Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Flavia de Luce Mystery Series by Alan Bradley

Sitting down to read Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series seemed like a luxury the reviewer didn't have time for until the reviewer started listening to these stories in various audio formats. 

The reviewer started with the CD talking book The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag and enjoyed their first listening encounter with 11-year-old Flavia de Luce and found themselves laughing out loud to her antics. 

The reviewer followed that book with Bradley's Speaking from among the Bones on a Playaway device and then downloaded the book, A Red Herring Without Mustard, to their iPad from eLibraries Manitoba. 

The Flavia de Luce mysteries are extremely entertaining and the narrator, Jayne Entwhistle, captures Flavia's British charm perfectly. There are two more books of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series and the reviewer can hardly wait to hear what escapades this young sleuth will encounter next. 

The reviewer thinks this series is well worth the read (or listen). If you are a fan of a engaging mysteries you should grab this book at your local branch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Guts & Glory: The Vikings by Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson takes history and makes it fun. His historical series is designed for the reluctant reader and written in a language that children understand. Not only are they fun; they are exciting as well.

From battle-axe-wielding tribes plundering the greatest cities of Europe to powerful kings and queens ruling their dominions with iron fists, the Vikings were some of the most feared and fearless figures in European history. Find the bravest heroes, the most menacing villains, and unbelievably awesome facts and myths inside this action-packed overview that will amaze kids with tales of a people so incredible...it's hard to believe they were real.

If you were ever curious about the Vikings and the things they did but were intimidated by the scholarly historical scripts read Guts & Glory: The Vikings. You’ll get accurate facts but written in a highly entertaining fashion. The library has just received “The Vikings” and I couldn’t put it down.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Munich Airport by Greg Baxter

This story is set in the backdrop of a fogbound Munich airport with the main character and his father waiting to board a flight to take Miriam’s body home to the States. Miriam is the main character’s sister and she was found dead from starvation in her Berlin apartment.

The family has been disjointed for some time and they are shocked to hear of her death. As they wait, our main protagonist has flashbacks about the three weeks leading up to this day, and also keeps thinking back to his relationship with Miriam, with his father, and how things have been since his mother’s death. 

The story weaves in and out from present day to memories, and the entire book is written with no chapters. Everything is written in one long never ending narrative, all in the first person, so you are never given the main protagonist’s name. The story seems to be an exploration of relationships and how people cope in different situations and although it is a darker story there are light parts sprinkled throughout.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp

(Yes folks...that is the real title!)

Fans of exciting fantasy fictions will enjoy The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp. 

Kit, man-servant to Master Rattle, is just beginning to find his life of servitude tedious, when his master arrives home after a midnight ride, with a life-threatening gunshot wound, and wearing the black cape and mask of a highwayman. 

After promising his dying master to carry out one last wish, Kit dons the mask and is soon on the run. His master's strong black horse, Midnight, carries him to an enchanted forest, where his life is no longer one to call his own.

Kit is now tasked with protecting a fairy princess from the schemes of her fairy-king father, all the while trying to save his own neck from an army captain who wants revenge on the “real” highwayman, Kit’s former master.

Mystery, intrigue, magic, romance and a good sword fight or two are the perfect combination to make the most amusing tale. The Accidental Highwayman is volume one in a series and can be found in the young adult section of our library. Fans of the The Princess Bride will enjoy this tale immensely.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sell Up, Pack Up & Take Off by Stephen Wyatt and Colleen Ryan

It’s 35 below, the wind is howling and the snow is flying. You’re looking out the living room window and you’re thinking – I’ve got to move somewhere else.

Sell up, pack up & take off by Stephen Wyatt and Colleen Ryan tells you exactly how to do that. The book gives advice on moving to Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Spain or France. Unfortunately all price comparisons are to Australian dollars, not Canadian, but it still gives you an idea on costs.

For instance, in Bali consumer prices are 57% cheaper, rent is 79% cheaper, restaurants are 68% cheaper and groceries are 56% cheaper, than in Australia. For each location they give a cost of living breakdown for housing, food, restaurants, beer, taxi, electricity and communications.

In each location servants/household help are affordable for most people and in the non-European countries people from away are expected to provide jobs for the locals. Each location has a “tips and traps” list, one tip from the Cambodia page is that foreigners can only buy apartments above the ground floor and when traveling by tuk-tuk, keep belongings well within the vehicle and secure.