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, August 31, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen

Crowned and Dangerous (Her Royal Spyness, #10)Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FYI this review is for the audio version. Got hooked into this series when Jen L. suggested I listen to Her Royal Spyness on audio. I was ruined from reading this series from the first word Kathrine Kellgren spoke. She breathes even more life into each and every deftly written character that you are totally convinced it is more than one person reading you the story.

This installment was a pure delight as always. Though I would have enjoyed a little more Belinda and Granddad. That aside I really enjoyed the addition of Darcy's family and most of the story being set in Ireland. The highlight of this series are the characters, and again this installment does not disappoint. Bowen introduces some new and memorable characters that you fall in love with, or detest wholeheartedly. Fabulous characters, hilarious dialogue and a well crafted mystery, what is not to enjoy. I felt quite bereft when the story ended, and know I will probably have to wait another year until I get me some more Georgie.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Dewey's

Very slow to start and I won't lie, it really took a long time for me to get into this one. But once I did, it was intriguing and well developed. I even ended up enjoying the tale, eventhough I didn't really love most of the characters. Well, with the exception of Nena and Jesper who get most of the best lines. The author really has done a thorough job in developing this world and all of the characters that inhabit it. Great character development and she is obviously setting this up as trilogy. Lots of twists and turns and could be described as a Russian, dystopian crime heist. I will definitely pick up the next installment and hope it doesn't drag like the first quarter of this one. But lets face it she is really letting you get to know the ins and outs of all of the characters

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Rapid Fire Review: Leonard: My fifty-Year Friendship with a remarkable man by William Shatner

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable ManLeonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So this is basically a story about Shatner, more than about Leonard, but I was kinda of expecting it so I wasn't really surprised. That being said, I still enjoyed it, but would have loved to have a more in depth biography about Nemoy. His son is writing one as well that I look forward to reading it. Don't get me wrong I kinda like Shatner, I met him once and he was very sweet to me and told me I was too pretty to be a nerd, but Spock was always my favorite. Shatner has obviously done some research into Nemoy's life other than just his what he learned during his friendship with the man. I get the sense that Nemoy was an extremely private man and not one for taking about his inner emotions. This is also brought more into light when Shatner talks with Adam, Leonards son. I did get the sense that Shatner also feels quite bad about their falling out near the end of Nemoy's life. Though who really knows what truly happened. Shatner says he has no real idea, but well he is an actor, so you never really know. I loved the pictures and their is a truly delightful one with Shatner and Nemoy doubled over in laughter - which shows that they did indeed have a friendship. Shatner is all about Shatner and he doesn't hide that, which I somewhat appreciate. But I can imagine for Nemoy, that might have been a little hard to deal with all the time. Like anyone, it must be hard for Shatner to really deal with his own failings in their friendship. At times you can sense his openess about his own shortcomings, but he is definitely still holding back. To me its a bit of an apology and love letter to the Nemoy, laced with Shatner trying to explain his side. Truly fascinating to learn about how similar their upbringings were. A must read for any Star Trek Fan. And the best part of the book is that is starts with the scene at the end of The Wrath of Khan - truly one of the truly most beautiful heartbreaking scenes that most of us geeks cannot even talk about without balling our eyes out. LLAP my friends

Favorite Passage

"I suspect Roddenberry felt I was the perfect choice for the lead roel in a show because I wasn't too intelligent for the audience and he didn't have to pay me a lot of money."

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard byJonathan Auxier

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard (Peter Nimble #2)
by Jonathan Auxier
Puffin (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-670-06775-2
Buy from Indigo

DescriptionIt’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far and wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old girl named Sophie Quire.
Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she works as a bookmender and dreams of leaving the confines of her city walls. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up searching for a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read. 
The Good Stuff
  • A deftly written fantastical epic tale for 9-12. Filled with magical creatures and eccentric characters
  • Full of heart and intriguing characters that never act in the way you expect them to. This my friends is a wonderous thing
  • Never talks down to kids - author understands that children can handle a wee bit of the dark, as long as there is a light at the end of the tunnel
  • Wickedly funny at times, with plenty of cheeky asides for the reader
  • Auxier is a master of his craft and his books should be in every childs library (and of course their mom's as well, because I was on the edge of my seat, and laughing along while reading)
  • Believing in ones self, the ability to change  - sacrifice for what is right
  • Deadly battles, talking tigers -  hello - what could be better than this. The language of the book reminded me of The Princess Bride on many occasions.  This is a compliment - for if you do not love The Princess Bride, I fear there is no hope for you 
  • There is something for everyone, as long as they can just believe
  • The importance of stories and the magic within the stories to transport you
  • Positively brilliant and one of my favorite opening passages of a book.  A book truly for those who love books, big and small.
  • I'm a grown women, but I was actually bawling with tears rolling down my eyes while sitting in the back room at work (BTW, nice to know that where I work no one would think it was weird that I was crying while reading - my god I am going to miss you guys - you have truly made living here bearable  - ok the mountains are purty too)
The Not So Good Stuff
  • My copy is an ARC so no pictures, : (
  • Lots of big words and dark themes may turn off readers 
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"It has often been said that one should never judge a book by its cover. As any serious reader can tell you, this is terrible advice. Serious readers know the singular  pleasure of handling a well-made book - the heft and texture of the case, the rasp of the spine as lit the cover, the sweet, dusty aroma of yellowed pages as they pass between your fingers. A book is more than a vessel for ideas: It is a living thing in need of love, warms, and protection. And above all, a book must be read."

"She had read many exciting stories about fugitives and runaways, and something that has always annoyed her was how little attention was paid to sensible preparations."

"Among a certain population, there is no greater way to demonstrate affection than by recommending a book." (reviewers note: there is nothing better to me in this world than getting the right book to the right reader)

"This was not how her adventure was supposed to go. People--real people that she loved- had died."

5 Dewey's

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

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper

The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and LossThe Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A deeply personal and intimate discussion between a mother and son. Before reading, I knew very little about both Anderson Cooper and his mother, other than watching the movie, Little Gloria Happy at Last. It is a truly fascinating and at times very heart wrenching book to read. I admired how they discussed their differences with love and respect and such openness and honesty. It's the type of discussion all children should have with their parents. I personally wish my parents were still alive so that I could get to know them as human beings, not just as my parents. Fascinated by Gloria's unusual upbringing , the trials she faced, and how no matter what she was able to still be such an optimistic person. Such pain and rawness when she talks about the fact that she thinks life for the boys would have been better if she had died and not Anderson's dad. She also has some very wise ideas about forgiveness. The book did leave me feeling rather bereft at times for the many lost opportunities and talks left unsaid for Gloria as a child and young adult that could have resulted in so many positive changes. But Anderson has benefited by opening up the dialogue and showing us that it is never too late to open up and talk. Also showed me how lucky I was to be raised in the meager, but open and loving family that I was.

Favorite Quotes

"I've at last come to know that forgiveness is much simpler than I could ever have imagined: whatever problems you have with someone, project yourself into the other person and seeit from their point of vies." "When you do this , good and evil shuffle into patterns and you are capable of forgiving trespasses."

"None of us chooses the situation into which we are born. To think that if you are from a rich family you should not want to achieve something on your own is foreign idea to me."

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4 Dewey's

Didn't have to review - just looked interesting and you know I like to share

Rapid Fire Review: Britt-Marie was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie Was HereBritt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a marvelous quirky and deliciously sweet ( without the saccharin) hidden gem . Backman doesn't get as much attention as he deserves. His books are filled with flawed authentic humans and such wise words about life, love and forgiveness. And the dialogue is so brilliant and hilarious. Each and everyone of his characters is so real you feel like they could step right out of the book. This one made me laugh and cry, often at the same time. I am so glad he wrote this one, as I had a very hard time liking Britt-Marie in My Grandmother sends her regards and says she's sorry. Now I still don't truly agree with some of her actions, but I now understand why she does what she does. Still dislike Kent, but at least he is growing a little and changing in his own little way. I strongly recommend you pick up his other books as well as this one, you will not be disappointed. Or better still grab an audiobook version, his narrators are brilliant. The only bad thing about this one is that I felt a constant need to clean my house and find me a bottle of Faxin.

Favorite Quotes

"It was an effective system always having people there to blame for everything without ever having to define who they really were."

" I Happen to have the wheelchair. I not wheelchair that happens to have human in it."

"Because if we don't forgive those we love, then what is left? What is love if it's not loving our lovers even when they don't deserve it."

We read this as part of our book club and as a gift I got each of the girls a box of bicarbonate soda for each of the members - trust me you will never look at bicarbonate soda in quite the same way

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5 Dewey's

Rapid Fire Review: Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2)Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series is just purely delightful and just what I needed to get me through the stressful time of selling a house. Charley is such a sassy little imp, you cannot help but fall in love with her. This one was a tad slow and repetitive at times (& Reyes isnt as interesting as in the debut novel), but its not that big of a deal because its really the characters and dialogue that keeps you interested. I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know each and everyone of the secondary characters and cannot wait to pick up the next installment to learn more. I highly recommend this series for those who just need some fun escapism with lots of heart. And the dialogue is worth the price of the book (or audiobook in this case)

Favorite Quotes

“Make it quick," I said when I picked up.
"Okay. Two men from the FBI are here." Cookie said. Quickly.
Crap. "Men in black are at the office?"
"Well, yes, but they're actually in more of a navy."
Crapola. I so don't have time for men. In any color. "Okay, two questions. Do they look mad, and are they hot?"
After a long, long, pause, Cookie said, "One, not really. Two, no comment at this time. And three, you're on speakerphone."
After another long, long pause, I said, "Okie dokie then. Be there in a jiff.”

“For the first time in my life, I was in a shoot-out. A real, honest-to-goodness shoot-out with a bad guy. And, apparently, we both sucked.”

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4 Deweys

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

The Reason You WalkThe Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very powerful memoir and one that really made me think about my own ignorance of my fellow Canadians. This one has been really sticking with me and makes me want to discuss with others. The abuse the Indigenous people of Canada have suffered at the hands of the priests and nuns - both sexual, physical and mental have such long reaching consequences. It sickens me that someone who is supposed to be a messenger of god could do such harm. I know people around the world think of Canada as a place of peace where there is no prejudice. I really wish that was true my friends, but we are not saints here. The fighting just to be done to actually use the term survivor makes me feel deep disgust for my fellow Canadians and our government. This book speaks quite plainly about the abuse, but it also talks about forgiveness, change, and most importantly - hope. This was truly an eye opener for me. I won't lie, its not well written, but that is really not that big of a deal as Wab is truly a storyteller, which is more important to me. Wab is a flawed and human just like the rest of us and I appreciated his self deprecating humour. This book is also a raw, honest look into a father and sons relationship.

Favorite Quotes

"More than any inheritance, more than any sacred item, more than any title, the legacy he left behind is this: as on that day in the sundance circle when he lifted me from the depths, he taught us that during our time on earthy we ought to love one another, and that when our hearts are broke, we ought to work hard to make them whole again."

"The police in Kenora used to come and round us up at two in the morning, if you were standing on the street corner, and take you to the drunk tank. Didn't matter if you were drunk or not. Just if you were Indian."

"The Residential schools were institutions of cultural genocide."

"Whenever Indigenous people stand up to safeguard their hormelands or sacred sites, it seems the prospect of job losses is ueed to whip up opposition to them. It's as if the people cannot have both jobs and spirituality. I would like to think we can make a living and still respect the earth."

"The combined weight of the churches and the Canadian state has been set on crushing children like him when they were just little - barely five, six or seven years old - but they did not break. They survived. They may have lost some of their friends, and may have been damaged along the way, but they did not give up."

"Over a lifetime of internalizing the message that you are "less than", you start to believe some of the lies you hear about yourself. It lowers your sense of self-worth and influences your behaviour. You begin to censor your own thoughts and actions or make choices because of the way you expect to be perceived as an Indigenous person."

"The First Nations youth suicide rate is five to six times the national average, and the rate for Inuit youth - is even higher - about eleven times the national average. Suicide is the leading cause of death for young Indigenous , and no one is able to explain it completely. Part of the cause has to do with learned behaviour and dysfunction, most notably from the residential school experience. I saw that play out in my own family. Generations were raised by strangers, and in some cases abusers. When these generations came home and started families, they treated us, their children, as they had been treated in those institutions."

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4 Dewey's

Rapid Fire Review: Unstoppable by Bill Nye

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the WorldUnstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World by Bill  Nye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A must read for everyone. So many people are so full of doom and gloom about the environment and think that it is beyond our repair. For all of you pessimists I encourage you to read this ASAP. Nye gives us hope that we can change and recover from all the damage we have done to this beautiful world. Throughout the book he discusses all of the rapidly changing technologies that will help us and most of all encourages us to make these changes. He also highlights that we could do more if governments would just put the money into research. As usual it is full of his delightfully sweet and self deprecating humour. I especially enjoyed when he discusses how he and Ed Beagley Jr, have been healthily competing to make their respective homes more environmentally friendly than the other . I really wish I had been exposed to men like him when I was learning science in school, he makes it fascinating and sexy. Hmm wonder if we can get him to run for President of the US, imagine the changes he could bring about. Truly inspirational and full of hope.

Favorite Quotes

“so long as we each focus only on our individual decisions and their short-term consequences, we will act like renters, not owners of this Earth.” —

“We can be a lot smarter and more capable than a lot of the technology doubters and climate deniers assume. The people who dismiss concerns about global warming seem to be the pessimists who would rather give up than own up to the problems we have all created. The people who worry most about what we are doing to the planet are the optimists who believe we also have the intelligence—we, as a species, working together—to come up with powerful solutions to the problems we’re working on that will change the world for the better. Which way of looking at the world is going to produce a Next Greatest Generation? Will it be the ones who give up, or the ones who get going?”

“The less we do to address climate change now, the more regulation we will have in the future.”

5 Dewey's

Didn't have to review this one - as usual just gotta share my opinion on books

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Recommended from Jen L.