Showing posts from September, 2010

R.I.P. Tony Curtis

Heartbreaking news this morning as we learn that Tony Curtis (85) has passed away at his home of cardiac arrest. He has always been one of my favourite actors and I enjoyed him both when he portrayed comedy and drama. Some of my favourites are "Operation Petticoat", "The Defiant Ones" and of course "Spartacus". We are quickly losing all the great actors and they will never be replaced with the breed that now comes from Hollywood. Goodbye Tony, may you rest in peace and my condolences go out to his daughter Jamie Leigh Curtis and his other children.

200. Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo

Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee. illustrated by Tony Fucile (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 81 pages
Ages: 7+
Finished: Sept. 23, 2010
First Published: Sept. 14, 2010
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Children's, Early Reader, Picture Book
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

"Hello, Gollie," said Bink.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher.

Reason for Reading: I'm a fan of Kate DiCamillo.

An adorable book suitable for children who are reading on their own but still want pictures and may find a page full of text daunting. While not to be confused as an easy reader (for ex. "Perhaps a compromise is in order. "), this beginning 3 chapters book could easily be called a picture book as well. Each page is fabulously illustrated and contains small blocks of text which will appeal to children of a wide age range.

This book contains three episodes in the life of Bink & Gollie, roller skating "marvelous companions" who live in separate tree ho…

Are you smarter than an atheist? A religious quiz

Are you smarter than an atheist? A religious quiz

Apparently atheists and agnostics got an overall highest average number of these questiones correct(20.9) while Jews and Mormons came closely behind with Protestants and Catholics sadly behind. Overall the average American got 16 questions right. This is quite shameful any way you look at it. Atheist/Agnostics with their 20.9 right is still only 65% correct and then it goes downhill from there.

I took the test. I am Canadian and Roman Catholic. My score was 28 correct answers or 88%. There were some US Constitution questions that tripped me up, so I don't feel bad about getting those wrong. Take the test. Do you fit in with the average person of your religious creed? Whether you are evangelizing or not, it is important to know the basics of other world religions.

Michael Buble New Video

Michael has a new video out! I love this! The costumes are so fun. He makes some friendly fun of Justin Beiber (sp?) at the concert so that part is particularly cute and he also does some impersonations as well so it's fun to see him dressing up in this video because I can just imagine him playing the parts.

199. Earthquake! A Story of Old San Francisco

Earthquake! A Story of Old San Francisco by Kathleen V. Kudlinski. illustrated by Ronald Himler (Canada) - (USA)
Once Upon America series

Pages: 56 pages
Ages: 7+
Finished: Sept. 22, 2010
First Published: 1993
Publisher: Puffin Books
Genre: Children, historical fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

"Oh, be quiet, Buster," Phillip grumbled into his pillow.
Acquired: Purchased my own copy.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 10yo as part of our history curriculum.

This short historical fiction chapter book takes place over only a moment in time. From the first shakings of the earthquake in 1906 until the morning afterwards the reader joins Philip has he lives through this devastating disaster. The first half of the story focuses on Philip and his family as they struggle with the earthquake and its aftermath along with the shocking sights and sounds as people walk en masse out of the city. The last half concerns Philip as he is left behind to watch the stable while Pa takes Mama and hi…

198. Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 321 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sept. 21, 2010
First Published: Sept. 7, 2010 CAN (Sept. 13, 2010 USA)
Publisher: Harper Collins Canada
Genre: literary fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Today I'm five.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher.

Reason for Reading: With this subject matter, who is *not* wanting to read this book?

A 26 year old woman has been kidnapped and held captive in a soundproof, escape-proof 11 x 11 foot Room for 7 years. She has a five year old son, Jack. She cares for him fiercely and has created a world for him out of that Room, giving him everything she possibly can that he needs to grow properly, physically and emotionally. They do daily exercises, she teaches him, etc. This is their story, of their day-to-day life, their escape and how they cope on the Outside. A truly fascinating story to start with is only topped by the fact that it is told in the first person narrative of five year old Jack.

I'm go…

197. Theodore Roosevelt: The Adventurous President

Theodore Roosevelt: The Adventurous President by the Editors of TIME For Kids with Lisa DeMauro (Canada) - (USA)
TIME For Kids Biographies

Pages: 44 pages
Ages: 7+
Finished: Sept. 20, 2010
First Published: 2005
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: children, biography
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

It was early winter and the evening was chilly.
Acquired: Purchased a copy.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to 10yo as part of our history curriculum.

A very impressive biography for juveniles! The publisher's recommended age is 7-9 but this could be read aloud to as young as 5 and is suitable for up to 12. Presented in an easy reader type format with large print, the book would also be perfect for reluctant readers; the text is probably around a level 5.

With the minimal number of pages, this is obviously a brief look at Roosevelt's life but it manages to cover all bases from birth to death with unexpectedly rich content. Written in a main narrative with captioned photographs and occasional sidebars to…

Monday: Books in the Mail

I just love sharing the new books that came into my house each Monday! Last week I just received three, 2 for review and one that I won, but I also received a book to Giveaway as well (I'm not telling what) and No! it's not a duplicate of one of these.

For Review:

I can't tell you how absolutely excited I am to read this one!

From Candlewick Press:

In this pulse-quickening sequel to ANOTHER FAUST, an ancient Egyptian spell is turning the tony Marlowe School into a sinister underworld. Will all hell break loose?

Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling and her insecure freshman brother, John, are hitting the books at the Marlowe School. But one tome consumes their attention: THE BOOK OF GATES, a coveted Egyptian artifact that their professor father believes has magical powers. Soon Wendy and John discover that the legend is real—when they recite from its pages and descend into a snaking realm beneath the Manhattan school. As the hallways darken, and dead moths cake the floor, a charism…

R.I.P. Challenge V FINISHED

I have officially completed the RIP V challenge having read 4 "perilous" books. But will continue to add extras until the challenge is oficially over.

This is what I read

RIP V (Sept. 1 - Oct. 31) (4 books)
1. City of Snakes by Darren Shan
2. The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan
3. The Dark Deeps by Arthur Slade
4. The Agency: The Body in the Tower by Y. S. Lee

5. Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker
6. Room by Emma Donoghue
7. Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel
8. The Dreaming, The Collection by Queenie Chan
9. Black Gate by Yukiko Sumiyoshi
10. Harmony by Project Itoh
11. American Vampire by Scott Snyder & Stephen King
12. End of Days by Max Turner
13. The Sons of Liberty by Alexander and Joseph Lagos
14. Famous Players: The Mysterious Death of William Desmond Taylor by Rick Geary 15. Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs 16. Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 by Stephanie Meyer & Young Kim

197. Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker

Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 367
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sept. 25, 2010
First Published: Sept. 7, 2010
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: christian fiction, paranormal
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

My name is Toma Nicolescu and I was a warrior, a servant of Her Majesty, the empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, who by her own hand and tender heart sent me on that mission at the urging of her most trusted advisor, Grigory Potyomkin, in the year of our Lord 1772.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze Program.

Reason for Reading: I've been a fan of Dekker's for a few years and am reading each new book that comes out.

A warrior, Toma, and his companion are sent to guard a Lady and her twin daughters as the Empress feels they may be in danger and the daughters are suitable to be used for marriage negotiations. His companion has an affair with one daughter and Toma falls in love with the other but keeps his feelings to himself as he is du…

196. The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier

The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier (Canada) - (USA)
Walker Bean, Book 1

Pages: 192
Ages: 9+
Finished: Sept. 19, 2010
First Published: Aug. 17, 2010
Publisher: First Second Books
Genre: graphic novel, children, adventure
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

For hundreds of years, from seaport to shantytown, a legend has been told to the children there ...
Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher.

Reason for Reading: My son loves seafaring tales and this looked wonderful.

This is a beautiful book to behold. The illustrations are so bold, vibrant and full of details. The panels have so much going on in the background that one can look into them and see something new each time. We are even treated to the occasional two-page spread illustration. While some of these may be focused on a large central figure, the background will still hold many small details that one should linger on so as not to miss, but on the other hand there are a couple of amazingly intricately detailed two-page spr…

195. The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines by Jo Ann Yhard

The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines by Jo Ann Yhard (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 169
Ages: 8+
Finished: Sept. 19, 2010
First Published: Apr. 29 2010 CAN (Oct.1 2010 US)
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Genre: mystery, children
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

Grace double-checked her gear: flashlight, matches, pocket-knife, caving rope, rock hammer, and gloves -- all there.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the author.

Reason for Reading: I liked the whole caves/fossil hunting angle of the mystery.

Grace's father died a mysterious death three months ago, her mother is taking it very hard, and last but not least her creepy neighbour appears to be watching Grace's every motion. So Grace spends most of her time with 3 friends fossil hunting (an activity her father was passionate about) out by the caves near abandoned mines and sinkholes. Grace soon turns her friends into detectives when she receives an anonymous note saying her father's death was not an accident and as they begin investigating w…

Cybils Panelist

Well, I am so grateful to have been selected to be on the Graphic Novels Round 1 panel again this year for the Cybils Award. This means I will be part of the team that reads all (or as many as possible) of the nominated GNs and then we will have to whittle them down to 5 books to pass on to the Round 2 judges who will then select the winner. Last year I had a blast. It was a lot of fun, but also a ton of work (more than I had expected) but well worth the experience. The dialogue between team members make this such a rewarding experience and I am thrilled to be a part of the Cybils again for my second year.

Start thinking of your nominations as the online nominating will go live on Oct. 1 through Oct. 15. Looking forward to to nominating myself!

194. Velocity by Alan Jacobson

Velocity by Alan Jacobson (Canada) - (USA)
Karen Vail, #3

Pages: 388 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sept. 17, 2010
First Published: Oct. 5, 2010
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Genre: thriller, suspense
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

He was not going to kill her immediately.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary defines "velocity" as "The speed and direction of motion of a moving body." FBI Profiler Karen Vail is that moving body and she is running to beat the clock with a fiery momentum to find her missing boyfriend who has disappeared into thin air with no clues but a possible connection with a serial killer. Unusual in the mystery/thriller series genre, Velocity picks up right where Crush ended. Literally starting with the next chapter. The plot starts off highly connected with book 2, followed by a resolution, then continues on with book 3's unique plot which always centres …

193. Brainstorm! The Stories of 20 American Kid Inventors

Brainstorm! The Stories of Twenty American Kid Inventors by Tom Tucker. drawings by Richard Loehle (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 150 pages
Ages: 8+
Finished: Sept. 13, 2010
First Published: 1995
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Genre: Children, biography, short stories
Rating: 2.5/5

First sentence:

Young or old, most inventors are thrilled when they see their name on a patent issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.

Acquired: Purchased my own copy.

Reason for Reading: Came with our history curriculum. Read aloud to my ds, a biography at a time over a period of time.

A collection of short biographies featuring kid inventors, focusing on what they invented and how it came to be. Includes such inventions as earmuffs, coloured car wax, the Popsicle, water skis, resealable cereal box tops and others.

Neither of us was particularly thrilled with this book. The inventions I've mentioned above were the ones that ds enjoyed most. A lot of…

192. Ticket to Curlew by Celia Barker Lottridge

Ticket to Curlew by Celia Barker Lottridge. illustrations by Wendy Wolsak-Frith (Canada) - (USA)
(has also been published in the US under the title Ticket to Canada)

Pages: 144 pages
Ages: 9+
Finished: Sept. 13, 2010
First Published: 1992
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
Genre: Children, historical fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The conductor walked down the swaying aisle of the passenger car.

Acquired: Purchased my own copy.

Reason for Reading: I have read this book before and read it aloud to the 10 year old this time as part of our history curriculum.

Set in 1915, Alberta, this is a quiet story of settling the Canadian West. An American family decides to make the move when they hear about the free land. Sam and his father have come up first to build a house before Mama and his two younger siblings arrive. First living in a tent, Sam learns the stark, never ending reality of the prairies where the only reference point as he wanders off is their tent. He discovers buffalo wallows and bu…

191. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Canada) - (USA)
The Hunger Games, Book 3

Pages: 400 pages
Ages: 13+
Finished: Sept. 11, 2010
First Published: Aug. 24, 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA, dystopian, science fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Scholastic Canada.

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

There's no point giving a summary as there are already hundreds of reviews which have done that before me. Suffice it to say that there is a war and people die. One walks into this final installment knowing someone (at least) is going to die. War has been brewing during the series and it's culmination was obvious and no good writer can write realistically about war without having deaths. My own personal predictions of who would die were dead wrong and I was quite shocked with who eventually had their life(ves) taken in the name of Freedom.

But …

Monday: Books in the Mail

One book the previous week and now when it rains, it pours! The delivery men from various companies were coming day after day this past week! Look at this fabulous lot of books!

From Harper Collins Canada:

In this world there exist spiritual pathways, called Gates that draw in the souls of the departed and move them to a new realm of existence. However, at times, a Black Gate appears, and the Black Gate does not wait for death...but instead forcefully sucks the souls out of living humans! Senju is a “Mitedamashi,” an agent with the power to summon or seal Gates, and save people’s souls. He is guardian to Hijiri, a boy whose life he once saved. After Hijiri discovers his own hidden powers, he begins a journey of self-discovery where the distant past comes back to haunt him and his choices determine life and death, not only for those he cares about, but the whole world!

Seventy-five years ago, a madman nicknamed the Torso Killer terrorized Cleveland. His horrific spree lasted four year…

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

This week for the Catholic Carnival I have one relevant post. A review of a wonderful biography about Rev. Augustine Tolton, (1854-1897) the first black priest in the United States.

190. Jack of Fables: Turning Pages

Turning Pages by Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturgess. Art by Tony Atkins & Russ Braun (Canada) - (USA)
Jack of Fables, Volume 5

Pages: 144
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sept. 13, 2010
First Published: Mar. 10, 2009
Publisher: Vertigo
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

Looking back, anyone would have to admit that 1883 was a strange and wild year, and not by any definition a good one.
Acquired: Received a copy through Inter-library Loan.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

This has got to be my least favourite of the Jack volumes. This one contains two completely unrelated story arcs. The first one called 1883 goes back into Jack's past and the 2nd one is back to the present day continuing the overarching theme with the new villain and focuses on each of the Page sisters in turn.

1883, takes us back into Jacks past. This is obviously a western and Jack is using the Candle name here while he is the leader of a gang. Back in Fabletown Ichabod Crane sends Bigsby Wolf out t…

189. Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 230
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sept. 14, 2010
First Published: Oct.12, 2010
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Genre: mystery, short stories
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

It was hard to run, Dortmunder was discovering, with your pockets full of bronze Roman coins.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: The book was sent to me unsolicited. I read several short story collections last year but haven't been reading many, if any, this year at all and the thought of spending some time with the short story format again was enticing, the book had come at just the right time for me.

This is a collection of the stories that Otto Penzler has had commissioned to be written for his store each year beginning 1993. He then has them bound and gives them away to customers at Christmas. The little booklets have become collectible themselves and Otto decided to publish them all together in one co…

188. From Slave to Priest by Caroline Hemesath

From Slave to Priest: A Biography of Reverend Augustin Tolton (1854-1897), The First Black Priest of the United States by Sister Caroline Hemesath, SSF. Foreword to the 2006 edition by Deacon Harold Burke-Silvers. Foreword to original edition by Bishop H.R. Perry (Purchase)

Pages: 237 pages + Bib & index
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sept. 12, 2010
First Published: 1973 (edition with new foreword 2006)
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Genre: biography, Catholic, Religion
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The John Manning plantation in Mead County, Kentucky, was jumping with excitement.

Acquired: Received a review copy from The Catholic Company.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy reading biographies Religious and I have a particular interest in the Civil War era and escaped slaves.

Augustine Tolton escaped slavery with his mother and two siblings when he was 8 years old. He had belonged to a Catholic family that had brought their slaves up in the religion. Augustine was always taken with the Faith, though the hypocrisy o…

187. History Magazine Dec/Jan 2010

History Magazine Dec/Jan 2010
Volume 11 Number 2

Pages: 50
Ages: 18+
Finished: Sept. 11, 2010
Rating: 4/5

This is the first time I've reviewed a magazine but I figured since I did read it cover to cover and I spent more time on it than I do some graphic novels there is really no reason not to include it in my reading counts. This is a small press magazine with virtually no advertisements, except for a handful placed by the publisher itself and 3 small others that may have been paid advertising. This is a Canadian produced magazine though they have everything set up with both US & Canadian prices and a different address for customers from each. This volume itself has no Canadian content but the "Topics we are working on" section lists a few Canadian specific. Given that, I'd say the content is North American heavy with an inclusion of world history. But now I've gone and looked at the current issue and it is strong on world history, so it looks like the magazin…

Canadian Book Challenge 4 - Finished

Well I have officially finished the Canadian Book Challenge #4 having read 13 books by Canadian authors (well 13 authors & 1 illustrator, but I didn't count one book because even though written by a Canadian the topic was too American.) This is my list but I will continue to keep adding all the Canadian authored books I read until the official closing date.

1. An Incredible Case of Dinosaurs by Kenneth Oppel
2. A Weird Case of Super-Goo by Kenneth Oppel
3. A Creepy Case of Vampires by Kenneth Oppel
4. Terry Fox: A Story of Hope by Maxine Trottier
5. Neil Young's Greendale by Joshua Dysart
6. Wilfred Grenfell: Adventurer to the North by Vernon Howard
7. The Secret Fiend by Shane Peacock
8. Lukey Paul from Labrador by Adelaide Leitch
9. Death on the River by John Wilson
x. The Wright Brothers: A Flying Start by Elizabeth MacLeod
10. The Dark Deeps by Arthur Slade
11. Brain Camp by Susan Kim. Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
12. Hudson by Janice Weaver
13. The Body in the Towe…