Monthly Archives: July 2014

Thug Notes! Like SparkNotes, but way more hardcore.

You have no idea how much I wish this series existed when I was in high school.

Thug Notes is… actually, not that unlike one of my customers, who is a huge scary dude with dreadlocks and a secret love of Harlequin romance – a delicious juxtaposition that makes me really happy.   The SparkNotes that would have made overanalysis in English Lit bearable. I just about had an aneurysm I was laughing so hard – plus the analysis is spot on.  My mission in life is to try to get one of my children to present a book report like this.


Thanks to the guys over at Press Start (who are not only gaming nerds, but book nerds and dear friends) for putting me on to this.

I’m going to go binge watch the whole thing now.


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I don’t know where to put my feet…

A very powerful piece… brought back some memories I am glad are just memories.

Sarah Pinborough

Sometimes time folds in on itself. A picture, a word, a passing scent can trigger a visit to the graveyard of the past. This week, for me, those pictures and words are everywhere. Attached to them are so much advice. So much opinion. It makes me feel strange inside and I want to say, ‘You know what, just shhh. You’re not helping. You’re making her ground more unsteady’.

That thought in turn makes me wonder if all these years on a small part of me still doesn’t always know where to put my feet.

One night when I was 19, at maybe three in the morning, he wrote ‘I love you’ on an empty wine bottle and waited for me to notice it. And there it began. Boy kisses girl. I was wild and free and loved to laugh and dance and stay up all night. He was wild and…

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Bookish British Columbia


Hey fellow book peeps, I need your advice!  I will be visiting BC soon, and would like to hear your tips on which bookish destinations are not to be missed.  Libraries, bookstores, book-themed cafes… I will try to get to as many as I can.

I will be spending time in Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo.  I promise to post photos of my visit.

Looking forward to hearing your ideas!


Carpe Libris!



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The Hottest Titles for Teens and Tweens

What are the big books this summer? And why should you care?

Well, one of the things that gets people reading, adults included, is recommendations.  If kids are hearing their friends talking about this book, and once they are reading it can talk about it, how great is that? It makes a love of reading something they share, and how many times have you felt a bond with someone because they, too, adored a book dear to your heart?

With that in mind, I’ll share some of the titles that are really hot at my store right now, some of which are excellent reads, and feel free to pick them up for yourself, or steal the book when your kid is done with it.  Or before, I won’t judge you.


Target age: 9-12

This book didn’t arrive on time in-store – which was the cause of much consternation in my household.  My younger daughter is an evangelist for The Land of Stories series, dragging them with her everywhere she goes and forcing other people to read them.  They’re very good, bringing to mind classics like Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz, mixing fairytales with real life, the bizarre alongside the mundane.  And yes, it’s the Chris Colfer who plays Kurt on Glee who is the author – he really needs to save some talent for other people. A Grimm Warning is the third book in the series, and it’s worth getting them in hardcopy instead of an e-book because of the maps and illustrations in the cover.


Target age 13+, and I really mean the plus

I loved the Divergent trilogy – and Veronica Roth didn’t wuss out on the ending either, unlike the Hunger Games.  Four is a series of short stories that take place before the Divergent trilogy, centred around Four’s life before Tris. This can be read as a present for current fans craving more, or as a prologue to the main trilogy for new readers.  Good beach reading for everyone, and if you haven’t read the original trilogy, summer is a great time to start.

Target: 9-12+

This trilogy, of which the first two are now out, is a kind of interesting twist on the fairytale theme that’s huge right now in this age group.  Every year, two girls or two boys are chosen to attend the school of Good and Evil.  One is trained to be a hero, the other a villain.  When two best friends are chosen, one golden-haired and sweet, and the other dark haired, odd, and fond of goth-y clothes, they know who’s going where.  Their own self-concepts are thrown into disarray when the golden-haired girl is sent to the school of evil, and the goth-in-training is sent to the school of good.  This book is flying off the shelves, and anything that shakes up thinking is great by me.



Target age: 13+

I will admit now, that I haven’t read this trilogy, and may not.  I am not always in the mood for romance and frou frou dresses.  Sometimes, though, that’s exactly what you want, and this series seems to fill that need for teens and adults alike quite nicely.  A sort of dystopian version of The Bachelor, the series started with The Selection, where thirty-five girls were in an elimination competition for the crown, and marriage to the prince.  The competition is winnowed down through the second book, and now in the third, The One is America Singer’s (cringing at the name) final chance to win the Miss America Pageant   heart of Prince Maxon, and the crown.  If you are looking for a frillier version of the Hunger Games, this is it.

Target: 13+

I adore Mercedes Lackey, and read pretty much everything she writes.  I am currently reading this series she is writing with Rosemary Edghill, a kind of Mystery at the Academy trope, but with enough interesting twists to keep it from being formulaic.  Spirit White (hippie parents) ends up at an orphanage after she is the only member of her family to survive a car accident.  She finds out once she arrives there that every single person at the orphanage has magic – except apparently her.  The orphanage – Oakhurst Academy, is run like a private school for the very rich, with the added curriculum of learning to defend yourself, both physically and with magic, against evil mages who could attack at any minute.

It doesn’t contain as much of Lackey’s signature ironic humour as I would like, but it has enough of it to make reading it enjoyable, and smarter than many teen series, since the kids in it don’t just swallow down everything they’re told and do some of their own investigating.  Like a magical Nancy Drew.


Target: 13+ (again, I mean the plus)

Kelley Armstrong is always a really fun read.  I loved her Women of the Otherworld series, I am impatiently waiting for the sequel to Omens to come out, and so I was delighted when this arrived, if for no other reason than I think the cover will be my next tattoo.

A really solid, epic fantasy,  twin sisters Moria and Ashyn live on the edge of the Forest of the Dead, where the worst criminals are exiled.  Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and the Seeker – charged with keeping the souls of the damned quiet – no easy task.  This year, the souls will not be quieted – and a great evil ambushes the girls, separating them from eachother and their home, the beginning of their quest to find eachother again, and warn the emperor of what is awakening.

This is book one – I really need to cut down on the number of series I’m reading.  Or only read series that are finished.  Haha, like that’s going to happen.  Sigh.

Oh, and as a bonus for you guys, right now I’m reading Warslayer, by Rosemary Edghill, which is a FREE download on Kobo.  Imagine Lucy Lawless getting kidnapped by aliens who think she’s actually Xena and will save them all.  It’s silly fun, and perfect for the patio and a cold drink.

Happy summer reading!


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Talk Nerdy to Me

I love this so much.


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Word Crimes: The Song We Didn’t Know We Needed

Weird Al turning “Blurred Lines” by Robin Th(ick)e into “Word Crimes” a song about grammar?  My little nerdy heart is singing along.  A gift from me to you. Need more? See Weird Al’s site for details on where to buy his new album, Mandatory Fun.




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Robopocalypse – The tech version of the zombie apocalypse?



Robots have been scary for a long time.  Would it surprise you to find out that I, Robot, by Isaac Aasimov, was published in 1950? But the idea of machines taking over people, or people secretly being machines, is to my mind a new version of the zombie trope.  Representing that theme very well are the two (so far) books by Daniel H. Wilson, Robopocalypse and Robogenesis.  People’s fears of military robots and drones are well founded in this story of a world where putting artificial intelligence in charge of war is a very, very bad idea.  A kind of cross between the future seen in Terminator, where humans and machines are at war, and the Matrix, where the machines are taking over humans – a small group of survivors is trying to eliminate the machine threat.  Creepy, all too imaginable, and very gripping, I highly recommend both books.   You’ll never look at Siri the same way.


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Pirate Transmission from District 13

So excited!


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Panem Propaganda

Here is the amazing first trailer for Mockingjay Part 1:

Chilling, n’est-ce pas?



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Guess who’s back…

After an extended period of being locked out of my WordPress account due to my authenticator malfunctioning, I am back!  I haven’t forgotten you, I promise, and more sarcastic book reviews cometh.

My current summer reading has been a weird mix, trying to catch up on the glut of titles released for pairing with a cold drink on the patio.  I am also trying to catch up on some of the titles others have been recommending.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

A tale that’s very relevant right now, with its themes of bullying, sexual assault, and suicide, anyone who went to high school (or was a teenager) will find something to identify with in this one.

The story begins with Clay, a fairly nice teenaged boy,  discovering a box of audio tapes left on his doorstep (anyone else remember those?), recorded by Hannah – a girl from his school who had recently committed suicide.  She tells him there are thirteen reasons she killed herself – and if you were listening to the tapes, you were one of those reasons.

There are audio files online for the tapes, so you can make the story a multimedia experience, hearing the tapes along with Clay.

This book is not only an excellent read, but could be a really important one for a teen – these experiences can be so isolating, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had a book make you feel a little less alone – and a little more aware that you aren’t the only one out there who has gone through it.   It might not be a bad one for a parent and a teen to both read, and then discuss.

I will be catching up on postings as quickly as I can, so prepare for a deluge!



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