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Showing posts from September, 2009

174. Wild West by Mike Stotter

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Wild West by Mike Stotter

Pages: 57
Ages: 7+
Finished: Sep.25, 2009
First Published: 1997
Genre: children, non-fiction, American history
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Native Americans had lived undisturbed throughout North and South America until the European discovery of the "New World" in 1492.

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

Summary: A very oversized book published by Kingfisher Books with profusive illustrations on every page, a main text in larger print and smaller text print sections that expound on the main text and/or go into further depth by illustrating the point with text and pictures. The book starts with the arrival of the white man on the Western frontier and hits upon some major historic events but mostly concentrates on daily living of the western indians, of life on the trail in a covered wagon, of ranchers and cowboys, of building a frontier home, town and forts. Then we enter the exciting days of outlaws and lawmen, stageco…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Quiet week for the mailbox. I received one review copy that sounds like it's going to be a great read and it's page design is fabulous. Hope it's as good as it looks! One review book in and two read last week makes mount arc one book smaller. Don't forget to vote in my poll to pick which book I should read next month!! (over in the sidebar - it was a tie last time I looked, we can't have that!)

173. The Rapture by Liz Jensen

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The Rapture by Liz Jensen

Pages: 296
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sep.23, 2009
First Published: Aug. 11, 2009
Genre: apocalyptic, science fiction, eco thriller
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

That summer, the summer all the rules began to change, June seemed to last for a thousand years.


Reason for Reading: Apocalyptic fiction is one of my favourite sub-genres. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Summary: It is the not too distant future and the world has entered a new phase, one where global warming has happened and temperatures, weather and climates are no longer what they used to be. Gabrielle Fox is a wheelchair bound art therapist who has started a new job at a Psychiatric Hospital, home to Britain's most dangerous children and she has been assigned the most dangerous of all, Bethany Krall, who brutally stabbed her mother to death with a screwdriver when she was 12. Bethany also predicts the future, not just any future but future natural disasters (storms, earthquakes, etc.) and as G…

The Winner Is ...

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And the Winner of The Demon's Lexicon by Sheila Rees Brennan has randomly been chosen using random.org and that lucky contestant is:

TYNGA

Surprisingly, she noted when she entered she had just become my 50th follower, so thanks Tynga for that honoured position and congratulations on winning this book. I'll be emailing you shortly for your snail mail address.

For the rest of you, stay tuned for tomorrow when I will have another book up for grabs! I've got a bunch here and I think I'm going to make this contest a regular thing for while!

Cybils 2009

I am pleased to announce I will be a Panelist this year Judging in Round 1 of the Graphic Novels category! I'm thrilled to be a part of the awards this year and take a look at the great company I'll be keeping:

Panel Organizer: Liz Jones, Liz Jones Books

Panelists (Round I Judges):
Alyssa Feller, The Shady Glade
Maggi Idzikowski, Mama Librarian
Liz Jones (see panel organizer)
Nicola Manning, Back to Books
Kim Rapier, Si, se puede! Yes we can
Gina Ruiz, AmoXcalli
Alysa Stewart, Everead

Judges (Round II):
Walter Biggins, The Quiet Bubble
Justin Colussy-Estes, Guys Lit Wire
Sarah Sammis, Puss Reboots
Sarah Stevenson, Finding Wonderland
Casey Titschinger, Bookworm 4 Life

Contest: The Demon's Lexicon (Sticky)

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I am giving away my hardcover copy of The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. Contest will run until Sept. 24, with the winner randomly chosen and announced on the Sept. 25. This contest is open to US and Canada only. Sorry, but International postage is too expensive for me.

To enter:

leave a comment below with your email (if it is not in your profile). You can't win if I can't email you back.

+1 Blog about this contest and leave a link to the post.

+2 become a Google Follower (over in the right bar) or let me know that you already are a Follower.


Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.

Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The…

172. The Kid Who Saved Superman

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The Kid Who Saved Superman by Paul Kupperberg
Illustrated by Min Sung Ku and Lee Loughridge

Pages: 51
Ages: 8-12; RL: 4.3
Finished: Sep.23, 2009
First Published: Aug. 2009
Genre: children, action-adventure
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Hakeem Bennett carefully climbed up the highest peak of the Adirondack Mountains.

Reason for Reading: My son is a superhero freak, and don't tell anyone, but I am too. I read this short chapter book aloud to him. We received a review copy from the publisher, Stone Arch Books.

Comments: Hakeem's class is going cave exploring; when he takes a few steps off by himself he unknowingly goes further than he thought and gets separated from his class. There is an earthquake and he becomes stuck in the cave but no need to worry because Superman is nearby. Superman can see him with his X-ray vision but there is another tremor and Hakeem falls to another level and lands next to a piece of kryptonite. How will Superman help him now?

I'll admit it, I didn't exactly…

171. The Drunken Forest by Gerald Durrell

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The Drunken Forest by Gerald Durrell
Illustrations by Ralph Thompson

Pages: 203
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sep.22, 2009
First Published: 1956
Genre: non-fiction, memoir, animals
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

As the ship nosed its way into port we leant on the rail and gazed at the panorama of Buenos Aires gradually curving around us.
Reason for Reading: I've read several of the author's books as a teenager and loved them. Except for a few, though, I can't remember, by title, which ones I've read until I start reading them. This one I had not read before and is my first foray back into Gerald Durrell since that time. I also used to watch a show he had on TV at the time and really enjoyed the man's love for his animals and his sense of humour.

Comments: The Durrells, Gerald and his wife Jacquie, travel to South America, namely Argentina and Paraguay, to collect birds for a Bird Sanctuary and animals for their own zoo on the Island of Jersey. Ultimately this trip is a failure in their…

Asperger's Contestant on Britain's X Factor

This is amazing!! Like many of us with Asperger's Syndrome, this young man (21 yo) has spent a large portion of his life in his home and now he has made it through to the next stage on Britain's X Factor. Embedding has been disabled so I can only provide you with a link. This young man can sing! Identified as Autistic on the clip, symptoms observed and further investigation do reveal he is Aspergers. He is such an inspiration to all of us. When I don't want to go out of the house, Scott, I'm going to think of you up there up on that stage!

Scott James singing on X Factor (MUST SEE)

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Great week for books, last week. I received 3 review books. One is for my very first Book Tour! The other two are previous read authors that I am anxious to read. Finally a 4th book arrived that I was fortunate to win over at Joystory. This is the sequel to another book I've been meaning to read and nothing like spurring you on to read a book when you have the sequel sitting there waiting to read! Stats don't work out too good this time with 3 review books in I only read one review book last week (not counting 2 kids graphic novels) that means my arc tbr pile increased by 2 books this past week.

My review copies:



The book I'll be featuring during it's Book Tour. Drop by Nov. 15th for my review!



And lucky book winner me! Thanks Joystory!



PS - Don't forget to enter my contest for The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan! It end's on the 24th!

170. The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed

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The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed by Heather Vogel Frederick

Pages: 213
Ages: 8+
Finished: Sep.18, 2009
First Published: 2002
Genre: historical fiction, children
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

"Absolutely, positively not!" roared my father in a voice meant to be heard through the teeth of a Cape Horn gale.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 9yo to go along with our history studies.

Comments: When 13yo Patience and 6yo Thadeus's father returns from sea he is determined to take them along with him when he next sets sail. Patience's mother has died while Father was away and being Captain of a Nantucket whaler means he spends more time on sea than land, and now Captain Goodspeed is determined to keep his family together. An extremely reluctant Patience and exuberant Tad soon set sail for a 3 year trip. Patience's reluctance mainly stems from her mother's promise that she may continue her mathematical studies with Maria Mitchell, but her father denies her this for the sa…

Recon Academy Graphic Novels for Kids

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Recon Academy: Shadow Cell Scam by Chris Everheart, illustrated by Arcana Studio, 2009, 59 pgs, RL: 1.7 - Each member of the Recon Academy has been sold a fantastic new laptop but soon they discover they are ticking bombs. At the same time the Navy is launching a secret spy satellite nearby and the team has been too busy to provide any security but now they rush to save themselves and the satellite from the Shadow Cell. This book features on the lone female in the four member group, Emmi, whose special skill is martial arts. Very intricate, exciting story with an involved plot which is suitable for the publisher's recommended ages 8-13. The artwork is well done and reminiscent of what one finds in cartoon shows of this nature. The book is much harder to read than the 1.7 RL would have you believe with such phrases as "they're only prototypes", "time to decrypt their code" and "heat detection monitor". With my son's reading level we had to do s…

169. A Pioneer Story: The Daily Life of a Canadian Family in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood

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A Pioneer Story: The Daily Life of a Canadian Family in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood
Illustrated by Heather Collins
Pioneer Story series

Pages: 237
Ages: 8+
Finished: Sep.18, 2009
First Published: 1994
Genre: historical fiction, pioneer life, crafts, non-fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:


The Robertsons are a pioneer family living on a backwoods farm in 1840.


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

Comments: Follows the daily life of a pioneer family, the Robertsons, living on a backwoods farm in Southern Ontario in 1840 from spring to New Years. Along with Ma and Pa, the family consists of two elder children (brother & sister), two younger children (brother & sister), a baby and Granny from Scotland. Told in the third person, the story is given alternately from the younger sister and brother's points of view making the book accessible to both boys and girls. The story itself is very quaint and charming, …

168. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Pages: 349
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sep.17, 2009
First Published: May 5, 2009, paperback May 4, 2010
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Reason for Reading: The plot sounded like this would be the perfect read for me, but I haven't read her first book which has been widely praised. I received a review copy from Random House Canada. I also selected this book for the Random Reading Challenge. Qualifies for the RIP IV Challenge.

Comments: The book first opens with a woman, Libby, young thirties, only survivor of her family's brutal slaying, her mother and two older sisters, when she was seven years old. Her brother, Ben, fifteen at the time, was convicted and sentenced to life for the murders. Libby has now used up the "fund" that accumulated for her through her childhood as people donated to her plight. Now a mixed-up woman with no means of support, and no real desire to work, she i…

OT: Michael Belk

Fashion photographer Michael Belk has put together an absolutely amazing collection of work called "Journeys with the Messiah" where he has photographed Jesus in Biblical settings participating in modern day re-inactments of the Parables. They are simply stunning!!!

Even if you are not Christian check this out for the art's sake.

Journeys with the Messiah

Then click on "The Collection", then "Parable Collection".

167. Larger Than Life: True Stories of Canadian Heroes

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Larger Than Life: True Stories of Canadian Heroes by Janet Lunn
Illustrated by Emma Hesse

Pages: 78
Ages: 7+
Finished: Sep.10, 2009
First Published: 1979
Genre: children, non-fiction, Canadian history
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The morning was beautiful.


Reason for Reading: I read this aloud as part of our history curriculum this past year.

Comments: Janet Lunn is one of Canada's best children's historical fiction writers, starting writing in the 60's we are fortunate that the majority of her work is still in print. Unfortunately, this book is a bit of a rarity, no longer in print, and I could only find a few copies available on line at prices that were exorbitant simply because the book is hard to find.

This is a collection of short stories featuring true Canadian heroes, some of famous people and others of once briefly well known people who have now been forgotten to the ages. Short stories to be read in one sitting, of only several pages that jump right into the action and tell…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Last week saw a reasonable three new review copies arrive at the door, two of them next in a series and one a first time author. My son is over the moon about the next Beastly Business book, and I can't wait to read Catherine Banner's sequel to last year's amazing The Eyes of a King, while The Midnight Charter sounds truly unique. A good week of books. Let's see I received three review copies and last week I read one and had to DNF another which makes the ARC pile only 1 book larger. I had a very hectic week last week so here's to getting back to good old routine this week and accomplishing a good bit of reading!

166. If You Lived with the Sioux Indians

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If You Lived with the Sioux Indians by Ann McGovern
Illustrated by Jean Syverud Drew

Pages: 76
Ages: 7+
Finished: Sep.11, 2009
First Published: 1974, updated 2006
Genre: children, non-fiction, history
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

Indians were the first people to live in what is now the United States.

Reason for Reading: I read this aloud as part of our history curriculum this past year.

Comments: Presented in a Question and Answer format this book focuses on the daily life of the Sioux Indians in the years 1800 to 1850 after the white had arrived but before they had fully settled in the west. These are the years in which the Indians rode the prairies on the horses introduced to the New World by the white man. As with previous books in this series (here and here) that we have read the information is very interesting; dealing with every day life aspects of the Indians such as food, clothing, living arrangements, differences of expectations between men and women/boys and girls, how children played, …

News: Canadian Teen Book Community

Just found out about this new site for Canadian teens! Looks cool!

Are you a teen who loves to read books; books big and small, fictional or otherwise? Do you find yourself thinking “I would so rather be reading right now”?

Then you are Bookurious.

Bookurious.com is a community designed especially for avid Canadian readers aged 13 to 17. Join today to talk to other teens about your favourite books and discover new authors. You’ll also find fun challenges, cool giveaways and tons of reading suggestions.

If you love books, you’ll love Bookurious.com



Visit my 10yo niece's movie blog and leave a comment. Thanks!

Random Challenge Pick of the Month

Well, my last post shows that my Random Challenge pick for this month did not prove to be a winner so I've had to go over to random.org and select a new book for this month (which I did last night). The book it chose for me was:

#78. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
And, I'm happy to report that I started it last night and it has me hooked already! Plus since this is a thriller involving a mass murder it too will qualify for the RIP challenge so it's a great pick! I've been wanting to read this one too, just never got around to squeezing it in.


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DNF. The Demon's Lexicon

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The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Pages: 322
Ages: 14+
First Published: June 2, 2009
Genre: YA, urban fantasy
Rating: DNF

First sentence:

The pipe under the sink was leaking again.

Reason for Reading: The plot sounds fascinating and just like my type of book. I received a review copy from Simon and Schuster Canada.

Comments: I couldn't finish this book. I made it to page 94. I admit it's been a busy week for me but to struggle with one book and read only 94 pgs in a week, for me, is unreal. I really did give this the extra effort because I wanted to like it but it just never captured me. I couldn't get a hold on the plot. I couldn't connect with the characters. Finally, the parts about demons and magic that should have captured my imagination (I wanted it to!) just didn't. It has received very good reviews from others, though. It's average rating on Amazon is 4.5. I wish I was one of them but sadly this book and I just could not connect with one another. I w…

165. O Canada! by Isabel Barclay

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O Canada! by Isabel Barclay
Illustrated by Cecile Gagnon

Pages: 95
Ages: 6-8
Finished: Sep.9, 2009
First Published: 1964
Genre: children, non-fiction, Canadian history
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Once upon a time, long ago, nobody lived in Canada.
Reason for Reading: This was our main text on Canadian history for our homeschool curriculum over the past year. Qualifies for the Canadian Challenge.

Comments: I'll start by saying this is *the* best book ever written for Grades 1-3 covering Canadian history from the beginning up to Confederation. There is nothing like it in print today, nor do I expect there ever will be as history books are not written like this anymore. As one can tell from the beginning sentence this book is written in a narrative, story telling mode and meant to be read aloud for this age group. The original intent would have been for older children to read the book themselves but today there are many other books for older children to choose from; it is the younger children f…

Kate Bush

Pat at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist just posted a video of one of my all time favourite singers of all time that this planet will ever see, Kate Bush. He posted what he feels is her best song ever, Running Up that Hill. Good song, of course, but I just had to go looking for what I think is her best ever song, and one of the best ever story videos.



And then I couldn't stop and had to post some more of my favourites:









I could go on forever as I haven't met a Kate Bush song I don't like!

164. Fables: The Mean Seasons

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Fables: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham
Fables, Book 5

Pages: 166
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sep.7, 2009
First Published: 2005
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:


Say what you will about our mutual ex-husband.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Comments: The book starts off with a single issue that features Cinderella. It feels purposeless at first but a little secret is revealed that later comes into play with a slight significance. Next is a two-issue story line featuring Bigby which flashes back to his World War II days and an ultra secret mission that he participated in. This was a great story line that introduced a new character who is living in Fabletown but I'm not sure whether he'll show up again. Then comes the meat of this volume with the continuation of the main storyline as the rest of the book follows "The Mean Seasons". Snow White gives birth and the election takes place. Both events cause a slew of fallout and meanwhile those in charge dec…

163. 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

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206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
Temperance Brennan, Book 12

Pages: 308
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sep.7, 2009
First Published: Aug. 25, 2009
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:


Cold.


Reason for Reading: I read every new Kathy Reichs book. I received a Review Copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Comments: Tempe wakes up to realize that she is tied up and trapped within a small brick structure within complete darkness. Chapters alternate between her present situation and some relative distant past and a case she's been working where the skeletal remains of an elderly woman are recovered and linked to 2 other violent deaths of elderly women and 1 current missing persons case that fits the same descriptors. Tempe is also experiencing difficulties at work in the Quebec office with a new staff member added to the crew and each other person in a gloomy mood; then she receives a nasty note and confirms someone has tried to discredit her recently. Tempe works this second personal case to get…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Last week was a quiet mailbox week for me. I received two books, one review copy ... and one book I was fortunate enough to win from bookfool last month! So the results for last week are 1 arc in and 4 arcs read and reviewed making Mt. ARC 3 books smaller. If this trend continues for this week, I'll take an overall percentage of arcs read for the year versus those received, again.

The review copy:



And my win from bookfool:

162. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

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My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
Soul Screamers, Book 1

Pages: 282
Ages: 14+
Finished: Sep.4, 2009
First Published: Aug. 8, 2009
Genre: Teen, Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

"Come on!" Emma whispered from my right, her words floating from her mouth in a thin white cloud.

Reason for Reading: Even though I do not like romance books, I am getting into Paranormal Romances and Harlequin's new Teen books intrigued me. I received a Review Copy from Harlequin Teen.

Comments: Kaylee can feel when someone near her is going to die. In fact she sees a dark shadow surrounding them. But then Kaylee has an overpowering urge to scream, a loud piercing, almost ear splitting screech that once starts she has no control over. The only way she can stop it is to get far enough away from the person then her urge dies down. Her best friend Emma helps her, thinking they are panic attacks. Her aunt and uncle, whom she lives with, have already sent her to the psych ward once so now she keep…

161. A Child's First Book of Poems

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A Child's First Book of Poems with pictures by Cyndy Szekeres

Pages: 44
Ages: 3+
Finished: Sep.2, 2009
First Published: 1981
Genre: children, poetry
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

An elephant's nose is the handiest nose, the handiest nose of all -


Reason for Reading: I read a poem or 2 to my son every day M-F.

Comments: This is a cute little book. Of course, wonderfully illustrated with Szekers' darling pictures which mostly feature animals both realistically and anthropomorphically, but there is the occasional real boy or girl. The poems are suitable for all ages but have been chosen for their simplicity so that even the youngest ears will appreciate the rhythms and words. Though this is no baby book, there are no nursery rhymes, no mother goose to be found here. What we have is a collection of the wonderful children's poets such as Aileen Fisher, A.A. Milne, Eleanor Farjeon, Dorothy Aldis and Christina Rossetti alongside a few of the greats: Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Ste…

160. The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein

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The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein
The Haunted Mysteries, Book 2

Pages: 322
Ages: 10-14
Finished: Sep.2, 2009
First Published: Aug. 11, 2009
Genre: children, horror, ghost story
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

There's this thing about ghosts: Once you've seen one, you can basically see them all.

Reason for Reading: The sequel to The Crossroads. I received a review copy from Random House Canada. Qualifies for the RIP IV Challenge.

Comments: Zack and his step-mom, a famous children's book author, are spending the summer at the Hanging Hill Theatre where, for the first time, one of her books is being turned into a musical. The Theatre has been around for well near a century while both the building and the land have quite a chequered past. So it comes to no surprise to Zack when he starts to see the occasional ghost. But when the ghosts start talking of demons and Zack meets ghosts with bloody weapons who can affect things in this world he starts to take notice. Before long he's racin…

159. Mercy Watson Something Wonky This Way Comes

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Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Mercy Watson, Book #6

Pages: 86
Ages: 6+
Finished: Aug. 31, 2009
First Published: Jul. 14, 2009
Genre: children, humour
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

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


Reason for Reading: Next and newest (2009) in the series. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: The Watsons are off to the Drive-in to watch a movie but Mercy is more concerned about the strong smell wafting about. Butter! Her favourite smell because where there is butter there is often toast. So she quietly slips out of the car and walks through the drive-in putting her snout in everyone's popcorn and while it is deliciously buttery she is looking for the ultimate taste of buttered toast. Unfortunately for Mercy both Officer Tommilello (and wife) and Animal Control Officer Francine Poulet (and date) are taking in a movie that night as well. And thus we have another fun adventure …

End of the Month Wrap-Up

August is over! Boy, it seemed like a really long month to me but on the other hand I can't believe summer's over and fall is just around the corner. My favourite season of the year is soon upon us and we can feel it in the air the last couple of days, though they've been forecasting warmer weather for the rest of the week. I'm happy to say I read 21 books again this month, same as July. I like to keep it at 19+, so am pleased with the results.

First thing I'm going to do for the end of August is tidy up my challenges and officially close up two challenges that have ended that I'm still signed up for and that would be the Christopher Moore Challenge which never really had hardly anyone sign up for it in the first place and it is way over now. I do intend on working on reading all his books myself anyway. Secondly, is the Cardathon, I had intended on reading the rest of the Enderverse books which I hadn't read yet and I did read two books First Meetings in th…

158. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

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Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Pages: 399
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 31, 2009
First Published: Aug. 11, 2009
Genre: mystery, suspense
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:



The morning of the day I lost her, my daughter asked me to scramble her some eggs.

Read the first five chapters for free!


Reason for Reading: Last year I read and enjoyed Barclay's Too Close to Home so much I just had to read his newest book. I received a review copy from Random House. Qualifies for the Canadian Book Challenge. Qualifies for the RIP IV Challenge.

Comments: One day Tim Blake's 17yo daughter Syd goes off to work her summer job as per usual but she doesn't come home. Since they had a spat that morning he gives her some leeway thinking she's angry and not calling to say she's working late but once plenty of time has gone by he drops by the hotel she's been working at all summer to find out that they've never heard of her, she hasn't worked there at all. And thus begins the worst journey of T…