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Showing posts from February, 2011

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Last week's mailbox was full of good books to review:

From Harper Collins Canada:

Reef has been living in Calgary for the past year, but now he’s back in Halifax for the funeral of Frank Colville, his former mentor. Memories of Frank compete with memories of Leeza and the terrible way their relationship ended. Mindful that the restraining order against him has been renewed by Leeza’s mother, Reef has no intention of staying in Halifax for long.
Leeza, in the meantime, is feeling stifled by her mother’s “concern.” A first-year university student at Dalhousie, she is kicking herself for not attending university out of town.

Despite Reef ’s best efforts to stay away, circumstances quickly unfold to push him and Leeza ever closer to each other. An eager political crusader wants to close Reef ’s former group home, and he will stop at nothing to get media attention, including manipulating news items—Reef is shocked to discover that he has been photographed outside Leeza’s house and is, ther…

43. Incorruptible Vol. 3 by Mark Waid

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Incorruptible Vol. 3 by Mark Waid. Art by Horacio Domingues & Marcio Takara(Canada) - (US)
Incorruptible series

Pages: 128
Ages: 15+
Finished: Feb. 19, 2011
First Published: Feb. 1, 2011 Publisher: Boom! Studios
Genre: action, superheroes
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

After Plutonian kissed me that first time, I somehow failed to be magically transformed.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: next in the series

Volume Three is all action! Max Damage and the new Jailbait set off to take out the crazed "skinhead" followers of Plutonian who are armed with nuclear weapons and causing much damage. Max and J. meet up with an old friend of Plutonian's who joins their group and the new Jailbait is given her own new superhero name. From the old friend we learn a lot more about Plutonian's past from a different angle but mostly this volume is action scene after action scene with a fair amount of dry humour added for relief. Just what was needed …

42. Jonathan Swift's Gulliver retold by Martin Jenkins

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Jonathan Swift's Gulliver retold by Martin Jenkins. Illustrated by Chris Riddell (Canada) - (US)
Candlewick Illustrated Classics

Pages: 167
Ages: 8+
Finished: Feb. 18, 2011
First Published: 1726 (this edition, 2004)
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: classics, fantasy, satire
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:


My name is Gulliver. Gulliver Lemuel.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my son.

I've been looking for a *good* children's version of Gulliver's Travels for many years and have finally found the perfect version that I will recommend to anyone wanting to read this book for enjoyment. I love Gulliver's Travels; it is a wonderful story *but* I do not like the original version. Yes, I've read the original book, start to finish. Now I'm usually all about reading the original versions of classics but Gulliver is different. First of all Swift's Gulliver is not a children's story; it is political and social satire o…

41. The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor

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The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 281
Ages: 12+
Finished: Feb. 18, 2011
First Published: Feb. 15, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism
Rating: 4/5




First sentence:
A lot of winter days in Twin Oaks are like some of the black-and-white movies I've seen.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Macmillan Kids.

Reason for Reading: Simply enough, the Beatles connection appealed to me.

This is a modern day fairy tale. Regina Bloomsbury, ultra-major Beatles fan & collector has her own band, aptly named The Caverns. The Caverns are about to fall apart at the seams and Regina wishes she were as famous as The Beatles one night in bed. The next morning she awakes to find herself the lead singer of The Caverns, an explosive new band on the scene, up for 8 Grammy nominations. Regina is famous and has the life that comes with it but, you see, as her Fairy Godmother explains in an email no one could ever be as famous as The Beatles so she…

Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel

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Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel (Canada) - (US)
I Can Read Books, Level 2
Frog and Toad series, Book 3


Pages: 64
Ages: 6+
Finished: Feb. 15, 2011
First Published: 1976
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: children, easy readers
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Frog knocked at Toad's door.

Acquired: Purchased used at a book/garage sale or thrift shop.

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

The edition I have is a vintage Scholastic book which is shorter and wider in size than these readers usually are. It also does not contain the "I Can Read" moniker. Otherwise my cover looks the same as that pictured. I've always enjoyed Arnold Lobel, but as a kid these Frog and Toad books didn't appeal to me so I've only discovered there charm as an adult.

This book sees the two friends through the year with a story for each of the seasons, beginning and ending with winter. In the first story Frog forces Toad out of the house to enjoy the winter weather but Toad would rather be …

40. Toy Story: The Mysterious Stranger

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Toy Story: The Mysterious Stranger by Dan Jolley. Art by Chris Moreno (Canada) - (US)
Toy Story Graphic Novels, #1


Pages: 112
Ages: 8+
Finished: Feb. 15, 2011
First Published: Sept. 29, 2009
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Genre: children, humorous, graphic novel
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:

"Hurry up, Andy! We don't want to be late!"

Acquired: My ds received this as a present for Christmas.

Reason for Reading: I've read the last two Toy Story GNs; I figured I'd read the first one too, since it was so handy!

This first trade collection of Toy Story comics is similar to the last volume that just came out "Some Assembly Required" in that each chapter is a different short story. Which still makes volume two "The Return of Buzz Lightyear" my favourite as it was one continuous story. That said this wasn't bad for a collection of short stories, some were better than others. The first is the titular story where Andy hurries off to be somewhere and leaves a strange e…

39. Saints in Limbo by River Jordan

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Saints in Limbo by River Jordan (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 343
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 15, 2011
First Published: May 5, 2009
Publisher: Water Brook Press
Genre: Southern Fiction, Magical Realism, Christian Fiction, (Paranormal/Horror)
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:
It was the kind of day when even the lost believed.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Water Brook Multnomah.

Reason for Reading: I love Southern fiction, especially when old ladies are involved for some reason. The mysterious visitor angle got me and knowing this was Random House's Christian Fiction imprint I just felt the story would resonate with me somehow.

I don't know where to begin to describe this story. Southern fiction is usually defined by its quirky characters and this book certainly has its fair share of those. All of them as lovable and quirky as the next, even the irritating ones end up showing their compassionate side. Plot wise we start off with an elderly woman, Velma, but just how old we are never told; she coul…

37.-38. Campfire Classic Graphic Novels: A Christmas Carol & Call of the Wild

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Publisher: Campfire

Acquired: Received review copies from Campfire.

Reason for Reading: I was introduced to this new imprint of Graphic Novels out of India and was very impressed with their selection and often unique titles. They are distributed here in North America through Random House and I thought I would check them out. These are both from their Classics line. They also have Graphic Novel lines under Mythology, Biography & Originals.

37. Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol by Scott McCullar. Illustrated by Naresh Kumar. 72 pgs. 2010. Ages 11+. An extremely well done graphic adaptation of Dickens' classic. The book is true to the original, keeping all salient plot points as well as lesser but defining moments It also pays close attention to developing Scrooge's character over the course of the evening. In fact, I found all the characters to be well written, as at times, in other adaptations some can be over done (Christmas Present, Fezziwig, Fred, etc.) The illustrations a…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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I had a nice little mailbox run last week. Mostly GN's and Manga for review and a bought myself a treat too

From First Second Books:

Two of America’s greatest explorers embark on the adventure that made their names—and sealed their fates.

In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed St. Louis, Missouri, for one of the greatest adventures this nation has ever known. Appointed and funded by President Jefferson himself, and led by a cadre of experts (including the famous Sacajawea), the expedition was considered a success almost before it had begun. From the start, the journey was plagued with illness, bad luck, unfriendly Indians, Lewis’s chronic depression, and, to top it all, the shattering surprise of the towering Rocky Mountains and the continental divide. But despite crippling setbacks, overwhelming doubts, and the bare facts of geography itself, Lewis and Clark made it to the Pacific in 1806.

Nick Bertozzi brings the harrowing—and, at times, hilarious—journey to vivid lif…

36. Bone: Quest for the Spark, Book 1

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Bone: Quest for the Spark by Tom Sniegoski. Illustrated by Jeff Smith (Canada) - (US)
Bone: Quest for the Spark, Book 1


Pages: 218
Ages: 10+
Finished: Feb. 13, 2011
First Published: Feb. 1, 2011
Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

In the early morning hours, just before dawn came to the Valley, Tom Elm was dreaming.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Scholastic Canada.

Reason for Reading: I plan on reading "Bone" the graphic series this year, I've read one, just received the first 3 in the mail. And the idea of a new Bone story in chapter book form was intriguing. Plus I love Jeff Smith's illustrations.

So, as I've said I'm new to the Bone universe only having read one book at the time of this review, "Tall Tales". I loved it and I know for purest of the series it's not exactly known for being one of the best of the series. So I know I'm in for a treat.

That said, no previous knowledge of Bone is needed fo…

35. Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri

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Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri. Illustrated by Randy DuBurke (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 95
Ages: 13+
Finished: Feb. 13, 2011
First Published: Jul. 30, 2010
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Genre: non-fiction, biography, graphic novel, true crime, YA
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Chicago, my hometown.

Acquired: Borrowed a copy from my local library.

Reason for Reading: This was a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a Cybils graphic novels panelist. However, all the panelists received a copy from the publisher except me. I guess it got lost in the mail or, maybe it was a Canada thing. Anyway I was unable to find a copy before our shortlists were due but this book was unanimously voted by the others as the first book chosen to go on the shortlist, I happily deferred to their wisdom. A copy just recently came into my local library and I am just now able to read it. Happily, after I read it I heard it had been chosen as the Teen category Cybil Award Winner!

Simply put,…

The Book of Revelation

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I'm not about to review the Bible so this entry will be different from others.

Version I am reading: The Holy Bible, New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition

Book: The Book of Revelation

Book No: 73, The New Testament, Last book of the Bible

Author: John the Apostle (there is controversy amongst many, however, according to tradition and the early church fathers this is an accepted Catholic answer) *


Written: During the reign of Emperor Domitian (81-96AD). Three witnesses of tradition put it at the end of Domitian's reign, one even states 95AD as the actual year. *

No. of Chapters: 22

Type of Literature: Apocalyptic


Have I read before? No. I've read plenty of bible story versions but they are very edited. I've stayed clear from reading this straight from the source from start to finish as it is so full of symbolism and confusing when you don't know what it all means. Of course, I've heard much of it at Mass, and read parts from my daily Mass readings.

Reason for reading: I…

OT:‘Death panels’: Canadian court rules baby’s life support removed against parents’ wishes

THIS is Canada.

‘Death panels’: Canadian court rules baby’s life support removed against parents’ wishes

God have mercy on their souls!

h/t: LifeSiteNews.com


Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins,
save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls into heaven,
especially those in most need of thy mercy.
Amen.

34. Superman: Cosmic Bounty Hunter

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Superman: Cosmic Bounty Hunter by Blake A. Hoena. Illustrated by Rick Burchett & Lee Loughridge (Canada) - (US)
DC Super Heroes series

Pages: 51
Ages: 8+
Finished: Feb. 10, 2011
First Published: Aug. 2010
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Genre: children, action, superheroes
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

On the faraway planet of Apokolips, a spaceship rumbled to a halt, kicking up a cloud of dirt and debris on the landing pad.


Acquired: Received a review copy from Stone Arch Books.

Reason for Reading: This book is too hard for my ds to read on his own and will be read aloud by dh as a bedtime book. But I like my superheroes too and wasn't going to miss out on the fun!

I like Superman fairly well. He's not my *favourite*, but he's cool. I hadn't heard of any of the bad guys in this story: Lobo, Kalibak and Desaad but I enjoyed this book the most of the 3 books I've just read in this series recently. Action packed from start to finish. We even have Lois going at Clark for scooping he…

33. Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher

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Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 350
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 10, 2011
First Published: May 28, 2009
Publisher: Faith Words
Genre: horror, ghost story, christian fiction
Rating: 3/5



First sentence:

On his knees, Dennis Shore cries out.


Acquired: Received a review copy from Hachette Book Group.

Reason for Reading: Ever since reading Ted Dekker, I'm wide open to the Christian Fiction/Horror/Thriller genre and this sounded right up my alley.

Dennis Shore has enjoyed a successful career as a horror writer but now, a widower, with his daughter off to college he is suffering a terrible case of writer's block and can't start his next book. In the meantime, his latest book has just hit the shelves and is as popular as ever. This is when he starts receiving e-mails from a crazed fan accusing him of plagiarizing that book from him. The emails turn into text messages and phone calls. Then parcels start arriving and other more threatening events happen as he meets his ac…

Looking to join a couple to new challenges

Anybody have any suggestions for me? I only have one challenge on the go now. The Mystery & Suspense challenge. I have a few criteria to join a challenge:

1. must run all year (end in Dec.)

2. must be a type of book I already read. (ie I officially finished the ARC, graphic novel & Canadian challenges so far this year. )

3. must be a decent amount of books (at least 12+, preferably more) so I don't look like the obsessive overachiever that I am. LOL

ARC Reading Challenge - COMPLETE

According to my records I have finished this challenge. My numbers don't match up with the official ones on the challenge blog, but I can't be bothered to go back and check which ones I forgot to add to the challenge blog. It doesn't matter though as I intend to keep adding my arcs read to the challenge site throughout the year as I did last year. But for the record this is *my* official list of 31 books for the Platinum Level of the challenge. The challenge blog will have me listed at over 30 soon enough. I'll be adding extras to the bottom of this list.

ARC Reading Challenge (Platinum Level 30+) (Jan-Dec. 2011)

1. The Boy Who Conquered Everest: The Jordan Romero Story by Katherine Blanc
2. Free Country by Jeremy Duns
3. Birth of a Killer by Darren Shan
4. Incorruptible, Vol. 2 by Mark Waid
5. Agatha Christie's Peril at End House by Didier Quella-Guyot
6. The Zabime Sisters by Aristophane
7. New Monster in School by Sean O'Reilly
8. The Incredible Rockhead vs. …

How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro

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How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro. Illustrated by Giulio Maestro (Canada) - (US)
Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Level 2


Pages: 32
Ages: 6+
Finished: Feb. 8, 2011
First Published: 1992
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: children, non-fiction, science, nature
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

When you bite into a juicy apple, you're eating part of a flower.

Acquired: Purchased used at a book/garage sale or thrift shop.

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

This series is perfect for basic introductions to science topics. Told simply, but with enough detail to present the topic thoroughly. The text is written in a narrative voice that is friendly while being informative. The pictures illustrate diagrams with lines pointing to certain parts being discussed and throughout the story the same orchard and family are featured. A perfect combination of text and illustrations make this an enjoyable and understandable read for all. This husband & wife team always produce excelle…

32. Wonder Woman: Rumble in the Rainforest

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Wonder Woman: Rumble in the Rainforest by Sarah Hines Stephens. Illustrated by Dan Schoening (Canada) - (US)
DC Super Heroes series


Pages: 51
Ages: 8+
Finished: Feb. 8, 2011
First Published: Aug. 2010
Publisher:Stone Arch Books
Genre: children, action, superheroes, environment
Rating: 3/5



First sentence:

In the main ballroom of a hotel, men and women wearing nametags and fancy clothes chatted politely.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Stone Arch Books.

Reason for Reading: This book is too hard for my ds to read on his own and will be read aloud by dh as a bedtime book. But I like my superheroes too and wasn't going to miss out on the fun!

The plot involves a man known for his ruthless business tactics, no matter the harm done to human or nature in the process, who is being honoured for running a plant which makes drinkable water from ocean water on a small rainforest island country. Princess Diana is one of the delegates at the ceremony and she senses this man has not turned over a n…

28.-31 - Robot City Adventures Vol. 1 - 4

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Publisher: Templar Books


Series: Robot City Adventures by Paul Collicutt

Ages: 9+

Acquired: Received review copies of Vol. 3 & 4 from Candlewick Press, so I went ahead and borrowed Vol. 1 & 2 from my local library.

Reason for Reading: I love the idea of a Robot City where humans and robots are friends, and the covers are really cool too. The robots are all shiny.

28.Vol. 1: City in Peril! - (2009) Here we are introduced to Robot City and this story mainly features Curtis, the colossal coast-guard robot. I absolutely loved him! What a cool, massive robot! Obviously he works for the coast-guard and is a giant lighthouse shaped robot, who is in charge of smaller (than him) buoy shaped robots who do most of the manual work involved in the job of the coast guard. After rescuing a crew and fixing an oil leak out on a rig a giant squid comes to Robot City's shores and wraps itself around a bridge. Following him are tons and tons of other sea life. Curtis goes out to fight off this sq…