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Showing posts from March, 2013

75. The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher

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The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher

Rating: (4/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Feb. 5, 2013, Broadway/Crown, 100 pgs
Age: 18+

"From a basement office in London’s notorious Bethlehem Hospital, former policeman and Pinkerton agent Sebastian Becker is sent to interview Sir Owain Lancaster at his country estate. They wealthy industrialist returned alone from a disastrous scientific adventure in the Amazon, claiming that wild beasts killed his family and colleagues. He tells Becker that the same dark creatures have followed him home and are responsible for the deaths of two local girls and rumors of beasts on the moor. But while madmen may see monsters, some monsters hide in plain sight."
Madness, insane asylums and post-Victorian London; three things that have me salivating to read a book!  The Bedlam Detective was no disappointment.  A crossover between historical fiction and mystery, this book is more on the literary side to please those looking for historical/mystery rathe…

Killer Charm: The Double Lives of Psychopaths by Linda Fairstein

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Killer Charm: The Double Lives of Psychopaths by Linda Fairstein (3/5)

(Kindle) Only

2009, Jul. 10 2012, Open Road, 11 pgs
Age: 18+

"The 2009 “Craigslist Killer” murder case shocked America, not just because of the heinous nature of the crimes but because their perpetrator—a handsome young law student with an unsuspecting girlfriend—seemed a very unlikely suspect. This killer, like others before him, had learned to leverage his charm and golden-boy looks to lure his victims, a skill many psychopaths learn to master. In Killer Charm, legal expert Linda Fairstein draws on her decades of experience in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to uncover what traits psychopaths often share, and how to spot them. She illustrates these points with the stories of some of America’s most notorious sex criminals, such as Ted Bundy and Marvin Teicher.Originally published in Cosmopolitan, this essay is now available in digital format for the first time and features a new introduction by the au…

72. The Devil by Leo Tolstoy

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The Devil by Leo Tolstoy. Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude. (4/5)
The Art of the Novella series

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

1889, May 1 2004, Melville House, 100 pgs
Age: 18+

"Leo Tolstoy is known for epic novels that brilliantly dissect society, but the novella The Devil may be the most personally revealing—and startling—fiction he ever wrote. He thought it so scandalous, in fact, that he hid the manuscript in the upholstery of a chair in his office so his wife wouldn’t find it, and he would never allow it to be published in his lifetime.Perhaps that’s because the gripping tale of an aristocratic landowner slowly overcome with unrelenting sexual desire for one of the peasants on his estate was strikingly similar to an affair Tolstoy himself had. Regardless, the tale—presented here with the two separate endings Tolstoy couldn’t decide between—is a scintillating study of sexual attraction and human obsession."
 An entertaining, though overdramatic, tale of a man's fight…

71. Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation by Lou Scheimer with Andy Mangels

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Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation by Lou Scheimer with Andy Mangels (5/5)

(US) - (Canada)

Nov. 7, 2012, TwoMorrows Publishing, 288 pgs
Age: 18+

"Hailed as one of the fathers of Saturday morning television, Lou Scheimer was the co-founder of Filmation Studios, which for over 25 years provided animated excitement for TV and film. Always at the forefront, Scheimer’s company created the first DC cartoons with Superman, Batman, and Aquaman, ruled the song charts with The Archies, kept Trekkie hope alive with the Emmy-winning Star Trek: The Animated Series, taught morals with Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, and swung into high adventure with Tarzan, The Lone Ranger, and Zorro.  Forays into live-action included Shazam! and The Secrets of Isis, plus ground-breaking special effects work on Jason of Star Command and others. And in the 1980s, Filmation single-handedly caused the syndication explosion with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and its successors. Now, with best…

66. The Enchanted Wanderer by Nikolai Leskov

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The Enchanted Wanderer by Nikolai Leskov. Translated by Ian Dreiblatt (3.5/5)
Art of the Novella series

1873; 2012, Melville House, 210 pgs

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

"The Enchanted Wanderer is a Russian Candide with a revolutionary edge, a picaresque that features a fast-talking monk named Ivan who is at war, it seems, with every level of society. Working as a carriage man for a Count, Ivan accidentally causes the death of a monk, which leads to his being ostracized by the local peasantry . . . until the dead monk returns as a ghost to guide him through trouble upon trouble."
This month I received two books of Russian literature and decided to start with this one as compared to the other novellas I've been reading it is a veritable tome at 210 pages.  Which I guess is appropriate for a novella of Russian Lit when you think of the average length of a Russian novel. LOL  I haven't read any classic Russian works unless you count Doctor Zhivago and modern 20th century aut…

65. Night's Child by Maureen Jennings

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Night's Child by Maureen Jennings (4/5)
Murdoch Mysteries, #5

2005, Feb 26 2013, McClelland & Stewart, 384 pgs
Ages: 18+

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

"Gorgeous new TV tie-in edition of Maureen Jennings's immensely popular Inspector Murdoch series, basis for the long-running The Murdoch Mysteries, now on CBC.After thirteen-year-old Agnes Fisher faints at school, her teacher, the young and idealistic Amy Slade, is shocked to discover photographs in the girl's desk. One is of Agnes in a lewd pose, captioned "What Mr. Newly Wed Really Wants." When Agnes does not show up at school the next day, her teacher takes the two photographs to the police. Then Detective Murdoch, furious at the sexual exploitation of such a young girl, sets out to find the photographer and put him behind bars."
The seven books in this series have been re-issued with matching covers taken from the television series, which is pleasing for fans of the show but not always appropriate for …

62. Legend of an Iron Tower and Other Fables... by Natalia Dobzhanska

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Legend of an Iron Tower and Other Fables... by Natalia Dobzhanska. Translated from the Ukraine by Natalia Dobzhanska and Alan Knight (4/5)

2012, Knight Publishing Company, Kindle Edition, 154 pages
Purchased when offered as a freebie

(Kindle) Only

"A Book of seventeen original stories about dreams and losses, pride and forgiveness, fear and sacrifice, misery and hope…. In most of the stories the heroes undergo personal conflicts... a man has no face of his own, an inventor finds a pair of boots left just for potential suicides, an angel comes to Earth with the secret wish to save humankind, a man feeds a dragon that lives inside him, a mother prays to God to give her daughter a special gift... a knight without fear or doubt ignores an ancient prophesy, a mysterious clown comes to a sad princess to make her merry, a Cloud is perpetually disappointed with the Sun whom she loves… Eight of the stories were first published in the author’s prize-winning 2007 book, «Хроніки пустелі» (“Ch…

61. Iscariot by Tosca Lee

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Iscariot: A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee (4/5)


Feb. 5 2013, Howard Books/Simon & Schuster Canada, 352 pgs
Ages: 18+
(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

"Based on extensive research into the life and times of Judas Iscariot, this triumph of fiction storytelling by the author of Havah: The Story of Eve revisits one of biblical history’s most maligned figures and brings the world he inhabited vividly to life.
In Jesus, Judas believes he has found the One—the promised Messiah and future king of the Jews, destined to overthrow Roman rule. Galvanized, he joins the Nazarene’s followers, ready to enact the change he has waited for all his life. But soon Judas’s vision of a nation free from Rome is crushed by the inexplicable actions of the Nazarene himself, who will not bow to social or religious convention—who seems, in the end, to even turn against his own people. At last, Judas must confront the fact that the master he loves is not the liberator he hoped for, but a man bent on a drastically d…

58. Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers

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Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers by Dav Pilkey (4/5)
Captain Underpants, #10


2013, Scholastic Canada, 288 pgs
Ages: 7+
(US) - (Canada)

"When we last saw our heroes, George and Harold, they had been turned into evil zombie nerds doomed to roam a devastated, post apocalyptic planet for all eternity. But why, you might ask, didn't the amazing Captain Underpants save the boys from this frightening fate? Because Tippy Tinkletrousers and his time-traveling hijinks prevented George and Harold from creating Captain Underpants in the first place! Now, having changed the course of human history forever, they'll have to figure out a way to CHANGE IT BACK. 
Could this be the end for Captain Underpants?!!"

I've read a handful of books by Pilkey but this is actually my first "Captain Underpants".  Now I'll be the first to admit this is not great literature but I'm not a book snob when it comes to funny, entertaining boo…

56. Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady

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Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady. Frontispiece by Edward Gorey (4/5)
Bloomsbury Group


1964; 2011, Bloomsbury, 288 pgs
Ages: 18+
(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

"When recently orphaned Barnaby Gaunt is sent to stay with his uncle on a beautiful remote island off the coast of Canada, he is all set to have the perfect summer holiday. Except there is one small problem: His uncle is trying to kill him.Heir to a ten-million-dollar fortune, Barnaby tries to tell everyone and anyone that his uncle is after his inheritance, but no one will believe him. That is, until he tells the only other child on the island, Chrissie, who concludes that there is only one way for Barnaby to stop his demonic uncle: He will just have to kill him first. With the unexpected help of One-Ear, the aged cougar who has tormented the island for years, Chrissie and Barnaby hatch a foolproof plan.Playful, dark, and witty, Let's Kill Uncle is a surprising tale of two ordinary children who conspire to execute a…

53/54 DC Super Heroes: The Dark Knight

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DC Super Heroes: The Dark Knight
2013, Capstone Press
Pages: 88
Ages: 8+




53. The Joker Virus by Scott Peterson. Illustrated by Mike Cavallaro (5/5)

(US) - (Canada)

This series already has a large selection of Batman books but new this year is the sub series "The Dark Knight".  I was quite impressed with this book.  First, I'll start by saying I hate the Joker, and the childish comical way he is usually portrayed in anything aimed at kids makes me hate him even more as a character.  However, Peterson has written a delightfully dark story here deserving of "The Dark Knight"'s time.  The Joker is mean, nasty, hates kids and even "sadistic".  This is a page turning story featuring Tim Drake as Robin and will be highly enjoyed by kids who are gamers when they find out that gaming plays a major role in the theme.







54. Cat Commander by J.E. Bright. Illustrated by Luciano Vecchio (4/5)

(US) - (Canada)

I do like these new entries replacing the "Batman" seq…

49. That Boy Red by Rachna Gilmore

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That Boy Red by Rachna Gilmore (5/5)


Apr. 4, 2011, Harper Trophy Canada, 208 pgs
Ages: 9+
(US - Kindle Only) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

"It’s the Depression, but Red’s family is managing better than most on their Prince Edward Island farm. Hard working and resourceful, they have enough to eat and to help others, even if at times they are mocked by their neighbours for putting education ahead of farm work. Eleven-year-old Red has plenty of chores around the farm, and the days can be long, but he still gets the odd break to go swimming or fishing, provided his homework is done. Red’s older sister, Ellen, teaches at the local school, and if Red doesn’t shine, she will not only punish him, but also make sure their parents hear about it.But then Red’s father’s hand is seriously injured and the family’s situation looks dire. Red steps up to the challenge, finishing the tobacco boxes that his father makes and helping shovel out a train stuck in the snow. Stubborn and even pigheaded, Red does …

48. A Question of Identity by Susan Hill

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A Question of Identity by Susan Hill (4.5/5)
Simon Serrailler, #7


Jan. 8, 2013, Knopf Canada, 368 pgs
Ages: 18+
(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

"Lafferton is struggling through a bitter winter, with heavy snowfalls paralysing the town, though at least the police can be sure the ram raiders who have been targeting antique and jewellers' shops will be lying low.
The biggest worry the elderly have is how to keep warm, until 82-year-old Doris Upcott is found strangled in her home, followed by the deaths of 2 other residents of the same sheltered housing complex. Each time, the murderer has left a unique signature at the crime scene, which should help DCS Simon Serrailler, desperate to identify him before he kills again.When links are found between these and 3 similar murders elsewhere, Serrailler is obliged to cross unfamiliar territory in his search for answers."

Probably the best book in the Serrailler series I've read!  A brilliant crime novel where we are taken inside the mi…

46/47. DC Super Heroes: The Man of Steel

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DC Super Heroes: The Man of Steel
2013, Capstone Press
Pages: 88
Ages: 8+


46. Demons of Space by Laurie S. Sutton. Illustrated by Luciano Vecchio (3/5)

(US) - (Canada)

The latest offering in Capstone's DC Super Heroes chapter book series is a renaming of Superman to "The Man of Steel".  There are tons of Superman books in the series already and I presume the new name will now be where the new titles will be listed.  Throughout the book "Supe" is alternately called by both names.  The first part of this story was great as Superman was called upon by Orion and Big Barda to help stop Darkseid's newest devastating plot.  Granny Goodness and Kalibak show up briefly trying to stop O. and BB from arriving but they are too late and Darkseid shows up as everyone is postulating anyway.  I loved the showdown between Superman and Darkseid but as their encounter takes them to Jupiter I found the writing devolved into an astronomy lesson about the planet.  Other than tha…

43. Fanfarlo by Charles Baudelaire

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Fanfarlo by Charles Baudelaire. Translated by Edward K. Kaplan. (2.5/5)
The Art of the Novella


1847; Aug, 2012, Melville House, 64 pgs
Ages: 18+
(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

"Ten years before Baudelaire published his masterpiece, The Flowers of Evil, the great poet penned the only prose fiction of his career: La Fanfarlo. The novella describes the torrid real-life affair the poet had with Jean Duval, a dancer whose beauty and sexuality Baudelaire came to obsess over. The outcome is a work of raw emotional power and a clear distillation of the Parisian’s poetic genius. As Baudelaire himself said, “Always be a poet, even in prose.”"

This was the second selection from Melville House's Novella Book Club this month.  I don't generally get on well with French literature or historical books about France so even though I was game to give this short read my best effort I wasn't too impressed.  Very verbose with flowery and excessive language.  Paragraphs could have been writt…

Shining Agnes by Sara Banerji

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Shining Agnes by Sara Banerji (5/5)
A Bloomsbury Reader

1990; 2012, Bloomsbury, 200 pgs
Ages: 18+
(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

"In a once great, now falling, mansion live an aristocratic family: Alice, huge, sad and longing for love; her paralyzed mother who is subject to wild and eccentric enthusiasms; and the foster child Agnes, whose desire to be an actress sets in motion a train of bizarre and horrifying events.Then love comes to Alice in the form of beautiful but furtive Vincent who has moved in next door. But does he want Alice for herself or for the treasures that she digs from the rubble of her tumbled home? And how does he view Alice's obsession with compost, the making of which she compares to the growth of spirituality and the purging away of sin?Black comedy lurks beneath the surface of this gloriously imaginative novel from the author of Cobweb Walking, The Wedding of Jayanthi Mandel and The Tea-Planter's Daughter."


Brilliant!  A novel of Catholicism, miracles,…