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Showing posts from July, 2013

234. Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee

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Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee

Rating: (4/5)

(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)

2012; Jun 11, 2013 Algonquin Books, 209 pgs

Age: 18+
"Rebecca Lee, one of our most gifted and original short story writers, guides readers into a range of landscapes, both foreign and domestic, crafting stories as rich as novels. A student plagiarizes a paper and holds fast to her alibi until she finds herself complicit in the resurrection of one professor's shadowy past. A dinner party becomes the occasion for the dissolution of more than one marriage. A woman is hired to find a wife for the one true soulmate she's ever found. In all, Rebecca Lee traverses the terrain of infidelity, obligation, sacrifice, jealousy, and yet finally, optimism. Showing people at their most vulnerable, Lee creates characters so wonderfully flawed, so driven by their desire, so compelled to make sense of their human condition, that it's impossible not to feel for them when their fragile belief in romant…

212. The Wonders of the Holy Name by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. (E.D.M.)

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Sunday's Christian Book Review
The Wonders of the Holy Name by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. (E.D.M.)

Rating: (3.5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

1947; 1993, TAN Books, 45 pgs
(current edition is 2009)

Age: 18+

"Few Catholics today know about the amazing power of the Holy Name of Jesus. Urges us to invoke the name of Jesus often. By reverent use of the Holy Name, we can glorify God, call on His aid, pay our spiritual debts, assist the Poor Souls, etc. Remarkable!"
A friend gave me a bunch of her books when she moved, including this.

Starts off with three letters of approbation from Cardinals from 1947. An interesting little booklet that discusses the history, method and doctrine of praying the name of Jesus, repeatedly many times through the day. First discusses the wonders of the Holy Name and what exactly saying "Jesus" means.  Next follows a succession of historical events where calling upon the Holy Name brought relief and answers to prayers such as the plague in…

2013 Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge - FINISHED

(edited) - Today I officially finished this challenge, having signed up for the Lieutenant level of 15 books.  Since the challenge goes until the end of 2013 I will continue to participate and see how far I can rise up the ranks but at the rate I've been going this year I doubt I'll become a Sherlock Holmes.)

1 novel = 100 pgs
5 short stories = 1 novel


5 books= Detective
10 books = Sergeant
15 books = Lieutenant
20 books = Captain
25 books = Chief
30+ books = Sherlock Holmes

sign-up link

Post reviews
1. Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors and Other True Cases by Ann Rule 2. Rally 'Round the Corpse by Hy Conrad 3. Speaking From Amongst the Bones by Alan Bradley 4. The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton 5. A Question of Identity by Susan Hill 6. Night's Child by Maureen Jennings 7. The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher 8. More Twisted: Collected Stories 2 by Jeffery Deaver 9. The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler 10. The Woodshed Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner 11. The Ni…

230. The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler

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The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler. Translated by Laura A. Wideburg
Joona Linna, #3

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

Jul 9, 2013, McClelland & Stewart, 512 pgs

Age: 18+

"Psychologically tense and as fast-paced as The Hypnotist, the third book in the Joona Linna series by Lars Kepler is already a worldwide sensation, appealing to fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. Detective Inspector Joona Linna, under internal review by the National Police for an alleged infraction, is on leave to solve some troubling personal business when he is called in to "observe" the investigation of a gruesome and strange murder at Birgittagarden, a youth home for wayward teenage girls. But it's not long before Linna is drawn deeply into the intricate, disturbing case. Intriguing, astonishing, and with all of the suspense that first captured audiences in The Hypnotist, The Fire Witness is Lars Kepler at his most psychologically complex and thrilling."


Received a review copy from Rand…

228. A Journey Through History: A Guide to the Niagara Parkway from Chippawa to Black Creek by Paul Krueger

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A Journey Through History: A Guide to the Niagara Parkway from Chippawa to Black Creek by Paul Krueger

Rating: (4/5)

(US) - (available online new only here in Canada)

2002, Willoughby Historical Museum, 48 pgs

Age: 18+

"This booklet is intended to be a guide for the 11.5 km (7.2 mile) stretch of the Niagara Parkway/Niagara Parks Commission Recreational Trail, from Chippawa (King's Bridge Park) to Black Creek."
A friend loaned me the book.

If you go down to the end of my street you will be on the Niagara Parkway and driving anywhere along this road is a beautiful scenic drive.  This little guidebook takes you from the village of Chippawa down to an area called Black Creek where a thriving town was stood.  There are not a lot of actual historical sites left standing along this route but the area is extremely rich in historical background being both a major area for the War of 1812 and the Rebellion of 1837.  One of the greatest victories for the US Army ever, The Battle of …

227. The Lighthouse Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner

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The Lighthouse Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Boxcar Children, #8

Rating: (3.5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

1963, Scholastic, 128 pgs

Age: 7+

"Renting a lighthouse is unusual, but even more so is an unfriendly boy's peculiar behavior."
Purchased a used copy from a thrift store.

I am in the process of re-reading the original 19 in order.  This book takes place immediately following book 7, The Woodshed Mystery.  It is the same summer and as the family is driving home from a visit to nearby Aunt Jane's new home, they decide to stop at the beach where they find a lighthouse for sale.  They end up renting instead of buying and this is where they stay for the next couple of weeks.  While the last book had one of the finest mysteries to date in the series, this one is hard pressed to even find a mystery within its pages.  A truly charming story which I thoroughly enjoyed but the mystery consisted of wondering what the boy next door was up to and figuring it out all ver…

226. The Truth is Out There Vol. 1: Brendan & Erc in Exile by Amadeus

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You may have noticed that this month I started posting reviews of Christian books on Sundays.  This is a feature I plan on continuing.  Today's review is of this wonderful Catholic graphic novel, but since I have a separate blog for my graphic novel reviews I'll just leave you with a link to the review in case you'd like to go check it out!


SHORT STORY: The Sparrow by Jason Mott

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SHORT STORY: The Sparrow by Jason Mott
The Returned Prequel Trilogy, #2

Rating: (5/5)

(Kindle US) - (Kindle CAN) - (Kindle UK)

Jun. 1, 2013, Harlequin MIRA, 29 pgs

Age: 18+

"In this short story by Jason Mott, author of The Returned, one determined couple seeks to reunite a young girl with the father who thought he had lost her forever...When Heather and Matt Campbell find ten-year-old Tatiana Rusesa on the side of the highway, she is thousands of miles away from her village in Sierra Leone. She hasn't seen her family in almost two decades, not since she and her mother were killed by rebel soldiers. Now Tatiana has inexplicably returned, a lost orphan with no place to call home.As the world dives deeper into uncertainty and chaos, Heather is determined to save Tatiana and help her find her way back to her family. But how much is she willing to lose to protect a girl she doesn't even know?"
Received free from Kindle.

The second prequel short story is even more compellin…

177. Redemption by Jussi Adler-Olsen.

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Redemption by Jussi Adler-Olsen. Translated by Martin Aitken. Department Q, book 3

Rating: (4/5)

(UK) only
(Audible US) only

Jul. 18, 2013, Penguin UK, 628 pgs

Age: 18+

"Two boys, brothers, wake tied and bound in a boathouse by the sea. Their kidnapper has gone, but soon he will return. Their bonds are inescapable. But there is a bottle and tar to seal it. Paper and a splinter for writing; blood for ink. A message begging for help . . .Her husband will not tell the truth: where he goes, what he does, how long he will be away. For days on end she waits and when he returns she must endure his wants, his moods, his threats. But enough is enough. She will find out the truth, no matter the cost to him - or to herself.In Copenhagen's cold cases division Carl Mørck has received a bottle. It holds an old and decayed message, written in blood. It is a cry for help from two boys. Is it real? Who are they and why weren't they reported missing? Can they possibly still be alive?"
R…

MOVIE BREAK - Saint Ralph (2004)

Saint Ralph (2004) (on TV) (at a friends) 
This was on TV last night and a friend and I had planned to get together and have a girls' night in.  She had seen it before but I hadn't and the story line really appealed to me.  It is so refreshing to watch a positive Catholic movie.  It's also wonderful to see such a good quality Canadian made movie which was set locally, Hamilton, ON.  This was just a fabulous movie.  We laughed, we cried, we yelled at the TV, we were rooting for the boy to win the race.  It was a real interactive, sweet, sad and inspirational movie!  I am sooo glad I watched it and it was waaaaay better than I even imagined it would be.  Stars:  Gordon Pinsent, Jennifer Tilly.

SHORT STORY: The First by Jason Mott

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SHORT STORY: The First by Jason Mott
The Returned Prequel Trilogy, #1

Rating: (5/5)

(Kindle) Only

Jun. 1, 2013, Harlequin MIRA, 28 pgs

Age: 18+

"In Jason Mott's haunting and unforgettable debut novel, The Returned, an impossible miracle is occurring all across the globe. Read how it all begins in this short story, The First.It's been just over a year since Edmund Blithe died, and just over a month since his fiancée, Emily, stopped wearing her engagement ring. Emily has finally begun to move on… Until Edmund mysteriously and inexplicably returns, sending the world—and Emily—into a tailspin.Edmund is only just the beginning. Around the world, people's loved ones are returning from beyond, seeking only to reenter the lives they left behind. As the world dives deep into uncertainty, Emily and Edmund are determined to find their way back to one another…even if it means risking everything.The reappearances continue in The Sparrow, and look for The Returned from Harlequin MIR…

214. White Shanghai by Elvira Baryakina

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White Shanghai: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties in China by Elvira Baryakina. Translated by Anna Muzychka & Benjamin Kuttner

Rating: (4/5)

(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)

2011; Dec 10, 2012; Glagoslav Publications, 544 pgs

Age: 18+

"Some called the place the ‘Splendour of the East’; others the ‘Whore of Asia’. A melting pot of different nations, fused by war and commerce, this was the Shanghai of the 1920s.The Great Powers are greedily exploiting China for its cheap labour and reaping the cruel rewards of the opium trade. However, as a flotilla of ships carrying the remnants of the defeated White Army enters Shanghai, the uneasy balance of this frenetic international marketplace comes under threat.Among the refugees is Klim Rogov, a journalist whose life and marriage have been destroyed by the Russian Revolution – all he has left are his quick wits and a keen worldliness that will serve him well in navigating the lawless jungle of Shanghai. He finds work as a reporter at a B…

205 . Miracle Hour: A Method of Prayer That Will Change Your Life by Linda Schubert

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Miracle Hour: A Method of Prayer That Will Change Your Life by Linda Schubert. Foreword by Rev. Robert DeGrandis, S.S.J.

Rating: (4.5/5)

(Kindle) - print copy available from publisher below

1991, Self-published, 33 pgs
Current publisher: Miracles of the Heart
Nihil obstat; Imprimatur

Age: 18+

"A method of prayer that will change your life. A simple format for a daily hour of prayer. Provides a clear format for prayer to help you focus your time. Includes suggestions for specific prayers of praise, intercession and surrender. Available in English and in Spanish. If you wish to buy this as a digital download, its available in 21 languages."
A friend moved into a retirement home and gifted me a lot of religious books and booklets including this.

I talk to God all the time and have no trouble saying my prayers but I have a hard time when I want to ask for something for myself also in maintaining a regular prayer time.  My prayer life has peaks and valleys   This little booklet pr…

210 . Walter the Farting Dog Goes on a Cruise by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray & Elizabeth Gundy

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Walter the Farting Dog Goes on a Cruise by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray* & Elizabeth Gundy. Illustrated by Audrey Colman
Walter the Farting Dog (4)

Rating: (4/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

2006, Puffin Books, 32 pgs

Age: 6+

"Everybody is having a great time on a cruise . . . until a terrible odor permeates the ship. All signs point to Walter, and so he is first banished down below, with the stinky cheeses, and then into a lifeboat to float behind the ocean liner. Then catastrophe strikes! How long will the great cruise ship and its frightened passengers be marooned on the high seas? About as long as it takes Walter to digest that cheese!"
My son received this as a gift a long time ago.  He`s clearing off his shelves and I thought I would read it before sending it to the thrift store.

Honestly, I was not expecting much from this book because of the title and my dislike of toilet humour.  However, I was pleasantly surprised and found a cute, funny, enjoyable story.  Besides …

Reviews of 3 DC Super-Pets Chapter Books

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204 . The Cat Crime Club by Steve Korte. Illustrated by Art Baltazar
Dc Super-Pets

Rating: (3/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

Aug. 1, 2012, Capstone Press, 56 pgs

Age: 6+

"The evil CAT CRIME CLUB plans to steal funds from a local circus, and only KRYPTO and the SPACE CANINE PATROL AGENTS can stop them."
Received a review copy from Capstone Press.

These books all follow a similar pattern and this series has been very popular with young readers.  My son has outgrown it now but he loved it earlier.  I prefer the one on one plots so found this book a bit contrived starring Krypto and the entire Canine Agents vs the Cat Crime Club (characters we've never heard about before).  Superman makes a cameo appearance which is always nice with these pet series as the owner's do not always show up.  My son used to like the ones with a lot of characters so some children may get a thrill out of the number of pets.


207 . Swamp Thing vs the Zombie Pets by Jon Sazaklis. Illustrated by Art Balt…

201 . How the Two Ivans Quarrelled by Nikolai Gogol.

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How the Two Ivans Quarrelled by Nikolai Gogol. Translated by John Cournos.
The Art of the Novella

Rating: (4/5)

(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)

1835; Dec. 2007, Melville House Publishing, 83 pgs

Age: 18+

"This lesser-known work is perhaps the perfect distillation of Nikolai Gogol’s genius: a tale simultaneously animated by a joyful, nearly slapstick sense of humor alongside a resigned cynicism about the human condition.In a sharp-edged translation from John Cournos, an under-appreciated early translator of Russian literature into English, How The Two Ivans Quarrelled is the story of two long-time friends who have a falling out when one of them calls the other a “goose.” From there, the argument intensifies and the escalation becomes more and more ludicrous. Never losing its generous antic spirit, the story nonetheless transitions from whither a friendship, to whither humanity, as it progresses relentlessly to its moving conclusion."
Purchased a copy as part of the publisher&…

200 . Pepita: Inoue meets Gaudi by Takehiko Inoue

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Pepita: Inoue meets Gaudi by Takehiko Inoue. Translated by Emi Louie-Mishikawa

Rating: (4/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

Apr 16, 2013, vizmedia, 108 pgs

Age: 16+

"Takehiko Inoue (Vagabond, Slam Dunk, Real) is one of Japan’s leading manga artists, and he has long been obsessed with the architecture of Antoni Gaudi.  Pepita is a travel memoir about Inoue’s travels to Catalan, the people he meets, and the stunning architecture he experiences. It’s also an art book of the highest quality, constructed and framed by a leading practitioner of Japanese comics."
Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

A famous manga artist keeps a journal while he visits Spain to see first-hand the buildings of a famous architect he greatly admires.  This book appealed to me right away because I love art journals, travelogues and architecture!  It is not exactly what I expected but enjoy it, I did!  Described best perhaps as a coffee table book, this is a very visual book full of illustrat…

187 . Saint Vincent de Paul & 193 . Saint Anthony of Padua

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187 . Saint Vincent de Paul:Servant of Charityby Sister Catherine Ethievant. Illustrated by Augusta Curelli. Translated by Caroline Morson
Along the Paths of the Gospel

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - Out of Print

1999, Pauline Books and Media, 72 pgs

Age: 7+

"Vincent had a big heart. It was filled with all kinds of dreams and wishes. At first, his greatest dream was to become successful and famous. This dream finally did come true, but not at all in the way he had planned. Wonderful things began to happen as soon as Vincent opened his heart up to God."

Purchased a new copy from an online Catholic bookstore.

Saint Vincent de Paul is a saint whose influence is strongly felt today with his charities and religious orders still in full swing 350 years after his death.  This brings a relevance to knowing his story not felt with other often unknown saints.  Vincent wasn't always a saintly man; he grew up wanting what most young men want: career, fame, fortune and that is what he pursued t…

199 . American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1960s, 1960-1964 by John Wells

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American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1960s, 1960-1964 by John Wells

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada)

Nov. 2012, TwoMorrows Publishing, 213 pgs +index & notes

Age: 16+

"The American Comic Book Chronicles is an ambitious new series of FULL-COLOR HARDCOVERS, where TwoMorrows' top authors document every decade of comic book history from the 1940s to today! John Wells leads off with the first of two volumes on the 1960s, covering all the pivotal moments and behind-the-scenes details of comics in the JFK and Beatles era! You'll get a year-by-year account of the most significant publications, notable creators, and impactful trends, including: DC Comics' rebirth of Green Lantern, Hawkman, and others, and the launch of Justice League of America and multiple earths! Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's transformation of superhero comics with the debut of Marvel' Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, X-Men, Avengers, and other iconic characters! Plus Batman gets a "new look", …

DVD Break: The Journey (1990)

The Journey (1990) (DVD) (own)
Had to search a bit to find anything about this but it is on imdb and was an Australian Children's Network made-for-TV movie, part of a show called "More Winners".  Anyway this was a cheesy thing about a witch and a curse set back in the 18-somethings, but still we found it amusing.  It was extremely creepy for a kid's show though.  Wouldn't recommend it but it wasn't a waste of my time either.

Movie Break: Quartet (2004)

Quartet  (2012) (pay per view) (at friend`s)
This wasn`t exactly what I had expected.  I think the original trailer presented it as much more of a comedy than it is.  So when we were presented with such a touching story, I was surprised.  It is a comedy but with much more to it.  The dignified performances by these veteran British actors and musicians is outstanding.  My main interest in the movie was because of Dame Maggie Smith and Billy Connolly.  They did not disappoint and Connolly especially put on a fine performance.  The movie had a bit of a slow start but once it got off the ground I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Not a 5 star but perhaps a 4.

197 . Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell

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Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell

Rating: (4/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

1998, Plume/Penguin, 225 pgs
Current Publisher: Back Bay Books

Age: 18+

"In the Ozarks, what you are is where you are born. If you're born in Venus Holler, you're not much. For Jamalee Merridew, her hair tomato red with rage and ambition, Venus Holler just won't cut it. Jamalee sees her brother Jason, blessed with drop-dead gorgeous looks and the local object of female obsession, as her ticket out of town. But Jason may just be gay, and in the hills and hollows of the Ozarks that is the most dangerous and courageous thing a man could be.Enter Sammy Barlach, a loser ex-con passing through a tired nowhere on the way to a fresher nowhere. Jamalee thinks Sammy is just the kind of muscle she and Jason need."
Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.
Daniel Woodrell's Ozark novel's are masterpieces of literature.  Beautifully written with language that keeps the reader spellbound.  Having r…

194 . Notes From a Coma by Mike McCormack

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Notes From a Coma by Mike McCormack

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

2005, Jonathan Cape, Ireland
Mar. 5, 2013, SOHO Press, 199 pgs

Age: 18+

"Rescued from the squalor of a Romanian orphanage, and adopted by the rural community of west Mayo, J. J. O'Malley should have grown up happy. The boy has no gift for it, though, and his new life has a brutal way of giving him plenty to be unhappy about. After a sudden tragedy, J. J. suffers a catastrophic mental breakdown. Unable to live with himself, he volunteers for an improbable government project which has been set up to explore the possibility of using deep coma as a future option within the EU penal system. When his coma goes online the nation turns to watch, and J. J. is quickly elevated to the status of cultural icon. Sex symbol, existential hero, T-shirt philosopher─his public profile now threatens to obscure the man himself behind a swirl of media profiles, online polls, and EEG tracings.Five narrators─his father, neig…