Showing posts from July, 2009

July Wrap Up

Today being the last day of July, and me not having any reviews to publish this morning, I thought I'd post my end of the month wrap up. I am so happy to be back up in the 19+ books range with 21 books read in July. Some, of course, are short books but there are a number over 400 pgs as well making a good cross selection and back to my regular reading schedule. Of course, my son being at day camp for 2 separate weeks during the month certainly helped too! Here are this month's books read: (books marked xxx are not included in totals)

July: 21
118. The Beacon by Susan Hill (3.5***)
119. Sea Monster and Other Delicacies (3.5***)
120. Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon (4****)
121. Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert (3***)
122. The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner (4.5****)
123. Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver (4****)
124. Far North by Marcel Theroux (4****)
xxx. Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts by Gail Saltz (5*****)
125. Die for You by Lisa Unger (4.5****)
126. The Story Sisters b…

137. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Pages: 374
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 29 2009
First Published: 2003
Genre: dystopia, science fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Snowman wakes before dawn.

Reason for Reading: Atwood has a new book coming out in September which, while not a sequel to this one, is set in the same world and could be called a parallel novel. So I decided I should read this one first.

Comments: Humankind has been wiped out as far as we know and Snowman lives in a tree, to keep safe from the genetically altered predator animals and is the guardian over the new race of genetically created "people". Snowman alternately tells of the life he leads now with the story of his past and how "the end of the world" came to be.

It is an incredibly realistic version of a possible future that really is frightening to think about. Science has become God and anything that it can do it will do. Society encourages s*xual pursuits, body altering procedures, mind altering substanc…

136. The Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac
illustrated by Diana Magnuson
Step into Reading, Step 5

Pages: 48
Ages: 7-11
Finished: Jul. 23 2009
First Published: 1999
Genre: children, non-fiction, US history
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

It is October 1, 1838.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 9yo as part of our history curriculum.

Comments: Tells the story of the Cherokee Nation's forced move from the East to West by the United States Government. A short, yet well-written narrative tale of the famous tragic events now known as "The Trail of Tears". Hardships are not watered down but are kept to appropriate language for young readers. The story is told in a very even-handed presentation. Surprisingly so, actually. Events are told as they unfolded, naming both whites and Indians who played a part in signing documents to force the move eastward. The events leading up to, the journey itself and the aftermath are all discussed. With the final chapter discussing the determined spirit of the …

135. Later, Gator by Lawrence Yep

Later, Gator by Lawrence Yep

Pages: 122
Ages: 9+
Finished: Jul. 24 2009
First Published: 1995
Genre: children, realistic fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The alligator was Mother's fault.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 9yo. He likes animal stories and I like Laurence Yep. Should be a perfect combo for us to enjoy.

Comments: Teddy is the eldest brother in a Chinese-American family and Bobby is his little brother. Bobby is always so happy about everything; it gets on Teddy's nerves. Why can't Bobby be a pain like little brothers are supposed to be?. Teddy does the usual "big brother stuff" trying to get Bobby in trouble, pushing his weight around and buying him socks for his birthday. Then comes Bobby's eighth birthday and Mother asks Teddy why he is so mean, why he can't buy his brother something nice for his birthday, doesn't he love his brother, he should by his brother a pet and shows him an advertisement in the paper for turtles for sale at the p…

Monday: Books in the Mail

Last week was very productive for me. My mailbox saw only a little action, but wonderful gifts did it bring. One Review Copy, the sequel to a book I read a while ago and am really looking forward to and I won (yeah!) a book; one I've been coveting since the good reviews started pouring with its arc release late last year.

So only 1 book gets added to my ARC pile and I read and reviewed 4 ARCs last week which means my pile is actually 3 books smaller. I think I'm having a productive summer with my ARCs. One of those ARCs I read was actually from the small pile of backlog from 2008 that I haven't got to yet. Yeah me! I think it's time to look at stats again. Last time I did this I had read 58% of my ARCs which was up 6% from the last count. OK let's do the math. Woohoo! I've now read 63% of the ARCs in my possession for this year making that an increase of 5%. To see the ever growing yet continually shrinking mighty ARC tbr list take a look for yourself.


134. Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends: 30th Anniversary Special Edition
Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein

Pages: 183
Ages: All Ages
Finished: Jul. 17 2009
First Published: 1974 (2004, this edition)
Genre: children, poetry
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

If you are a dreamer, come in.
Reason for Reading: I read poems to my son daily (M-F). I try to alternate between classic children's poetry books and silly poetry books. It was silly poetry time.

Comments: Not much introduction is needed for Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends. This is his first collection of poetry and contains some of his best (and most well-known poems) such as Boa Constrictor, Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out, Sick and The Unicorn (famously song by The Irish Rovers). This 30th Anniversary Special Addition includes 12 new poems added at the end of the book, which were all varying degrees of funny. The whole book of poems is varying degrees of funny. You'll find ones that will have you giggling un…

133. A Mercy by Toni Morrison

a mercy by Toni Morrison

Pages: 167
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 25 2009
First Published: Nov. 11, 2008 (Paperback - Aug. 11 2009)
Genre: historical fiction, literary fiction
Rating: 2.5/5

First sentence:

Don't be afraid.
Reason for Reading: I am in the process of reading all the author's books. This is her latest. I received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: The time is 1680, the place is colonial America. This is the story of four women: Rebekka, an English girl sent to America as a wife whose family paid a monetary dowry; Florens, a black slave child (later woman) who is traded in exchange for partial payment of a debt; Sorrow, a European (Irish I find myself thinking for some reason) foundling coming to womanhood who is given as a gift to protect her from the growing boys in her current household; finally Lina, another child (later) woman who remembers vividly some small parts of her Native American life before she is sold and paid for. All these women belong to a man wh…

132. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
Kate Burkholder, book 1

Pages: 321
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 24 2009
First Published: Jun. 23, 2009
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

She hadn't believed in monsters since she was six years old, back when her mom would check the closet and look beneath her bed at night.

Reason for Reading: I'm always looking for new (or new to me) thriller authors who can live up to my high expectations. The synopsis sounded intriguing. I received a Review Copy from Minotaur Books.

Comments: Kate Burkholder has been the Chief of Police for the small town in which she grew up for two years now. Kate is Amish, or more correctly was Amish, so she understands the large Amish community and fits the role of small town Chief perfectly. Then one day her world comes crashing down. A body is found, murdered, brutalized from torture and immediately a connection is made to a set of four murders which occurred in the area sixteen years ago. Kate, however, around fo…

131. The Lindbergh Child by Rick Geary

The Lindbergh Child by Rick Geary
A Treasury of XXth Century Murder, Book 1

Pages: un-numbered
Ages: 14+
Finished: Jul. 23 2009
First Published: Aug, 2008
Genre: graphic novel, non-fiction, true crime
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Saturday, May 21, 1927 Charles A. Lindbergh becomes the hero of the age with his courageous solo flight across the Atlantic.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series, but actually I should say first in a new series.

Comments: Rick Geary moves on to the 20th century with this book taking a look at one of the most famous crimes of the century. Whether that still holds true because of the celebrity of the victim's father or now the obvious failure of the justice system and obvious lack of evidence I don't know. What can I say? This book gives exactly what one expects from Geary in his true crime books. Astounding art work. To be honest I'd read the phone book if he illustrated it! But fortunately the text is just as superior. A lot of research has gone into this v…

Canadian Reading Challenge III

Posting the challenge below made me realize I hadn't made a post for the 3rd Annual Canadian Reading Challenge. It's is just such a given that I'm going to participate I guess it slipped my mind to make an official "Yes, I am joining the challenge" post. So here it is! I am joining the Challenge for the 3rd year in a row. My Canadian reading has actually dropped off a bit recently so I'll have to put some effort into getting it going again more steadily but won't be too hard as I've got some favourite authors now and I've got to read Oryx and Crake as I'll be getting a review copy of Atwood's newest book when it comes out which is not a sequel to the aforementioned but is set in the same world.

Random Reading Challenge

I am soooooo going to be in on this one! The Random Reading Challenge is really cool! Go to the site to read all the details but here is the fun part:

1. NO lists allowed. Books for the challenge are chosen one at a time when the mood strikes.

2. Sign up at any time during the challenge period using Mr. Linky below. Please give me a direct link to your blog post about the challenge. If you do not have a blog, no worries. Simply enter your name and leave the URL box on Mr. Linky blank.

3. Book reviews are not required, but if you want to write a review I will be providing a review Mr. Linky after August 1st.

4. Books are selected one at a time using the following procedure:

Randomly select any number of books from either your physical OR your virtual TBR pile (I don’t care how you do this, but it must be random…no “cherry picking” allowed)

Assign a number to each book based on how many books you selected (ie: if you selected 14 books, assign each book a number from 1 through 14; if you selec…

130. Relentless by Dean Koontz

Relentless by Dean Koontz

Pages: 356
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 22 2009
First Published: Jun. 9, '09
Genre: thriller
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

This is a thing I've learned: Even with a gun to my head, I am capable of being convulsed with laughter.

Reason for Reading: Dean Koontz has a new book out! I received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Cullen Greenwich is a best selling author who is living a wonderful life and he knows it. Good money, nice home, loving wife, fine son (who at six happens to be a genius), what more could a guy ask for. Then his latest book is published and he receives a review from the nation's most renowned book critic, Sheardon Waxx. A scathingly bad review. Cullen usually just ignores bad reviews but Sheardon is somewhat of a recluse and when he finds out where he dines for lunch once a week, Cullen goes just to have a peek. The little peek turns into a chance encounter and what follows changes Cullen's life forever. His life beco…

129. Uncovering Jack the Ripper's London

Uncovering Jack the Ripper's London by Richard Jones
Photography by Sean East

Pages: 123
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 19 2009
First Published: 2007
Genre: true crime, non-fiction, social history
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

In the autumn of 1888 a series of brutal murders in the East End of London sent shockwaves reverberating around the civilized world and caused a scandal that struck right at the heart of the British establishment.

Reason for Reading: If you've read my reviews long enough you will know I have a particular interest in Victorian crime and I'll read anything new to me and interesting about Jack the Ripper.

Comments: Written by a leading expert on Jack the Ripper, I found this book unique in that it focuses on the social history surrounding the case rather than the solving of it. We are introduced to East End London, the people, the racial unrest, the poverty, and the lifestyle of those living there. In Whitechapel and surrounding area (where the murders occurred) we are sh…

128. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams & Deborah Beale
Illustrated by Greg Swearingen
Ordinary Farm, Book 1

Pages: 412
Ages: 10+
Finished: Jul. 19 2009
First Published: May 25,'09
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Colin tested the parlor door.

Reason for Reading: When I heard Tad Williams had a book out for juveniles, I was so going to be reading it. I received a Review Copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Comments: Tyler and Lucinda are sent to spend the summer with their incredibly old great uncle (whom they've never met) while their mother goes on a singles retreat. Not looking forward at all to farm life: where will she go shopping? will there be electricity to recharge his hand-held gamer? they are reluctant guests. Upon arrival they quickly see that this is no ordinary farm, all the farm hands and kitchen staff talk with strange accents and seem as though they come from various far away countries. Then on their first day they are shown around the farm and me…

Monday: Books in the Mail

First of all, I'm changing the name of my Monday postings since I don't always get just arcs. Last week was kind to me. A few arcs, a bookmooch and I won a book! 3 new ARCs in and last week I read and reviewed 2 so that means only 1 extra added to the pile (and I actually have one here read but not reviewed yet, so I'm feeling even, though not quite technically LOL). Soooo, still moving along nicely and if not making mt. arc any smaller, certainly not letting it get much bigger over the last couple of months. Feeling good about that!

The ARCs:

A Bookmooch:

And I won this book from the author! Signed! The first in a new paranormal series.

The Fire Cat by Esther Averill

The Fire Cat story and pictures by Esther Averill
An I Can Read Book

Pages: 63
First Published: 1960
Genre: children, easy reader
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Once upon a time, there was a yellow cat with black spots in his fur.
Comments: This is the first "real" book with chapters and full pages of text that my ds has read by himself. The story of a troublesome homeless cat who finds a home and a purpose at the firehouse after he is rescued from a tree in a rain storm. His life comes full circle when he rescues a cat too far out on a thin branch during his duty as fire cat.

A classic children's easy reader. A wonderful, wholesome story that does not show any signs of ageing. One has a feeling that the story is not happening today but rather than feeling old-fashioned it has the air of a very small town about it. Averill's artwork is a joy. Done in red, yellow and black they suit the text wonderfully. I always find it very satisfying when the author has also done the illustrat…

CWA International Dagger Winner

I was thrilled yesterday to hear that Fred Vargas (translator Sian Reynolds) won the Crime Writers Association International Dagger award for The Chalk Circle Man. I gave the book a 5/5 rating in my own review back in February, which can be read here.

127. A Head Full of Notions: A Story About Robert Fulton

A Head Full of Notions: A Story about Robert Fulton
by Andy Russell Bowen
illustrated by Lisa Harvey
A Creative Minds Biography

Pages: 64
Ages: 8+
Finished: Jul. 15 2009
First Published: 1997
Genre: children, biography, non-fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

Fresh out of patience, the teacher barked at young Fulton to pay attention.
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 9yo as part of our history curriculum.

Comments: This is a biography of Robert Fulton told in a narrative story format. It starts with a chapter of Fulton as a boy to allow the reader to relate to him on their own level then moves on to his adulthood obsession with inventing. The book devotes a chapter on Fulton's invention of the submarine and then focuses in on his trials and final success with the steamboat ending with Fulton's untimely death.

Told in a narrative form the book is enjoyable to read and interesting. The black and white drawings are nicely done and richly detailed adding nicely to the text. In all honesty…

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Head on over to Book Blogger Appreciation Week and get the scoop on this wonderful week (Sept. 14-Sept.18) where book bloggers of all shapes and sizes come together to celebrate each other. Sign up to participate. Vote for your favourite blogs. Win prizes. Lots of fun!

126. The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

Pages: 325
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 15 2009
First Published: Jun. 02 '09
Genre: magical realism
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

Once a year there was a knock at the door.

Reason for Reading: I've become a big fan of magical realism over the last year or so and Alice Hoffman was an author on my list, so I figured why not start with her new book. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Well, I hardly know where to start with this book. What is this book about? It's the story of three sisters who live in a fantasy world of their own creation. Two of them hold a dark secret, but one of them holds the darkest secret of all. It's a story of a mother's loves as she tries to raise her daughters single handedly. The girls grow up, let go of their fantasy world (though parts will never leave them) and face the pain of real life. This is a story of the fantastical, a family saga, a harsh, dark realism and ultimate redemption.


125. Die For You by Lisa Unger

Die For You by Lisa Unger

Pages: 352
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 13 2009
First Published: Jun. 02 '09
Genre: thriller, international intrigue
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

A light snow falls, slowly coating the deep-red rooftops of Prague.

Reason for Reading: Well, we all know by now I love a good thriller and a missing person case is always a good read. The plot intrigued me and I hadn't yet read the author but had heard of her. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Isabel Raine, famous bestselling author, is married to Marcus Raine, successful software designer and company owner; they've had five fairly blissful years of marriage and after a particularly pleasant morning Marcus sets off for work and never returns. After waiting, and making phone calls, all through the night, Isabel heads for his office where she meets his partner on his way up to work. Barely after arriving the office is swarmed with men and women in FBI jackets taking all the computers and fi…

Monday: Arcs in the Mail

A nice little week for my mailbox this week, three review books that each sound scrumptious. Funnily enough since I read and reviewed 3 books last week that means my arc pile remains exactly the same as before since 3 in and 3 out equals nothing to increase the tbr pile. Yeah me!

I did receive one other book this week and that was an unsolicited free "Gospel of John", a nice looking little book which I intended to keep but first I decided to see which ministries were distributing the book and I came upon a "Christian" ministry that listed all the Christian denominations and when I looked up Roman Catholic it contained a 3-page PDF on why Catholicism was wrong. So I tossed it.

It's my Birthday!

Today is my birthday! Well, actually I like to think of it as the 4th anniversary of my 37th birthday. I always think of this song when my birthday comes around because the first birthday party I remember was my 6th b'day and all I remember is having a fit and running into the car and screaming and crying and my dad coming out and me not letting him into the car and well he got angry and finally I unlocked the doors and he told me in a low but very firm voice if I didn't start behaving myself I was going to get a hiding (spanking) and that's all I remember. But there is a picture of that day of me with a horrible pouty look on my face.

That's me in the orange dress!

Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts

Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts
by Dr. Gail Saltz
Illustrated by Lynn Cravath

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)
2005, picture book

This picture book as the title states is about the body's "private parts". The book is intended for children who are starting to ask questions about their own or the opposite sex's parts and what they are for. The book is written in simple language using correct medical terminology and the illustrations are simple, friendly and alternately show Caucasian and African American people.

What to expect: detailed discussion of male and female genitalia and reproductive organs, illustrations of full frontal nudity of children and full grown man and woman, description of a woman making an egg and a man making sperm, a description of an egg and a sperm meeting to grow a baby and how a mother knows when it's time for the baby to be born.

What not to expect: This book skips over s*xual int*rc*urse completely, as well as the funct…

Ruby Gloom Theme Song

Oh I was just reading Once Upon a Bookshelf and she posted about a Ruby Gloom book she picked up at Chapters and how much she loved the theme song. Well, I started humming the song and the next thing you know I'm on youtube listening to it and now I can't get tune out of my head.

124. Far North by Marcel Theroux

Far North by Marcel Theroux

Pages: 314
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 11 2009
First Published: Jun. 15 '09
Genre: post apocalyptic fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Every day I buckle on my guns and go out to patrol this dingy city.

Reason for Reading: As soon as I saw the words dystopian and post apocalyptic associated with the plot I was there. Those are favourite genres of mine. I received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Comments: Makepeace lives a solitary life in the Russian/Asian North, the only survivor in a once thriving town of American settlers. This is a world sparsely populated, where occasional persons pass by on the road but only rarely these days. Groups have settled in different areas and Makepeace begins to see what the world is really like after a plane flies by overhead and a decision is made to find the fabled land where civilization is still running, where they still have planes. Makepeace sees native tribes who are friendly and living off the land proudly, native…

Begging for Books on my Bookmooch Wishlist

If you are a member of Bookmooch would you please take a look at my Wishlist and see if you have any of the books I need. These are all children's books that I will be using with my child for homeschooling this year. I'm having an awful time getting any of them used as so many people will send to the US only. Please, if you have, or are willing to part with any of these books, I ask you to make an exception and ship to Canada this once as these books are desperately needed. You will receive 3 BM points for shipping internationally and you'd be surprised how relatively inexpensive it is to mail a little kid's book to Canada. Thanks for having a look and considering us!

My wish list is here.

123. Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver

Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver
Kathryn Dance, #2

Pages: 399
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 8 2009
First Published: Jun. 9 '09
Genre: mystery, thriller, suspense
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Out of place. The California Highway Patrol trooper, young with bristly yellow hair beneath his crisp hat, squinted through the windshield of his Crown Victoria Police Interceptor as he cruised south along Highway 1 in Monterey Dunes to the right, modest commercial sprawl to the left.

Reason for Reading: It's almost embarrassing to say but I have never read Jeffery Deaver before. But I have wanted to ever since I saw the movie The Bone Collector a very long time ago, it just seems that with so many thriller writers I'm already reading I just never seemed to get around to reading Deaver so when the chance came to read this one, I jumped. I received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Comments: Kathryn Dance is the CBI's specialist in kinesics, body language, which makes her a great age…

Karin Slaughter Winners

Announcing the winners of Karin Slaughter's newest book, Undone, arriving in stores on July 14th! Winners were picked randomly using a random number generator at Thank you to Jessica at Random House Canada for asking Back to Books to host this giveaway.

Congratulations to:




122. The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner
Detective D.D. Warren, book 3

Pages: 373
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 5 2009
First Published: Jun. 16 '09
Genre: mystery, thriller
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

I've always wondered what people felt in the final hours of their lives.
Reason for Reading: I enjoyed my first Lisa Gardner book, last year's Say Goodbye, so much I wanted to keep reading her. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Jason and Sandra Jones seem to have the perfect life. They've figured out the perfect way to raise their four-year-old daughter. Sandra works days and Jason works evenings, this way they can look after their child themselves. One night Jason comes home from work and finds his daughter sleeping safely in bed and his wife missing. The police start to investigate and find Jason's manner very odd, he's obviously hiding something or perhaps he's just hiding. He becomes their person of interest from the beginning but unlike most cases which …

Monday: ARCs in the Mail

Last week was fruitful for my mailbox. A small but steady stream of books arrived through the week keeping me happy. All books received were for review purposes, therefore broadly termed arcs and included in the arc pile. I received a total of 6 books in the mail and read and reviewed 5 books last week making my arc pile a total of 1 book bigger. Nothing I can't handle, especially since 2 of these books are less than 100 pages and will hardly take any time to read at all.

One interesting thing has happened though. I do not have anymore non-fiction review books on hand. Seems I read them all and as far as I can remember I don't have any coming my way. Of course, I could be wrong. But I'm pretty sure I don't have any memoirs on request for a start. So I am actually reading non-fiction from my own shelves at the moment!

Now on to last weeks book arrivals:

121. Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert

Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert
Foreward by Patty Duke

Pages: 367
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 4 2009
First Published: June '09
Genre: memoir, non-fiction
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

My mother was nearly a month past her husband's funeral when she turned her attention back to my desire to write a memoir.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy reading actor's memoirs from my childhood back to the days of the silver screen and I am a huge Little House on the Prairie fan. I received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Comments: Melissa writes of her life from early days up to the present time. She explains her adoptive origins and goes on to give a brief synopsis of her adoptive parents' background. Then she quickly moves onto her career which started at an early age and is really all she's ever known. Her mother was a typical backstage mother and Gilbert has gone through a long healing process to reach the place today where she and her mother are friends. Her life was very interes…

120. Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

Pages: 422
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 4 2009
First Published: June '09
Genre: psychological thriller
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

"Dismantlement Equals Freedom"

Reason for Reading: The write-up had me drooling to read this thriller . I received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Comments: Four artist friends from college formed a group called the "Compassionate Dismantlers" whose manifesto was "To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart". They spend their final summer after graduation together in a cabin in the woods to experience the ultimate summer of dismantling until things go too far and one of them, Suz, is killed and they cover up the murder. Ten years later signs from the past show up, the remaining members are contacted, haunted, reminded of the past and that fateful summer. A former victim of their pranks commits suicide and the remaining three "Dismantlers" are frightened. Their lives beco…

119. Sea Monsters and Other Delicacies

Sea Monsters and Other Delicacies by David Sinden, Matthew Morgan & Guy Macdonald Illustrated by Johnny Duddle An Awfully Beastly Business, Book Two

Pages: 192
Ages: 7-11
Finished: Jul. 2 2009
First Published: 2008 (UK), Apr. 28 '09 (Can/US)
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:
It was night, and the cover of darkness, a fishing boat puttered across the sea.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series. Read aloud to my 9yo. I received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Comments: Right from page one we find Baron Marackai is back on the scene and up to no good. But we don't find out his true dastardly plan until much closer to the end of the book. Meanwhile, Ulf and Dr. Fielding along with Tiana, the fairy and Orson, the giant have their hands full trying to figure out how to save the life of a dying Redback, the most venomous sea monster in existence. Ulf finds notes from Professor Farraway in his book that he has hidden from the first book in this series and…

118. The Beacon by Susan Hill

The Beacon by Susan Hill

Pages: 154
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 1 2009
First Published: May 11, '09 (UK/Can) Nov. 24,'09 (US)
Genre: novella, literary fiction
Rating: 3.5/5 (If I gave 1/4 points, which I don't, I'd give it 3.75/5)

First sentence:

May Prime had been with her mother all afternoon, sitting in the cane chair a few feet away from the bed, but suddenly at seven o'clock she had jumped up and run out of the house and into the yard and stood staring at the gathering sky because she could not bear the dying a second longer.

Reason for Reading: I have tried (and enjoy) the author's mystery series and wanted to try some of her fiction. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: With a novella one can't say much about the plot without telling the whole story. So briefly. Set in the "North Country" of England a family of four children grew up in the fifties on a farm far from any neighbors but with a little village close enough by. After…