Showing posts from August, 2009

Monday: Books in the Mail

Last week saw the arrival of 4 Review Copies in my mailbox and I have to say I am extremely excited to read each and every one of these. I read 3 Review Copies last week making my ARC pile only 1 book larger. Plus I actually have 2 ARCs I'm going to finish today so it's been a good week.

I also received a book on Friday that I'm going to keep a surprise as it is kind of a part of a secret I will be revealing in October, or hopefully near the end of Sept.

The Books:

157. Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard

Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard

Pages: 273
Ages: 14+
Finished: Aug. 28, 2009
First Published: Aug. 18, 2009 (Canada only)
Genre: paranormal, thriller, mystery, magical realism
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Dee spread feed over the ground, calling, "chick, chick."

Reason for Reading: I love a good ghost story. I received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada. Qualifies for the Canadian Book Challenge. Qualifies for the RIP IV Challenge.

Comments: Set in the Bruce Peninsula area of Ontario at the time that the soldier's had returned home from WWI, Dee and her Grandmother live in a small cabin at the outskirts of a rural town. Grandmother is the town's midwife and also the one people come to for "medicines" when they are sick. The town does have a doctor, has for some years and business isn't what it used to be but some folks still would rather trade goods with Grandmother than pay cash to the doctor. Fourteen year-old Dee has been raised by Grandmother as …

Life According to Literature

A fun meme, I swiped from read_warbler.

Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It's a lot harder than you think!

Describe yourself: Anything But Typical - Nora Raleigh Baskin

How do you feel: Undone - Karin Slaughter

Describe where you currently live: Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Lost City of Z - David Grann

Your favorite form of transportation: The Dragons of Ordinary Farm - Tad Williams

Your best friend is: The Redeemer - Jo Nesbo

You and your friends are: Angels of Destruction - Keith Donohue

What's the weather like: Relentless - Dean Koontz

You fear: The Meanest Doll in the World - Ann M. Martin

What is the best advice you have to give: Believing in Jesus - Leonard Foley

Thought for the day: Don't Call Me a Crook! - Bob Moore

How I would like to die: Meeting Jesus in Holy Communion - Roger Marchand

My soul's present condition: Wanting - Richard Flanag…

156. The Day the Falls Stood Still

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Pages: 305
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 27, 2009
First Published: Aug. 25, 2009
Genre: historical fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

The stone walls of Loretto Academy are so thick I can sit curled up on a windowsill, arms around the knees tucked beneath my chin.

Reason for Reading: The book takes place in Niagara Falls, Canada and that is where I live plus the historical time 1915-1923 is a favourite period I like to read about. I was excited to read a book set in my city and the cover is beautiful and actually blew me away when I saw it in real life. I received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada. Qualifies for the Canadian Reading Challenge.

Comments: I'll start off by admitting I may be a little biased. There is something captivating about reading a book when you recognize the street names, know the buildings mentioned, have been to the natural landmarks and live a block away from the church the family attended. But when I also fin…

A New Blog

Hi Everyone!

My 10yo niece has just started her own blog about movies. Please drop by and say hi or leave her a comment or two. She's already got several posts up and she just started blogging yesterday! You can find her here at Movies4You.


Mercy Watson #2-#5 by Kate DiCamillo Mini-Reviews

The Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, I've been reading these aloud to my son over the last weeks. Book 1 has its own review here.

#152 - Book 2 - Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride (2006), 73 pgs - Mercy loves going for a drive in the car but she always wants to sit in the driver's seat so every time it's always the same routine of pushing and coaxing her into the passenger side. Next door neighbour Baby Lincoln is looking for some adventure and decides to stow away in the back seat and so begins an ordinary drive that later involves the police and Mercy driving the car herself and Baby must come to the rescue. Hilarious follow-up to the original!! The scene where the policeman sees Mercy driving the car had my son in stitches he was laughing so much. A truly original story that kept me smiling and had my son on the edge of his seat with excitement and practically on the floor with laughter. 5/5

#153- Book 3. Mercy Watson Fights Crime (200…

151. Wisconsin Death Trip

Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy
Preface by Warren Susman

Pages: 268
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 25, 2009
First Published: 1973
Genre: history
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

The pictures you are about to see are of people who were once actually alive.
Reason for Reading: In the book A Reliable Wife by Roderick Goodwin, the author mentions in a note that this book gave him the idea for the atmosphere to set his own book in. His characters read from the newspaper regularly and his description of this book made want to read it. So I put an ILL request in for it right away.

Comments: This is a very unusual book. It is a collection of both photographs and newspaper clippings from the period of 1895 to 1900 from a newspaper called the Badger State Banner which covered local Jackson County news as well as having access to state wide news. During this period, the author contends that a certain presence of death, and tragedy loomed over the agricultural towns of the American Midwest. What becam…

RIP IV Challenge

I was a bit worried whether I would be able to join the RIP Challenge this year as I have a set group of books I have to read from but I joyfully noticed that the books I would be reading in Sept. mostly all could be described with words such as paranormal, scary, mystery, terrifying, spooky. So I'm set. The challenge only calls for four books to be read over Sept and Oct which I can easily pull off so I will definitely be in on this one again. Here are the pool of books I will be working from for Sept. only. I may or may not read all of these but I will certainly read more than 4 RIP related books over 2 months.

1. Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard
2. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
3. The Rapture by Liz Jensen
4. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
5. Meridian by Amber Kizer
6. The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein
7. The Hollow People by Brian Keaney
8. Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri
9. The Child Thief by Brom
10. A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

150. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dance

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Pages: 371
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 24, 2009
First Published: Jun. 9, 2009
Genre: historical fantasy,
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Peter Petford slipped a long wooden spoon into the simmering iron pot of lentils hanging over the fire and tried to push the worry from his stomach.

Reason for Reading: The Salem witch trials have always been a favourite reading topic of mine so this book obviously piqued my interest. I received a review copy from Voice, Hyperion.

Comments: It's summer break and Connie has just finished her orals for her PhD. She intends on spending the summer coming up with a dissertation topic but her mother has asked her to clean up the ancient family home (which Connie knew nothing of) so she can sell it. Connie says yes against her better judgement and ends up spending the summer in an early 18th century home with no electricity or phone. Upon her arrival she finds a mysterious key with the name Deliverance Dane at…

Monday: Books in the Mail

Last week I received 4 new review copies and 1 bookmooch. Unfortunately, I only managed to read one review book bringing my bundles of arcs to a total of 3 books larger. It was just too hot to live last week. So I must confess I spent much of the week either having a cold shower or falling asleep. This is what the mailman brought me:

Review Copies

And a Bookmooch:

149. Classic Myths to Read Aloud: The Great Stories of Greek & Roman Mythology

Classic Myths to Read Aloud: The Great Stories of Greek & Roman Mythology, Specially Arranged for Children 5 and Up by an Educational Expert by William F. Russell, Ed.D

Pages: 264
Ages: 5+
Finished: Aug. 21, 2009
First Published: 1989
Genre: mythology
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

The biggest mistake that parents and teachers make when helping children to read is that they stop reading aloud to them once the children have begun to read for themselves.

Reason for Reading: I first read this book to my eldest son approx. ten years ago and it became my favourite retelling of myths to read aloud to children. I had always planned to read it to my 9yo and I've been reading a story a day to him every M-F.

Comments: This is the best book of Greek and Roman myths especially written for reading aloud to children that I have come across and we've read a lot in our household. This book is written in the storyteller format. Each story starts with a brief synopsis for the storyteller and a list …

A Must Read YA Fantasy

Last year I had the pleasure of reading an amazing YA fantasy novel called Saye by Jeremy H. Walker. It was the best YA novel I read in 2008 and it made #6 on my Top Ten list last year. I couldn't understand why the blogging world was not raving about this truly unique book.

From email with him I learned Mr. Walker was having problems with the publishing industry, agents, etc. and he sadly had to take his book off the market as it was costing him money to sell it. I knew he was writing a second book and had earlier asked to be kept up to date on its publication. I received an email this Thursday from Mr. Walker with very exciting news!

I wanted to let you know that Saye is available in stores again. Once I took it off the market due to financial issues I received some letters from kids who read Saye. They told me they loved it and wanted to share it with their friends. After that I tried to find a way to put it back into stores and keep it there. Recently I found a direct way to Ing…

148. The Last Dickens

The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl

Pages: 386
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 20, 2009
First Published: mar. 17, 2009 (paperback coming Oct. 6, 2009)
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, literary thriller
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

Neither of the young mounted policemen fancied these subdivisions of the Bagirhaut province.

Reason for Reading: I'm always interested in Victorian historical fiction plus I've read two other books this year that concerned Charles Dickens: 'Drood' by Dan Simmons and 'Wanting' by Richard Flanagan. Therefore I thought why not add a third to the mix especially since this concentrated on Dickens last novel as did 'Drood'. I received a review copy form Random House Canada.

Comments: Dickens has just died leaving his last book "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" only half-finished. But one of the partners of his American publishing house James Osgood is certain he may be able to find clues to Dickens' intentions for the story's ending i…

A Ghost Named Fred

A Ghost Named Fred by Nathaniel Benchley
Illustrated by Ben Shecter
An I Can Read Book

Pages: 62
Ages: 5+
Finished:Aug. 18, 2009
First Published: 1968
Genre: childrens, easy reader
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

George had nobody to play with.

Reason for Reading: Ds read this one aloud as his daily reader.

Comments: George has no one to play with so he comes up with imaginative games to play on his own. One day while playing astronaut he ventures far from home, it starts to rain, and he enters an old spooky looking house. Here he meets Fred the ghost who is guarding the treasure only he doesn't know where the treasure is, so George agrees to help him find it.

This book has not been reprinted lately so it has not been given a 'Level' but I'd say it was Level 1 as it is mostly an easy reader with 'astronaut' and 'treasure' being the only truly hard words to phonetically sound out. The story is enjoyable. Ds looked forward to reading it each day. He had looked through t…

147. Catholicism for Dummies by Rev. John Trigilio Jr.

Catholicism for Dummies by Rev. John Trigilio Jr., PhD, ThD and Rev. Kenneth Brighenti, PhD
Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur

Pages: 394
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 16, 2009
First Published: 2003
Genre: Non-fiction, Religion, Catholic, Theology
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Being Catholic means living a totally Christian life and having a Catholic perspective.

Reason for Reading: I bought this book when I decided to convert to Catholicism last year. I never did read it but used the index frequently, looking up topics, especially during RCIA classes and now that I've been Catholic since last Easter I've decided to devote some time to reading about my religion and thought this would be a great place to start.

Comments: This book is a great big overview of what it means to be Catholic from the basics, to the rituals, to the Sacraments, to the most sacred beliefs, to the most misunderstood traditions and ends with brief bios of famous Catholics and Saints and a whirlwind history of the Ch…

Monday: Books in the Mail

Last week was fun! I received a book in the mail everyday, not often it happens that way. It was like a little unexpected treat waiting for me everyday. A book everyday, well that makes five books in you say and I couldn't possibly have read five review books last week could I? No. No, I didn't. I did manage 2 though, so 5 in and 2 out makes the ARC pile 3 books larger. I have to say the summer run of reading more than comes in is definitely over but it was nice while it lasted. Any hoo .... onto the books. They are all brilliant this week. Four out of five are Canadian authors and one I have been anxiously awaiting.

146. Mercy Watson to the Rescue

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Mercy Watson, Book 1

Pages: 69
Ages: 5+
Finished: Aug. 14, 2009
First Published: 2005
Genre: children, humour
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Mr. Watson and Mrs. Watson have a pig named Mercy.

Reason for Reading: I was waiting until my son could read this series on his own but he's not there yet and if we wait any longer the stories will be too young for him. I have the newest book (#6) to review, so I thought we might as well start the series now from the beginning as a read aloud.

Comments: Mercy is the pet pig of the Watson's and they treat her just as if she was their child. One night as they are all sleeping in bed together, (Mercy is afraid of the dark) the bed starts to fall through the floor. The Watson's are stranded on the bed as it slowly sinks through the floor. Mercy jumps out of bed looking for her breakfast (or maybe to get help?) causing a rumpus as she goes and eventually the fire department i…

145. Free Agent by Jeremy Duns

Free Agent by Jeremy Duns
Paul Dark Trilogy, Book One

Pages: 338
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 14, 2009
First Published: June 23, 2009
Genre: espionage, thriller, historical fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

As I edged the car onto the gravel, the front door of the house swung open and Chief's steely grey eyes stared down at me.

Reason for Reading: I don't typically read modern spy novels as I'm not interested in today's political climate. However, I used to be quite addicted to them in the eighties when I read the likes of James Bond, Robert Ludlum and Gorky Park. When I read the synopsis that this was set in the middle of the Cold War, the plot really intrigued me. I received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Comments: Paul Dark is an MI6 agent, has been since World War II and still is now in 1969. Since the War, the various British agencies have found KGB double agents within its ranks and every now and then another one comes to light but it's been years now s…

144. Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan

Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan
Illustrated by Brian Selznick

Pages: 138
Ages: 8+
Finished: Aug. 12, 2009
First Published: 1998
Genre: children, historical fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

In the mid-eighteen hundreds, when the East was young and West was yet to be settled, a baby was born, named Charlotte.

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

Comments: This is a fictionalized biography of the life of Charley Parkhurst , a renowned stagecoach driver who eventually settled in California to run a way station. Charley's greatest claim to fame however is that he is probably one of the first women to vote in the US and certainly, if not the first, then close to the first woman to vote in California in 1868 a full 52 years prior to any woman being allowed to vote in United States. If you haven't guessed already Charley was really Charlotte, a woman, this book tells her story and of how an orphaned infant became a respected man about town and stagecoa…

OT: Comparing US Proposed Health Care to Canada or UK

If you are left-wing, liberal, pro-abortion, you may wish to skip this post.

The Americans are using Canada as an example of universal health care and others are using it as an example of what not to do. The UK is fed up of hearing the "lies" being told about its National Health Service by opponents of the proposed Health Care reform in the US.

Let me tell you one thing, in my opinion, don't use either Canada or the UK as an example of Universal Health Care. Why not you ask?

Canada's Health Care pays for approx. 100,000 abortions a year. The UK's National Health Service pays for over 200,000 abortions a year.

With the US's population can you just imagine how many abortions would occur and be payed for with public monies? It's terrifying. God Save the USA.

143. The Dragon's Pearl by Devin Jordan

The Dragon's Pearl by Devin Jordan

Pages: 341
Ages: 10+
Finished: Aug. 11, 2009
First Published: Jul. 7, 2009
Genre: YA, historical fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Marco Polo glared at the menacing knight standing at the other end of his family's trophy room.

Reason for Reading: An historical fantasy featuring Marco Polo is an ideal theme to tickle my fancy. I received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Comments: 16yo Marco Polo's father, Niccolo, has been kidnapped on his last exploration and through a rather round about way Marco, along with his best friend Amelio (son of the family servant), journey to Constantinople, where they will start a rescue mission. Traveling across Asia, through the desert, into the Unknown Lands where Marco is being followed by the minions of a sorcerer who has harnessed so much evil power that he may no longer be human. These are then the early unrecorded adventures of Marco Polo.

This was a riveting read and caught me from the first ch…

Graphic Novel Challenge Completed

With my last post I have officially received my Doctorate in Graphic Novology. This Challenge has its own blog where you can go for all sorts of inspiration if your looking for graphic novels to read. I intend to keep posting over there even though I'm officially a PhD. It's just such a great resource and if the challenge is on next year, I'll be there "with bells on" as my mother used to say.

Here's my list of 24 GN's read.

1. Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography by Chester Brown
2. The Amazing Spiderman: Coming Home by J. Michael Straczynski
3. Laika by Nick Abadzis
4. The Case of Madeleine Smith by Rick Geary
5. The Amazing Spider-Man: Revelations by J. Michael Straczynski
6. The Saga of the Bloody Benders by Rick Geary
7. Legends in Exile
8. Until the Stars Turn Cold by J. Michael Straczynski
9. Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon
10. The Life & Death of Spiders by J. Michael Straczynski
11. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon & Dean Hale
12. Animal…

142. March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham

March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham
Fables, Volume 4

Pages: 231
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 9, 2009
First Published: 2004
Genre: graphic novel
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

I take it you've landed an audition tonight.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series. Last book needed to complete the Graphic Novel Challenge.

Comments: This whole volume deals with one complete story arc from beginning to end. I don't want to give away any plot points as it's too much fun to have it all unfold as you read it yourself so I'll stick with characters and the main theme. We start with a flashback of Little Boy Blue telling his last days and hours in the Homelands with Red Riding Hood. I love it every time time there is a flashback to the old days and I always get a little excited when I see one so this was a great way to start off the book. This flashback later on will prove to be relevant to the events of the main story.

The characters are all dealing with their lives and many are featu…

Monday: Books in the Mail

Last week was a bad mail week. We got hardly anything at all that wasn't junk mail! Not even bills, but can't complain about that. I'd just about give up hope that I'd receive a book at all when Friday's mail finally brought me one. But at least that brought up my stats from last week, and once again I read more ARCs than I received with 1 new ARC in and 3 ARCs read and reviewed which makes my ARC pile 2 books smaller!

141. Rapacia by Dale E. Basye

Rapacia by Dale E. Basye, Illustrations by Bob Dob
The Second Circle of Heck

Pages: 362
Ages: 10+
Finished: Aug. 8, 2009
First Published: Jul. 28, 2009
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

As many believe, there is a place above and a place below.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series. I received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Marlo has been moved to the second circle of Heck, Rapacia, where the greedy children go. This is a place where they are tempted with all sorts of things they could want but of course they can't have it. All their courses at school are business classes run by the likes of pirates and world class fences. The vice-principle here is a very strange metallic rabbit that speaks in rhyme called the Grabbit. Marlo is joined by a couple of her nemesis classmates from book one and a handful of new female classmates making for a unique class of characters. Marlo makes friends with the girl called Normal (Norm for short). Marlo falls und…

Billy Blaster Graphic Novels

Billy Blaster: Ice Caves of Pluto by David Orme, illustrated by Peter Richardson, 33pgs, RL: 1.1 ~ My reluctant reader just finished this easy reader graphic novel and to date he hasn't met a Stone Arch book he didn't like. This one is very easy to read and he flew through it. A wonderful, fun science-fiction story Billy and his complaining cohort, Wu Hoo, land on Pluto and find friends buried in the ice below the surface. Billy comes to their rescue only to need Wu Hoo to come to his rescue at the end. Great big, bold, almost (but not quite) anime-like illustrations. Ds loved it and I agree. Good quality plot for the limited number of pages and Wu Hoo's dry sense of humour is a laugh. This series will appeal to boys especially.

Billy Blaster: Mind Thief by David Orme, illustrated by Peter Richardson, 33pgs, RL: 2.1 ~ Billy Blaster, superhero, and his trusty but sarcastic sidekick, Wu Hoo are back in full form with this science fiction caper. The evil Wizard of Edo is captu…

140. The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine

The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine

Pages: 210
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 6, 2009
First Published: Jul. 7, 2009
Genre: literary fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

I have a break now.

Reason for Reading: Honestly, I simply felt compelled to read this, even though it's not my usual type of reading. I do however enjoy books written in diary format, books with an Indian viewpoint and books written from a child's point of view. I received a Review Copy from Random House.

Comments: This is a heart wrenching book to read. Set in modern India, the story of a nine-year-old girl who is sold by her loving father into prostitution (to pay off his debts) and is presented to us in the first person through her diaries. We are given her story from her present timeline at the age of fifteen as well as from her past as she tells how she came to be in her present circumstances, until past meets present and we only can go forward with her.

This book is going to be a hard read for some people. A child pros…

Random Book Challenge Book Pick

Well, the first book selected for this challenge, Pygmy, ended up a DNF so I need to choose another one to be my first. So picking from my backlog of ARCs, using my next, or I guess I should say first book for the Random Book Challenge will be ........

#62. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl

OK, good pick, looking forward to reading it. Just gotta see where I can sqeeeeeze it in!

139. Undone by Karin Slaughter

Undone by Karin Slaughter
Special Agent Will Trent, Book 3

Pages: 436
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 4, 2009
First Published: Jul. 14, 2009
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

They had been married forty years to the day and Judith still felt she didn't know everything about her husband.

Reason for Reading: Karin Slaughter had a new book out! I received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: A victim of unspeakable torture is found on the highway as she is hit by a car. Convinced she must have escaped from somewhere close by Special Agent Will Trent relentlessly searches until a second, dead, victim is found. An all available manpower hunt continues looking for the crime scene when Will unearths a hidden cellar dugout in the forest floor, a horror room of unimaginable violence. Agent Will Trent and his partner Faith Mitchell plow ahead through local police territory looking for information to make this a case for the GBI. It is in the hospital that they first meet …

Monday: Books in the Mail

Last week saw a good number of books arriving on my doorstep. Some Review Copies from publishers and I actually bought some books from Chapters online. Not such a good week for my reading arcs though. Somehow I only managed to read 1 arc which means my summer run of reading more arcs than I receive is over, or perhaps this is only a speed bump. I guess next week will tell. So..... last week I read and reviewed 1 arc and received 6 making the arc tbr pile 5 books larger!

These are the books I purchased. You'll notice a theme, these are for my further proposed Catholic reading I mentioned in an earlier post.