September 28, 2010

Fall Into Reading Challenge

I've decided to particpate in the Fall Into Reading Challenge hosted by Callapidder Days. It runs from Sept 22 2010- December 20th. For more information follow the link.

My reading list for the challenge:

One Day by David Nicholls

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Duff by Kody Keplinger

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

Never Let Me go by Kazo Ishiguro

Looking forward to getting started and seeing what others have on their challenge lists. Check back for reviews.

September 26, 2010

In My Mailbox

In my Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren.

It was a lighter week this week book wise-which is a good thing- I have a stack a mile high staring at me and I feel guilty at all the titles I have yet to read and review- sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I would like.

I checked out DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger from the library and that's all that's new for me this week.

September 25, 2010


I try to never judge a book by its cover, however I find I am attracted to a certain types of covers more than others. I often wonder if the complexity of a cover is an insight into how the publishers feel about the book and how successful they believe it will be?
I'm usually drawn to covers that reflect the contents and emotions of the story. Although if a book has a really great review, I'll read it whether the cover is fabulous or not. These are just a few that I've really liked.

September 24, 2010

Friday Fun

It's my favourite time of the week in the blogging world-Blogger Hop & Friday Follow Time!
Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books is asking:
When you write reviews do you write them as your are reading or wait until you have finished the whole book?
I generally wait until I've finished the book in order to get the whole picture before I begin the review. I think I need to get better at taking notes as I read though, I always mean to go back to the words or passages that resonate with me, it be easier if I wrote them down as I read :)
Parajunkee's view is asking what my favourite book cover is.......this is going to take some more time to think about.......
I think I'll feature a few covers over the weekend -so check back.
Don't miss out on your chance to win a copy of Plain Kate by Erin Bow. Contest is only open to Canadians and closes on September 30th.
Thanks to everyone who stops by, make sure to leave a comment so I can check out your blog too!

September 22, 2010

The Magnificent 12-The Call: Book Trailer

Here's a book trailer for a fabulous book by Michael Grant-

you can read my review here

I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

September 21, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Book Quotes

It's Top Ten Tuesday! A meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish This week is book quotes. It was challenging to narrow it down to just 10.......

“I can't go back to yesterday - because I was a different person then"
-From Alice in Wonderland

"Thank God for books and music and things I can think about."
Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon)

There is a voice inside of you, That whispers all day long,
"I feel this is right for me, I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend Or wise man can decide
What's right for you--just listen to The voice that speaks inside."
Shel Silverstein

"To hear the phrase "our only hope" always makes one anxious, because it means that if the only hope doesn't work, there is nothing left."
Lemony Snicket (The Blank Book)

"You have plenty of courage, I am sure," answered Oz. "All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty."
L. Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

"One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us."
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel)

"Only five books tonight, Mommy," she says.
No, Olivia, just one."
How about four?"
Oh, all right, three. But that's it!"
Ian Falconer (Olivia)

"I told you and told you there was nothing to be afraid of."
Lovable Furry Old Grover "The Monster at the End of This Book"

"Some books should be tasted, Some devoured, But only a few
Should be chewed and digested thoroughly."
Cornelia Funke (Inkheart)

"When each day is the same as the rest it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day the sunrises,"
The Book "The Alchemist"

What are your favourites? Were there any from my list above that really resonated with you?

September 20, 2010

Blog Tour-Erin Bow

I've been counting down the days until this and it's finally here! My very first Blog Tour, Author Interview and Give Away. (it's a big day for me:)
Thank you Erin for having me be a part of this!

Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Published by Scholastic Inc
September 1st 2010
320 Pages

*Summary from Good Reads*

Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon and her wooden charms are so fine that some even call her "witch-blade"-a dangerous nickname in a town where witches are hunted and burned in the square. For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate's father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate. Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow he'll give Kate the means to escape the town that seems set to burn her, and what's more, he'll grant her heart's wish. It's a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes that she can't live shadowless forever-and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.

An Interview with Erin Bow
  • · What was your favourite book when you were 12? What about now?
It was LORD OF THE RINGS, because I was exactly that kind of smart, shy, bookish, obsessive kid. It maybe still is, because I am still smart and shy and bookish. It has more company now, though: The Earthsea Trilogy, Sutcliff's Roman Britain books, especially THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH, Connie Willis's time-travel books, THE DOOMSDAY BOOK and TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG, and THE LAST UNICORN. And it was hard to keep the list that short.

  • What prompted your decision to leave the field of science and focus on your writing?
Oh, dear, this is going to sound almost fictionally dramatic. Bear with me.
I always loved both writing and science -- still do. At university I studied both and thought about switching from physics to English right up until my final year, when it just wasn't practical. I guess I stuck with physics because it seemed to me that I might be able to teach myself to write, but I couldn't teach myself particle physics. Besides, physicists are smart and it's fun to be part of a big group of smart people. So I studied physics and I went to grad school and I worked at CERN. I was pretty high powered, working the 70, 80 weeks scientists are notorious for. I didn't write much; I missed it, but I was busy.
But then I got sick. And it turned out to be a brain tumour. There were just a few days, before they found it was a low-grade tumor, when I thought I was going to die. I couldn't even bear to call my parents. I called, instead, this nice boy who had been my pen pal for years. And one of the things I said to him was: I want to meet you. And the other: I don't want to die, because I haven't written a book.
So I ditched physics. And I married the boy. And I started writing books.

  • I really admire you, as I think that few people are able to leave their ‘jobs’ and follow their dreams-what gave you the courage?
A really big advance.
Sorry. But it's true. I have long wanted to write full time, and two book deal I signed with Arthur A. Levine and Scholastic gave me the margin to make it, if not safe, at least sane. It still scares me -- my hubby and I are both writers, and we have two little kids, a mortgage, and no paycheck. If something doesn't bounce right we'll be out of money in two years and will have to live under a bridge. But eventually you have to make the leap, and this seemed like the time.

  • What was your inspiration for Plain Kate?
It's hard to know where books come from, but I do know that I read a huge volume of Russian fairy tales just before starting PLAIN KATE.
They blew me away. I read a lot of fairy tales, and I thought I knew them, but the Russian ones are scrumptious: full of surprises and transformations, full of darkness -- even more full of darkness than the Grimm tales, which are darker than most people know. And I like the sense that they come from just over the edge of my map. If you're of Western European extract, like me, the Grimm tales always feel as if you half-know them already. The forest in them sometimes seems like half our history. The Russian tales are stranger, wilder. I wanted to write a fairy tale like that.

  • When you write, do you always know where you are going or do your characters lead you in their own directions?
No, I never know where I'm going. My process is to struggle through the first third or so, get hopelessly stuck, whine about it and bash things around for a few months, and then have a breakthrough and three cups of coffee and stay up all night writing a treatment for the rest of the story. This outline usually requires me to throw away the first third and try again. And by the time I get to the last third I've usually changed things again, but this time it's the outline I throw away.
I don't know that this process is what you'd call "optimized." But it -- sort of -- works for me. I can't outline from page one, because I don't know the characters: I don't know what they'd do in XYZ situation. I have to have the time with them, including the stuck time, before I can begin to tell their story.

  • Are you working on a new book?
Yes, and I have to finish it soon, or I WILL end up under that bridge. It's called SORROW'S KNOT. Here's the pitch:
In the world of Sorrow’s Knot, the dead do not rest easy. Every patch of shadow might be home to something hungry and nearly invisible, something deadly. The dead can only be repelled with magically knotted cords and yarns. The women who tie these knots are called binders.
Otter is the daughter of Willow, a binder of great power. She's a proud and privileged girl who takes it for granted that she will be a binder some day herself. But when Willow's power begins to turn inward and tear her apart, Otter finds herself trapped with a responsibility she's not ready for, and a power she no longer wants.

  • First person you called when you found out that Plain Kate would be published? How did you celebrate?
PLAIN KATE went to auction, so I knew all day that I was going to get a publishing offer -- was going to get several, in fact.
The best part of the story is that my hubby took my mom and me and the kids out to lunch. We were all pretty punchy, and my three-year-old daughter wanted to know what was up. We tried to explain. I can't remember what we said, except that it ended with "It might be a better world." To which she replied: "Can all my jellybeans be red?"
As it turns out, yes. Yes they can. The final offer was amazing, life-changing. And my friend brought over a huge bag of red jellybeans after dinner.

  • Anything you’d like readers to know about Plain Kate?
Maybe you've heard about the talking cat. Don't let the talking cat put you off. It's not, I swear it's not, a talking-cat kind of book. It is untouched by the taint of Disney. It's a real fairy tale, dark and wild and full of hard choices and high beauty.

You can learn more about Erin at
Erin will be at the Word On The Street Festival in Kitchener Ontario on September 26th

My thoughts on Plain Kate
It's hard to know where to begin, what to say without giving too much away.
I've read a few reviews that have mentioned the book has a similar feel to Phillip Pullmans Dark Materials, and although I agree that it does evoke some of the same feeling-(perhaps it’s the dark fairytale element?) I thought that Kate was more likable and a much easier character to connect with than Pullmans Lyra.
One of the many things I loved about the book was that all the characters were deeply flawed. No one was perfect, they all possessed elements of "good" and "bad"(some more bad than others) Aside from Plain Kate, Taggle was my favourite. Completely himself and content to be. I think Plain Kate longed to be more like that (don't we all?). She strives to find a place to belong; where as Taggle felt he belonged wherever he was.
Plain Kate is beautifully written. Within the first few pages I was instantly transported and was there in the village with Plain Kate and her father.
On the surface the text of the book seems simple and easily read -you could read it that way, tell the story and still enjoy it. But in reality the book is multi-layered with meaning and rich complex characters. It's a story meant to be savoured; to be thought about long after it's finished.
This is one to buy and add to your book collection. Truly stunning.

One lucky person will win a copy of Plain Kate by entering below. I'll accept entries until September 30th. Good Luck!

September 19, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

This week I was very very lucky to get the following books for review:

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Vesper by Jeff Sampson

What was in your mailbox?

Program season

It will soon be time for the fall sessions to start. Registration begins this week and though I'm always excited about doing programs for kids and & families, (babies up to 6 years) I'm almost always very nervous. And the thought of going back to 7 programs a week is a little exhausting. .

I'm trying a few new things this session. Aside from a few new songs I've learned and a few new books I'm looking forward to introducing, I'm going to use the same books for two programs in a row.

I read so much about the importance of repetition in programs, as a building block for literacy and language foundations and yet aside from my morning and closing routines I change everything every week.

This session will be an experiment. I hope it goes well. I'm looking forward to expanding on the stories read and including some dramatic aspects too. Fingers crossed.

September 17, 2010

Happy Friday & Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week

This week went by so quickly! I can't believe that it's already Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee's view and the Blog Hop hosted by Crazy-for-books. Spread the love and follow your fellow book lovers!

This weeks question from Crazy for Books: Who are your favourite book bloggers and why do you love them? It's really difficult to narrow to just one, I love so many blogs for many different reasons. Abby stands out because it was the first blog I followed, she gave me great advice and I love the mixture of her book reviews and library life info.

This week's question from Parajunkee's View: Young Adult or Adult books?

I prefer YA. I think in most cases they are a faster and more interesting read. I do like some adult but I probably only read 1 adult novel to every 10 YA.

Stop by Monday September 20th as I'll be posting my first author interview with the fabulous Erin Bow and a review of her debut novel Plain Kate.

You'll have an opportunity to win your own copy!

Have a great weekend

September 16, 2010


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Published on August 24th 2010 by Scholastic
400 Pages

***may contain spoilers***

It took me a while to process my feelings on this one. The last of a series always does that to me, especially if it's been one that I loved. (like this one)

I'm still not ready to say good-bye to Katniss. I admire her for so many reasons and I felt sad when I finally closed the book.

I try not to go into a last book with any expectations. I can't imagine what it must be like for the author-writing with so many people waiting in the wings, wondering what's going to happen all with their own opinions of how it should go. I figure that if I don't expect too much then I won't be disappointed. And I wasn't with Mockingjay at all.

I've read a lot of mixed reviews about the book, and although I didn't finish it with the rush of adrenaline that I had with the previous two, I really liked it. It wasn't perfect and I was absolutely stunned and heartbroken that Prim died. (I did not see that coming at all)

But I feel that it was exactly what it needed to be.
One of the stand out moments in the book was when Coin suggested that they hold another Hunger Games using the children of the capitol. I couldn't believe it...but I think it is an accurate observation of what happens where war, hatred, revenge, thirst for power-hardens the hearts of leaders and their people.

No one is the same after war, whether fighting inside the arena or out of it. Everyone changes-Sometimes for the better-but often not. Katniss was used by both sides. She was utterly alone. I can't imagine what that must feel like. To have no one to turn to. and heart wrenching that the Capitol would use him against her. I am very glad in the end that they were together.

It's a book series that I'm so happy I read. Thank you to Suzanne Collins to sharing this amazing story with us.

September 10, 2010

Books Of Wonder NY

I heard about Books of Wonder in NY a long time ago and I've always wanted to visit. A whole store devoted to childrens books, illustrative art and rare books is the place for me. Not to mention the very long list of authors who've hosted their book launches and signing events there. Mockingjay was launched here just the week before. (Can't believe I missed it)

On our recent (and first) trip to New York City we made sure to stop in. It was lovely, great selection, many signed copies of some of your favourite novels and really knowledgeable and friendly staff-(Shout out to Allan!!) Be sure to stop in!

Hop hop and Friday Follow

It's Friday and it's been a while since I've hopped or followed. Time to discover new books and blogs!
The Hop is Hosted by Crazy-for-Books and the Friday Follow is hosted by Parajunkee's view.

This weeks question/idea is to link a favourite review that you've done in the last 3 months.

Check out my thoughts on The BodyFinder by Kimberly Derting!

In the next week look for reviews of MockingJay, a new meme I'm starting, and on September 20th I'll host my first Author Blog Tour with Erin Bow and my first give away of her amazing novel "Plain Kate"

September 5, 2010

Home From the Big Apple

We're home from New York and I didn't know it was possible to fall in love with a city until now. I truly loved every moment of our vacation though there were a few amazing highlights-

  • Sailing boats on the pond in central park
  • eating cuban food for the first time
  • watching Tina Fey film a scene for 30 Rock in front of Rockafellar Plaza
  • 2-hour harbour cruise
  • visiting Books of Wonder childrens book store
  • visiting the New York Public Library
  • seeing our very first Broadway show

Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare
Published by Margaret K. McElderry (Simon & Schuster) August 31 2010
496 pages
Reviewed from ARC.

from back cover

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Fantastic! I enjoyed Cassandra's Mortal Instrument Series, but this one was really exceptional. She's really grown as a writer and I found that her characters had much more depth than in her previous books.

The story revolves around Tessa Gray whom I instantly liked. Her tenacity and unwillingness to give up even in the face of heart breaking betrayal were really the core of the story. I loved the contrast between Will and Jem (dark & light) and the inner turmoil of Tessa's relationship with them. (why do we always fall for the "bad" boy?)

The elements of steam punk were fascinating (I'm loving this genre) and the clockwork army was terrifyingly brilliant! I was totally hooked from beginning to end and I'm looking so forward to the next....

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Published by Harperteen in March 2010
336 pages.
Reviewed from Library copy

from the back cover-
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.
I love discovering new authors, especially when they can write like this. It's hard to believe that this was a debut novel for Kimberly Derting because the writing was so exceptional. Filled with twists and turns, and suspense I was compelled to read it in one sitting.
Violet is a wonderfully written character, juggling life as a teenager with a strange and (scary) ability. She strives to do whats right, & use her gift to save others even though it eventually puts her in harms way and she becomes the target.
Jay her dearest friend struggles to be by her side through it all and the chemistry between them surprisingly rivals Bella & Edward.
Definitely one to add to your "to read" list-I can't wait for the next one "Desires of the Dead" -but sadly I'll have to wait until December..