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Content by Steven R. McEvoy
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Reviews Written by
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada)
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Monsters on the Run
Monsters on the Run
by Kevin Sherry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 10.85
29 used & new from CDN$ 2.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun and my kids love it, July 22 2016
This review is from: Monsters on the Run (Hardcover)
I need to start off by stating that my son absolutely loves this book and the series. We have just finished reading this one for a second time and have read the first one at least a half dozen times. My son has been earning books as part of a summer reading challenge, for every 10 days he reads he gets to pick a book of his choosing. And he is counting down the days until he can get book 3. He is also frequently asking if there will be more books (Hint, hint Kevin and Scholastic). My son loves flipping through these books, often going back and forth looking at the illustrations, comparing what is happening with what happened.

This book is less of a story, but also not a graphic novel. It is not a picture book in the strictest sense. It does have a tale, but at time not told in a linear fashion. Each page has text and some wonderful illustrations. In this instalment of the Yeti Files - Nessie the Loch Ness Monster is thinking of revealing herself because she is son lonely. So after she contacts Blizz the leader of the cryptids and leader of a crack team of cryptozoologists, that includes a little monster, a dog and many others set off to travel back in time 65 million years with the help of a leprechaun to try and find Nessie a friend. But the age of the dinosaurs can be a scary and dangerous place even for the cryptids and their crew. Shortly after arriving the team is separated and each group has their own adventure before meeting up. Can they all make it back home safe? Can they find a friend for Nessie? Read to find out.

This book and the series are great book to read. My son who is 8 and youngest daughter at 5 both love them. They will bring readers back again and again.


Reach for the Stars, Ryan
Reach for the Stars, Ryan
by Barb Chrysler
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.40
9 used & new from CDN$ 4.30

4.0 out of 5 stars A story of encouragement, support and motivation., July 18 2016
This was the second book by Barb Chrysler That I have read and the first illustrated by Igor Golovinhin. My children and I have read through this book a few times over the last week. My younger two love it. This is an interesting story for children. It is a story about perseverance, a story about encouragement and a story about parenting.

In this book every time Ryan gets frustrated or discouraged his mother tickles him. And after the laughter his tries again and he is able to move forward.

The issues he struggles with are:
Learning to print his name
Tie his shoes
Learn the alphabet
Ride his bicycle
Learn to skate
Adding numbers
Make friends

My kids got the message right away. If they keep trying they will be able to gain the skills. The book is particularly allocable as both my younger two are struggling with riding bikes, and this book has motivated them to keep trying.

My children have mixed opinions about the illustrations, They are done in sort of a manga style. My daughter loves them my son does not like the huge eyes. But both of them loved the story.

This is a great little book with a solid message. The message of working through issues with laughter, support and encouragement is one that we can all benefit from. As such all three of us give it a solid 4 stars!


The Janitor's Boy
The Janitor's Boy
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, July 17 2016
This review is from: The Janitor's Boy (Kindle Edition)
I am very thankful that I discovered Andrew Clement's books this year. They are great for reading with my children. The stories are so entertaining that I really enjoy then. And each of them that I have read so far have amazing lessons. The message in this book is deeper than some of the others that I have read by Clements.

Jack Rankins hates that his dad is the janitor at his school. SO he has a plan, a plan to make a horrendous mess for his father to need to clean up. But his plan for the prefect crime did not take into account the detective skills of Mr. Ackerby. Soon Jack has 3 weeks of punishment cleaning first his original target, and then what ever the head custodian wants him to clean. Jack reports to his father for duty.

But being in school after hours has some interesting benefits. Jack finds a key cabinet, discovers some secrets and learns a lot. He learns about who he really is, he learns about who his father is and some of the stuff he has been through. And he grows a lot.

One of the best things about Clement's books is that they teach incredible lessons but in in a big showy way. The lessons are subtle, and the stories very realistic. These down to earth books a great for the whole family, currently in our house from ages 5-45 all enjoy these reads. This is one of the best in-between book I have ever read. It is not early readers and it is not yet young adult. This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.


How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming Into the Catholic Church
How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming Into the Catholic Church
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A book will inspire, challenge and at times even cause us to laugh, July 14 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the second book I have read by Kevin Lowry and I have read his contributions in other volumes also. And I must say the greatest strengths of his writings are threefold. First is his honesty and his transparency. Second is his engaging and entertaining writing style. And Third is his vulnerability is sharing his stories as they are faults and all. Over the last few years I have read a number of stories of how people have found the Catholic church or found their way back home. From the three volumes in the Surprised By Truth series edited by Patrick Madrid to Lorene Hanley Dunquin's Recovering Faith. But there is something very powerful in the whole story like Kevin Presents in this volume as opposed to shorter snapshots, even though I enjoy those also.

In this volume we have a story that spans many years, almost a decade. From a young 16 year old heading off to college to a man married with 2 children entering the Catholic Church. Kevin states in the introduction: "To undergo conversion is to become different, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that it is to be made different. It is the start of the process of becoming a saint, for that is the ultimate point of conversion and God's goal for each one of us." He goes on later to declare "I've grasped that I was not a failure but a human being. I have also grasped that the process of conversion - even for cradle Catholics - necessarily involves turning our hearts again and again toward Christ. It involves growing in our understanding and practice of the faith." And his book will inspire, challenge and at times even cause us to laugh. This book will help with our own turning, turning back, refocusing back on Christ. And if we are open to learning from Kevin's example it can help us grow.

The sections in this book are:
Foreword - Dr. Scott Hahn
Introduction - Transformed: Lessons of a Grateful Convert

Part I: Sprinting to the Starting Gate - or How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church Despite My Best Efforts to Avoid It
Chapter 1: Happy Easter! Now What?
Chapter 2: An Event and a Process
Chapter 3: A Fish Out of Water
Chapter 4: Soused in Steubenville
Chapter 5: Fast Forward
Chapter 6: The Beautiful American
Chapter 7: Spiritual Nomads

Part II: Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping-Stones - or How All Those Weird Things About Catholicism Turn Out to Make Sense and Actually Bring You Closer to God
Chapter 8: First Stumbling Block: The Eucharist
Chapter 9: Second Stumbling Block: Confession
Chapter 10: Third Stumbling Block: The Mystical Body of Christ
Chapter 11: Fourth Stumbling Block: Mary
Chapter 12: Fifth Stumbling Block: Faith vs. Works
Chapter 13: Sixth Stumbling Block: Authority
Chapter 14: Seventh Stumbling Block: The Church's Imperfections
Chapter 15: The Worst Stumbling Block of All: Me

Kevin writes in such an engaging way that I could hardly put the book down.
"I need the Sacrament of Reconciliation as much as anyone and more than most. So instead, I force myself to look inward and marvel at my own intransigence - how my conversion seems to be put on hold far more often than it should be." And each of us must face those same questions, week by week, year by year. We need to learn to turn again and again back to God, to fix our focus on Christ and to follow the Holy Spirit's leading.

This book is an excellent read. For those firmly established in their Catholic faith it will serve as a reminder or a book to share with those on the path. For those who are on the path, Kevin is an excellent example and someone whom you can walk beside. I honestly believe that anyone who reads this book will be challenged to live a deeper and more authentic faith! It is a wonderful inspiring read so give it a try.


Liberation (I Am Margaret Book 3)
Liberation (I Am Margaret Book 3)
Price: CDN$ 8.63

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book and series!, July 12 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I find that book series typically fall into a few categories, either they start great and tapper off (The Hunger Games), or sometimes they build slowly (Duncton Chronicles), but few series keep up the intensity and the enjoyment (I Am Margaret or I Hunt Killers). This series in many ways keeps getting better and better. I was impressed with Turner's debut I Am Margaret. And I am even more impressed with this third instalment in the quadrilogy or tetralogy depending on your preference. This was an incredible read that I could hardly put down.

To recap: at the end of book 1, I Am Margaret, Bane has freed Margo and Jon and the other ReAssigness from the EuroGov facility. Now they are all on the run. At the end of book two, The Three Most Wanted, the Vatican state has had to evacuate. Margo, Bane, Jon and many other are in hiding but with plans. At that leads us directly to this story.

Bane has a plan, a plan to liberate others who are waiting to be reassigned. Pope Cornelius will only ok the plan because they are committed to using non-lethal. And with some information from a surprising benefactor, and then things begin going very well for the underground. But all good things do come to an end, as the saying goes. Some of our team are lost or captured, some are getting married and soon all are in big trouble again surrounded on all sides by the military of the Eurobloc.

This is another amazing story in an amazing series! The writing is wonderful, incredible suspense. It has excellent characters and great world building. If you have read the other books in the series you will love this and if not give this wonderful series a try.


One Day: A Story about Positive Attitude
One Day: A Story about Positive Attitude
by Barb Chrysler
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.05
12 used & new from CDN$ 4.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Great advice, great book, July 10 2016
I have read this book with my children, twice both yesterday and today. It has a great message for all children, but especially for fan of soccer or football as the European's call it. Each page is illustrated with a child dressed like a famous soccer star, and with a motivational message about that play. These message instil positive attitudes and hope.

The stars profiled are:
Pele
Christiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi
Abby Wambach
Mia Hamm
George Weah
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
David Beckham
Nico Calabria
Martha Vieira da Silva
Michelle Akers
David Alaba
Hope Solo
Philipp Lahm
Ronaldo Luis Nazario
Manuel Neuer
Arjen Robben
Alex Morgan
Zinedine Zidane

The illustrations by Philip McIvor are very well done. They are sort of in a caricature but of a child dressed as the soccer star. The realistic uniforms, and bright colors will be loved by children and fans alike. At the end of the book is a brief biography on each of the players, many of which are inspirational in and of themselves.

This is one of those books I see my children coming back to again and again. We have already read it 4 times in under 2 days. My children absolutely love it. And to be honest the message is strong enough that even I appreciate the reminder's about how our attitude can help shape the future and also inspire others.

A great little read and I highly recommend it.


Arrival (Geoterra Book 3)
Arrival (Geoterra Book 3)
Price: CDN$ 2.51

4.0 out of 5 stars A great instalment in the Geoterra Adventure, July 7 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was the third book I have read by Alfred Gillette. And to be honest based on those he has in the pipe I am looking forward too many more. The Geoterra books have a fun rhythm to them. They are part Spider Robinson Callahan's Saloon, Part Harry Harrison Stainless Steel Rat. But they also pay homage to a lot of science fiction styles and sub genre's. There are a lot of hat tip's to different series of books and tv shows, that make these really fun reads.

This book has a bit of everything, and as such has something for everyone. You have a group of colonists from Earth hoping to start over with less technology and contact with other species. You have Vanian's - Vampires, You have Angel like beings, and giant whale like creatures who have been guiding and protecting the universe and are now about to move on and leave it in the hands of a new organization. And there are still pirates, a human who is really messing up the plans and goals of the other terran's. And when you add some guidance and visits from future versions of our many group and you have a really interesting adventure.

AJ's writing is a fun engaging style. I have really enjoyed discovering his books. And I really look forward to reading more in this series and some of the other books he has in the works. This was another great read so give the series a try!


No Talking
No Talking
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, Amazing book!, July 5 2016
This review is from: No Talking (Kindle Edition)
This is the third book I have read by Andrew Clements in as many weeks. I am finding that the more I read of his the more I like it. He does an excellent job of capturing the school environments, children and student teacher interactions. To be honest I wish I had encountered his writings earlier for I know I would have read many more of them, and I just might yet. When I am reading books for younger readers I have a few questions that take a book from good to great in my opinion, those questions are:
1. Could I see reading this book again?
2. Would I want to read this book with my kids?
3. Would I want my children reading this book?
4. Could I see myself sharing this book with other parents and educators?
5. Is the story good enough to entertain children and adults who read to or with them?
This book gets a resounding yes to all 5 questions.

In this book Dave and Lynsey end up in a battle, they are leading the 5th grade boys and girls in a challenge to speak the fewest words. The rules are: ""You can say only three words in a row. And only if a teacher or a grown-up talks to you first. Except you can talk to a kid first. Because you're sort of a teacher. And no talking at all outside of school-honor system." The challenge was set for 2 days, and almost immediately the teachers notice something is up. Some teachers figure out what is going on, there is resistance from some teachers and from the principal Mrs. Hiatt. It was also interesting watching how the children found ways to communicate without the words.

I found that this book really made me think about the words I use, how I use them. How often do I speak when I should stay silent? Do I remain silent when I should be speaking up? Reading this book has had an impact on me at work, with my friends and at home. As such it was an absolute excellent read. And I really cannot wait to read this with my children.

Almost every chapter has a wonderful sketch by Mark Elliott. They contribute to the story. I know my children, especially the younger one's love the pictures even as we push them more and more towards chapters books.

This was another excellent read. I cannot recommend this and the other books I have read by Andrew Clements enough. Give it a try and see if it is not great!


The Yeti Files #1: Meet the Bigfeet
The Yeti Files #1: Meet the Bigfeet
by Kevin Sherry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 8.95
33 used & new from CDN$ 2.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Find out more about the Cryptids, July 3 2016
I have now read through this book twice with my son. And I must admit it grew on me. Often we let our children pick their own books, in part to keep them interested and in park just they joy they get in choosing what to buy and read next. It has been a long time since my son was as excited about a book, or series. He loved this books and keeps asking to have it read to and with him. I have read it twice, my wife has read it once and I think his aunt was conned into reading it also.

This book is less of a reading book than I would like, but it brings so much entertainment and engagement that I cannot but rave about it. Often we read electronically but this book is a great book to have the physical copy in hand. It has excellent illustrations, quick facts, and lots of short descriptions. But it does also have story. The story is that Brian a Canadian big foot was caught on film and has disappeared. But the clan is getting together for a family reunion and it will not be the same without Brian. So the Bigfeet go searching for Brian so they can have the whole family together. The story is told by Blizz a yeti and one of the cryptids a group of mythical animals and creatures who vowed not to be observed by the outside world. But unknown to the big feet their ultimate foe George Vanquist a self-proclaimed cryptozooligist is the one who caught Brian on film and he is on the prowl again.

This is a fun little book. As mentioned my son loved it. He really LOVES IT! It is a fun read, entertaining and engaging. We are looking forward to checking out other books in the series soon.


Flickers
Flickers
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, June 30 2016
This review is from: Flickers (Kindle Edition)
I have read and reviewed almost all of Arthur Slade's books, I fell in love with his writing years ago while working in a book store and look forward to each new read. This one is a departure from some of his more recent works and in many ways a return to his early works. My first thought was 'Chilling read!' as it literally brought Goosebumps to my skin while reading it. In many ways it reads like a more mature and dark tale along the lines of his Northern Frights series.

This was a book that was hard to put down. I do not read many books in actually copy these days preferring the electronic version. But receiving an advanced copy of this I started in, and was hooked from the get go. It is a stunning story that spans decades and a continent. It is described as Gatsby meets the Twilight Zone and it does have that feel. It truly is a page turner. The story begins and ends near Lethbridge Alberta and begins in 1913 and goes until 1939. But most of the story takes place in Hollywood California during the end of the silent films era and the beginning of the modern movie.

The story follows two twins, orphaned and being raised by their uncle and aunt who are budding stars themselves. But the key character is their mysterious patron Mr. Cecil. He is creating movies with sound, but also attempting to capture the energy of emotion. Hollywood in the 1920's was a strange place, maybe even stranger then it's modern incarnation is to us. And these children are thrown into roles they do not understand and a master manipulator is working towards ends that no one could imagine.

This is a great read. I really could not put it down. My mom saw the review copy and asked to read it after me, and she does not read young adult books but is giving this a read. The twin sisters are great characters. There are some interesting twists and more than a few scares. I read 52 books over the past 3 months and this was the top fiction read. This is an incredible story so give it a try!


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