Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Elephant Keeper: Caring for Orphaned Elephants in Zambia

The Elephant Keeper: Caring for Orphaned Elephants in Zambia by Margriet Ruurs and illustrated by Redro Covo

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author (British Columbia), qualifying this read for the 12th annual Canadian Book Challenge.

I have a fondness for books about conservation and animal rescue, and this book is a double whammy.  Aaron helps with the rescue and care of a young orphaned elephant.  In the process he discovers a passion for helping these beautiful animals that are not the terrifying and horrible beasts he grew up hearing about.

The story is moving with some lovely illustrations.  In a couple places the book breaks to interject some facts and figures about elephants.  The content was interesting and important, but my involvement in the story was broken up in the process of reading these details.  I can see where it might be useful to help connect with the real deal, but I feel it might have done more harm than good.  Personally, I ended up skipping over these parts to finish the story and easily could have not missed them altogether.  I feel they might have been better at the end of the book, when, having finished tehstory, a reader would want to learn more.

In the end you learn that Aaron is a real person who really is one of the elephant keepers at the Lilayi Elephant Nursery.  Overall, I enjoyed and appreciated the book and story.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday 3/20/2019

First - Wow! I haven't done a "waiting on" post in nearly 10 years!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Also, there is Can't-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Keara’s Raven: Betrayal (Book 2 of the Keara’s Raven Series)... 

Written by: Mindy Klasky — www.mindyklasky.com

Cover art by: Elisabeth Alba — https://www.albaillustration.com/

Published by: Snowy Wings Publishing — www.snowywingspublishing.com 

Publication Date: April 16, 2019

I also can't wait to read book 1, Keara's Raven: Escape which is available in print as of today.  I read Mindy Klasky's Girl's Guide to Witchcraft many years ago and really enjoyed it.  Plus, I love fantasy and MG books.  So the combination makes for much anticipation.

From the author:
Rebellion always comes with a cost.
Keara is running for her life. On her twelfth birthday, she was supposed to sacrifice her magical darkbeast raven on a holy altar. Instead, she rebelled and spared Caw's life.
Now, Keara and Caw travel the Great Road with two other rebels. They flee terrifying Inquisitor priests while they search for the Darkers—other people who’ve saved their beloved darkbeasts.

Winter winds blow hard. Keara and her companions, near-frozen and close to starvation, discover an underground community of strangers. They offer food and shelter, and darkbeasts are welcome.

But are these folk truly the Darkers? Or will they betray Keara and Caw to the authorities who want to enslave them—or worse?
Amazon: http://bookl.ink/BetrayalKindle

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Anna at the Art Museum

Title: Anna at the Art Museum

Author: Hazel Hutchins & Gail Herbert; Illustrated by Lil Crump

Publisher: Annick Press

A quick book about Anna as she explores an art museum by pushing boundaries.  She touches what she ought not touch, she is noisy when she ought to be quiet, and she thinks a roped-off sculpture looks like a great place to climb.

Anna is bored, and every time she tries to find some entertainment she is shushed, scolded, and held back.  But with a little kindness shown and a backside look at some of the inner workings, Anna finds an appreciation for art and its beauty that she never held before.

The end includes a listing of all the real art pieces Anna encounters along with where they are currently held.  The majority can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, but there are others.

After completing the book I realized that it qualifies for the Canadian Book Challenge.  Hazel Hutchins is from Alberta, Gail Herbert is from Ontario, and illustrator Lil Crump is from Nova Scotia.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America's Children

Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America's Children by Canadian author Monica Kulling and illustrated by Julianna Swaney is the story of a woman who persevered in spite of what would be expected of her for the better of others.

Dr. Jo lost her brother and father to disease and determined to help others fight a similar fate.  She may have had some false starts, but eventually she made changes that improved the lives of children, particularly poor children, throughout New York City and America.

I was drawn to this book in part because of Dr. Jo's name and in part because I find inspirational biographical children's books a joy to read.  I did not realize that it has a Canadian author and qualifies for the challenge!

Other biographical picture books that may be of interest are: Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum (I read this a few years back with the kiddos, and they LOVED it), Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenia Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist, and Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles (I read these last two with the youngest and he enjoyed them).

Back to the Future

Part of the POP Classics series, Back to the Future based on the movie written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale is illustrated by Canadian Kim Smith.  I requested all the books in this series since they fit into the 12th annual Canadian Book Challenge.

I've never watched Back to the Future all the way through; I've only seen a few minutes here and there.   So while I knew the gist of the story, this children's books that supposedly (based on other reviews) only hits the main plot points was still new to me for the most part.  The illustrations are bright and the characters are all very expressive.

I'll admit, the new book smell really made this read all the better.  I don't know if I would have enjoyed it so much without the additional sensory input.  Anyway, I will be reading more of these.  I have X-Files and a couple others checked out from the library.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10/22/2018

Hosted by: Book Date

I've been bad about the blogging again, but in my defense, life has been ridiculous crazy.  I did manage to read all of my discussion books, though a couple I finished within a day after the discussion.  I only read a few of the books I sent out for my Birthday Giveaway.  The rest will be read via library ebook format.

I've had quite a bit of programming and whatnot going on for work.  My grandfather passed this past week so that's been hard on the family.  And it doesn't help that my father has been doing poorly (mentally) and has been hospitalized for the better part of 2-3 weeks (he came home, but had to go back).  Oh and the dogs are wild without someone home with them as they are used to. 

So anyway, blogging, and to some extent reading, have been slow going.

Since I last blogged, I've read:

Pane and Suffering by Cheryl Hollon
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Asha Bandele and Patrisse Cullors; Read by Patrisse Cullors
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Currently reading:

Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, Bk 2) by Jacqueline Winspear

Started but currently paused:

Eye of the Shoal by Helen Scales
Moby Dick by Herman Melville


I once again have many, MANY library books.

I also have (for a discussion) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

I also have Crepe Factor by Laura Childs for a discussion, but since it is book 14 in a series, I have a lot of catch up.

Monday, September 24, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/24/2018

Hosted by: Book Date

I was supposed to be going to ArtPrize, etc.  I took a few days off work to make a thing of this.  And then for various reasons, plans fell through.  So I'm hoping to read like crazy and catch up on the many books I need to read instead.  We'll see how far I get.

I finished this week:

Asking for Truffle (Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery, Bk 1) by Dorothy St. James
Tough Luck Hero (Copper Ridge, Bk 5) by Maisey Yates
Death in Dark Blue (Writer's Apprentice Mystery, Bk 2) by Julia Buckley
A Dark and Twisting Path (Writer's Apprentice Mystery, Bk 3) by Julia Buckley 

I'm currently reading:

Eye of the Shoal by Helen Scales

Up next: 

The books that I need to send out from my Birthday Giveaway...

Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer David Hesse
Pane and Suffering by Cheryl Hollon
Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton
Die, Die, Birdie by J.R. Ripley
Easy Innocence by Libby Fischer Hellmann
The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins
City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley 
A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean 
Lone Star Nights by Delores Fossen

And books for October book discussions...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
When They Call You a Terrorist by  Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

I've bitten off more than I can chew.

Asking for Truffle

Title: Asking for Truffle

Author: Dorothy St. James aka Dorothy McFalls

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Series: Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781683312918

Length: 316 pages + "Recipes Snipped From the Camellia Current, Camellia Beach's Local Newspaper"

Obtained: Library hardcover copy


Penn is the next thing to an orphan, even though, presumably, neither parent has actually passed.  She's the daughter of a very rich man, and was raised by her very rich grandmother (kind of).  But she is estranged (and always has been) from her known family, and doesn't want any part of their money.  Her background has made her cynical and short on trust.  So wen she gets a letter claiming she's won a trip to a beach town chocolate shop, she suspects a scam.  She speaks to an old school friend who agrees to go down and investigate for her.  But when he is murdered and his death is written off as a drug crime, Penn goes down to investigate.

Penn's cynicism sees this small beach community as worn down and crumbling.  She encounters a closed minded and inept cop, a mystical "woo-woo" shop that she doesn't believe in, two old ladies who she believes must be involved in the scheme to get her into town for her trust fund.

Unfortunately, Penn's negative picture is how the town is introduced to the reader as well.  Instead of the usual cozy warmth that tends to be found in small cozy mystery towns, there is this gloom.  And while Penn's perspective changes throughout the story as she gets to know the people in town, it is hard to move past her initial negativity.

The mystery itself is fine.  It is multi-part, and of course, events throughout add to the mystery.  I guessed the bad guy, but not the motivation.  Anyway, I had a little trouble connecting to this story and its characters, but I do expect I'll keep reading the series.

Monday, September 10, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/10/2018

Hosted by: Book Date

Today is the last day you can enter my Birthday Giveaway! Stop by to potentially win one or more of 18 autographed books (half romance, half mystery).

I didn't finish reading anything this week.

I'm currently reading:

Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James

Eye of the Shoal by Helen Scales

Up next: 

Any number of books that I've purchased or obtained from the library.  I have a LARGE selection.  And a couple books for discussions.

Monday, September 3, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9/3/2018

Hosted by: Book Date

I'm still doing a Birthday Giveaway, but I've changed it up.  There are a total of 18 possible autographed books (half romance, half mystery) that you can choose from.  Visit Birthday Giveaway! for more information and to enter.

I haven't participated in this in the better part of a month, so I'm backed up.  
In the last few weeks, I've read: 

A Hard Day's Knight (Nightside, Bk 11) by Simon R. Green

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin; Illustrated by Giovanni Rigano; Lettering by Chris Dickey

Hot Mess by Emily Belden

the age of miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Venom in the Veins (Elemental Assassin, Bk 17) by Jennifer Estep

Cat About Town (Cat Café Mystery, Bk 1) by Cate Conte

A Distant Heart (Bollywood, Bk 4) by Sonali Dev

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey; Illustrated by Júlia Sardà

Murder in an Irish Village (Irish Village, Bk 1) by Carlene O'Connor

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Volumes 1-4) by Kyle Higgins; Illustrated by Hendry Prasetya, Jonathan Lam, Thony Silas, Daniel Bayliss; Lettering by Ed Dukeshire - Read on Hoopla.  Started for a new Comic Club Discussion Group.

Walrus in the Bathtub by Deborah Underwood; Illustrated by Matt Hunt
Valensteins by Ethan Long
Frankenstein by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
Frankenstein's Fright Before Christmas by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
Robot Zombie Frankenstein! by Annette Simon
The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children by Katherine Paterson; Illustrated by François Roca
Dear Komodo Dragon by Nancy Kelly Allen
Once Upon a Slime by Andy Maxwell
3x4 by Ivan Brunetti
Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty?: And Other Notorious Nursery Tale Mysteries by David Levinthal; Illustrated by John Nickle

I'm currently reading:

In audio (on CD), I've been listening to Moby Dick by Herman Melville (read by Paul Boehmer).  I'm not very much further than I was a month ago.  There was a portion that was script-like in print that I did not follow well in audio.

Eye of the Shoal : a Fish-watcher's Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything by Helen Scales (library hardcover) - I'm still early in this book.  I'm slow with non-fiction that isn't told in a storylike manner.  However, I've found this to be pretty good reading material when I'm on the stationary bike or elliptical.

I started listening to Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff; Read by Paul Fox in downloadable audio...

Up next:

Probably a giveaway book.