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review 2017-03-14 15:57
Gives new meaning to "What's in the fridge?"
Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast - Josh Funk,Brendan Kearney

A few weeks ago, I read a book called Dear Dragon which was about a pen pal relationship between a little boy and a dragon but they had no idea they were writing to someone of a different species. The illustrations were on point but it was the storyline that had me looking to see what else the author had written. (His name is Josh Funk by the way.) Turns out he had another book by the snazzy title of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast (with a sequel called The Case of the Stinky Stench due out on May 2nd). This book has fantastic illustrations by Brendan Kearney which truly bring the fridge food to life. If you're reading aloud to pre-school age children, I highly encourage you to have the kids make predictions and point out their favorite (and least favorite) food items. Otherwise, this book might be a bit of a daunting read-aloud because there are quite a few challenging words (and lots of them) per each page. It follows our two main characters, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast, on an epic quest to reach the last drop of syrup remaining in the syrup bottle. Lots of ridiculous rhyming, competitive taunting, and delicious food items abound. 9/10 for frolicking foodie fun.


Note: If you do decide to use this as a storytime read-aloud and/or you utilize this in a lesson I recommend you check out Josh's website which has a free downloadable activity kit to complement the book.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-10-13 02:48
Marcia Clark: The Competition
The Competition - Marcia Clark

This book could be read as a stand alone novel as it is not entirely necessary to read the previous three in the series to understand what is occurring in this book or Rachel as a character. Yes, the relationships within the book are established in the previous three books Guilt by Association, Guilt by Degrees and Killer Ambition, however, by not reading them does not hinder this book. That said I would recommend the previous books especially Guilt by Association (which I thought was a fantastic start to this series).

Marcia Clark is back with the newest installment of her Rachel Knight series just in time to let you know that there is no place where you can be safe:

Rachel Knight receives a call that no DA wants, there has been a school shooting and there are major casualties but the killers have been identified and both are dead. As Rachel and Bailey start to interview the witnesses and other student, some things don't add up and they begin to wonder if the killer really are dead. What they don't know is the the competition has begun and there is nothing scarier that killers who want to be the best and beat the score of those who came before them.

I know I criticized the last Rachel Knight book for not having enough time in the courtroom, well this one has even less time. For me this is what stood out for me in Clark's previous books in this series was the integration of the investigation and the courtroom. I miss the courtroom aspects in these books and I think this book could have been something more if Clark had decided to include them. I personally think that there are so many authors out there that write in the mystery/thriller genre that you want to do something different to stand out and this is the courtroom for Clark. She knows how the courtroom works and this is where Rachel really shines. In the investigation part she really is second fiddle to Bailey (which makes sense as she is the detective), however, the point of view of the story is from Rachel so we get a lot of Bailey already thinking and doing something before Rachel even suggests it. This in turn overshadows Rachel and her character, and I will say again she is the main character. I just feel overall the Rachel I loved in the beginning of this series has become lost along the way.

All of that said, this is still a really good and interesting read and I loved the topic and premise that Clark decided to focus on, school shooting and the competition aspect. I think that this is an under used topic in books recently but I think the next school involved aspect will be something to do with the Creepy Clowns (such a weird trend). Clark did a really good job in hiding and changing you idea of who the second shooter is and I will say that she kept me guessing right till the end.

I personally think there is a lack of really great courtroom procedural books out there with a character like Rachel Knight and I hope that Clark in the future has Rachel return to the courtroom. This book is still good without it, but there are so many books out there with a "crime fighting duo" that I wanted more from what I originally liked from this series. I will read the next book in the series just to see where Clark takes it next, guess it really isn't a must read for me know though.


If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:
http://j9books.blogspot.ca/2016/03/marieke-nijkamp-this-is-where-it-ends.html  http://j9books.blogspot.ca/2011/08/joseph-finder-high-crimes.html  http://j9books.blogspot.ca/2015/11/lis-wiehl-face-of-betrayal.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-12 02:04
Stiff Competition by Annelise Ryan
Stiff Competition - Annelise Ryan

Finally! The cozy conclusion that I've been waiting for in this series. Not that this is the end, but Stiff Competition finally delivered some much needed balm to the anxiety riddled characters (and readers).


Amazingly, Mattie Winston's new mom status seems to have just the right effect on her. While her self-confidence issues are still hoovering, her newborn son takes center stage in her worries (as he should) and the effect is that he really mellows out her poor decision making that drives me up the wall. For the most part. She still does have her signature Mattie gaff moment, but it isn't as painful as say, gambling away $10k. I wasn't sure that she was going to pull out of her funk of the last several books until halfway through when Hurley leaves the scene for awhile. Ironically, I think not having to include him in every scene allowed author Ryan to sort out their written relationship. It's like every time the dialogue had to be written, Ryan was taking some kind of sick satisfaction in ensuring that their words would make Hurley and Mattie's relationship circle the drain a little faster. I don't get it, personally, but the relief was real when the situation at hand sorted itself out.


Surprisingly, I enjoyed the personal drama more than the mystery in this one. The whodunit was lack-luster. I'm not good at picking the killer but I had this one pegged early on.


Overall, I can breathe easier continuing this series now that we've leaped a major hurdle. Hopefully we can get back to the adorable antics of Mattie's life instead of the haywire, insane, desperate choices that we've seen in recent history. The addition of Matthew marks an introduction of a new 'friendly' character into the series and will hopefully breathe life back into the funny that's been missing.


The cover explains it all for this square:






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review 2016-09-26 09:03
Stiff Competition (Mattie Winston, #7)
Stiff Competition - Annelise Ryan

I've almost always liked this series, even when it was sometimes painful in the beginning watching Mattie get herself into humiliating situations, but as the series progressed, so has Mattie (I'm pretending Lucky Stiff didn't happen).


Far and away, I think, this is the best book in terms of character development: short of one horribly silly moment of insecurity when she makes a decision that even high school me would have thought was stupid, Mattie is calm, rational, confident and incredibly capable. This is a woman who has (mostly) found her stride.  Hurley's much more centered too, although we don't see a lot of him in the middle of the book, he's in the centre of one of the plots.  There's some drama with Hurley's daughter, but I'm pretty sure it's the final drama.


The main mystery plot was...ok.  I definitely didn't guess it, and some of the crimes were inspired, but the denouement felt sort of forced.  Counterbalancing this though is the fact that at no time does Mattie do anything TSTL and we have a great ending that doesn't involve Mattie in mortal peril.  


The sub-plot concerning Hurley's daughter was the winner here; this was a great plot and it was well-paced with a terrific climax.  This one easily made up for any perceived short-comings I might have found in the murder mystery itself.


Thoroughly enjoyed this one and I hope there's another one.


This is my Fall into a Good Book book for Halloween Book Bingo.

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