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Showing posts from April, 2010

DNF: Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth

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Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 211 pages
First Published: Mar. 2010
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: self-help, inspirational
Rating: DNF

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

I read 117 of 211 pages and could not continue to read any further. The book was not what I had thought it would be. I have not read anything by this author before and going by the publisher's summary and the title I had expected this book to incorporate the Judaeo-Christian God into women's struggle with weight loss and food relationship. That surmise was incorrect, the author's concept of the word "God" could be more clearly stated as "whatever supreme deity, power or feeling you happen to believe in". This was not what I wanted. The book is divided into three parts: Principles, Practices and Eating. I managed to read through the Principles section and found the information on emotional eating a…

73. Potter's Field by Mark Waid

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Potter's Field by Mark Waid. Art by Paul Azaceta. Introduction by Greg Rucka (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 112 pages
Ages: 15+
Finished: Apr. 25, 2010
First Published: Mar. 9, 2010
Publisher: Boom! Stuidos
Genre: graphic novel, crime noir
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:


Marker 36905 belongs to a drug mule who wanted out.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: I've become a fan of Mark Waid.

John Doe is a mysterious vigilante who fights to name the unnamed in Potter's Field, a graveyard in New York City where the unidentified bodies are buried. He has an underground network of agents working for him from coroners to street people and he'll never give up until he's chiseled a name on a gravestone. John himself is just as mysterious as those he tries to help. No one knows his real name, where he comes from, his background or why he does this; the man doesn't even have any fingerprints!

This bind-up consists of the original three-volume mini seri…

72. The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson

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The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 338 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 24, 2010
First Published: June 22, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:


Light from April's full moon swept over the Museum's facade and down the building's marble veneer.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher, Henry Holt.

Reason for Reading: I'm a fan of the time period and as macabre as it sounds, old-time circus "freak" shows.

Set in 1865, the year that Lincoln was killed, New York, this story takes place in The American Museum an establishment of Oddities and Curiosities run by one Phineas Taylor Barnum (P.T. Barnum). It was here on the fourth floor that his Curiosities lived: the fat lady, the giantess, the strong man, the conehead, the rubberman and Bartholomew Fortuno, the World's Skinniest Man. Late one night Barthy sees Barnum leading a woman totally covered in wraps into the building. My…

71. The Texicans by Nina Vida

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The Texicans by Nina Vida (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 296 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 22, 2010
First Published: 2006
Publisher: SOHO Press
Genre: Historical fiction, Western
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:


Oscar Ruiz, born in Mexico, came to Texas when he was fourteen.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the author.

Reason for Reading: I love reading about the time period and the subject matter.

This is an epic drama of settlers struggling to settle in Texas during the years 1840 to 1854. What makes this book stand out from the rest is the characters. Rather than the usual group of white European settlers Vida has cast her tale with peoples who make an unusual yet enthralling story. Each having their own story, until they come together as a group of settlers, are a Polish Jew, an Alsace German, a runaway slave, a paid for slave family, a Mexican woman who may be a witch and her half white daughter. This group of people join and grow together in an emotionally strong bond and face the brutality of th…

70. Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess by George O'Connor

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Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess by George O'Connor (US) - (Canada)
Olympians, Volume 2

Pages: 77 pages
Ages: 10+
Finished: Apr. 21, 2010
First Published: Apr. 13, 2010
Publisher: First Second Books
Genre: graphic novel, Greek mythology
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:



All of us are born naked, helpless, and defenseless. Not so Pallas Athena.


Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher, First Second Books.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

This second book starts off with a one page summary of volume one. It also introduces The Fates who are the storytellers of this issue. Different from Zeus, this volume is not one singular story but a collection of vignettes of Athena's creation and birth story and her other adventures. Each story, in the end, tells how Athena added to her Aegis, which became her most powerful weapon. Plus there are two versions of why she took the name Pallas Athena and of course no collection of Athena would be complete without the story of Arachne.

A superb follow-…

69. Grease Town by Ann Towell

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Grease Town by Ann Towell (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 232 pages
Ages: 8-12
Finished: Apr. 20, 2010
First Published: Feb. 9, 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, historical fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

I live in a swamp.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Library Thing's Early Review Program.

Reason for Reading: I'll pretty much read any juvenile/YA Canadian historical fiction on topics which are new or interesting to me.

Summary: Loosely based on a true incident in the Sarnia area of Ontario, Canada, this book tells the story of an oil boom town, the people who fled there and focuses on the friendship between a white boy and a black boy. The book's main historical event is a race riot which left the blacks homeless and very little actual information survives of it today.

Comments: I really enjoyed this book aimed at pre-teen children set during the 1860s. The descriptions of an oil boom town and both the shady and eccentric characters it attracted are wonderfully descri…

68. Zeus: King of the Gods by George O'Connor

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Zeus: King of the Gods by George O'Connor (US) - (Canada)
Olympians, Volume 1

Pages: 77 pages
Ages: 10+
Finished: Apr. 20, 2010
First Published: Jan. 5, 2010
Publisher: First Second Books
Genre: graphic novel, Greek mythology
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:



In the time before time, there was nothing, Kaos.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher, First Second Books.

Reason for Reading: I am a huge fan of Greek mythology.

This tells the tale of creation from the Greek mythological point of view up to the birth of Zeus. Then it follows Zeus's story, how he battles his father Kronos to become King of the Gods and the founding of the home for the Olympians on Mount Olympus.

Fantastic first book in a new ongoing series retelling the Greek myths. The story here is very well represented going right back to the beginning with Gaea, The Cyclopes, The Hekatonchieres and the Titans even before the birth of Zeus. This part of Greek mythology is often confusing to children (I never could underst…

67. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

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The Reckoning by Kelly Armstrong (US) - (Canada)
Darkest Powers, Book 3

Pages: 391 pages
Ages: 14+
Finished: Apr. 20, 2010
First Published: Apr. 6, 2010
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Genre: YA, paranormal, fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:


After four hours on the run, I was finally safe, tucked into bed and enjoying the deep dreamless sleep of the dead ... until the dead decided they'd really rather have me awake.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next and final book in the trilogy.

Summary: The four supernatural teens finally arrive at a safe house only it may not be as safe as it seems. In this concluding book of the trilogy they prepare for the final showdown with The Edison Group and try to rescue those who are still in their clutches.

Comments: One can't give much information on what happens in this conclusion as it is all so dependent on the previous books with everything finally all coming together. What I can tell you is that it is a b…

Earth Day Reviews

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Farm by Elisha Cooper (US) - (Canada)

(48 pages, Apr. 1 2010, Orchard Books, Age 5-9)

This book follows a family farm, consisting of a man, wife, boy and girl, from early in the spring until late in the fall. Unlike most cutesy-wutesy farm picture books, this one shows the real life running and operation of cultivating the fields, chores, livestock, weather and daily life found throughout the year on a farm. It shows the agricultural lifestyle of a family that lives in a rural area and what the children's lives are like, doing chores before and after school and spending time playing outside and with the animals. The book is quite textual, while not actually having a lot of text per page, there is certainly enough text that little ones may get squirmy listening to this book. Grades 1 to 3 will find the book most useful and entertaining with the higher end finding the most enjoyment. The book is well-written with an engaging voice. My only complaint is the illustrations. I just can…

66. Crush by Alan Jacobson

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Crush by Alan Jacobson (US) - (Canada)
A Karen Vail Mystery
, Book 2

Pages: 392 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 16, 2010
First Published: Sept. 9, 2009
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:


"So the dick says to the woman, 'I got nothing.'"

Acquired: Received an ARC from the publisher via the author.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Summary: FBI Profiler Karen Vail and her boyfriend Detective Robby Hernandez, both of Virginia, take a much needed vacation to Napa Valley, California. On their first evening out at a classy winery tour/tasting/dining establishment fashioned out of a cave, a dead body is discovered and Karen immediately is drawn to the obvious signs of a serial killer's work. With the local police's request she becomes part of the task force set up to catch this brutal murderer who is unlike anyone Karen has every seen before and defies all the usual profiles based on the crime s/he commits. Robby spends his time tr…

65. Afraid by Jack Kilbourn

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Afraid by Jack Kilbourn (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 346 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 13, 2010
First Published: Apr. 1, 2009
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: horror
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

The hunter's moon, a shade of orange so dark it appeared to be filled with blood, hung fat and low over the mirror surface of Big Lake McDonald.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Library Thing's Early Review Program.

Reason for Reading: The plot intrigued me.

Summary: A small town in Wisconsin which has so far only needed a sheriff and a drunk tank to keep the peace is going to find itself sorely lacking in defences. A helicopter crashes into the backwoods and unleashes a terrible horror that absolutely no one in town is safe from. It unrelentlessly attacks in the method it knows best: Isolate, terrorize, annihilate. The town is cut off from the rest of civilization but a few find out that the terror does have a purpose and they try, against all odds, to fight back.

Comments: This book is a…

DNF. In the Fabled East by Adam Lewis Schroeder

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In the Fabled East by Adam Lewis Schroeder (Canada)

Published: March 2010 (Canada only)
Rating: DNF

Unfortunately I was unable to finish this book. I made it to page 129/408 and just couldn't push myself to trudge through the whole book. I had really wanted to like the book as I loved Schroeder's first book, Empress of Asia, and was eagerly awaiting his second book. Upon finding out the time period of this book Paris, early 1900's and 1930's French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, etc.) I was very excited to read the book. But for some reason I didn't make any connection with the characters at all and found myself putting the book down often and only reluctantly picking it up again and I hate to say it but found boring is the only word that comes to mind. Perhaps it was just the wrong time and place for this reader, I certainly wouldn't advice anyone *not* to read the book based on my humble opinion. I will still be keeping my eye out for Schroeder's next book, a…

64. Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000

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Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000 by Eric Wight (US) - (Canada)
Frankie Pickle, Book 2

Pages: 87 pages
Ages: 7-10
Finished: Apr. 7, 2010
First Published: Feb. 9, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: children, humour, graphic novel hybrid
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Preeeesenting...The Prince of Peril...The Sultan of Suspense...The Duke of Danger...The Amazing Piccolini!!


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

Reason for Reading: Next in the series, read aloud to my son.

Summary: Frankie Pickle is the only member of his Possum Scout group who didn't earn enough points to move up to the next level so he decides to participate in the annual model car derby. If he can win he will earn enough points to move up with everyone else.

Comments: My son is really enjoying Frankie Pickle! Being a cub scout himself and participating each year in the cub car rally, he knew exactly what Frankie was facing. He laughed out loud when he saw the race tracks they had to run…

The Sword in the Stone (Early Reader)

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The Sword in the Stone by Grace Maccarone. Illustrated by Joe Boddy (US) - (Canada)
(Hello Reader! Level 2)

1992, 32 pgs.
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

Long ago, there was a land without a king.

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: Ds read aloud to me as his reader.

A very basic bones representation of the King Arthur story telling the part where Merlin claims whoever can remove the stone from the sword will be the king. All kinds of princes try at no avail and then Merlin tricks the boy Arthur into pulling the sword form the stone. We picked this one up this week as we needed a quick read for ds and I'm rather more impressed with the story than I thought I would be. He laughed and certainly enjoyed the story and the pictures, though he already knows parts of the Arthurian legend. Reading level was spot on for him, mostly easy with a few harder words to make the book a learning opportunity as well. A fun easy reader.

63. Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson

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Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson (US) - (Canada)
The Mrs. Tim Quartet, Book 1

Pages: 331 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 6, 2010
First Published: 1932 (Apr. 13, 2010 US Bloomsbury Group re-issue)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: fiction, epistolary, British cozy
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

First January

Tim wakes up very peevish after last night's celebrations in Mess (how strange the after effects of enjoyment on the human frame!).
Acquired: Received a review copy from Bloomsbury USA.

Reason for Reading: I have been reading all the Bloomsbury Group series of books.

Summary: Mrs. Tim is the wife of Captain Tim, they have two children a boy and a girl and live with the Regiment in England. Mrs. Tim writes in her diary from the period of January to June detailing the daily life she lives paying particular attention to the eccentric characters surrounding her and the humorous events that can happen in simple village life. Then Mrs. Tim's life is unsettled as the Captain is transferred t…

15. Book Tour: The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

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The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 432
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 29, 2010
First Published: Apr. 13, 2010
Genre: thriller, Christian Fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

"Thank you, detective. We'll take it from here."
Acquired: Received a review copy from Hachette Book Group and agreed to participate in this Book Tour.

Reason for Reading: I loved my first Dekker book, The Boneman's Daughters, and *had* to read this.



Summary: FBI special agent Brad Raines is called onto a case where women have been found posed and glued to the wall of abandoned barns, wearing a bridal veil and having the blood drained from them. The serial killer has been nicknamed The Bride Collector and things get personal when Raines finds a note taped to living room window of his high rise apartment. Raines' investigation takes him to an upscale rural psychiatric hospital that only treats those with high intelligence. It is here he meets Paradise a young woman who barely escaped f…

Random Reading Challenge Pick for April

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At the beginning of this month I used random.org to pick a number for me then I went to the piles of books I have on my bedroom floor and counted out that book. It's been a few days now and I've forgotten what number came up, but my April book for the Random Reading Challenge is.............

The Texicans by Nina Vida




When cholera strikes San Antonio in 1843, Aurelia Ruiz discovers that she might have the power to heal—and also to curse. Meanwhile, Joseph Kimmel, a schoolteacher in Missouri and the son of a Polish Jew, learns of his brother’s death in San Antonio and sets off for Texas. On his way, a runaway slave steals his horse. After being rescued by Henry Castro, a man who is importing immigrants to populate his planned city, Castroville, Joseph agrees to marry a young Alsatian girl to save her from a Comanche chief who has demanded her. Then Joseph encounters Aurelia and becomes enamored with her.

Comanches, Tonkaways, Mexican vaqueros, immigrant farmers, and runaway slaves…

Monday: Books in the Mail

The books keep rolling in. I'm strapped for time today so will just post a list. This will be my last books in the mail post until May as I will be visiting my family in Calgary for the month of April. But I'll still be reading lots and posting my reviews as I go out there twice a year for my health, to take it easy and basically do nothing. So I get lots of reading time. I pack a few clothes, toiletries and then fill my suitcases and carry on luggage full of books and I'm ready!

For Review:
The Boy Who Climbed Into the Moon by David Almond
Potter's Field by Mark Waid
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson
In the Fabled East by Adam Lewis Schroeder
Lamb Bright Saviors by Robert Vivian
Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo


From Marcia at The Printed Page
Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo

62. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

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The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (US) - (Canada)
Forest of Hands & Teeth, Book 2

Pages: 407 pages
Ages: 14+
Finished: Apr. 3, 2010
First Published: Mar. 9, 2010
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, post-apocalyptic, horror
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

The story goes that even after the Return they tried to keep the roller coasters going.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Summary: Gabry lives a safe, secure life in a village beside the ocean and behind a Barrier to protect them from the Mudo (zombies). She lives in the lighthouse with her mother who is the lighthouse keeper whose main job is to kill the occasional Mudo who washes ashore each morning. Gabry loves her life and has no wish to ever leave the safety, as from what she has learned in school, the stories her mother has told her and what she can see with her own eyes from the top of the lighthouse the world beyond is anything but safe. But one night a gro…

Wow! What a Commercial!

What a compelling, emotional seatbelt commercial!

61. The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Catholic Catechism

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Catholic Catechism by Mary DeTurris Poust with Theological Advisor David I. Fulton, STD, JCD (US) - (Canada)


Pages: 296 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Mar. 31, 2010
First Published: Mar. 4, 2008
Publisher: Alpha
Genre: non-fiction, religion
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

In truth, reading the entire official Catechism from cover to cover would be monumental project.

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: Personal edification.

Comments: After making sure the book had an Imprimatur (which declares the book free of doctrinal error) I was eager to read this book. I have been a convert for one year now and don't see myself reading the official Catechism from front to back anytime soon, though I do intend to tackle that project one day. I have also never purchased a "Complete Idiot's Guide" to anything before but the general good reviews convinced me to purchase the book.

The book follows the same order of the Catechism and has all the numb…

Good Friday Hymn

The Good Friday service at Catholic Church is one of the most Holy and emotional services we have. When the Father prostrates himself, the veneration of the cross, the special prayers and the hymns, I am crying equal measures of sadness and joy that I can't explain. The tears just flow. Here is the last hymn we sung yesterday afternoon. Tonight we finish the Holy Triduum with Easter Vigil, which will mark our one year anniversary as Catholic converts. Peace be with you.

Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker (Toon Book)

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Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker by Geoffrey Hayes (US) - (Canada)
A Toon Book

Pages: 32 pages
Ages: 6+
Finished: Mar. 31, 2010
First Published: Apr. 6, 2010
Publisher: Toon Books
Genre: children's easy reader, graphic novel
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Benny? What are you making?

Acquired: Received a review copy from Raw Junior, LLC.

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

Summary: Benny and Penny have just got everything all prepared to play pirate treasure map when their mom announces that cousin Bo has arrived to play. Cousin Bo wrecks everything so Benny and Penny quickly hide all the toys they can see, including their newly made treasure map. At first B & P don't want to play with Bo, then Bo finds a few toys, breaking them, then he finds the map and takes off with it and a chase pursues with everyone becoming rather rude to one another, both sides end up with troubles, apologies are made and then they find a game to play where nothing can get broken.

Commen…

60. Bite Me by Christopher Moore

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Bite Me by Christopher Moore (US) - (Canada)
A Love Story, Book 3

Pages: 309 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Mar. 31, 2010
First Published: Mar. 23, 2010
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: humour, vampires
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The City of San Francisco is being stalked by a huge, shaved vampyre cat named Chet, and only I, Abby Normal, emergency backup mistress of the Greater Bay area night, and my manga-haired love monkey, Foo Dog, stand between the ravenous monster and a bloody massacre of the general public.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series and I read every new book Moore publishes.

Summary: The first sentence pretty much covers the plot.

Comments: Christopher Moore manages to bring back everybody (that isn't really dead) from the previous books, adding a new character, and inserting a couple of characters from previous books for extra measure. Abby, Foo Dog and Jared have much bigger parts this time around leaving some of my …

59. Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman

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Shen of the Sea: Chinese Stories for Children by Arthur Bowie Chrisman. illustrated by Else Hasselriis (US) - (Canada)


Pages: 221 pages
Ages: 8+
Finished: Mar. 31, 2010
First Published: 1925
Publisher: E.P. Dutton
Genre: short stories, folktales
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

"A shamelessly rainy day, my honorable Brother Chi."

Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my 9yo son. We always have a book of folktales, fairy tales, myths, etc. on the go, reading one story every school day.

Comments: I have read this book once before to myself some time ago, as an adult, and came away with the impression that it was OK (maybe 3 stars) but now I think I've found out the problem with that first reading. This book is meant to be read aloud! The stories are told in a storyteller voice that just rolls of the tongue when reading out loud and brings them gloriously to life. The stories are hilarious and I can't say that my ds or I didn't like even a single on…