Showing posts from November, 2008

181. When Twilight Burns

When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason
The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, Book 4

Pages: 354
Finished: Nov. 28, 2008
First Published: Aug. 2008
Genre: paranormal romance, historical romance
Rating: 3/5
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

First sentence:

Victoria opened her eyes.

Comments: There isn't a lot I can say about the plot of this book. If you haven't read the series so far any synopsis would give away information from previous books and if you are a fan of the series you will be reading this book no matter what the plot it. One thing I will say, though, is that the action is back in London, which I enjoyed after the previous two books had been placed in Rome.

The was a quick read and just as readable and fun as the prior books in the series. I am disappointed in the ending even though I did suspect right from the beginning what her romantic decision would be. I had hoped things would turn out differently. I'm also surprised at how tame the ending was. Every other book in th…

180. The Great Karoo

The Great Karoo by Fred Stenson

Pages: 484
Finished: Nov. 23, 2008
First Published: Sept. 2008
Genre: historical fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

First sentence:

The Concorde stagecoach had been a tarry, shining black when they left the train station in Calgary.

Comments: This is a tale of the Boer War and the Canadians who fought in it. The story focuses on the First Canadian Mounted Rifles and also briefly concerns the Royal Dragoons and the Lord Strathcona Horse (of which I was an army wife many years ago). These are all Canadian Mounted troops. While the book is about the war it mainly focuses on Frank Adams, an Albertan ranch hand, and the friends he goes to war with and the people he meets on the front line. The main focus is on the people and relationships and their reactions to the events around them but there is also a lot of background on the war and military politics.

This is a tough book for me to review as it really didn&…

Toon Books

Toon Books are a new set of graphic novels aimed at the emerging reader. They are written and illustrated by professional artists/authors and are wildly intriguing for the young reader. My son who is reading at a Gr. 2 level enjoyed these immensely. The three I am reviewing are the second and latest set (Aug. 2008) to be released.

Jack and the Box by Art Spiegelman is printed in the traditional horizontal format of a picture book and is the easiest to read of these three. Large print and easy (K-1) vocabulary along with a funny story about a gift jack-in-the-box with a sense of humour; along with the wonderful illustrations make this an addictive read for children. If your child can read the title, they will be able to read the book. Lots of fun!

Stinky by Eleanor Davis is for a little more experienced reader (Gr. 1 -2). My son read this very well and he is one who struggles with reading. But the wonderful story of a Stinky swamp creature who hates clean little kids but meets a friend i…

179. Too Close To Home

Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay

Pages: 404
Finished: Nov. 15, 2008
First Published: Sept. 2008
Genre: thriller
Rating: 4.5/5
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

First sentence:

Derek figured, when the time came, the crawlspace would be the best place to hide.Comments: The Cutters live in a small community in upstate New York; they live far back from the road and share the first part of the driveway with their neighbours, the Langleys. Teenage Adam Langley and Derek Cutter are best friends. One evening the Langleys are cold bloodedly shot and killed in their own home. Derek is the last known person to have seen them alive and the police start to question the validity of his story. The Cutters soon start to realize that the answer to the murder is much closer to home than they thought.

Canadian writer, Linwood Barclay, has written several novels but this is my first time reading him. This is one of those few page-turning, read while you eat, stay up late int…

Canadian Book Challenge 2 Completed

A couple of posts ago I reviewed my last book for the Canadian Book Challenge 2 hosted by John. It is always a lot of fun to participate in this challenge as I've tried over the last few years to add more Canadiana to my reading and John's challenge helps me focus on that goal. In fact, I read an amazing number of Canadian authors these days! This challenge requested we read 13 books before Canada Day, 2009. I did not make a preliminary list but just went with the flow as a chose books. Here are the books I read:

1. The Seance by Iain Lawrence
2. The Horseman's Graves by Jacqueline Baker Saskatchewan
3. Newton and the Time Machine by Michael McGowan
4. The Shooting of Dan McGrew by Robert W. Service Yukon
5. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
6. Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel
7. Jolted by Arthur Slade
8. Getting the Girl by Susan Juby BC
9. Night Runner by Max Turner Ontario
10. Bookweird by Paul Glennon
11. The Shadow of Malabron by Thomas Wharton
12. My Name is Number 4 by Ting-Xing Ye

178. The Line Painter

The Line Painter by Claire Cameron

Pages: 232
Finished: Nov. 13, 2008
First Published: 2007
Genre: literary fiction
Rating: 4/5
Award: Northern Lit Award
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Chapters-Indigo Top Book Reviewer Program. Qualifies for the Book Awards Challenge.

First sentence:

I turned off the car and sat still.

Comments: This is a very difficult book to summarize as it is best to go into this book with only the knowledge that the book flaps give. Carrie's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, way up in Northern Ontario. It is the middle of the night and her cell phone is getting a very small, off and on, signal. As anyone who knows Northern Ontario at night there is nothing but thick forests of trees, very dark, animal sounds and no other traffic to be seen. But Carrie does see a large truck slowly coming towards her that pulls over and asks if her car is broke. The man has a menacing aura about him and at first Carrie doesn't want to get in his truck but sh…

177. Takeover

Takeover by Lisa Black
Theresa MacLean Mysteries, 1

Pages: 340
Finished: Nov. 10, 2008
First Published: Sept. 2008
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4/5
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Harper Collins Canada.

First sentence:

The sun had barely come up, and already it was too hot.

Comments: Theresa MacLean, forensic scientist, and her fiance, police detective Paul Cleary, are working the same case of a man found dead in the bushes in front of his home, while his wife and two-year old are nowhere to be found. Theresa goes off to take forensic details of the body at the hospital while Patrick goes to the Federal Reserve bank, where the man worked, to interview his coworkers. Patrick hardly steps foot in the place when two armed robbers takeover the bank and hold the people on the first floor hostage, including Patrick who pretends to be a bank worker while covering his gun so as not to alert the robbers to his police status.

What ensues is a page-turning, thrilling story of hostages, bank robb…

176. Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help

Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help by Douglas Anthony Cooper

Pages: 225
Finished: Nov. 9, 2008
First Published: 2007
Genre: YA, Gothic, fantasy, humour
Rating: 3.5/5
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Random House Canada. Qualifies for the Canadian Reading Challenge.

First sentence:

Milrose Munce was on fine terms with the dead.

Comments: Milrose Munce has always been able to see ghosts and his school is full of them. He has especially made great friends with those on the third floor of the school where the chemistry labs are located. This school has seen its share of accidental deaths and every floor but the first is haunted with many ghosts. It seems though that Milrose has been seen talking to thin air and clapping the back of the air around him and he is sent for Professional Help. Just before he goes he meets a girl, Arabella, who can also see the ghosts and has also been sent to Professional Help. They soon learn that Professional Help is even more sinister…

175. Saye

Saye by Jeremy H. Walker
Saye, Book 1

Pages: 206
Finished: Nov. 7, 2008
First Published: 2007
Genre: YA, science fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from the author.

First sentence:

In the Earth's night sky near the constellation Cepheus and by the brightest star to the east, there lies a number of planets.

Comments: On a desert planet inhabited by humanoid beings there has been a long war between the land beings and those of the five great lakes who are water beings living under the water. Once the war has been declared over and the water people believed to have been annihilated, along comes Saye. She is found by a member of the temple city and taken back there to be accepted into their protective fold; for it is obvious that Saye is a child of both races. However, the emperor of the land has vowed the war is not over until every one of the water people has been destroyed, including Saye.

What an absolutely delightful book! In just over two hundred pages Walker ha…

174. The Keepsake

The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen
Book 7 Jane Rizzoli series

Pages: 509 (large-print edition)
Finished: Nov. 6, 2008
First Published: Sept, 2008
Genre: crime thriller
Rating: 4.5/5
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

First sentence:

He is coming for me.

Comments: Dr. Maura Isles is invited to a CAT scan of an Egyptian mummy recently found in the basement storage of a museum. During the scan a bullet appears in the "ancient" mummy's leg. Rizzoli and her partner are called in for the autopsy and the case begins when it is confirmed that the mummy is from modern times. More bodies are found in the form of various ancient burial preservations and Rizzoli and her partner discover they are on the path of a serial killer who has been at it for quite some time.

After my disappointment in Gerritsen's last book in this series The Mephisto Society, I am glad to say she is back to form in this fabulous crime thriller. Not only are the murders and the serial ki…

173. The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson

The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson
A Karen Vail Mystery, Book 1

Pages: 420
Finished: Nov. 4, 2008
First Published: Nov, 2008
Genre: crime thriller
Rating: 5/5
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from the author.

First sentence:

"Dispatch this is Agent Vail."

Comments: FBI Profiler Karen Vail is on the case of a serial killer who follows a ritualistic routine in his violent and gruesome murders of young brunettes. Karen also has some personality clashes with members of the squad and troubles in her personal life. She is recently divorced from a bitter, angry man and her son does not want to visit at his father's home anymore. She also must finally deal with the fact that her mother's Alzheimer's has reached the point where she needs constant supervision.

This murder case is taught and tense. The writing is gripping and it is evident the author has done his research. The characters are incredibly real and the plot is intense. Jacobson pulls no punches and twists and turns…

172. Regina's Closet

Regina's Closet: finding my grandmother's secret journal by Diana M. Raab

Pages: 166
Finished: Nov. 1, 2008
First Published: Sept. 30, 2008
Genre: memoir
Rating: 4.5/5
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from the author.

First sentence:

I was ten years old the morning I found my grandmother dead.

Comments: This is the author's fascinating memoir of her beloved grandmother who killed herself in 1964. Her own mother comes to visit her and each time she brings some nostalgic memento from the past to pass on to her daughter. One year, she brings a portfolio of typewritten pages which turn out to be the grandmother's retrospective memoir written some years before the author's birth. Regina Klein, Jewish, was born in 1903 in Poland and lived through the first world war. Subsequently her family moved to Vienna, then Paris and lived there until the very early days of WWII. They were then fortunate enough to decide to emigrate to the United States before France could be …