Where is mlisame – aka Michelle?

Well I’m still here – just away on a conference in beautiful Vancouver. :). Trying to get some reading done after hours but with jet lag it’s been a bit tough. I’m counting on finishing Will Grayson, Will Grayson on my flight home. I’m about halfway through and have very mixed feelings about the book so far. There are parts that I absolutely adore and others that well just don’t sit so well with me… Stay tuned for a complete review once I’ve finished the book.

Talk to you all in a week….


So… what did she choose?

For those of you waiting to see what my daughter chose – drumroll…..

She was really interested in this one after I gave her a quick synopsis.  I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of it.  She started reading it the other night when she was home – in the morning she comes downstairs to make the following comment:

“Mom – she’s already dead!”  To which I corrected her and then got the “MOM!  Don’t ruin it for me!”

So – it’ll be fun to see how she makes out with it.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has had a daughter or son who has read the same book as you – were their views similar or different from yours?  My youngest and I have read a couple of books and I can tell you that our views were NOT the same – but I suspect that my eldest daughter’s views may be similar than mine….  So how bout you?

Lure by Deborah Kerbel

Yes I LOVE Canadian YA authors! And if you’ve read my posts you know I also LOVE a great ghost story. Put these two loves together and what you get is another fabulous story by Deborah Kerbel.  Ahh….  and to think I could drive a little ways east of my home and check out this house myself…  may take a bit of convincing to get my daughter to join me – but you may see me out in Thornhill this summer 🙂

So – what is this book about?  Well…  it’s written from 2 perspectives – Max, a lonely 16-yr-old boy who just moved to Thornhill from Vancouver and just doesn’t seem to be fitting in, and John, a lonely ghost with a story to tell.  (did you notice it’s written from 2 perspectives – yup – another favourite of mine – Max talks then John talks).  In any case, Max gets lured by Caroline and her dog Peanut to visit 10 Colborne Street, the local Library branch.  He starts coming to visit every Wednesday morning and gets drawn in by the ghost stories Caroline has to tell him.  Well without giving away too much of the story one thing leads to another and to another and well….  you have to read it!  Then there’s John, the lonely ghost.  He spends his time telling us his story – how he spends his summers with his cousin William in Thornhill – learning his father’s trade and fishing on the weekends.

When I started reading this book – you know I love the 2 perspectives – but it did take me a while to figure out how these 2 views were ever going to come together.  I envisioned reading this book like the letter Y.  The right side of the top of the Y is John’s story and the left side of the top is Max’s story – and then they join in a very fascinating and scary way!  I was shocked and amazed at how the characters were all related in the end of the story – it was fantastic!!!  So is there anything else I can tell you to convince you to read this?  I think not!

Ah…  you know I enjoy Book Trailers – I found 3 for Lure check them out:

Here’s Book Trailer #1 – not my favourite…

Book Trailer #2 – I think this one may be my favourite..

And… Book Trailer #3 – I like this one too 🙂

Highly recommended

Ages: 12 and up

Favourite quotes:

” ‘Smoke bad for you?  Ridiculous, woman!  I breathe the smoke from the coal fire all day and I’m as strong as an ox. …’ ”     p. 30

Transgression.  That word had always possessed a strange power to make me feel guilty – the sound of it was like a priest breathing down my neck. ….”        p. 70

Kerbel, Deborah. (2010). Lure. Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press.

Author website:  http://deborahkerbel.com/

What do I recommend?

Oh my goodness…. my oldest daughter wants to read a book! I know I shouldn’t be surprised since she was an avid reader for a really long time. However… all you Moms out there will know that when your daughters get caught up in the high school social life… well… reading and other academic endeavours often fall to the side. Reading for pleasure never made her priority list during high school – but now that she’s finished her first year of University and has time on her hands between her 2 part-time jobs – she’s informed me that she wants to read a book – and I’m to provide her with “said” book.

So…  what do I recommend?  She tells me that she likes the real life type stories… so looking through all the books I’ve read to date here are my recommendations:

Eek…  wonder what she’ll think?  Her first thought will be “Mom that’s TOO many!”  So…  knowing this – I’m probably going to recommend Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson  to start and see where it takes us.

What books would you recommend if your oldest daughter asked you the same question?

Premiere – On the Runway by Melody Carlson

Premiere – On the Runway by Melody Carlson was the second of two books I was challenged to read for the NYHA 2011. This is my review of the story – please stayed tuned for Holly at Book Harbinger and my evaluation of this and our first book, Tall Story to decide which moves onto the second round.

We’ve all heard of reality TV right?  I’m sure many, if not all of us have watched a show or two?  Ok I’m sure many of us don’t really want to admit we’ve watched these shows – but we all know what these are?  Well…  this is what Premiere is all about.  Imagine helping your mother out on her TV show one day and taking things too far – criticizing what people are wearing?  Worried that you’ve put your mother’s job at risk but ending up with an offer to host your own Reality show?  Now really….  how “unreal” is that?  Well it happened to Paige and Erin Forrester.  Two very different sisters, only 11 months apart, different interests and very different personalities – Paige, very beautiful and outgoing and Erin, quiet, shy and prefers to stay behind the camera.

Learning what one can do and cannot do while working with Reality TV stars was a tough lesson for both Paige and Erin to learn.  Putting their own show in jeopardy by overstepping unseen boundaries was an eye opener for Paige and gave Erin the opportunity to show her older sister that she can look out for her.  This was truly a story about sisters – how they grew together by experiencing a very exciting yet very difficult situation.  In the end, Paige and Erin learned from each other and learned about each other.  Having never read any of Melody Carlson’s books before – I’ll be looking to read more about Paige and Erin in the next books in her series.

The one aspect of this book that I was a bit weary about was the “Christian” twist.  However…  the topic of Christianity was introduced and dealt with in a very unassuming manner.  I was worried that it would be a “in-your-face” scripture and bible content, but it wasn’t.  I actually enjoyed that aspect of the story.  It was very pleasant to read a book where it fit and the author used it to build the characters rather than driving home a point or message to the reader!  Thank-you!

Here’s the book trailer uploaded by Zondervan.com


Ages: 14 and up

Favourite quote:

“Okay, I don’t even want to talk about Twitter.  I’m so not into that.  I mean, seriously, why is everyone out there babbling about everything?  Sometimes I wonder what would happen if all our cell phones, IMs, emails, and all that just vanished.  Would everyone go nuts, or would we learn how to just have a normal conversation?”        p. 80

Carlson, Melody. (2010). Premiere – On the Runway.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan

Author website:  http://www.melodycarlson.com/

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay was the first of two books I was challenged to read for the NYHA 2011.  This is my review of the story – but stayed tuned for Holly at Book Harbinger and my evaluation of this and our second book, Premiere – On the Runway to decide which moves onto the second round.

Overall I thought this was a wonderful story!  The story was also written in what I’m learning is one of my favourite styles – hmmm… now I’m not sure what it’s called – but the story is told from the 2 main characters’ viewpoints.  So – one chapter is told by Bernardo with alternate chapters told by Andi, his half-sister.

So what’s the story all about?  I guess when I drill down to the nuts and bolts of the story – it’s really about the relationship between brother and sister, Bernardo and Andi.  Bernardo, is 8-feet tall and has spent all his life in San Andres, Philippines, living with his Aunt and Uncle.  His mother has been trying for years to get a VISA to have Bernardo move to London with her and when he finally gets one, he comes to London and moves into Andi’s room and her life changes in ways that no one imagined.  Andi and Bernardo were strangers but learned how to develop what turned out to be a very strong brother-sister relationship.

Bernardo has many struggles, one of which is a folk story that originated in San Andres that claims a giant keeps the earthquakes away from the village.  When Bernardo continued to grow taller – the local villagers claimed that it was Bernardo that stopped the quakes – so…  can he leave the village to live with his mother guilt-free?  In London, Andi loves basketball and just got on her local girls’ team when her parents announce they’re moving.  All her dreams are dashed as she changes school where there is no girls’ basketball.  And now there’s Bernardo, who she has to babysit – really??

I really enjoyed the imagery in this story – Atlas – holding the earth and how the author was able to link this to Bernardo.  It was fantastic!  I’ve always enjoyed mythology and to see it pulled into a modern-day story is great!  I also really enjoyed the basketball storyline – the juxtaposition of tall Bernardo who can’t play basketball and short Andi who loves basketball and is great at it!  Wonderful!  Although I have to admit there’s one line in the whole book that…  well…  as a Canadian I kind of take offense to :

“The Americans invented basketball.”  (p. 250)  why do I take offense to this?  Well…  believe it or not – basketball was invented by a Canadian, Dr. James Naismith.  If you don’t believe me check out the History of the NBA.

Here’s the Book Trailer created and uploaded by Candy Gourlay, the author 🙂


Ages: 12 and up

Favourite quotes:

“I stood there like Atlas, oceans and rivers sending trickles of water down my arm, forests like sandpaper against my skin, mountains poking into the nape of my neck.”                p. 45

“Andi was small but she was one of those people who gave the impression of packing an explosion of energy within her tiny frame.  I swear it sometimes felt like she was taller than me.”            p. 203-204

” The nuns of Sacred Heart were always lecturing us about false notions, like not washing your hair before going to bed for fear you will wake up a lunatic.  Or never stepping over  a sleeping child to avoid misfortune.  Or witches and black magic.”                p. 213-214

Gourlay, Candy. (2010).  Tall Story.  New York, NY: A David Fickling Book.

Author website:  http://www.candygourlay.com/

Meridian by Amber Kizer

Young Adult authors or maybe authors in general, hard to say that though since I’m only reading YA now 🙂  Sorry – back to my train of thought – amaze me!  Their imagination and story telling gifts are truly awesome!  Can I or really can many of us come up with these really cool storylines?  Why am I going on here?  The whole notion of a Fenestra (and I LOVE that name – latin for window – how apropos) is wonderful, mysterious and just so cool!  I love ghost stories and stories about souls – and this one just fits in there so nicely.  I feel like I’ve just found that last missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle.  Wonderful!!!

So what am I really talking about…  Meridian has been surrounded by death all her life.  Animals come to find her to die next to her.  It’s a life she’s just come to accept – she wishes she was normal but that just doesn’t seem to be possible.  Her sixteenth birthday arrives and her parents ship her off to her Great Aunt without any warning.  They tell her they love her and send her away…  Once Meridian arrives at her Great Aunt’s place, she learns about who she really is or rather what she is – a Fenestra – a window through which souls pass through.  I’ll stop there because it’s a love story and a fantastical story that just grabbed me from the start and never once did it let me down.  Awesome!!!

Highly recommended – especially if you’re looking for something a little different, exciting and fun to read!

Ages: 14 and up

Favourite quotes:

‘ “Little one, human beings always take the path of least resistance.  It’s the few, the very few, who are willing to stand up to anything,” Auntie said grimly. ‘   p. 153

‘….”What good is a quilt if it’s unused?  The same as a life unused.  They’re meant to be wrung out and frayed around the edge.  That’s the way of things.  Always has been.  Always will be.”  ‘       p. 258

Kizer, Amber. (2009). Meridian.  New York, NY: Delacorte Press.

Author website:  http://www.amberkizer.com/