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Showing posts from June, 2010

117. Spellhorn by Berlie Doherty

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Spellhorn by Berlie Doherty. Illustrations by John Lupton (Canada) - (USA)
Essential Modern Classics

Pages: 208 pages
Ages: 8+
Finished: June 27, 2010
First Published: 1989 (ESM Edition May 4, 2010)
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Night is falling.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: This book is published under the Essential Modern Classics list. This is a list of books chosen by the publisher's UK house and is a collection of outstanding books for children. From looking at the titles I'd say the age range varies anywhere from 8 to 15. Four new titles are to be published in 2010 under the Essential Modern Classics list and I think the authors chosen present a unique collection for North American readers to discover. I intend to be keeping up-to-date with ESM as well as digging into their backlist.

A wonderful fantasy written in the classic style comparable to ancient British folklo…

Monday: Books in the Mail (on Tuesday)

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I have to start remembering Tuesdays are not Monday! One box and an envelope arrived last week for me. All review books that I am very excited to read!

From Random House Canada


In a kingdom of merciless tyrants, Jebel Rum's family is honored as royalty because his father is the executioner. But Rashed Rum is near retirement. And when he goes, there will be a contest to determine his successor. It is a contest that thin, puny Jebel has no chance of winning.

Humiliated and ashamed, Jebel sets out on a quest to the faraway home of a legendary fire god to beg for inhuman powers so that he can become the most lethal of men. He must take with him a slave, named Tel Hesani, to be sacrificed to the god. It will be a dark and brutal journey filled with lynch mobs, suicide cults, terrible monsters, and worse, monstrous men. But to Jebel, the risk is worth it.

To retrieve his honor . . .

To wield unimaginable power . . .

To become . . .

The thin executioner (US) - (Canada)

The final, never-befor…

116. Feather Boy by Nicky Singer

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Feather Boy by Nicky Singer (Canada) - (USA)
Essential Modern Classics

Pages: 288 pages
Ages: 11+
Finished: June 15, 2010
First Published: 2002 (2010 EMC edition)
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: children, realistic fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

It all began when Catherine came to talk about the Elders' Project.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: I was immediately drawn to the story involving a derelict house and a mystery surrounding it. Then I noted the book had been published under the Essential Modern Classics list. This is a list of books chosen by the publisher's UK house and is a collection of outstanding books for children. From looking at the titles I'd say the age range varies anywhere from 8 to 15. Four new titles are to be published in 2010 under the Essential Modern Classics list and I think the authors chosen present a unique collection for North American readers to discover. I intend to be keeping up-to-date wit…

115. Vanishing Girl by Shane Peacock

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Vanishing Girl by Shane Peacock (Canada) - (USA)
The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 3rd Case

Pages: 307 pages
Ages: 10+
Finished: June 26, 2010
First Published: Oct. 13, 2009
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: YA, mystery, historical fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Irene Doyle gasps.

Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

This third entry into the series is not as dark or scary as the previous two and there are no dead bodies this time either but this mystery involving kidnapping and robbery is very clever and full of twists. Irene is back on the scene after an absence in the last book and is a welcome return. All the regular characters, including the new Mr. Bell, are also assembled and while of course there are some new characters involved in the plot the character development is all saved for the regulars.

A spoilt rich girl just home from three years in India, daughter of a Lord in politics, in kidnapped. A few months go by without a single wo…

Tom and the Two Handles by Russell Hoban

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Tom and the Two Handles by Russell Hoban. Pictures by Lillian Hoban (USA) Out of Print
An I Can Read Book

Pages: 64 pages
Ages: 7+
Finished: June 23, 2010
First Published: 1965
Publisher: Harper & Row
Genre: easy reader
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

"What's the matter?" said Father to Tom.

Acquired: Bought and own my copy.

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

Russell and Lillian Hoban are a husband/wife team most popularly known for their series of books about Frances the bear. According to the bio on the back jacket flap of my copy this is their 9th book together at this point in time. This book is currently out of print and will stay that way as its way of illustrating its message is not what would be called acceptable by the majority of the masses today.

Tom comes home with a bloody nose that his friend, Kenny, has given him and his father explains that every problem has "two handles", two ways of looking at and fixing it: a bright side and a…

114. The Passage by Justin Cronin

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The Passage by Justin Cronin (Canada) - (USA)
Pages: 766 pages (ARE)
Ages: 18+
Finished: June 24, 2010
First Published: Jun. 8, 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: science fiction, apocalyptic
Rating: 4.5/5





First sentence:

Before she became the Girl from Nowhere - the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years - she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House.

Reason for Reading: As soon as I heard of this book, which was before any of the buzz or hype had started, I knew I had to read it as I love apocalyptic novels and this had all the ingredients that made it sound like a book I had to read.

First, all the buzz, the hype, the comparisons to classics in this genre and the talk about this book is true. I fell into this door stopper tome and became hypnotized by the world I had entered. I can't remember the last time I carted an almost 800 page book to the beach with me! But once I had starte…

113. Foiled by Jane Yolen

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Foiled by Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Mike Cavallaro (Canada) - (USA)
(Foiled, Book 1)

Pages: 160 pages
Ages: 13+
Finished: June 23, 2010
First Published: Apr. 13 2010
Publisher: :01 First Second
Genre: YA, fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

I want to tell you this story.


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

Reason for Reading: Jane Yolen is a wonderful author, so versatile! though I am partial to her mythological/folk tales works. Seeing that she had written a graphic novel I was so excited to read this.

Aliera Carstairs is a loner who doesn't fit in at school with any of the cliques; she doesn't even stand out enough to get picked on by anybody. She's rather a broody thing but she does have one passion and that is fencing. Everyday after school she goes to fencing class and is told she is very good and can go "far", which means The Nationals. Aliera has a rather strange practice fencing foil that her mother picked up for h…

112. Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison

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Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison (Canada) - (USA)
Madison Avery, Book 2

Pages: 228 pages
Ages: 13+
Finished: June 14, 2010
First Published: May 2010
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA, paranormal
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

The car was hot from the sun, and I pulled my fingerprints from it as I slunk past.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

A fabulous sequel to Once Dead, Twice Shy! An exciting story from beginning to end that had me glued to the book until I was finished. Once again Kim Harrison finished off with a nice, neat, satisfactory ending without the use of a cliffhanger, though leaving the loose threads and plot direction for the next and what may be the last book of a trilogy. All the characters from book one return so that even though we've had to wait a whole year for this book, their familiarity quickly comes back to mind and the author does give quick mentions throughout of events that happened in bo…

111. The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham

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The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham. Art by Tony Atkins (Canada) - (USA)
Jack of Fables, Vol. 1

Pages: 121 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: June 12, 2010
First Published: 2007
Publisher: Vertigo
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Life is a giant, coagulated bowl of suck.
Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: In my journey to read the "Fables" series, I find it is time to switch over and get myself up-to-date with the "Jack of Fables" series.

I've heard from various corners that "Jack of Fables" is not as good as the original "Fables" series. Personally, Jack was not one of my favourite characters when he was in "Fables" and I didn't miss him when he left. So, I went into this wondering whether I was going to be entertained enough to want to continue the series. The first thing, one sees is that the artist is different, recognizably so, but his work is in the same style as tha…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Last week brought a few books through the mail, mostly ones I bought online, plus a set of review books and a book win.

From Harper Collins Canada:

The last three Barnes & The Brains books:

When Giles, Tina and Kevin are hired by the rich and eccentric Miss Frost to uncover the mystery of her deep and overgrown swimming pool, they discover not one, but two real live dinosaurs! Miss Frost is wickedly pleased with the discovery — the creatures are priceless! But Giles can see how sad and lifeless they’ve become. Now only the deal of the century will save the dinosaurs and allow them to be set free — Can Barnes and the Brains pull it off? (Canada) only






When Giles's eccentric Aunt Lillian wants to look younger, she invents a gooey cream to make her wish come true. The only problem is that it turns her into a kid! (Canada) only










An old church tower has a problem with bats, but when Tina's homemade Bat Zapper attracts more bats than it repels, the boys take matters into their own h…

110. The Red Door by Charles Todd

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The Red Door by Charles Todd (Canada) - (USA)
Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery, Book 12

Pages: 344 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: June 11, 2010
First Published: Dec. 29, 2009
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: mystery, British police procedural, historical fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

She stood in front of the cheval glass, the long mirror that Peter had given her on their second anniversary, and considered herself.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: I've always wanted to read a book by this "author". The reason for reading the book now though is that this was actually the very first book I received in 2010 to review and while I was putting my piles of review, won, tbr, etc. books onto my new bookcase I found it grouped with the wrong books so I rectified the situation by making it my next read.

Jumping in with book twelve in a mystery series has the potential to cause some problems. As to an ongoing personal story there was only a brief m…

Happy Father's Day!

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Stan, World's Best Dad

Happy Father's Day, Dad! I'm so lucky that you are my Dad in so many ways. I had the best childhood and am thankful for everything you and mum sacrificed to make sure Michelle and I were never in want. You never gave up on me while I made stupid mistakes and were there with open arms when I came crying back. Thank you for the way you accept me, now that we know about my Asperger's. You're love and understanding is firm ground I can always stand on. I always speak about you to others with pride and get responses like "You're dad sounds like a really nice guy" or "You're dad must be a very special man." and I respond that "yes, he is." I love you very much and wish you the best of Happy Father's Days. Wish I could be with you. But I'll see you again in October. All my love, from your little girl who has a little curl right in the middle of her fore'ead.

109. Growing Up in Coal Country by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

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Growing Up in Coal Country by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 122 pages
Ages: 10+
Finished: June 9, 2010
First Published: 1996
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Genre: non-fiction, children, history
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

In coal country, the workdays began before dawn.
Acquired: Bookmooched a copy.

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

This book centres on Pennsylvanian coal country in the late 1800s to early 1900s. It also mainly focuses on the child workers though it doesn't exclude the men, nor the women back at home. The book is also profusely illustrated with contemporary photographs, some from the author's family as it was personal history that inspired her to write the book. During the author's research she listened to many interview tapes and read transcripts and has included many quotes from men who were once the boys described in the book. This makes for very interesting reading and brings the book closer to …

Grizzwold by Syd Hoff

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Grizzwold by Syd Hoff (Canada) - (USA)
An I Can Read Book

Pages: 64 pages
Ages: 6+
Finished: Jun. 7, 2010
First Published: 1963
Publisher: Harper & Row
Genre: easy reader
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

In the far North lived a bear named Grizzwold.
Acquired: Bought and own a copy.

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

Grizzwold is typical Syd Hoff. Wonderful, expressive, humorous illustrations decorate a funny story with a subtle message and an oversized lovable main character. Grizzwold is a huge bear, the biggest in the forest. Soon there is a bang and he sees men chopping down trees until one day there are no trees in the forest. Grizzwold takes the men to task and they apologize but explain they are loggers and how paper must be made. Grizzwold can't live in a forest without trees so he goes to look for trees in a desert, on a mountain, in a house, etc. He even tries out the zoo and circus where he finds other bears but that's not for him. When he finally co…

108. Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 256 pages
Ages: 13+
Finished: June 6, 2010
First Published: Nov. 10, 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Genre: YA, paranormal
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

I was supposed to be doing my algebra homework that night.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: I'm a fan of the author's. Also, chosen for this month's Random Read Challenge.

Deep topics are under discussion in this book, first and foremost being transcendentalism. The main character does an awful lot of thinking and figuring things out in her head rather than impulsively acting upon her feelings as so many juvenile book character do. This leaves me somewhat concerned with the age group the book is marketed to. (The dust jacket says 10-14). I think that age group expects action rather than quotes from great transcendentalists such as Emerson. Personally, I recommend the book for Young Adults, 13+.

I enjoyed …

Thanks for the Prayers!

Thanks to everyone for all the prayers and thoughts! I had my procedure this morning and as suspected everything is fine. Thank you, Jesus! Getting me there was a bit of a struggle but I've been worse and hubby came out of it with no bruises. I've spent most of the day sleeping the sedative off. And am ready to get back to posting a book review for tomorrow!

Thanks again!

God Bless!

Could Use a Little Prayer

Please say a little prayer for me. I am going in the morning for a cancer screening procedure, which we expect turn out OK. But I'm a class A worry wart, and my panic/anxiety disorder is already at work overtime and just getting to the hospital is going to be a feat in itself. If you feel so inclined, I sure could use some prayers for strength today and tomorrow morning. Thank you.

On my knees, before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to you, Eternal Spirit of God. You are the strength and light of my soul and I desire never to grieve you by unfaithfulness. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for your light, and listen to your voice, and follow your gracious inspirations. I cling to you and give myself to you and ask you, by your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Pr…

107. Death in the Air by Shane Peacock

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Death in the Air by Shane Peacock (Canada) - (USA)
The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 2nd Case

Pages: 254 pages
Ages: 10+
Finished: June 13, 2010
First Published: Apr. 2008
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: YA, historical mystery
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

What is it like to see a man die right before your eyes?

Acquired: Borrowed a copy from my local library.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

This second book in the series really works on 13-year-old Sherlock Holmes character. Peacock is laying the groundwork for how the boy became the man with all his idiosyncrasies. The first book started him off on detective work and showed us where he came from. This book continues by showing how Holmes developed his deductive reasoning as he moves in to apprentice with a very intelligent but down on his luck medical man, who is far ahead of the times with his medical ideas. We see Holmes' character continue to harden as he still refuses to get close to the girl he loves as his connections with the crim…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Busy mail box last week! A few review books, a bookmooch, and I treated myself to an online purchase as well.

For review:

From Harper Collins Canada:



At the request of Queen Victoria's prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, Liberty Lane is dispatched to Brinkburn Hall in search of answers. The deranged aristocrat Lord Brinkburn is nearing death, with his elder son, Stephen, eagerly waiting to inherit his title—until Lady Brinkburn's startling announcement that the heir is illegitimate. Chaos ensues.

The rivalry between Stephen and his younger brother, Miles, heats up dangerously. Liberty's arrival only stirs an already volatile mix, and she is greeted soon after by the odd disappearance of one brother . . . and by a shocking murder within the family's circle. Secrets and scandal run rampant throughout the cold and loveless Buckinghamshire estate far from the polish of London's aristocracy—as the plucky young investigator races to separate truth from falsehood, villains fr…

106. Alison Dare Little Miss Adventures

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Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures by J. Torres. Art by J. Bone (Canada) - (USA)
Alison Dare, #1

Pages: 90 pages
Ages: 8+
Finished: June 12, 2010
First Published: 2002 (reprint May, 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, graphic novel
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

Once upon a time ... in the expansive sultanate of Shahrazad ... within the arid region of Es-Sindibad ... just outside the ancient city of Ala-ed-din, there was a bored little girl named Alison Dare.


Acquired: Received a review copy from LibraryThing's ER Program.

Reason for Reading: The summary intrigued me as did the fact that both the author and Illustrator are Canadians.

Alison Dare is a 12-year-old girl with the heart of an Indiana Jones. She wants "swashbuckling adventure, death defying danger, a little intrigue, romance, action" and she doesn't have to look far it. Her mother is a world renowned archaeologist and her father is the superhero the Blue Scarab. Both her mother and father are being stalked…

OT: Canadian "Fox News" Coming Soon??

"Fox News North" Coming to Canada?


Oh, wow!! This would be amazing! A news station that isn't so far left, we have to watch American news? If only it could really happen!

105. Switch by Grant McKenzie

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Switch by Grant McKenzie (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 427 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: June 5, 2010
First Published: 2009 UK (Aug. 3, 2010 CAN)
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Genre: suspense, thriller
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Rick Ironwood staggered back from the blow, his trick knee giving out with a pop as his feet twisted sideways in a puddle of grimy engine oil.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group (Canada).

Reason for Reading: The summary of this debut book by a resident Canadian had me very interested.

All I can start out with is a big WOW! This is not quite my usual fare of thriller which usually consists of the serial killer variety so I was not prepared for the intense serial-ness of this book. What an incredible story that in truth could happen to anyone. As the book first started off, I was reminded of a popular Hitchcock devise of the innocent man finding himself caught up in the middle of evil doings. These are innocent men, simple men, regular Joe's who have been brough…

104. Dimanche Diller by Henrietta Bransford

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DimancheDiller by Henrietta Branford. Illustrated by Rachel Merriman. (Canada) - (USA)
First Modern Classics
DimanchDiller trilogy

Pages: 127 pages
Ages: 7+
Finished: June 3, 2010
First Published: 1994, (FMC edition, 2010)
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: humour
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:
Dimanche was three years old when Polly Pugh arrived at Hilton Hall, the house her parents had lived in before they were lost at sea when she was just a baby.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: Specifically I was intrigued with the publisher's new list under the title of "First Modern Classics" aimed at younger readers. Originating from the UK house the titles on this list, which started last year (2009) are a unique selection for North American readers. The plot of this title intrigued me

A delightful story with a plot that has become somewhat overdone since this book was written especially in the form of Lemony Snicket who wrote his first b…