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, 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

No Safety in Numbers and No Easy Way out by Dayna Lorentz: Mini Book Reviews

No Safety in Numbers
Dayna Lorentz
Penguin Books
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3873-7
Suggested Ages: 13+
Buy from Indigo

Description:  A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it''s even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there''s no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.

These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising manners, changing in ways they wouldn''t have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly.

This is a gripping look at people and how they can--and must--change under the most dire of circumstances.

And not always for the better.

The Good Stuff
  • Enjoyed the relationship between Lexi and Maddie. 
  • Fast paced and exciting with plenty of twists and turns
  • Sort of reminded me of The Stand but set in a mall
  • The premise and the cover hooked in all the staff at the store I work at
  • Perfect for reluctant readers

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Wanted more back ground information about the characters, they almost felt archetypical rather than fully fleshed out characters
  • Angst. angst, angst - than again I am a 43 year old mom and not the intended audience
  • Most of the adults are either uncaring, absent or evil - yes, again, I am not the intended audience - I am pretty sure my 12 yr old thinks I am all of those things
  • A lot of the practical every day things frustrated me.  Why were employees still working, were they getting paid extra, etc.  A lot of things just didn't make sense.
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"That's what they're for," she said. She stopped at the entry and looked at him. "Books are meant to be shared"

"More kids appeared. There was nothing like a sex game to lure in the masses."

"You'd do the same for me," Lexi said, rubbing sanitizer over her hands and face. Her skin stung from the endless applications.
"I wouldn't," Maddie said. "Isn't that horrible?"

4 Dewey's

No Easy Way out
Dayna Lorentz
Penguin Books
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3874-4
Suggested Ages 13+
Buy from Indigo

Description: It's Day 7 in the quarantined mall. The riot is over and the senator trapped inside is determined to end the chaos. Even with new rules, assigned jobs, and heightened security, she still needs to get the teen population under control. So she enlists Marco's help--allowing him to keep his stolen universal card key in exchange for spying on the very football players who are protecting him.

But someone is working against the new systems, targeting the teens, and putting the entire mall in even more danger. Lexi, Marco, Ryan, and Shay believe their new alliances are sound.

They are wrong. Who can be trusted? And who will be left to trust?

The virus was just the beginning.

The Good Stuff
  •  Lots of twists and turns
  • Liked Jazmine, would have liked her to be more of a character, but than again she is an adult, and well adults aren't really the point of the story
  • Darkly funny
  • Great cover
  • Eventhough book frustrated me, I will still probably read the third book in the series
  • Good for reluctant readers
The Not So Good Stuff
  •  Story felt a lot like filler in between a 1st and 2nd book
  • Didn't like the change in Marco - I get it, but I don't have to like it. I'm a mom, I just don't want to believe teens could act like that
  • Didn't like or believe that Preeti would abandon her sister the way she did
  • The chicken part ewwww
  • The book felt like filler.  I have noticed this in quite a few of the trilogies in the YA market.  Trilogies sell I guess, but I find in most cases, the 2nd book in a trilogy is mostly filler.  Than again who am I to judge, as you can tell, I am not a writer
  • Character development was all over the place and quite frankly I wanted to slap each and every character upside the head for being so bloody selfish and stupid
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Lexi nearly dropped her laptop from the burst of laughter that shook her.  Just wear whatever they hand you? Like that won't cause a riot?"

"The way I see it, you can look at this as a giant suckfest of death or you can decide to make the best things and live. Why not stay positive?"

"But the thought of a fish, even a small fish - was tantalizing. He'd seen A Fish Called Wanda.  He knew you could eat the little suckers."

3 Dewey's

Both of these books were loaned to me by the lovely Leslie who I work with at Chapters - yup we are all book addicts - it be a job requirement

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

We Are Water
by Wally Lamb
ISBN: 978-0-06-194102-3
Buy from Indigo
October 22, 2013

Description: We Are Water is a disquieting and ultimately uplifting novel about a marriage, a family, and human resilience in the face of tragedy, from Wally Lamb, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed and I Know This Much Is True.

After 27 years of marriage and three children, Anna Oh—wife, mother, outsider artist—has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her success. They plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut. But the wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s Box of toxic secrets—dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives.

We Are Water is a layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist, Anna; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest. It is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

The Good Stuff
  • A truly remarkably well written character study - not one character is written in black and white. Characters that you might outwardly hate, have so many layers, that although you might not agree with their actions, you can understand their motives.
  • A truly gifted writer to keep me enthralled, even-though this is usually the type of book I avoid like the plague.  
  • Each and every character is well developed and realistic
  • At first I was a little surprised about all the points of view, but it actually enhances the story, so many layers, slowly unraveled
  • Uncomfortable, yet healing
  • Deals with the ignorance and malice of  intolerance brilliantly
  • Even-though the child molesters perspective is horrific to read, Lamb's brilliance in understanding people and treating them like humans really makes you think.  I really had a hard time with this. On one hand I was sickened by the chapters, even put the book down for a while, but at the same time these chapters helped me understand.  Again want to convey that Lamb has a true gift in seeing the grey where others can only see black and white
  • Perfect book for a book club or class discussion
  • This is another one that I know will win awards and sell like hotcakes at the Chapters I work at
  • Hope and forgiveness - two things I need to truly enjoy a book
  • Touches on so much - prejudice, art, family, compassion, forgiveness, child abuse, loss, grief and love in all its wonderful forms
  • Takes some pretty uncomfortable situations and makes you think and want to discuss - yes my friends this book will lead to long hours of discussion - cannot wait to talk wit my co-workers and staff about 
  • Totally got the part where Anna talks about the frustration of taking care of her kids and all the hard stuff a Mom has to deal with and than as soon as Dad comes home the kids want to play with the "FUN" parent.  Totally unfair.
  • Hard to read about Orion's reaction when one of his students committed suicide. My Dad had a similar experience and he ended up in the psych ward because he thought it was his fault that a kid had killed himself.  There was  nothing he could have done, but he was the type of man who cared too much.

The Not So Good Stuff

  • I personally would have cut out about 50 pages, but that is just me.  I just think it would have been a tighter book
  • The perspective of the child molester is a difficult read - I admire Lamb's skill and understand what he was trying to relate,  but still made me sick
  • I understand and admire Lamb's talent and his effort to make Anna someone you can understand and relate too, and  I do in a way, but at the same time she disgusted me. My kids drive me absolutely bonkers, and I too have had some difficult times in my life, but I would never ever ever want to hurt my kids
  • Won't lie, next book I read is going to be totally escapism - this was intense and thought provoking - dammit Wally I am a mom - I want to escape from my world for a while ; )
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"He stops talking after that . It's something I've noticed since the paralysis: you mention depression and it's a conversation killer."

"Which I interpreted as him saying that it was better to have a fight and get things out than to give people the silent treatment and let things keep festering. I could have been wrong though; poetry's hard for me to understand because it never says things plain and simple."

"But as the people of the Old Country say, il destino mischia le carte, ma siamo noi a giocare la partia. Destiny shuffles the cards, but we are the ones who must play the game."

I received a copy of this at the HarperCollins Party at Book Expo America 2013. Thank you Wally about putting me at ease and truly enjoyed chatting with you.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tommysaurus Rex by Doug Tennapel: Reviewed by Jake

Tommysaurus Rex
by Doug Tennapel
Graphix (Scholastic Inc)
ISBN: 978-0-545-48383-4
Suggested Ages: 9-12
Buy from Indigo

Description: In the tradition of OLD YELLER comes the heartwarming friendship between a boy and his Tyrannosaurus Rex

When Ely's beloved dog, Tommy, is hit by a car, he goes to his grandpa's house for the summer to get his mind off things. While exploring a nearby cave one day he discovers a full-grown but friendly Tyrannosaurus Rex. As the news of the dinosaur grows around town, so does the friendship between Ely and his Jurassic pet. But Randy, the mean kid down the street, decides he's going to make life miserable for Ely and his dinosaur-to devastating effect.

Jake's Review:


Jake received this in exchange for an honest review and god knows you can count on honesty from him (brutal honesty sometimes unfortunately)

The Silver Six by AJ Lieberman & Darren Rawlings: Reviewed by Jake

The Silversix
by AJ Lieberman & Darren Rawlings
Graphix (Scholastic)
ISBN: 978-0-545-37098-1
Suggested Ages: 9-12
Buy from Indigo

Description: A group of orphans on the run search for a new home among the stars.

When a group of orphans discover they have a common connection, plucky heroine Phoebe leads them in a daring escape from their orphanage to an uninhabited moon. But their idyllic paradise is shattered when the powerful corporate boss who caused the deaths of their parents sends a relentless henchman to track them down. Now, with nowhere left to turn and tired of being on the run, these resourceful kids decide there's only one thing left to do: Fight back!

Jake's Review: First of all I would recommend this book for boys 8-11 yr old because I think older kids like me might be too mature for the book.  I think it would be better suited for boys but some non girly girls would enjoy it too. It's really funny and it made me laugh a lot. I liked the fact that there were scientific experiments in it and really cool machines.  Kids who dig science will really enjoy this too.  It was kinda sad at times which I didn't like.  I also thought some of the illustrations could have been done better.  The kids are like real kids as they are often scared but still do things that are brave. If you like adventure stories you are going to want to read this book.

3.5/5 Dewey's

Jake received this from Scholastic in exchange for his brutally honest opinion

Guest Post: Wild Born (Spirit Animals #1) by Brandon Mull

The following guest post is from the talented and lovely Laura whom I work with at Chapters. Thanks Laura for helping me catch up with my book reviews - will bring you some fudge tomorrow
by Brandon Mull
ISBN: 9780545522434
Suggested Ages: 9-12
Buy from Indigo
Description: Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts - a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children - and the world - have been changed for ever. Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers ...and on you
The Good: The character development was very well done. You learn each characters purpose, their drive, history, and flaws very efficiently and effectively. Although their names may be a little difficult to figure out how to pronounce, that actually fits with the setting of the story. The setting is almost a parallel of our present geography with the countries located in the same spots, just with different names. It is very helpful to have the map included at the start of the book. Once three of the characters are united for their training, the story has a good flow as they build their relationships with each other. There is a touching moment as well, when Meilin struggles to connect with her spirit animal, a panda named Jhi. "Meilin stepped out of the rain, closed the door, then knelt down and hugged the panda. Jhi felt warm and perfect. Meilin embraced her for a long time, sinking into her thick fur and enjoying her scent as never before...The panda didn't respond, but Meilin felt like she understood." (p. 126). Another thing I appreciated is that although our protagonists are children that will be battling against adults and other animals, they are still acknowledged and treated as children. So many novels put children into adult circumstances and have them behave like adults without respecting their limitations due to youth. Once we reach Chapter 14, we finally understand what the children are going to be fighting for, and the action scenes begin.  Now it becomes very interesting and a quick read to the end to find out what is going to happen next. The conclusion answers many of our questions but leaves enough of a cliff hanger to make us very curious about the next book.
The Bad: Immediately, we are reminded of the reaping ceremony in The Hunger Games, but in this case it is the boy servant helping his boy master get ready for his spirit animal ceremony. Although Spirit Animal readers likely will not have read Hunger Games yet, for older readers there are too many similarities. The anticipation, emotional responses, large crowd gathering for the annual ceremony, etc. Another thing I came to notice early is that the language is very formal for a book geared towards young readers, and one that has young characters. "We just received word that they were but a prelude to a major incursion. Your father had prepared for something of the sort, but our enemies have more men and resources than even General Teng had guessed." (pp. 27-8). In the first chapter we learn very quickly about a set of characters, what they are preparing for, the event and summoning of the spirit animal and a hint at what may happen next. The second chapter begins the very same way, but with the next key character and the entire chapter follows the same path as the first. This happens for two more chapters, which has taken away the anticipation and excitement since we already know what is going to happen. The body of the story unites three of the four characters in training and detail about what there purpose might be, with the occasional chapter dedicated to the fourth character and her training with whom we assume are the antagonists. It is not until Chapter 14 (of 19) that we finally reach a turning point in the story, leading up to a battle and the climax. The next few chapters are well written and finally make us want to keep reading to answer some questions we have developed along the way. "Abeke wobbled. The shelf was splitting and cracking underfoot. The whole cliff shook harder than ever. Wearing the Granite Ram made her feel no different, and many of the ledges she had used to get here were gone. But with rocks hailing down from above, and with the rock beneath her tearing away from the cliff, she had no choice but to jump." (p. 191). Overall, the repeating chapters at the beginning and the fact that it took so long to get interesting made it a struggle to want to continue to read the book.
Summary: I think it will be a challenge for boys and girls alike to stick with the novel long enough to arrive at the interesting scenes towards the end. But, they will definitely be rewarded if they do make it all the way through, and should be left wanting to read more. Boys may struggle with the relationship building parts of the story, but should be able to identify with the character Rollan to keep interest.

We received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This House is Haunted by John Boyne

This House is Haunted
by John Boyne
Random House
ISBN: 978-0-385-68154-4
Buy from Indigo

Description: 1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.

From the moment she rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence which lives within Gaudlin's walls. Eliza realizes that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall's long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past.

The Good Stuff
  • Dark, Gothic ghost story - one of my favorite type of story to read
  • Great opening line, it hooked me in right away
  • Fast paced and creepy - couldn't put it down even-though it was way to late at night to be reading this type of story
  • Awesome ending, though some may not like it
  • Seriously creepy little child - personally I would have run screaming from the house after I met her
  • Eliza is quite the little spirited thing, you have to love her. Really enjoyed some of the dialogue between her and the various male characters- especially since the author is male
  • Chapter 20 is a pure delight and a wonderful discourse on organized religion 
  • Wonderful atmosphere, while reading you will be constantly looking over your shoulder looking for ghosts - so wonderfully spooky, perfect for a cold Canadian night
  • Story feels like it was written in 1867 not in this day and age and I mean that as a wonderful compliment - those gothic stories were so much fun. A good spooky story that doesn't rely on blood and guts to keep you sleeping with the lights on

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Wanted to smack the heroine because I figured a major plot point (and she so should have) out way before she did
  • Checked our catalogue at work and this seems to be marketed in the adult horror section, think it would do far better if marketed more Teen

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Miss Caine, Mrs Cratchett and I have been married some three years now. If there is one condition I am familiar with, is the tendency of the gentler sex to suffer nervous anxiety."
He offered a polite bow and I considered picking up the large paperweight on his desk, designed for some reason in the shape of Ireland, and bringing it down upon his skull. Would any jury in the land convict me."

"The Bible is written by men, " I declared. "It has gone through so many changes, so many linguistic translations over the centuries that it adapts and re-creates itself in the form of the time in which the reader engages with it. Only a fool believes that the words of the Bible are the words delivered by Christ."

"He had never before shown any interest in American matters. Indeed he had professed his belief on more than one occasion that those who lived on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean were nothing more than barbarous, antagonistic scoundrels who should never have been permitted  independence, an act of disloyalty to the Crown for which the name of Portland should for ever be damned."

4.25 Dewey's

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

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Not a Drop to Drink
by Mindy McGinnis
ISBN: 978-0-06-219850-1
Suggested Ages: 12+
Buy from Indigo

Description Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own

The Good Stuff
  • Fast paced, non-stop action. Perfect for the reluctant reader
  • Fabulous character development in terms of Lynn, as I really, really didn't like her at first and she slowly grows into someone more human. Brilliantly done
  • Man Lynn's mom is one tough bitch - not sure I would want her as my mom, but damn that women would keep me alive
  • Loved the relationship and especially the dialogue between Lynn and Stebb
  • A book that both male and female readers will enjoy
  • Strong women
  • Realistic dystopian setting - totally believable
  • Dark
  • Wonderful world building and author does a fabulous job at setting the mood and landscape - it felt oh so real
  • Fans of Blood Red Road will enjoy
  • Even though the world is bleak the story still leaves you with an essence of hope
  • Loved Stebb's - he gives the story the lighter and softer moments it needs
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Lynn and her mom come across as very hard at first and may turn off some readers
  • Wanted more about how the world came to be this way
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The countryside was resplendent with colour, the sky a bright blue. The breeze shifted the grass around her, wafting the faintly spicy scent of green leaves turning brown  into her face. But Lynn's eyes saw only usefulness in these small miracles. The fading greens and yellows allowed her brown coveralls to blend nicely with the surroundings; the unclouded sky gave a little more warmth to the earth."

"Your mom taught you a lot, but she couldn't've taught you what she didn't know, like how to take a joke."

"There's different ways of doing things wrong, Lynn, and not all of it is choosing to hurt others. Sometimes it's the things you don't do that make you feel the worst."

4 Dewey's

I received this at the HarperCollins Indigo Insiders Event and wasn't required to write a review, but you know, I just cannot help myself I have to tell you what I think

Apparition by Gail Gallant

by Gail Gallant
Doubleday Canada (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-385-67962-6
Buy from Indigo
Suggested Ages: 12+

Description: The last time seventeen-year-old Amelia Mackenzie saw her best friend Matthew alive, he broke her heart. When he is found the next day in an abandoned barn at the edge of town, an apparent suicide, Amelia's whole world comes crashing down.

And then she sees him again. Because Amelia has a secret that even Matthew didn't know: sometimes, she sees ghosts.

When a local history columnist named Morris Dyson contacts Amelia after the funeral and tells her that he thinks the barn Matthew died in is haunted, and that Matthew wasn't its first victim, an unlikely partnership is born. With Amelia's gift for seeing ghosts, Morris's radical theories on the supernatural, and a bit of help from Morris's sexy but skeptical son, Kip, a mystery unfolds. One by one, the barn's other ghostly residents are revealed: all innocent, love-struck young men who've died horrific deaths, seemingly by their own hands.

Life and death couldn't get more complicated as Amelia is torn between her devotion to the ghostly Matthew and her growing attraction to Kip, who may not believe in ghosts but can't help believing in Amelia. When she's confronted with a rivalry between the living and the dead, which side of the great divide will Amelia choose?

The Good Stuff
  •  Interesting and unique premise for a ghost story
  • At times spooky and keeps you on the edge of your seat (unfortunately, for me, this didn't last)
  • Story was good enough to keep me reading to the end, even with some of the issues that left me frustrated (see the not so good stuff section)
  • Love, love, love the Canadian setting - especially as it is set somewhere I have been on many occasion
  • Nice uses of humour
  • This is more suited to a YA reader and I really feel that I am doing it a disservice at reviewing it as I am not the intended audience. Going to pass this on at work to some of the teen employees as I think they will enjoy it more
  • Just noticed that Gail Gallant is a television writer - Miss Gallant I think this would be a a fascinating tv production
  • Mentions Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tim Horton's - two of my favorite things
  • Would be a good book for a reluctant reader
  • Enjoyed the scenes between Kip and Amelia
The Not So Good Stuff
  • I wanted so much to like this, as well, I am a sucker for a ghost story, but just felt that it was all over the place and Amelia was a hard character for me personally to become interested in.
  • I think this one would be better suited for the younger YA reader, as I think I am just to old for this angsty stuff.
  • Just couldn't feel any connection with Amelia. One minute she was head over heels in love with Matthew and than seems to get over him really quickly. Just didn't ring true
  • Jumpy - to me this felt more like a script than a novel 
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"The apple orchards look best in fall. All bare, twisted and tortured. Makes you wonder if Tim Burton grew  up in Grey County."

"Zombies, they're cool, Jesus was a zombie, for Christ's sake. That's what Easter's all about."

3 Dewey's

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review. Sorry guys, I really wanted to like it more

The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray

The Massey Murder: A maid, her master and the trial that shocked a nation
by Charlotte Gray
HarperCollins Canada
ISBN: 978-1-44340-923-0
Buy from Indigo

Description: A scandalous crime, a sensational trial, a surprise verdict—the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a Massey.

In February 1915, a member of one of Canada’s wealthiest families was shot and killed on the front porch of his home in Toronto as he was returning from work. Carrie Davies, an 18-year-old domestic servant, quickly confessed. But who was the victim here? Charles “Bert” Massey, a scion of a famous family, or the frightened, perhaps mentally unstable Carrie, a penniless British immigrant? When the brilliant lawyer Hartley Dewart, QC, took on her case, his grudge against the powerful Masseys would fuel a dramatic trial that pitted the old order against the new, wealth and privilege against virtue and honest hard work. Set against a backdrop of the Great War in Europe and the changing face of a nation, this sensational crime is brought to vivid life for the first time.

The Good Stuff
    • The amount of research put into this is truly mind boggling
    • My father used to talk about this case to me when I was growing up.  For such a kind hearted, giving man, he had a true fascination with true crime stories which always made me laugh. I know murder isn't funny, but it always seemed funny that he loved hearing about these cases.  Miss you Dad
    • Enjoyed reading about places I knew and had been too. Guess I should put this in the not so good, because it kinda made me home sick
    • Made history come alive - this is the kinda book that will make kids interested in history.  Canadian history isn't boring guys, just most history teachers make it feel that way (Except for you Mr Shore -- you taught it the way it should be taught)
    • Didn't feel like Non-fiction - felt at times like I was reading a fast paced thriller
    • Thoroughly disgusted on how women were treated during this era - hard for someone like me to understand how lucky we have it today - not perfect I know, but still so much better
    • Did I mention how truly fascinating this piece of non fiction is.  Couldn't put the damn thing down and that is truly unusual, as I am more a fiction girl.
    • Mentions my home town of Richmond Hill - I know that is a terribly geeky observation - but hey, did I mention I am homesick
    • Blown away about how little input Carrie had in her own defense
    • Truly disgusted about the atrocious treatment Carrie received in order to prove that she was a virgin 
    • In depth sources section at the end of the book
    • A must read for those interested in Toronto history
    The Not So Good Stuff
    • Felt a little drawn out at times, but I guess with only so much background about the actual murder, it had to be done
    Favorite Quotes

    "But the city's social elite was an exclusive club. Toronto's Fine Old Ontario Families ("FOOFs" as they had come to be called) resented the mercantile class. "I do not care for Toronto as I used to," Colonel George Denison, who typified the old guard, told a friend in 1911. "Parvenus are as plentiful as blackberries, and the vulgar ostentation of the common rich is not a pleasant sight."

    "Gossip was easier to absorb than the welter of confusing stories out of distant countries on the far side of the Atlantic.  The only sources of information about the war, not in its seventh month, were newspaper reports and the rumours they triggered: there was no radio, let alone any of the information technology we take granted for today."

    "When Martin first applied to Osgoode, an outraged and deeply conservative bencher harrumphed that her admission would prove "disastrous to the best interests of women," and that anyway, no self-respecting woman of fashion would want to wear the official robes of  a litigator."

    4 Dewey's

    I received a copy from HarperCollins at the Indigo Insider event, I am not required in any way to write a review for it - I just like to tell people what I think