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!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

by Julie Murphy
ISBN: 9780062327185
Buy from Indigo

Description: Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

The Good Stuff
  • A book that has Dolly Parton and drag queens, how can you not love it
  • A beautiful and real coming of age story
  • Will has sass and such inner strength that you love her from the very first line.  
  • Fat girl doesn't have to diet to get the man - its about fucking time people!
  • As a former fat girl (and lets face it, I will always be a fat girl) I applaud the authors understanding that we are just as beautiful as anyone else
  • The last couple of chapters were utterly beautiful and funny and just plain perfection
  • The varied characters are all so wonderfully flawed and real and the relationships so shockingly honest. 
  • Delightfully awkward situations and hilarious dialogue
  • Did I mention the girl doesn't try to change to make herself more socially acceptable - aka lose weight
  • May this book leap into the lap of any girl who has felt insecure about her outer self.
The Not So Good Stuff
  • A tad too angsty at times for this old momma (so intended teen audiences, please ignore this)
  • Um, yeah, I have been speaking with a bit of a Texan accent this week, and well, people are staring y'all
  • Brought back some painful memories of being the fat girl & I wish I had had the strength of character that Will has.  I just did stupid ass dieting and hurt my body. Man I was a silly girl
Favorite Quotes/Passages

“There’s something about swimsuits that make you think you’ve got to earn the right to wear them. And that’s wrong. Really, the criteria is simple. Do you have a body? Put a swimsuit on it.”

“I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.”

“I hate seeing fat girls on TV or in movies, because the only way the world seems to be okay with putting a fat person on camera is if they’re miserable with themselves or if they’re the jolly best friend. Well, I’m neither of those things.” 

4 Dewey's

No one asked me to review, just wanna share.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Nesr by Kenneth Oppel

The Nest
by Kenneth Oppel
ISBN: 978-1-44343-862-9
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionSteve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? This is a haunting gothic tale for fans of Coraline, from acclaimed author Kenneth Oppel (Silverwing, The Boundless) with illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

Celebrated author Kenneth Oppel creates an eerie masterpiece in this compelling story that explores disability and diversity, fears and dreams, and what ultimately makes a family. Includes illustrations from celebrated artist Jon Klassen
The Good Stuff

  • Once again Oppel excels at writing a story that both children, critics and educators will love
  • Oppel is one of those rare and gifted writers who writes books that don't talk down to children. This  my friends is a rarity
  • Not a word wasted
  • Hauntingly beautiful and wonderfully creepy
  • Simple, yet complex.  So many layers and the story will mean so much more as a child ages.  This is one to keep and read again as a child grows older
  • Honest and real (yes in spite of the paranormal aspect)
  • The cover and art work, make this a treasure that you will want to highlight
  • Steve is such a beautifully flawed and lovely little boy that I just want to take in my arms and say, its going to get better. Such a brave and wonderful little boy.
  • Ok, silly I know, but I geek out a little when an author makes a mention of a Canadian city or landmark

The Not So Good Stuff

  • I am already creeped out by wasps dammit

Favorite Quotes/Passages

" I knew I was broken too. I wasn't like other people. I was scared and weird and anxious and sad lots of the time, and I didn't know why. My parents thought I was abnormal, I was pretty sure. They said I wasn't, but you don't get sent to a therapist if you're normal."

"It couldn't, because it was so perfect that it wouldn't even  understand what it was like not to be perfect. it could never know weakness or fear."

4.25 Dewey's

I received this at the Fall Indigo Insiders Harper Collins Preview and don't have to share my thoughts at all, just like to share awesome reviews

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

The Masked Truth
by Kelley Armstrong
Doubleday Canada (Penguin Random House Canada)
ISBN: 978-0-385-68475-0
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionRiley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom

The Good Stuff

  • I am sure most of you know of my love for Kelley Armstrong and once again with this story she has solidified her position as Canada's most gifted storyteller
  • I want to kiss her feet for writing a stand alone story. 
  • I always want to suggest Kelley's stories to our teen readers, but many shy away from the paranormal aspects of her tales.  Now I can hook them in with this standalone, non paranormal story and they will grab her other stuff.  
  • Fast paced with plenty of twists and turns
  • A wonderful strong, and flawed female character who you will fall in love with and cheer on.  Kelley always can be depended on to create real fleshed out female protagonists that are kick ass and don't need a boy to save them
  • Intriguing secondary characters that are just as fleshed out as the main ones
  • Awesome love interest
  • Fabulous dark humour
  • Cannot wait to go to work tonight, to Staff Pick this baby and sell the shit out of it 
  • Sensitively and honestly deals with Schizophrenia in such a way that you learn something without feel like you are being preached too.  A sign of a truly gifted author and beautiful human being
  • Also deals with grief, suicide and PSTD and other mental illness' in the same way. Thoroughly impressed
  • Some magically written scenes with Max about his family issues
  • Brienne and Lorenzo's actions
  • Love the scenes between Sloane and Riley

The Not So Good Stuff

  • Was up way too late last night reading this and hubby almost had to grab it out of my hand and make me go to bed
  • Was pushing the kids to go to school so Momma could finish the book - now I feel mommy guilt - like I don't have enough of that

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Blood money, that's what those packages are, and I want to scream at her in school, just stop in the hall and call her a two-faced bitch, and let everyone know what she did and and that it should have been her, goddamn it it, it should have been her.  Except I don't wish it was, I don't dare, because I wouldn't have trusted her to keep Darla safe, and let's be honest here, I wouldn't have trusted her to keep herself safe, and I still care about her enough to think of that, even after what she's done."

"It's up for us to say we'll be a good person because that's what we believe is right, not because it'll earn us a better place in the next life."

"It doesn't help, because they don't know if she does or she doesn't, and neither do I  and neither can you. But I do know you aren't to blame, And I do know that  doesn't really help either, despite everyone saying it. I wish you didn't feel that way, Riley, but I understand why you do."

"I am, however, old enough to know when important stuff is being discussed and get my ass someplace I can eavesdrop."

5 Dewey's

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani

All the Stars in the Heavens
by Adriana Trigiani
ISBN: 978-0-06-231919-7
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionThe movie business is booming in 1935 when twenty-one-year-old Loretta Young meets thirty-four-year-old Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Though he’s already married, Gable falls for the stunning and vivacious young actress instantly. 

Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta. Becoming Miss Young’s assistant, the innocent and pious young Alda must navigate the wild terrain of Hollywood with fierce determination and a moral code that derives from her Italian roots. Over the course of decades, she and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives.

Anchored by Trigiani’s masterful storytelling that takes you on a worldwide ride of adventure from Hollywood to the shores of southern Italy, this mesmerizing epic is, at its heart, a luminous tale of the most cherished ties that bind. Brimming with larger-than-life characters both real and fictional—including stars Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, David Niven, Hattie McDaniel and more—it is it is the unforgettable story of one of cinema’s greatest love affairs during the golden age of American movie making.
The Good Stuff

  • Brings flesh and life to a forgotten scandalous event that happened during the golden age of movies
  • Author obviously did some serious research into this one and you can also feel her love for her subject matter
  • Loved reading about a couple of my favorites, David Niven and Hattie McDaniel and lets face it that time in Hollywood history was so very fascinating
  • Made me feel for those involved in the movie industry could never be themselves 
  • Loved the banter between Gable and McDaniel - seriously this would have been so risque in anywhere but Hollywood during the time.  A black woman flirting with a white man - in anywhere else this would have been shocking to people (Makes me love Hollywood a little and Gable a little bit more)
  • Enjoyed learning a bit more about Loretta Young 
  • Some absolutely beautiful poetic writing at times
  • Every scene with David Niven is a delight, hoping he was as wonderful in real life
  • The scenes between Alda and Loretta are the heart of the story
  • Made me want to do some research into Clark Gable, Loretta Young, Spencer Tracy and David Niven
  • Sad how an actress could get pregnant an lose everything, but nothing would happen to the actor who got her pregnant

The Not So Good Stuff

  • At times it just feels like the author is just telling you what the characters are doing and feeling rather than having the story flow
  • I do have a problem when someone one gives thoughts and feelings to a real life person - not a bad thing, its just something I have a hard time coming to grips with
  • Man Loretta Young married such a jerk, for such a talented actress she really had no sense when it came to men

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"You can cut the 'sir' stuff."
The deckhand swallowed hard. "But I'm British, Mr Gable. We sir from the start."

"A ditch digger with a British Accent could walk through the gates of MGM, and Louis B. Mayer would sign him up.  An American ditch digger would walk through the same gate and be escorted off the lot. There's something about you people. You sound like you have culture."

"That's why there are so many babies in the world. It's called winter."

"The movies, for a paying customer, could be entertaining and uplifting, but for those who worked on the inside, there was a seven-day-a-week grind with little reprieve from impossible schedules and demanding talent."

"A good father doesn't make a child feel unsafe, unworthy and unwanted and your husband made me feel  all those things  and still does."

"Nobody thinks about the children," Alda said. "I know they're matinee idols, but they're real and they have lives, and their children have feelings."

3.5 Dewey's

I received this at the HarperCollins Indigo Fall Preview Event & I don't have to review - but I like to share and Cory and Shannon do such a fabulous job of  highlighting their books, I want to share - even though this one wasn't my favourite

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Japanese Lover by Isabele Allende

The Japanese Lover
by Isabele Allende
Atria Books (Simon and Schuster)
ISBN: 978-1-5011-1697-1
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionIn 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, The Japanese Lover explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the unknowable impact of fate on our lives. Written with the same attention to historical detail and keen understanding of her characters that Isabel Allende has been known for since her landmark first novel The House of the SpiritsThe Japanese Lover is a profoundly moving tribute to the constancy of the human heart in a world of unceasing change
The Good Stuff

  • Engrossing sweeping historical family saga
  • Richly written, and well researched, historical detail
  • A lot of well placed humour
  • Flesh and blood characters that feel so very lifelike
  • A positive portrayal of an assisted living/old age home
  • Horrifying and fascinating information pertaining to the internment of the Japanese in San Francisco 
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between Irina and Alma.
  • Perfect story for a book club or class discussion
  • Lyrical writing
  • Fantastic character development, especially in regards to Irina
  • Allende is truly a brilliant storyteller

The Not So Good Stuff

  • Story line jumps around a little too much and is jarring at times
  • Had a sudden urge to go work at a Seniors community in order to develop a relationship like the one between Alma and Irina 

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"It depends.  I stroke them, and they always like that, because old people don't have anyone who touches them, and I get them hooked on a TV series, because nobody wants to die before the final episode."

"It was like driving a cross between a bicycle and a wheelchair." (Jen's note: the best description of a smart car ever!)

"Because I have time to spare, and for the first time in my life nobody expects anything of me.  I don't have to prove anything. I'm not rushing everywhere; each day is a gift I enjoy to the fullest."

"Hearts are big enough to contain love for more than one person."

4 Dewey's

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes

Open Heart, Open Mind
by Clara Hughes
Simon and Schuster Canada
ISBN: 978-1-4767-5698-1
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionIn 2006, when Clara Hughes stepped onto the Olympic podium in Torino, Italy, she became the first and only athlete ever to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Games. Four years later, she was proud to carry the Canadian flag at the head of the Canadian team as they participated in the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. But there’s another story behind her celebrated career as an athlete, behind her signature billboard smile.

While most professional athletes devote their entire lives to training, Clara spent her teenage years using drugs and drinking to escape the stifling home life her alcoholic father had created in Elmwood, Winnipeg. She was headed nowhere fast when, at sixteen, she watched transfixed in her living room as gold medal speed skater Gaétan Boucher effortlessly raced in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Dreaming of one day competing herself, Clara channeled her anger, frustration, and raw ambition into the endurance sports of speed skating and cycling. By 2010, she had become a six-time Olympic champion.

But after more than a decade in the grueling world of professional sports that stripped away her confidence and bruised her body, Clara began to realize that her physical extremes, her emotional setbacks, and her partying habits were masking a severe depression. After winning bronze in the last speed skating race of her career, she decided to retire, determined to repair herself. She has emerged as one of our most committed humanitarians, advocating for a variety of social causes both in Canada and around the world. In 2010, she became national spokesperson for Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk campaign in support of mental health awareness, using her Olympic standing to share the positive message of the power of forgiveness.

Told with honesty and passion, Open Heart, Open Mind is Clara’s personal journey through physical and mental pain to a life where love and understanding can thrive. This revelatory and inspiring story will touch the hearts of readers everywhere
The Good Stuff

  • Even though her life has been tough at times, there is no self pity or blame
  • Fascinating background in the day to day training involved in a competitive athletes life
  • Likeable, honest writing.  Feels like you are listening to a friend tell a story
  • Admire her for what she has accomplished with her life, especially her work with Right to Play and Bell Canada Lets Talks
  • Found it interesting what goes on during the Olympics
  • Speaks very openly about addiction and mental illness
  • Loved her Dad even though he was a very troubled man.  She makes you feel the good in him, despite his demons
  • Honestly I was fascinated by the training and the ins and outs of competitive sports. The incredible drive and determination is awe inspiring (ok, also remember I am a Librarian and a nerd, so sports is sooo not my thing)
  • Interesting to learn about the pressure to dope and all about the different methods
  • I have always been less than understanding about the importance of sport and she really made me how much sport can inspire and help someone (Ok most of my negativity comes from being shit at sports and made fun of by jocks, I still remember being insulted in high school by a girl named Christine about my lack of athleticism - I'm 45 and I still remember that moment)
  • I really enjoyed the stories about her experiences while working on Right to Play. Truly inspiring, fun and so raw and beautiful
  • Loved her colourful dialogue (Yup I also believe that people who swear are more honest and trustful)
  • Amazed by the amount of eating disorders within competitive sports, Liked that she talked so openly about her own struggles.  Hey we have something in common - who knew - no one is safe from that inner demon
  • Impressed with the connection in regards to  her Father at the beginning and the end of the story. Nicely done

The Not So Good Stuff

  • Jumps around a bit

Favorite Quotes

"As a kid, you just try to survive. You grind whatever awful things you are experiencing into dust as they're happening.'

"My Dad used to say to me, "Clara, never put anyone below you, and never put anyone above you. There are good an bad people - you can't deceive yourself into thinking otherwise - but it has nothing to do with race or income."

"This lesson in a taxicab on a cold winter's day showed me the potential of human beings to transcend hatred, greed, and genocide. Even now I marvel that someone could come to this kind of peace after losing so much."

4 Dewey's

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy
by Jenny Lawson
Flatiron Books
ISBN: 9781250077004
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionFor fans of David Sedaris, Tina Fey, and Mindy Kaling-the new book from Jenny Lawson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED...

In LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book,FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: "Some people might think that being 'furiously happy' is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he's never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos."

"Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you'd never guess because we've learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, 'We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.' Except go back and cross out the word 'hiding.'" 

Jenny's first book, LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it's about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn't need a bit more of that

The Good Stuff
  • There are no words to express my admiration for this real and honest writer
  • By being open and honest about her fight with mental illness' she is making a difference. The more we open up, the better chance we have of ending the stigma
  • A must read for those fighting mental illness and those who love those who suffer (ok and also for those who can laugh at the darker things in life)
  • To be honest, this was a life changing book for me.  It has inspired me to make so many positive changes
  • Encourages you to accept and love who you are, no matter how damaged you are.  At the same time encourages you to fight to get better
  • How can you not love a women who watches Doctor Who to feel better - ok Jenny,  lets agree that I will let you lick David Tennant's face, but I get to keep him after that (Yes, this is a joke people)
  • I cried and laughed and often at the same time
  • It gives me hope and makes me look at everyone in a new light - and  might make me feel more compassionate while working retail 
  • FYI - those I love will all be getting a copy for Christmas
  • Also I recommend this to those who don't understand or feel any compassion to those suffering
  • Most important thing to take from this book is "Depression Lies"  - yes friends I will be getting a tattoo of this as well
  • Raw and honest
  • Thank you Jenny.  I too have been there on those dark nights, where that inner voice tells me horrible things about myself and tells me I should just give up.  Thank you for making me feel like I am not alone, thank you for encouraging me to laugh and speak up about my quirks, and please remember, I too am here if you ever need someone to talk to. Depression lies and we should hunt that asshole depression down 
  • Encourages empathy & that my friends is worth the price of the book - we all need this
  • I really enjoyed and appreciated her what depression is like analogies 
  • All I can say is "Pinata Stupid Stake."
  • Folder of 24 - that is enough reason to buy this book
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Ummm, maybe not the best audio book to listen to while walking in public.  Lets just say people will stare because you will be double over laughing so hard tears will be streaming down your face
  • If you don't love this or take some kinda understanding for this, I don't want to know you.  Yes that is harsh, but as I mentioned, this book encouraged me to make so many changes
Favorite Quotes

“Without the dark there isn’t light. Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize that the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spent with my family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression distorts reality and tries to convince me otherwise.” 

"Be bizarre. Be weird. Be proud of the uniquely beautiful way that you are broken."

"He looked like he was the most excited member of your surprise party, or like a Time Lord in the process of regenerating."

"That's why you have to rely on friends and family and strangers to help you when you can't help yourself."

5 Dewey's

I am reviewing this because I think it is a must have book.  Nobody payed me shit or purchased this for me, I just love it so much I have to share - Now get yourself to a bookstore and buy the damn thing, ok.  Preferably my store Chapters Shawnessy as I vowed to sell 100 copies in 3 months

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Every Word by Ellie Marney

Every Word (Every #2)
by Ellie Marney
Tundra Books (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-1-77049-775-7
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionJames Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents seven years ago...without saying goodbye to Rachel Watts, his 'partner in crime'.

Rachel is furious and worried about his strange behaviour - not that Mycroft's ever exactly normal, but London is the scene of so many of his nightmares. So Rachel jumps on a plane to follow him...and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.

The theft of a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator, and the deaths of Mycroft's parents...Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events - or will she lose him forever?

Sparks fly when Watts and Mycroft reunite in this second sophisticated thriller about the teen sleuthing duo
The Good Stuff

  • Fast paced, exciting and raw
  • I'm thinking Mycroft is kinda hot, but then I feel creepy cuz the dude is like 19 
  • Intriguing secondary characters
  • Love the winks to Sherlock Holmes, especially the plays on characters names
  • Her writing is beyond description.  She doesn't waste a word, yet you feel like you are living in the story with the characters and can feel and taste everything. 
  • Wonderful sense of realism, with characters making mistakes and getting hurt and nothing wrapped up all neatly 
  • Teens (ok and adult readers too) are going to love the sexual tension 
  • Really enjoy the relationship between Watts and her brother
  • Smart, snarky dialogue
  • Strong female heroine - would be proud and terrified to have her as my daughter

The Not So Good Stuff

  • Trying to think of something negative,  Oh yeah -- scene in the morgue - ewww (Ok not really bad as it was realistic - but icky)

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"In this weather, you can sense the uncertainty. The control you think you have - over the property, over your fate-is just an illusion."

"Detective. d'you honestly think Mycroft's going to do as he's told? He might be bright, but when it comes to issues of personal judgment he can be sort of a dickhead."

"For you, because it will hurt like crazy. But for him it will be worse, because if you can never trust anybody to let them in, you can never love. I wouldn't wish that on anybody."

"He must have been someone who loved books, loved words. Someone who saw beneath the weathered covers and the yellowing ink to the soul underneath."

4.75 Dewey's

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

Ghostly: a Collection of Ghost Stories edited by Audrey Niffenegger

Ghostly: a Collection of Ghost Stories
edited by Audrey Niffenegger
Knopf Canada (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 9780345810311
Buy from Indigo

Description From Edgar Allan Poe to Kelly Link, M.R. James to Neil Gaiman, H.H. Munro to Audrey Niffenegger herself, Ghostly reveals the evolution of the ghost story genre with tales going back to the eighteenth century and into the modern era, ranging across styles from Gothic Horror to Victorian, stories about haunting--haunted children, animals, houses. Every story is introduced by Audrey Niffenegger, an acclaimed master of the craft, with some words on its background and why she chose to include it. Audrey's own story is "A Secret Life With Cats."
     Perfect for the classic and contemporary ghost story aficionado, this is a delightful volume, beautifully illustrated by Audrey, who is a graphic artist with great vision. Ghostly showcases the best of the best in the field, including Edith Wharton, P.G. Wodehouse, A.S. Byatt, Ray Bradbury, and so many more.

The Good Stuff
  • My favorite story by far was , by Neil Gaiman (the man is a truly incredible writer who never wastes a word) - those are my types of ghost stories kids - sorry.  I shivered at the end, it was the type of story we used to tell each other at sleepovers.  You know the ones, right, keeps  you up at night
  • Even the stories I didn't enjoy, I do appreciate the sense of mood they created
  • Some truly unique stories
  • The Beckoning Fair One is wonderfully moody with a sense of foreboding 
  • The Mezzotint was delightfully dark and creepy and stayed with me for quite a while 
  • I also enjoyed Playmates, a very haunting yet empathetic tale (and as Niffenegger mentions, really shows you the resilience of children)
  • The tale by Rudyard Kipling is creepy, yet beautiful. You really feel the authors grief
  • Got a kick out of Laura by Saki.  Ok, all I can say is that it is dark and funny and involves an Otter, what's not to love
  • I've read The Open Window before and it was pure delight to read again.
  • Tiny Ghosts was wickedly odd and funny,  it was my 2nd favorite next to Neil Gaiman's story 
  • There is a Ray Bradbury story, and damn that man was a wicked writer.  Like Gaiman, not a word wasted.  A truly gifted author.  This one is not  your usual ghost story, but something more horrific, because you can see the reality of it and that is more horrific than any ghost story
  • Um, the Edgar Allan Poe story, made me start being even nicer to my cat 
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Not my favorite types of ghost stories in this collection. Found them a little too literary for my taste.  This isn't a bad thing, just a personal preference 
  • I don't trust my cat now (Also note to self: never piss off your cat or um die before someone can find you)
  • I am a ghost story nerd so I was very much looking forward to reading this, but I was a tad disappointed, as many were very old fashioned and outdated for this generation.  Again not a bad thing, just a personal preference
Favorite Quotes

"we all wonder about death, but we don't understand it. Ghost stories are speculations. little experiments in death"

"Coke is very bad for you, ' said the boy. "If you put
a tooth in coke, in the morning it will  be dissolved into nothing. That's how bad Coke is for you and why you must always clean  your teeth, every night."
"I'd heard the Coke story as a boy, and had been told, as an adult, that it wasn't true, but was certain that a lie which promoted dental hygiene was a good lie, and I'd let it pass."

"Because I can't stop my body and mind waiting, every day, every day, I can't let go."

3 Dewey's

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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt

Bug in a Vacuum
by Melanie Watt
Tundra Books (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-1-77049-645-3
Buy from Indigo

Description: A bug flies through an open door into a house, through a bathroom, across a kitchen and bedroom and into a living room ... where its entire life changes with the switch of a button. Sucked into the void of a vacuum bag, this one little bug moves through denial, bargaining, anger, despair and eventually acceptance -- the five stages of grief -- as it comes to terms with its fate. Will there be a light at the end of the tunnel? Will there be dust bunnies in the void? A funny, suspenseful and poignant look at the travails of a bug trapped in a vacuum.

The Good Stuff
  • The artwork is truly outstanding  
  • Sensitively done explanation of the five steps of grief 
  • Great for discussions with children especially about talking about feelings
  • So much of the story is told through the illustrations which is brilliant for kids
  • Touching, yet funny 
  • Truly unique
  • Doesn't talk down to kids or ignore their feelings

The Not So Good Stuff
  • My son and husband didn't enjoy it, but they did love the artwork
Favourite Page

4 Dewey's

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong

Deceptions (Cainsville #3)
by Kelley Armstrong
Random House Canada (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-307-36058-8
Buy from Indigo

Description: Olivia’s life has exploded. She’s discovered she’s not only adopted, but her real parents are convicted serial killers. Fleeing the media frenzy, she took refuge in the oddly secluded town of Cainsville. She has since solved the town’s mysteries and finds herself not only the target of its secretive elders, but also her stalker ex-fiancé.

Visions continue to haunt her: particularly a little blond girl in a green sundress who insists she has an important message for Olivia, one that may help her balance the light and darkness within herself. Death stalks Olivia and the two men most important to her, as she desperately searches to understand whether ancient scripts are dictating their triangle. Will darkness prevail or does Olivia have the power to prevent a tragic fate?

The Good Stuff
  • This series just gets better and better 
  • Adored the opening chapter and the banter between Olivia and Gabriel
  • Non stop action and plenty of twists and turns
  • As mentioned on many occasions, Kelley Armstrong is a born storyteller and she never fails to keep me absorbed in  her imaginative worlds
  • Olivia is kick ass - she takes shit from no one and liver her life the way she wants to 
  • Um Ricky and Gabriel - yeah I think I am a little in love with both of them
  • I love the cover on this  one
  • Does bring a little attention to what Spina Bifida is (Um and if we go with Kelley's story - my son must be Tylwyth Teg )
  • Exceptionally well developed world building
  • Puts together fairies and the x-files in one paragraph - made me laugh my ass off

The Not So Good Stuff
  • I know its silly but cannot mention why without giving away a major spoiler.  My son has Spina Bifida and it has to do something with that 
  • They fey always confuse me a little -- not a complaint about the author or the story, just something that affects my personal enjoyment of the story (but hey it still gets 4.5/5)

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I woke up to my ex-fiance calling. Which was awkward, considering  we'd only broken up two months ago and I was in another guy's apartment.  Even more awkward when that guy wasn't the one I was currently dating. In my defense I was on the couch."

"Exactly. I'm the Lord Byron of bikers. Except, being a biker, naturally I don't write  poetry. Or read it. In fact, for the record,  I have no idea who this Byron guy is."

"I find fairies with cell phones disconcerting enough. Do they really need to use text talk."

4.5 Dewey's

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

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

The Marriage of Opposites
by Alice Hoffman
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4516-9359
Buy from Indigo

Description: a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro; the Father of Impressionism.

Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel's mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel's salvation is their maid Adelle's belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle's daughter. But Rachel's life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father's business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Fréderick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.

Building on the triumphs of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, set in a world of almost unimaginable beauty, The Marriage of Opposites showcases the beloved, bestselling Alice Hoffman at the height of her considerable powers. Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Fréderick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.

The Good Stuff
  • The perfect book for me, especially after struggling through On the Road
  • Once again Hoffman has created an engrossing story laced through with a hint of magic
  • Has brought to life a relatively unknown (Especially to me) historical character and created a fascinating tale of forbidden love, family, betrayal, art and history
  • Hoffman has a true gift for storytelling, I always become lost in her stories and don't want to put them down. Her words are lyrical and poetic
  • Enjoyed Rachel's love for her father's library and his books - I truly understand 
  • Learned a lot about the fascinating history of St Thomas 
  • Each and every character felt so very real to me
  •  Hoffman's description of St Thomas is so beautiful, I feel the need to jump on a plane and head there right now
  • Will be putting my Staff Pick sticker on it tonight

The Not So Good Stuff
  • As always horrified by the prejudice against Jews and the restrictions
  • As a Mom, I really didn't understand Rachel's attitude towards her son and his choices, especially after her childhood. Probably realistic, but it irritated me

Favorite Quotes

"The colours I used might not have been of this world; instead they showed what lay below the surface of this world, the spark of colour at the deepest core."

"Then I understood that when someone begins to tell you her story, you are entwined together."

"We're likely to see our children as we wish to, not as they are."

"The night world was blue and black; a hot velvet curtain dropped down from the branches of the trees."

4.5 Dewey's

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

Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow

Sick in the Head
by Judd Apatow
Penguin Random House
ISBN: 978-0-8129-9757-6
Buy from Indigo

Description: From the writer and director of Knocked Up and the producer of Freaks and Geeks comes a collection of intimate, hilarious conversations with the biggest names in comedy from the past thirty years—including Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Roseanne Barr, Harold Ramis, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, and Lena Dunham.

Before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Judd Apatow was the original comedy nerd. At fifteen, he took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club—just so he could watch endless stand-up for free. At sixteen, he was hosting a show for his local high school radio station in Syosset, Long Island—a show that consisted of Q&As with his comedy heroes, from Garry Shandling to Jerry Seinfeld. They talked about their careers, the science of a good joke, and their dreams of future glory (turns out, Shandling was interested in having his own TV show one day and Steve Allen had already invented everything).

Thirty years later, Apatow is still that same comedy nerd—and he’s still interviewing funny people about why they do what they do.

Sick in the Head
gathers Apatow’s most memorable and revealing conversations into one hilarious, wide-ranging, and incredibly candid collection that spans not only his career but his entire adult life. Here are the comedy legends who inspired and shaped him, from Mel Brooks to Steve Martin. Here are the contemporaries he grew up with in Hollywood, from Spike Jonze to Sarah Silverman. And here, finally, are the brightest stars in comedy today, many of whom Apatow has been fortunate to work with, from Seth Rogen to Amy Schumer. And along the way, something kind of magical happens: What started as a lifetime’s worth of conversations about comedy becomes something else entirely. It becomes an exploration of creativity, ambition, neediness, generosity, spirituality, and the joy that comes from making people laugh.

Loaded with the kind of back-of-the-club stories that comics tell one another when no one else is watching, this fascinating, personal (and borderline-obsessive) book is Judd Apatow’s gift to comedy nerds everywhere.

The Good Stuff
  • Amazed (but really not surprised) that he was so young when he got access to such famous comedians and was so very articulate and got them to talk.  That my friends, takes balls and is so very impressive
  •  Learned a lot,about the comedy world
  •  Interviews some of my personal favorites
  • Some incredible raw and very personal stories
  • This is a perfect gift for the comedy nerd or those interested in working in the field 
  • Have a sudden urge to watch Freaks and Geeks again
  • Albert Brooks is a fascinating man
  • Very wise conversation with Eddie Vedder regarding children and technology
  • Favorite interview was with the very insightful Harold Ramis
  • Impressed with how the interviewees had been very helpful and kind to such a young man who they had no reason to - gives me faith in humanity
  • Have a new found respect for Steve Allen and his originality 
  • Understand why HBO gets to make the brilliant shows they do
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Would have liked more information about Judd himself (though you do get a good idea from what he lets out in the interviews)
  • Expected it to be a lot more funny, but hey that is my problem 
  • He gets to work with Steve Carrell and I don't 

Favorite Quotes

"Judd: As I said to someone recently, I'm trying to fuck my kids up just enough so they'll want a job."

"This blew my mind. Wait, so we could actually interview people we admired? They would talk to you if you asked nicely? It suddenly occurred to me that maybe I could do this with comedians."

"I didn't understand that what I liked about them was seeing normal people with their daily struggles, trying to be good people in spite of all of the obstacles that are in their way, trying to find connection. That's what I enjoyed the most, but I didn't understand how it was made and I didn't understand how I would get there, until I worked with you at The Larry Sanders Show."

"I can almost feel people forgetting their troubles and laughing, and for a moment I feel like there is a God or a higher purpose and I am truly happy.  God gave me that dick joke. It all makes sense"

"When are girls going to figure out that the jocks become used car salesmen and the nerds become, you know, Judd Apatow and Bill Gates? Why aren't they on to that by now?"
4 Dewey's

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

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

In the Unlikely Event
by Judy Blume
Doubleday Canada (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-2-385-68507-8
Buy from Indigo

Description: In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

In the Unlikely Event is vintage Judy Blume, with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume’s unparalleled storytelling, and full of memorable characters who cope with loss, remember the good times and, finally, wonder at the joy that keeps them going.

The Good Stuff
  • Excellent character development 
  • Wonderful depiction of the 50's in all of its glory and horror 
  • Every character felt so very real and so very human, Blume has always excelled at this
  • Interesting to see all of the different types of families depicted
  • You can see how much the story based on real life events has haunted the author. I hope this has helped her come to grips with the loss
  • Some absolutely brilliant wise words about life, family, love, loss and growing up
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Really not a good idea to read this just before you are about to get on a plane (FYI, started 2 days before I was leaving to visit Toronto, I picked my seats at the back of the plane, because of this book)
  • Way too many characters, hard to keep track of everyone's storyline 
  • Really wanted to love it, as I have enjoyed the authors other works, but it just felt rushed and all over the place.  I blame myself for having high expectations as well

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Life is a series of unlikely events, isn’t it? Hers certainly is. One unlikely event after another, adding up to a rich, complicated whole. And who knows what’s still to come?

"What was it with boys in her class? Was it that they liked the idea of spaceships and zombies? Was it too scary to think about what really made the planes crash ?

"Miri, sweetheart-life is hard," Henry said. "but its worth the struggle."

 3 Deweys

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Palace of Treason

Palace of Treason
by Jason Matthews
Scribner (Simon and Schuster)
ISBN: 978-1-4767-9374-0
Buy from Indigo

Description: Captain Dominika Egorova of the Russian Intelligence Service (SVR) has returned from the West to Moscow. She despises the men she serves, the oligarchs, and crooks, and thugs of Putin’s Russia. What no one knows is that Dominika is working for the CIA as Washington’s most sensitive penetration of SVR and the Kremlin.

As she expertly dodges exposure, Dominika deals with a murderously psychotic boss; survives an Iranian assassination attempt; escapes a counterintelligence ambush; rescues an arrested agent and exfiltrates him out of Russia; and has a chilling midnight conversation in her nightgown with President Putin. Complicating these risks is the fact that Dominika is in love with her CIA handler, Nate Nash, and their lust is as dangerous as committing espionage in Moscow. And when a mole in the SVR finds Dominika’s name on a restricted list of sources, it is a virtual death sentence…

The Good Stuff
  • Author obviously knows his stuff,  you can really tell he lived some of this life.  Very authentic
  •  Dominka is a hugely intriguing and likeable character  - quite the feisty little thing (she kinda overshadows Nate)
  • One of my favorite thing about this series is the secondary characters
  • Edge of your seat action throughout most of the story
  •  Enjoy the recipes, but kinda wish they were written out in full, I NEED to make them
  • My love for Marty Gable has no ends, he is utterly delightful and gets some of the best lines
  • Does a fabulous job of setting the mood of a scene
  • Interesting historical information about Russia and the United States and their various intelligence offices
  • I eagerly await the next installment of this smart and sexy spy saga - and now off to the store to find some ingredients
  • Did I mention how much I love Gable 
  • Great realistic relationships between many of the characters
  • Excels at dialogue between major characters
  • Villains are so despicable, you are on the edge of your seat waiting for them to get their just desserts
  • I would love to sit down with Mr. Matthews to listen to him tell tales of some of the real life stories that inspired his fiction

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Ummm when did I miss that Dominika's mother died.  Could be me, I was moving while I was reading this, so it could have been something I missed.
  • A wee bit repetitive at times and tad sexist at times (which doesn't fit with the main female character)
  • I feel very hungry after each and every chapter

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Gable put the photo down "Handsome looking bunch. You're adopted then, or what, forceps delivery?"

"And after five meetings, despite the grandmotherly exterior the imaginative Angevine saw the ancient Soviet venom or show trial and gulag, of politburo and mass graves in birch forests."

"..and his Athens DCOS Marty Gable has asked him to reserve some time for a protracted counseling session when Nate returned to Station to discuss his lack of professionalism, his disregarding instructions, and, in Gable's words, his being 'a dumbassador from the Republic of stupid."

4 Dewey's

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy
by Sam Maggs
Quirk Books (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-1-59474-789-2
Buy From Indigo

Description: Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

The Good Stuff

  • Such wise beautiful advice
  • Chapter on Five Myths about Feminism needs to be read by everyone
  • Geeky Girl's Litany for feminism - a must read and a way of life my friends
  •  the privilege paragraph made me think - something we all need to be reminded about regularly
  •  Hilarious!
  • I think we should all follow "Wheaton's Law" - Don't be a Dick!
  •  Extremely useful (and entertaining) information regarding the Seven Kingdoms of the Internet (Must show these to my many non geek friends)
  •  Defining characteristic of Trekkies -  yup I have been known to have some of these characteristics - see also Whedonites (yup got the hatred of FOX network)
  • Appreciated the information on the geek subculture of Otaku, this is one subculture I know very little about
  • Excellent, practical information about geek conventions
  • Never heard of geekycon, but now really, really want to go
  • Fabulous introduction to new kick ass female characters
  • Found some new YA series that I am interested in checking out
  • Might let my non-geeky bestie take a gander at it, so she can understand more this part of me
  • Nice little gift for your fellow nerds
 The Not So Good Stuff
  •  Serious lack of Canadian references (I know, picky, picky)
  • Way too brief
  • More for the young geek than this old geek

Favorite Quotes/Passages

 "Your fandoms are like that: fiction, no matter the form, allows you to live a thousand meaningful experiences and relationships that you could never have in real life."

"Still, life is long, and (not to sound like your mom) tattoos are permanent."

"You wouldn't go up to someone in person in person and say horrible things to their face, so don't do it online, either."

4 Dewey's

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

Monday, May 11, 2015

Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day by Tara O' Brady

Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day
by Tara O' Brady
Appetite (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-449-01630-5
Buy From Indigo

Description: The much-anticipated debut from the author behind the popular food blog Seven Spoons, featuring distinctive, crowd-pleasing recipes; engaging, writerly essays; and the same stunning photography that has earned her website a devoted following.

Roasted Carrots with Harissa Aïoli and Dukkah. Plum Macaroon Cake. Chaat Tostadas. Roasted Peaches with Glazed Sesame Oats. Few food writers have such an insightful, intuitive understanding of flavor—or a more eclectic and inspiring range of culinary influences at work in their kitchen—than Tara O’Brady. Fewer still write with her trademark warmth and thoughtful prose, which Saveur describes as “like pulling up a seat at the table of an old friend.”

Seven Spoons is O’Brady’s remarkable and much-anticipated debut. In it, she shares more than one hundred of her best and most mouthwatering recipes—crowd-pleasing breakfasts like Blackberry Buttermilk Whole Grain Scones, weeknight staples like Everyday Yellow Dal, and terrifically inventive desserts like Roasted Grapes with Sweet Labneh. These elegant, flavorful, and wonderfully creative recipes, plus the show stopping photography, will have you heading straight for the kitchen to get cooking.

The Good Stuff
  • Exceptionally inventive and delicious recipes
  • Incredibly beautiful presentation
  • Wonderful use of fresh ingredients
  • Cover makes me drool -  unfortunately not a lot of fresh dates in Calgary
  • Enjoyed the stories before many of the recipes - makes it just a little more than just a cookbook - took me a long time to review this cookbook, as I read each and every fascinating sentence
  • Detailed index (yes I know, but I am a Librarian, dammit, and this is something I admire
  • A nice addition to the Intermediate to advanced chefs (yes that includes those who are not actually chefs)  cookbook collection
  • Very personalized and fun
  • Very user friendly
  • Never boring
  • Canadian
  • This is one cookbook you want to leave out on the table for everyone to peruse

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Way too many ingredients and steps for this busy mom 
  • Kids won't eat half of this stuff
  • Not enough pictures - I truly believe every cookbook should include pictures for every recipe

Favorite Recipes

A Burger Treated Like a Steak - Pg 92
Roasted Red Pepper, Almond, and Feta Salad - Pg 186
Baked Irish Mash - Pg 203
Caramel Apple Pie - Pg 221
Coconut Kheer with Bronzed Pineapple - Pg 230
Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake - Pg 236

4 Dewey's 

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

Crime Seen by Kate Lines

Crime Seen: From Patrol Cop to Profiler, My Stories from Behind the Yellow Tape
by Kate Lines
Random House Canada
ISBN: 978-0-307-36315-2
Buy from Indigo

Description:      How does a farm girl from Ennismore enter a male-dominated field and become a top criminal profiler and groundbreaking leader? For Kate Lines, it started humbly, patrolling highways. She learned quickly that the best way to thrive was to keep calm, carry on and never lose her sense of humour. In what would be the first of many dramatic turns in her career, Kate traded in her uniform for a tight miniskirt and a leather jacket, becoming one of the OPP''s first female undercover officers.
     In 1990 came the opportunity of a lifetime: to be chosen as the 2nd-ever Canadian in an elite program at Quantico, Virginia in what was then the emerging field of criminal profiling. After 10 months of an intensive education in the intricacies of violent crime, Kate''s new skills made her much in demand back home. Over the years she was involved in a number of high-profile cases, such as the abduction and murder of Kristen French and of Tori Stafford and the disappearance of Michael Dunahee.
     Kate was an early proponent of ViCLAS--the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System, and when she took charge of the new and massive Behavioural Sciences division in Orillia, she took over ViCLAS and turned the department into a hub of innovation. Kate was awarded a Governor General''s medal for being in the top 1/10th of 1% of the members of police forces that year. The following year the Canadian Police Leadership Foundation named her Police Leader of the Year.
     Always taking care not to aggrandize in any way the criminals whose names we may know all too well, Kate feels it''s much more important to focus on the courage of victims and their families. Kate is an unsung, groundbreaking Canadian woman, one of a kind in this country, with a unique, inspiring and fascinating story to share.

The Good Stuff
  • This incredible women has led a fascinating life. So strong and intelligent and worked her ass off in a good old boys field
  • Learned so much about profiling and so much more
  • As a Canadian it was interesting to read about cases I thought I knew so much about.  Really shows you how much we learn is biased and from the media's perspective
  • Hard to read about the victims and their families but respected her decision to deal less with the crime but more with the families and how how their lives were impacted
  • Once again brought forth the absurdity of the "Deal with the Devil" for Karla Homolka.. Still cannot believe that demon is living a life after what she did to those poor girls - oh and we all know she is just as guilty as Bernardo. Also was starting to forgive Lena Dunham for her insensitive comments on Twitter and to give her show a chance but - yup not going to happen, still cannot believe she could find humour in that situation (ok, off my soap box now)
  • Never knew about the case in Kirkland Lake, which is where my Mom was from
  • Impressed with all of the developments in profiling Lines and her colleagues had
  • Story about the kittens was hilarious
  • Wow had no idea that J. Edgar hoover was such a sexist pig
  • The creation of the "Christophers Law" still rips my heart out and sickens me

The Not so Good Stuff
  • Written very manner of factly and unfortunately you can tell she has no training as a writer. Comes across very choppy.
  • Not a lot of emotional draw - you admired her for her intelligence and her career, but at the end I felt like I knew nothing about her
  • Not very detailed and way too matter of fact
  • So much promise -- but it fizzles which is such a shame because it had the potential to be empowering

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I had to be prepared to steel myself for it and manage the stress, to stay detached from the emotion of the open cases being presented, sometimes two or three a day.  I learned for my my mind and heart to survive and not to be haunted by the knowledge and wisdom my teachers imparted."

" Any spare time after our classes or consultations was spent letting off steam playing basketball or baseball -- pretty much always Canada against the U.S., with a few stray country ringers."

"Sheldon revealed what he regretted more than anything else his abuser had done to him. "He stole my love of hockey and I was never able to get that back."

"Christopher wasn't given a chance to be a lawyer, but the law that bears his name has gone a long way to save others from harm."

3.25 Dewey's

I received this from Penguin Random House in Exchange for an honest review