Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year 2013 Giveaway Hop

Happy New Year Everyone!!
I am happy to be part of the Happy New Year 2013 Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A WriterBabs Book Bistro.

My giveaway is for a book of your choice of up to $15 CDN from The Book Depository (so long as they ship to you).  That makes this giveaway International.
Please fill out the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be contacted by email and will have 2 days to respond. If they don't, I will pick another winner. I am not responsible for books lost in the mail.

Good luck everyone and I wish you all the best in the new year! Be sure to check out the list of other great blogs participating in this tour.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Book: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, 2012 by HarperCollins, 301 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

My Thoughts:
This is such a wonderful book, one that I tore through while it pulled my heart strings. Then I read the notes at the end and saw that it was based on a true story... Of course it was, because even if there hadn't really been an Ivan, we still have animals in cages in malls. I was shocked to learn recently that our largest mall here in Canada still has animals in concrete cages on display, the animals expected to perform. This certainly adds to the poignancy of this book. But, on with the review.

The One and Only Ivan is told from Ivan's point of view, using straight forward language and short paragraphs -- and Ivan is an adult silverback gorilla who has lived in his small, dirty cage, or "domain," in a mall for 26 years. Next to him is an injured elephant named Stella. There is also a little dog named Bobby, who visits, as well as the daughter of the night janitor.

Both art and the arrival of a baby elephant push Ivan to consider more, to become the gorilla he was meant to be, an adult silverback, the protector of his group and of the young. I love how art, the introduction of a new medium, changes Ivan's life, how he is able to express himself creatively and can use this to make changes.

Ivan's thoughts are simple, yet his observations of humanity are profound. Applegate gets her point across without condescending or preaching. Instead, she eloquently invites us into Ivan's life and his thoughts.

Children and adults will find themselves relating to him, cheering him on, feeling his losses and victories. I highly recommend this book to everyone. My husband read it to our six year old daughter and she loved it and it is a compelling, different kind of read for those who are into chapter books.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube -- it really captures the spirit of the book:

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Book Review: Eve Hallows and the Book of Shrieks

Today I am happy to be part of the book tour for Robert Gray's Eve Hallows and the Book of Shrieks.
Book: Eve Hallows and the Book of Shrieks (The Nightmare #1) by Robert Gray, 2011 by Createspace, 252 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fourteen-year-old Eve Hallows lives in a monster-inhabited place where everything is horrible, which in her world means wonderful, but things are about to become wonderful (horrible) when she must move to the human world.

My Thoughts
This was a cute book with a fun premise. Eve Hallows is the only human living in the monster realm. When it becomes unsafe for them to stay there, her and her family move to the human realm, where only Eve (sort of) fits in. 

I loved the idea of turning everything on its head and having the human realm be the unusual one. Kids will like reading how Eve finds everyday things so strange, how horrible means good and adorable means bad.

This is a fast paced book that will appeal to both girls and boys. We get to watch Eve grow and become comfortable in her human skin, but also have adventures with zombie pirate triplets.  I'm sure most kids will laugh when they read about how her and her family tries to fit into life as humans.

Kids will like reading about the monsters from her world - zombies, gorgons, vampires, fairies, invisible men, and many others - but having them be approachable and even friendly (most of the time). There is a great mix of scary and humour.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Book Blast: Eve Hallows


For fourteen-year-old Eve Hallows, life can be summed up in one word—horrible.  She has the most horrible friends.  She lives in a horrible old castle.  Even her family is a bunch of horrible monsters.

However, in the monster-inhabited world of Gravesville—a world where messages are sent through Ouija boards, jack-o’-lanterns get facials to suit their moods, and the worst thing Eve has to deal with are those annoying zombie tourists who overrun her favorite graveyard during the Halloween season—horrible means wonderful.  And everything for Eve is perfectly horrible.

But her life is about to go head over heels when a mysterious group known as The Source starts terrorizing Gravesville.  Now she must move to the human world—where everything is opposite ... and for Eve, that's absolutely adorable!

Praise for Eve Hallows and the Book of Shrieks:

"Move over, Neil Gaiman’s CORALINE and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK … make room, Lemony Snicket’s A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS … you’ve got company and competition for shelf space!" -- THE HORROR FICTION REVIEW

"WOW! What an absolutely horrible book (horrible meaning fantastic!) ... This book was laugh out loud funny.  I loved when Mom accidentally turned people to stone.  Dad's crazy attempts at running a pizza store were just hysterical." -- KIDS 'N' BOOKS

"This is the perfect book to be read aloud, read at night under the covers or simply devoured in one sitting. Robert Gray’s Eve Hallows and the Book of Shrieks simply shines with all of its fun creepiness, compelling characters and stellar writing. A MUST read for any MG fan!" -- WORD SPELUNKING

 "Eve Hallows is highly imaginative without being too complex for its target audience. Fall in love with Eve, her friends and her family of adorable monsters. Lose yourself in a light read that will remind you of those days when your English teacher just want you to read something, anything. This book is it. The one that you wish you read when you were in grade school." -- JOYOUS READS

"Overall, this book was fantastic. It presents an admirable role model as well as a strong family unit which will benefit young readers. When so many books right now have presented teens in a not-so-flattering light, it is so wonderful to find a book like this one." -- BOOK COVER JUSTICE



Ever since encountering The Source and its minions on Halloween, Eve Hallows has found life surprisingly quiet … not to mention adorably boring!  So when Dad receives a Ouija message that she must return to Gravesville, Eve couldn't be happier—at least until she discovers the Director of URNS, also known as the Grim Reaper, has a special job for Eve … one that will lead her to New York City and to the true identity of The Source.

With The Book of Shrieks offering zero help and a new URNS agent driving the school boys—and Eve!—crazy, Eve's beginning to realize this whole saving-the-world nonsense isn't what it's cracked up to be.

All this and she still has to find The Book of Shadows....

Praise for Eve Hallows and the Book of Shadows:

"This book was perfectly horrible! Horrible meaning amazingly awesome, of course. Eve's world once again sucked me in and would not let go until this part of Eve's story was finished" -- LILI LOST IN A BOOK

"This is a perfect combination of YA, Horror, Paranormal and Fun!" -- BOOK LOVERS PARADISE


Blog Tour: December 10th to 23rd

Tour Schedule

Author Robert Gray

Robert Gray is a writer.  If that job description doesn't impress you, how about fantasy writer? Too general? Well, he doesn't get insulted if you call him a horror writer. If horror's not your thing, then scratch out horror and replace it with suspense. And for the kiddies, you can slap on a YA or MG in front of that title.

Gray lives in Bushkill, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.

Book Blast $50 Giveaway
Ends 12/23/12

*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it when you follow Robert and leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Ivy and Bean

Book: Ivy and Bean (Ivy & Bean #1) by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, 2007 by Chronicle Books, 120 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy knew they wouldn't be friends. But when Bean plays a joke on her sister, Nancy, and has to hide quickly, Ivy comes to the rescue, proving that sometimes the best of friends are people never meant to like each other. Vibrant characters and lots of humor make this a charming and addictive introduction to Ivy and Bean.

My Thoughts:
I had heard so much about these books from kids. Last year, my son read all that he could get his hands on. My son's friends talk about them because their teacher is reading them to the class. They all say how much they love these books, how funny they are, how much they love when the teacher reads them. We were at the book store and my son wanted me to buy him one, so I did. When his older brother said: What do you want that for? It's a girls' book. My younger son turned around and said: No, it's not. It's a good book.

Now, my younger daughter asked me to read this one to her. She loves it. She begs me for "just one more chapter" and wants to read all of them. And, I have to admit, after years of reading books to my kids, I've found Ivy and Bean to be among the best of the early chapter books, and I can see the appeal for both boys and girls.

Ivy and Bean don't think that they will ever be friends because they are so different, but when they get together for a common cause, they find that friendship is about more than being the same as someone else and you never know what will happen when you give people a chance.

The book is also filled with humour and imagination. Ivy and Bean quickly create their own world, something which kids naturally do. The kids are also silly, get in trouble, get dirty... They do all of the things kids do. 

The illustrations really add to the book.  There are pictures every few pages, simple drawings, but they also add to the tone of the story and make the book accessible as an early chapter book for kids.

Even though this book is about two girls, I can see the appeal for boys too. It is simply a good book, as my wise son said.