Tag Archives: Tundra books

In My Mailbox

19 Sep

This weekly meme is a great way to let other readers know what books they should be looking out for. In My Mailbox is hosted by the  The Story Siren.  You can find out more deets about it  here.

I was too sick last Sunday to do an IMM post, so this is for the last two weeks. Bear with me: there’s a lot of books.

BOUGHT

So this week I kinda failed big-time on the whole book buying ban. I ended up buying a bunch of books using an in store credit I had.  Since part of my goal was to save money, I sorta didn’t fail. But I did bring more books into the house.

I could stress out and feel bad, but I’m not gonna. It happened. No biggie.

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
The Birth House by Ami McKay
The Gravesavers by Sheree Fitch

BOOKMOOOCHED
The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Trapped in Ice by Eric Walters
Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Mongomery

GIFTED
The Candidates by Inara Scott – Sent to me by the lovely Monica at Bibliophilic Book Blog.

REVIEW
Jake by Audrey Couloumbis (Random House Canada)
Torment by Lauren Kate (Random House Canada)
Dust City by Robert Weston (Penguin Canada)
Virals by Kathy Reichs (Penguin Canada)
The Eternal Ones bu Kirten Miller (Penguin Canada)
The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines by Jo Ann Yhard (Nimbus Publishing)
The Fall by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro (HarperCollins Canada)

Amazing book care package from Tundra Press:
Gunner: Hurricane Horse by Judy Andrekson
Avalanche Dance by Ellen Schwartz
Winter Shadows by Margaret Buffie
Dear George Clooney Please Marry my Mom by Susin Nielsen
Ghost Trackers by Chris Gudgeon
The Nightwood by Robin Muller
Here Comes the Bride by Beatrice Mann and Anna Laura Cantone

And, I bought some ebooks this week. Why, you ask? Because I got a Kobo eReader!!!!!!! Thanks bunches to my awesomely wickedly amazing folks who got it for me as an early Christmas gift.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Radiance by Alyson Noel
Intrinsical by Lani Woodland

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Review: No Moon by Irene N. Watts

25 Jun

Tundra Books, 2010

A story of reliance and resilience. Did you call out to us, Johnny, before your small body was dragged down under the water? Why didn’t we hear you? I am sorry! I’ll never forget.

Louisa Gardener is the fourteen-year-old nursemaid to the young daughters of a wealthy, titled family living in London, England, in 1912.

Despite the bullying Nanny Mackintosh, for whom she is an extra pair of hands, she loves her work and her young charges. Then everything changes. The family decides to sail to New York aboard the Titanic. An accident to the children’s nanny, only days prior to the sailing, means that Louisa must go in her stead. She cannot refuse, although she dreads even the mention of the ocean. Memories she has suppressed, except in nightmares, come crowding back.

When Louisa was five and her sister seven years old, their two-year-old brother died on an outing to the seaside. Since that time, Louisa has had a fear of the ocean. She blames herself for the accident, though she has been told it wasn’t her fault.

If Louisa refuses to go on the voyage, she will be dismissed, and she will never get beyond the working-class life she has escaped from.

From Tundra Books website.

I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction in the past. It isn’t because I hate the genre, but more because I just didn’t have a strong interest in it. But in the last year I’ve read a couple of great adult historical fiction novels, including The Day the Falls Stood Still. I recently decided to give YA historical fiction a go, and to my delight it’s fast becoming one of my favorite genres.

No Moon definitely qualifies as historical fiction. And even though it’s story line is somewhat centered around the ill-fated Titanic, the Titanic plot line was secondary to Louisa’s story. So, even though most of us know what happened to the Titanic, this retelling never appeared stale. Nor was that part of the novel over-dramatic and heavy, which I appreciated.

Watts’ created such a wonderful character in Louisa that her decision of whether or not  to go on the Titanic weighed on me. I felt vested in what happened to her and the family she was working for so much that at times I wanted to yell “Don’t go!”. The will she or won’t she element of the book presented some nice moments of tension for both the character and the reader.

This was a short read (232 pages) but very meaty in detail and character development.  I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA historical fiction.

A big curtsy to Tundra Books for the review copy.

Alison Dare’s Double Dare Blog Tour

15 Jun

I was so happy when I got the chance to not only read the wickedly amazing Alison Dare graphic novels by the equally wickedly amazing  J. Torres and J. Bones, but also to have a bit of fun creating my own Alison Dare mini adventure as part of the Alison Dare Double Dare blog tour.

My thoughts:

Okay, first of all, how cool is Alison Dare? The daughter of an archeologist mom and librarian/crime fighting superhero dad, Alison always has lots of adventures. And, of course, plenty of chance for misadventure. Both of these graphic novels, Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden were so much fun! Seriously. The art work was super, the story lines outstanding and quite often I found myself laughing out loud at Alison’s antics and some of the supporting cast of characters.  The novels had an old school 1940s-1950s radio serial feel to them. Kinda like Batman meets Indiana Jones meets the Mummy. Just super cool.

The adventure: The Case of the Pharaoh’s Cat

Never one to shy away from trouble or adventure, Alison Dare recently went on a brave rescue mission. On location with her mom, Alison stumbled upon a nefarious plan by Vlad the evil mastermind to steal the Pharaoh’s precious kitty cat. With her father tied up elsewhere and her mother busy with the dig, it was left up to Alison to save the day!

"You'll never be able to fight your way to the Pharaoh's kitty cat, Alison! Not if I can help it!"

Harvey, the giant gargoyle was scary, but using her wit and some luck, Alison was able to defeat him with a quick game of "Hey, what's that behind you?".

The next hurdle was the giant grackle gang. This may very well be the toughest opponent Alison has ever come up against! Well, besides brussels sprouts and her math homework.

The head grackle was tough, but no match for Alison. After feeding him some cat food and strawberries, he went right to sleep, leaving the way to the Pharaoh's kitty cat wide open.

The Pharoah's kitty cat was rescued and returned to its proper place. And once again Alison Dare saves the day!

The contest:

The folks over at Tundra books are hosting a super fun contest to win some Alison Dare swag. Just pop on over, print out one or both of the Alison Dare photos and have some fun. I know I did.

Thanks so much to the folks over at Tundra books for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and for the review copies.

Review: Me & Death: An Afterlife Adventure by Richard Scrimger

14 Jun

Tundra Books, 2010

The story of one boy’s experience with the (not so) sweet hereafter.

Fresh from having stolen a piece of fruit and taunting the grocer, Jim, a fourteen-year-old wannabe gangster, bully, and car thief, is run over by a car. What follows is a hilarious, bleak, and ultimately hopeful visit to the afterworld, courtesy of Richard Scrimger, one of the country’s finest writers.

This is an afterlife peopled with unforgettable characters that might be drawn from video games: angry Slayers, tearful Mourners, and scary Grave Walkers. Jim meets them all and is given the chance to return to earth with the extraordinary gift of knowing what happens when we die. Now he must deal with living demons, including a neighborhood torturer and a truly creepy older sister. With imagery from the mean streets as well as the arcade, Me and Death is thought-provoking, exciting, sad, and funny — sometimes all at the same time.

From Tundra Books website.

Okay, I’m going to get a bit patriotic here for just a second: I LOVE quirky kids books by Canadian authors. Sure, there are quirky books published in other countries, but in my opinion Canadian authors just go that extra quirky distance. And Me & Death by Richard Scrimger was plenty enough quirky for my tastes. A sort of retelling of A Christmas Carol but with a mean kid instead of an old man, there was so much in this book that made me smile. I mean it talks about double doubles, crullers and maple cookies. So Canadian I loved it!

In the vein of a traditional redemption story, Jim starts off quite the rotten egg, but slowly changes as he meets different people in the afterworld and comes to realize what’s ahead for him if he doesn’t change his ways.  Jim’s a great character, and while Scrimger went overboard with Jim’s bullying ways (but overboard in a fun way), the book never really came off as preachy when Jim starts to straighten out.

I loved how all of the characters in Me & Death seemed so random at first, but in the end they all tied together and intertwined. Stories like this always help me to realize just how small the world is and how one action can have a lasting effect on many.

I did find that there was a chapter or two towards the end that seemed a bit uneven and way more serious than the rest of the book. I found that the slight change in tone took me out of the story. But with that being said, it was still a wonderful book and one that I would highly recommend.

Browse inside Me & Death.

Thankfully I didn’t have to bully Tundra Books into sending me a review copy.

Review: Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen

11 May

Tundra Books, 2010

Twelve-year-old Ambrose is a glass-half-full kind of guy. A self-described “friendless nerd,” he moves from place to place every couple of years with his overprotective mother, Irene. When some bullies at his new school almost kill him by slipping a peanut into his sandwich — even though they know he has a deathly allergy — Ambrose is philosophical. Irene, however, is not and decides that Ambrose will be home-schooled.

Alone in the evenings when Irene goes to work, Ambrose pesters Cosmo, the twenty-five-year-old son of the Greek landlords who live upstairs. Cosmo has just been released from jail for breaking and entering to support a drug habit. Quite by accident, Ambrose discovers that they share a love of Scrabble and coerces Cosmo into taking him to the West Side Scrabble Club, where Cosmo falls for Amanda, the club director. Posing as Ambrose’s Big Brother to impress her, Cosmo is motivated to take Ambrose to the weekly meetings and to give him lessons in self-defense. Cosmo, Amanda, and Ambrose soon form an unlikely alliance and, for the first time in his life, Ambrose blossoms. The characters at the Scrabble Club come to embrace Ambrose for who he is and for their shared love of words. There’s only one problem: Irene has no idea what Ambrose is up to.

From Tundra Books website

 

Man, don’t you love when you pick up a book to read and about three sentence in you’re like, “This rocks!”.  Yeah, that’s how it was for me and Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen. 

Ambrose, and all of the characters, are wonderfully quirky, but not so much that they aren’t believable. All of us, regardless of our age, know or have known an Ambrose (some of us have been an Ambrose). Awkward, geeky, no social skills yet blissfully unaware most of the time. He was just such a great character to read about and get to know, from his scrabble loving ways to his purple pants and hand made hat.

The friendship that blossoms between Ambrose and Cosmo is so unlikely, yet makes perfect sense at the same time. Kinda like when someone dares you to eat some food combination that should be gross but is totally delicious.

Nielsen has written episodes of the popular Canadian TV series Degrassi Junior High and also four Degrassi books (there are Degrassi books? MUST FIND!), so she is well versed and well practiced in writing about youngsters. And it shows in her writing. Everything described, no matter how weird, is believable.

There are messages in Word Nerd but they don’t seem forced. From family love, to getting over our fears after losing someone, to realizing that no matter how weird you are, there’s a place where you fit in, this is just a warm and funny and fuzzy book. And I can’t wait to read more from this author.