One Wild Christmas, by Nicholas Oldland (2019)

Picture Book | 3-7

This is the first of two reviews this week to help with your holiday shopping. Canadian Nicholas Oldland has released a delightful addition to his Life In The Wild picture book series (see my review Walk on the Wild Side). Our three pals – a moose, a beaver, and a bear – are ready to celebrate Christmas with decorations, stockings and yummy food when they discover they have forgotten a tree. Out they go in search of the perfect tree, but when they find it, Bear loves it too much to let his friends cut it down. Sharp young readers will figure out the solution before it’s revealed, a lesson in compromise wrapped in environmental ethics.

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Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us About Life, by Jonathan Kay and Joan Moriarity (2019)

Nonfiction | Adult

Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us About Life, by Jonathan Kay and Joan Moriarity (2019)

Holy heck, I love board games! I have a whole shelf of them, packed with childhood favourites like Pay Day, Masterpiece, and Milles Bornes, along with a couple of newer (to me) ones like Firefly (based on the cult TV favourite), Scopa, an Italian card game, and a cool mix of cribbage and Scrabble called Kings Crib. I don’t play as much as I would like, since I’m completed deluded into thinking I have free time that somehow disappears every week thanks to paid and volunteer work, dog walks, and sewing. Oh well. Maybe this winter. Anyway, I was delighted to discover this title on my NetGalley feed, and finally found some time to read it through. It’s essentially a discussion of popular games, both good and bad in the authors’ view, from Pandemic to Monopoly to Dungeons & Dragons and more.

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The Ghost Collector, by Allison Mills (2019)

Fiction | 9-13

The Ghost Collector, by Allison Mills (2019)

Got a ghost? Shelly and her grandmother are ready to help. Like all women in their family, they have the ability to see spirits and catch them. In their hair. Once caught, the ghosts can be set free and sent on their way, to wherever it is they are supposed to be. Shelly’s mum has it too, but she prefers to spend her time with the living. The three live in a happy home, and Shelly is delighted whenever her grandmother lets her accompany her on a ghost job. Sometimes the ghosts are in a house, sometimes they are animals, and sometimes they are quite happy to stick around. Grandmother says you can’t push them till they are ready to go, but often a cup of warm milk does the trick. When a tragedy befalls the family, Shelly finds herself drawing inward, choosing the company of ghosts over the real world.

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Outside In: A Political Memoir, by Libby Davies (2019)

Nonfiction | Adult

Outside In: A Political Memoir, by Libby Davies

Libby Davies. Well known to me, for those who don’t recognize the name, she served for many years as the NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver East; an outspoken, passionate, and devoted public servant who never wavers (at least, not on the outside!) I never lived within her riding, but it’s a testament to her work that I was familiar enough to want to read her biography. I learned a lot, including the fact she started out in the Downtown East Side in the early 1970s while at university, ultimately giving up her studies. She served on both Vancouver Parks Board and city council, getting a grounding in politics before turning to Ottawa.

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Storm Rising, by Sara Driscoll (2018)

Thriller | Adult

Storm Rising (series FBI K-9 #3), by Sara Driscoll (2018)

This is the third entry in the FBI K-9 series by Sara Driscoll, but the first one I’ve read. Meg Jennings and her rescue dog Hawk, a superbly trained black lab, are sent from Washington D.C. to help find missing people when a hurricane devastates the Virginia Beach shore. Partners in the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team, the two searchers and their colleagues work hard to find live victims, not than bodies. But when Meg and Hawk find a terrified young woman in the Great Dismal Swamp, they are diverted into a criminal investigation into a human sex trafficking ring that was disrupted by the storm. The chaos gives police an opportunity to break up the ring and save even more young lives, but promising leads fade as the evidence they need is washed away.

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Follow Your Stuff: Who Makes It, Where Does It Come From, How Does It Get to You? by Kevin Sylvester and Michael Hlinka (2019)

Nonfiction | 9-15

Follow Your Stuff: Who Makes It, Where Does It Come From, How Does It Get to You? by Kevin Sylvester and Michael Hlinka (2019)

In our consumer society, it can be a challenge to get a handle on the true price of things we want to buy, and why sometimes, it’s better to pay a little more. That’s so true in my small town where local businesses can struggle to keep prices competitive against cities’ big box stores and online distributors. To help children grasp these concepts, the Canadian creators of Follow Your Money have turned their attention to the production and distribution of five things of interest to kids: a t-shirt with a band logo, a cellphone, eyeglasses, a medical puffer, and the book itself (including the e-edition). Using colourful illustrations, factboxes, topical questions, charts and accessible text, they take the reader through the entire production process.

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We All Fall Down, by Daniel Kalla (2019)

Thriller | Adult

We All Fall Down, by Daniel Kalla (2019)

Daniel Kalla is a Vancouver emergency room doctor who writes medical thrillers. I’ve read a couple by him and enjoyed them so I was looking forward to this one, the story of a reemergence of the deadly bubonic plague that decimated Europe in the middle ages. Dr. Alana Vaughn is an infectious disease expert with NATO, specializing in bioterrorism. A former soldier, she worked an Ebola epidemic in Africa with the WHO, but resigned when the bureaucracy left her helpless against the deadly rampage. A former WHO colleague and lover, the gorgeous and now-married Dr. Nico Oliva, asks for her help in Genoa, Italy, when a woman shows up at the hospital with symptoms of the plague.

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