Archive | May, 2011

Slave Lake book auction #1

30 May

As I mentioned last week, I’m running an online book auction to raise funds for Slave Lake Library. So over the next little while I’ll be posting links to the auction items.

The first item up for bid is a signed copy of Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Day the Falls Stood Still (one of my all time fave books). Here’s a link to the auction:

Pleas help spread the word around. The more people who know about this, the more money we can raise.

Blog tour and giveaway: Whole Foods to Thrive by Brendan Brazier

30 May

Publisher: Penguin Canada
Released: May 10th, 2011
Genre: non-fiction, health, food
From publisher for blog tour.

What impact do food choices have on your health? Have you ever been curious as to where your food came from, who grew it, and the path it took to get to your table? Have you every wondered how much of each natural resource was used to produce your food—in other words, the soil-to-table environmental cost? In Whole Foods to Thrive, Brendan Brazier clearly explains how nutrient-dense, plant-based foods are the best choice, not only for your health but also for the health and sustainability of the planet.

Versatile and packed with flavor, whole foods have an abundance of health benefits for those who want sustainable energy, high-quality sleep, physical strength, and mental sharpness. Whole Foods to Thrive builds upon Brendan’s stress-busting, energy-boosting approach to nutrition and food introduced in his acclaimed bestseller The Thrive Diet, and includes 200 delicious, easy-to-make, plant based recipes that are all allergen-free and contain no wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, dairy, or corn.

• Breakfast Cereals • Salads • Dressings, Dips, and Sauces • Soups and Sides • Burgers, Wraps, Pizza, and Rice Bowls• Cookies, Ice Cream, and Pies • Kale Chips and Nori Crisps• Energy Bars and Gels

Features recipes for dishes such as • Gorilla Food Green Tacos • Quinoa Falafels • Indian-Spiced Lentil Hemp Burgers • Maple Crispy Rice Treats.

From Penguin Canada website.

This book seriously gave me some food for thought (no pun intended. Well maybe just a little). Brazier talks about food in relation to stress and this is definitely something I’ve never really thought about.  I mean, I know that eating healthy is important but he explains how there’s eating healthy and then there’s eating healthy.  I’m not going to go into it here in the review because I would most likely screw up the science, but he presents a solid case for eating whole foods and explains that there’s a huge difference between filling up and being full. And the way he explained everything, although very scientific, also made a lot of sense and I found myself going  “Uh huh, yup” a few times.

This isn’t just a book where Brazier explains the concept of whole foods: about half of the book is recipes using the recommended whole foods.  There are a lot of great recipes in this book, folks. So it’s kinda like getting two books for the price of one.

Here’s just one of the recipes from the book. You’ll notice it has chocolate in it. 🙂

Chocolate Almond Smoothie with Sacha Inchi Milk
Rich in protein and omega-3, this smoothie will keep you going for hours with
sustainable, non-stimulating energy.
Time: 5 minutes • Makes about 3 ½ cups (2 large servings)
1 banana
2 fresh or presoaked dried dates
1 cup water
1 cup Sacha Inchi Milk (or chocolate variation) (see p. 126)
¼ cup almonds (or 2 tbsp raw almond butter)
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp hemp protein powder
1 tbsp roasted carob powder
• In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

Giveaway time!!!!

I have, for one lucky Canadian, a wonderful prize pack containing six Vega smoothie mixes (either Shake & Go Smoothie mixes or Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer mixes) in an assortment of flavours like Vanilla Chai, Bodacious Berry, and Choc-a-Lot. Yummy!

Entering is easy (as always). Just leave me a comment. Say hello. Tell me what the weather’s like in your neck of the woods. Talk about your favorite summer food. It really doesn’t matter what you want to chat about. 🙂 Contest ends June 5th at 11:59 Est and is open to Canada only.

Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks

27 May

Publisher: SLG Publishing
Released: Nov 27th, 2007
Genre: Graphic Novel
Bought at Word on the Street because I loved the title and cover image.

Joss’s life sucks. She’s worried about exams and student loan debt when she’d much rather be watching the zombie movies she loves. So it’s no surprise that when she tells her roommates that she’s been attacked by a swarm of real-life, brain-hungering zombies-zombies!- they think the stress has finally cracked her.

But Joss knows she’s sane- and it’s a good thing, too! Because the zombies are real, and the she’s the only one who knows how to fight them. Armed with “The Rules,” truths about fighting the undead gleaned from zombie movies, Joss, Sonnet and Robyn just might make it out of their dorm alive.

From SLG Publishing website.

Holy shit this was FUNNY. And not just “ha ha how cute” funny. I mean “snorting and tears streaming down my face” funny.

I’m just getting into graphic novels and I seriously think I need to read more like Zombie Calling. It’s a short little graphic novel, but my God it packs a wicked punch. Joss was a pretty cool character, as were her friends Sonnet and Robyn. And I loved that she was depending on her vast knowledge of zombie movies to keep them alive.

I also really, really dug that this takes place at a Canadian university. The whole idea of a zombie outbreak on campus was hilarious. After all, I pretty much felt like a zombie during most of my university days. 🙂

Slave Lake Book Auction

25 May

So, last evening I decided to put together an online book auction to help raise funds for Slave Lake, which was basically wiped out at the beginning of the week when it was hit with a wild fire.  In typical Colleen fashion I jumped right in, despite the fact that I’ve never done something like this before.

The first thing I did was set up a very simple blog.  I also started asking for donations and I have some AMAZING things lined up.

If you could spread the news, spread the blog and come back Monday when the auctions go live and bid, that would be great.

Let’s raise a load of money for these poor people, shall we?

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

23 May

PublisherLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Group)
June 1st, 2009
YA contemp
Bought after some douche tried to get it banned in the US.

“Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.”
“Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?”
“Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?”

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie—she’s already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

From Hachette website.

So a while back some religious fanatic freak douchebag was trying to get Twenty Boy Summer banned. I think the reason was because Anna and her best friend were planning to hook up with 20 different guys. Or maybe it was the very PG13 sex scene. But most likely it was the aforementioned douchebaggery. Because I read this book, fell in love with this book and so couldn’t see the issue.

To say Twenty Boy Summer wasn’t at all what I was expecting would be putting it mildly. For some reason I thought this was going to be funny, light and a bit fluffy. So, let me warn you now: it is none of these things. I basically cried my way through the book, having to stop a few times to get myself together. Ockler attacks the issue of loss and how different people deal with it in different ways so honestly that at times the book was painful to read. What Anna and Frankie go through, both together and apart, is nothing short of heart wrenching.

Like most books that unknowing and small-minded twits try to get band, this is an important read for teens, especially if they’ve lost someone in their lives. And it’s one of the most touching and honest books I’ve ever read. So much so that I’m actually getting a bit emotional as I write this review and I’m having a hard time getting my feelings about Twenty Boy Summer down.

I guess it boils down to this: Twenty Boy Summer moved me. It wasn’t overwrought with a lot of hand-wringing and such, but the book is filled with so much emotion that it’s basically spilling from the pages. Ockler wrote a beautiful and important YA novel. And anyone who thinks that there is anything wrong or dirty about this book seriously needs some help.

The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods by Kate Inglis

20 May

Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Released: Oct 30th, 2009
Genre: MG
Bought at Word on the Street because of  its awesome title.

The pirates of the Dread Crew, ruthless junk hunters, are on the rampage through the Maritime woods. On their trail is a boy pirate tracker Eric Stewart, who gathers mounting evidence of their hooliganism until one day their clue-laden path of destruction completely disappears. Little does Eric know that the rumbling, stinking pirates are much, much closer than he thinks. This paperback edition includes eight pages of new content including a pirate glossary and praise pages. Check out for lots more additional content! This book is recommended for antsy boys who long for glory, for spritely girls inclined to reach out for adventure, and for good-humored grown-ups who like the smack of Limburger and devils’s club sandwiches with a dash of junebug pepper. The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods contains things disgusting, rude, repulsive and crush-like in nature. It also includes the most gigantic party ever seen, a rampaging woodship, random explosions, a prison, an escape, inventions, blackberry sploosh and many, many secrets as well as unexplained stinks.

From Nimbus Publishing website

The hubs and I have no plans to ever have children. But once I started reading The Dread Crew, I wanted to pop out a kid and have it speed grow to about 8 or so that we could read this book together. It was that good. For me, it’s everything a kids book should be: imaginative, informative, fun and at times gross. Very gross.

This was such a cool book. I mean, it has PIRATES. Disgusting, gross, icky pirates that Inglis still managed to make lovable. And as with the best characters, there’s more than meets the eye with this crew.

I honestly had no idea where Inglis was going with the story, and I don’t want to ruin it for you, but it’s pretty amazing. And, more importantly, believable. There were twist and turns and unexpected adventures but the story lands where it should and the ending was fun and satisfying.

The Dread Crew is such a fun book that I think all kids will like it. And most adults, too.

Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau

19 May

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Released: Dec 1st, 2010
Genre: YA, tweens, paranormal
Purchased for Coco my Kobo.

Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning…

If she hadn’t been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting…

From Sourcebook website

OMG, OMG,  O.M.G!!!!!!  Cute, cute, CUTE! Loved, loved LOVED!!!!!!!! Buy it, buy it, BUY IT!!!!!!!!!

And that’s basically my review. Okay, I guess I should do some specific gushing of why this book was so wonderful and why you all must buy it right away so you can love it as much as I do.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been Jade’s age, but some of the things she embarrassingly goes through made me cringe in an holy-crap-that’s-so-embarrassing way. Boudreau nails those moments and I dare anyone to read them and not be able to identify with Jade.

This was a gigglicious book. There were laugh out loud moments and I found myself chuckling through most of. I really enjoy my paranormal with a side dish of funny and that’s exactly what Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings was. It was the perfect balance of serious and light.

Despite the fact that this was a humorous book, there was a lot of meat to it and I LOVED the whole mermaid angle. There’s mythos and mystery throughout and the plot had me hooked until the end. Actually, it had me hooked well past the end because as soon as I finished it I started hounding Helene about how much I needed more of Jade. And thankfully there is a sequel in the works. 🙂