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Showing posts from July, 2011

162. Taro and the Carnival of Doom by Sango Morimoto

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Taro and the Carnival of Doom by Sango Morimoto (Canada) - (US)
The Adventures of Taro, #3

Pages: 95
Ages: 6+
Finished: Jul. 22, 2011
First Published: Jul. 5, 2011, English (2008, Japanese)
Publisher: viz media
Genre: graphic novel, children, humour
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:
Taro was just about to enjoy a tasty snack when the wise Magician suddenly appeared.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: next in the series.

This is the final book in what turned out to be a trilogy.  Unfortunately, I really did not like the second book in this series but "Carnival of Doom" returns to the glory of the first book.  A fun, silly, wonderful story that young children are going to enjoy.  This time Hippity has been kidnapped by King Crossout and Terrie must save him, but first he must find him in the terrible carnival of doom.  Terrie meets a new friend in this volume, Blockade Boy, who takes the place of Hippity while he is missing.  BB is a…

161. Jack of Fables #8: The Fulminate Blade

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The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges. Art by Tony Akins & Jim Fern (Canada) - (US)
Jack of Fables, Vol. 8

Pages: 126
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 21, 2011
First Published: Feb. 1, 2011
Publisher: Vertigo
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:
I appreciate the honesty of monsters.
Acquired: Purchased a copy through an online retailer.

Reason for Reading: next in the series.

This volume collects 5 issues together of a mini arc called "Kings of Earth and Sky".  The Fulminate Blade is the title of the first chapter and the magical sword Jack Frost must obtain to kill the giant terrorizing the village.  Fairly well-used plot, only there are lots of twists and everything is not as straight forward as it first appears.  Jack finally delivers a village from a tyrant and really feels like he is the hero he has wanted to be all along and learns that heroes are a rare breed indeed.

This volume really didn't appeal to me all that much.  Yes, …

160. Fables #15: Rose Red

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Rose Red by Bill Willingham. Art by Mark Buckingham (Canada) - (US)
Fables, Vol. 15

Pages: 256
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 20, 2011
First Published: Apr. 12, 2011
Publisher: Vertigo
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

Fulfill your sworn duty.
Acquired: Purchased a copy through an online retailer.

Reason for Reading:  next in the series.

First, this is a satisfyingly huge volume coming in at over 250 pages; this is because it includes the celebratory 100th issue in which they included lots of extras.  I loved this volume!  The main story is carried along nicely, plenty of characters have resolutions in their lives, we see the departure of a character that's been in from the beginning and then the start of new story threads are briefly introduced.

The book starts off with the title story "Rose Red" which consists of 5 chapters and takes a deep look at Red's character and the mess she is currently in.  We are taken back into her past when she was a litt…

159. The Dusk Society by Sidney Williams & Mark Jones

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The Dusk Society by Sidney Williams & Mark Jones. Illustrated by Naresh Kumar (Canada) - (US)
Campfire Originals

Pages: 88
Ages: 12+
Finished: Jul. 19, 2011
First Published: Jun. 7, 2011
Publisher: Campfire
Genre: graphic novel, YA, paranormal,
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Welcome, as the newest member of the Dusk Society...
...you must be told of the danger you face.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Steerforth Press.

Reason for Reading: I have become a fan of this publisher's graphic novels.  This standalone paranormal tale sounded fun.

A mysterious woman, whose job it is to recruit new members for the Dusk Society (a group of agents skilled in either magic or science who fight the forces of evil in the world, both human and non-human) centers in on a highschool where she had found a strong force and four subjects who are prime material to be trained as agents.  The teens are brought together quickly but time for explanations is cut quick when Pierceblood arrives on the sc…

158. The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

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The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. Illustrated by Yoko Tanaka (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 201
Ages: 9+
Finished: July 18, 2011
First Published: Sep. 8, 2009
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: children, magical realism, fantasy
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:

At the end of the century before last, in the market square of the city of Baltese, there stood a boy with a hat on his head and a coin in his hand.
Acquired:  Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy the author's books

This is an original fairy tale that illustrates that we never know what the future will hold, that dreams should never be given up,  and that fate (God's will) eventually does come to pass in it's own time.  It is a strange tale though of an elephant crashing through the roof of the opera house as a magician performs a trick.  The elephant becomes the centre of the city's attention and becomes orphan Peter's focus as a fortuneteller once told him that an elepha…

157. Alexandre Dumas: The Three Musketeers Graphic Novel

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Alexandre Dumas: The Three Musketeers by Bruce Buchanan. Illustrated by Amit Tayal (Canada) - (US)
Campfire Classics

Pages: 104
Ages: 12+
Finished: Jul. 17, 2011
First Published: Apr. 26, 2011
Publisher: Campfire
Genre: graphic novel, children, YA, classic
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

It was the month of April in 1625, in Paris, France.Acquired: Received a review copy from Steerforth Press.

Reason for Reading:  I am quickly becoming a fan of this publisher, and I love well-done graphic retellings of classics.

I have not read the original "The Three Musketeers", probably because I do not enjoy French literature or historical fiction, especial French Revolution era, but this takes place much earlier than the revolution and while set within the the real time frame of Cardinal Richelieu I was taken with the derring-do and humour of the musketeers.  Not having read the original I don't know whether it is supposed to be humorous but the graphic adaptation certainly was and a spl…

156. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Illustrated with Vintage Photographs (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 352
Ages: 12+
Finished: Jul. 17, 2011
First Published: Jul. 7, 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: YA, magical realism, Gothic
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.
Acquired: Received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading:  I couldn't resist!  This book has everything I love in one book: orphans, mysterious island, vintage photographs, creepy atmosphere and an old house.  How could I not want to read it.

Here is a book that once again uses photographs and text together in a unique way.  The obscure, peculiar vintage photographs are simply illustrative, but the author has had to write his story around already existing photos which enhance the story to such a degree that the book would not be what it is without them.  The notes do say that "with th…

155. Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel

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William Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet by John F. McDonald. Illustrated by Sachin Nagar (Canada) - (US)
Campfire Classics

Pages: 80
Ages: 12+
Finished: Jul. 15, 2011
First Published: May 24, 2011
Publisher: Campfire
Genre: graphic novel, YA, play, classic
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Act 1 - Prologue
Two rich families from Verona begin an old feud again.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Steerforth Press.

Reason for Reading:  Honestly, I hate Romeo & Juliet; I think it is the stupidest love story ever written, but I won't go into my views on that here.  I read this adaptation solely because I was sent a review copy.

I've read the play and seen it performed at Stratford Festival so am very familiar with the story and I found this to be a very well-written adaptation, true to the original.  Written in modern English, which is how I prefer my Shakespeare. The story is very easy to read and unlike any other Campfire Classics I've read to date, this one had the occasional …

154. Don Quixote Part 1 Graphic Novel

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Miguel de Cervantes: Don Quixote Part 1 by Lloyd S. Wagner. Illustrated by Richard Kohlrus (Canada) - (US)
Campfire Classics

Pages: 72
Ages: 12+
Finished: Jul. 14, 2011
First Published: Apr. 26, 2011
Publisher: Campfire
Genre: graphic novel, children, YA, classic
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

In a certain village in La Mancha, there lived one of those old-fashioned gentlemen who are never without a lance on a rack, an old shield, a lean horse, and a greyhound.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Steerforth Press.

Reason for Reading:  I am quickly becoming a fan of this publisher, and I love well-done graphic retellings of classics.

I have never read the original Don Quixote, though I intend to one day.  I have, however, read a very old children's retelling from the late 1880s by, I believe, Alfred J. Church.  The story I read here in the graphic novel was identical to the one I had previously read before.  From these adaptations I presume I am just missing some of the more bawdy as…

153. The Merchant of Venice Graphic Novel

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William Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice by John F. McDonald. Illustrated by Vinod Kumar (Canada) - (US)
Campfire Classics

Pages: 192
Ages: 12+
Finished: Jul. 13, 2011
First Published: May 24, 2011
Publisher: Campfire
Genre: graphic novel, YA, play, classic
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Act 1 - Scene 1
16th- century Venice


You seem unhappy Antonio, What's the matter?
Acquired: Received a review copy from Steerforth Press.

Reason for Reading:  Mostly due to the fact that the publisher sent me a review copy, however, I am familiar with this Shakespeare play and am always interested in graphic or picturebook retellings of Shakespeare.

Written in modern day English, thankfully!  I am one of those who (gasp) appreciate Shakespeare in our own language and can't stand trying to fumble through Elizabethan English.  The book starts off with a one page intro to Shakespeare and then a Characters page which is very helpful.  It shows the four main characters which one can refer back to as An…

Picasso: Soul on Fire by Rick Jacobson

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Picasso: Soul on Fire by Rick Jacobson. Illustrated by Laura Fernandez & Rick Jacobson (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 32
Ages: 8+
First Published: 2004 (Jun. 14, 2011 paperback edition)
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, picturebook, biography, artist
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:

When young Pablo Picasso first painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, people were shocked.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy picture book biographies. Personally, I do not enjoy Picasso's artwork myself but he was a very intriguing personality and his life is certainly an interesting one to read about and I wondered just what a children's biography would focus on mostly.

This is a brief tale of Picasso's life which details his childhood and early years of artwork that brought him up to his influences which finally brought about his first piece of cubism, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.  Then it goes on to explain what he was trying to capture in this…

Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis by Jo Ellen Bogart

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Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis by Jo Ellen Bogart. Illustrated by Mark Lang (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 32
Ages: 8+
Finished: Jul. 10, 2011
First Published: 2002 (May 10, 2011 paperback ed.)
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, picturebook, biography, nonfiction
Rating:  4/5


First sentence:

A small figure moved through the crisp snow of a January evening.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading: I'm a fan of picture book biographies and Maud Lewis is a favourite Canadian artist of mine.

Maud Lewis is a Canadian folk artist from Nova Scotia.  She is often known as what is commonly called an "outsider" artist as she painted for the pure joy of it, on anything she got her hands on, despite her physical limitations, without any formal training and though she did sell her paintings it was more because the buyers sought her out than she sought to find buyers. 

This is a lovely little biography with just enough information to give anyone a …

152. The Devil all the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

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The Devil all the Time by Donald Ray Pollock (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 311
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 10. 2011
First Published: Jul. 12, 2011
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: dark southern fiction, Gothic,
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

On a dismal morning near the end of a wet October, Arvin Eugene Russell hurried behind his father, Willard, along the edge of a pasture that overlooked a long and rocky holler in southern Ohio called Knockemstiff.Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House US.

Reason for Reading: I love dark southern fiction.  The type of book where the characters reach redemption by the end or at least try to, but they all, mostly, end up dead anyway.

This is indeed a dark book and I just loved it!  The story revolves around three separate pairs of individuals who eventually share some ties, but most of all they connect with Arvin Eugene Russell, the orphan of one of the individuals.  The book starts out with the story of Willard and Charlotte Russell.  Willard marries Cha…

Canadian Book Challenge 5

I'm a little late in posting this, considering it started July 1st, but I've just got around to posting my first book for the competition.  The rules are the same as always:  read 13 books by June 30th, 2012.  Over 13 is fine.  Use your own definition of Canadian Author or Canadian Book.  I plan to read as many Canadian Authored books as possible, and perhaps a few Canadian illustrated graphic novels.  The Challenge is hosted as ever by the brilliant book host, John Mutford, over at Book Mine Set.  Here is my list starting July 1st, 2011.

Canadian Book Challenge 5
1. Canada's Maple Leaf: The Story of Our Flag by Ann-Maureen Owens & Jane Yealland
2. Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis by Jo Ellen Bogart
3. Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
4. Bone Beds of the Badlands by Shane Peacock
5. The Color of Lightning by Paulete Jilles
6. Sinking Deeper or My Questionable (Possible Heroic) Decision to Invent a Sea Monster by Steve Vernon
7. Canada, Our Hi…

151. Canada's Maple Leaf: The Story of Our Flag

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Canada's Maple Leaf: The Story of Our Flag by Ann-Maureen Owens & Jane Yealland. Illustrated by Bill Slavin & Esperanca Melo OUT OF PRINT

Pages: 32
Ages: 8+
Finished: July 8, 2011
First Published:1999
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Genre: children, non-fiction, Canadian history
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

What do you think of when you see the Canadian flag?
Acquired: Purchased new from a Homeschool supply store.

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

First, I'm shocked just now looking the book up online to find out that they've let this title go out of print.  It has been a favourite in our house and I've read it to both my children (11 years apart).  This is a wonderful book that captures the excitement of a country trying to choose it's own flag for the first time.  Prior to the maple leaf Canada flew either the Union Jack or the Red Ensign, both British flags, depending on the circumstances.  As soon as you open the book on the i…

150. Think of a Number by John Verdon

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Think of a Number by John Verdon (Canada) - (US)
Dave Gurney, #1

Pages: 418
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 8, 2011
First Published: Jul. 6, 2010
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

"Where were you?" said the old woman in the bed.
Acquired: Received a Review Copy from Random House US.

Reason for Reading: I love thrillers and this new author's book sounded very interesting.  However, I never managed to get around to it and now I have the second book in the series waiting here to be read so thought I ought to get caught up with this one first.

A thoroughly splendid thriller of the serial killer type.  Verdon doesn't just bring us your typical serial killer, though, he's got a special, intelligent one, who sets up elaborate crime scenes, leaves messages taunting the police and before killing his victims he scares them with a series of threatening poems.  This is one guy who thinks he's too smart to be caught, and he almost is…

149. Fallen by Karin Slaughter

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Fallen by Karin Slaughter (Canada) - (US)
Special Agent Will Trent, #5

Pages: 387
Ages: 18+
Finished: July 1, 2011
First Published: Jun. 21, 2011
Publisher: Random House
Genre: thriller
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:


Faith Mitchell dumped the contents of her purse onto the passenger side of her Mini, trying to find something to eat.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

A refreshingly, page-turning, exiting thriller that this long time Slaughter fan has finally found worthy of five stars again.  Slaughter's last several books have been in the 3 or 4 star range for me, good but just not up to Blindsighted and Kisscut, those first two explosive books.  With Fallen, Slaughter is back in the seat with an exhilarating new thriller.  Faith, Will's partner, is a major character in this book as her mother is kidnapped and she sets off to track down the merciless person or persons who have done so, along the way she even becomes a…

Human Body by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

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Human Body by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld (Canada) - (US)
Scholastic Science Readers, Level 1

Pages: 32
Ages: 5+
Finished: Jul. 6, 2011
First Published: 2000
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: children, easy reader, non-fiction, anatomy
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:


Your body has many parts.
Acquired: Purchased a used copy at a garage sale.

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

A basic introduction to the human body and anatomy, filled with fun facts and photographs.  Even though labeled a Level 1, it is a little harder than most readers at this level with its use of specialized vocabulary.  However when extra tricky words appear they are followed by phonetic pronunciation, ex. "oxygen (ok-suh-juhn)".  The photographs contain a wide variety of racial groups, both male and female, and are eye-catching.  A nice little book for its purposes.  The 2000 edition I read is out of print and a reprint (with new cover) was published in 2010.  I cannot vouch that it is still the s…

Batman Returns: The Penquin's Plot

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Batman Returns: The Penquin's Plot by Michael Teitelbaum. Illustrated by Rick Holberg & Tad Chow (US) Out of Print
A Golden Look-Look Book

Pages: 24
Ages: 5+
Finished: Jul. 6, 2011
First Published: 1992
Publisher: A Golden Book/Western Publishing Co.
Genre: picture book, superheroes
Rating: 4/5
First sentence:



It was Christmas in Gotham City.

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

Reason for Reading: Son read aloud to me as reader.

Typical quality superhero story picture book.  Lots of action to please young fans.  Ds has had this read to him for years and now that he's actually read it himself it's time to pass it along through the thrift shops again.  Not sure how it relates to the actual movie as I barely even remember that, though illustrations of The Penguin are certainly recognizable as Danny DeVito inspired.  Reading level was quite exceptionally high for this type of a picture book though, probably around Gr. 5, ds had a hard time …

148. Twin Spica, Vol. 2 by Kou Yaginuma

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Twin Spica, Vol. 2 by Kou Yaginuma (Canada) - (US)
Twin Spica, Vol. 2

Pages: 192
Ages: 12+
Finished: Jun. 28, 2011
First Published: 2002, Japan (2010, English)
Publisher: Vertical
Genre: manga, YA, sci-fi, magical realism
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

The year 2024 the first International Space Station, after many years in orbit, is completing its mission.
Acquired: Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

Reason for Reading: next in the series.

I really love this series.  The story is incredibly interesting but it is the emotions of the characters that are entirely realistic and pull you into this unique sci-fi/magical realism manga tale.  Asumi sets off for her first day at Space School and says goodbye to Lion, as he cannot leave with her.  At Space School Asumi finds the training challenging but she is up to the challenge, taking classes in advanced mathematics and physics along with physical training such as jogging up to 20 laps a day.  Her two teammates from the trials are the…

Arthur's Honey Bear by Lillian Hoban

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Arthur's Honey Bear by Lillian Hoban (Canada) - (US)
I Can Read Books, Level 2

Pages: 64
Ages: 5+
Finished: June 27, 2011
First Published: 1974
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: children, easy reader
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:


It was spring-cleaning day.

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

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

Arthur and his sister Violet are cleaning out their toys and decide to sell some of them in a tag sale but Arthur has a hard time deciding whether to sell his Honey Bear or not.  I was never fond of this series as a child myself.  Can't really say why, just that Arthur never appealed to me.  But since we had this one on the shelf we used it as a reader.  The reading level was just on par with ds's abilities but the story was on the immature side and I can't say he was much interested in it either.  Not a bad story but certainly recommended for the youngest ages, 5/6 or so.

147. Chi's Sweet Home, Vol. 2 by Konami Kanata

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Chi's Sweet Home, Vol. 2 by Konami Kanata (Canada) - (US)
Chi's Home Sweet Home, Vol. 2

Pages: 154
Ages: All Ages
First Published: 2005 Japan (Aug. 24, 2010, English translation)
Publisher: Vertical
Genre: children, manga, humour
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:


Looks like it's time to move on to dry food.
Acquired: Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

An adorable series!  And another adorable entry.  I didn't find volume 2 quite as hilarious as the first but it was still funny and just as cute.  Cute little chapters in which the family is getting used to raising a pet and other's where Chi is exploring and learning about life.  He no longer misses his mother and siblings but he does have a couple of flashbacks of things that remind him of that comforting time.  While there is no real overarching plot to this volume there is the hanging nuisance of a large cat in the apartment complex who is causing trouble knocking over …

DNF: Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

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Leviathan by Scott Westerfield  (Canada) - (US)
Leviathan, #1

Pages: 142/440
Ages: 12+
Finished: DNF
First Published: Oct. 6, 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA, steampunk, alternate history
Rating:  DNF



First sentence:


The Austrian horses glinted in the moonlight, their riders standing tall in the saddle, swords raised.

Acquired: Received a review copy fromSimon and Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading:  I've always wanted to read the author, and the steampunk element appealed to me.

This just didn't work for me.  I was bored with it.  I had been looking for the steampunk of Arthur Slade or Kenneth Oppel but ended up with the alternate history of Harry Turtledove.  I just can't stand alternate military history and this being set in an alternate WWI was too much about the politics of their war which bored me and not enough about the characters' stories away from the war, which I would have liked.  And the animals turned into machines was absolutely disgusting to me, n…

146. Hanako and the Terror of Allegory, Vol. 3

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Hanako and the Terror of Allegory, Vol. 3 by Sakae Esuno (Canada) - (US)
Hanako and the Terror of Allegory, Vol. 3

Pages: 249
Ages: 16+
First Published: 2005 Japan (Dec. 28, 2010, English translation)
Publisher: Tokyopop
Genre: YA, manga, horror
Rating: 3/5



First sentence:


...Allegorification!
Acquired: Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

Reason for Reading: next in the series

This second to the last volume in the series has some good stories in it but is set up in an awkward manner which leaves the book with a final disappointing end.  First the book starts with the second part of a story about Aso himself becoming an allegory which was hard to follow since it had been so long since I'd read vol. 2.  Then came two very good stories , the first "Gap Girl" is based on an old Japanese folklore of a creepy yet attractive woman who haunts and squeezes into any gaps in a house, like between a dresser and a wall.  The other "Red Paper, Blue Paper" is again…

145. The Story of a Soul: St. Therese of Lisieux

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The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of The Little Flower by St. Therese of Lisieux. Edited by Mother Agnes of Jesus. Translated by Michael Day, CONG., ORAT. Foreword by Vernon Johnson.  (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 175
Ages: 18+
Finished: June 21, 2011
First Published: 1899, French (1951, French, this edition) (2010, English, this edition)
Publisher: Tan Classics
Genre: memoir, diary, letters, Catholic, Christian
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:


My Dearest Mother, it is to you, to you who are in fact a mother twice over to me, that I now confide the Story of my Soul.


Acquired: Purchased new from my local Catholic Book & Gift store.

Reason for Reading: Our church has been run by the Carmelites for over 100 years.  Our priests are Carmelites and we have a statutory of St. Therese in the building.  I was much intrigued about her "little way' and after watching the recent 2004 movie about her life was ready to read her autobiography.

In truth, the book is really not an autobiograp…

144. Bone: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith

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The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith (Canada) - (US)
Bone, Vol. 3

Pages: 132
Ages: 9+
Finished: June 20, 2011
First Published: 1994, 1995 (2006, colourized edition)
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: children, graphic novel, humour, fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:
High aloft in th' cross-trees was that mad Tashtego!Acquired: Purchased a new copy from an online retailer

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Vol. 3 starts off with Fone Bone and Thorn having strange dreams and Phoney and Smiley settling down to life at the farm.  Soon enough the latter two are taken back to the village to work off their debt to Lucius.  The rat creatures are out after everybody as each party gets caught in a rain storm.  Then Gran'ma Ben finally tells Thorn the real story of Thorn's life so far, the mysteries of her dreams and she is stunned.  This is a major turning point in the plot giving the story a new direction and mission.  Lots of laughs to be had here, as well as tons of action.  Rat creat…

142. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Translated from the Spanish by Lucia Graves (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 531
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jun. 14, 2011
First Published: 2008, Spanish (2009, English)
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Genre: magical realism, Gothic,
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:



A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: I had heard great things about Zafon‘s first book and the mysterious plot of this one intrigued me. It has taken me a long time to get around to reading it though as the book was so heavily reviewed at the time of its publication I kind of got tired of hearing about it and lost my desire to read it, however the time was now right for me.

Not having read “The Shadow of the Wind”, I cannot compare the two books. Many others say that the first is much better. This is a very intriguing story; dark, mysterious and Gothic in all th…

141. Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith

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The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith (Canada) - (US)
Bone, Vol. 2

Pages: 132
Ages: 9+
Finished: June 14, 2011
First Published: 1992, 1993 (2005, colourized edition)
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: children, graphic novel, humour, fantasy
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

The Spring Fair! Don’t you just love it, Fone Bone?

Acquired: Purchased a new copy from an online retailer

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

The story continues on from Vol. 1 with everyone arriving at the anticipated spring fair. Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone put their plan into action to scam the townspeople and Gran’ma Ben is ready to take on the cows in the annual cow race. Of course all sorts of shenanigans happen and nothing works out the way it should, well except for Gran’ma Ben. Thorn is having strange dreams about the past and the Rat Creatures are after Phoney Bone but with orders to kill the other two, if necessary. Not a lot to say except I’m loving the story and the characters. Fone Bone is still my favourite a…

140. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

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Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Translated by Emma Rose. Illustrated by Sara Fanelli. (Canada) - (US)
Candlewick Illustrated Classics

Pages: 191
Ages: 7+
Finished: Jun. 10, 2011
First Published: 1883, (Jul. 13, 2010 this translation/edition)
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: children, classic, fantasy
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

Once upon a time there was ...
" A king?" did I hear you cry?"
Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the ds.  This is actually my third attempt at reading this book to him.  Pinocchio is one of my favourite children's classics.  The first time was when he was five and was my edition that I had read, an old Rainbow Classics, but I think he was just too young.  The second time, he was older and at that time I had a different edition, don't remember which, but it was an awful translation and we gave that up as well.  So my hopes of reading him Pinocchio were put on the shelf until I saw this edi…

139. If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King by Ellen Levine

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If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King by Ellen Levine. Illustrated by Anna Rich (Canada) - (US)
If You... series

Pages: 80
Ages: 8+
Finished: Jun. 10, 2011
First Published: 1990 (1994, new illustrations)
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: non-fiction, children, history, 1960s, Civil Rights Movement
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Black people were brought to America from Africa as slaves.
Acquired: Purchased a copy new via an online retailer.

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

As with all "If You..." books, the book is presented in a series of questions and answers which progress naturally from a beginning point to an ending.  After the brief introduction which leads us up to the plight of the black people in the US in the fifties and sixties the book starts with the question "What was segregation?" This is a very thorough book which looks at the Civil Rights Movement from the earliest rumblings of the brave lone men and woman who …

DC Super-Pets!: Pooches of Power!

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Pooches of Power by Sarah Hines Stephens. Illustrated by Art Baltazar. (Canada) - (US)
DC Super-Pets! series

Pages: 54
Ages: 6+
Finished: Jun. 8, 2011
First Published: Jan. 2, 2011
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Genre: Easy Reader, Superheroes
Rating: 4/5
First sentence:

Ace the Bat-Hound stretched his legs.

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:2.8. 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 younger readers by using different …

I'm in the gLOBE AND mAIL!

I was interviewed for an article in the Globe and Mail (national canadian newspaper) about reading challenges and it was published this last saturday.  You can read it online here.