Tuesday, 11 September 2018

the Bad Guys in Alien VS Bad Guys #6 by Aaron Blabey

My first venture into this young reader series.  It was funny and the humour  totally appropriate to a 7-10 year old.

The bad guys, who don't really seem all that bad, are stuck on an alien ship.  Escape is going to be difficult.  If they can stick together, they might all get out of it.  Friendship plays and important part of this story.

I would happily recommend this series for any young reader.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Midnight Reynolds and the Agency of Spectral Protection by Catherine Holt

Midnight and Tabitha are a team.  Even though they are only twelve, for the past six months they have been working with the Agency of Spectral Protection, ASP, to release trapped spectral energy.  After witnessing a spectacular robbery, ASP requests the two to investigate the situation.  They soon realize that this case is far beyond what was covered in their training.    They forge ahead none the less.

This is a fun middle school story.  It involves two friends who are trying to stay under the radar at school and home when they are carrying out work for ASP.  Both use different approaches to keeping life and work separated and now they have added dating into the ix.  Midnight and Tabitha appear quite different, they they understand each other and work together well.  They have turned their differences into assets. Did I mention the vikings and ray gun.

I enjoyed this story, but wish I had read Midnight Reynolds and the Spectral Transformer, the first book in the series, before hand.

I received and advanced reader copy of this book from Albert Whitman and Company and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Sky Over Lima by Juan Gomez Barcena

Set in Peru at the turn of the twentieth century, this is the fictionalized account of a love affair via letter.  Spanish poet Juan Ramon Jimenez had fallen in love with Georgina, a young woman in Lima who wrote to him begging for a copy of his recent book of poetry that had not yet been published in her country.  They subsequently carried on a correspondence for a few years during which he fell in love with her. 

Unknown to Juan, it was actually two young men who collaborated to compose and send the letters of Georgina.  It had started out innocently, as they did seek a copy of his book.  For what ever reason, they continued with the ruse until it threatened to be exposed.

It was fascinating to read how the author proposed the reasons for why Jose and Carlos continued with this fakery.  It felt so real, that it was possible it truly did occur in that manner.  Some letters have survived the ravages of time and obviously led the author to create this captivating story.  The rest, pure speculation...

I loved this book.  It is a unique tale made even more appealing by it's historical accuracies.  Jose and Carlos are young men at odds with the futures their fathers have decided for them.  Instead, they fancy themselves to be poets, even though they are not published and it seemed they weren't destined to be.  They both came from a life of privilege that allowed them the time to indulge in such whimsy as this.  I wonder if they regretted their activity afterwards and if they ever tried to make amends for their actions.

This is a highly readable tale which effectively transported me to another time and lifestyle.


Monday, 4 June 2018

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

I loved this book.  Once I started reading I couldn't put it down.

High school is often the place where you forge new friendships.  Some will be passing and others will last a lifetime.  And then there will be the ones that change your life, forever.

Just one year earlier, Bee, Whitley, Martha, Cannon, Kipling and Jim had been friends in high school.  Jim was now dead and Bee hadn't seen the others since going away to college.  She suspects that the remaining four friends know more about Jim's death than they are letting one.  She need to know the truth so she can move on with her life, in fact, her life depends on her learning the truth.

How well can you truly know another person.  We all have secrets that we are unwilling to share.  Some are embarrassing and others might be criminal, but they are our secrets to tell or not.  What if you are keeping a secret to spare anther person from pain or anguish, does that make it all right.  Bee has her own secrets and she is determined to find out those of her former friends no matter what.

This tale spins out in a totally unique manner that I could not have imagined.  I am still pondering how I would have handled these events. Would I have been like Martha and taken an academic approach or a more hedonistic one similar to Whitley.

I am being cryptic as I don't want to give away anything.  There are so many varied actions that the characters take that I loved and hated them at different points.  It makes me wonder why the truth can be so hard to tell.

If you enjoyed Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz, you'll love Neverworld Wake.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Stitch'n Time : How to Know when you've Found the Right Project

How do you know when you've hit on the right project for your self.  Some projects seem to drag on for ever and you find your self willing to do anything else, even house cleaning instead of working on 'the project'.  Other times, you will let the rest of the world pass by while you stitch away,  This dotty blanket is of the second type  I am so excited about watching it grow that I am easily able to ignore even a rumbly tummy to knit another block.

This photo shows how to start and inner block.  All the stitches are picked up from the previous blocks.

Most patterns will tell you to finish the first row across, one block of each colour/pattern, then start the second row.  Visually, it seems to take so very long to finish a row.  I decided I would stitch the diagonal rows instead.  Two more green blocks and then I'll start on the light blue squares.  These squares go very quickly as they are only about 5 inches a side.

I was watching Netflix while stitching and accidentally binged on a show.  oops.  I don't do that as a rule, but I was getting carried away one morning.  I guess that will just skew my statistics a wee bit.  oh wait, that's a good thing.

As I knit, I have been working in as many ends as possible.  I am thinking that with the little dots, it will be hand to pull the end threw on a needle.  I can't recall having worked with such a bumpy yarn before.  It is fun though.

The weather here has been hot. Too hot to comfortable sit outside or do anything in the yard.  I have cranked on the AC and have been lurking inside, sometimes reading and others stitching.  I hope that the weather in your area is behaving and no unseasonal storms.  If you have been managing to stitch, Mister Linky is waiting below.  I'd also love to see any afghans/blankets that you stitched and loved, so add previous links to those posts.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner

I loved this.  I could not put it down.  With themes of cos-play, Dungeon's and Dragons role playing and creating the perfect character garment, there is lots to love.

Cameron, her twin brother Cooper and family have recently moved and are settling into a new town.  She needs to be working on her clothing portfolio for her college interviews, though she is lacking inspiration.  Trips to the comic store are dis-spiriting due to the 'anti-female' vibes that Brody, the manager, exudes.  When her father suggests she use his D&D book as a beginning point to create characters, it starts her along a bumpy and twisted path to  discovering her creativity and other things.

I loved everything about this book except that it ended too soon.  The relationships between Cameron and Cooper is tight yet not perfect.  They fully support each other but at the  same time won't let the other drown in self pity.

When Cameron is working on a garment/costume, she is totally immersed.  The description of her working was so vivid that I could imagine the shimmering fabrics and flying pins and needles.

This book should have wide appeal among teen and older readers.  You don't have to be involved in cos-play or D&D to enjoy this story.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, 25 May 2018

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Wonderful story of adventure and exploration.  Readers will travel  with Aru and Mini as they try to save the world from the destruction that the Sleeper seeks.  Along the way they will encounter an assortment of Indian deities, visit mythological destinations and learn about the power of friendship.

Aru was tired of being the social outcast at her exclusive school.  When three of her classmates visit the museum where she lives, they catch her up in a lie.  Not wanting this to be spread around school, she accepts a dare to light the cursed Lamp of Bharata.  Oops, that was the one thing her mother told her she must never do.  She has now unleashed a deadly force into the worlds.

I enjoyed following Aru and Mini on their adventure.  Boo made for an interesting, though reluctant  guide.  Young readers will also enjoy Boo, especially considering that he is a magical pigeon.  Author Roshani Chokshi does a good job of introducing the myriad of Indian gods to readers.  She gives enough information to follow the story line, but also alludes to a much more detailed story behind each one.

I feel that this novel will appeal most to the younger middle school reader.  Would also work well as a classroom read aloud to accompany a cultural study of India.