Friday, March 28, 2008


Yikes. I can't believe that I haven't posted since the week before Easter. I meant to get one more post in but ran out of time. Since I've returned, I've been getting a project ready for a screen writers workshop I'm taking this weekend. Wish me luck. I'm heading out there shortly.

Something new coming next week. I promise. I have two books I want to talk about. Later. Sheryl

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

I was checking out the NY Times this morning and read that Arthur C. Clarke has died. A visionary who penned close to 100 books, I have been reading Clarke for as long as I can remember. Not surprisingly, he was in the middle of another novel. If you haven't read him, or seen the film classic "2001: A Space Odyssey" (based on his novel of the same name) by the equally great Stanley Kubrick, you are missing something special.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Coming soon

Apologies for those niggling little mistakes in the Alfred Kropp post. One of the things I hate about this blog is that my editor isn't keeping me in check. (That's a hint Ann, in case you happen to read this!) Ann Featherstone, like other great editors is one of the unsung heroes of the book business.

So, coming up later this week (I really do have to do get that novel finished!) is Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter. I've already reviewed her first book which was totally awesome. Scroll down the author menu to your right to refresh your memory. More coming soon. Sheryl

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Alfred Kropp series by Rick Yancey

If you’ve been looking for an action packed adventure series with a hint of magic and serious boy appeal for grades 7 and up, look no further than Rick Yancey’s Alfred Kropp series.

Readers will be immediately drawn into Alfred’s extraordinary and somewhat haphazard adventures right from page one of The Exraordinary Adventures of Aldred Kropp. And what adventures! It all starts with Alfred stealing an old sword at his uncle’s insistence. The sword turns out to be the legendary Excalibur (of Arthurian fame) and it falls into the hands of the evil descendant of one of the original Knights of the Roundtable. Feeling responsible, Alfred tries to get the sword back, with the help from another modern day knight. They get the help of a mysterious international organization with serious firepower. Car chases, sword fights, and being falsely labeled an international terrorist make this a page-turner. Alfred’s bumbling but ultimately heroic sense of responsibility makes this accidental hero endearingly likable. The fact that he saves the world is a bonus.

However, the bigger bonus is that there is another Alfred Kropp adventure to crack open, Alfred Kropp: The Seal of Solomon. In the capable hands of Yancey, this second adventure is as wild a ride as the first. It’s just as funny, and Alfred is even more lovable if that’s at all possible. It features an extraction (Alfred getting kidnapped from his not very likable foster parents house), betrayal, magical life-saving blood, jumping out of parachutes, seriously scary demons, rogue agents and yes, a plan to save the world.

More good news is that a third title in the series is about to hit the stores, Alfred Kropp: The Thirteenth Skull. Just having finished the advanced proof, I confess that I couldn’t put it down. This time Alfred himself is the target. After a close call in which his guardian is gravely injured, Alfred chases the culprit responsible. He ends up being falsely arrested for murder and his explanation lands him in a psychiatric hospital. It seems that no one believes he has twice saved the world, that he’s on his second life, and that his blood has magical healing powers. He manages to bargain an escape only to land into more hot water (actually snow and ice in Alfred’s case). With bad guys tracking him at ever turn, and no one to trust, Alfred searches for an honorable way to end the standoff, and survive. You guessed it; it’s another page-turner!

**A word of caution for the squeamish; if blood and gore make you queasy, give this series a pass. Personally, I loved all three and await book 4.

Monday, March 10, 2008

the Absoluely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Pick up The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie at your peril. Once you meet 14 year old Junior Spirit who is as smart and artistic as he is medically challenged, once you meet his parents and his sister Mary Runs Away, once you get to know his best friend the fiercely protective Rowdy, once you enter the Spokane Indian Reservation and you experience the grinding poverty, the alcoholism, and an indestructible sense of Indian identity that has survived despite all the effort white men have put into pulverizing it, you will be hooked.

Junior Spirit, an off-beat, smart 14-year-old budding Indian cartoonist, makes a decision that changes his life and the lives of those around him when he decides to leave the Rez school for the sake of getting a good education. Accused of being an apple (red on the outside and white on the inside), he expects beatings, abuse and loneliness both on and off the Rez. What he doesn't expect is to find the sort of inner strength that his grandmother might be proud of had she not been killed in a hit and run by a drunken Indian. Nor does he expect to outplay his former best friend on the basketball court or to discover that he would always love and miss his best friend, his reservation and his tribe.

In the hands of a less able author, Junior's experience at the all-white school whose only other Indian is the school mascot, might have been predictable. But the integrity, honesty, insecurities and wit Spirit displays even in the face of terrible tragedy make you want to root for him when he is heaving before a basketball game or trying to hide an inappropriate boner.

This heartbreakingly honest and wildly funny story is possibly one of the best coming of age novels written since Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. The Absolutely True diary of a Part-Time Indian is Sherman Alexie's first foray into the YA world. I so hope he decides to give us more.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Smell of Paint short-listed

Good news. I just found out that my YA novel, The Smell of Paint, was short-listed for Saskatchewan's Readers' Choice Willow Award. This year's books aren't yet listed, but you can see the winners from 2007.

Support our libraries

Hello fellow book lovers,

Locked-out library workers in Victoria, BC are planning two upcoming events to continue to inform and mobilize public support, in order to achieve a fair contract and get our libraries re-opened.

Two upcoming events:

Thursday March 6, 7 pm
Windsor Park Pavilion, 2451 Windsor RD : Town Hall meeting on the subject of Pay Equity

Saturday March 8 1:15-4:00 pm
The library will be holding a rally on International Women's Day (next Saturday March 8), marching from Centennial Square down Government to the Legislature.The actual march is set to begin about 2:45 although there will be activities preceeding this, beginning at 1:15.

Speakers at the legislature grounds between 3-4 pm.

Not enough hour in the day

Back after a wonderful weekend with my even more wonderful editor, Ann Featherstone. Now I have even more books to add to my pile of "must reads". And then, of course, there's her sage writing advice and insight. Sometimes I wish we had more hours in the day...sigh