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!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: Undeniable by Bill Nye

by Bill Nye
Macmillan Audio (Raincoast Books)
Buy from Indigo

Description: Evolution is one of the most powerful and important ideas ever developed in the history of science. Every question it raises leads to new answers, new discoveries, and new smarter questions. The science of evolution is as expansive as nature itself. It is also the most meaningful creation story that humans have ever found."—Bill Nye

Sparked by a controversial debate in February 2014, Bill Nye has set off on an energetic campaign to spread awareness of evolution and the powerful way it shapes our lives. InUndeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, he explains why race does not really exist; evaluates the true promise and peril of genetically modified food; reveals how new species are born, in a dog kennel and in a London subway; takes a stroll through 4.5 billion years of time; and explores the new search for alien life, including aliens right here on Earth.

With infectious enthusiasm, Bill Nye shows that evolution is much more than a rebuttal to creationism; it is an essential way to understand how nature works—and to change the world. It might also help you get a date on a Saturday night

The Good Stuff

  • I want to bow down and thank (insert higher power or evolution) for Bill Nye.  He made me become fascinated by science.  I am 45 years old and with the exception of Chemistry (also thanks to a book, in this case Alan Bradley's Flavia mysteries) had no interest in science and quite frankly thought I was too stupid to understand it.  Nye explained things in a way that made sense and made me want to know more. I want to go back to school and learn everything.  But lets face it the teachers I had made it all sound so boring. Hmm new plan - win lottery and pay Bill Nye to teach me
  • Made evolution sound sexy and cool
  • Explains some very complex issues in a straight forward relatively easy to understand way
  • Frickin hilarious at times
  • Treated those who have faith with respect (well maybe not the Creationists)
  • So much passion for his work, it was hard not to get excited as him with the enthusiasm in his voice (Yeah listened to this one)
  • I now want to watch every episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy with my kids - I want them to experience science in the way it should be taught
  • Highly recommend you listen to this, Nye has a wonderful fun speaking voice
  • Walking whale - trust me, fascinating
  • The chapter on intelligent design really makes you think (and laugh)
  • Really want to look into more about research into growing new spinal nerves in mice (or rats forgot to write down notes) as my son has Spina Bifida
  • Always thought that Racism was stupid (yes I am being simplistic) but the chapter on skin colour and evolution scientifically shows us that we are all basically the same genetically - so if you hate someone based on the colour of the skin, you are a moron (again being simplistic)
  • Love where he paraphrases the gorilla and them getting the shorter end of the genetic stick - funny and sadly true - worth the price of the book alone
  • Explains a scientific concept using that Carrie Underwood song that Jeff hates 

The Not So Good Stuff

  • I now want to meet someone more than David Tennant - seriously!
  • Um must remember not to talk to someone about this book who is extremely religious - oops sorry wonderful lady
  • Ok sometimes it was over my head - but it did make me want to go look things up

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"To be successful as a living thing, you have to have offspring, who have offspring, who have offspring. Rest assured, your family did, or you wouldn’t be here. As troubling as it may seem, your parents had sex—at least once. If you have brothers and sisters, more than once … One shudders to think of it.” 

"We are all going to die - I know, it sucks. But its the way of our world."

“To leave the world better than you found it, sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash.” 

“This is one of the reasons I get such joy from studying evolution. This kind of science is amazing and sexy.” 

5 Dewey's 

I borrowed this audio book from Jen and I want to thank her so much for encouraging me to listen to it

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount CharThe Library at Mount Char by Scott  Hawkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the most delightfully odd books I have ever read. It was hard to get into at first, but I persevered and so glad that I did. Truly unique and will totally appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman especially. Filled with unusual characters, some utterly unlikable, but you are still fascinated by them. There is no way I can ever describe this to anyone to get them to read it, but you must crack it open, you will not be disappointed. This one is not for the faint of heart, there are some extremely disturbing and grotesque imagery, but it works for the story. Also have a feeling that those that are religious may not enjoy, just a heads up. Some of the dialogue will have you laughing out loud, yet in the next scene your heart will break. This is impossible to review as it is just one of the most memorable and unique books I have ever read. Trust me just pick the damn thing up. And if you can figure out how I can sell this to people without confusing or freaking them out - give me a shout. By the way I am a Librarian, but I do not have a catalogue : (

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Rapid Fire Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An intriguing new series by the author of one of my favorite series (Throne of Glass). I am not a huge fan of books dealing with the Fae, but for Ms Mass, I will make an exception. We are introduced to a new fiesty strong willed heroine in this series. Excellent world building filled with intriguing characters that you will slowly learn to love. Loved the development of Feyre where she slowly comes to realize that things aren't always as they seem. Ok, a couple of times I wanted to smack her for being so stupid, but that is normal as I am a 45 yr old mom. I appreciated that the ending didn't have a cliffhanger, but still left you wanting to know more. Heads up for younger readers (or parents concerned with appropriateness) , there is some sexual content and it is a tad steamy. Also I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes between Lucien and Feyre and hope to have more in the next installment.

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The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3)
by Justin Cronin
Ballantine (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-345-50500-2
Buy from Indigo
Published on May 24, 2016

Description: In "The Passage "and" The Twelve, "Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity s desperate fight to survive. Now all is quiet on the horizon but does silence promise the nightmare s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? At last, this bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale.

"The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?"

The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy – humanity's only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.
The Good Stuff

  • Cronin's world building is outstanding 
  • Some wonderfully wise observations on life and love and the nature of humanity
  • A beautiful sensitive scene between Sarah and Pim
  • Loved the scenes where the character describes the love of working in a library 
  • Cronin's use of language is exquisitely beautiful at times and the dialogue between characters delightfully snarky.  Such a contrast but he makes it work so well
  • Incredible character backstories, each and every character feels very real
  • Thoroughly enjoyed learning how Fanning became Zero,  you can see how much development went into the story
  • A satisfying ending to a truly epic literary tale
  • Fascinating study of human endurance and our ability to hope and triumph over adversity 
  • Truly something that is unusual, a literary dystopian horror novel 

The Not So Good Stuff

  • Too much jumping over spans of years - left me feeling disjointed
  • I really should have re read the first two books in the trilogy again, as much of the story has been forgotten in the years since I read it.  I highly recommend if its been a while to do so before you read this, as it will affect your enjoyment - I will update this review when I re read all three books together and it will be interesting to see if I appreciate this final book in the trilogy more

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"A lot of life, Michael had learned, came down to trying to fix things that weren't fixable."

"The world was real and you were in it, a brief part but still a part, and if you were lucky, and maybe even if you weren't, the things you'd done for love would be remembered."

"What was childhood if not a passage from light to dark, of the soul's slow drowning in an ocean of ordinary matter."

"It's children, he thought, that give us our lives; without them we are nothing, we are here and then gone, like the dust."

"Our instinct for survival is indomitable; we are a species of unconquerable will and the capacity for hope. And should that day come again when the forces of nature rise up against us, humanity will not go quietly."

"History is that scar on your hand. It's the stories that leave a mark, the past that refuses to stay past."

3.75 Dewey's

I received this from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review (I always feel bad when they send me a book and I don't love it - sorta feel guilty - but I have to be honest with my reviews - REMEMBER I rate my books on my enjoyment and not on the writers ability

Rapid Fire Review: Open by Andre Agassi

OpenOpen by Andre Agassi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the most fascinating biographies I have ever read. Agassi's raw honesty and humour make it a truly compelling read. I found myself fascinated and wanting to learn more about Tennis, which I won't lie had no interest in. Many of the tennis scenes had me on the edge of my seat. I was impressed with his trust and love for those involved in his career and his constant mentions of how he couldn't do anything without them. His generosity and strength of character are inspiring. Sad that his fathers childhood coloured him and he tried to make his son fulfill his dreams. And I admire Andre's forgiveness and acceptance of his dad's faults. Enjoyed the humour and the constant mentions of "Of course it was Pete." This was one of the recommendation from Captain Awesome, who is my non-fiction guru. I trust him implicitly when it comes to non fiction. He has not disappointed me yet.

Favorite Quote's Passages

"All this is lost on Pete, however. From the opening, he’s yawning, fidgeting, checking his watch. He doesn’t like the theater, and he doesn’t get actors since hes never pretended anything in his life. In the quasi-darkness of the footlights, I smile at his discomfort. Somehow, forcing him to sit through Grease feels more satisfying than beating him in Key Biscayne”

“I find it surreal, then perfectly normal. I'm struck by how fast the surreal becomes the norm. I marvel at how unexciting it is to be famous, how mundane famous people are. They're confused, uncertain, insecure, and often hate what they do. It's something we always hear - like that old adage that money can't buy happiness-but we never believe it until we see it ourselves."

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her AlligatorCarrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator by Homer Hickam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quirky and sweet at times but my enjoyment of the story is coloured by my dislike of the main female character. She reminded me too much of a best friend I had broken up with. I couldn't understand the fascination with her. Way too self involved and vain. Unfortunately, it really affected my enjoyment of the story. I loved the Alligator and the rooster though and some of the situations were quite delightful. Will appeal to those who enjoyed The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and Forrest Gump. Will keep it and re read in a couple of years and see if I enjoy it more. Have heard others have really enjoyed, so please keep that in mind. I however review my books based on MY enjoyment of the story, not the quality of the writing. The writing is fantastic and the author tells a tale beautifully. Just a wee bit sensitive about vain self involved girls these days. But again I loved the frickin Alligator. And the story kept me reading even-though I seriously disliked the Mom

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Rapid Fire Review: A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold

A Mother's Reckoning 
by Sue Klebold
Penguin Random House
ISBN: 978-1-101-90275-2
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionOn April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.
For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?
These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.
The Good Stuff

  • I wasn't looking forward to cracking this one open as the subject matter is disturbing and it hits close to home as I have a teen boy with special needs and I worry about how he will navigate this difficult time in his life
  • Really made me think about my parenting skills - I think I am doing all the right things and what if it isn't enough
  • Won't lie my first thought during Columbine was what kind of parents did these kids have.  I judged them without knowing the situation.  I also thought the two boys were psychopathic monsters who should have suffered more  
  • It took a lot of courage for this women to open up her heart and soul to help us try to understand. I can only imagine the criticism she must have faced and I thank her for this
  • This one will stay with me for the rest of my life.  And I want to thank her for this as I will be watching my boys even more carefully
  • I cannot begin to imagine the horrors this mom has had to live with and I admire her courage to speak out and try to help others in need
  • Heart breaking and extremely difficult to read but worth it
  • Extremely thought provoking.  Will be discussing this with a lot of people, especially my son
  • Author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable foundations focusing on mental health issues

The Not So Good Stuff

  • I cried myself to sleep during the duration of reading this book
  • I let one of my daycare kids go as he is a bit troubled and I am scared that I am not strong enough to help him mentally 
  • My son is a little sick of me wanting to talk to him all the time.  There has been some serious eye rolling and long sighs from him
  • I suffer from depression and anxiety (mild) and this book has increased my anxiety 500 per cent.  I love my two boys more than anything in the world and it sickens me and makes me nervous that with all my faults I may damage them -

Favorite Quotes/Passages

“The ultimate message of this book is terrifying: you may not know your own children, and, worse yet, your children may be unknowable to you. The stranger you fear may be your own son or daughter.” 

"While every other mother in Littleton was praying that her child was safe, I had to pray that mine would die before he hurt anyone else."

"In the aftermath of Columbine, the world’s judgment was understandably swift: Dylan was a monster. But that conclusion was also misleading, because it tied up too neatly a far more confounding reality. Like all mythologies, this belief that Dylan was a monster served a deeper purpose: people needed to believe they would recognize evil in their midst. Monsters are unmistakable; you would know a monster if you saw one, wouldn’t you? If Dylan was a fiend whose heedless parents had permitted their disturbed, raging teen to amass a weapons cache right under their noses, then the tragedy—horrible as it was—had no relevance to ordinary moms and dads in their own living rooms, their own children tucked snugly into soft beds upstairs."

5 Dewey's

I read this one as Captain Awesome recommended it and I always take his suggestions.  This time I won't lie, I almost didn't pick it up, as this is really out of my comfort zone.  Thanks Cammy for convincing me to pick it up.  You haven't steered me wrong yet.

Rapid Fire Review: The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha

The Happiness Equation
by Neil Pasricha
Penguin Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780399169472
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionIn The Happiness Equation, Pasricha illustrates how to want nothing, do anything, and have everything. If that sounds like a contradiction, you simply haven’t unlocked the 9 Secrets to Happiness.

Each secret takes a common ideal, flips it on its head, and casts it in a completely new light. Pasricha then goes a step further by providing step-by-step guidelines and hand-drawn scribbles that illustrate exactly how to apply each secret to live a happier life today.

Controversial? Maybe. Counterintuitive? Definitely.

The Happiness Equation will teach you such principles as:
· Why success doesn’t lead to happiness 
· How to make more money than a Harvard MBA 
· Why multitasking is a myth 
· How eliminating options leads to more choice

The Happiness Equation is a book that will change how you think about everything—your time, your career, your relationships, your family, and, ultimately, of course, your happiness.
The Good Stuff
  • Kind of comforting to know that everyone has negative thoughts, even the most successful people as well.  Appreciated his advice that its not wrong to have negative thoughts
  • Encouraged to exercise more as results from medical studies have shown that it helps fight depression (notice - doesn't cure it,  you moron Tom Cruise -- sorry strongly dislike that jerk)
  • Very wise Buddha story - that I must keep remembering
  • Lots of humour
  • Practical wise advice
  • The best part is the advice to understand that Culture of Enough will make you happier than the Culture of More 
  • Good reminder that I have already won the lottery - I have so much in my life to be grateful for - yup that's right, Jeff, Jacob, Jesse, Crush and Oreo (ok and Doctor Who)
  • The story hits hard about Mr Wilson.  My dad retired and not very long after passed away.  My dad was a man who loved his job, loved that he could help so many people and when he had to retire. It killed him.  Miss you Daddy - say Hi to Mr. Wilson - you guys would totally get along me thinks
  • Must really think hard and make choices about the decisions I make every day.  Really want to focus on the ones that mean most to me.  Going to be spending the next little while getting rid of time wasters. I am a Mom, I need to focus on those decisions - not the other stuff.  Sorry I will be removing a lot of my access
  • Just plain practical and sensible advice on making your happiness a priority
The Not So Good Stuff
  • A wee bit choppy
  • Lot of quotes from other writers
  • Have the song "You can't always get what you want" stuck in my head
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you. You are the only one who becomes unhappy.  All you have done is hurt yourself. If you want to stop hurting  yourself, you must get rid of your anger and become loving instead."

"You can't have everything, where would you put it?" by Stephen Wright

"You can move to a shack in the woods to get away from it all! But we'd miss you too  much there. Please don't do that."

4 Dewey's 

Got this from work after my yearly review in which I stated the only thing I really had to work at was stop avoiding the Self-Help section like the plague.  After my Manager stopped laughing she suggested that I take a read of some of the more popular books in the section,  Didn't have to review but you know I like to share