"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Saturday, April 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (Just Received) 5/2/11

In my mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by the Story Siren.  Check out what I received this week and be sure to link up with the story siren too.  Don't forget to comment below with a link to your IMM or tell me what you received, bought. or borrowed this week.

I am working at the election polls Monday so this post has been pre-scheduled.  Here's what I'm excited about:

I won The Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead at Geeky Bloggers Book Blog.  Thank you Felicia!

Synopsis:  It All Comes Down to Now.  Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice.

The Queen is dead and the Moroi world will never be the same.  Now, with Rose awaiting wrongful execution and Lissa in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and to question those they thought they could trust...

But what if true freedom means sacrificing the most important thing of all?

Each other.

From James Beverly, the author, and Bostick Communications, I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Synopsis:  From the Publisher:  As James Beverly’s publisher, it may seem somewhat impossible for me to be objective. However, the Seamus … stories …touch the heart, open the mind, and tickle the funny-bone of children and adults alike…The reader steps into a safe world, where things turn out well for the “good guys” and not so well for the “bad guys.” These stories weave tales filled with clear common sense and make everyone laugh while doing so. Refreshing in every way, healthy values and good-natured whimsy bring home the intended lesson to children without being preachy. Fun, poignant and filled with wisdom, all the Seamus books, including this newest one, SEAMUS TO THE RESCUE!, will be handed down from generation to generation.
-Valerie Connelly, Publisher, Nightengale Press

I received this book from Tyndale Press in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Synopsis:  From New  York Times bestselling author G.P. Taylor comes the highly anticipated second volume in The Dopple Ganger Chronicles.

Erik Morrissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn't go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school.  They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble.  It wasn't part of the plan to come face-to-face with an old enemy-one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all.  And unraveling the secret of the mysterious "indigo moon" was the furthest thing from their minds.

At Isambard Dunstan's School for Wayward Children, theses things just seem to happen.  In this second installment of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie and Saskia plunge headlong into a new and perilous mystery-one that challenges everything they thought they knew about their lives, themselves, and who it's safe to trust.

I received a complimentary copy of Buddy's Tale by K. Anne Russelll from the author in conjuction with Bostick Communications. 

Synopsis:  Buddy Boutonniere, a big-hearted Standard Poodle, subsists in the bare backyard of a tract home in the desert city of Yucca Dunes. MacKenzie, a Border Collie, and Javier, a Chihuahua, provide Buddy with companionship and bring him food scraps when his neglectful owners forget to provide for him. 

When Buddy's owners decide to move, Buddy meets a wonderful lady who visits his house with prospective buyers. The poodle's humans try to sell their dog and Buddy goes through a series of unsuitable living situations. The final family returns Buddy to the tract home not realizing the owners are out of town. His only lifeline, MacKenzie, is killed by an evil Hummer driver while bringing him food. Tiny Javier tries to support Buddy with the aid of Dumb Derek, a Rottweiler whose brain is damaged from years of guarding a chemical dump. The two are unable to help the poodle.

Buddy dies, but is brought back to life by Sonny, the Good Shepherd. Sonny grants Buddy's wish to go live with the wonderful lady, in return for his promise to go with Sonny when he comes back for him. Buddy has a happy life with the lady and her dog, Skootch. Together they rescue abandoned Leroy and abused Roxanne. Years later, during Skootch's fifteenth birthday party, Sonny comes for Buddy. True to his word, he goes without complaint.

Sonny takes Buddy to Haven, the canine paradise, where he is reunited with MacKenzie. Sonny explains the rules in Haven; dogs acquire free will and give up their role of caring for humans. Their only responsibility is to help guide other dogs to Haven. Buddy excels at guiding, but on a mission to bring back a bomb dog from Afghanistan, Buddy breaks the rule and helps a human, the dog's Marine partner.

The residents of Haven are furious with the poodle and he is exiled to the perimeter of paradise. There he meets a young girl who has died of cancer and befriends her, another infraction of the rules. He is dragged before the communal tribunal, where MacKenzie defends him. With the help of the marine and the girl, MacKenzie convinces the judges that Buddy is not an offender, but a hero.

What's in your mailbox?  Be sure to leave a comment here and to link with The Story Siren too.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Review: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secret Daughter
Author:  Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Copyright: 2010
Publisher:  William Morrow (an imprint of Harper Collins publishers)
Pages:  346, including a prologue and foreign terms glossary
Genre:  family relations/fiction
ISBN  978-0-06-197430-4
Source:  a gift from a friend

(from the cover) "On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl.  But in a culture that favours sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter's life is to give her away.  It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son.

Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own.  When she and her husband, Krishnan, see a photo of the baby with the gold-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion.  Somer knows life will change with the adoption but is convinced that the love they already feel will overcome all obstacles.

Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and the child that binds both of their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families - one Indian, one American -  and the child that indelibly connects them."

My Review:  
Shilpi Somaya Gowda weaves an extraordinary tale in Secret Daughter.  From page one, the reader is captivated.  Shilpi creates characters with incredible depth which allows the reader to develop a "relationship" and, totally immersed within the pages, the characters become real.  Based on her heritage of India, the author introduces the reader to culture, society, and individuals who will remain with you long after you've read the book.

I enjoyed the peak into the life of India, the culture, the difficulties, the slums, and the prosperous.  Combine this with a young couple; one of whom is American born, one India born; both doctors, who cannot have children of their own.  As their efforts prove in vain, they consider adoption.  Herein is their story, the story of their daughter from India, and the family in her home country who couldn't keep her.  At times drawing tears, this story is heartwarming and endearing.  A must read for mothers, daughters, and those who love them.  

The reader will leave this novel, Secret Daughter, understanding no sacrifice is too great when you love someone.

Rated 5/5!


1. Enter your book blog link in the Linky List in the main host page
2. Post about the Hop on your blog. In your blog post, answer the following question (new question each week!).
3. Visit other blogs in the Linky List!
"Summer is coming quickly - what 2011 summer release are you are most looking forward to?"

I am looking forward to the movie release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and The Help but as far as book releases go I am yearning for the release of the new Stephen King novel 11/22/63 which won't be released until November.  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Children's Book Review: Oscar's Adventures in the Woods by Pam Stone

Oscar's Adventures in the Woods
Author:  Pam Stone
Copyright:  2011
Publisher:  Outskirts Press, Inc.
Pages: 13
8.5" x 11" colour paperback
ISBN:  978-1-4327-6382-4
Genre:  Children's Fiction/Juvenile Fiction/Animals
Source:  Complimentary copy provided by the author and Bostick Communications in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

Available:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble

(from the cover) "This adventure became a lifetime of roaming.  What did Oscar find in his travels?  Read to see where he ended up and how Oscar overcame his fears."

Press Release:  Oscar's Adventures in the Woods is a true story of a little girl, Shelby, and her pet turtle, Oscar. Each page is original artwork created, hand sketched, colored by award winning artist Eric Hector, who has done artwork for Disney. This story is written by a mom who would read to her daughter every evening at bedtime up to three books each night, and instilled her love of reading in her daughter, who is a voracious reader to this day. Someone gave Shelby a turtle. She named him Oscar. He became a prized possession. He lived in his aquarium on Shelby’s dresser. No one bothered him most days except once in a while a cat would peer down at him from atop the dresser. He decided it would be fun to be able to roam wherever he wanted just like the cat. One day while Shelby cleaned Oscar’s aquarium he wandered off, he was nowhere to be found, and it was a sad day. Maybe Oscar wanted to live outside? When Oscar turned up the following spring, he was recognizable because of the chip out of his shell.  Oscar kept coming back every spring. He apparently hibernated under the leaves in the winter. See how Oscar’s adventure makes him decide if he did the right thing in wandering off. How he learned that sometimes there really no place like home. Learn how Oscar finds out how to survive in the cold alien woods. The lesson is that home is a safe warm place where people live that love you. If you wander off, it really is special to come home and find your friends that have missed you for a whole season. Who does Oscar meet in the woods as he learns how to care for himself? How long will Oscar keep coming back to find his friend, hoping he is taken in to live with his friend again? Oscar is a fun loving friend that all kids will love from the very first moment they read about him in the book. A great bed time story for kids of all ages. So read Oscar's Adventure in the Woods.

My Review:  Oscar’s Adventures in the Woods is based upon a true story of the author's daughter, Shelby, and her pet turtle, Oscar. The original artwork that graces each page is created by award winning artists Eric Hector, who has done artwork for many companies including Disney, and Candace Schinzler-Bell.  The beautifully rendered illustrations are certain to entertain your child while the story is read.

Oscar's Adventures in the Woods is a quick read that would be perfect as a bedtime story or a snuggle up on the couch with parents book to enjoy.  This story is of a plucky little turtle with a chip out of his shell who decides one day to have an adventure while his girl, Shelby, cleaned his aquarium.  What happens next is quite an adventure for the little turtle and requires of Shelby understanding and a bit of a sacrifice.  Heartwarming and endearing, the author, Pam Stone, presents a wonderful tale that children everywhere will want you to read, and want to read for themselves, again and again. 

Recommended for children pre-school to elementary and their parents.  Sure to be a hit in your child's library.

Rated 4/5

Meet the Author:
Pam Stone is the former owner of a small marketing firm located in Decatur, Illinois and also published a local home magazine which was distributed to most of central Illinois where she lives with her husband Tom, dog Sadie and occasionally Oscar the turtle. Her daughter Shelby currently attends college. Pam read to her daughter on a regular basis, as a child, and her love of books led her to decide to write her own children's books about their very own, Oscar the turtle.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Help Movie Trailer

This is one book that has left an impression upon me that doesn't fade. You can read my review of The Help here on my blog. I am looking forward to seeing this movie!

The Help

Release date: Friday August 12, 2011
Genre: Drama
Director: Tate Taylor
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
Producer(s): Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, Brunson Green
Screenplay: Tate Taylor
Cast: Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mike Vogel, Sissy Spacek, Allison Janney, Viola Davis, Brian Kerwin, Dana Ivey, Cicely Tyson, David Oyelowo

Have you read The Help?  Do you plan to see the movie?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Stranger's Choice 4/26/11

This is the second edition of A Stranger's Choice here on My Bookshelf.  It is an idea of mine which allows me and you to discover what others are reading and to find new exciting reads.  By others I mean the local public.  It is also an instrument in allowing me to push myself beyond my comfort zone.  See my original post here.  It's been a while in the making as I just haven't been out among readers other than bookclub lately.  But today was different!

Today I sat in the food court of a local mall (see a similar theme here...food...books ;)) and I was reading Secret Daughter and minding my own business, kind of, when another lady sat at the table next to mine, unwrapped a delicious looking sandwich and turned to her marked page in her book.  At first I wondered what she was reading but did nothing.  I am seriously enjoying my own book so I carry on.  Besides, she has a mouthful of her sandwich.  It would be plain rude to strike up a conversation now, right?

I accomplished a bit more in my book and looked over marvelling at how fast a reader she was.  Ok, she was still eating, so again I did not butt in.  1:30 came and I needed to pack things up for an appointment.  Having prepared myself accordingly, I gazed in her direction and saw she was about to finish a chapter and the sandwich was gone.  Now's my chance.

"I couldn't help noticing what a fast reader you are,"  I said.  Lame, right!  So quickly I added, "How are you enjoying your book?"

Odd icebreaker that it was, she was more than happy to talk about her book, A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French.  She said it only appeared that she was a fast reader because the pages are double spaced.  Each chapter is about a different character in the book.  (Something that several authors do such as Maeve Binchy, Mary Higgins Clark and the author of my current read, Shilpi Somaya Gowda.)  She received the book from her sister in Ireland.  Perhaps it's not available here?  Published by Penguin Books.  (I made a mental note to check the bookstore).  Her sister used to work with a publishing house in advertising and often gave her books.  Lucky girl!!!  She was enjoying the book well enough and we chatted a few moments longer until I really had to leave.

Walkiing down the mall, I spotted a bookstore and sure enough, there were two copies of A Tiny Bit Marvellous.  Here's a bit more about this book.  See if it whets your appetite.

"Everyone hates the perfect family. So you'll love the Battles."  (How's that for a catch line?)

"A TINY BIT MARVELLOUS by Dawn French is the story of a modern family all living in their own separate bubbles lurching towards meltdown. It is for anyone who has ever shared a home with that weird group of strangers we call relations.  Mo is about to hit the big 50, and some uncomfortable truths are becoming quite apparent: She doesn't understand either of her teenage kids, which as a child psychologist, is fairly embarrassing. She has become entirely grey. Inside, and out. Her face has surrendered and is frightening children.  Dora is about to hit the big 18 . . . and about to hit anyone who annoys her, especially her precocious younger brother Peter who has a chronic Oscar Wilde fixation.  Then there's Dad . . . who's just, well, dad.  Oh and there's a dog. Called Poo."

Are you loving it yet?  How about a trailer (turn up the volume for this one):

In case you may think I've lost my touch...not to disappoint...Of course I had to peruse all the bookshelves and the display tables. ;)  I chanced upon Red Riding Hood and had to skip to the back of the book to see what all the fuss was about after reading a recent book blogger review.  Did you know the book is incomplete?  In place of the final chapter, one finds a note sending the reader to the website for the rest of the story!  Of all the cliffhangers!!  Have you ever seen such a thing?  I may just have to buy a copy of this one  yet.  It has intrigued me!

Have you read any of the three books mentioned here?  If so, what is your opinion of them?

Until next time, do talk to strangers! ;)

Cover Reveal for 11/22/63: the New Stephen King Novel

Here it is!  The reveal of the latest Stephen King book titled 11/22/63.  Learn more here.

11/22/63 - Stephen King's New Novel

11/22/63 - Stephen King's New Novel

A Peek Into What I'm Reading

Secret Daughter has been a much awaited read for me and so far I am loving it.  Written by Shilipi Somaya Gowda, it is an international bestseller.  You can watch her interview here on my blog. 

"It would be a powerful thing to change the course of one of those lives: to create opportunity where none exists, to make someone's life better.  It reminds her of why she became a doctor. A quote from Gandhi graces the inside of the brochure, 'You must be the change you want to see in the world.'"

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading

Share your tease with me!  I love the peek into books.  The great thing about this meme is if you like the teaser, you can check out the book online or at your local bookstore/library.  Some terrific reads can be found and it may begin here.

What Does Your Book Shelf Say About You?

Are you a romantic or a philanthropist or a philatelist?  Do you enjoy gardening or origami?  How about architecture, murder mysteries, pets, scrapbooking?  A book shelf says a lot about a person.  If you were to look at mine you would see a lot of John Grisham novels, some Carolyn Hart, several Agatha Christie but you would also see a favourite Danielle Steel novel, a couple Maeve Binchy books, all the Harry Potter and Twilight book comprising those series and more.  You'd learn I love horses, am spiritually minded, and have raised or am in the process of raising children.  You would see an entire shelf dedicated to architecture textbooks, magazines and photographic studies of architecture.  You would think that someone in the house may be an architect.  You'd be off, but just a little.  My son is an architectural technologist but has moved to Vancouver to further his career and left all his textbooks here (and then some).  Another left behind marine aquarium reference books and some landscaping books.  My husband has scouting handbooks and guides,  books about mountain biking and Lance Armstrong, in addition to guidebooks for hiking the West Coast Trail on the BC coast.

Then there are my daughter's books, kept in her room, which range from YA fiction to fashion. Plus all the cookbooks in the kitchen, the stacks on the coffee table, the end table and by my bed.  They've overtaken the house...not quite... but if you ask the family....

Now you have learned a lot about me and my family.  We are quite the eclectic mix, aren't we?  What is on your bookshelf?  What does your book case say about you?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (Just Received) 4/25/11

In My Mailbox (IMM) is hosted by The Story Siren.  This is a weekly bookish meme wherein we show what we have received by mail, borrowed, or purchased and allows me personally to keep track of my TBR pile! 

This week in the mail were these wonderful books:

The Fruit of the Dendragon Tree by Paul H. Deepan      (from the cover) Seventeen-year-old Jake Patel’s mother is dying of cancer. Jake is furious at his father David for accepting this fact, and bargains with the universe to save his mother’s life, no matter who has to die.Assisted by his schoolmate Jenny Blackwood, a well-intentioned but inexperienced witch, Jake is transported to the world of Tiramonde, a world that, like himself, is on the brink of catastrophe.

Guided upon his arrival by the witch Ureth, Jake learns that the only thing that can save his mother’s life is the fruit of the Dendragon Tree, a tree that has not bloomed in living memory. But legend holds that plucking the Dendragon fruit will release the dragon Kildraig from his thousand-year imprisonment, and Kildraig was imprisoned for very good reasons. Worse, when David also arrives in Tiramonde, looking for his son, both Ureth’s and Jake’s choices become excruciating. For Ureth must choose the true liberator of Tiramonde. And Jake must choose which parent, in the end, he will save.

Vibrant with magic, and alive with centaurs, elves, werewolves and vampires (not to mention a deliciously evil dragon), The Fruit of the Dendragon Tree speaks to our fear of inevitable death, and to our hope for continued life. It is a story of premature loss and repaired love, of learning that there are worse things than dying, and that cancers, both real and metaphorical, often require poisons to defeat them.

This book is a complimentary copy sent to me by the author for an unbiased review.

Rock Bottom by Erin Brockovich with C.J. Lyons.  (from the cover)  Ten years ago, a pregnant seventeen-year-old, Angela Joy Palladino, fled her hometown, Scotia, West Virginia, as a pariah. Over time, AJ succeeded in establishing herself as an environmental activist, dubbed “The People’s Champion,” only to be forced to retreat from the spotlight in the wake of a crushing media disaster.
When AJ is offered a job with a lawyer who is crusading against mountaintop removal mining, she is torn. As a single mother of a special needs nine-year-old boy, AJ can use any work she can get. But doing so will mean returning to the West Virginia hometown she left in disgrace so long ago.
Upon arriving in Scotia, AJ learns of the sudden death of the lawyer who hired her. Soon after joining forces with his daughter, Elizabeth, threats begin to surface, bodies begin to pile up, and AJ discovers that her own secrets aren’t the only ones her mountain hometown has kept buried. Hitting rock bottom, AJ must face the betrayal of those once closest to her and confront the harrowing past she thought she had left behind.”  (I received this book from FSB Media for review purposes.  I will not receive anything in return for my honest and unbiased review.)

Alzheimer's Killing Me Unknowlingly:  Jane's Story by Jana Pryor.  (from the cover)  Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States affecting over 5 million lives.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that slowly consumes an individual’s brain and causes a major impact on the mind. The medical definition of mind is “that which thinks, reasons, perceives, wills and feels.” In neuroscience, there is no duality between the mind and the body; they are one. The mind appears in no way separate from the brain. If this is true, people who suffer from Alzheimer’s may as well be considered “the walking dead” - they just don’t realize it.

It is the desire of the author to shine light on how Alzheimer’s ruthlessly affects behavior by taking readers through the different stages of her grandmother’s battle with the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is an abnormal way for an individual to age. It is fatal, and it consists of much more than just memory loss to the elderly. Jane’s story will give readers insight into what really happens in the world of an Alzheimer’s patient.

This is a complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Sealing the Deal by Diana Kirschner, Ph.D.  (from the cover)  Love Mentor Dr. Diana offers revolutionary advice for finding-and keeping-the one you love: 
  • Create irresistible attraction and an atmosphere that men love to be around.  
  • Find out the single most important thing you can do to get a sincere commitment from the guy you want.  
  • Keep that crazy-in-love feeling going, no matter how long you’ve been together.  
  • Learn the secret to instantly resolving conflict with your man.
  • Know when to have “the talk”: Don’t think it matters when you bring it up? Think again.
  • Avoid the biggest mistake women make when he’s “not ready” for a commitment
  • Get your relationship back and better than ever, even if he has cheated
  • If you have love problems, Dr. Diana has the solutions. This book is your key to creating your own happiest-ever-after now.

 I won Sealing the Deal from Sidne at Reading Rendezvous Reviewz.

What's in your mailbox this week?  I'd love to know.  Just leave a link to your post or your answer in the comment section.  Remember to link with The Story Siren too!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

taken from my bible with colour inserts by Thomas Kincaid
To all my readers, friends and family,
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Guest post book review: Quicksilver

Shirley, I absolutely agree with you. It did seem to have two different stories within the one book. I would say that Quicksilver is a well published book and that the author has a passion for writing. The characters are lovely, especially the two love birds Serry and Quinton. For the young girls like me, would instantly fall in love with Quinton and his dreamy eyes.

I quite enjoyed the book Quicksilver and hope that Joy Spraycar writes another. One thing that made me think twice though was the devil worshipping, that was a little dark for me but thankfully she didn't get into it too much and emphasize anything graphical. This type of novel would be best for older teenagers and young adults.

Book Review: Quicksilver by Joy Spraycar

Author:  Joy Spraycar
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Copyright:  2010
360 pages
Genre:  YA Fantasy/Romance Thriller
ISBN:  978-1449054014
Source:  complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

From the cover:  "A recurring nightmare holds Serry Miller in its grip and has for most of her life.  In spite of her fear of the man who becomes a monster, she's in love with him.  Not only does she have nightmares while she sleeps, she's living in one with an abusive, alcoholic husband.

When Serry's drunken husband hits Quinton Worthington's car, she sees the face of the man from her nightmares on a stretcher entering the hospital.  When he looks at her and calls her by name, she is plummeted into a life that she has only dreamed about.

Quinton Worthington has suffered for over a hundred years.  That's when his evil father ripped Serenity, the love of Quinton's life, from him.  At the same time, he changed Quinton into a monster.

When Quinton sees Serry's face in the hospital, he believes that Serenity has come back, and he will do anything to be with her.  There's only one thing that stands in their way of having the life they want:  Quinton's father."

My thoughts:  The amazing cover art got my attention immediately.  Tescanu Elena artfully rendered the cover for this book including hidden elements that portray aspects of the plot.  I have raved about this cover for some time now and couldn't wait for the opportunity to read this debut novel by Joy Spraycar.

Vampires are out, werewolves are in!  That is the catchline at the top of the press release issued by Bostick Communications for Quicksilver.  Ok, I am ready for something new, I thought.  

My daughter read this book before I was able to due to other commitments and she really enjoyed it.  I however, have some reservations about this novel.

First off Quicksilver seemed like it could have been two books rather than the one.  There is a definite place within the plot where one climax is reached having followed a build up towards one goal.  From there, another plot seems to come into play.  While it continues the same story, it seems as if it is separate from the original plot.  My daughter noticed this too.

This is a story of unconditional love, romance and overcoming obstacles to culminate that love.  It is also a story of werewolves, white witches, familiars and the most evil of the pack who is a devil worshipper.  The latter part threw me and I almost quit reading at that point.  Thankfully it is not dwelt upon and passes quickly.  Language is clean and the love scenes are not graphic.  Joy Spraycar writes fluidly and with a passion. 

As the story line comes to a close, the reader is almost certain the author intends to follow Quicksilver with another novel.  There are hints, especially on the last page, that the story is not yet over.  Which is fine for the fantasy/romance thriller lover.  

Unfortunately, I am not so entranced with this story.  The love is beautiful and amazing, the sacrifices one makes for love believable, and the plot is, for the most part, pleasing.  This story just didn't enamour me.  But that's me.  The Young Adult readers would likely find it captivating.  If I were asked to read a follow-up novel to Quicksilver, I would likely agree to it if only to allow the author to reach me as a reader, to captivate me, and convince me of the gem within.

Rated 3/5

Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief
Author:  Rick Riordan
Copyright:  2005
Disney Hyperion Books
Genre:  Children's/YA Fantasy
ISBN 078683865-5
Pages:  377
Includes Table of Contents and first chapter of next novel in the series:  The Sea of Monsters
A New York Times #1 Best-selling Series
Source:  I purchased this book

(from the cover)  "Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again.  And that's the least of his troubles.  Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life.  And worse, he's angered a few of them.  Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. 

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.  But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief:  he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves."

My thoughts:  Compared somewhat to the likes of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief is a mid-school/YA novel full of adventure, friendship, the trials of school and peers, and Greek mythology. Adults and school age children alike will find something in these pages that is appealing.

I read this book in two sittings.  It is, as is usual, better than the film version.  In the movie version Percy Jackson is older, maybe 15 or 16, which I thought better suited the developmental level of the protagonist.  However, by comparison, Harry Potter was just 11 when he discovered he was a wizard.  Percy is 12 in this first book.  Having your lead character as young as Percy is portrayed in Percy Jackson and the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief, gives a lot of room to grow in future books so it is good planning on the part of the author, Rick Riordan, to age Percy in this manner.  Percy does seem older than his years but when one considers he grew up without a real father figure and felt somewhat responsible for his mother, he would, out of necessity and experience, be more mature than his school counterparts.

The Lightning Thief presents the values of friendship, responsibility, trust and honour in a fantasy novel that will especially appeal to boys.  Percy faces many trials, terrors and enjoys adventures that strengthen his character while entertaining the reader.  With chapter titles like "I Ruin a Perfectly Good Bus", "I Plunge to My Death" and "I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom" even the reluctant reader will be enticed to delve into the pages of Percy's story.  

All in all, I enjoyed Percy Jackson and the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief and found it to be a fast and captivating read.  I recommend this especially to mid-school and high school teenagers and even tweens.  It is especially good to find a book that appeals to such a wide range of individuals, particularly boys.  You will find it entertaining regardless of your age.

Rated 4.5/5
Book Club Analysis:

The all-round conclusion was that each one of us found Percy Jackson to be an enjoyable read.  We all enjoyed the creative chapter headings and the Greek mythology theme.  For some, the book surpassed expectations.  Some of us had seen the movie prior to reading the book so we had a basic understanding of the concept of the book but were unanimous in noting the book appealed to us more than the movie.  

Both dyslexia and ADHD are present in the main character of Percy Jackson.  At first, he believes these to be a hindrance to himself as a person and a student but the author has an ingenious perspective.  Rather than referring to dyslexia and ADHD as abnormalities, they were indicative of Percy's true identity, that of a half-blood or demi-god.

A character trait that was emphasized was that of parental respect.  One of the members said, "I like Percy's rebellious streak and how much he loves and appreciates his mother.  There are so many stories, movies, t.v. shows, etc., that portray parents in a bad light so I like how he has a good relationship with his mom." Another said, "I think love was a huge theme in the book.  Percy's love for his mother is a wonderful thing."

As all the campers at the Half-Blood camp are divided into cabins appropriate to their parentage, we discussed which of the Olympians we would most like to be and why and which cabin we would be in.  One member said she would want to be in Poseidon's cabin because he "created" horses, according to the myths of course, and to be able to communicate with them like Percy can in the story would be so amazing."  Another said she would be most like Hera since she values her marriage so much (Hera is the goddess of marriage).  "However, since her cabin is empty, I would be in Athena's cabin and would be very happy there."  Another was somewhat torn in her response. " ...the idea of being a descendant of Poseidon is certainly appealing but so is the idea of Athena, goddess of wisdom and battle.  Wisdom and bravery are necessary traits in many aspects of life and both are desirable.  I would like to embody both..."

When asked if we would recommend this book, we all wholeheartedly agreed we would.  One of our book club members had read the book four times already!  She has read all the Percy Jackson books, plus The Red Pyramid, and just borrowed The Lost Hero from the library.  She finds Rick Riordan's books very easy to read and a nice respite from her mothering of four young boys.  She doesn't yet read Percy Jackson to her boys as they are not quite beyond the picture book stage yet.

We ended our discussion with the expression that we all wanted to increase the membership in the book club and what we can do to create interest.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Books Into Movies and Question of the Day

I was visiting April's blog, Cafe of Dreams - Book Reviews this morning and commented on her Question of the Day:  Do you read the book before seeing the movie or vica versa? If you see the movie before you have read the book, will you go and read the book?  My commentary went on for three paragraphs at which point I thought, I have something to say here and perhaps I should put it in a post.

Typically I prefer to read the book first, then go see the movie version, rather like the chicken before the egg. There have been occasions where I have seen the movie, discovered it originated from a book, and just HAD to read the book, especially if I loved the movie!!  Case in point, I absolutely adore the movie Under the Tuscan Sun and for quite a while now I have been looking to purchase a copy of the book of the same title authored by Frances Mayes. (I can hear you saying, Amazon, am I right?)

There has been only one occasion when I saw a movie, loved it, read the book and preferred the movie. That was Julie and Julia. The movie is fun, upbeat, and enchanting while the book is not. (You can read my review of Julie and Julia the novel here on my blog.

Of course, there are books that I loved and HAD to see them when they came out in the theatres (ie Harry Potter, Twilight) or on DVD (Message in a Bottle, Notebook, Gone With the Wind) as the case may be. It's all good but really I prefer to read the book first.

What about you?  Do you prefer to read the book first?  If you see the movie version first, will you read the book afterwards?  How much more likely are you to read the book after seeing the movie?  How much more likely are you to go to the movie after reading the book?

Stalk Hop Friday

I'm joining Mrs. Marine for Stalk Hop Friday and Crazy for Books for Book Blogger Hop.

"If you find a book that you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?"

In some cases I have.  I have some favourite authors whose books I cannot pass up and have gone to stores and libraries looking specifically for their books.  Those authors include but are not limited to:  John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, Carolyn Hart, Agatha Christie, Sophie Kinsella, Danielle Steel, Nancy Fairbanks, Stephen King, Michael Crichton and more.  

How about you?  Have you ever gone in a store looking for books by a specific author?  Have you ever left empty-handed because you couldn't find any?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Theme Thursdays 4/21/11

Theme Thursdays

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event that will be open from one thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:  
  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursdays)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)  Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”

 This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

And this week’s theme is ……..


 "The golden light gathered around her again.  She was back in the meadow and so very sleepy.  She lay down on the grass.  The breeze blew over her, whispering her name, and she fell into a deep sleep."  ~ page 237, Quicksilver by Joy Spraycar

Please share your Theme Thursdays link with me so I can return the visit or leave it in the comments.  Have a great day.




J.K. Rowling Interview: The Final Chapter - contains spoilers

The final chapter, the last book in the great Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, will be in theatres July 15, 2011 in the USA and Canada.  Fans of Harry Potter will be sad to witness the end of what has been a magnificent journey through the adolescent years of Harry Potter and his friends Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and more.  To commemorate this event, I located an interview of J.K. Rowling on Dateline.  J.K. Rowling speaks of the writing process, fame, and saying goodbye to Harry.

In case you are wondering, the official trailer for part 2 hasn't been released yet.  There are some good mock ups on YouTube but I always prefer the real official trailer.  Keep your eyes open for it.  The DVD and BluRay of part 1 are now available in stores.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: The Town Cried Murder by Leslie Ford

The Town Cried Murder
Author:  Leslie Ford
Copyright:  1938  Charles Scribner's Sons
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Pages:  191
Source:  I purchased this book at my favourite second-hand bookstore "Never Without a Book"

(from the back cover) "The Town Cried Murder...Lovely Faith Yardley's betrothel to a man from the north is abruptly followed by murder--and more murder.

Transformed by terror, quaint and beautiful Williamsburg, Virginia, waits for the killer to strike again, and wonders:

This time, will it be Faith Yardley herself?"

My review: 
In her attempts to save their home, Faith Yardley's aunt, Melusina, will stop at nothing...even if it means using her niece as a pawn to bring money into the family via the betrothal of her young niece to a man she does not love but has the means to keep Yardley Mansion in the family.  Melusina announces the betrothal before the couple have even made it official which sets off a stream of events, including murder.  Many are suspect...many have motive...two people are dead. 

Cleverly written so the reader is unsure of the identity of the killer, our focus is drawn from one individual to another as the main character, Lucy Randolph, contemplates motives and unwittingly becomes involved.  Leslie Ford wrote this novel in the first person character of Lucy Randolph which makes it quite fun as we follow this Victorian type spinster in her ponderings and sometimes foolish actions as she attempts to solve the mystery, protect her cousin, Faith Yardley, and her new young border gentleman Bill Haines.

Once I got into this novel, I was caught up in the excitement and drama of it all.  I did find, however, the first couple of chapters to be rather dry as they were given to covering background information of the area of Williamsburg and the residents thereof.  Upon the introduction of Bill Haines, Miss Lucy Randolph's new boarder, though, the story picked up pace and moved rapidly so I found I did not want to put it down.  I really enjoyed The Town Cried Murder and recommend it to any who enjoys a good mystery.  Character development is superb and the story development was keenly accomplished with twists of plot.  I like a mystery that keeps you guessing and Leslie Ford has achieved that with The Town Cried Murder.

Leslie Ford has been an important and highly successful author of mystery novels since 1928.  Her books have been translated into nine languages, winning a world-wide audience for her colorful characters an effective story backgrounds.  Leslie Ford, Brenda Conrad, and David Frome are pseudonyms for Mrs. Zenith Jones Brown (nee Jones) according to detectivefiction.com.  She is an American author - December 8, 1898-August 25, 1983 (Golden Gate Mysteries:  A Bibliography of Crime Fiction).
The Town Cried Murder is a Vintage Mystery, with its first publication date being 1938. As such, it will be counted as my third in the Vintage Mystery Challenge hosted by Bev at My Readers Block.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Top 10 Bestselling Books in Canada Ending April 10

For the week ending April 10, from BookNet Canada, here are the top 10 selling books in Canada:

1) City of Fallen Angels

2) The Help

3) Big Girl

4) The Shadow of Your Smile

5) The Land of Painted Caves

6) 44 Charles Street

7) The Fifth Witness

8) Indulgence in Death

9) The Gathering

10) Bossypants

Have you read any of these?  Are you familiar with these titles?  Do you know who the authors are?

In My Mailbox (Just Received) 4/18/11

In my Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Last week I received for review:

Ultimate Victory Denied by Jim Kenfield (complimentary copy provided by the author for review)
Remembering the Ladies by Ann Covell (complimentary copy provided by the author for review)
Lover's Betrayal by J.E. Hopkins (complimentary copy provided by the author for review)
Izzy's Pop Star Plan by Alex Marestaing (complimentary copy provided by BookSneeze for review)

and I received this which I won:

Chime (ARC) by Fanny Billingsley (Thanks to Cari's Book Blog)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review: Hot Leaders Cool Facilitators by Bart R. Wendell, PhD.

Hot Leaders Cool Facilitators:  Learning to Lead One Meeting at a Time
Author:  Bart R. Wendell, PH.D.
Copyright:  2010
Publisher:  Networlding Publishing
Genre:  Business
Includes:  Table of Contents, Tables, Diagrams, End Note: The Enneagram
Pages:  162
Source:  Complimentary review copy provided by the author

About this book: "Discover what great leaders know about meetings from a trusted advisor to CEOs and boards.  Meetings are leadership laboratories, intense microcosms in which the leader's style and substance are uniquely on public display.  Once someone has convened a meeting, his leadership will never be the same again,.  This book is about how leaders can consciously use meetings to develop their executive skills from good to great." (from the back cover)

My review: 
Bart Wendell, in his book Hot Leaders Cool Facilitators, discusses types of leaders in regards to how they lead.  Do they lead from the gut, the head or the heart?  Can they lead with a combination thereof?  By identifying how a person deals with conflict, rallies the troops, or conducts a meeting, it can be determined how best to utilize strengths.  In doing so, weaknesses, like backing down if another becomes "hot" (heated, argumentative), can be turned around to better advantage while lessening confrontation and allowing everyone the freedom to address issues. This book is about creating better leaders by teaching them how to conduct better meetings.

"Shifting Gears to Cool Down"
"Race-car drivers know that there are times when they can negotiate a particular corner on the racetrack in less time by entering the corner at a slower, more deliberate speed, and then increasing speed through the turn.  Similarly, great meeting leaders know that downshifting allows each participant to take a process check and provides everyone the perspective and objectivity that reduces intensity.  Rather than simply pausing, switching gears and slowing the pace of discussion allows time for reflection and sets the stage for divergent points of view to surface.  What feels like a detour can often be the quickest route to the finish line, by slowing the discussion, the leader can actually speed the progress of the group."~ page 76

I found this book to be insightful.  As I read of varying scenarios I could recognize different leadership traits in people I know.  I also recognized myself.  Hot Leaders Cool Facilitators is a great tool in developing leadership abilities as it helps the reader identify characteristics of good leadership, how to shift focus, keep a group on track,and maintain order while allowing the people to have a voice.  The teachings within are priceless.  Whether you run meetings at work, attend town hall meetings, write an editorial to a newspaper, or lead your children, there are numerous scenarios wherein we may utilize the lessons Bart Wendell teaches in Hot Leaders Cool Facilitators. 

Not strictly for the boardroom, Hot Leaders Cool Facilitators is a great resource.  It is not a fast read because the principles discussed deserve pondering and practice.  Every business student should use this book!

Rated 4.5/5

About the author:

Bart R. Wendell, PH.D. is a business consultant and psychologist.  A master facilitator and trusted adviser, his clients have included The International Monetary Fund, PBS, NPR, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Fidelity Investments, The Ford Foundation, The United States Air Force Academy, and Rock Tenn, and he is a past seminar instructor at The Harvard Business School Executive Leadership Program.

Author Interview:
1. Why did you decide to write this particular book?

I find meetings fascinating and ripe with great possibilities. It’s frustrating to watch potentially great leaders display such incompetence and sap so much energy from their organizations during meetings. Just like parents get practically no preparation for parenting, leaders get no practical preparation for what good leadership looks like in meetings. I felt that the mental road map I use could be very useful.

2. How is this book different from others on the market focused on your area of expertise?

My book answers the question, ‘What does great organizational leadership specifically look like in meetings?
This books is intended to fill a middle ground between books that focus on the basic mechanics of meeting management such as airtime and parking lots, and those that focus on theories of organizational leadership.

3. What are the top three benefits for people reading your book?

They will: 
-Have a road map to make sense out of bad meetings.
-Understand how to take the steps to save such a bad meeting from itself.
-Better understand themselves and others so that they can use this road map and understanding in time to display leadership before the meeting ends.

4. What one story can you share that is a sort of signature story for your book?

It’s a personal story about how managing temperature can lead to great success as well as crashing failure. I was asked to design and lead a meeting between the presidents and board chairs of the four major organizations in public broadcasting, including PBS and NPR. This had never happened before because of tensions between organizations and between individuals that had built over 35 years. Gathered around the table were a former governor, a former ambassador and so on. I had to bring enough heat, enough drive for results, to the situation to convince these folks that results were possible while also bringing enough cool, enough pausing for perspective and analysis, that worthwhile decisions got made.

The first meeting was a great success in spite of everyone’s doubts coming in and led to regular meetings known as the ‘G-4′. I lead these meetings over a period of years until one particular moment when I failed to summon enough heat to push back on one of the players. He had summarily suggested we no longer needed the ground rules that had been so painstakingly constructed. My failure to do so undermined my leadership and it was the last of that particular series of meetings I was asked to lead.

The book is a lessons learned from that and other experiences, told through stories and analysis.

5. What will a reader do differently once he or she has read your book?
The reader will: 
-Never take for granted the impact of any meeting on their leadership.
-Know where to place their focus in a meeting that is in trouble, whether they’re in front of the room or simply at the table.

Bart R. Wendell, PH.D.
Trusted Advisor and Facilitator to Executives and Boards.
Author of ‘Hot Leaders, Cool Facilitators: Learning To Lead One Meeting At A Time
(NetWorlding Leadership Series: 2010)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Problems with GFC

Is anyone else having problems with GFC?  I see the header on many blogspot blogs but cannot sign up to be a friend, my blog included?  Has anyone else noticed this?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is Literacy a Problem in Your Child's School?

Since the 1970's provincial governments have been asking elementary schools to make do with continually shrinking budgets. The result is an increasing number of Canadian children growing up without books and the opportunity to develop essential literacy skills and a love of reading. Our mission is to give every child a strong literacy foundation and the chance to reach their full potential. We know we will get there with the help of Indigo's 7,000 employees and millions of customers by providing new books and educational resources to high-needs elementary schools. For more information visit Love of Reading.

April is National Poetry Month
Here's a friendly reminder to enjoy some poetry today.

Roald Dahl Story Excerpts to Appear On Cereal Boxes in the UK

Excerpts from Roald Dahl books will appear on tens of millions of cereal boxes over the next few weeks as part of an ambitious attempt to encourage more children to read. Realising that children will scan cereal boxes for games and prizes, the publisher of Roald Dahl books, Puffin, had an innovative idea.  What if they were to print excerpts of some of Roald Dahl's books on the backs of cereal boxes!  Children across the UK would be picking up these stories on boxes every day at breakfast. 

A deal was struck with the estate of Roald Dahl to realize this goal.  The excerpts from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; The Witches; The BFG; The Twits: Danny, and Champion of the World will be printed on a minumum ten million boxes of cereal sold in Asda supermarkets over the next few weeks. They will appear on the back of all of Asda's own brand of children's cereals.

The portions will be only a hundred or so words long, but Francesca Dow, the managing director of Penguin's children books, which owns Puffin, said she hoped this would encourage many to track down the whole book after reading the boxes: "The great thing about a cereal box, is that it potentially is reaching millions of households that just don't read any literature outside of school.

"There could be an enormous number of children discovering Roald Dahl for the first time, bleary eyed over the breakfast table."

Ms. Dow added: "There is a real awareness in the publishing world that there is an increasingly tight competition for children's time, especially from digital activities such as games consoles, as they grow up. And combine that with anxieties about school budgets being cut and libraries closing and we need to find different ways to get books in front of children, especially children growing up in households that don't read."

This is a brilliant effort on the part of Puffin publishications and Asda supermarkets to increase the literacy rate and desire of children to read.  Perhaps this will catch on with publishers in other countries, after determining the effectiveness of this campaign.  I truly hope so.  How about some Robert Munsch?  or A.A Milnes or EB White? 

What do you think?  Would this encourage your child to seek out these books so they might finish the story?

Teaser Tuesdays 4/12/11

Hosted by Shoud Be Reading, Teaser Tuesdays are a weekly bookish meme.  Choose any page at random and select two sentences from somewhere on that page.  Be careful not to include spoilers.  Include the title of the book and the author's name.  I like to add the page number too.  Post the teaser on your blog and link up with Should Be Reading.  It's a great chance to get a glimpse into other books and perhaps add to your TBR/wish list.

"And now, sitting there with the unmistakable odor of burnt cloth in my mind at least, I realized I'd been very stupid indeed.  Not for not setting fire to the melange in the fireplace, though that was stupid too, but for mentioning Luton and the check."  ~ page 109, The Town Cried Murder by Leslie Ford.  This book was copyrighted 1938 and is one of my reads towards the Vintage Mystery Challenge.

"A pair of strong hands gently lifted her aching body off the wet ground.  They held her and snuggled her against a warm, muscular chest.  She could hear whispers of comfort, as she was carried into an old house.  She let her mind slip away into unconsciousness, knowing someone was there and they were going to help her." ~ page 10, Quicksilver by Joy Spraycar.  I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time now and 10 pages in, it appears very promising.  The cover is incredible with hidden images.  The artist uses colour to create mood and portrays well the plot within.  Created by Tescanu Elena, it is one of the nicest covers I have seen.  My daughter likes this book so much that I promised to give it to her once I have read it and prepared a review.  I will likely get her to do a guest post for this book too. To view the cover, see my post Do You Judge a Book By Its Cover?.  How's that for a tease within a tease? ;0

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!  Be sure to visit Should Be Reading too.  Enjoy your reads!


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