Friday, 21 October 2016

Amber Fang: The Hunted - Arthur Slade - Librarian. Assassin. Vampire.

Amber Fang: The Hunted 
Librarian. Assassin. Vampire. Book 1
Arthur Slade
Dava Enterprises
ISBN 9780988013933

I must be open an honest with you. I am a huge Arthur Slade fan, I just check and I have read almost all of his books and since 2002 have read or reread his books 30 times. That being said this book is something completely new for him. In many ways it reads like a cross between the TV series Dexter with Angel except the lead is a woman, and an aspiring librarian at that. Or a mash up of Tom Clancy, Anne Rice but with more than a little humour smattered in.

This book has a little something for every reader. You have a secret government organization, a beautiful young vampire with a conscience (she only haunts murders and only if they have no remorse), you have academia, high prices shoes, and travelling the globe.

Amber Fang just needs her next meal, as a vampire she needs to feed every 28 days or possible go crazy with a blood lust. And since her mother disappeared she had been moving around, taking courses, working towards becoming a librarian, and using those research skills to find her next meal. But it had to be someone who met her strict criteria, they had to be a murderer and they had to be unrepentant. But things go sideways when on a hunt she is ambushed, drugged and almost captured. So leaving Seattle and the northwest she heads to Montreal starts back at school. There she gets an offer to be all she can be, we at least to have her meals presented on a platter. And soon she is off on adventures to exotic places like Dubai and Iceland. Hop a flight, have a meal return home to studies for a month. But even for a vampire the unlife does not often go as planned.

Amber's mother had always told her to never fall in love with her food, and yet she seems to be falling for her handler. She also realizes that being a hired hitman might not be all it was cracked up to be. And big brother is never really on your side even when he wants or needs something from you. She soon finds out the head of her organization might make Amanda Waller seam pretty tame. What has she gotten herself into? And what should she do now?

This book was a fascinating read, the vampire with a conscience and deep love of books and knowledge. It is just a story about a girl trying to finish school and find her next meal. It is a very fun read. 

Books by Arthur Slade:
The Dragonfly's Journey (1996)

John Diefenbaker: an Appointment with Destiny (2000)
Dust (2001)
Tribes (2002)
Monsterology (2005)
Villainology (2005)
Megiddo's Shadow (2006)
Jolted (2008)
Shades: 17 Startling Stories (2011)

Flickers (2016)

Hunchback Assignments Series:
The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
The Dark Deeps (2010)
Empire of Ruins (2011)
Island of Doom (2012)

Modo Embers End - Graphic Novel (2014)

The Northern Frights Series
Draugr (1997)
The Haunting of Drang Island (1998)
The Loki Wolf (2000)

The Canadian Chills Series
Return of the Grudstone Ghosts (2002)
Ghost Hotel (2004)
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers (2007)

Librarian. Assassin. Vampire Series:
Amber Fang: The Hunted 

Books as Stephen Shea:
The Not So Simple Life
Viper - Short Story

Visual Bibliography for Arthur Slade
Author profile interview with Arthur Slade.

Author profile interview with Stephen Shea. 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Flight of the Moon Dragon - Tracey West and Graham Howells - Dragon Masters #6

Flight of the Moon Dragon
Dragon Masters #6
Tracey West (Author)
Damien Jones (Illustrator)
ISBN 9780545913942


My youngest two children adore this series of books. In fact the last few we have bought on the day they come out. We have read this one together three times now. And every time we finish one there is a teaser for the next volume and we wait months for it to come out. This fifth installment in the series is another great read. The Dragon Masters books can be read separately but they do tell one continuous story so they are best read in order. 

In this adventure the dragon stones are seeming to fail. The children and their dragons head back to Egypt and with the help of Heru's parents they read the legend of the pyramid of the seven dragons. They must solve the riddle to find the pyramid and then all the puzzles to get to the master dragon stone. With each puzzle they solve one dragon master and one dragon must stay behind. They must complete the tasks in the right order or forever be trapped. That is a lot of responsibility for 6 young dragon masters and their dragons.

Damien Jones does some awesome illustrations. My children love going over the pictures again and again. There are pictures on most pages and embellishments on all the pages. The artwork really does take the story from good to great. They make the story come alive and spark the imagination.

This is a fantastic series and one of my children's favorite series currently. We have reread this book and all the others a number of times now. The whole family enjoys joining Drake and the other dragon masters on each new adventure. We eagerly wait for each new book to come out. From my youngest who is 5 to the oldest who is 10 this book is loved. This is a great book and a great series for young readers of those who read to and with them. They come highly recommended by the whole family!

Dragon Master Books:
Rise of the Earth Dragon
Saving the Sun Dragon
Secret of the Water Dragon
Power of the Fire Dragon
Song of the Poison Dragon

Flight of the Moon Dragon
Search for the Lightning Dragon

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

In Harms Ways - Andrew Clements - Benjamin Pratt & Keepers of the School Book 4

In Harm's Way 
Benjamin Pratt & Keepers of the School Book 4
Andrew Clements
Adam Stower (Illustrator)
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
A Division of Simon and Schuster

ISBN 9781416938897
eISBN 9781442481459

This was my twelfth book by Andrew Clements in under a year. I can freely admit that along with Chris d'Lacey are currently my favorite middle grade authors. I have been alternating between them and reading a book a week over the summer and into the fall. Between d'Lacey and Clements their styles are very different. For Andrew Clements for the most part his books are written in a very realistic style. But this series is the excepting to that rule. I have read the first four books in this series in just over a month and eagerly anticipate the wrap up in book 5 shortly.   

These books follow directly one after the other, starting with Fear Itself, then We the Children, followed by The Whites of Their Eyes, and then this volume. Things have gotten desperate if the kids want to save Oakes School will be demolished  in 11 days and the property turned into a theme park. But the good news is the team of Keepers is growing, we now have the three children, and they are following the clues to Captain Oakes safeguards to save the school. But the enemy is getting even nastier. Lyman the fake janitor has called in reinforcements, Wally has hidden cameras around the school and he and Lyman have taken to following the children even outside of school. The Glennley group has even offered to make Ben's mom rich by offering he an exclusive real estate contract, and they have threatened Jill's father's finances. But the team is growing closer together, and as mentioned it is growing. With the access to assets left for them they now have legal counsel, and are working all angles to save the school. But will it be enough? Do they have enough time to solve the clues get the help and save their school and maybe even their community?

The deeper themes that appeared in the last book are worked upon even more in this volume. The three friends growing closer together! Both Ben and Robert realize that their years of competitiveness were fed by misunderstandings. They really are gelling into a team and dealing with many of their personal life issues from the present and the past.

Adam Stower has does some more wonderful illustrations to supplement the story. There are a number of full pages illustrations and also numerous smaller pieces throughout the book. In the eBook edition all the pictures are done in black and green.

With each volume the action picks up, and the books grow more intense. It leaves you hungry to figure out what will happen next. And after finishing this book there is only one to go.

The greatest strengths of Clements writings in this series and others I have read are the characters and their personal development because of what they go through. The big difference in this series is we have three main characters, Ben, Robert and Jill. And each of them is growing and together they are helping each other in more ways than they originally expected.

I have been hooked on Clements books for a while now I am really enjoying this series and can highly recommend it. This is another great read by a gifted author!

Books by Andrew Clements:
Bird Adalbert
Noah and the Ark and the Animals
Santa's Secret Helper
Temple Cat
Mother Earth's Counting Book
Billy and the Bad Teacher
Who Owns the Cow
Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers
(Adapter)Philipp's Birthday Book
Riff's BeBop Book
Real Monsters Go for the Mold
Things That Go EEK on Halloween
Real Monsters Stage Fright
Music Time, Any Time
Double Trouble in Walla Walla
Gromble's Haunted Halloween
Hey Dad, Could I Borrow Your Hammer
The Landry News
Look Who's in the Thanksgiving Play
The Mouse Family
The Janitor's Boy
Circus Family Dog
The Christmas Kitten
The School Story
Things Not Seen 
The Jacket 
A Week in the Woods
Slippers at Home
Naptime for Slippers
The Report Card
The Last Holiday Concert
Slippers at School
Slippers Loves to Run
A Million Is a Lot of Dots
Lunch Money
Things Hoped For
Room One: A Mystery or Two
No Talking
Things That Are
Lost and Found
Extra Credit
About Average
The Map Trap

Pets to the Rescue Series
Ringo Saves the Day!
Brave Norman
Tara and Tiree, Fearless Friends
Delores and the Big Fire

Jake Drake Series
Jake Drake Know-It-All
Jake Drake, Bully Buster
Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet
Jake Drake, Class Clown

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School Series
We the Children
Fear Itself
The Whites of Their Eyes
In Harm's Way
We Hold These Truths

Reading program Books
Karen's Island
Three Wishes for Buster
Bill Picket: An American Original, Texas Style
Hurricane Andrew
Ham and Eggs for Jack
Life in the Desert
Desert Treasure
Inventors: Making Things Better, Steck-Vaughn
Milo's Great Invention

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Juggling with Jeremy - Chris d'Lacey and Gus Clarke

Juggling with Jeremy
Chris D'Lacey 

Gus Clarke (Illustrator)
Blue Bananas Books
ISBN 9780749726317

I have read almost 20 books by Chris d'Lacey in just under a year now. Until this one I have loved all of his books that I have read. This picture book is an interesting concept but it failed to catch with either my youngest two children or myself. 

The story is about a young boy that wants to juggle. The problem is every time he tries to juggle he makes a mess or breaks things. And things keep getting worse until finally he learns his lesson.

Gus Clarke has illustrated over 30 books, and written a number himself as well.  From the information I can track down from what I can track down this was one of the last books that he illustrated. The illustrations were 'ok' usually my children pour over the illustrations again and again, often asking to go back, or even reread immediately. That did not happen this time.

It was worth tracking down this book to read some of Chir d'Lacey's earliest works, and we have donated it to my children's school library. But it is far from our favorite by d'Lacey.

Books by Chris d'Lacey:
Dragons of Wayward Crescent
Gruffen (2009)
Gauge (2008)
Glade (2009)
Grabber (2010)

The Erth Dragons
The Wearle (2015)
2. Dark Wyng (2016)
3. ... 

The Last Dragon Chronicles with David Rain
The Fire Within (2001)
Icefire (2003)
3 Fire Star (2005)
4 The Fire Eternal (2007)
5 Dark Fire (2009)
6 Fire World (2011)
7 The Fire Ascending (2012)
Rain and Fire: A Guide to the Last Dragon Chronicles (2010)

The Unicorne Files
1 A Dark Inheritance (2014)
2 Alexander's Army (2015)
3 A Crown of Dragons (2016)

Fly, Cherokee Fly Series
Fly, Cherokee Fly
Pawnee Warrior

Other Books
Henry Spaloosh! 
Shrinking Ralph Perfect
The Snail Patrol
The Table Football League
Riverside United
From E to You
Scupper Hargreaves, Football Genie
The Salt Pirates of Skegness
Falling for Mandy
The Prompter

Picture Books:
A Hole at the Pole
Juggling with Jeremy
A Break in the Chain
Read With Bubble and Float
Dexter's Journey
Frankin's Bear

Author Profile and Interview with Chris d'Lacey.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Year of Faith Treasury: Prayer - Francis Fernandez

Year of Faith Treasury: Prayer
Francis Fernandez
Scepter Publishing

I have read through the 7 volume series In Conversation with God, edited by Francis Fernandez a number of times. So when I recently say that Francis Fernandez Carvajal has edited a number of other books I immediately picked them up. Having read two of them so far I am very thankful I did. This books are excepts from a forthcoming much longer volume. The introduction of this book states: "This collection of quotations aims to be useful to someone looking for points to ponder in prayer, for those preparing a homily or a talk, or an article for publication. The Introduction offers a reflection on the theme which can serve as a basis for a homily or a talk. Then follow some references to Sacred Scripture, followed by quotations from the Magisterium, the Fathers of the Church, and the saints. This publication is taken from an Anthology [in preparation] and paragraph numbers are the ones used there." And that is exactly what you get in these short volumes. 

In this book you get concise short teachings on prayer. The first chapter is numerous bible quotes on; the prayers of Jesus, Christian prayers and prayers of the church. And then each chapter after that is a number of quotes from church fathers, the magisterium, Saints and others from church history and even more recent authors.

The chapters in this wonderful book are:
Quotations from Sacred Scripture
From the Magisterium, the Church Fathers and the saints
What is prayer
The need for prayer
The power of prayer
How to pray
Distractions and difficulties with prayer
Prayer gives meaning to life in every circumstance
Continuous prayer 
The Lord is always attentive to our prayer 
Qualities of good prayer
Fruits of prayer
Perseverance in prayer
Jesus' example
Public and private prayer
Vocal prayer
Pray to be able to speak about God

In fact between chapters 2 and 17 we have 159 quotes on prayer, points that can be used in writings, preparing talks and also for personal reflection and meditation. To be honest there are so many great quotes it made it almost impossible to pick a few to share, but to give you a few samples, I had to make some hard choices.

3740 Prayer is an elevation, an application of our mind and of our heart to God, to make known to Him our wants and to ask for His assistance (Curé of Ars, Sermon on Prayer).

3749 All the blessed (except infants) have been saved by prayer. All the damned have been lost through not praying; if they had prayed, they would not have been lost (St Alphonsus Liguori, Prayer: the Great Means to Salvation and Perfection, 1, 1).

3761 When we speak with God in the prayer, the Son is united to us, and when he prays, the body of the Son does it united to the head. In this way the one Saviour Our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, prays for us, prays in us, and while at the same time it is He to whom we direct our prayers. He prays for us as our priest; he prays in us as our head; he receives our prayer as our God (St Augustine, Commentary on Psalm 85).

3833 This is how the early Christians lived, and this is how we too should live: meditating the doctrine of our faith until it becomes a part of us; meeting our Lord in the Eucharist; the personal dialogue - prayer without anonymity - face to face with God. This must constitute, so to speak the ultimate substance of our behaviour (St Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 134).

3853 For us, light is the intelligence, which shows itself to be dark or lit up, depending on the quantity of light. When one neglects prayer, which feeds light, the intelligence quickly darkens through lack of light (St John Chrysostom, Catena Aurea 4).

Hopefully those 5 samples wet you appetite for this wonderful little book. I can highly recommend this book and if the other 5 are just as good I cannot wait to read them and the whole anthology when it becomes available. A wonderful book available at a great price!

Books edited by Francis Fernandez Carvajal:
Year of Faith Treasury: Holy Communion 
Year of Faith Treasury: The Roman Pontiff 
Year of Faith Treasury: The Sacrament of Confession 
Year of Faith Treasury: The Virtue of Faith
Year of Faith Treasury: The Virtue of Fortitude 

In Conversation with God:

Books by Francis Fernandez Carvajal:
Overcoming Lukewarmness
Through The Winds and Waves

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)