Moon of the Crusted Snow

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community loses communication. Days later, it goes dark. Cut off from the urban realm of the south, many of its people become passive and confused. They eventually descend into panic as the food supply dwindles, with few hunters left in the First Nation. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives from a city in the south to escape a crumbling society. Soon after, others follow. The community leadership is faced with the dilemma of allowing the urban refugees to live with them on their territory. Tensions rise, and as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again, while they grapple with a grave decision.

 

I did not know what this book was about when I started but it quickly became apparent.  How do people deal when the modern conveniences they have become accustomed to are suddenly removed from their lives?  This book chronicles how a town of indigenous people react which shows how bad things can get, which will definitely come as a shock to some.  I didn’t particularly like this book, it seemed that the events were too contrived, jumping to the worst case very quickly.

February Prize Draws

The first round of prize draws was held at a pizza lunch on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.  There were many prizes to be won with each participant receiving coupons for Taco Time and buy one get one 50% off Booster Juice as well as a few draws for a free Big Mac.  Draws were also made for some bigger prizes with Sierra Gold winning a $10 Burger King gift card and a Tigers team signed hockey stick, Meray Mayer won a $25 Mall gift card and Ashtyn Gold won a $25 Boston Pizza gift card, a Cineplex 2 for 1 and the Grand Prize of a Kindle e-reader.   The next prize draw will be held at the beginning of June so there is still time to read the books and get entered.

 

People Kill People

People kill people. Guns just make it easier.

A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?

One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?

 

Ellen Hopkins did not disappoint once again.  This is a great book detailing the emotions people can go through which push them toward violence, how easily they can snap but also how they can change after a bad event.  It also shows how easily innocent people can be killed by the wide spread easy access to guns in the USA.

The Hazel Wood

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

This book is a fantasy and I do not particularly like fantasies so I really did not enjoy it at all.  I guess if you are into this type of story it was probably very good. There were many different facets to it with numerous fairy tales interwoven that all come together in the end.  I found following the main character to be quite the task and not an enjoyable one.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions. 

 

I quite enjoy historical books.  It is always interesting to see things from the point of view of people who lived during the time.  This book does not disappoint. It sets out the hardships endured, the cruelty encountered but it also shows how the prisoners were able to keep a flicker of hope alive.  A first hand accounting of the life (good and bad) of a prisoner tasked with tattooing new prisoners. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

The Handmaid’s Tale graphic novel

Everything Handmaids wear is red: the colour of blood, which defines us.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships. She serves in the household of the Commander and his wife, and under the new social order she has only one purpose: once a month, she must lie on her back and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if they are fertile. But Offred remembers the years before Gilead, when she was an independent woman who had a job, a family, and a name of her own. Now, her memories and her will to survive are acts of rebellion.

I read this novel many years ago which definitely helped to understand this graphic novel.  I’m not sure how much one would really understand of this book without the background provided in the novel.   This book illustrates a very different world from what we live in, the extreme that could happen. Did I enjoy it – no. I didn’t enjoy the book the first time and the graphic novel did not change my opinion.  Maybe this is because it goes against everything that I believe the world should be. I believe in equality, all people being equal, and the world depicted in this book is the polar opposite.

Two Can Keep a Secret

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.  The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

I enjoy a good psychological thriller so this book fit the bill.  This book has a number of twists and turns which keep the reader guessing as to who done it.  There are a few under stories going on as well but they fit well with the main mystery. I highly recommend this book to all readers.

HIT List 2018-19 Finale

The final prize draws were held on Wednesday, June 5.  All participating students were awarded Big Mac and Taco Time coupons.  Draws were made for Pita Pit coupons, Tim Horton’s $5 Gift Cards, $25 Mall Gift Cards, Cineplex 2 for 1, Mr. E’s Solve-It-Torium, Mavericks tickets, Boston Pizza $5 Gift Cards, Burger King $10 Gift Card and Hooplas entry passes.  The Grand Prizes were a Kindle e-reader won by Caitlin Watson and a Chromebook won by Max Sept.  We would like to thank all of our sponsors this year – Medicine Hat Tigers Hockey Club Ltd., Burger King, Pancotto Enterprises Ltd. (McDonald’s), Pita Pit, Booster Juice, Mr. E’s Solve-It-Torium, Boston Pizza, EIWM Holdings (Tim Horton’s), EBHS Chess Club, Mavericks Baseball Club and Hooplas Family Entertainment Center.  Congratulations to all the participants.  Grade 10 and 11 students stay tuned for HIT List 2019-2020 with more great books to read and more great prizes to be won.

Allegedly

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.  Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

This is a fantastic book about a young girl who allegedly commits a crime. We follow her tumultuous life in a group home and learn of the struggles she had as a child. The characters are so well developed that you can’t help but be drawn in and root for Mary.  But at the end you really have to wonder, did she…..

Long Way Down

A cannon. A strap. A piece. A biscuit. A burner. A heater. A chopper. A gat. A hammer. A tool for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he?

This is an easy, quick read as it is written in verse.  Will is on his way to get his brother’s killer but is battling with his conscience as he rides down in the elevator. It is a good story showing how many things can be connected.  And the ending is left up in the air, did he do it?