got a kick out of the rivalry between the Catholic and Baptist church. Done very tastefully and with love
  • Focuses on the power of belief, faith, hope and love - what more do you need.  Albom always delivers in this area.  This will be the perfect christmas present for anyone.
  • Touching and beautiful,  yet never saccharine - and most writers/readers will tell you this type of story can always go that way very easily
  • Fast paced, quick read that feels like a giant hug from above

The Not so Good Stuff
  • Makes me want a phone call from Mom, Dad and Jerianne

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The news of life is carried via telephone. A baby's birth, a couple engaged, a tragic accident on a late night highway -- most milestones of the human journey, good or bad, are foreshadowed by the sound of ringing."

"Hell, the Bible says God spoke through a burning bush," Fred said. "Is that any stranger than a telephone?"

"Fear is how you lose your life ... a little bit at a time..What we give to fear, we take away from ... faith."

"There is a time for hello and a time for goodbye. It's why the act of burying things seems natural but the act of digging them up does not."

4.5 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Elle Beauty Box: Fall 2013

I love trying new things, so anytime I get a chance to try something new I go for it.  I honestly cannot remember where I first found out about the Elle Beauty Box as I read the magazine and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Anyway, I guess it doesn't really matter.

This came in the mail a couple of months ago (Yes I know I am late, but hell I am behind in everything)

Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution Complex
  • Smells delicious
  • Feels soft on skin and noticed my skin was a lot more moisturized
  • Don't have too many wrinkles so I cannot honestly say it helps with them. But than again not really convinced any of these wrinkle creams really work

Crest Whitestrips
  • Noticed my teeth were a little more white (only used once so hard to tell if it works better after a couple of uses)
  • Didn't bother my teeth, which tend to be a little on the sensitive side
Pantene Expert Collection Age Defy Shampoo and Rejuvenating Hydration Masque
  • I love the smell of these products
  • Cleaned my hair nicely 
  • The Masque was brilliant, my hair was much smoother and shinier -- and most important - way less frizzy!
  • Will be picking up some of this from Shoppers this weekend
Gilette Venus & Olay Razor
  • Nice handle
  • Tested on both long hair and short hair (yup DH laughed when I told him I couldn't shave my one leg for 4 days to test)
  • Blade lasts a long time
CoverGirl Clump Crusher
  • Love the packaging with the cap on and the brush separate.  Have been keeping it this way because it just keeps the wand and the container cleaner
  • Doesn't bother my eyes (have slightly sensitive eyes)
  • Gave me some nice pretty lashes
  • Came off easy 
  • Could be because I rub my eyes a lot but it did wear off pretty quickly - not a big concern for me though

The booklet that comes with it is a nice addition with directions on how to achieve new looks.  Its very helpful and inspiring

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

East comes West - Jenn and Michele Visit Calgary

It's no secret I have been a wee bit lonely and homesick since I moved to Calgary a year ago.   So I was totally excited when Michele and Jenn emailed me that they had decided to come for a short visit. Well Michele had to do some business, but once it was over she was taking some time to visit with us..

Won't bore you with all the little details but here are a few of the highlights.

Since Michele had to take care of business, Jenn and I hit the Calgary Woman's Show.  Won't lie, it was a wee bit disappointed as I had attended the same show in Toronto and it was far superior.  (Sorry I have been doing this a lot lately, comparing everything here to Toronto and  unfortunately Calgary often suffers in comparison -- well except for the Mayor thing. I think we can all agree that Nenshi wins on this one)  Thinking I must really consider taking a writing course as I often go completely off on tangents. Any how - back  on track.  Highlights of the show were the Smashbox booth.  Truly the only booth that entertained, informed, had great deals and quite frankly the highlight of the show.  Also took advantage of their show special (Must Have Metallics kit) and some Photo Finish Foundation Primer for only $20 (My must have product)

Got a kick out of the giant colon .  Learned a lot about diseases of the colon in a fun and interesting way and hey how many chances to you get to walk through  a giant colon.

Was a little offended to have to deal with the Pro Life booth.  Come on Calgary, I'm guessing you were hurting for booths - but Pro Life -- really?  My body is mine and I have the right to choose what I do with it. Abortion isn't probably the choice I would ever make, but its my choice.  But hey, at least the breast nazi's (lactation consultants - & yes I'm sure there are some lovely ones, but I didn't get those ones) weren't there.  Don't get me started on that.

We tried some delicious foods while we were at the show and even bought a couple of things.  I picked up some "The All But Gluten" Coconut Macaroons which were yummy and picked up a bag of Nacho Chips, Salsa and Guacamole from the Fresh is Best Salsa Company.

Jenn and I had a delightful chat over some lovely wines at the Co-Op booth. Timing was on our side, as while we were sitting there, we got to catch a wine tasting session.  Karen Crippen, a sommelier from Co-Op,  gave a wonderfully useful and perfectly described session on proper wine tasting. It was perfectly done.

Monday we just kind of hung around my neighborhood and relaxed.  We hit the Chapters I work at so I could show off my buddies to my co-workers.  Than we hit the Mark's Work Wearhouse to get some "real boots" for dealing with the snow that dumped on us the day Jenn arrived.  We also came up with a new drinking game based on the fact that every 5 minutes Jesse would ask Michele "What's your name again?"

Practical yet pretty

Jenn fueling Jesse's ipod addiction ; )

Also took them to the Co-Op liquor store (yup no LCBO here) & look at the perfectly named wine they bought for me

Jesse & "what's your name again?"
 Tuesday we headed out to beautiful Banff.  We walked around town and than hit the Banff Springs Hotel.  We had a fabulous lunch where Jenn, Michele and I discussed the Book, Ready Player One, as part of their regular monthly BCBrunch event.  Thanks ladies for giving me the heads up on this fabulous book and letting me take part.  The food in the Rundle lounge was delish & the pear martini (can't remember what the exact title of the drink was) was to die for -- still craving another one

Picture courtesy of @justalillost

Yummy Pear Martini from the Rundle Lounge

After lunch we had a tour of the Banff Springs Hotel. We Learned a lot about the history of the hotel which was truly fascinating. The guide also very diplomatically answered my question about ghosts at the hotel.  Though he did sweetly point us out the "supposed" haunted stair case. The guide did a bang up job and I highly recommend you take a tour if you ever get the chance.

Haunted staircase

After a little walk around town, and a lovely detour to "Surprise Pass' we headed back to downtown Calgary for a yummy dinner (thanks for the dinner guys) and to drop Michele back at her hotel.   The restaurant was Sukiyaki House and the food was excellent.  Will definitely be going there again.

View of the stunning Banff Springs Hotel - on my bucket list is to sleep there one day - its seriously pricey!!!

Wednesday afternoon we had a scrumptious lunch at West in downtown Calgary.  The restaurant was reasonably priced for the location and the food was delicious.  I would go back everyday just to have the Pumpkin Bread Pudding .  It was truly decadent tasting!

We also walked around a little and took a peak at some of the stores downtown.  Poor Michele and Jenn had a horrible experience at the Coppeneur .  I couldn't believe how shabbily my friends were treated.   You not only guaranteed that Michele and Jenn will never come back to your store, but they will pass on their experience to anyone who is going to visit Calgary.  Not to mention, I am downtown all the time and I will never come back to your store.

Than it was time to send them back to Toronto. Thanks ladies for the lovely visit.  Hope to see you again soon -- BEA Right?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cover Reveal for Open Secret by Deryn Collier

The lovely Loretta, from Simon and Schuster offered me a chance to take part in the cover reveal for Open Secret, the latest novel by Deryn Collier. Unfortunately as my life is completely crazy I missed out.  However, I don't want you to miss out on the cover reveal, so check out the following links.  I loved Confined Space by Ms Collier and I cannot wait to read this next story.

Monday, Nov. 4: Mysteries and More:
Wednesday, Nov. 6: A Bookworm's World:
Friday, Nov. 8: House of Crime and Mystery:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Solo by William Boyd

Solo (James Bond Novel)
by William Boyd
ISBN: 978-0-06-222312-8
Buy from Indigo

Description: It's 1969, and, having just celebrated his forty-fifth birthday, James Bond—British special agent 007—is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment. Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.

Bond's arrival in Africa marks the start of a feverish mission to discover the forces behind this brutal war—and he soon realizes the situation is far from straightforward. Piece by piece, Bond uncovers the real cause of the violence in Zanzarim, revealing a twisting conspiracy that extends further than he ever imagined.

Moving from rebel battlefields in West Africa to the closed doors of intelligence offices in London and Washington, this novel is at once a gripping thriller, a tensely plotted story full of memorable characters and breathtaking twists, and a masterful study of power and how it is wielded—a brilliant addition to the James Bond canon

The Good Stuff
  • Will appeal to Bond fans, especially fans of those early Fleming novels
  • This Bond felt like a Daniel Craig style Bond - but than again maybe that is just how I imagined him to be.
  • Nice addition to the back story of Bond
  • Bond Girl was fabulous, really enjoyed her personality and how she dealt with Bond. 
  • Well written, Boyd does a fabulous job of setting the scene and the mood of the story.  The African setting is a nice change of pace
  • Author obviously has done some thorough research on Bond, he really has a true understanding of his character
  • I have a feeling this will appeal mostly to the older Bond enthusiast as the slow paced style of the story will probably turn off the younger reader - this would be my Dad's Bond type of story (This isn't a negative comment)
  • Nice to read about Moneypenny again, I have missed her (though would have liked to have more of her)
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Rather dull at times and quite frankly, couldn't wait to be done so I could pick up something a little more exciting.  This has nothing to do with Boyd's ability to write (his talent is very evident) but this particular story was not my cup of tea
  • Must we always kill off the women that Bond sleeps with.  Than again I would risk death to have one night with Daniel Craig's Bond (But I would get the hell out of whatever country we were in once I left his bed & would have a big ferocious dog with me too (not to mention a full body bullet proof suit)
  • I think Cory is going to be mad at me since I didn't love this book as much as he did (FYI he is young and loved it so maybe my observation about how this will appeal to older readers might be inaccurate)
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Sometimes, Bond thought, Moneypenny's banter could verge on the annoyingly self-satisfied. He was vaguely irritated that she must know how old he is."

"Bond found he rather admired the Captain's tireless ability to lie so fluently and with manifest conviction. He was good at his job, but no one was fooled."

"They had seen everything, these nurses, Bond realized. Words like prudish, embarrassed, shocked, disgusted or ashamed simply weren't in their vocabulary. Perhaps that was why people - why men - found them so attractive."

3 Dewey's

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

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Broadway Paperbacks (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-307-88744-3
Buy from Indigo

Description: It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

The Good Stuff
  • The first page had me hooked in and I knew this book was going to be absolutely a perfect fit for me 
  • As a child of the 80's - the references were bang on and made me laugh and reminiscence about a time when there was no stress and my biggest worry was how I could make Mike Tinker love me (he never did the poor sod, but than again I would have bored the hell out of him - but I still would have liked to kiss him just once)
  • The story is perfect for geeks who lived through the 80's and quite frankly even for gamers who weren't even born then
  • USA today nailed it with the description "Willy Wonka meets The Matrix"
  • Rush's 2112 is a key plot point  - Rush was also very much part of my life during the 80's.  My brother was a HUGE Rush fan and often forced me to listen to them.  Ended up learning to love them and have become a huge fan myself
  • Quotes from Ghostbusters & Airplane used in everyday conversation 
  • Recommended reading for those trying to find the keys included Scalzi, Adams, Gaiman, King and Bradbury - how can you not love this book even if you are only a fan of one of the authors listed (and I am a fan of all of those gifted writers -- yes King is a gifted author - he just needs an editor that will rain his ass in)
  • Fast paced and funny as hell with a lot of twists and turns that will keep you guessing
  • Likeable characters, I dare you not to love Wade and Aech
  • I couldn't imagine Og as played by anybody other than Jeff Bridges
  • I will be selling the hell out of this one at work -- well as long as I know the customer would appreciate it. There is nothing more satisfying than putting the right book in the right hands
  • Halliday had excellent taste in books, movies and tv shows - almost all mentioned were some of my favorites of all time (and yes I too loved Ladyhawke)
  • Sector Eleven was called the Whedonverse - yes I did squee when I read that (also mentions the ship is a cross between a Firefly class ship and was named Kaylee)
  • After Jenn told me about the audio edition being read by Wil Wheaton, I downloaded it the next day
The Not So Good Stuff
  • As a mom I was a little disturbed by the lack of connection between people and the fact that they are ok with living with very little human touch.  I understand that in the world the characters lived in, this was safe. But I was disturbed with how our world is now, that this kind of future could come into being. I love my social media, but I would much rather be sitting down in a room with people I care about communicating with them without technology.  And definitely some wine - you cannot appreciate that online
  • Some of the computer game references totally lost on me - but hey I am not a true nerd ; )
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The once-great country into which I'd been born now resembled its former self in name only. It didn't matter who was in charge. Those people were rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and everyone knew it."

"It was also time to elect the President and VP of the OASIS User Council, but it was a no brainer. Like most gunters, I voted to reelect Cory Doctorow and Will Wheton (again). There were no term limits, and those two geezers had been doing a kick-ass job of protecting user rights for over a decade."

"When I reached the bar, I ordered a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster from the female Klingon bartender and downed half of it."

4.5 Dewey's

I purchased this from Chapters Shawnessy because Jenn and Michele were visiting and letting me take part in their monthly #BCBrunch. (Thanks guys for introducing me to a new favorite)  Check out their reviews at

S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared by L. Marie Adeline

Ok family and friends.  Once again I give you a warning - this book is erotics - read review at your own peril ; ) 

S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared (Secret #2)
L. Marie Adeline
Random House
ISBN: 978-0-385-68048-6
Buy from Indigo

Description: Still wounded from a recent heartbreak, Cassie Robichaud throws herself into service with S.E.C.R.E.T., the mysterious organization that changed her life last year by bringing her deepest sexual fantasies to life, one step at a time. Now, it’s Cassie’s turn to guide the group’s newest candidate, Dauphine Mason, recruiting men to execute a new set of fantasies. While it gets Cassie’s mind off Will, the man she truly loves, it also gives her the chance to help watch S.E.C.R.E.T. work its magic on someone new.

At thirty-one, Dauphine is the proprietor of a New Orleans vintage clothing store—the kind of buttoned-up career woman who has no idea how attractive she really is. In order to reignite her sexual flame and reawaken her dormant heart, she must leave behind her bitter past.

As both Cassie and Dauphine navigate the rocky path between their hearts and their passions, they discover what they truly want in life and in love. SECRET Shared is a liberating, passionate and sexually charged sequel to one of the hottest new series in erotica

The Good Stuff
  •  Love the female empowerment theme and taking ownership of their sexuality
  • Some really good hot and steamy sex scenes.  Man where was this organization when I was single.  Hello mile high club scene - you know I like Captains. Hey Fillion, how about you, me and a cockpit ;  mow chicka mow mow 
  • Dauphine is a likeable character. She's realistic, likeable. Someone that you can understand and cheer for
  • Setting if fabulous - the perfect place for a mysterious mansion that helps women fulfill their deepest darkest sexual desires (Hmm wonder if Jeff will let me go for a trip alone to New Orleans LOL!)
 The Not so Good Stuff
  • As mentioned in review for S.E.C.R.E.T, this doesn't really need to be classified as erotica, its just a steamy romance
  •  Will is such a jack ass, I want to smack him upside the head and his actions at the end of the story - made me throw the book against the wall
  • Felt like a filler story. 
  • Sex scenes were short with no build up. They could have been much sexier with a lot of build up to keep the tension going
  • Frustrated with Cassie at times as she is still such a pushover when it comes to Will and she strings Jesse along which is so not cool
  • Felt way too soap opersish - you knew what was going to happen and way too much over the top drama
 Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The word slut, unless employed by iron-clad feminists or ironically by irony experts, has no business coming out of a woman's mouth, do you hear me. Not when she is describing her own sexual behavior and especially if she's describing another woman's. It's the kind of word that can scar, Cassie." 

"Men do have it easier, I thought. He didn't need a preamble or assurances before taking in my proposition."

"Of course there were conditions. There are always conditions when it comes to men and women and love and sex."

3 Dewey's

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest opinion - sorry guys I have to be honest

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How to Feed a Family by Laura Keogh & Ceri Marsh

How to Feed a Family: The Sweet Potato Chronicles
by Laura Keogh & Ceri Marsh
Appetite (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-449-01573-5
Buy from Indigo

Description: **Breakfast**Brunch**The Lunch Box**Snack Attack**Dinners**Desserts**
What could be more important to parents than a healthy, well-fed family? As two urban, working moms, Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh learned quickly how challenging healthy meal-times can be. So they joined forces to create the Sweet Potato Chronicles, a website written for, and by, non-judgemental moms, packed full of nutritious recipes for families.

In the How to Feed a Family cookbook, Laura and Ceri have selected their very favorite recipes, to create a collection of more than 100 for all ages to enjoy. These are recipes that are tailored specifically to families: they are simple, fast, easy-to-follow, and use ingredients that are readily-available at your local grocery store. Ceri and Laura unveil their tried, tested and true tricks for turning nutritious, sophisticated dishes into kid-friendly masterpieces, that will guarantee you success at meal-time, time and time again.

Interspersed with the recipes are parenting tips and advice to encourage happy meal-times for the whole family: get ready to turn your picky eaters into enthusiastic kitchen helpers!

The Good Stuff
  • Delicious wholesome and healthy recipes 
  • Lots of pictures and the photography is marvelous - you will drool (Every recipe looks like you could taste it right on the page)
  • Recipes are organized nicely, easy to read and easy to follow
  • Plenty of variety in types of recipes
  • Love the picture of one of the women cooking and drinking a glass of wine - now that is my kind of mom
  • Never comes off preachy - as often is the case in these type of cookbooks
  • Didn't make it  yet (ricotta cheese is insanely pricey in Calgary and we on a tight budge right now) but cannot wait to try Rosalia's Grain Pie - looks seriously yummy and easy to make
  • Appreciated and agree with letting the kids help you cook and bake - both my boys bake with me & 12 yr old already can make basic meals for himself - he makes a mean Egg McMuffin (yeah yeah - this ain't McDonalds but what else are we going to call it - his is healthy though)
  • Chicken Chili Tacos is going to be a regular staple for us - everybody loved it and it was easy to make - corn tortillas were not a hit though (could be the brand but they were not very good and we even grilled them a little on the bbq) - we may just use our regular ancient grain ones
  • Can't wait to share this cookbook with my new friend, Sarah
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Some ingredients hard to find in smaller towns - for example went to 6 different stores before I found spelt flour and the stuff cost a mint - would have liked a substitute listed for it (though in many other cases like brown rice syrup they did mention one)
  • Will be hard to get my kids to eat many of the recipes - but am willing to put in the effort (5 yr old ate the tacos but it took me an hour to get him to eat them)
Favorite Recipes

Corn Pancakes - Pg 66
Maple Corn Bread - Pg113 (Yummy, Yummy!!)
Roasted Chickpeas - Pg 129
Chicken Chili Tacos - Pg 149 (So fast & simple to make)
Cocoa Date Bars - Pg 125

4 Dewey's

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