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Showing posts from January, 2010

16. Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham

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Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham (Canada) -(US)


Pages: 263
Ages: 8+
Finished: Jan. 30, 2010
First Published: Jan. 7, 2010
Genre: historical fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Mama pulled a chicken egg from behind the azalea bush in our front yard and narrowed her eyes.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Young Readers Group.

Reason for Reading: I love books set in 1930s Southern USA.

Summary: Ludelphia Bennett is ten years old, her family is part of a sharecropping community. Ludelphia wears a patch over one eye as she accidentally went blind in it when a tiny sliver of wood flew into it when she was younger. She has a passion for quilting and is working on a special quilt now for her Mama that will tell Ludelphia's story to her. Mama is ill with a terrible cough and large with a baby on the way but when Mama goes into labour early and the baby is born healthy after 3 previous stillborn, Mama's health turns worse. She can hardly breathe and now she's coughing up …

Hiccups for Elephant - Hello Reader!

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Hiccups for Elephant by James Preller. Illustrated by Hans Wilhelm (Canada) - (US)
Hello Reader! Level 2

Finished: Jan. 27, 2010
First Published: 1994
Genre: children, easy reader
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

It was naptime.

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: My son read aloud to me. I chose this book because I wanted something he could read in one sitting this day.

Comments: Elephant has the hiccups and his friends each tell him a sure fire way to get rid of them. He tries each way and none of them work until Mouse's suggestion. But with the hiccups gone, the book ends with a surprise twist. Honestly, I didn't expect much from this book but was pleasantly surprised with the fun time we had reading it. At this reading level, the book is well written, engaging and funny. Ds particularly found one scene hilarious and he had me read it in unison with him three times before we continued on with the story. The ending is funny and I recommend it to beginning readers.

Father Bear Comes Home

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Father Bear Comes Home by Else Holmelund Minarik. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak (Canada) - (US)
An I CAN READ Book, Little Bear series, book 2

Pages: 62
Ages: 5+
Finished: Jan. 26, 2010
First Published: 1959
Genre: children, easy reader
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

"Little Bear," said Mother Bear, "can you be my fisherman?"

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: My son read aloud to me.

Comments: As per any Little Bear book this is divided into four chapters each containing a stand alone story and yet they all flow together nicely. In the first story. Owl and Little Bear catch a fish for dinner then sit on a big log and pretend they are out on the ocean catching large and unusual fish until Mother finally comes looking for them and her fish. In the second story, Father Bear comes home but Little Bear imagines what if he brought home a mermaid and then as he meets each of his friends they follow along each expecting to meet the mermaid Father has brought home. …

14. The Silver Anklet by Mahtab Narsimhan

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The Silver Anklet by Mahtab Narsimhan (Canada) - (US)
Tara Trilogy, Book Two

Pages: 263
Ages: 10+
Finished: Jan. 26, 2010
First Published: Dec. 12, 2009
Genre: YA, fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The patch of sunlight at the edge of the forest had an odd look; dirty yellow and striped.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher, through the author.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Summary: Tara and her brother, Suraj, along with his friend, have gone to the local fair. There they befriend the Ferris wheel operator, an overweight yet very friendly boy and a performer who can dislocate all his joints to fit inside small containers along with his little sister helper, Sadia. While there, a scream rips through the fairgrounds and the girl, a fair person who can see as day in the night, who was looking after Sadia screams that Sadia was taken from her by a hyena into the jungle. Tara herself had earlier thought she had seen a hyena but shrugged it off as a trick of the sun as hy…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Quiet mailbox last week but some oh, so fabulous books in the one parcel of review copies I received plus I got a mooch that's been on my mooch list for ages.

Review Copies from Penguin Group (Canada)


Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.

In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah's perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie's all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Ho…

13. The Last Safe House: A Story of the Underground Railroad

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The Last Safe House: A Story of the Underground Railroad by Barbara Greenwood. Illustrated by Heather Collins (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 118
Ages: 8+
Finished: Jan. 22, 2010
First Published: 1998
Genre: children, historical fiction, non-fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

This is the story of two families who meet in June of 1856.

Acquired: We bought and own this book.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my son as part of our history studies.

Summary: The story of a slave mother and her two children who escape from a southern plantation to St. Catharines, Canada via the Underground Railroad. The family is split up and the little girl, Eliza, is the first to arrive across the border at the Reids' house and the story concentrates on her and the youngest Reid girl as they spend time together. From Eliza's point of view we see the weight of slavery lift and are told about her past life through flashbacks. From Johanna Reid we see at first jealousy at this girl who is so eager to please, then un…

Contest: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

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I just finished reading this book and am fortunate enough to have received a second ARC which I will be passing on to the lucky winner of this contest. You can read my review here.

Contest will run until Feb. 5, with the winner randomly chosen and announced on Feb. 6. This contest is open to US and Canada only. Sorry, but International postage is too expensive for me.

To enter:

Please try to leave all your responses in one comment.

1) You must be a follower (over in the right bar) and let me know you are in your comment.

2) Leave your email address (if it is not already in your profile.)

3) +2 Tweet or blog (no sidebars) about this contest and leave me the link.

4) +1 If you could only see one colour and its various hues, while everything else appeared grey, what colour would you choose? (for example if you choose yellow you would be able to see all pure yellows plus when you looked at green, you would see the yellow hues only in yellow based greens)

Here is the publisher's summary:

As lo…

12. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

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Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron by Jasper Fforde (Canada) - (US)
Shades of Grey, Book 1

Pages: 389
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 23, 2010
First Published: Dec. 29, 2009
Genre: fantasy, dystopian, humour
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

It began with my father's not wanting to see the Last Rabbit, and ended up with my being eaten by a carnivorous plant.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Canada.

Reason for Reading: I haven't read Jasper Fforde before. I really want to but just never find the time to start his Thursday Next series so I jumped at the chance to get in at the beginning with a new series.

Summary: I don't really feel capable of doing this justice but I'll make an attempt. This is a satirical dystopian novel. Set 500 years in the future after Something Happened, this new world is ruled by a Colortocracy. People are born being able to see only one colour or perhaps a mixture of primary colours thus making greens, oranges, etc. Those at the top of the cla…

Contest: And the Winner Is ....

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And the winner has been randomly selected for Howard S. Smith's I, robot. Congratulations to ......... Book Dragon ! If Book Dragon had a robot with AI here's the one thing she'd like it to do for her at home:

"I would want a robot that did dishes. Dusting. Wait, can the robot to all the household chores I hate to do? ;-)"

I think chores would count as one thing as lots of people answered housework. In fact, every answer was a variation on the theme! Some people were a little more specific naming laundry, grocery shopping and washing dishes.

Now I know why there are so many infomercials for household cleaning gadgets! The industry must be a goldmine.

Congratulations, Book Dragon. I'll be dropping you an email shortly.

If you didn't win today, there is always another chance so stay tuned for another giveaway where I've got great book up for grabs!

11. Graphic Classics: Special Edition

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Graphic Classics: Special Editionn edited by Tom Pomplun
Graphic Classics series

Pages: 64
Ages: 13+
Finished: Jan. 21, 2010
First Published: 2008
Genre: graphic novel, short stories
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Tomorrow I die at the gallows, today I unburden my soul.

Acquired: This book was offered during Free Comic Book Day 2009, and already being a fan I was thrilled to pick it up. It is available for purchase on the website.

Reason for Reading: Fan of the series, trying to eventually read my way through them all.

Comments: This is a smaller comic book edition compared to the regular book quality volumes. Described on the back as "A Classics Sampler", it contains five new short stories to illustrate the type of material that can be found in the series as a whole. I enjoyed four of the five stories very much. The fifth, an adaptation of Ambrose Bierce was only one page long and I didn't get the joke. The book opens with Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" which has …

Marvel Adventures Superheroes: Nova

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Marvel Adventures Superheroes Featuring Nova by Paul Tobin. Illustrated by Ig Guara
Issue 18, February 2010

This is my son's and I read it last night as I didn't have anything else to post today. This comic is an All Ages, safe for kids title with an old-style feel to it. There is a group of Super Heroes working together: Captain America, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, The Vision and Thor. The only one I'm not familiar with is The Vision. A teenage Nova and his friends go to investigate a town that rumours say has gone mad but when they get there they find no such thing until they are attacked by a spriggan, a mischievous creature who likes to steal things and they say is the ghost of Old Giants. While looking around an old woman folklore expert's abandoned house the above super heroes arrive on the scene. Eventually Black Widow joins the scene and a battle with the spriggan becomes almost impossible to win as it can make all their superpowers malfunction. In the end …

10. The Jungle Vampire by David Sinden

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The Jungle Vampire by David Sinden, Mattew Morgan & Guy Macdonald; illustrated by Jonny Duddle (Canada) - (US)
An Awfully Beastly Business, Book 4

Pages: 204
Ages: 8+
Finished: Jan. 19, 2010
First Published: Dec. 29, 2009
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Late one night, on the outskirts of a grimy town, a man in a long fur coat hurried through the rain.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: My son loves this series and this was the next one out. I read it aloud to him.

Summary: All the members of the RSPCB are off to the jungle and this time Ulf is invited along as he is in training to become an official member and his mission takes him in search of a legendary vampire. Unbeknownst to all, Baron Marackai is after the same treasure only he wants to kill the fabled beast and he is following them to take advantage of their smarts on finding this creature's den.

Comments: Everything one has come to expect from this series …

9. Graphic Classics: Louisa May Alcott

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Graphic Classics: Louisa May Alcott edited by Tom Pomplun (Canada) - (US)
Graphic Classics, Vol. 18

Pages: 144
Ages: 13+
Finished: Jan. 18, 2010
First Published: Nov. 2009
Genre: graphic novel, short stories
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

It's so dreadful to be poor.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher.

Reason for Reading: I love this series and will eventually read them all.

Comments: I'll start with my immediate response to finishing this volume, "Fantastic!". This is the second full colour offering in the Graphic Classics series and it is a beautiful book. The artwork is absolutely stunning and each artist has worked in a style and palette perfectly suited for each individual story. Usually, in these collection there will be at least one illustrator's rendition I'm not too fond of but I loved them all. The book includes 2 poems, an adaptation of the novel Little Women and 5 short stories. It's been ages since I've read Little Women and, of c…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Last Monday you may have thought I missed this weekly post but I didn't; I just didn't get any books in the mail that week so didn't bother posting. However, last week saw the Mailbox smiling happily as it was filled almost daily with lovely little padded envelopes. Here's what came:

For a Hachette Book Tour. I'll be reading this right away! But sorry, the review won't be coming for a while:

FBI Special Agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he's picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellbeing and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.

It's there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizo…

8. The King's Legacy by Jim Stovall

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The King's Legacy: A Story of Wisdom for the Ages (orig. title: Wisdom of the Ages) by Jim Stovall; illustrated by Connie Gabbert (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 156
Ages: all ages
Finished: Jan. 16, 2010
First Published: 2003, updated edition 2009
Genre: Inspirational, fairy tale
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:
Once upon a time, there was an enchanted kingdom in a land far, far away.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: The fairy tale nature of the story caught my attention.

Summary: The king is getting older and wants to leave something behind for the people in ages to come to remember him by. Various items are suggested: a building, a statue, a coin then his eldest wise man suggests he proclaim the wisdom for all ages. After several nights of consideration, the king chooses wisdom but he doesn't know what the wisdom of all ages is so he asks his wise men to tell him. Well they take a few nights and days then the king calls them and is rather pertur…

7. Fallen by Lauren Kate

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Fallen by Lauren Kate(Canada) - (US)
Fallen series, Book 1

Pages: 452
Ages: 13+
Finished: Jan. 16, 2010
First Published: Dec. 8, 2009
Genre: paranormal romance
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Around midnight, her eyes at last took shape.
This review contains one obvious spoiler. If you intend to read this book and know absolutely nothing about it don't continue but if you do know a bit about it, my one little spoiler is obvious even from the title of the book.

Acquired: Received an ARC from the publisher through Shelf Awareness.

Reason for Reading: I love stories about angels.

Summary: Lucinda is sent to a reform school because of a terrible incident in which she was involved and her date was killed. Lucinda isn't exactly a regular girl though; ever since she was little she has seen dark shadows that interact with her and scare her. She quickly learned as a child that she was the only one who saw them and has kept them secret but Lucinda wonders whether the shadows may have been responsible …

6. Fables: Sons of Empire

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Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham (Canada) - (US)
Fables, Volume 9

Pages: 200
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 15, 2010
First Published: 2007
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

That summer there was a great fire in the restricted hills, northwest of the Imperial City.

Acquired: Through Interlibrary Loan.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Summary: Starts of with four issues of the title story where the Adversary has a meeting to describe possible attacks on the Mundy world. Switches are made to Fabletown and the Farm where new plotlines are forming. Each issue ends with a short 3-4 page story of someone outside of Fabletown that we either have never met before or don't know much of. Then we have a Christmas Issue spent on the Farm and with the Wolf family, this starts with a quick flashback to 1956, where we see enjoy a scene with our long banished Fableton, Jack. Then onto a two issue story where Bigby and family go visit his father. The story is called "Father …

Dr. Horrible (comic)

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Dr. Horrible by Zack Whedon. Illustrated by Joelle Jones
Issue 1, November 2009

This is what they call a "one shot" meaning it is a one issue story, but as any other Dr. Horrible fan knows we will take any further story development we can get until that pie-in-the-sky day when the sequel, apparently in the works, comes out for us to watch over and over. I don't normally go into comic book stores, preferring to buy/read compilation tpb's, but my eldest son picked this up for me and gave it to me as a Christmas gift. He chose this cover (of the three available) because it depicts one of absolute my favourite songs, "Brand New Day".

The comic is fun for fans, nothing spectacular, but fun and I'm so glad I have it. Without giving away much I'll say the story starts with a quick flashback to Billy's childhood with an incident which may have planted the seeds of becoming a super villain in his mind. Then jumps to the present time, which takes place p…

5. Innocent War by Susan Violante

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Innocent War by Susan Violante (Canada) - (US)
Nino Series No. 1

Pages: 183
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 10, 2010
First Published: Apr. 17, 2009
Genre: historical fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

"Nino, wake up! You're going to be late," hollered Papa from the hallway outside of my room.

Acquired: I received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: The plot and point of view intrigued me.

Summary: The author received five cassette tapes from her father recording his life story and she has started to turn them into a fictionalized biography of her father's life with this first volume covering young Nino's life from age 10 to 15, years 1940 to 1945. Nino is born in Italy but soon moves with his family to Tripoli in the Italian Colony of Libya. His father is a construction worker and the Italians in the Colony are indoctrinated by Mussolini via the radio and propaganda, children must attend weekly youth meetings. But these people are far removed from…

4. The Diary of Sophia Macnab

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The Diary of Sophia Macnab written at Dundurn Castle, Hamilton, 1846, Age 13(Canada) - (US)
Edited by Charles Ambrose Carter & Thomas Melville Bailey
Foreword by The Earl of Albemarle, M.C.
Illustrated by Alice Daisy Holland, Age 13, 1904

Pages: 72
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 9, 2010
First Published: 1968, W.L. Griffin, Limited (revised 2nd edition 1974)
Genre: nonfiction, diary
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

Tuesday Janry 20th 1846 --
....Mamma told me to note down what we were all about on the 4th of January 1846 --- We were all standing round dear Mammas bed talking to her about her being so sick.
Acquired: I bought and own this copy.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy reading memoirs and diaries, plus this is local history for me and I've visited Dundurn Castle many times.

Comments: Sophia Macnab (pronounced with a long i) was the daughter of Sir Allan Napier Macnab, a politician who eventually became Prime Minister of Canada West in the days before Canada became a Dominion. Macnab had his home bu…

I'm Featured Today!

I'm featured today on the Cybils blog.

It's fun to see your name pop up when you're going through your blog reader! Go take a peep.

Today's Post on the Cybils Award Blog: featuring Moi

Contest: I, robot (No, not that one)

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Welcome back to my bi-weekly contests!

This time I am giving away an ARC of a book with a very familliar title but if you look closely there is a slight difference to the one you are thinking of. This is an ARC in wonderful condition calledI, robot by Howard S. Smith. I personally only read a few chapters of the book as I found it to be too much sci-fi and military for my tastes. But don't just listen to me! It has an average rating of 4 stars on amazon!

Contest will run until Jan. 22, with the winner randomly chosen and announced on Jan. 23. This contest is open to US and Canada only. Sorry, but International postage is too expensive for me.

To enter:

Please try to leave all your responses in one comment.

1) You must be a follower (over in the right bar) and let me know you are in your comment.

2) Leave your email address (if it is not already in your profile.)

3) +2 Tweet or blog (no sidebars) about this contest and leave me the link.

4) +1 If you were given a robot for your home wit…

3. The Flying Troutmans

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The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews(Canada) - (US)


Pages: 274
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 7, 2010
First Published: Oct. 1 2008
Genre: literary fiction, realistic fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Yeah, so things have fallen apart.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: The publisher's plot synopsis grabbed me right away.

Summary: Hattie in Paris, who has just been dumped by her boyfriend, receives an urgent message from her niece in Manitoba to come home quickly. Hattie's sister Min is in a deep depression and needs to go into the hospital again and when Hattie arrives she finds the kids in a state. Teenage Logan retreats into his hoodie all the time, rarely speaks and the neighbors have a backyard full of hatchets. Thebes, on the other hand, does not stop talking, ever, and looks as if she hasn't changed clothes in a few weeks nor combed, let alone washed her hair in months. Hattie is totally not up to the job of looking after two childr…

2. Irredeemable by Mark Waid

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Irredeemable by Mark Waid (Canada) - (US)
Afterward by Grant Morrison
Volume 1

Pages: 128
Ages: 15+
Finished: Jan. 6, 2010
First Published: Oct. 2009
Genre: Graphic Novel, Superhero
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

SARAH!

Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: The publisher's plot synopsis grabbed me right away.

Comments: One day The Plutonium, a very powerful superhero turns evil and becomes the world's greatest super villain. He belonged to a group of superheroes, yet none of them came close to Plutonium's powers. Now The Plutonium is hunting them all down and killing them and their alter ego families. He has destroyed cities and is a heartless, ruthless killer. The story focuses on his remaining teammates as they try to piece together information about the man inside the costume, what made him turn, and how can they stop him, all while staying on the run as he tries to hunt them down.

This is a stunning story! It opens with a shocking sequenc…

ARC Reading Challenge

OK, so after some deliberating I've decided to join Teddy's ARC Reading Challenge. I participated last year and I'm obviously going to be reading ARCs this year as well so I thought I'd join the fun. I already posted a complete list of arcs I have on hand that follows the rules of the challenge and you can take a look at it here. I will be adding links as I review the books and will keep adding review books as they come in. I will also keep a running total over in the sidebar on the right as I plan on joining the Gold level of 25 books.

2010 Master Challenge List

My plans for the new year are pretty simple: read arcs, work on series that I've started, do not start any new series unless they are graphic novels, do not start any new authors, and only join challenges that include books I will already be reading.

I'm currently involved in these perpetual challenges or projects:

Chronological Stephen King - This is my own personal project and I got stuck at The Stand. It's just such a huge book (I'm reading the revised 1500 pg edition) that every time I looked at it I just thought how many other books I could read in the same time. I vowed to read it in 2009 (didn't happen) so I'm trying again and will vow to read this book in 2010 and hopefully continue on with this project. I have read the first 5 books so far and will start again this year with The Stand.

1. Carrie
2. 'Salem's Lot
3. Rage
4. The Shining
5. Night Shift


Newbery Challenge (ongoing) - I intend on continuing this never-ending quest to read all the Newbery wi…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Just one book in the mail last week. Kind of a bonus book, as my contact was clearing out her office of review copies before she went on holidays and I put my name in for this one since I just can't say no to a good mystery and I've been wanting to try this series for ages.



New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd brings back Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge in another riveting mystery set in post–World War I England Lancashire, England, June 1920. In a house with a red door lies the body of a woman who has been bludgeoned to death. Rumor has it that two years earlier, she'd painted that door to welcome her husband back from the Front. Only he never came home.Meanwhile, in London, a man suffering from a mysterious illness first goes missing and then just as suddenly reappears. He is unable to explain his recovery. His family, supposedly searching for him, give conflicting accounts of where they were and why. What is the secret that nearly drove one man mad and tu…