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Showing posts from February, 2010

33. Alexander Graham Bell : An Inventive Life

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Alexander Graham Bell: An Inventive Life by Elizabeth MacLeod (Canada) -(US)

Pages: 32 pages
Ages: 8+
Finished: Feb. 25, 2010
First Published: 1999
Genre: children, non-fiction, biography
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Next time you pick up the phone to call a friend or order a pizza, say thanks to Alexander Graham Bell.

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

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

Comments: This non-fiction book tells the life story of Alexander Graham Bell, skimming the surface of his private life and concentrating on his life as an inventor. Each "chapter" is a two-page spread with one page of text and both pages profusely illustrated with captioned photographs which both illustrate the text and add more information to the text. Written in an engaging style the text is both informative and interesting to read. My son, who currently wants to be an inventor when he grows up, was of course very interested in the book and enjoyed it very mu…

And the Winner is ......

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Today's lucky winner of Flute's Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush by Lynne Cherry is ........

#12 ...... Mystica

Asked what her favourite bird was, Mystica replied "My favourite bird is the woodpecker." Congratulations! I will be emailing you shortly.

We had several woodpeckers and robins, cardinals, lots of hummingbirds, etc. and even *my* favourite the blue jay showed up a couple of times. What surprised me though was everyone stayed with birds indigenous to North America. When I asked the question I had envisions of toucans, penguins, kookaburras or peacocks! Does that mean that when it comes down to it we really appreciate more the small things which we already have at home than the grandeur to be found in far away places? Hmmmmm .......

You can read my review of Flute's Journey here. Or click on the picture to purchase.

Come back tomorrow for the chance to win another book!

32. A Kid for Two Farthings by Wolf Mankowitz

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A Kid for Two Farthings by Wolf Mankowitz (Canada) -(US)

Pages: 128 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 26, 2010
First Published: 1953 (Bloomsbury Group reprint Dec. 2009)
Genre: realistic fiction, British cozy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

"It was thanks to Mr. Kadinsky that Joe knew a unicorn when he saw one."

Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group(Canada).

Reason for Reading: I love early 20th century British lit. and I'm enchanted by the entire line of The Bloomsbury Group reprints.

Summary: Joe is six years old, lives on a street near Whitechapel which seems to be the Jewish quarter. Joe and his mother live in a room above Mr. Kadinsky's tailor shop; he is a trousers maker and his assistant Shmule is a young engaged pugilist training to work his way through the ranks to becoming a champion. Joe's father has gone to Africa to make a life for them and will be sending for him and his mother sometime. Joe mostly spends his days with Mr. Kadinsky in the shop while…

31. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

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Marcelo in the Real World by Franciso X. Stork (Canada) -(US)

Pages: 315 pages
Ages: 15+
Finished: Feb. 26, 2010
First Published: Mar. 1, 2009
Genre: realistic fiction, YA, Aspergers
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

"Marcelo, are you ready?"

Acquired: Received a review copy from Scholastic Canada.

Reason for Reading: I have Aspergers and have wanted to read this book since I first heard of it.

Summary: Seventeen year old Marcelo has Aspergers (high functioning form of autism) though he doesn't like to label himself that way but when asked does say that the closest diagnosis for his condition would be Aspergers. He's lived a very happy life, going to an upscale private school for kids with learning or psychological difficulties. Here he is allowed to be himself, follow his interest and gently learn how to communicate with the "normals". Aspies have obsessions and Marcello's special interests (as he prefers to call them) are first and foremost God. His family is Cath…

Big Max by Kin Platt

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Big Max by Kin Platt; pictures by Robert Lopshire (Canada) -(US)
An I CAN READ Book

Pages: 64 pages
Ages: 6+
First Published: 1965
Genre: easy reader, mystery
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Big Max was the world's greatest detective.

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: My son read the book to me as his reader.

Comments: The King of Pooka Pooka calls in Big Max to find his missing elephant, Jumbo, who was kept in a locked courtyard with no possible way out. Big Max, who travels by umbrella, takes the case and follows the clues to solve the mystery and find the beloved Jumbo, as today is his birthday. Big Max is an adorable character! Very helpful and clever in following the trail of clues, not letting a false clue steer him wrong for long. My son really enjoyed this book! He found the mystery aspect exciting and tried to guess what was happening ahead of Big Max. He also thought the story was very funny and we had some laugh out loud moments. A huge success as it had ds w…

30. An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor

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An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor (Canada) -(US)
Irish Country Doctor series, Book 4

Pages: 298 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 21, 2010
First Published: January 5, 2010
Genre: historical fiction, magical realism, cozy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

"Run along, make your calls, and enjoy His Lordship's hooley," said Mrs. Maureen Kincaid, "Kinky" to her friends, as she knelt in the hall and sponged Ribena black-currant cordial from a small boy's tweed overcoat.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the books publicist.

Reason for Reading: The Irish Country Doctor series has been on my tbr list for a while and when I had an offer to read this fourth book, which can also be read as a stand-alone, I jumped at the chance to get my feet wet with the series.

Summary: This fourth book in the series takes a different direction than the other books by centering on Maureen Kincaid, housekeeper/cook for two country doctors in the 1960s. The book actually takes place during a fe…

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete

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My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete. Pictures by Shane W. Evans (US) - (Canada)

Pages: unnumbered
Ages: 5+
Finished: Feb. 19, 2010
First Published: Mar. 16, 2010
Genre: picture book, autism
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

We've always been together - even in Mommy's tummy - my twin brother, Charlie, and me.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Scholastic Canada.

Reason for Reading: My 9yo is autistic.

Comments: Actress Holly Robinson Peete writes this picture book along with her twelve-year-old daughter, Ryan, who is the fraternal twin of a brother with autism. The story mirrors their real life and is told from the point of view of a little girl whose brother, Charlie, is autistic. She describes how they are alike in looks and likes, then how they are different in looks and likes with the major difference being that Charlie can get very quiet and sometimes not talk. She then goes on to explain how her parents found out Charlie was autistic and what it is l…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Last week brought me two eagerly awaited seconds in a series for review.

From Viz Media via Simon & Schuster Canada:

Umi and Sora are not alone in their strange connection to the sea. Forty years ago, Jim met another young boy with the same powers. As penance for letting the boy die, Jim has been searching the world for other children with those same ties to the ocean.

Anglade, a wunderkind who was once Jim's research partner, lures Sora away with the promise of answers. This leaves Umi severely depressed, and it is up to Ruka to help her new friend find his brother. But time is quickly running out..(US) - (Canada)

From Random House Canada

Ruth Galloway is called in to investigate when builders, demolishing a large old house in Norwich to make way for a housing development, uncover the bones of a child beneath a doorway - minus the skull. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? DCI Harry Nelson would like to find out - and fast. It turns out the house was …

29. Rome Sweet Home by Scott & Kimberly Hahn

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Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism by Scot & Kimberly Hahn (Canada) -(US)

Pages: 183
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 21, 2010
First Published: 1993
Genre: non-fiction, religion
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

The Late Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote: "There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Roman Catholic Church; there are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church."

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: Popular Catholic theologian Scott Hahn has written many books and I would like to read several of them. Before I started those, however, I thought I would start with this, his conversion story.

Comments: What can I say? An absolutely, inspirational story of a very difficult, journey that Scott and his wife found themselves on that ended with them coming home to the Church. Scott was a Presbyterian minister, self described as vehemently anti-Catholic, to the point where he didn't believe Cath…

28. Angel: After the Fall Vol. 2: First Night

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Angel After the Fall: First Night by Josh Whedon & Brian Lynch (Canada) -(US)
Angel After the Fall, Vol. 2

Pages: 104
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 19, 2010
First Published: Nov. 25, 2009
Genre: graphic novel, 2009
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Man. I bet there's total excitement out there and I'm missing it all.

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Summary: After the shocking ending of Vol. 1, Vol. 2 leaves us hanging and backs up in time to the first night after the ending of the television series. This book is smaller containing only 3 comics that contain vignettes of all the characters showing us where they ended up that first night, why they are no longer all together and how they came to be in the situations we find them in Vol. 1. Angel himself is not in this volume at all, which is a little odd at first but this book's purpose is to re-establish the other characters, whom we knew so well, with the new turns their character's have taken in…

27. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (Canada) -(US)


Pages: 306
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 18, 2010
First Published: Jan. 12, 2010
Genre: southern fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Momma left her red satin shoes in the middle of the road.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group (Canada).

Reason for Reading: I love southern fiction with eccentric characters, then throw in mental illness to boot and you've so got a book I have to read.

Summary: 12-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt lives with her mother who is crazy. She relives the glorious day that she was crowned the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen often donning her winning dress, sash and tiara, blowing kisses to cars that pass by. Always wearing ballgowns and forever going to Goodwill to purchase more. CeeCee looks after her mom as her dad has virtually left them on a traveling salesman job, rarely returning home and refusing to deal with the situation. Then tragedy strikes as her mum dies and CeeCee is picked up by her great aunt and …

Ash Wednesday

Here is Nick Alexander, the Catholic version of Weird Al with fun song about Ash Wednesday (today) and Lent which starts today and lasts for 40 days.

This Time of Forty Days:

26. Gone by Lisa McMann

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Gone by Lisa McMann (Canada) -(US)
Wake Trilogy, Book 3

Pages: 214
Ages: 15+
Finished: Feb. 16, 2010
First Published: Feb. 9, 2010
Genre: YA, paranormal
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

It's like she can't breathe anymore, no matter what she does.

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

Reason for Reading: Next (and last) in the series.

Summary: Janie has been left with a decision to make about her future and concentrates on making that decision. However, a wrench is thrown into her contemplations when her never before known father shows up in ICU causing her alcoholic mother to go off the deep end and add a twist to her previous choice. Now she must decide which is lesser of two evils.

Comments: Right of the bat I'll say this was rather disappointing. For a good portion of the book, from the beginning, the story mostly concentrates on Janie's dealing and coping with her alcoholic mother. Which would have been fine if this was just another teen dysfunction…

25. Fables: The Good Prince

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Fables: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham (Canada) -(US)
Fables, Volume 10

Pages: 228
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 14, 2010
First Published: 2008
Genre: graphic novel
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

A mess! A great big filthy mess!

Acquired: Received a copy through ILL.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Comments: This is a big issue and I mean that literally and metaphorically. It's a nice, hefty book containing ten issues with nine of those continuing the title story. In the middle there is a one issue intermission that centres on the cubs. The main story, though, without giving anything away, focuses on a minor character who has been around since Vol. 1: Flycatcher, whose real name is Ambrose, and is better known to mundies as the prince who was once turned into a frog. Prince Ambrose takes centre stage and the action switches between him and the resident Fables as he undertakes a very important journey and mission. This book is a turning point in the series. Things will not be the sam…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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First of all, Happy Family Day! to my fellow Albertans, Saskatchewanians, Manitobans and Ontarians. Alberta has been the only province in Canada to enjoy Family Day for many years and we were fortunate enough to move to Ontario the year before the holiday spread to a few other provinces. And the greatest thing is that Family Day is not a Federal holiday so we still get mail delivery. Yeah!!

Fabulous mailbox week for me this time around. I knew I'd be getting a box of books because I had a late night date with amazon one night. I also got a BookMooch and won a book from Janet at Along the Way. So as far as I knew no review books; until the day a box from Scholastic Canada appeared on my doorstep! They sent me the most amazing box of books to review out of the blue. Needless to say I was thrilled!

Here's what I got:

BookMooched:

I love this book, which unfortunately is out of print and online sellers ask terrible prices for it.











Won from Janet at Along the Way

Mackenzie Alle…

24. Saint John Bosco by Catherine Beebe

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Saint John Bosco and the Children's Saint, Dominic Savio by Catherine Beebe. illustrated by Robb Beebe (Canada) -(US)
Vision Books, #1

Pages: 157
Ages: 8+
Finished: Feb. 13, 2010
First Published: 1955
Genre: biographical fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

"He can pick coins right out of your ears!" shouted an excited eleven-year-old boy.

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my 9yo as a combination of religious studies/history.

Comments: Written in a story format this book tells the life of 19th century John Bosco, one of, if not the first, person to take an active interest in the welfare of the delinquent street children. John's desire to help came to him as a child and as such he devoted himself to helping boys first by simply performing magic tricks, which he laboriously studied to perform, outside church for the payment that the boys watching must attend the Mass. As he grew older his commitment to helping stray boys who came from very poor h…

23. Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz

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Defenders of the Scroll: History, Legend and Lore by Shiraz, illustrated by Steve Criado (Canada) -(US)
Book 1

Pages: 317
Ages: 12+
Finished: Feb. 12, 2010
First Published: June 29, 2009
Genre: YA, fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

In a different time, in a different place, Mornak ruled the realm of Mythos from the city of Aspiria.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the author.

Reason for Reading: The combination of members who joined the quest in this fantasy is what initially intrigued me enough to want to read the book.

Summary: Alex is your typical high school teen with one major obsession, playing rpg/mporg video games and a secondary fixation as the leader and lead guitarist of a band called the Axemen. Alex's biggest dilemna in life is whether to skip a history exam to go to a real studio audition with the band. Meanwhile, in another realm of existence , Mythos, the dark forces have started to take over. Kidnapping and torturing the king to get the source of all his power, the…

Contest: Flute's Journey, The Life of a Wood Thrush

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This time I'm giving away a gorgeous hardcover picture book, Flute's Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush written and illustrated by Lynne Cherry. This is a slightly used copy, we bought it new and read it once.
This is the type of picture book with gorgeous paintings and quite verbose making it suitable for all ages, up to perhaps 11. Click the picture to take a look inside. You can read my review here.

Contest will run until Feb. 26, with the winner randomly chosen and announced on Feb. 27. 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 and +2 blog (no sidebars) about this contest and leave me the link.

4) +1 What is your favourite bird?

Here is the Publisher's Summary:

This is a reverent envir…

22. Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker

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Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker (Canada) -(US)
(The Bloomsbury Group)

Pages: 317
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 8, 2010
First Published: 1940, (this US/Can Bloomsbury Group re-issue Dec. 2009)
Genre: British farce, fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

When I wrote essays at school I was always told to begin at the beginning and end at the end.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group (Canada).

Reason for Reading: I love British literature written during the first half of the 20th century and all the books reprinted in The Bloomsbury Group sound delightful.

Summary: Norman Huntley and his friend Henry are visiting an old church and while speaking to the keeper, on a lark, they invent an eighty-plus old woman, Miss Hargreaves, giving her quite an eccentric character, a cockatoo, and a bath she takes with her everywhere. Still having a good laugh they write a letter to this fictional character at the hotel where they've got her staying on her travels. The lark takes a downward spiral when…

21. The Dragon Book

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The Dragon Book edited by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois (Canada ) - (US)

Pages: 433 pgs.
Ages: 15+
Finished: Jan. 7, 2010
First Published: Nov. 3, 2009
Genre: short stories, fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Comments: This collection of 19 previously unpublished short stories by mostly well-known authors is written for an "all ages" audience, meaning for adults but an acceptable cross-over for older teens. The book is entirely language and s*x free, though the themes keep the book form being suitable for anyone younger. There were a couple of stories I didn't appreciate but for the most part I rated the others 4s or 5s. I really enjoyed that this book of short stories contained one longer almost novella sized story along with several lengthy 30 page stories along with the shorter short stories, making for a wide range of reading, with the longer stories letting the reader become quite involved in the story. I certainly had my appetite whetted for some of the authors here I hadn't read b…

Books in the Mail

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Seems to be a trend going on here, last Monday I had no post as I had an empty mailbox all week again. But this past week I had a couple of days with parcels galore. All review copies this week. Some of these, my son and I will be enjoying together. He loves it when review books for him come in! I think it's a pretty good guess which of these books I'll be reading first though!

One thing I found quite amusing was I got a LT Early Reviewer book but hadn't been sent an email that I'd won. So when I got the book, I didn't recognize it but read the back and thought wow this sounds fun. Wondered why I hadn't been notified, had I accidentally been sent the book perhaps, and then later in the day I got the email telling me I had won the book! LOL.

From Simon & Schuster Canada


Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what …

And the Winner is ......

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And the winner has been randomly selected using random.org. After counting up all those +1s and +2s random.org came up with the winner...

#2 ...... lilly

Who is very lucky she took the time to answer the question for an extra entry! What one colour would lilly choose to see if she could only see one? Her answer: "And if I had to choose only one color, it would definitely be blue."

I was really surprised with how many answered blue! Way more than half of you answered blue. I guess you would always see some colour in the sky! I loved The Celebrated Author's answer who figured since she was going to be seeing grey all the time as the other colour, did some colour combining and came up with her favourite colour combo of yellow & grey.

Personally, I was thinking the answer to this question while I was reading the book and while it would be great to see a bright colour like red, purple or orange that would mean everything would mostly be grey with just pop's of that…

20. Angel: After the Fall, Vol. 1

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Angel: After the Fall, Volume One by Joss Whedon & Brian Lynch. Illustrated by Franco Urru (Canada) -(US)
Angel: After the Fall series

Pages: 192
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 4, 2010
First Published: Aug. 4, 2008
Genre: graphic novel, paranormal
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

It all started with a girl.

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: I love "Angel" to the nth degree!

Comments: I usually start my reviews with a brief summary but I can't with this book which picks up some time after the fight at the end of Season 5 of the television series Angel. The show ended with the end of the world and "the gang" taking on an epic battle against a horde of demons, including a dragon, which the viewer would assume continued until the bitter end. Well things are not exactly as they seem and the first five comics gathered here contain shocker after shocker about pretty much everything, especially about each individual member of the cast. And everybody is present and …