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Showing posts from April, 2011

DC Super-Pets!: The Fastest Pet on Earth

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The Fastest Pet on Earth by J.E. Bright. Illustrated by Art Baltazar. (Canada) - (US)
DC Super-Pets! series

Pages: 52
Ages: 6+
Finished: Apr. 12, 2011
First Published: Jan. 2, 2011
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Genre: Easy Reader, Superheroes
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:


Jumpa carried Wonder Woman through the jungles of Paradise Island.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

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

This new series "DC Super-Pets!" is a younger sibling to the already established "DC Super Heroes" series by the publisher. While the latter series is for established, and perhaps reluctant readers, this new series is for emergent or reluctant readers. All six books in the series are at a GR. 2 level with this one being at a RL:2.9. Following the same format as the established series, DC Super Pets uses colourful cartoon graphics for all the sound effect words. It goes on to make the books more appealing to younger readers by using…

95. Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster

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Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster by Ursula Vernon (Canada) - (US)
Dragonbreath, Book 4

Pages: 204 pages
Ages: 8+
Finished: Apr. 14, 2011
First Published: Mar. 17, 2011
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: children, fantasy, action, graphic hybrid
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

The deepest jungle. The dark heart of the rain forest. The brave explorer fights his way through the undergrowth.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

This is the fourth book in the series and Ms. Vernon is still going strong. I'll say this was not my favourite of the bunch but it is still a worthy entry in the series. Danny and Wendell save a tiny bat from drowning and true to the form that the series ventured from in book three, Danny asks him mom for a relative who can help them save the bat's life. So she sends them off to visit cousin Steve in the rain forests of Mexico as he is conducting research on bats there. Whilst there, the three come upon the…

92. Dragonbreath: Curse of the Were-Wiener by Ursula Vernon

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Curse of the Were-Wiener by Ursula Vernon (Canada) - (US)
Dragonbreath, #3

Pages: 204
Ages: 8+
Finished: Apr. 3, 2011
First Published: Sept. 16, 2010
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: children, hybrid graphic novel, humour, fantasy
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Daring Danny Dragonbreath hiked through the dark and creepy woods.

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

Reason for Reading: Next in the series. Actually I was sitting down to read #4, when it dawned on me that I hadn't read #3! Somehow I'd missed it amongst all the books, so getting my priorities in order I'm reading #3, then #4!

Well, the storyline for this book is just plain silliness, but I have to say it is my favourite one so far! Wendell always brings his own lunch to school, but Danny notices that the hot dogs in today's cafeteria lunch are an incredibly bright red colour. He passes it to Wendell for him to see and the hot dog bites him! Needless to say Danny passes on hot dogs that day. A few …

90. High Flight: A Story of World War II by Linda Granfield

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High Flight: A Story of World War II by Linda Granfield. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 32
Ages: 9+
Finished: Apr. 8, 2011
First Published: 1999
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, non-fiction, biography, poetry
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

How old do you have to be to leave your mark?


Acquired: Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

Reason for Reading: real aloud to ds as part of our history curriculum.

This is a "picture book" biography for older kids of the short and tragic life of John Gillespie Magee, Jr. Living only a short 19 years many countries claim him as one of their own. Born in Shanghai, China to missionary parents he was sent to boarding school in England at nine years of age. He returned to live with his parents, now in the US, in time to start college. An American citizen by birth , his British accent set him apart from others his age and he thought of England as home. When World War II broke out newspapers reported of air atta…

93-94. Grandma's Attic Series by Arleta Richardson Book 1 & 2

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Grandma's Attic Series by Arleta Richardson

Publisher: David C Cook

Publication Date: originally published in the seventies. These editions are re-published April, 2011 with new illustrations by Patrice Barton.

Acquired: Received review copies from the books' publicist.

Reason for Reading: I've read book three of this series and have always wanted to read all the books but just never got around to it; so when I was offered an opportunity to review the first two books I jumped!

Ages: 7+

93. Book One: In Grandma's Attic, 1974, 2011, 144 pgs. (US) - (Canada) Wonderful, wholesome tales of farm life in Michigan in approximately the 1870s. Arleta Richardson was actually brought up by her grandmother, but in the books she comes for extended visits and finds many objects in Grandma's attic and just around the house that provoke Grandma into telling Arleta the story surrounding the object from her own childhood. Or Arleta and Grandma are doing something together and by ask…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Just a couple of books arrived in my mailbox last week. Which I'm glad about because it sure was an extra busy week around here with the holidays!

Here are the goodies that did arrive:

From Simon & Schuster Canada:

"As crazy as your ideas might be, as long as you believe in yourself and tackle the issue head-on, you can even change the world." Ando is a high school student who has the power to make others say out loud what he's thinking. Inukai is the mysterious leader of a vigilante group called Grasshopper, which is at odds with the city's redevelopment plan. In this chaotic city, these two will come together to weave a story of courage, determination and confrontation.

When an angry mob goes after his friend, Ando has no choice but to fight back with his limited powers. Can ventriloquism actually stop violence? And while Semi is a skilled assassin, he's never met an opponent like this.

From the books publicist:

In this fast-paced story full of adventure a…

89. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 2

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Riku vs. Gyuki by Hiroshi Shiibashi (Canada) - (US)
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 2

Pages: 191
Ages: 13+
Finished: Apr. 7, 2011
First Published: 2008, Japan (Apr. 5, 2011 English)
Publisher: viz media
Genre: YA, manga, fantasy
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

Squee! Seiya you finally came over -
Geez, we waited for you forever!!

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

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

This book isn't quite as good as the first one, being much shorter and taking place mostly away from the Yokai Clan's house. Only a handful of the enormous cast introduced in volume one is carried over into this volume as main characters, with small cameo spots from some others. Story wise the plot is wrapped up from book one with the rat-like yokai Kyuso clan. Now the Gyuki clan are after Nura. He goes along with his friends as they go into the mountains where Kiyotsugu, the wealthy boy, and head of the "Paranormal Patrol" takes them to his family…

Prospera Pascha sit!

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With the Triduum upon us (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday) and then on Sunday the most Holy Day of the year, Pascha (Easter), I will not be posting any reviews during this Holy time.








Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

88. Nearly Nonsense: Hoja Tales from Turkey by Rina Singh

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Nearly Nonsense: Hoja Tales from Turkey by Rina Singh. Illustrated by Farida Zaman. (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 48
Ages: <10
Finished: Apr. 6, 2011
First Published:Mar. 8, 2011
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, picture book, folktales
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:

Long ago in Turkey, there lived a man named Nasrudin Hoja.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading: I love legends, folklore and the like. This was an area completely unknown to me so I was intrigued to read these tales.

These stories come from Turkey and are Muslim tales of a wise man, a trickster and a fool all wrapped up in the same person. Hoji is a Muslim teacher, some respect him others don't. Historically, Nasrudin Hoja (who goes by a host of different spellings) is considered an actual man who may have lived in the 1200s, his funny tales with messages have been handed down and built upon all over the middle east and across Asia, even reaching as far as China. But this book sticks with th…

71. The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

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The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 272
Ages: 18+
Finished: Mar. 18, 2011
First Published: Apr. 12, 2011
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: women's fiction, food, Asperger's, magical realism
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

Bad things come in threes.

Acquired: Received a Review Copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: The main character has Asperger's, as do I, and I make it a habit of reading books that portray Aspies.

First, I'd like to mention that this is as far from my regular type of reading as it gets. I don't *do* women's fiction; no matter what the topic I stay very, very far away from it. But when I was introduced to this book I saw the protagonist was Asperger's and I didn't really pay attention to anything else. I just wanted to read it.

I loved this book with a passion. I read it in an evening, staying up to 3:30 am in the morning to finish it; I just couldn't put it down. Ginny Selvaggio was my kindred spirit. T…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Look what the mailman/delivery guy brought me last week:

From Simon & Schuster Canada:

Final Volume!

Once a loner, Hikari "Picasso" Hamura has helped so many people that he finds himself surrounded by friends! Picasso's going to need them as he faces his most difficult "portrait" yet. It's easy to deal with other people's problems. But when you have to face your own...




Amberground is locked in darkness. A man-made star casts only a dim light over the land. The pitch-black wilderness is infested with Gaichuu--colossal insects with metal exoskeletons. The Gaichuu make travel between the cities of Amberground extremely dangerous. But thankfully the Letter Bees, a brave corps of messengers, risk their lives in order to keep the hearts of Amberground connected.

The Man Who Could Not Become Spirit In the town of Honey Waters, Lag seeks out “the Man Who Could Not Become Spirit,” who might have information on the missing Gauche Suede. Lag’s disappointed to find …

87. Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum

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Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 368
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 6, 2011
First Published: Feb. 8, 2011
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: literary fiction
Rating: 2/5



First sentence:

Dick is dead.

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

Reason for Reading: I loved Madapple. In the three years since that was published I have been periodically checking to see if Meldrum had a new book coming out and I was thrilled when I saw she finally had a new title out. The plot sounding enticing and the cover was gorgeous; I was an eager reader!

First off, I know I am going to be in the minority with my opinion of the book. I didn't like it and I'll keep my review brief because I could get carried away otherwise.

Christina Meldrum's writing is exquisite. It is a pleasure to read and that is what kept me reading this book to the end. Unfortunately, I could not stand the main character, Seena, nor most of the plot. The Slepys are a dysfuncti…

Holy Week Celebration

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Today is Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. My favourite time of the year! Ending in my favourite holiday of the year, Easter Sunday. So much to do, so much to celebrate. All in anticipation of the Resurrection! Don't understand the Catholic Holy Week? Here is a cute video that explains "Holy Week in Two Minutes"



Now my family is off to go watch a Passion Play! Enjoy your week!

86. My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond

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My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 121
Ages: 8+
Finished: Apr. 4, 2011
First Published: 2007 UK (2008, US) Mar. 22, 2011 US PB
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: children, magical realism, grief, humour
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

An ordinary spring morning in 12 Lark Lane.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading: I am quite fond of David Almond as an author. He reminds me of Roald Dahl with his mixture of humour and darkness but he isn't so obvious as Dahl.

This certainly is a quite a beautiful story. Using metaphors and imagery of flight and birds to help a father and daughter overcome the grief from the death of the mother makes for a touching story. On the surface we have a silly, whimsical, humorous story of a dad who is turning into a bird so he can win the Great Human Bird Competition, right down to living on bugs and worms and building a huge nest in the middle of the kitchen floor. Underne…

85: Excalibur, The Legend of King Arthur: A Graphic Novel by Tony Lee

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Excalibur, The Legend of King Arthur: A Graphic Novel by Tony Lee. Art by Sam Hart (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 144
Ages: 15+
Finished: Apr. 4, 2011
First Published: Mar. 8, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: YA, graphic novel, folklore, legends, fantasy
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

Long ago, Uther Pendragon was king, and the land of Albion was in disarray.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading: I had read Lee's earlier book Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood and was anxious to read this one.

This book, surprisingly, takes very different angles of the King Arthur legend to focus on than the usual run-of-them mill retelling aimed at children/teens. The story of Camelot and the knights' adventures is not a focus here. Camelot is briefly in the story but the main focus is on Arthur's early years, obtaining the sword in the stone and his early years as king. All the major plot points are there: the sword in the stone, Guinevere & Lancelot, Sir Gawai…

84. Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi

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Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 138
Ages: 12+
Finished: Apr.2, 2011
First Published: Feb. 15, 2011
Publisher: First Second
Genre: biography, history, explorers, non-fiction
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Go awayyy...

Acquired: Received a review copy from First Second Books.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy Western history.

I've read a few books on Lewis & Clark before (children's books) and read many books on the expansion of the west where the Lewis & Clark story would take up a chapter so I am familiar with this story. This book is recommended for ages 12 and up but it isn't written down to a young audience, adults will enjoy it as much or more. The book of course tells the story of their epic journey from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean, in search of a viable water route. That journey was fraught with accidents, bad luck, aggressive Indians, injuries and setbacks from nature itself. Bertozzi manages to tell a fine introductory tale of this expedition and…

DC Super-Pets!: Royal Rodent Rescue

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Royal Rodent Rescue by John Sazaklis. Illustrated by Art Baltazar. (Canada) - (US)
DC Super-Pets! series

Pages: 52
Ages: 6+
Finished: Mar. 30, 2011
First Published: Jan. 1, 2011
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Genre: Easy Reader, Superheroes
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:


High above the city of Metropolis, Streaky the Super-Cat zoomed through the air.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

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

This new series "DC Super-Pets!" is a younger sibling to the already established "DC Super Heroes" series by the publisher. While the latter series is for established, and perhaps reluctant readers, this new series is for emergent or reluctant readers. All six books in the series are at a GR. 2 level with this one being at an RL of 2:8. Following the same format as the established series, DC Super Pets uses colourful cartoon graphics for all the sound effect words. It goes on to make the books more appealing to…

83. The Mystery of Ireland's Eye by Shane Peacock

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The Mystery of Ireland's Eye by Shane Peacock Out of Print
A Dylan Maples Adventure, Book 1

Pages: 179
Ages: 10
Finished: Mar. 31, 2011
First Published: 1999
Publisher: Viking
Genre: children, mystery, ghost story
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

When we pushed off from the shores of Random Island the water was calm and friendly.

Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: I was visiting the author's website and looking for news on his Boy Sherlock series when I took a look at his list of books written and saw that he had a short but interesting backlist of titles. One being this four book mystery series that sounded very Canadian and very interesting so I immediately decided to read it.

Dylan Maples is twelve. His dad is what one would call an extreme outdoors man or adventurer. He's always off somewhere mountain climbing or kayaking across some lake "in the Yukon or Alaska or Timbuktu". If he's not doing it, he's either immersed in readi…

Merci Mister Dash by Monica Kulling

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Merci Mister Dash by Monica Kulling. Illustrated by Esperanca Melo (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 32
Ages: 3-7+
Finished: Mar. 19, 2011
First Published: Apr. 12, 2011
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, picture book, humour
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Mister Dash was unlike any hound in town.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading: I've read quite a number of the author's books, but they've been mostly her biographical works and I thought I'd take a look at what else she does.

Mister Dash is a darling! He is a very cultivated dog. He may be a mixture of this and that and certainly has no pedigree but that hasn't stopped him from honing his sense of a stylish wardrobe and manners fit for civilized company. The only problem is that the company he and his owner Madame Croissant get regularly is every Sunday, her granddaughter, who is more wild beast than civilized company. Mister Dash doesn't like Daphne and usually escapes before her arrival to s…

91. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

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Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 351
Ages: 10+
Finished: Apr. 3, 2011
First Published: Oct. 12, 2010
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: children, historical fiction
Rating: 5/5




First sentence:

The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby.

Acquired: Borrowed a copy from my local library.

Reason for Reading: I am reading all the Newbery winners.

Simple perfection. When I see that Newbery sticker on a book, this is what I expect. A book that truly is a wonderful story that will appeal to kids. A story that catches your attention from the first chapter. One with characters who are interesting, unique and you either love from the start or they eventually win you over at some part. I truly enjoyed every minute of this book and was sad when it came time to close the book on Abilene, Jinx, Miss Sadie and all the rest of the characters in Manifest, Kansas.

Set in 1936, Abilene Tucker, who has grown up as a vagrant train rider with her father, is upset when he sends her…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Busy mailbox for me last week. Review books, a bookmooch and an online purchase. Here's what books arrived at my house:

From Hatchette Book Group:

Two abandoned souls are on the hunt for one powerful man. Soon, their paths will cross and lead to one twisted fate.

Danny Hansen is a Bosnian immigrant who came to America with hopes of escaping haunted memories of a tragic war that took his mother's life. Now he's a priest who lives by a law of love and compassion. It is powerful men and hypocrites who abide by legal law but eschew the law of love that most incense Danny. As an avenging angel, he believes it is his duty to show them the error of their ways, at any cost.

Renee Gilmore is the frail and helpless victim of one such powerful man. Having escaped his clutches, she now lives only to satisfy justice by destroying him, regardless of whom she must become in that pursuit.

But when Danny and Renee's paths become inexorably entangled things go very, very badly and neither of…

82. Mystify by Artist Arthur

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Mystify by Artist Arthur (Canada) - (US)
A Mystyx Novel, Book 2

Pages: 245
Ages: 13+
Finished: Mar. 29, 2011
First Published: Jan. 18, 2011
Publisher: KimaniTRU
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Rating: 3/5



First sentence:

I don't want to like him.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: next in the series.

I really enjoyed book one of this series but wasn't too taken with the angsty attitude of the main character and narrator, Krystal. My favourite character had been Sasha, who had an "attitude" but the fun, take no nonsense from anyone kind of 'tude. Imagine my delight to see that this book was written from Sasha's point of view.

Unfortunately, the change in character views really changed the plot of the story and it took me a while to get into this book. Sasha is not only the narrator, but the main character of the book, Krystal has a minor part. But the fun Sasha I loved from the first book is changed in this book, because the girl&…

81. Taro and the Terror of Eats Street by Sango Morimoto

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Taro and the Terror of Eats Street by Sango Morimoto. (Canada) - (US)
The Adventures of Taro , 2
Pages: 96
Ages: 6-10
Finished: Mar. 28, 2011
First Published: 2008, Japan (Mar. 1 2011, US)
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: children, manga, humour, fantasy
Rating: 2/5

First sentence:

It was a lazy Sunday morning and Taro was sleeping in. But not for long.

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

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

The first book in this series is absolutely adorable. I just had to continue on with this next book but unfortunately I was disappointed with it. It didn't have the same sense of fun or that gamers type of plot, in fact there really wasn't much of a plot at all and it was just plain silly. Now this may be a cultural thing as the theme of the book does centre around food. King Crossout has taken over Eats Street, where all the restaurants and eating places are found in Doodledum and the Wise Magician comes for Taro's…

80. Death Note: Black Edition, Vol 2 by Tsugumi Ohba

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Death Note: Black Edition, Vol II by Tsugumi Ohba. Art by Takeshi Obata (Canada) - (US)
Death Note, Vol. 3 & 4

Pages: 396
Ages: 16+
Finished: Mar. 27, 2011
First Published: 2003, Japan (Mar. 1, 2011, this edition)
Publisher: viz media
Genre: YA, manga, paranormal, crime, thriller
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

Ready, Ryuk!!

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

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

The Black Edition of Death Note are omnibus reprints which collect two volumes together. Black Edition, Vol. 2 here contains Volumes 3 and 4 of the original series. From the outside the books are completely black including the fore edges.

What a ride this manga is! What I love about it so much is the detection part of the plot. The way that "L", the mastermind detective is matching wits with the serial killer Kira, who of course only wants to make the world a better place by ridding it of the criminal element. Light Yagami is under suspicion of being Kira an…