Showing posts from January, 2013

Movie Break - The Life of Pi (2012)

The Life of Pi (2012) (at the Theatre) (3D) (in Edmonton)
I enjoyed this movie but do wish I had read the book first. I had always intended to, but it was the only movie suitable for the mix of people going that evening. I have the book on my kindle and plan on making sure I read it this month now though. As I said I did enjoy the movie but it didn't have as big an impression on me as it did the others I watched it with nor other people who have been talking about it at church. Some people are saying it is a Christian movie but it is not and I found parts of it disconcerting in that sense. I don't really want to over analyze the thing but I must mention my hesitation. The movie is "spiritual" not Christian. The message is that it is good to have religion and believe in "god" but it doesn't matter which religion you have or what "god" you pray to. Hence the inclusion of Hindu along with the "God of Abraham" religion…

20. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Illustrations by Philippe Munch. Notes by Marc Poree  (US) - (Canada)
The Whole Story Series

Pages: 253
Ages: 16+
Finished: Jan. 23, 2013
First Published: 1818; (this edition, 1998)
Publisher: Viking
Genre: classic, horror, Gothic
Rating:  4/5

First sentence: "To Mrs. Saville, England; St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17--.  You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings."

Publisher's Summary: "Another outstanding title in the acclaimed series described as "a CD-ROM between covers". A deeply thoughtful study of the ethical dilemmas that knowledge can bring to humankind, Frankenstein also provides a portrait of modern science in Europe almost two centuries ago.

This edition of the enduringly popular tale, with its striking illustrations and extended captions unique to the Whole Story series, provides the background information modern reader…

342. BOOK TOUR & GIVEAWAY: Rally 'Round the Corpse by Hy Conrad

Rally 'Round the Corpse by Hy Conrad (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
An Abel Adventures Mystery (1)


Pages:  337
Ages: 18+
Finished: Dec. 23, 2012
First Published: May 2, 2012
Publisher: Seven Realms Publishing
Genre: mystery
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:  "The fussy little man held out a legal-sized manila envelope."

Publisher's Summary: "It's been two years since her fiance's death. Amy Abel needs to start over. And what better way for a shy, risk-averse woman to start than to sink all her savings into a travel agency specializing in adventure. Her first project? A mystery road rally through the European countryside. At the starting line in Monte Carlo, Amy finds herself attracted to Marcus Alvarez, the most mysterious of her two dozen game-loving clients. But the rally gets off to a rocky start when an eccentric writer, the only person who knows the game's solution, is himself murdered back in New York. So who would kill a harmless m…

17. Cezanne Pinto: A Memoir by Mary Stolz

Cezanne Pinto: A Memoir by Mary Stolz (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 279
Ages: 10+
Finished: Jan. 16 2013
First Published: 1994
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Genre: MG, historical fiction, African-American, slavery, Underground Railway, Civil War
Rating:  4/5

First sentence: "In 1860, when I ran from the plantation in Virginia, I decided to be twelve years old"

Publisher's Summary: ``From a Newbery Honor author comes a rich historical novel, at once a fictionalized slave narrative and a riveting adventure story. Near the end of his life, Cezanne Pinto recalls his daring childhood escape from slavery and the varied landscapes of his hard-won freedom.``

Acquired:  Purchased from a local "discount" retailer.

Reason for Reading: I'm always interested in reading books on this topic, from this period and especially when they contain the Canadian connection.  Plus this is a favourite author from my youth.

First, despite the book`s title, this is a work of fiction about a fic…

16. Bartleby The Scrivener by Herman Melville

Bartleby The Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street by Herman Melville (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
The Art of the Novella Series

Pages: 64
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 13 2013
First Published: 1853; (this edition, 2010)
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Genre: novella, literature
Rating:  5/5

First sentence: "I am a rather elderly man."

Publisher's Summary: "“I would prefer not to.”

Academics hail it as the beginning of modernism, but to readers around the world—even those daunted by Moby-Dick—Bartleby the Scrivener is simply one of the most absorbing and moving novellas ever. Set in the mid-19th century on New York City’s Wall Street, it was also, perhaps, Herman Melville’s most prescient story: what if a young man caught up in the rat race of commerce finally just said, “I would prefer not to”?

The tale is one of the final works of fiction published by Melville before, slipping into despair over the continuing critical dismissal of his work after Moby-Dick, he abandoned pub…

Movie Break - The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games (2012) (Netflix) (in Edmonton)
So it's been about three years since I read the book, and details were a bit fuzzy but I absolutely loved the book and had been wanting to watch this movie since it came out.  My niece and I were alone for the evening so we picked this to watch on Netflix even though she had seen it already (she has read the book too).  It's a great movie; I really enjoyed it but they did leave out some important parts of the book.  The love triangle isn't fully explored; we really don't get a chance to know the participants well enough to really care for them and the games start way too soon that we don't get to understand this world they live in properly.  But at 2 1/2 hours they can't fit everything in and they did a decent job.  I'm just not sure people who haven't read the book will understand how much Peeta loves Katniss.  I absolutely loved Josh Hutcherson as Peeta though.  However I  was very surprised at seeing Wo…

14. The Big Beast Sale by David Sinden

The Big Beast Sale by The Beastly Boys (David Sinden, Matthew Morgan & Guy Macdonald).  Illustrated by Jonny Duddle (US) - (Canada)
An Awfully Beastly Business (#6, final book)

Pages: 179
Ages: 9+
Finished: Jan. 12, 2013
First Published: 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (ebook)
Genre: MG, fantasy
Rating:  4/5

First sentence: "One cold winter's evening, a man in a long fur coat strode along the snowy streets of Capitol City."

Publisher's Summary: "The sixth title in the exciting adventure-mystery series about a sanctuary for dragons, ogres, werewolves, and other fantastical creatures

Ulf the werewolf is on his most dangerous adventure yet—to Capitol City, where the wicked Baron Marackai is plotting the return of the beast trade and the end of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Beasts (RSPCB). With the public calling for beasts to be banished from the city, or worse still, destroyed, it's up to Ulf to protect them and get to the bottom…

12. Questions of Life ? by Nicky Gumbel

Questions of Life ? by Nicky Gumbel.  Illustrations by Charley Mackesy (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 208
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 11 2013
First Published: 2007 (revised edition) (2012 printing)
Publisher: Alpha North America
Genre: christian, apologetics, theology, nonfiction
Rating:  5/5

First sentence: "For many years I had three objections to the Christian faith."

Publisher's Summary: "Latest Edition
Get a picture of the entire Alpha course in one book! Packed with humor, anecdotes, wisdom and profound teaching, Nicky Gumbel''''s international bestseller introduces the person of Jesus Christ and invites the reader to discover the Man who has fascinated us for 2,000 years!

This is a must have for both your Alpha Course team members and course guests. Questions of Life is a great gift to give to those wanting to know more about Christ and the Christian faith. 
Foundational reading for anyone involved in an Alpha course. Individual chapters of Alpha-Questions …

10. Captain Awesome and the New Kid by Stan Kirby

Captain Awesome and the New Kid by Stan Kirby. Illustrated by George O'Connor (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle) Captain Awesome, #3
Pages: 115 Ages: 6+ Finished: Jan. 9, 2013 First Published: May 8, 2012 Publisher: Little Simon Genre: early chapter book, superhero, children Rating:  4/5
First sentence: ""Run!" Captain Awesome grabbed the Frisbee and raced for his life!"
Publisher's Summary: "Captain Awesome and Nacho Cheese Man are up to their old tricks...saving the universe through the defeat of one bad guy at a time. From Mr. Drools to Dr. Spinach, evil doesn’t stand a chance in Sunnyview! But when a new student named Sally Williams joins Ms. Beasley’s class, the boys wonder if she is friend or foe. Eugene also contemplates inviting a new feline friend to join the Squad… much to Turbo’s disapproval. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Captain Awesome chapter books are perfect for beginning readers!"

Acquired:  Received…

9. May Day by F. Scott Fitzgerald

May Day by F. Scott Fitzgerald (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
The Art of the Novella Series

Pages: 94
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 7 2013
First Published: 1920; (this edition, 2009)
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Genre: novella, literature
Rating:  4/5

First sentence: "At nine o'clock on the morning of the first of May, 1919, a young man spoke to the room clerk at the Biltmore Hotel, asking if Mr. Phillip Dean were registered there, and if so, could he be connected with Mr. Dean's rooms."

Publisher's Summary: "Although F. Scott Fitzgerald is known for the kind of subtle, polished social commentary found in his masterpiece The Great Gatsby, his little-known novella May Day is unique in that it is the most raw, direct political commentary he ever wrote, and one of the most desperate works in his oeuvre.

It is a tale of the brutalities of the American class system—of privileged college boys, soldiers returned from a bloody war, and a group of intellectual left-wing…

Movie Break - The King's Speech (2010)

The King's Speech (2010) (British) (at my Dad's)
This movie was an easy pick, I just walked over to the many shelves, stopped in front of one, saw this which I had always wanted to see and asked if Dad was agreeable and he said he hadn't watched it yet either, so we were set.  I LOVED THIS MOVIE!  My eldest son was as early talker but he stuttered until he was six, he grew out of it but the cause for it disappeared from his life too but that has given me an affection for stammerers.  I felt so deeply for King George throughout this movie, have always had a soft spot for the Queen Mum (Queen Elizabeth in the movie) and both were played brilliantly by Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter.  But truly this is Bertie and Lionel's story as they form an unlikely friendship and conquer a speech impediment for a man who must speak publicly as his duty to his country through a most grievous time.  I was pleased that Wallis and Edward were shown to be the selfish people they were…

Movie Break - The Colditz Story (1955)

The Colditz Story (1955) (B/W) (British) (at my Dad's)
I'm in Calgary and this is the first movie I watched with my Dad, also my first movie of the year.  Dad let me choose the movie but he has sooooo many DVD's that I said something either epic, war movie or British.  So he brought over a 5-pack of British war movies.  Since I'd heard of this book, I picked this movie.  I usually end up watching a lot of war movies whilst I'm here.  I really enjoyed the movie.  I'm not up on British actors but have seen a lot of British movies so I recognized a lot faces without knowing who the actors were.  Based on a book of a true story of a German POW prison for allied POW's who were prone to escaping this prison was lauded as being escape-proof.  Colditz is famous for being the one prison with the most successful escapes during both world wars combined.The tale tells of the many unsuccessful escape attempts of the prisoners and their morale defeating return to base un…

Short Story: "Shaming the Devil" by Mary Sergeant

"Shaming the Devil" by Mary Sergeant
a short story

Illustrated by Norstrand

from WOMAN MAGAZINE, August 10, 1955, pg 9

First Sentence:  "The india-rubber tip of the elephant's trunk nibbled Joanna's palm, then with an insolent swing her threepenny bit was merely one more jingle in the keeper's pocket."

Last Sentence:  "And to me," he whispered. "The most beautiful sense in the world."

Author:  I can't find anything about the author, but I have found two books written by a Mary Sergeant in the early 1950s published in England (as was this magazine).  I can't find any information about the books either but from the titles they sound like romances, perhaps Gothic romance.  Certainly a good chance this is the same author in question.

I actually really enjoyed this story even though it was quite trite.  An orphan brought up by a widowed aunt who suddenly dies at age sixty.  Now the nineteen year old is forced to move to the ci…

07. Roadwork by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

Roadwork by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Pages: 207
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 6 2013
First Published: 1981
Publisher: New American Library
Genre: psychological suspense
Rating:  3.5/5

First sentence: "He kept doing things without letting himself think about them."

Publisher's Summary: "They're tearing down Bart Dawes's home, leveling his memories, and destroying his past, all for a new highway extension. Funny what that kind of progress can do to a man. Scary, too."

Acquired:  Purchased the omnibus edition from a used book store.  This is the same edition I bought new when it first came out.

Reason for Reading:  I'm re/reading Stephen King's works in chronological order and this was next in line.

This is my first re-read that I went into it with absolutely no memory of the story whatsoever.  And my copy only has some vague sentence about an angry man fighting back as a summary so I was none the wiser from that.  As I …

Short Story: "Miss Ella" by Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

"Miss Ella" by Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald
a short story

Painting by Chuck Wilkinson

from LADIES' HOME JOURNAL MAGAZINE, January 1971, pg 78

First Sentence:  "Bitter things dried behind the eyes of Miss Ella like garlic on a string before an open fire."

Last Sentence:  "She drove with Aunt Ella in the afternoons, took an interest in the tiny church, and all the time the rims about her eyes grew redder and redder, like those of a person leaning over a hot fire, but she was not a kitchen sort of person, withal."

Author:  No need to look up who this author is, the wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I did do some searching to find out about the story though.  The magazine mentions that the story has been "long lost and now happily rediscovered".  In my brief research I found that when mentioning Zelda's short stories this one was often mentioned by name as being of high quality, so it was quite exciting to find its run here in this magazine…

Short Story: "Daydreams" by Merrill Joan Gerber

"Daydreams" by Merrill Joan Gerber
a short story


from LADIES' HOME JOURNAL MAGAZINE, November 1970, pg 106

First Sentence:  "You know how it is about daydreaming.  You're doing something like folding the laundry, having to turn each and every one of your husband's socks right side out, and the only notations on your social calendar for the month are the dentist appointments for the children and the PTA meeting and suddenly a picture comes into your mind of an old sweetheart placing in your arms a dozen American Beauty roses, or of dancing in white satin shoes till the sun rises on a certain New Year's morning."

Last Sentence:  "But that daydream will not be so treacherous as the one that has just left a man, sick to heart, in a phone booth on the other side of the country, simply because a woman wanted to remember when she was young and just beginning to have power."

Author:  Just typing this author in the search bar brings…

03. The Strand Magazine: Nov-Feb.2013

The Strand Magazine Nov.-Feb. 2013 (Subscription)

Pages: 80
Ages: 16+
Finished: Jan. 01, 2013
First Published: Nov, 2012
Publisher: The Strand Magazine
Genre: magazine, mystery, thriller
Rating: 3/5

First sentence: "The very first letter Frederick Lowell slit open and read at his desk Monday morning would, he realized, change the course of history."

Publisher's Summary:  none available.

Reason for Reading: I enjoyed the last issue (my first time reading this magazine) so much I just had to get the next one.

I had heard of every author in this issue and actually read three of them, which made me excited to read all the stories.  Unfortunately, only the first and last stories were excellent, with the middle three being mediocre or less.  However, I wouldn't say I was disappointed with the magazine at all, as I very much enjoy reading the book advertisements throughout and the reviews at the end.  I have no interest in author interviews so do not read them; there is one…

2013 ARC Reading Challenge - COMPLETED

Once again Teddy is hosting the ARC challenge and though I intend on doing more reading of my own books this year that's not going to stop me reading the ARCs that do come in and I'll still be reading from Mt. ARC as well.  Rules are same as usual and I'll be joining the top level of Platinum of 35+ books.  As usual I am self-imposing a 100 pg minimum on the books I include in this challenge.

Post links here.

1. Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors by Ann Rule
2. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me by Ellen Forney
3. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 12 by Hiroshi Shiibashi
4. Judge Dredd: The Garth Ennis Collection
5. Captain Awesome and the New Kid by Stan Kirby
6. Questions of Life ? by Nicky Gumbel
7. Rally Round the Corpse by Hy Conrad
8. Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffrey Blount
9. Speaking From Amongst the Bones by Alan Bradley
10. Justice League, Vol. 2: The Villain's Journey by Geoff Johns
11. The Starry Window by Patricia Bow
12. Oddkins: A Fable For…

01. Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors by Ann Rule

Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors and Other True Cases by Ann Rule (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
Ann Rule's Crime Files: Vol. 16

Pages: 513
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 1 2013
First Published: Nov. 27, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: true crime, murder, serial killers
Rating:  4/5

First sentence: "One of the questions I am asked frequently is "Don't you have nightmares about the cases you cover?"  Usually, I don't."

Publisher's Summary: "TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT 
It’s a chilling reality that homicide investigators know all too well: the last face most murder victims see is not that of a stranger, but of someone familiar. Whether only an acquaintance or a trusted intimate, such killers share a common trait that triggers the downward spiral toward death for someone close to them: they are masters at hiding who they really are. Their clever masks let them appear safe, kind, and truthful. They are anything but—and almost no one can detect the murderous impul…