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Showing posts from February, 2013

39. The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo

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The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo (5/5)


Feb. 5, 2013, William Morrow, 336 pgs
Ages: 18+
(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

"Told with the verve and ghoulish fun of a Tim Burton film, The Lady and Her Monsters is a highly entertaining blend of literary history, lore, and early scientific exploration that traces the origins of the greatest horror story of all time–Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Exploring the frightful milieu in which Frankenstein was written, Roseanne Montillo, an exciting new literary talent, recounts how Shelley's Victor Frankenstein mirrored actual scientists of the period. Montillo paints a rich portrait of Shelley and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their contemporaries and their friend Lord Byron. Intellectually curious, they were artists, poets, and philosophers, united in captivation with the occultists and daring scientists risking their r…

38. Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages by Dean Koontz.

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Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages by Dean Koontz. Illustrated by Phil Parks (5/5)

1998 original
Sept. 4 2012, Mel Parker Books, 180 pgs
(Kindle) Only


"Toymaker Isaac Bodkins created the Oddkins, a group of living toys, for very special children who face difficulties in life and need true friends. There’s Amos, the brave stuffed bear; Skippy, the rabbit who dreams of being a superstar; Butterscotch, the gentle, floppy-eared pup; Burl the elephant; the wise and scholarly Gibbons; and Patch the cat. The Oddkins are given to children to inspire, support, and love them, especially during times of adversity. Only now, the toys themselves are the ones who need help. Before he dies, Mr. Bodkins delivers a dire warning to Amos the bear: Watch out for an evil toymaker and his dangerous creations! Locked up in the dark sub-basement, another group of toys is climbing out of boxes and crates and coming to life themselves. These bad toys—like Rex and Lizzie, the puppets with no strings; Gear, the v…

37. The Starry Window by Patricia Bow

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The Starry Window by Patricia Bow (4/5)
Passage to Mythrin, Book 3

2012, Patricia Bow, 224 pgs.

"The Starry Window continues the adventures of Amelia Hammer, accidentally part-dragon, her dorky but kind-hearted cousin Simon, and Simon's geeky friend Ike.Something is poisoning the system of hidden gates and passages linking Earth and Mythrin. And on Mythrin, dragons are being enslaved. When two strangers appear in Dunstone, without names or memories or even clothes, Amelia knows in her bones that the blue-haired boy is her dragon friend, Ty. But who is the tall man with lilac eyes?Amelia, Simon and Ike trace the poison to a gate under Dunstone's new mall, where escalators are turning carnivorous, and to the horrific School for Wayward Youth that once stood there. The gate is a copy of a starry window on Mythrin that shows Simon's image, but it's gone bad; and he hears someone calling for help from beyond.The strange brew comes to a boil, causing mayhem in quiet littl…

36. The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain

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The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain (5/5)
The Art of the Novella series

1899; 2007, Melville House, 128 pgs.

"Written on hotel stationery while Twain was in Europe on the run from American creditors, soon after the death of his daughter, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg is often cited as a work of bitter cynicism—a statement on America, to some, on the Dreyfus Case, to others—created by a weary author at the end of his career.

Others appreciate the work because it is, simply, Mark Twain at his best. The story of a mysterious stranger who orchestrates a fraud embarrassing the hypocritical citizens of “incorruptible” Hadleyburg. The novella is an exceptionally crafted work intertwining a devious and suspenseful plot with some of the wittiest dialogue Twain ever wrote. And like the most masterful literature, it subverts any notion of easy conclusion: is Hadleyburg ruined, or liberated? Is the mysterious stranger Satan, or a hero? Is this a book of revenge, or redemption? O…

32. The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

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The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle) = FREE
Father Brown Mysteries, #2

Pages: 196
Ages: 18+
Finished: Feb. 9, 2013
First Published: 1914
Publisher: A Public Domain Book
Interests: Catholic, mystery, crime
Rating:  3.5/5

First sentence: "The consulting-rooms of Dr. Orion Hood, the eminent criminologist and specialist in certain moral disorders, lay along the sea-front at Scarborough, in a series of very large and well-lighted french windows, which showed the North Sea like one endless outer wall of Blue-green marble."

Publisher's Summary: "This is the second book of short stories about G. K. Chesterton’s fictional detective. Father Brown is a short, nondescript Catholic Priest with shapeless clothes and a large umbrella who has an uncanny insight into human evil. His methods, unlike those of his near contemporary Sherlock Holmes, although based on observation of details often unnoticed by others, tended to be intuitive rather than d…

27. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

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Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. Pictures by Macky Pamintuan. (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
Flat Stanley, #1

Pages: 112 pg
Ages: 6+
Finished: Feb 5, 2013
First Published: 1964 (with these illustrations, 2009)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Interests: children, fantasy, humour
Rating:  4/5

First sentence: "Breakfast was ready"

Publisher's Summary: "When Stanley Lambchop wakes up one morning, his brother, Arthur, is yelling.

A bulletin board fell on Stanley during the night, and now he is only half an inch thick!

Amazing things begin happening to him. Stanley gets rolled up, mailed, and flown like a kite. He even gets to help catch two dangerous art thieves. He may be flat, but he's a hero!"

Acquired:  Purchased a digital ebook.

Reason for Reading:  My son read this as his reader while I was away on vacation and I promised I would read it too.  I have read it before a few other times in the past.

Stanley's original adventure never ceases to amuse me and any child I have …

26. Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

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Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle) Flavia de Luce Mystery, #5
Pages: 362 Ages: 18+ Finished: Feb 3, 2013 First Published: Jan 29, 2013 Publisher: Doubleday Canada Interests: cosy mystery, British village, Canadian author Rating:  4/5
First sentence: "Blood dripped from the neck of the severed head and fell in a drizzle of red raindrops, clotting into a ruby pool upon the black and white tiles."
Publisher's Summary: "In the fifth book of the New York Times bestselling series, featuring Flavia de Luce, Alan Bradley pens his most chilling mystery yet, and introduces a new character into the mix whose actions will have lasting consequences on Bishop's Lacey, the de Luce family, and especially Flavia herself.
When the tomb of St. Tancred is opened at the village church in Bishop's Lacey, its shocking contents lead to another case for Flavia de Luce. Greed, pride, and murder result in old secrets coming to light—along with a for…

22. Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffrey Blount

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Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffrey Blount (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Pages: 105
Ages: 12+
Finished: Jan. 25, 2013
First Published: October 25, 2012
Publisher: Alluvion Press
Interests: YA, realistic fiction, friendship, death, grief
Rating:  5/5

First sentence: "I have never been very good with faces."

Publisher's Summary: "Mae McBride and Heidi Foster were the very best of friends. Tied at the hip from early elementary school, their relationship was the stuff of storybooks, legendary even, in the minds of their high school classmates.

Unshakable. 

That is, until Mae's father died while saving Heidi's life. When Mae finds out, she blames Heidi. She blames her father for putting Heidi ahead of her. She blames her friends for taking Heidi’s side. She begins to unravel amid that blame and her uncontrollable and atypical anger.

At the same time Heidi is beset by guilt, falls into depression and stops eating properly; wasting away physically and emotionally while waitin…