A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, Catholic (with Asperger's) who reads and writes as her obsession. I've been reading over 400 books a year lately. These are my ramblings on some of the books I read. To read about all the books I read and comment on, visit me at LibraryThing or Goodreads.

I've been blogging since 2007 and at this point (July 2015) am trying my hand at turning the theme of this blog towards mystery, thriller, and crime, fiction and nonfiction. I have some special interest topics and categories within this broad genre which include (but are not limited to) serial killers, scandi-crime, Victorian history and historicals, history of the criminally insane and asylums, psychopathology, death, funerary practices and burial, corpses, true crime and anything dealing with the real life macabre, or that portrayed in fiction.

I also read a short story a day from various collections, sometimes anthologies othertimes collections of a single author's work. These reviews are also posted here and while they are of mixed genre the mystery, thriller, horror, gothic and macabre often appear within their pages as well.

I also blog about
graphic novels and manga on a separate BLOG.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Book Day Callenge

Today is the beginning of John's Canada Book Reading Challenge, which I've participated in every year. I don't really do challenges anymore, but this one is a *must*. The goal is to read 13 books by Canadians and the challenge runs from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

Since I easily read the 13 books, I've been assigning myself personal challenges the last few years to consider myself officially finished the challenge, one year I did 13 Dear Canada books, this year I did 13 mysteries by Canadians. For the 10th year my theme will be "books in a series". 2017 is going to be my work-on-series-I've-already-stated year, so I'm carrying the theme along with me here.

post reviews

Canada Book Challenge
read 13 books including 13 books in a series

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Freaks of Sideshow and Film by Mary Brett & Stevan Gould

Freaks of Sideshow and Film by Mary Brett & Stevan Gould
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 8th 2016 by Schiffer Publishing
Source: egalley via edelweiss

This book isn't very well written. It has an annoying habit of repeating information over and over. There are too many people described in some categories who have *exactly* the same story. For example, every tattooed man/woman would tell tales of how they were captured by natives and forced to be tattooed. Also, the picture captions are exact quotes from the text and sometimes don't even tell you who or what you are looking at! That said the pictures are great and I did learn about a few interesting people I'd never heard of, though most of them "freak enthusiasts" will already know about.

Barry: The Bravest Saint Bernard by Lynn Hall

Barry: The Bravest Saint Bernard by Lynn Hall
Illus. by  Antonio Castro
Step Into Reading Step 4
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 48 pages
Published October 13th 1992 by Random House
first published 1973 by Garrard Publishing
Source: Purchased new a very long time ago

This is a wonderful true story for early chapter book readers. Obviously, the characters, and perhaps this particular Barry are composites. However it tells an exciting and sweet story of the remarkable Saint Bernard dogs housed at a monastery of the same name, and the monks who devoted themselves to rescuing people in the Alps. Both those lost or buried in avalanches. It became a tradition afterwards to name the finest dog Barry so that there would always be one. This edition of the book has new illustrations, rather than the originals found in the "Garrard Publishers" first edition. The story is current to the 1990s but I've found out that though the monks are still there running a Hospice the dogs became too much of an expense to keep, as there are now modern ways to rescue people and a smaller group of monks were incapable of the daily care of so many dogs. Well-written and will appeal especially to dog lovers as there is some peril, but this is not one of those "dead dog" stories. Too bad it is out of print! Should be made available on Kindle.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary by Saint Alfonso Maria de Liguori

Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary by Saint Alfonso Maria de Liguori
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Booklet, 72 pages
Published 1985 by Liguori Publications
First published 1745
Source: gifted

A truly wonderful devotional to help you pray during Eucharistic Adoration or simply in front of the Tabernacle on any day. Written in 1745 by Saint Alphonsus Liguori in Italian, this translation has been kept as specific as possible to the original but tries to "transpose the genius of the Italian language into the American idiom". The booklet is stamped with an Imprimatur. There are 31 "Visits" included here, one for each day of a month. Each devotion contains a few prayers which are identical every day and two which are specific to each day's particular reading.

A visit proceeds as follows: Introductory prayer (the same every day), The Visit (there are 31 of these, each praises the Lord, tells stories and speaks of the Host actually being Our Lord), Spiritual Communion (the same every day. The prayers starts "My Jesus, I believe You are really here in the Blessed Sacrament."), a "Visit with Mary" (there are 31 of these and though they are brief each one pronounces the glory of the whys of adoration of Mary and a prayer directly to her. And finally, the Concluding Prayer which is the same every day and is a consecration prayer to Mary.

I'm thinking this can be used two ways, one, as obviously intended to visit the Blessed Sacrament and recite the prayer devotion every day for a month. Or two, when you have time to stay behind after Mass or visit a Church that is open to the public continually visit the Blessed Sacrament and recite the prayer devotion for whatever number of the month it is, for example on July 4th you would read "The Fourth Visit.". Of course, thirdly, the book would be useful for participation in Eucharistic Adoration.

A magnificent prayer booklet which I have just put in my purse and hope to put into practice right away!

Hail Mary by Henri De Longchamp

Hail Mary by Henri De Longchamp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Booklet, 24 pages
Published 2001 by The Dominican Centre, St. Jude's Shrine, Montreal,
Source: gifted

The "Hail Mary" is very dear to me and when one converts to Catholicism it is so comforting to find this prayer that praises Our Lady and asks for her prayers in return because we are sinners, praying for all the sinners and to be there praying for us right at the moment of our death. This little booklet is a collection of sermons by the author commentating on each line of the prayer. First sermon is on Hail Mary, 2nd on "Full of Grace", etc. It's not riveting reading but a nice explanation and a book I've passed on to someone else.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 21st 2016 by Knopf Canada
Source: egalley via edelweiss & Review Copy from Penguin Random House Canada

Hogarth Shakespeare (3)

I haven't read Anne Tyler before so don't know what she typically writes, however, "Vinegar Girl" is a light romantic comedy much like a Harlequin Romance than anything I typically read. Not really my type of book, but it was a fun story and I liked the characters. Tyler has only kept basic elements of the Shakespeare play. She's played around with the names (Bianca is Bunny, etc) and included some subterfuge (getting married to get a green card) and the Kate in this story lacks social grace (rather than being a shrew). The plot also centres on an arranged marriage though in a much more 21st century way! It's a cute rom-com and would probably make a sweet movie and is certainly great for a beach read. Just not my type of book, though.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

St. Michael the Archangel by Benedictine Nuns

St. Michael the Archangel by Benedictine Nuns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 81 pages
Published 2006 by TAN Books
Original published 1962
Source: gift

Fascinating, fascinating! I am a Catholic convert so I'm always discovering things I didn't know. I hadn't realised the power of St. Michel and the special things we can pray especially to him for intervention. This book starts with all the Biblical history of the archangel, then goes on to the history of his veneration. Finally, the meat of the booklet contains many prayers and a litany to St. Michael. He is the perfect one to be calling upon during these evil, wicked times of persecution. *Amen*