Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Porcupine in a Pine Tree - A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas - Helaine Becker and Werner Zimmermann

A Porcupine in a Pine Tree
A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas
Helaine Becker (Author)
Werner Zimmermann (Illustrator)
North Winds Press an imprint of
ISBN 9780545986632

This book is a wonderful story for the whole family. My children got into it from the first time we read (sang) it together. The illustrations are wonderful. The variety of poses for the items in the 12 days is awesome. Kids love the story and the illustrations. It was a great story to read as a family and one they have asked for numerous times this holiday season.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Day 6 - A 40 Day Spiritual Workout For Catholics - Bob Rice

A 40 Day Spiritual Workout For Catholics
Bob Rice
Servant Publications
ISBN 9781616365264

(Posted with permission a sample day.)

DAY 6 

The Perfect Prayer 
Matthew 6: 9– 13 
Reflection:   The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers.... In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them. —St. Thomas Aquinas 

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, said he taught them the Our Father (or the Lord’s Prayer). This prayer is perfect, not only because of the simplicity of its words but also because of what it represents. I bet you’ve heard or prayed the Our Father a thousand times. But do you know what it is about? 

Our Father, who art in heaven: Not “my Father,” as if God is only for the individual. God is our Father, meaning we not only have an amazing dad, but we are all part of an incredible family! The phrase “who art in heaven” acknowledges God’s glory in all eternity. 

Hallowed be Thy name: We live in a culture that uses the name of God a lot but usually not for sacred things! The word hallow in this context is “to recognize as holy.” We want the world to know that God’s name is holy.

Thy kingdom come: Did you know you were praying for the end of the world? We not only pray for the future but also for today, that His kingdom will continue to grow until He comes again.

Thy will be done: We want what He wants, knowing that His will is the best for us and for the world. Give us this day our daily bread: Bread refers not only to our earthly nourishment but also to our eternal nourishment: Jesus is the Bread of Life. We ask for what we need today for our bodies and our souls.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us: Notice the phrase “as we forgive.” We’re not just asking for mercy; we’re also expressing mercy to others. This is necessary if we are to hope for mercy from God (see Matthew 18: 23– 35).

Lead us not into temptation: Though God will give us opportunities to prove our faith, He never tempts us with sin, like the devil does. We ask to remain strong in times of temptation so that, by His grace, we will not fall into sin.

Deliver us from evil: The “evil” referred to here is the devil. This final petition asks God to show His victory over the devil and save His children (also known as us).

It’s amazing how much is packed into this “perfect” prayer! But the words only make a difference if we mean them. So as a way to “cool down” after your workout, pray the Our Father every day. But don’t speed through it. Take some time to think about what the words mean. There is no better spiritual workout than that.

Rice, Bob (2013-01-22). A 40-Day Spiritual Workout for Catholics (pp. 15-16). Servant Books. Kindle Edition. 

Note: Review to follow after the 40 days are done.

Books by Bob Rice:
A 40 Day Spiritual Workout For Catholics
Between The Savior and the Sea

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Christmas Angel - Hans Wilhelm

The Christmas Angel
Hans Wilhelm
Little Shepherd Books an imprint of
ISBN 9780439863971

This year we started a new Christmas tradition. We pulled out 24 Christmas books to read one a night before bed with our oldest two children. This was one of the first stories we read and they loved it. They wanted it again and again and we read it on a number of occasions as a second or third book before bed. This story is about a little angel; he is so small the other angels do not take him to the birth of Jesus. But he is so intent on seeing, he falls to earth and ends up in the caravan with the three wise men. It is a great retelling of the Christmas story from another perspective.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Teaser - Game - I Hunt Killers 2 - Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers Book 2
Barry Lyga
Hachette Book Group Canada
LB Teens
ISBN 9780316125871

I love getting ARC's(advanced readers copies) of books. It is one of the best perks of being a reviewer. Nary Lyga's Game - I Hunt Killers 2 is my most anticipated book in 2013 and it did not let down. The intro below from the author sets a tone and the book is amazing. I Hunt Killers was my top pick of 176 reads in 2012 and Game is even better. This book is not due out until mid April so I cannot post a review yet. A quick comparison, when I finished I Hunt Killers it felt like base jumping, I was falling but excited about where things were going. The end of Game was like being thrown off a mountain, while screaming on the way down, no idea where or how we're going to stop. But if you have not read I Hunt Killers go do so so you are ready when this one comes out! You will not be disappointed.  

Dear Early Reader,

So, here we are - a year later and it's time to play again.

This time, the stakes are higher, the crimes more gruesome.
The body count…well, you'll see.

When I Hunt Killers first hit shelves, I didn't know what to
expect.  The outpouring of enthusiastic reviews from early
readers such as you was humbling and overwhelming, and
played no small part in the success of that book.  I hope
you'll be just as happy with Game.  I know I am!

I also hope you'll want to tell everyone about the book,
but please - be careful.  Don't let slip the many twists and
surprises that lurk within.  Keep them under wraps, and let
people discover them on their own.

After all, Billy Dent doesn't like spoilers.

And you wouldn't want to upset him, now, would you?

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


Monday, 18 February 2013

Such Wicked Intent - Kenneth Oppel - The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein Book 2

Such Wicked Intent
The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
Book 2
Kenneth Oppel
Harper Collins
Browse Inside
ISBN 9781554683420

Some books take you completely by surprise. This was one such book. In fact the story was so startling, so compelling and so amazing, I took months after reading it to think and reflect before writing my review. Kenneth Oppel has written a masterful tale in these books. In fact I was greatly disappointed when I found out there were no plans for more books. This dark tale will leave you hungry for more.

This story continues directly on the heels of This Dark Endeavor and goes even deeper into the depths of a man's quest for knowledge and power. Darkness began in Victor's heart and after his brother's death his father burns the contents of the hidden dark library. But there was a book hidden in a protective sleeve that looked like a book. It was a journal from Victor's distant relative. It includes instructions for crossing over to a spiritual realm. Soon Victor, Henry and Elizabeth are at it again, and once you open a door, sometimes it is very hard to close again!
This story is incredibly well written. I could not put the book down and went back to reread it in under a week. The story races along and you will find yourself on the edge of your seat with the intensity of the suspense and maybe even holding your breath as you read to find out what happens next. I have enjoyed all of Oppel's books from picture books to adult fiction and though this book was written for a young adult audience it could easily gather a large and wide following!  All I can say is thank you for the awesome read.

Books by Kenneth Oppel:

Half Brother (2010)
The Devil's Cure (2000)
Dead Water Zone (1992)
The Live-Forever Machine (1990)

Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
This Dark Endeavour (2011)
Such Wicked Intent (2012)

The Silverwing Saga
Silverwing (1997)
Sunwing (1999)
Firewing (2002)
Darkwing (2007)

Airborn Series
Airborn (2004)
Skybreaker (2005)
Starclimber (2008)

Children's Fiction:

The King's Taster (2009)
Peg and the Yeti (2004)
Peg and the Whale (2000)
Emma's Emu (1995)
Galactic Snapshots (1993)
Cosmic Snapshots (1993)
Follow That Star (1992)
Cosimo Cat (1990)
Colin's Fantastic Video Adventure (1985)

Barnes and the Brains
A Bad Case of Ghosts (1993)
A Strange Case of Magic (1994)
A Crazy Case of Robots (1994)
An Incredible Case of Dinosaurs (1994)
A Weird Case of Super-Goo (1997)
A Creepy Case of Vampires (2002)


Friday, 15 February 2013

My School Trip - BOB Books - Lynn Maslen Kertell and Sue Hendra

My School Trip
BOB Books
Lynn Maslen Kertell (Author)
Sue Hendra (Illustrator)
ISBN 9780545382700

It is time for the school trip to the zoo. Jack and Bill are partnered up for the day. Join them as they journey around the zoo, following the sounds, smells, and noises; some they know and some they do not. But it is a great adventure for all.

The BOB books are wonderfully written and have bright vibrant illustrations. They keep the attention of children through many readings, both as they have the story read to them and as they grow and work on reading the books themselves. It's a fun book in a great series of resources for children in your life.

About the Level Readers
The Leveled readers from Scholastic are a great way to introduce your child to reading. The levels are:

Pre1: ABC's & First Words
Level 1: Sight words, words to sound out and simple sentences.
Level 2: New vocabulary and longer sentences.
Level 3: Reading for inspiration and information.
Each book has a level rating, a grade level, a reading level, a lexile level and a word count on the back.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cars Build & Race - Disney - Pixar - Klutz

Cars Build & Race
Disney - Pixar
ISBN 9780545450478

Join Tom-Mater and the gang. This kit includes 12 punch-out cars, 16 sets of wheels, 93 reusable stickers and 2 foldout race tracks. Love the idea on this kit but just not durable enough for the age group. The fold-out cars are described as 'durable' on the back of the kit. But they very quickly become dinged up and damaged. The wheels are also described as interchangeable but after a number of transitions they stop staying in place. Again great idea; just does not hold up, or at least not at the bottom end age 4 listed on the book.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Intro to Exchange Server 2010 - Train Signal - J. Peter Bruzzese

Intro to Exchange Server 2010
Train Signal
J. Peter Bruzzese

This was an amazing little course. Mr. Bruzzese uses a process of scenario based learning. We are given a case study and together look at the requirements and options and then do an installation on configuration of an exchange environment. The course works through the following topics:

Intro to Exchange Server 2010 Course Introduction
The Evolution of Exchange Over 15 Years
Installing Exchange 2010
Exchange Management Tools
Mailbox Overview and Configuration
An Overview and Configuration
An Overview of Server Role
Unified Messaging
Working with Public Folders
High Availability and Database Availability Groups
Transition from Exchange 2003/2007 to 2010

The course packs a lot of material into about 6 hours of instruction. I loved the course as a refresher. The two best lessons were: The Evolution of Exchange Over 15 Years, and Transition from Exchange 2003/2007 to 2010. The evolution one was awesome and the history cover in it was amazing to learn. The greatest strength of the course is the instructor and his passion for the subject; he is also a great communicator which always makes self-paced study better. The only real weakness or omission for the course is that there are no downloads associated with the course. No course outline or instructor notes like almost all the other TrainSignal courses. It would have been nice to have this, especially with some of the links he provides to blogs, and sites to help support your continued training and knowledge in Exchange.  This course is intended as an introduction and it does an amazing job of a quick and easy overview. Looking forward to more courses from TrainSignal and hopefully J. Peter Bruzzese. 

Note:  Now available for free via YouTube.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Silly Milly and the Mysterious Suitcase - Wendy Cheyette Lewison and Nadine Bernard Westcott

Silly Milly and the Mysterious Suitcase
Wendy Cheyette Lewison (Author)
Nadine Bernard Westcott (Illustrator)
Cartwheel Books an imprint of
ISBN 9780545349697

I must say I laughed out loud when I finished this book. Silly Milly is definitely that. She packs so many things while in her frilly hat. She packs and packs and the kids watch astonished, at all the things she crams in her bag, until finally she jumps in and packs herself. But to find out why she packs all the wonderful, weird and wacky things that she does, you will need to read this book. Oh my, oh me Silly Milly!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Little Letters - Chicken Socks - Klutz

Little Letters
Chicken Socks
ISBN 9781591742425

This craft kit is designed to help children understand letters and notes. Most of the pages pull out and are perforated to be separated and used for activities. Children love getting mail and sending it, or at least mine do. This book will help them understand it more. And will provide lots of entertainment.

Monday, 4 February 2013

System Center Operations Manager 2007 - Train Signal - Scott Lowe

System Center Operations Manager 2007
Train Signal
Scott Lowe

This course is intended to cover System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2. The training teaches you: Client Monitoring, Operations Manager Security, Monitoring VMware Servers, Monitoring Non-Windows Devices and so much more. It should also help prepare you for the 70-400 Exam. It is a very good course and Scott is very enthusiastic about the material he is teaching. His passion is very contagious.

System Center Operations Manager 2007 Course Introduction
Operations Manager Overview
Installing Operations Manager
Introduction to the Management Console
Post-Installation Tasks, Discovery, and Agent Deployment
Understanding and Using Management Packs
Groups, Rules, Tasks, and Monitors
Understanding Alerts, Notifications, and Distributed Application Monitoring
Monitoring Non-Windows Devices
Client Monitoring
Deploying Operations Manager Reporting and Data Warehouse
Operations Manager Security
Monitoring VMware Servers
Using the Service Level Dashboard

Lab Machines:
DC1 - Doamin Controller
SCOM1 - System Center Operations Manager Server
DB1 - SCOM Database Server
DB2 - Second SCOm Database Server
XP7 - Windows XP Client Workstation
SLES1 - SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

You can build out a lab and follow along and do all the set up and configuration with Scott. Scott provides about a dozen urls to resources you will need or for more information and jumping off points.  Literally you could spend years learning to master and tweak SCOM but this course gives you a great starting point for getting it up and running and shows you the basics of some of the customizations you can provide in your environment. It was a good course and I look forward to the 2012 SCOM course that is under development.

Friday, 1 February 2013

I Can Ride - BOB Books - Lynn Maslen Kertell and Sue Hendra

I Can Ride
BOB Books
Lynn Maslen Kertell (Author)
Sue Hendra (Illustrator)
ISBN 9780545382724

This level 1 reader from Scholastic is a great read for children. First I have yet to meet a child who has not wanted to ride a bike, second the book will help them with their reading and gives some good ideas for learning to ride. Join Jack as he wants to take off the training wheels and his father teaches him to ride.

There are so many great books in the BOB Books series from the leveled readers to the word kits. They are all loved by children and great tools for teaching and helping to stretch and strengthen young readers and their progressing abilities.

About the Level Readers
The Leveled readers from Scholastic are a great way to introduce your child to reading. The levels are:

Pre1: ABC's & First Words
Level 1: Sight words, words to sound out and simple sentences.
Level 2: New vocabulary and longer sentences.
Level 3: Reading for inspiration and information.
Each book has a level rating, a grade level, a reading level, a lexile level and a word count on the back.