Monday 31 May 2010

An Alien At St. Wilfred's - Adrian Plass

An Alien At St. Wilfred's
Adrian Plass
Harper Collins
ISBN 9780006276197

This is my favorite Adrian Plass. There is less direct humor, and more serious reflection than other stories. It is the story of David Persimmon, a clergyman in The Church of England. He is a sad pastor. An alien appears to him in the church. He is
small, white and speaks in perfect Book of Prayer English. The Alien says he has come to visit and learn for a while. He has chosen the name Nunc Dumuttus. The alien believes he is where he is supposed to be and that he is to meet with David and some of his friends. The story is moving and touching as the Alien opens up each person to their own inner hurt and teaches them how to be healed and in part how to learn to heal others.

Sunday 30 May 2010

Sea Change - Aimee Friedman

Sea Change
Aimee Friedman
Point an imprint of

ISBN 9780439922289

Miranda Merchant is in for a big surprise this summer. She is joining her mother, prim and proper Dr. Merchant, on Selkie Island. She is going there to help her mother clean out the summer house she inherited from her estranged mother. On the way to the island by ferry she is warned by an old sea dog to be cautious of who she meets on the island. Her life is about to change in ways she never imagined, having gone to a Science Prep School back in New York City.

On the Island she starts to learn about her mother's past, as a southern belle who vacationed on this island year after year. She also meets some of her mother's friends from her youth. Miranda is also trying to get away from her past to some extent. Her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend are both people she is trying to push from her mind. Here she meets other summer people, and daughters of her mother's friends - southern belles who pick dibs on who they will hook up with for the summer. But she also meets a strange island boy Leo, who seems different but in a good way, and maybe in a dangerous way. Good girl Miranda starts taking chances and risks she would not have done at home.

I picked up this book because I loved This Totally Bites - Poison Apple Book 2, written by Aimee under the pseudonym Ruth Ames. The cover of the book also attracted my attention. The mix of legends and myths, and a bit of mystery in a coming of age story, is wonderfully done. Aimee Friedman has written a wonderful story about love, falling in love, loss and grief and combines it all in a cohesive whole. It is a great story and we can only hope that we will encounter Miranda and the mythology of Selkie Island again.

Books By Aimee Friedman:
South Beach (2004)
French Kiss (2005)
A Novel Idea (2005)
Hollywood Hills (2007)
The Year My Sister Got Lucky (2008)
Sea Change (2009)

Contributed to:
Mistletoe (2006)
21 Proms

Graphic Novel:
Breaking Up (2007 - with Christine Norrie )

As Ruth Ames:
This Totally Bites - Poison Apple Book 2 (2009)
At First Bite - Poison Apple Book 8 (2011)

Author Profile Interview with Aimee Friedman

Saturday 29 May 2010

Win a Signed copy of Hero Type by Barry Lyga

Enter to win a signed copy of :

Hero Type
Barry Lyga
Blog Twitter
Graphia a division of

Haughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN 9780547248776

"Say you do something really good - like save a girl's life. And everybody thinks you're a hero. But the whole reason you were there, at the right place to save her, is totally messed up.
Then let's say you stand up for something you believe in, but everybody else thinks you're wrong. And now they all hate you.
How do you know if you're a hero or a zero?
How do you know?"
Win a signed copy of this book, donated by Barry Lyga himself. Here is how you enter:
+1 Leave a comment with your e-mail or contact info. (you have to do this one. (if you do not want to post your email address, use the button on the sidebar to email me.)
+1 Link to this contest on your blog. (You get an entry for everyplace you link)
+1 Link to this contest on your Facebook/Myspace
+1 Twitter this contest
+1 Follow me on Twitter: SRMcEvoy
+1 Follow this blog on Facebook: NetworkedBlogs
* Please provide evidence that you did the above (links will do).

Contest closes June 15th 2010 and winner will be announced the following day. The winner will be randomly drawn from all ballots. (Added bonus win Goth Girl Rising.)

Also check out Goth Girl Follies and other books by Barry Lyga.

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:
Down Time (2018)
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)

Bang (2017)

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

The Flash Series:
Hocus Pocus (2017)
Johnny Quick (2018)
Tornado Twins (2018)

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)
The Secret Sea (2016)
Thanos Titan Consumed (2018)
The Hive (2019)

Short Story Project 2017
The Ghosts at 95
Loving The University
The Ideas of March
Four Minutes
Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend
Her Decade
The Life Cycle of Stars (Ignition)
Trading Worlds
When I Die
The Autopsying of Michael Edward Morgan
Meet Me Tonight

Contributed to:
Geektastic (2009)
Who Done It? (2013)

Author Profile and Interview with Barry Lyga

Author Profile and Interview with Randall Banner

Friday 28 May 2010

100/30/20 - Tony Horton One on One Volume 2 Disk 10

Tony Horton
One on One
Volume 2 Disk 10

This is another of the One on
One workouts that will be great for the road or while travelling. It runs 46 minutes with warm-up and cool-down. You need a jump rope (or fake it), and push-up stands/power stands if you have them. The title of the disk tells it all; you do a series of 100 skips, 30 crunches, 20 push ups. Then repeat each set. Tony does different push ups and crunches. He also shows a little variety with the jump rope. This is not a workout I see myself doing often, but like I said at the beginning, do see it as a great workout for the road when travelling. And I will throw it in from time to time for a change.
You do 9 rounds through this workout. Mason convinces Tony to do a 10th round until he does 100 skips without missing one. It takes Tony 8 attempts to make it through the full hundred, during the video
To find out more about this series or other workouts in the collection follow the links below. I have created a random workout generator that uses 1 on 1's and P90X if your interested.
Volume 1, Disk 1: Plyo Legs
Volume 1, Disk 2: Power 90® Road Warrior
Volume 1, Disk 3: Killer Abs

Volume 1, Disk 4: Just Arms
Volume 1, Disk 5: 30-15: The Upper-Body Massacre
Volume 1, Disk 6: Fountain of Youth
Volume 1, Disk 7: Super Cardio

Volume 1, Disk 8: Mammoth UML
Volume 1, Disk 9: Bun Shaper
Volume 1, Disk 10: Medicine Ball Core Cardio
Volume 1, Disk 11: Recovery 4 Results

Volume 1, Disk 12: Diamond Delts
Volume 1, Bonus Disk - Holiday Workout
Volume 2, Bonus Disk - Pay It Forward
Volume 2, Disk 1: Cardio Intervals
Volume 2, Disk 2: Core Ball Sandwich
Volume 2, Disk 3: Patience "Hummingbird"
Volume 2, Disk 4: 10-Minute Crusher Pack

Volume 2, Disk 5: Butt and Belly (I Dare You)
Volume 2, Disk 6: Back and BellyVolume 2, Disk 7: On One Leg
Volume 2, Disk 8: Iso Abs
Volume 2, Disk 9: Cardio Confusion - Mason's Choice
Volume 2, Disk 10: 100/30/20
Volume 2, Disk 11: On One Leg 4 legs
Volume 2, Disk 12: Upper Body Balance
Volume 3, Disk 1: Chest, Back & Balls
Volume 3, Disk 2: ARX2 (Ab-Ripper X 2)
Volume 3, Disk 3: Shoulders and Arms MC2
Volume 3, Disk 4: Base and Back
Volume 3, Disk 5: MC2
Volume 3, Disk 6: Plyocide
Volume 3, Disk 7: Stretch And Recovery
Volume 3, Disk 8: V Sculpt
Volume 3, Disk 9: Core Synergistics MC2
Volume 3, Disk 10: UBX
Volume 3, Disk 11: PAP
Volume 3, Disk 12: Total Body X

(Disclaimer: I am asked frequently if I am a Beachbody Coach, no I am not, I am just some one who has used their products, P90X, 1on1 with Tony Horton and more and liked them and achieved good results. I am not paid by Beachbody or any of their affiliates. You can see my full disclaimer here.)

Thursday 27 May 2010

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman
Harper Collins
Browse Inside

ISBN 9780060934712

I first read this book a few years ago. I asked a friend, a manager of a bookstore what her favourite books or authors were to expand upon my reading list. She recommended Stardust and Neverwhere, both by Neil Gaiman. Both became quick favourites though very different and both left a lasting impression on me. Stardust is the story of Tristan Thorne, who is unaware of his true heritage at the beginning of the book. It is
the story of his adventures in the land of Faerie; he was raised in a town near the wall that separates Faerie from England. Tristan sets out to retrieve a fallen star from Faerie so the woman he loves will marry him. Whilst there he discovers the star is really a sentient being, Yvaine, and during their adventures together he is changed. During his time in Faerie he discovers truths about himself and he finds that his goals and aspirations have changed. The book is full of wonder and adventure. It is an excellent read, for Gaimen mixes fantasy, adventure and a grisly reality into a high adventure story.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

The Viper's Nest - 39 Clues Book 7 - Peter Lerangis

The Viper's Nest
The 39 Clues - Book 7

Peter Lerangis
ISBN 9780545060479

This book is the seventh in a unique series that was to run 10 books. Originally it was to be 10 books by 7 authors in a single continuous story arch, with online games, and clue hunts and more, at the 39 Clues website. Each book now seems to be getting better than the one before, and also leaves you hungry for the next instalment. Scholastic has also now announced an 11th volume, The Black Book of Buried Secrets, which will be out shortly after book 10.

Peter Lerangis has written a wonderful piece pivotal to the story arc. Amy and Dan Cahill are still up to their neck in the hunt for the 39 clues. They are learning to trust again. This time they are in South Africa, and the historical figures explored included Winston Churchill and Shaka and they also find out more about their grandmother Grace, and their parents. Lerangis gives us a lot of real history in under 200 pages. Once you start reading this book you will not want to put it down, even more so than some of the others in the series.

The last few books had become very dark and though the race for the 39 clues is still on, and some factions are becoming more and more dangerous, Dan and Amy seem to be finding a better balance. This is another amazing book in an incredible series.

Sites With More Info:

The 39 Clues:
The Maze of Bones - Book 1 - Rick Riordan
One False Note - Book 2 - Gordon Korman
The Sword Thief - Book 3 - Peter Lerangis
Beyond the Grave - Book 4 - Jude Watson
The Black Circle - Book 5 - Patrick Carman
In Too Deep - Book 6 - Jude Watson

The Viper's Nest - Book 7 - Peter Lerangis
The Emperor's Code - Book 8 - Gordon Korman
Storm Warning - Book 9 - Linda Sue Park
Into the Gauntlet - Book 10 - Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Black Book of Buried Secrets - Rick Riordan
Vespers Rising - Book 12 - Rick Riordan

Card Pack #1 - Books 1-3
Card Pack #2 - Books 4-6
Card Pack #3 - Books 7-9
Rare Card Pack

The 39 Clues Cahills vs. Vespers
The Medusa Plot - Book 1 - Gordon Korman
A King's Ransom - Book 2 - Jude Watson
The Dead of Night - Book 3 - Peter Lerangis
? - Book 4 - Roland Smith
? - Book 5 - Linda Sue Park
? - Book 6 - David Baldacci

The 39 Clues Rapid Fire:
Legacy - Book 1 - Clifford Riley
Ignition - Book 2 - Clifford Riley
Hunted - Book 3 - Clifford Riley
Crushed - Book 4 - Clifford Riley
Turbulence - Book 5 - Clifford Riley
Invasion - Book 6 - Clifford Riley
Fireworks - Book 7 - Clifford Riley

Sunday 23 May 2010

The Chestnut King - N.D. Wilson - Book 3 of the 100 Cupboards

The Chestnut King
Book 3 of the 100 Cupboards
N.D. Wilson - blog
Random House
ISBN 9780375838859

I will start off by saying that I absolutely love this series. When I read book one, 100 Cupboards, I thought it was an excellent story and that it could be the beginning of a great series. When I read book 2, Dandelion Fire, I thought it was an incredible story, Tolkienesk even, and yet it left we wanting more of Henry's story. Book 3, The Chestnut King, blew away all my previous expectations. Very few authors in my opinion are worthy of being compared to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien or Madeleine L'Engle, and yet as I read this book I could not help but find myself comparing the author's style, and the substance of his writings to these three giants in literature.
This story continues the adventures of Henry York Maccabee, a young boy about to turn 13, raised near Boston on our earth. While visiting family in Kansas he discovers 100 magic doors hidden in a wall. He also finds out that he is not from earth and that the person he thought was his Grandfather had brought him through one of the doors when he was young. He has released an ancient evil Nimiane from Endor, and she devours all life. She is hunting Henry and wants to capture him before he comes into his power. He has been touched by her blood and its scar on his face is expanding. It is a bond between them. Henry's Father and Uncle are off searching for the dark witch when calamity befalls the family. They are taken by soldiers from a southern kingdom. The dark witch is trying to draw Mordecai, Henry's father, and Henry into a trap.This specific story, and the whole trilogy, is told as a series of narratives telling different people's parts of the story. It reminds me of The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, which is told in 6 books each telling a part of the tale and going back and forth. This story does the same thing. Told from Henry's vantage point, his cousin Henrietta's, his father's and at times even the witch's, the story switches back and forth from different vantage points and most times there are gaps in the story. Some get filled in by others, some are left for you to fill in. Yet it works together as a cohesive whole. At nearly 500 pages this third volume is the longest and also the best written. The story is compelling and highly addictive. I read it in 3 sittings, not wanting to put it down either of the times I did, but life intruded upon my desired reading time.

This is an excellent book by an author who is coming into his own. The story arc across the three novels proceeds well, and this particular volume is excellent. I look forward to future offerings from N.D. Wilson for if they are as good as this one, they will be greatly entertaining.

(First Published in Imprint 2010-05-21.)

Books by N.D. Wilson
100 Cupboards:

The Door Before - 100 Cupboards Book 0.5
100 Cupboards - 100 Cupboards Book 1
Dandelion Fire - 100 Cupboards Book 2
The Chestnut King - 100 Cupboards Books 3

Ashton Burials:

The Dragon's Tooth
The Drowned Vault

Leepike Ridge


Right Behind

Picture Books:

The Dragon and the Garden - The Old Stories
In The Time of Noah - The Old Stories


Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl
Death By Living

Author Profile Interview with N.D. Wilson


Saturday 22 May 2010

Robin Hood 2010 - Movie Review

Title: Robin Hood
Year: 2010

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Brian Helgeland

Studio: Universal Pictures

Film Stock: Color

Run Time: 140 min.

This movie surprised me on a number of levels. First and foremost was the new and unique interpretation of the Robin Hood tale,
beginning with a very different portrayal of King Richard the Lionheart, down to Robin's heritage and rise to fame. This movie is almost all back-story; it ends when most Robin Hood legends begin, with Robin becoming an outlaw. It is the story of an archer who travels back to England under an assumed name in order to survive. And yet in fulfilling an oath to a dying man he goes to Nottingham to return a sword. Robin soon learns the full story of his past and takes up a name and a responsibility for people around him that he had never shouldered before. He is a man of character and a man of integrity in a time when both are coming to be in short supply. The movie, and Robin's own past, both focus around an inscription on a sword "Rise, and rise again. Until lambs become lions." Something about it triggers memories from Robin's youth.

here is much to appreciate about this version of the Legend of Robin the Hood, and some that leave to be desired. First, the cinematography is stunning and incredibly well done. Director Ridley Scott uses imaginative transitions and cuts for battle scenes and overall visually the film is very well done. The action by Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett is strong and convincing. William Hurst as an older advisor and lord is a fitting cunning supporting role. Mark Strong as Godfrey, a wolf in sheep's clothing, plays an incredible villain. But what lets the movie down most is the orchestration, the score composed by Marc Strietenfeld. By about half way through the movie it sounds too similar to the Lord of the Rings scores, and at times too majestic for the action on screen. The score is the weakest part of the entire production. The other thing that makes this film rank a little lower for me is the fact that they leave it set up perfectly for a sequel or even a new franchise, and yet there is no indication of a follow-up film in the works. In conclusion, it is a good film, but it leaves you wanting to know the rest of the story.

(First published in Imprint 2010-05-21.)

Friday 21 May 2010

Fitness Friday Top Ten Lists and More

I love lists, I keep lists of what I watch, what I read, my workouts. Some of these are the lists and quotes I use to help me maintain balance between body, mind and spirit. Some I have been using for uears, some I am just learning about.

Guiding Questions:

Who are you?
What do you want?
Where are you going?
Who do you serve?
Who do you trust?

Daily Goals:

1. To get enough sleep.
2. To eat right & Exercise daily.
3. To refuse to be a perfectionist.
4. To carefully control finances.
5. To ask for help when needed.
6. To pray and read the Bible daily.
7. To not pressure self into planning entire life today.

The Primal Blueprint - 10 Immutable Laws

1. Eat lots of plants and animals.
2. Avoid poisonous things.
3. Move frequently at a slow pace.
4. Lift Heavy things.
5. Sprint once in a while.
6. Get adequate sleep.
7. Play.
8. Get plenty of sunlight.
9. Avoid stupid mistakes.
10. Use your brain.

Robert Wolff former editor of Muscle & Fitness, stated in his book: "The one thing you can be absolutely sure of in your life is change. It's the only thing that never changes. The law of nature is that you either grow or you die; there's no in-between. So, what have you chosen so far?" To many extents this book is a manual on how to make change. First in the area of physical fitness and then to apply the discipline learned there to other areas of your life. It is definitely worth the time and effort!

Eight Principles to Live Your Life By - James MacDonald

1. I will do all things as unto the lord.
2. I will live in the light of the judgement seat of Christ.
3. I will consider my weaker brother in all I do.
4. I will do nothing unless I'm sure that it's right to do.
5. I will do all things to the glory of my God.
6. I will avoid what may appear wrong even if I know it's not.
7. I will abstain from things which culd enslave me.
8. I will seek always to do what I believe Jesus would do."

C.S. Lewis
Mere change is not growth. Growth is the synthesis of change and continuity, and where there is no continuity there is no growth.

Sylvester Stallone's Top Ten Tips for Life

10. Believe it! Truly, it can be done and it will.
9. Every day - every few hours - see your vision materializing.
8. Don't discuss your dreams. Pursue them!
7. If other people can steal your ideal, most likely they will.
6. Don't be afraid of embarrassment while pursuing your goal. It's all part of being committed.
5. Being naive is business and understanding human nature is a recipe for disaster.
4. Study people's success stories hard. Study their failures even harder.
3. Enthusiasm is like a wonderful disease - keep spreading it until everyone's infected.
2. Only choose a goal that - if you had to - you'd gladly pursue for free. In order to achieve success, you've got to follow your passion.
1.Most Important: If it's not broken, break it. That's how new discoveries are made.
That's why everything that changes life is called a breakthrough." p.186. This book will help you have breakthroughs in your life. Those breakthroughs will be through a process of progressive changes in your life and lifestyle.

Other Fitness Articles:
Fall 2011 Programs
Workout program March 2012
My Gear February 2012
Fitness My Retrospective

TRX Articles:
TRX an Introduction
TRX Force

TRX Force Tactical
TRX Essential Flexibility

My P90X Series:
Phase I, Phase II, Gear, Phase III, Fitness Options, P90X at 120 Days Out

Health & Fitness Book Reviews:
The Primal Blueprint 21 Day Total Body Transformation - Mark Sisson
The Ten Commandments Of Lifting Weights - Jared Zimmerer

Toadally Primal Smoothies - Todd Dosenberry
Caveman Resurection - Jeff Pickett
40 Days to Optimal Health - Dr. Scott Morris
Eat Stop Eat - Brad Pilon
The Primal Blueprint - Mark Sisson
The New Rules of Lifting - Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove
Bench Press by: Sven Lindqvist
Sly Moves by: Sylvester Stallone
Fit for Eternal Life: A Christian Approach to Working Out, Eating Right, and Building the Virtues of Fitness in Your Soul by: Dr. Kevin Vost
Body for Life 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strenght by: Bill Phillips
Lose Fat Not Faith by Jeremy R. Likeness
Living The Good Life: Your Guide to Health and Success by: David Patchell-Evans
Dump your Trainer by: Ashley Marriott and Marc L. Paulsen

Wednesday 19 May 2010


I often get asked about my prolific reading and reviewing habits. This is my disclaimer. I read over 100 books each and every year. Reading is one of my favourite pastimes and I wish I did not need to sleep so I could read even more than I do. I have been publishing reviews in newspapers and magazines for over 5 years now, and have over 200 published reviews across seven different publications. I receive about two thirds of the books I read free, either from publishers, authors, marketing types or contests. It in no way affects my reviews. I am asked why I have so many positive reviews. I am blessed with a plethora of books to read, and if I am really not enjoying something it usually gets put aside. If I don't finish it within a year, I then give up on it. I once believed I had to finish every book I started. I have since come to the conclusion that life is too short to read bad books. However I freely admit, to loosely quote Robert A. Heinlien: 'One man's theology is another man's belly laugh.' My bad book might be your favourite. Thankfully, we can all find books we love if we read, read often and read deeply.

Before you pitch your book to me for a review, here are some things to consider. First I am a Christian and take my faith seriously. If you ask me to review a book about supposed real visits from beyond the grave, I'm probably not going to like it. Know your audience. Do not just ask me to review your book because you saw me on Amazon or Chapters, or you found my blog, and just want a review. Check out what I read, and what I love. If then you think I would like to review your book, pitch it to me. Do not pull a bait and switch, have a description you think will make me interested in the book but does not match the real book. (See beyond the grave above.)

Also, to authors and marketing types out there, do not contact reviewers and ask for a review or a book or product and offer to send a review copy. Then when you send the review copy include a letter that states: "Also, let me know the details as to method of payment, or a donation etc. Whatever you like. When and how I may expect the review, and if you enter your book reviews with online bookstores." If you want me to buy your book to review, send me info on the book and where to buy. Also, the other questions are information you should have before you send out the review copy.

That being said, if I love a book, I will do everything I can to promote it. I post my reviews on,, and I will tweet about it, spread the word in forums and discussion online, and in person. If I do not like a book I usually do not finish it, and do not bother reviewing it unless it is so bad I feel I need to warn people, or if the author or publisher is really pushing for a review. So if you want an honest opinion and a fair review do not hesitate to contact me; if the book looks interesting I will give it a go.

(Most of my ARC's and review copies end up with Family and Children's Services, my Dad and Stepmom are foster parents an I pass along a lot that my Stepmom reads with them. I also donate them to the FACS Library or Foster Parent Association garage sale. I tend to only keep about one out of every hundred books I read, and usually only if I plan on rereading the book again.)

Monday 17 May 2010

The Theatrical Tapes of Leonard Thynn - Adrian Plass

The Theatrical Tapes of Leonard Thynn
Adrian Plass
Harper Collins
ISBN 9780551018754

One of the funniest of Plass's books is this story which chronicles the church's attempt to put on a drama for a Christian Drama Festival. Leonard Thynn decides to record the meetings and rehearsals as an archive of the production. And production it does become. With his dry British whit and an abundance of slapstick humor, this book will entertain again and again. You will laugh out loud.