23 February 2015

REVIEW: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by A. Bradley

Title: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Author: Alan Bradley
Genre / Pages: Fiction, Crime / 358
Publication: 2015
Rating: 4th shelf
Source: Chapters Indigo
Lj's plot in one pot: Ms de Luce, having been transplanted to Canada, finds something rotten at Miss Bodycote's (and I ain't talking about the corpse).

If you have read any of my reviews on the Flavia series, this one won't surprise you. Flavia is, quite simply, my spirit animal. She is a quirky, precocious, chemistry wizard, who seems to attract dead bodies...yet her naïveté with some worldly situations belies her actual age of 12.

If you haven't read the previous instalments...Spoilers ahead!

Following the arrival of her long-lost mother's remains, Flavia is sent to boarding school in Canada to learn how to be an active member of the "Nide" (a secret society).

A friend who also reads the series told me that fans of Bradley's ingenious murder plots will be disappointed, whereas fans of Flavia will be pleased as punch. She was spot on. Although there is a murder, it is definitely the background plot, whilst Flavia snoops on, being tormented by school girls as opposed to her sisters.

Flavia is so expertly written, I continually am shocked to remember that she is written by a man.  Story arc and historical accuracy (and obviously fantastic character development) make this a great read!

"I came to the conclusion, at last, that it was like this: Tickling and learning were much the same thing. When you tickle yourself - ecstasy; but when anyone else tickles you - agony." (p.110)

07 January 2015

REVIEW: Yes, Please by A. Poehler

Title: Yes, Please
Author: Amy Poehler
Genre / Pages: Nonfiction, Humour / 
Publication: e-book
Rating: 3rd shelf
Source: Chapters Indigo
Lj's plot in one pot: Leslie Knope, I mean, Amy Poehler shares her down-home wisdom, including how to be funny, how cell phones are killing us and well, other stuff.

I was so excited to read this book. Like, NKOTB concert-goers excited. Predictably, what often happens when you get ridiculously amped for something...well, I was a little let down. 

It's not that it wasn't funny, or thoughtful or relevant...it was, I just. Hmm

Okay, I felt like she was lecturing at a college campus, not chatting with a friend. She was teaching, relating, etc., just I didn't really feel like she cared.  

Anyway, it was a good read.  

06 January 2015

REVIEW: The Honest Toddler by B. Laditan

Title: The Honest Toddler
Author: Bunmi Laditan
Genre / Pages: Nonfiction, Parenting, Humour / 240
Publication: Harper Collins, 2013
Rating: 4th shelf
Source: Chapters Indigo
Lj's plot in one pot: Only slightly evil genius toddler elucidates, with care and concern, how parents might best serve their tiny lords and ladies...basically do EXACTLY what they say, before they say it.

The honest toddler is my spirit animal!  She is a sweet, caring individual who simply knows what she wants! And what she wants is EVERYTHING, but also NOTHING.

Written through the perspective of a toddler (who is unflinchingly honest), the reader learns a variety of rules and regulations (i.e. Broken crackers need not apply) about how to cope with...err I mean adore their toddler.

This book had me rolling around in silent laughter (as I could only read it during nap time and bed time), and I can't imagine that I could find humour in some of the atrocities that occur during toddlerhood.  I sincerely found almost each example/description perfectly fitting to my little guy and can't wait for my other friends-with-toddlers (there should be a support group) to read this as well.

Exhibit A? I started dog-earing pages that literally made me lol, and had to stop because I was folding every page!  I will try to select only the bestest quotes for y'all, and if they please you, then go find the book.

"Don't let your shower curtain become a love barrier...Gently yank it down and throw it in the trash.  Splash around with your toddler and live for once.  Someone else will clean up the mess.  They always do, trust me...I do believe that many adults prefer to bathe alone because they are ashamed of their bodies...Toddlers are generous people and will pretend not to notice after staring without blinking for five to ten minutes" p.104

"Toddlers know the minute their heads hit the pillow, you release balloons and unwrap a cake.  We are perfectly aware that when we're trapped in our rooms, wearing the wrong pajamas, you are eating a second, more desirable dinner...We're onto you.  Parents, you look terribly exhausted every single morning, and it's because you stay up until two a.m., looking at wavy hair on Pinterest and eating Almond Joys." p.227

05 January 2015

REVIEW: Rush Home Road by L. Lansens

Title: Rush Home Road
Author: Lori Lansens 
Genre / Pages: Fiction, Coming-of-Age / 547
Publication: Vintage Canada, 2003
Rating: 3rd shelf
Source: Library
Lj's plot in one pot: Not so sweet lil Sharla Cody teaches Mum Addy a thing (or ten) about forgiveness as we peek into Adelaide's youth as a citizen of Rusholme, ON.

I am back! After a gentle nudge via social media, I realized I DO have the time in my life to spend on my blog.  Hopefully I can update things quickly and will have lots of  good (and bad!) reviews to share in the upcoming weeks.

This book was a book club choice and originally I was not looking forward to it (can you say Oprah's book club?!?).  But I immediately began to soak up the rich history that belongs to Adelaide.

The story is written with alternating chapters; between present and flashbacks to Addy's childhood and youth. 

Subject matter was tough to take, abandonment, death (at all stages of life), etc. Sharla had some decent comedic timing to lighten the (very) heavy load of Adelaide's misfortune. 

"Addy Shadd's skin was the colour of root beer, so wrinkled and stretched it looked like there was enough of it to cover two people...The lines around her lips puckered like a bum when she smoked her cigarette." p.18

Interested in learning more about the real life town that was the inspiration for Rusholme settlement in Canada? Click link here for the Buxton Museum website. 

10 November 2010

REVIEW: A Priest in Hell by R. Radic

Title:  A Priest in Hell
Author:  R. Radic
Genre / Pages:  Nonfiction, Memoir / 333
Publication: ECW Press, 2009
Rating:  2nd Shelf 
Source:  publisher copy
lj's plot in one pot: After embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, former priest, Radic spends six months in prison; in this text, he shares his awful account of jail life.

This book really appealed to the trashy person hiding deep inside me (and I suspect all of us).  Okay, so the blurb makes a reference to "Cops" and after reading that, I was sold.

However, upon further inspection, I became less than thrilled.  The author used crass and just gross terminology so jarringly that I had to read things aloud to J, to share my disgust (and flush those words out of my brain).  And...anyone who knows me knows that I am not prudish when it comes to language, so if this offended me...then you can be assured that is it BAD.  I also had this feeling the whole time that it was really forced.  Like when your teachers used to try to use slang and it just feels wrong.

That being said, it was kinda neat to hear about the daily in's and (for a select few) out's of prison.  But more enjoyable than that...was knowing that my book was eco-friendly!  I participated in this really cool campaign (see previous post) that united 200 bloggers to help spread the word about Green Books.  Please go to this site for more info about the campaign.

Ooops, I forgot a quote...now this is not safe for work / children / church-goers / most decent humans with a pulse, but I had to show you the reality of most of this book.
"They were 'associates' outside in the real world.  Not friends.  [He] makes a clear distinction between friends and associates.  I am not sure of the separation, but an associate is less than a friend, deficient in some vague way, untrustworthy perhaps.  [His] meager vocabulary, emanating from his decomposing brain, due, of course, to his affaire d'amour with meth, is powerless to supply me with a precise definition." p.161
"Milk is like crystal meth to chomos [child molesters].  In the best Faustian tradition, they will trade their souls for it.  It is not unusual to watch [him] consume four or five milks at a meal.  I don'tknow why they crave it the way vampires crave blood, but they do." p.137
Okay, okay, I caved - I just couldn't have those words on my little site...If you must, drop a comment and I can pass the book along :)