Saturday, December 19, 2015

Doctor #9

Everyone remembers their first Doctor.  For some, it could be Two, Four or Ten.  Mine was Nine. Even now, the only season of Doctor Who that I own on DVD is the one with him in it.

But enough about that, there's exciting news about Nine!  No, he's not coming back to the show...but there's a comic book series coming.  












After a small run of a Ninth Doctor focused miniseries (First issue came out April 1st, 2015) by Titan Comics, there are plans to launch an ongoing series featuring the Ninth Doctor TARDIS Team!

More Rose Tyler!  More Captain Jack Harkness!  More Nine!  I am so excited for this just because we only got one season of him and a few series novels.  Cavan Scott, the writer of the miniseries, will be returning and there's an official press release that you can read over at Comic Book Resources.  It is supposed to be coming in April 2016 so keep an eye out for it in your local comics shop. 

Also, if Nine wasn't your favorite Doctor, that's okay.  I got you, reader.  There are comics for the other recent Doctors as well.  Here are links for the first issue description of each series: Eight, TenEleven and Twelve.

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There is also a colouring book for Doctor Who!  My local bookshop already seems to have it in stock, which is at odds with some reports that it would be appearing on shelves in early 2016.  So Chapters. Indigo? They have it.  Barnes and Noble in the U.S.A? It's coming out February 16, 2016.  So check in with your local shop.

Here's a video previewing some of the pages for the book.



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Made by Jaycy














Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fantastic Beasts and...Where to Find Them

Now I grew up with Harry Potter.  I was 13 when I started reading about Harry, Hermione and Ron at Hogwarts.  My best friend and I always looked forward to a new film each year and we never missed one.  

This week, the trailer for the film based off of the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released to the world.

I remember it was a thin book about the creatures in Harry's world with some funny commentary from the author, Newt Scamander.  It looked like the picture to my left.  The copy I had was faded, wrinkled and curled up in spots.  A book that had seen kinder days.

The teaser is exciting.  I know people are naturally divided but I refuse to be pessimistic.  I'm looking forward to the film because the magic lives on.  It's just another occasion to rediscover it.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Shelf Sightings: EDGAR

Saw these books displayed in the window of a used bookstore and went in to check them out.  I thought they were such adorable little jems that I ordered them from the library right away.

If the raven on the cover didn't give it away, each book is derived from an Edgar Allan Poe story. They're not sad or scary stories if that is what you were expecting.  They're actually short and sweet stories rooted in the actions of children.  Each one teaches a small lesson that is pertinent to growing up.  

Edgar: Gets Ready for Bed
written  by Jennifer Adams
illustrated by Ron Stucki

Little Edgar the Raven is a mischief maker.  Whether it's finishing his dinner, cleaning his room or bath time, he's always saying, "NEVERMORE!".  Luckily, his Mom knows exactly what to do.

This book was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven".

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Edgar: and the Tattle-Tale Heart
written  by Jennifer Adams
illustrated by Ron Stucki

Little Edgar the Raven is back again and still causing trouble.  In this new story, Edgar breaks a favorite statue belonging to his mother. Will Edgar tell his Mom the truth?

This book was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart".

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Edgar: and the Tree House of Usher
written  by Jennifer Adams
illustrated by Ron Stucki

Little Edgar the Raven is off to visit his friend Roderick at their tree house.  Lenore, Edgar's sister, wants to come along too.  However, Edgar says that girls are not allowed. As a storm builds, Edgar will realize things can only get better when you stick together.

This book was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher."

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And here's a little something for parents looking for insight into Poe's classic story, The Raven.  I love Thug Notes because it's humorous and at the same time really interesting.  Sparky Sweets breaks down literature into simple and easy to understand pieces and in my book? That's super valuable. He's just looking out for his well read hommies.

He's also done a bunch of other classics and some modern novels like Gone Girl.  I hope you'll check out the rest of the list.  NOTE:  Just letting you all know, it's definitely a series of videos for older teens and adults because there's implied language and some saucy references.  



Reading List: Lady Authors in Fiction

It's alluring, isn't it? To imagine the life of a writer now dead and gone.  What were they like? What was the world like in their time?  What heartbreak did they suffer?  What loves did they have?

In this list, I'll be making reading suggestions based on that idea: fiction about real female authors. Start anywhere.  Just pick an author and go for it.

Louisa May Alcott

The Revelation of Louisa May
by Michaela MacColl

The summer her mother leaves them to find work, Louisa must step in and run the household.  But this summer will be full of the unexpected with a murder mystery, a fugitive and a budding romance.


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The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
by Kelly O'Conner McNees

In the summer of 1885, Louisa May Alcott falls in love but at the same time she must make a hard decision.  Should she stay in New Hampshire with the man she's fallen for? Or should she follow her dreams of being a writer to Boston?

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Charlotte Brontë


Becoming Jane Eyre
by Sheila Kohler

We meet the Brontë family in 1846.  Penniless and seemingly dogged by tragedy,  the family lives out on a parsonage on the cold Yorkshire moors.  There is nothing to save them from their situation...except the collective talent that Charlotte, Anne and Emily share for writing.

We meet Charlotte as she writes her most beloved book, Jane Eyre.

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Romancing Miss Bronte
by Juliet Gael

Life was full of potential and hope while Charlotte was studying abroad. Despite returning home to take care of her sick father, Charlotte refuses to admit defeat.  She and her sisters have a talent for writing that will lift them out of their tragic circumstances.

Charlotte's own novel, Jane Eyre, becomes a sensation and thrusts her into the center of London society.  There she meets her new publisher, someone she never wants to part with.

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The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte
by Syrie James

Living on the isolated Yorkshire moors with her family, Charlotte doesn't let tragedy and disappointment crush her spirit.  It is in her diary where she writes her true feelings and her passionate hopes.  The pages reveal her inspirations, her sorrows, her secret attachment to a man she can never be with and her love for a man named Arthur Bell Nicholls.

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Emily Bronte

Emily's Ghost
by Denise Giardina

Emily is known amongst her sisters for doing whatever pleases her.  She isn't one for society's conventions or expectations.  Life on the moors continues mundanely until the arrival of a new clergyman named William Weightman. He's charming, opinionated and vivacious.  Soon Weightman and Emily become good friends and then more.

But when tragedy again strikes, what will become of them then?

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The World Within
by Jane Eagland

When Emily's father falls ill, it seems the entire family goes its separate ways. Charlotte is sent away to school.  Anne becomes absorbed with her own concerns.  Even their brother Branwell no longer has time to spend with his sisters.  Emily feels increasingly alone with no one to talk to discuss her insecurities and fears with.

Will Emily learn to accept life's tragedies and recognize her own strength?

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Emily and Charlotte Bronte


Always Emily
by Michaela MacColl

Despite being so different from one another, Charlotte and Emily must band together to find a link between a series of burglaries and the suspicious death of a neighbor.  They must untangle fact from fiction, especially, when a mysterious stranger appears on the moors.

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Emily Dickinson


Miss Emily
by Nuala O'Connor

Ada Concannon has just been hired as a maid for the highly respected and unconventional Dickinson family. Despite everything, Ada forms a strong friendship with the eldest daughter, Emily. Her new friend is unlike anyone she's ever known.  Emily is a writer who avoids society and prefers the solitude offered by her parent's estate. However when Ada's safety is threatened, Emily will have to face her fears to help her dearest friend.

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Honorable Mention

This one is an honorable mention because it is Non Fiction.  However, I really wanted to include it because it involves the Bronte sisters.  And if you're sick of reading fiction about them, here's a biography about them. 

The Bronte Sisters
by Catherine Reef

In this biography of the Bronte sisters, Catherine Reef reveals insightful information about each sister, their respective novels and the stifling world they lived in.  However oppressive their circumstances, they shared an amazing genius for writing. 

This book also contains their poetry and wonderful archival images.

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I just had to add this one because I thought it was so cool.  If you don't want a typical Bronte biography, this next book will pique your interest then.

The Bronte Cabinet
by Deborah Lutz

In this biography on the Brontes, Deborah Lutz does something different.  She reveals their stories through the items they left behind.  Objects like miniature books, walking sticks, portable writing desks, jewelry and letters all tell a story about their world.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Daunting Note















Hello readers,

Things are going to be happening to the blog.  A little maintenance.  A little polishing.  I've had this blog for a long time and I think it's only right that I should go back through my posts and fix a few things.  I'll still be making new posts so watch out for those too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Spooky Stories for Tiny Humans Part Two


Here's the Part 2 that I promised.  I'm so excited to get this one out there but BE WARNED, these books are scary.

Books for Middle Grade Readers


Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror
by Chris Priestley

Uncle Montague lives all alone in a big old house.  He looks forward to visits from his young nephew.  He has stories to share and all of them are terribly frightening. 

I remember reading the first story in this book and being completely delighted with how creepy it was.  Interesting stories by themselves but the book as a whole is pretty great.

There are more books to read in the Tales of Terror Series.  Here's a little list for you in case you're interested in reading more.



Home Sweet Horror
by James Preller
illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Liam Finn just moved into a new house with his family.  But playing a game leads to an unexpected house guest who is just dying to talk to Liam.

Not going to spoil who the house guest is but she's a familiar figure in scary stories and urban legends.  This story sounds terrifying and, therefore, perfect for the season.

Note:  This is a series but all books feature standalone stories so you could start anywhere.  There are about six books in total.  



Night of the Living Dummy
by R.L. Stine

Twin sisters Lindy and Kris find an abandoned ventriloquist's dummy in the dumpster behind an empty house.  Lindy takes it as hers, making Kris jealous.  But it's only after Kris gets her own dummy that strange and terrible things start to happen.

A classic in the Goosebumps Series because nothing is more terrifying than an independently speaking and moving ventriloquist dummy.  This is one of several novels where R. L. Stine's favorite dummy makes an appearance, here's the list.

Note: Goosebumps is a series.  You can start anywhere but I do recommend starting with the original series books published between 1992 and 1997. They are the classic ones.  You can find a list of all of them here.

Mirrored
written by Annie Graves
illustrated by Glenn McElhinney

Abbey feels like no one understands her until she meets someone new.  Bee is everything she's been looking for in a friend.  Bee even lives in Abbey's house...just on the other side of the bathroom mirror and Bee wants to switch places.

The most frightening books always start out with a bit of sweetness. Definitely a chilling little book that deserves to be read on Halloween night surrounded by a group of friends.

Note:  This one is a series so there are other stories with other children and monsters to discover.  Here's a list.


The Night Gardener
by Johnathan Auxier

Abandoned by their parents, Molly and Kip are sent to a house to work as servants.  But before long, a ghost and an old curse puts them in grave danger.

This is definitely a spooky one from a writer who knows how to use language to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.  



All Hallow's Read is going on again this month.  AKA: That thing I talked about last year that involved Neil Gaiman.  HarperCollins put together a list of book recommendations that Neil approved of so here it is in case you wanted more suggestions.









Monday, October 26, 2015

Beware of Crimson Peak

Since watching Crimson Peak, I have been in the mood for something Gothic in nature.  No doubt many are feeling the same way.  My gift to you in this time of need are two reading suggestions. These stories are not for the faint of heart.

Gothic Tales
by Elizabeth Gaskell

In this collection, Elizabeth Gaskell crafts eerie Gothic stories inspired by fairy tales, local legends and history.  The darker writing style is a stark contrast with her earlier work, which focused on societal realism.

One story in the collection, "The Old Nurse's Story", is about a child found wandering the cold and desolate moors.

I love Elizabeth Gaskell and finding out that she has a book of unsettling stories is like finding a unicorn.  You didn't think it existed but there it is.  I am definitely excited to open this one up and get to reading.

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The Darker Sex
edited by Michael Ashley

A collection of chilling stories by Victorian women writers like Emily Bronte, Charlotte Riddell, Mary Braddon, Louisa Baldwin and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.

The stories are pretty random and they lack context by the editor but they are worth reading.  Victorian women writers! Writers struggling to be taken seriously and to be published.

Not just that but women wrote quite dark, suspenseful and frightening things and they influenced genres before they were even genres.  Also, they're just good stories for Halloween or for whenever you want to feel a little scared.


Gif from allesandersen

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Halloween Scare

A Halloween Scare in Toronto
written by Eric James
illustrated by Marina Le Ray

It's  Halloween night in Toronto and all the ghosts, beasts and witches are walking the streets.

It's not often that you find a holiday book about your home town, which is why I grabbed this off the shelf instantly.

It's such an adorable book!  The text has rhymes that make it fun to read aloud or together with your little one.  The illustrations show familiar landmarks and spaces that every Torontonian will recognize.  It's a humorous and light book. It even has a bit of a surprise in it towards the end.  I won't spoil it but I will say, a little boy faces his fears and it ends a bit spookily.

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Train Full of Ghosts

The Spectral Engine
written and illustrated by Ray Fawkes

This graphic novel contains 13 ghost stories from all over Canada that have been historically documented.  The thing that connects them is a ghostly black train engine that defies distance and time.

I love ghost stories, especially, if they're Canadian.  They're usually connected to the Canadian identity and our history, which can be dark and full of sadness.  The book includes stories about a sunken ship in the St. Lawrence River, a hunter meeting a wendigo in the wilderness and the Canadian Pacific Railway and the people who built it.

A great read that is also pretty terrifying not just with the stories but also with the art.  I hope this Halloween you'll give this book a chance.



Sunday, October 11, 2015

Spooky Stories for Tiny Humans Part One

I failed miserably last year in making this list but here I am, posting it for Halloween 2015 with even more books than I planned for.  Here are some fun reads for kids during this pumpkin spice month of the fall season.

Picture Books to Read to Children

What There is Before There is Anything There
written by Liniers
illustrated by Elisa Amado

Every night, a boy goes to sleep in his bed but then...THEY arrive.

I did not know what to expect from this book.  The art seemed really cool.  I am a fan of the creepy and bare tree branches.  But as I read it, it began to dawn on me that this might be nightmare fuel for someone who is afraid of the dark.  It's a simple and short story but brilliant.  It does so much in a short amount of pages and it leaves you feeling uncomfortable after you've finished it.  


Ghosts in the House
written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara

A little witch just moved into her new home and it's haunted. Luckily, she knows a thing or two about ghosts.

This is not a scary pick but more of a cute and fun halloween book. Kazuno Kohara always has cute illustrations.  It's the perfect book for October.



Mommy?
written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak

A little boy is looking for his Mommy.  His search takes him to a house full of the biggest, baddest and scariest monsters.

Another sweet and funny read but with all those spooky monsters.  It could be a lot of fun for kids to read with you since the little boy is super determined and fearless.




On a Windy Night
by Nancy Raines Day
illustrated by George Bates

As a boy walks home a voice follows him in the darkness, "Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours if you look back."

Definitely a spooky book with atmospheric and rhythmic writing. Read it aloud.  It's a story that builds until the end.   There's also a lot of little hidden things in the illustrations that you can look for and find with your reading partner.   It's a great book about how someone's imagination can really run wild.



The Wolves in the Walls
by Neil Gaiman
illustrated by Dave McKean

Lucy sees them.  She hears them.  She knows there's wolves in the walls.

The story starts out pretty spooky.  Even I was a little scared while reading it.  And Dave McKean's art can always be a little unsettling too.  While creepy, the story has it's comical moments too so don't be worried that it will be dark all the time.  And I loved Lucy.  Perceptive and curious, she's brave and saves the day.


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Books for Young Readers

I thought I would include some titles for those kids who have started reading but still need a partner along the way.  Some are fun and some are spooky little classics.  Pick and choose what you like or check them out beforehand in order to make sure they are the right pick for your child.

In a Dark, Dark Room 
and Other Scary Stories
by Alvin Schwartz
illustrated by Dirk Zimmer

A collection of horror stories retold for children.  Tales of skeletons, pirates, ghosts, large teeth and heads that roll.

Alvin Schwartz is a master of scary stories.  This small collection has some great short stories that are guaranteed to spook anyone.  


Ghosts: Ghostly Tales from Folklore
by Alvin Schwartz
illustrated by Victoria Chess

A collection of seven ghost stories based on folk tales and retold for children.  Spooky and funny stories to scare you and make you laugh.

Another Alvin Schwartz book here because it fits.  While this little book will have its hair-raising moments, they are not so very intense.  There is humor in a lot of the stories, which lightens the reading the experience.




Scooby - Doo! The Haunted Halloween Party
Written by Gail Herman
Illustrated by Duendes del Sur

Scooby and Shaggy  have been invited to a totally cool Halloween Party.  But when they show up to the house, they find out the party is happening inside a haunted house.

A short Halloween themed read. Everyone loves Scooby and Shaggy and it's a fun story.  Like all of the mysteries they've been involved in, it's never what it seems.  A safe scare-free book for a young reader looking for something simple and colourful.

Note:  Gail Herman put together a lot of these Scooby books.  There's over 25 titles and I hope you'll check them out with your little lady or lad.  

The Big Halloween Scare
by Steven Banks

It's Halloween in Bikini Bottom and SpongeBob is looking forward to scaring everyone this year.  He picks the perfect costume and has the perfect plan. Except SpongeBob doesn't know just how scary he can be.

Expect funny stuff from this one but with a surprise of an ending that may leave your child saying, "Ew!"

Note: Steven Banks wrote more SpongeBob books so if your child enjoys this one, maybe they would like to read other SpongeBob adventures.  Here's a list of the books.

There will be a part 2 to this post coming up soon.  It will feature my suggestions for an older child audience with middle grade books.  Those titles will be super spooky!