Category Archives: Book Reviews

Spooktacular and Scary

Helloooo fellow spooks and…non-spooks, I guess is what I’ll call them. *Ahem* Pardon me. 

WELCOME BACK!!

It has been faaaaar too long since I last did a book review…whoops! But now I’m back with not one, not two, but THREE spooktacular books for all you who are going to celebrate Hallowe’en, and are looking for some ghost stories, zombie-munching tales, or some monster-under-the -bed type jazz. Well do I have some tales for you!

First one (we’re doing it from creepiest to creepyish) is The Infects by Sean Beaudoin. Alright, spook alert: if you are terrified of zombie invasions the way some people are terrified of heights, the dark or adorable cats, DO NOT read this book! Even if you are not terrified of zombie invasions, I would still not reccomend your read this during the night or rigt before going to sleep or hiking. I made the mistake of reading it right before bed (or half of it anyway)…Worst…idea…EVER. I was kicking myself over it when I woke up at midnight. So unless your looking to creep yourself out of sleep or you are not afraid of zombies at all…then don’t read it at night.

Alrighty, on with the book. I can’t really describe it without spoiling it outright. So a brieff runsown; “Nero” ,Nick. Fail. Rehabilitation hike in the forest goes sour. Zombies. Eat people. This book is quite descriptive in how the poor people were eaten. Chicken nuggets casued it. I am seriously swearing off KFC for awhile now. 

That about does it. I don’t want to say anyhing more or I’ll ruin it, because as scary as it was, it’s a good book. So, I’ll just motor along to the next two.

Both books are relatively the same, so I’ll lump’em together. Both are non-fiction, or at least that is where you’d find them in most libraries.

No.1 ~ Canadian Ghost Stories by Barbara Smith

No.2 ~ Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Anne Christensen

Yay!! CANADIAN GHOST STORIES!! I would have picked one from another country(Germany has quite a few spooky ones as does Japan)but sadly I do not own any books with ghost stories from other countries. If any of you know of any I could get my hands on, please let me know.

You can probably guess what both books are about. No.1 contains “true” stories of peoples experiemces with ghosts which they re-told to this Barbara Smith and she wrote them in a book. Some are pretty good! Others…nnnnot so much. But it is a good read. As is No.2 which ia kinda the same but set in BC only. Places that are haunted , who haunts there, etc.

I think that about covers it! And once again, The Infects, is a scary book so don’t read it to younger kids/siblings or let thsm read it unless you think they can handle it.

Happy Spooky All Hallow’s Eve! 

Yours, Seren Llewellyn

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Haunting Hallows Eve!

(My bad for not typing this out before Halloween…)

Hello my spooktacular pals! Hallows Eve is as you know, approaching fast! 5 more days from now…

I have braved the horrifying stories and books such as The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy and Long Lankin by Lindsay Barradough to the The Well’s End by Seth Fishman, to bring you , not one but two horrific Hallows Eve books.

Lets get the first and most horrifying book I read over first. (fyi: it has demonic dolls and I hate demonic dolls)

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Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz is a great a book if you love to be creeped out. Told by six different peoples point of view, you get several views of the story.

There’s Derik, film-maker wanna-be. Liza, a girl with many problems she wishes she could solve. Mimi, goth girl extreme. Greta, the popular wanna-be movie star. Tony, he’s the guy version of Greta and Chet, the tough guy with a need to get away from home.

So when Derik goes around asking if anyone would help him with a film he’s going to make at the run-down Danvers State Hospital. The Hospital was built in 1878 and closed in 1992, was a mental institution and rumoured to be the birthplace of the Lobotomy. Liza, Mimi, Greta, Tony and Chet agree to go.

Its the Eve of the hospitals demolition and the six made their move and break in. But all the good and fun quickly turns into a horrible nightmare as they unravel the secret lives of those who lived in the dark rooms and walked down the hallways…and the spirit of those who still so.

I would not advise anyone under 10 years,(even13!) to read this book. It was scary and not for anyone too young.

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Next is Zombie Elementary by Howard Whitehouse. Its not so much creepy, but funny.

10 1/2 year old Larry Mullet was at the school one day(totally normal right?)when he bumps into Alex Bates and he doesn’t look….right. He shambled and says “Naaarrrrggghhh” and “Brrrraaaaiiinnnnssss”. Now Larry has to join ranks with his friends and kick some serious Zombie butt before there turn everyone in Acorn Falls into the undead!

This one isn’t really gruesome so younger kids could read it, but it’s all up to you parents right?

Happy Hallows Eve! (which has already gone by…sorry…D)

Yours most spooktaculary,

Seren

 

 

 

 

You Can Be Strong

Bonjour, mes amis!

It has been a long time since I last wrote. Thing is we’ve been very busy with school and work. I was working at our public library all summer and didn’t have time to do much else. As Mom has probably said we homeschool. I love homeschoolling!! 🙂

Now onto the books! I have two books to share today. One is one I got from BC Interlibrary connect, as you can see from the picture. Haha!

First up:  I AM PRINCESS X  by Cherie Priest.

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The two girls, Libby and May, come from tow different locks of life. Libby’s mom is from Japan and she’s a Model. May lives in a tiny apartment and has a Georgia accent.

One day, when Libby had a broken leg and May had a doctor’s note, the teacher exiled the two girls, who knew nothing of each other, to the little kids playground.

The two find sidewalk chalk and Libby asks the younger kids if they’d like to watch her draw. The younger kids are leery at first but soon are yelling out things for her to draw. A horse, a dog, a boat…then a haunted house. Then a person who live in the house. A princess. Libby draws a girl who wears a puffy sleeved pink dress, a gold crown and red chucks. She gives her a Katana sword and Princess X is born.

A couple years later Libby’s mom is driving them home one night, when the car careeens off the bridge and into the water. Everyone presumes Libby died, and Princess X died with her.

May is now sixteen. Alone and sad when she see’s a sticker in a window. The sticker is a drawing of a girl in a girl in a puffy pink dress, a gold crown, red chucks and a Katana sword….soon May see’s Princess X everywhere and finds a website IAmPrincessX.com There are strange connections to the webcomic and Libby’s death and only one person could have made them…..Libby, who lives.

I AM PRINCESS X is a great book with parts of the webcomic inside, so you can follow and find clues along with May. If you like mysteries…you’ll like I AM PRINCESS X!

Onto the next book!

This one is more of a book of short stories. It is called Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls  by Jane Yolen and illustrations by Susan Guevara.

Long ago and sometimes even now, the only heroes you hear about are normally male. How sexist right?! We’ve all heard about(or most of us)the Twelve Tasks of Hercules and others. What about the girls?!

This book is filled with stories of strong willed girls. They are from Greece, USA, Argentina,Japan, Poland, Romania and Scotland….sorry no Canadians…maybe soon! It’s great for boosting up our self-esteem as well as teaching younger girls and teens, like me, that we don’t have to be weak and play “the damsel in distress”. We don’t need a man to “save” us or need a man to always be there.

Examples of the tales are:

  • Atalanta the Huntress(Greece)
  • Brave Woman Counts Coup(USA-White River Sioux)
  • The Pirate Princess(Poland-Jewish)
  • Burd Janet(Scotland)

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I hope you have a lot of fun reading and I will try to get another book review written soon!

Au revior mes amis!

Yours most Book Dragonly,

Seren ❤

Mom note: In the back of Not One Damsel in Distress: World folktales for Strong Girls there is a “Note on the Stories” section where Jane Yolen explains more of where she found the Folktales.

Here are a few books she mentions:

  • Woman Warriors: A History by David E. Jones
  • West African Folktales by Steven H. Gale
  • The King of the Mountains: A Treasury of Latin American Folk Stories by Moritz A. Jagendorf
  • The Maid of the North: Feminist Folk Tales from Around the World by Ethel Johnston Phelps.

Seren and I hope you are enjoying the book reviews we have been writing!

❤ D

Poems & Songs

Tonight the Burns Lake Public Library had Robert “Bob” Hamblin a poet from Houston, BC come to recite his poems and songs. His style reminds me of “Cowboy Poerty” simple yet deep and heartfelt.

I love meeting Authors and Poets from our surrounding area. I love learning about the history of an area through the stories of our Elders. Bob has lived in the Houston area since 1955. I believe Houston is about half and hour from us. He has a tremor in both hands that are only noticeable when he is turning pages. He has the kindest eyes and a genuine grandfather smile. He talked to each of the girls, shook their hands and made them feel welcomed.

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It is the first time Milena actually sat through a reading without me having to “shush” her numerous times. She sat drawing and listening quietly. Seren was enthralled. Neither girls have been to a poetry reading. I was worried they’d be bored. I am glad I was wrong. I hope this inspires them.

Bob told a story behind each of the poems he recited and songs he sang. These are a few that he shared with the 8 of us:

  • CN Corridor
  • Hello Operator
  • The Bobs
  • Brother Doug
  • Camping at Francios
  • Memories of a Loved One
  • Avalanche
  • Highway of Tears
  • Old Dave Fishing

He spoke of his Brother Doug. The death of so many Moose on the CN railroad. The anguish of all the Women/girls who have gone missing on the Highway of Tears. The Bobs is about a group of guys who got stuck in a snowstorm in 2008 when 4feet of snow fell in 33hrs. Avalanche speaks of 3 young men killed in a Ski-doo accident.

All his writings are from the past and stories that inspired him to write.

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I can’t wait for him to come back to Burns Lake to read from his next book…which he says is halfway written. I will definitely enjoy reading his poetry.

Great Job Bob!

❤ D

Meeting Mark Cameron

On June 27 2016 at 6:30pm I took the girls to the Burns Lake Public Library to hear a new author read from his debut book.

 

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Mark Cameron and his masterpiece!

Mark and his wife Sheila, daughter Iris and son Simon are on a RV adventure touring BC to promote his novel ‘Goodnight Sunshine’.

When we walked in to the room He instantly said “Hey! Your the lady that held open the door for me earlier this afternoon.”

“Yes. I am” I said smiling. I had been at the library earlier to pick up Seren and he happened to be coming out as I was going in. It is something I always do. Hold open doors for people. *shrug* Habit…Seren  said”did you know that he’s an author? We bumped into eachother earlier too.Haha!”

Anyways…..

Other than my girls and I, the head Librarian and her husband were at Mark’s book reading. It was a relaxing and intimated evening. I felt like I was just hanging out with friends. The conversation was educational and personal and not strained.

Mark spoke about what inspired the book and his time in Ecuador as a volunteer at a Biological reserve. He quipped that his mid-life crisis was a trip to Ecuador,”…much cheaper than buying a sports car.” Haha! He told of the process he went through to write his book and how the book started one way and then took on a life of it’s own. This led to a personal conversation about if any of us were writers and what we write and then suggestions of great books to help writers. Mark’s son, Simon, read part of a story he was writing, before Mark read from ‘Goodnight Sunshine’.

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Simon sharing a bit of his story

Mark shared a couple of his blog posts which gave us an idea of things that inspired him and the he read us the boring chapter named chapters #6 and #25…the hidden joke was that his son, Simon, believes chapters should have good gripping names.(little jokes like this were intertwined in the evening. 🙂

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Mark reading from ‘Goodnight Sunshine’

After Mark finished his reading, he took more questions. We found out that Mark and his wife, Sheila, unschool their son and daughter. So an instant connection was made…on our side anyways. I think they would have been a great family to get to know better on a personal basis.

Milena drew a picture of Mark and gave it to him at the end. She impatiently waited until the end and he noticed that she really had something to say.

Mark ended his reading with a poem he wrote called 39 days!

I bought his book and hope to be able to sneak it into my day. Maybe even do an indepth book review on ‘Goodnight Sunshine’ of my own. If you live anywhere near his last 5 stops on Vancouver Island go meet Mark.

Thank you so much to Burns Lake Public Library for bringing in amazing and interesting authors! I can’t wait for the next one…

❤ Drisana

 

 

* * * Goddess Girls * * *

‘Allo Mes amis!

It has been almost a month since my last book review! That is WAY too long a wait for me maybe, I don’t know about you guys.

Alrighty then, let’s get started!

The title of this book review, Goddess Girls, is also the name of a book series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. I only have two of the books in the series:

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As you can probably see these two so far are focused on two of the Greek Goddesses; Athena and Aphrodite. A quick note for those of you who are not acquainted with these Goddesses: Athena is the goddess of Wisdom and the good side of war. Also weaving. Aphrodite is goddess of love and (of course) beauty.

So, the first book I’ll tell you about; Athena the Brain, is about Athena when she’s a bit younger. In the beginning she’s living with her best friend, Pallas, with no idea who her parents were, until she receives a letter scroll from her dad Zeus. She’s invited to attend MOA, Mount Olympus Academy, where she meets all the other Goddess Girls, Aphrodite, Artemis, Demeter and a couple minor goddesses and all the God boys. She enters the Science fair and has to try and keep the mega secret, secret from the horrible Medusa.

The second book; Aphrodite the Diva, is some what similar. Aphrodite is failing Hero-ology, so she decides to try to get some extra credit by making up a lonely hearts club for mortals. Only thing is one letter gets torn in half and needs to find it! She meets Isis, the Eygptian Goddess of Love, and they get into a serious fight to find out who is the true goddess of love. Will Aphrodite win?

Both of these books are great for ALL ages and are funny! I love them both!

Happy Reading!

Seren

 

Some More Todd Strasser

Allo! Allo!

It’s been awhile. Practically a whole month since my last book review.

Okay, so those of you who have read my book review called “Adventures” with the book by Todd Strasser called “Can’t Get There From Here”, know who or partly know who I’m talking about.

During my last visit I happened across a whole bunch of Todd Strasser books and I read these two which I will tell you about…

First up is “Kill you last”. It’s about a girl named Shelby Sloan who has it all. Stuff like sports cars and shopping sprees. Her father is a fashion photographer. When three girls go missing Shelby’s dad is the main suspect and all because he did his job, took head shots of the to-be models.

Shelby’s also been getting violent and threatening e-mails which doesn’t help the matter. Shelby’s determined to make sure her dad’s innocent and find out whose the mysterious e-mailer.

“Kill you last” is better read by ages 12 and up, it is not violent(much) nor gory. It is a great read for people who like mystery and spookiness!

Next is “Blood on my hands” also by Todd Strasser.

Callie Carson was a normal girl, hanging out with Katherine the schools IT girl. They talk and act like friends and then things go wrong. When the two go to a keg party, Katherine goes missing.

Unfortunately for Callie, she’s the one who finds Katherine’s body, a knife in her side. Callie picks it up and is looking stunned when another party-goer happens upon her and does what all teens would do now-a-days…..Snaps a photo and posts it. Before Callie knows it the police are looking for her and she hides, even tries out a few disguises but in the end she is caught.

“Blood on my hands” is another great book, but it is not good for younger readers…but it is your decision, isn’t it? 🙂

Au Revoir for now!

Seren