Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Blast Off – Tony Abbott and Joanne L. Scribner - Danger Guys Book 2

Blast Off
Danger Guys Book 2
Tony Abbott (Author)
Joanne L. Scribner (Illustrator)
Open Road Media
ISBN 9781480486348

It is great to see these older stories from Tony Abbot back in print. Open Road Media had republished in their entirety Two of Tony Abbot's earliest series, both Danger Guys and Weird Zone. There are 6 books in this series and I have read the first two, they are fun stories they children enjoy. They are geared to a slightly younger audience than some of his other books. They are good reads, that I am enjoying sharing with my son. 

This is the second adventure of Zeek Pilinsky and Noodle -  aka Henry Newton. This story begins with Zeek and Henry realizing that the carnival is in town. As soon as they hear the sounds from the fair, they head that way. But like in the first adventure things do not go as planned. They go for a rocket ride and really end up going for a rocket ride. They "We cartwheeled over the library. Then we corkscrewed around the town hall dome about ten times. Finally we were jerked backward in our seats and we sailed up over Main Street." p.14 The rocket zooms around town and ends up in a secret lair on their school grounds and they end up in the clutches of Mr. Vazny a former science teacher calling himself Morbius. He plans on bombing the town and using the rocket he just stole from the carnival to do so. It's up to the danger guys to save the day again.

This is a fun fast paced story. It is a good chapter book for beginner readers. The book comes in at 51 pages with a number of wonderful illustrations by Joanne L. Scribner. It also has the first three chapters of the next book to hook young readers. Give Zeek and Noodles a shot and I am sure you will enjoy their adventures.

Books By Tony Abbott:

1. The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder (2012)
2. The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue (2012)
3. Superhero Silliness (2012)
4. The Mysterious Talent Show Mystery (2013)

5. The Scary Story of the Ha-Ha-Haunted House (2013) 

1. The Battle Begins (2012)
2. When Monsters Escape (2012)
3. Revenge of the Scorpion King (2013)
4. The Ice Dragon (2013)

Danger Guys
1. Danger Guys (1994)
2. Danger Guys Blast Off (1994)
3. Hollywood Halloween (1994)
4. Danger Guys Hit the Beach (1995)
5. Danger Guys on Ice (1995)
6. Danger Guys and the Golden Lizard (1996)

Time Surfers
1. Space Bingo (1996)
2. Orbit Wipeout! (1995)
3. Mondo Meltdown (1996)
4. Into the Zonk Zone! (1996)
5. Splash Crash (1997)
6. Zero Hour (1997)
7. Shock Wave (1997)
8. Doom Star (1997)

Weird Zone
1. Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars (1996)
2. The Incredible Shrinking Kid (1996)
3. The Beast from Beneath the Cafeteria! (1996)
4. Attack of the Alien Mole Invaders! (1996)
5. The Brain That Wouldn't Obey! (1996)
6. Gigantopus from Planet X! (1997)
7. Cosmic Boy Versus Mezmo Head! (1997)
8. Revenge of the Tiki Men! (1997)

Secrets of Droon
1. The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (1999)
2. Journey to the Volcano Palace (1999)
3. The Mysterious Island (1999)
4. City in the Clouds (1999)
5. The Great Ice Battle (1999)
6. The Sleeping Giant of Goll (2000)
7. Into the Land of the Lost (2000)
8. The Golden Wasp (2000)
9. Tower of the Elf King (2000)
10. Quest for the Queen (2000)
11. The Hawk Bandits of Tarkoom (2000)
12. Under the Serpent Sea (2001)
13. The Mask of Maliban (2001)
14. Voyage of the Jaffa Wind (2002)
15. The Moon Scroll (2002)
16. The Knights of Silversnow (2002)
Special Edition 1. The Magic Escapes (2002)
17. Dream Thief (2003)
18. Search for the Dragon Ship (2003)
19. The Coiled Viper (2003)
20. In The Ice Caves of Krog (2003)
21. Flight of the Genie (2003)
Special Edition 2. Wizard or Witch? (2004)
22. The Isle of Mists (2004)
23. The Fortress of the Treasure Queen (2004)
24. Race To Doobesh (2005)
25. The Riddle Of Zorfendorf Castle (2005)
Special Edition 3. Voyagers of the Silver Sand (2005)
26. The Moon Dragon (2006)
27. The Chariot of Queen Zara (2006)
28. In the Shadow of Goll (2006)
Special Edition 4. Sorcerer (2006)
29. Pirates of the Purple Dawn (2007)
30. Escape from Jabar-Loo (2007)
31. Queen of Shadowthorn (2007)
Special Edition 5. Moon Magic (2008)
32. Treasure of the Orkins (2008)
33. Flight of the Blue Serpent (2008)
34. In the City of Dreams (2009)
Special Edition 6. Crown of Wizards (2009)
35. The Lost Empire Of Koomba (2009)
36. Knights of the Ruby Wand (2010)
Special Edition 7. The Genie King (2010)
Special Edition 8. The Final Quest (2010)

Don't Touch That Remote
1. Sitcom School (1999)
2. The Fake Teacher (1999)
3. Stinky Business (announced, not published)
4. Freak Week (announced, not published)

Cracked Classics
1. Trapped in Transylvania: Dracula (2002)
2. Mississippi River Blues: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2002)
3. What a Trip!: Around the World in Eighty Days (2002)
4. Humbug Holiday: A Christmas Carol (2002)

5. X Marks the Spot: Treasure Island (2003)
6. Crushing on a Capulet: Romeo and Juliet (2003)

Haunting of Derek Stone
1. City of the Dead (2009)
2. Bayou Dogs (2009)
3. The Red House (2009)
4. The Ghost Road (2009)

The Copernicus Legacy

The Forbidden Stone (2013)

The Serpent's Curse (2014

Kringle (2005)
Firegirl (2006)
The Postcard (2008)
Lunch-Box Dream (2011)

Author profile interview with Tony Abbott.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Blood of My Blood – Barry Lyga - I Hunt Killers Book 3

Blood of My Blood
I Hunt Killers Book 3
Barry Lyga
Hachette Book Group Canada
LB Teens
ISBN 9780316333498

Of late there have been a number of trilogies that have let me down, they started off amazing and went downhill; each successive book just a bit more disappointing. That was not the case with the Jasper Dent or I Hunt Killers trilogy. With each book I had a greater respect for Lyga's powers as a wordsmith. My first response was 'Wow! An amazing conclusion to the series. With every book I read by Barry Lyga my respect for him as a writer goes up.' And reflecting back after thinking about the book for a few weeks I can honestly say this is one of the best series I have ever read. I average over 100 books a year, and to be honest waiting for the final installment in this series was painful.

As fan's will know book two ended with three simultaneous cliff hangers. Our friends Jazz, Connie and Howie are all in life threatening danger, without a lot of chance of things improving. In fact things are going to get worse, much worse. And Jazz realizes the only way he will ever catch his father is to break the law, lots of laws and maybe even do things he never ever wanted to do.

To go back to my first impressions, wow! One of the greatest things about Lyga's stories is the characters, and the growth of the characters in this story is incredible. The pace of the story and plot twists are at times overwhelming. The story is very very well written. This book was so addictive, I stayed up reading and did not put it down until I was done even though I had to work the next morning.

Blood of my Blood is an amazing story in an excellent series.  

Books by Barry Lyga:
I Hunt Killers:
I Hunt Killers (2012)
Game - I Hunt Killers #2 (2013)

Blood of My Blood - I Hunt Killers # 3 (2014)

I Hunt Killers Short Stories:
Lucky Day (2014)
Career Day (2012)
Neutral Mask (2013)
Blood Boy (2014)

Brookdale High:
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2006)
Boy Toy (2007)
Hero Type (2008)
Goth Girl Rising (2009)

Archvillain #1 (2010)
The Mad Mask - Archvillian #2 (2011)
Yesterday Again - Archvillian #3 (2013)

Other Books By Barry Lyga:
Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A definitive Guide (with Alison A.W. Lyga - 2004)
Wolverine: Worst Day Ever (2009)
MangaMan (with Colleen Dorren 2011)

Unsoul'd (2013)
After The Red Rain (2015)

Contributed to:

Geektastic (2009)
Who Done It? (2013)

Author Profile and Interview with Barry Lyga

Author Profile and Interview with Randall Banner

Friday, 17 October 2014

Wee Danny - Gerard Brennan

Wee Danny
Gerard Brennan
Blasted Heath Books

One of the readers of my review blog suggested I give Gerard Brennan a try. The first one I tried was good but not great it was a collection of short stories called Other Stories and Nothing But Time. Reading it I could see where the recommendation came from, it felt kind of like reading Chuck Palahniuk or Irvine Welsh but not quite. This one was much much closer and I see why Brennan is compared to those two.

This is a novella set in the world of Wee Rockets. The main character is Danny Gibson a young tough serving time in a facility for young offenders. Danny is not tall in stature but he is tough as nails and also smart, even if that brain is often turned to destructive tendencies. He is learning how to act in front of his staff, the teachers and even his educational psychologist. But there are some things he just cannot let go. He will not show weakness. And he is vindictive. But something strange happens; Conan Quinlan a new detainee has found a soft spot in Danny's armour. Conan is on the autism spectrum and the teachers do not thing he is in the right facility. Danny sort of takes him under his wing.

This story really surprised me. It was rough and raw like other stories by Brennan I have read, and yet this one over comes that anger and harshness and shows us something else. The story was really well done and immediately upon finishing it I started reading the novel set before it Wee Rockets.

Books by Gerard Brennan:
Wee Rockets
Wee Danny
The Point
Breaking Point
Other Stories and Nothing But Time
Welcome to the Octagon

Books Contributed to:
Requiems for the Departed
Streets of Shadows
Twelve Mad Men
The Tabacco-Stained Sky
True Brit Grit

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

On becoming the first DDPYoga Certified Instructor in Ontario

This journey took almost 300 hours. It is a minimum 150 hours to become a Certified DDP Yoga Level 1 Instructor. What is needed is 100 Hours of DDP Yoga Practice logged, 30+ hours of self study, 20+ hours of teaching, two practical video submission exams, written submission of Diamond Dozen cues and final exam. To be honest it took a lot more work than I ever thought it would. What my numbers break down as: 

60.5 Hours of Self Study
104.65 Hours of Level 1 Practice
72.75 hours of teaching
237.9 hours Total Certification Training
349.82 hours on the mat not counting teaching
422.57 hours total mat time 

But now I can proudly say I am a Certified DDP Yoga Instructor. I am the first in Ontario, the second in Canada. There are so many people to thank for help in this journey. First and foremost my wife Andrea, she has encourage me supported me and at times shoved me in the right direction. Diamond Dallas Page the creator and founder of  DDP Yoga, and all the staff at DDPYoga, also the wonderful support from the other people at Team DDP Yoga, especially Stacey Morris and Sparky. To the great people at ChristieFit who allowed me to film them for my video submissions you know who you are and it is appreciated. To those who had gone before and provided feedback and motivation and support, Liz Collins, Tony Finnibar-Smith, Christina Russell and more. And it all started with Arthur Boorman's video, my brother Mitch is a Canadian vet and we started DDP Yoga together because of his inspiration. I spent over 20 years as a university undergrad, and currently hold over 30 computer certifications and to be honest this was more work and feels more rewarding! BANG! There are too many people to thank them all. Thanks and gratitude for all who were a part of this journey, and as this phase ends a new ones begins, I am now open for private classes in Kitchener-Waterloo, and you can check out my new website Yogi By Accident to stay up to day with the teaching news. (If you are not in KW here is a map of Certified DDP Yoga Teachers and Teachers in Training who teach public classes.)

And if you are not in KW or do not have an instructor near you I highly recommend the DVD's You can buy them by clicking on the image below.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Hawk - Steven Brust - Vlad Taltos Book 14

Vlad Taltos Book 14
Steven Brust
ISBN 9780765324443
eISBN 9781429944823

Quick review. Wow! After 14 books and Vlad is still getting better! Stayed up way to late but read it in one sitting, literally could not put it down. Vlad is back and making more waves than ever!

Full review. There were some wonderful elements in this story, specifically Vlad being forced to take a few days to mend and during that time he recalls a few different conversations which separately would not mean much to almost anyone. But as we know Vlad is not anyone. He thinks he has found a way to get right with the organization, to get the monumental price taken off his head. And all he needs to do is borrow a magic lock pick, a device that prevents sleep, an enchanted musical instrument, a magical egg, the help of a few friends and more than a little luck. But as we have watched Vlad grow over the years and the two things he almost always has going for him is good friends and luck.

The majority of this story is set back in Adrilankha with a short visit to Dzur Mountain. As we know because of the Phoenix stones that Vlad wears in an amulet that no eastern magic nor sorcery can be used against him or to detect him. Because of the stones there is a lot of walking. Someone has made the price on Vlad's head personal, and the number of attacks and their brute force is getting increasingly dangerous. While recovering from one of these, Clad has a spark moment and comes up with a plan. Pulling together memories from his grandfather's fencing lessons, drinking sessions with Kiera the their and Daymar. Vlad asks a favor and sets up a base of operations in his old offices with Kragars and the help of many others he just might be able to pull it off again.

This was a wonderfully written novel. With ever novel by Steven Brust I read I appreciate his skill as a writer more. I have been reading his books for over 30 years now and eagerly anticipate each new one and as of yet none have failed to entertain. This one was addictive; I did not sleep in order to stay up reading. It is one of the best of the Vlad books. An amazing book in a great series!

Books by Steven Brust:
Vlad Taltos Publishing Order:

Jhereg (1983)
Yendi (1984)
Teckla (1987)
Taltos (1988)
Phoenix (1990)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Dragon (1998)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Jhegaala (2008)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (TBD)

Vlad Taltos: Chronological Order:
Taltos (1988)
Dragon, main chapters (1998)
Yendi (1984)
Dragon, interludes (1998)
Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
Jhereg (1983)
Teckla (1987)
Phoenix (1990)
Jhegaala (2008)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa, section 3 (2011)
Hawk (2014)

The Khaavren Romances:
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Five Hundred Years After (1994)
The Viscount of Adrilankha, published in three volumes:
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Sethra Lavode (2004)

Other Books:
Brokedown Palace (1986)
To Reign in Hell (1984)
The Sun, the Moon & the Stars (1987)
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (1990)
Agyar (1993)
My Own Kind of Freedom (2008)

Co Written:
The Gypsy (1992) with Megan Lindholm
Freedom & Necessity (1997) with Emma Bull

Incrementalist (with Skyler White):
The Incrementalists
Fireworks in the Rain - Steven Brust
Strongest Conjuration - Skyler White

Short Stories:
An Act of Contrition - Liavek (1985)
An Act of Trust - Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986)
A Dream of Passion - in the convention chapbook for Ad Astra (1986)
An Act of Mercy - Liavek: Wizard's Row (1987, with Megan Lindholm)
An Act of Love - Liavek: Spells of Binding (1988, with Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm)
Csucskári - Excerpt from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1988)
A Hot Night at Cheeky's - Liavek: Festival Week (1990)
Looking Forward: Excerpt from Athyra in Amazing Stories, March (1993)
Attention Shoppers - Xanadu (1993)
Abduction from the Harem - in Timewalker Issue 14 (October 1996)
Drift - Space Opera (1996)
Valóság and Élet - in Sandman: Book of Dreams (1996)
Calling Pittsburgh - in Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny (1998)
When the Bow Breaks - The Essential Bordertown (1998)
The Man From Shemhaza - in Thieves' World: Enemies of Fortune (2004), reprinted in Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005)
Klava with Honey - Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #4 (2005)
Chapter One - in Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #6 (2007)
The Desecrator - on (2011)
Fireworks in the Rain - on (2013)