Welcome

A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Catholic, with Asperger's, who reads and writes as her obsession. These are the ramblings of the books I read.

I sometimes go through stages of "genre love", I'm addicted to mystery thrillers, Catholic theology, memoirs, 20th century Chinese historical fiction & Victorian fiction and non-fiction, but you'll find I read an even wider variety of books than that, both fiction and non-fiction. I have a teensy fascination with macabre non-fiction books about death and anything about insane asylums.

I also tend to post a lot of reviews of juvenile/teen books, with a nod towards what parents can expect to find that might or might not be objectionable.

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

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Children Are Naughty by Vincent Cuvellier

Children Are Naughty by Vincent Cuvellier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I adore the illustration of this book. It is just like something done in the 40s or 50s. The text is very droll and tongue-in-cheek so it is the art which brings out the humour and has you looking at all the details on each page. This is a translation of a French book and as such is probably cultural in its approach to humour. I can see it not being to the taste of all English readers. There is no moral or lesson here. We simply go through pages of various ways in which children misbehave themselves. All very realistic, but the illustration makes it funny as does the dry humour of the text. Finally, at the end, with tongue firmly planted in cheek we are told that parents, of course, were not naughty when *they* were children and to finish it off we conclude that the only good child is a sleeping one; then, of course, they are just lovely! I thought this was very fun and cute in a non-cute way, if you know what I mean. But I will warn that I can readily see some people not appreciating this type of humour at all.



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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mid-Year Favourites Jan-Jun 2014: Short Story Collections & Misc

Now that we are in the middle of the year I thought I'd gather together my favourites so far for the year from Jan to June 2014.  Since I read soooo many books I've divided them up into categories and am keeping track of them that way.  So far I've done 

Nonfiction (Adult/Juvenile)
Fiction (Adult/YA)
Juvenile Novels
Picture Books & Easy Readers

Today I finish off with my last category which is Short Story Collections.  I read one short story every day.  Sometimes a short story is not so short and it will take me two days and there are a few days here and there when life interrupts and I don't read a storyat all, but I am pretty consistent.  I've been doing this since 2009 off and on but it became a regular thing in 2011 and now it's just habit.

It's pretty much impossible to give a (5/5) to a collection of short stories because invariably there is going to be a dud or two amongst the gems of even the best collections.  I prefer to read books which collect stories by one author which I call "collections" as they give a sense of the author but it is always fun to read a collection of stories that share a theme, I call these "anthologies".

I've read 6 collections of short stories so far this year from Jan-Jun, 2014.  Four of them are collections of one author, the other two anthologies containing various authors based on a theme.  Since there are no full (5/5) rated books in this list.  I will give you my top two favourites which both achieved a (4/5).  These both happen to be collections of one particular author each.


Short Story Collections

1.Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock (4/5)
2. The Birds: and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier (4/5)



And that is it for my best of lists for this half of 2014. I do have two remaining "odd" categories left.

Single Short Stories - I only read one and I rated it very badly, so not a best.
Poetry - Again I only read one so it can hardly be the best of anything. But here's the link anyway
1. Flower Fairies of the Garden by Cicely Mary Barker (5/5)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My Newbery Reading Project

This is a re-read for me. The first time I read it aloud to my eldest about 15 years ago and we both loved it so much. I went on to read several more of the author's books after that, also enjoying them. I was looking forward to this re-read. I was a little disappointed as the story was much slower than I had remembered and at first I actually thought it was boring. So it did take me some time to get into it this time, though I hardly remembered the story except the basic plot. I did find my groove though, and settled down with this old-fashioned story, set in a different time in a different world, pre-WWII Netherlands. This is a sweet story about children and their love for animals, storks in this case. It's a time when children roamed the countryside all day long, unsupervised. The first good chunk of the book sets up the plot and not a lot of events happen, though Dejong is a beautiful writer and we soon feel the sense of this time, this place and these people. Once the hunt for the wheel begins, action enters the story and each individual child has an event happen along the way. Some of these adventures are what we would consider today, well anytime really!, quite dangerous and make for exciting reading. It dramatically contrasts what childhood was like in those bygone days compared to today. Everyone will shake their heads but, some will be with regret, others with thankfulness, that those times have passed. I do think this is a beautifully written story, with a lovely message; a sweet story in a way, but a real one as well, these children are hardly all sugar-and-spice. Unfortunately, I don't think it is a book many modern-day children will have the patience to read themselves and I recommend it be used as a read-aloud. There is so much to discuss! I'm a huge fan of Maurice Sendak but his illustrations in this book are only middle of the road, recognisable as his work certainly but nothing special.



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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mid-Year Favourites Jan-Jun 2014: Children's Books

Now that we are in the middle of the year I thought I'd gather together my favourites so far for the year from Jan to June 2014.  Since I read soooo many books I've divided them up into categories and am keeping track of them that way.  So far I've done nonfiction (Adult/Juvenile) and fiction (Adult/YA) . Today I will do my favourite children's books which I have divided into two groups Juvenile Novels and Picture Books/Easy Readers.  Next time I will post my last list of favourite short story collections and a few books that defy categories.

I've read 20 Juvenile novels from Jan-Jun 2014 and these are the ones I've rated a full 5/5. Since there are only three these are easily put in order.

1. The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech (5/5)
2. The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla (5/5)
3. The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce (5/5)


I've read 27 Children's Picture Books & Easy Readsers from Jan-Jun 2014 and these are the ones I've rated a full 5/5. 
Listed in no particular order EXCEPT the first two were my favourites.

1. Harley by Star Livingstone (5/5)
2. Tweedles Go Electric by Monica Kulling (5/5)
3. Tommy O'Toole and the Forest Fire by Anna D. Cordts (5/5)
4. My Best Sweet Potato by Rainy Dohaney (5/5)
5. The Mischievians by William Joyce (5/5)
6. The Good, the Bad, and the Monkeys by Scott Sonneborn (5/5)
7. Goat on a Boat by John Sazaklis (5/5)
8. Andy Also by Maxwell Eaton III (5/5)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mid-Year Favourites Jan-Jun 2014: FICTION (ADULT/YA)

Now that we are in the middle of the year I thought I'd gather together my favourites so far for the year from Jan to June 2014.  Since I read soooo many books I've divided them up into categories and am keeping track of them that way.  Last time I did nonfiction, today I will do my favourite fiction books which I have divided into several groups today I will do Adult and YA.  Next time I will finish up with children's books.


I've read 20 Adult novels from Jan-Jun 2014 and these are the ones I've rated a full 5/5. This is in no particular order.

1. Little Joe by Michael E Glasscock III (5/5)
2. The Kept by James Scott (5/5)
3. Apocalyptic Organ Grinder by William Todd Rose (5/5)
4. The Son by Jo Nesbø (5/5)
5. Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave (5/5)


I've read 8 YA/Teen novels from Jan-Jun 2014 and these are the ones I've rated a full 5/5.  Very successful choices so far!  This is in no particular order.

1. Jump Cut by Ted Staunton (5/5)
2. Devil's Pass by Sigmund Brouwer (5/5)
3. Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix (5/5)
4. Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen (5/5)
5. Torn Away by Jennifer Brown (5/5)

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Astounding! If I hadn't already read her latest book "Torn Away" I'd give this 5 stars, but that one was so good the bar is pretty high in my expectations for this author. This is Brown's first book and one I had wanted to read but the school shooting theme sort of made me roll my eyes as that's mostly been done and finished in my book. However, "The Hate List" is different, really quite different. The focus is not on the shooter, nor on the student body's recovery afterwards. Yes, those things are certainly there and important to the story. But those aspects are shown through the eyes of the girlfriend, the shooter's girlfriend. This is her story. How she met Nick, fell in love, became his girlfriend. Sure Nick talked about death a lot, so she did too, but that was just their "thing", wasn't it? Sure she was the one who started the Hate List but it was just a game. Who knew Nick took it so seriously? She was just as surprised as anyone else that day when the gun came out and the shooting started. She needed recovery too. She can't help that the people targeted were those on the Hate List. She didn't know Nick thought she wanted this too. The police think she did too. She's a suspect, she didn't shoot anyone, in fact she got shot. She took a bullet aimed at her worst enemy to make Nick stop. But she's a suspect. She's also a hero. This is her story and wow! was I riveted. I was there along beside Valerie the whole way. She is 17 and such a truly real character; I don't think there is any teenager who hasn't shared many of the feelings that fleet Valerie's mind. Her life sucks at times, sometimes because her parents are too wrapped up in themselves and sometimes because she does stupid teenager things. But she's a good kid who got herself into a terrible situation that many people have to recover from, including herself. Valerie's not the only one hurting from guilt though and the revelations at the end are truly heartbreaking. When we cross paths with someone truly disturbed, who is calling out for help in their own way, we can all too easily find the coulda/woulda/shoulda guilt. I've found a new author I'm terribly impressed with. Her characters and dialogue are so achingly real it hurts.



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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mid-Year Favourites Jan-Jun 2014: NONFICTION

Now that we are in the middle of the year I thought I'd gather together my favourites so far for the year from Jan to June 2014.  Since I read soooo many books I've divided them up into categories and am keeping track of them that way.  Today I will do my favourite non-fiction books which I have divided into two categories Adult/YA and Juvenile/Children.

1've read 12 NonFiction (Adult/YA) books from Jan-Jun 2014 and these are the ones I've rated a full 5/5. This is in no particular order.

Best Nonfiction (Adult/YA) Jan-Jun 2014
1. Way to Inner Peace by Fuller Sheen (5/5)
3. Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman (5/5)
4. DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels and Chronology 2014 edited by DC Comics (5/5)

I read 6 NonFiction (Juvenile/Children) books from Jan-Jun 2014 and only one excelled and rated a full 5/5

Best Nonfiction (Juvenile/Children) Jan-Jun 2014
1. DC Super-Pets! Character Encyclopedia by Donald Lemke (5/5)