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Showing posts from August, 2013

276. Hyperion and the Great Balls of Fire by Joan Holub

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Hyperion and the Great Balls of Fire by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams. Illustrated by Craig Phillips
Heroes in Training, #4

Rating: (4/5)

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

Aug 6, 2013, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 125 pgs

Age: 6+

"Phew, it’s hot! Under the titan Hyperion’s rule, the sun is burning even brighter than normal and scorching everything in northern Greece—including the villagers! The Olympians are forced to play a sizzling “game” of Dodge the Sunbursts as Hyperion hurls giant fireballs that could fry them to pieces!Armed with some clues, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades set out to figure out why in the world Hyperion has been making things so hot. They also need to rescue Hera, who is still missing. Battling the extreme heat—and some fantastical and scary creatures, courtesy of their old foe Cronus—the boys are off on another epic adventure…and Zeus is one step closer to discovering his destiny."
Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Another great e…

219. The Returned by Jason Mott.

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The Returned by Jason Mott.
(The Returned, 1)

272. We'll Meet Again: Deathbed Visions - Who You Meet When You Die by Colm Keane

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Sunday's Christian Book Review
We'll Meet Again: Deathbed Visions - Who You Meet When You Die by Colm Keane

Rating: (3.5/5)

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

Jun 27, 2012, Penguin Ireland, 175 pgs

Age: 18+

"We do not die alone. That is the remarkable conclusion of We'll Meet Again, an extraordinary new book examining deathbed visions that will resonate with readers who have been mesmerised by the experiences recounted in books like Proof of Heaven and Embraced by the Light.

While there are many accounts of near death experiences - and We'll Meet Again includes more of these - far fewer are the accounts of the behaviour of the dying in their final days and hours. Now, award-winning journalist Colm Keane, author of the chart-topping accounts of near death experiences, Going Home and The Distant Shore, has written one of the most challenging studies ever compiled on this fascinating theme.

Those who have accompanied the dying, and closely observed what they ha…

274. Lost Cause by John Wilson

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Lost Cause by John Wilson
Seven: The Series

Rating: (5/5)

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

Oct 10, 2012, Orca Book Publishers, 224 pgs

Age: 10+

"Steve thinks a trip to Europe is out of the question—until he hears his grandfather's will. Suddenly he's off to Spain, armed with only a letter from his grandfather that sends him to a specific address in Barcelona. There he meets a girl named Laia and finds a trunk containing some of his grandfather's possessions, including a journal he kept during the time he fought with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. Steve decides to trace his grandfather's footsteps through Spain, and with Laia's help, he visits the battlefields and ruined towns that shaped his grandfather's young life, and begins to understand the power of history and the transformative nature of passion for a righteous cause."
Received a review copy from Library Thing's ER program.

I was interested in this series when I first h…

269. The Heist by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

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The Heist by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
Fox & O'Hare (1)

Rating: (4/5)

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

Jun 18, 2013, Bantam Books, 320 pgs

Age: 18+

"FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one.Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move. For Nick, there’s no greater rush than …

261. Asylum by Madeleine Roux

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Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Rating: (3/5)

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

Aug 20 2013, Harper Collins, 320 pgs

Age: 14+

"Once you get in, there's no getting out.For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, a summer program for gifted students is the chance of a lifetime. No one else at his high school gets his weird fascinations with history and science, but at the New Hampshire College Prep program, such quirks are all but required.Dan arrives to find that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing students to stay in the crumbling Brookline dorm—formerly a psychiatric hospital. As Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan start exploring Brookline's twisty halls and hidden basement, they uncover disturbing secrets about what really went on here . . . secrets that link Dan and his friends to the asylum's dark past. Because it turns out Brookline was no ordinary psych ward. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.Featuring haunting found photographs from real a…

267. Sleeping Funny by Miranda Hill

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Sleeping Funny stories by Miranda Hill

Rating: (5/5)

(Kindle.ca) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)

Jul 2, 2013, Anchor Canada, 320 pgs

Age: 18+

"Sleeping Funny is a rare book—a debut that introduces a mature writer in full possession of her powers, one who instantly draws you in with her sure voice, intelligence, and humour, and then keeps you reading with growing admiration and delight. Although they are united by these qualities, Miranda Hill's astonishing stories are otherwise notable for their protean variety. Rarely do we find a writer who can inhabit, with equal skill and empathy, the consciousness of a modern teenage girl trying to navigate an embarrassing Sex Ed class, a middle-aged country-village minister in the 19th century who is experiencing a devastating crisis of faith, a young pilot's widow coping with her grief by growing a "Victory Garden" during World War II, and a group of contemporary professional women living on a gentrified big-city street whose rou…

221. St. Jude Thaddeus: Patron of Difficult or Hopeless Cases by Donald J. Thorman

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Sunday Christian Book Review

St. Jude Thaddeus: Patron of Difficult or Hopeless Cases by Donald J. Thorman.

Rating: (3/5)

Out of Print

November, 1958, 1979, Claretian Publications, 32 pgs
Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur

Age: 18+

Purchased from a garage sale.

I picked this up because I knew nothing about St. Jude and it served its purpose.  Not exactly exciting reading material but informative, though slightly naive and apologetic.  It seems to be coming from a point of view in time when praying to the saints was either frowned upon or not understood properly so it spends quite some time explaining exactly why and how Catholics do and should pray to the Saints.  We get the history of St. Jude, he was one of the Apostles, and some stories about him.  Then after the already mentioned discussion on saints, it discusses personal devotion to a saint and then why one would choose St. Jude.  Then it speaks of the National Shrine to St. Jude in Chicago and finally ends with a common prayer to St. Jud…

Captain Underpants Vol. 1 & 2 by Dav Pilkey

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265. The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
Captain Underpants, #1

Rating: (3/5)

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

1997, Scholastic, 121 pgs

Age: 7+

"George and Harold's principal, mean old Mr. Krupp, doesn't like the pair's pranks or their comic books. And he's cooked up a plan to catch George and Harold and stop their shenanigans — once and for all! Here's the story of what happened when that plan back-fired, and Captain Underpants leaped off the page to save the day!"
My son received this as a Christmas gift some years ago.
I had only read one Captain Underpants book so far, and that was the latest one, #10.  No need to add yet another review to the hundreds out there of this first one, so just giving my brief observations as a newcomer. Starting back at the beginning with the first book is fun to see how George and Harold turned their nasty, mean principal into the fun-loving superhero.  This book has one flip-o-rama section and one comic b…

263. 50 Below Zero Board Book by Robert Munsch.

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50 Below Zero Board Book by Robert Munsch. Art by Michael Martchenko

Rating: (3/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

Jun 13 2013, Annick Press, 10 pgs

Age: 2+

"All night long, Jason gets woken up by strange noises that lead him to find his dad in the most unexpected places—from on top of the refrigerator to the freezing cold woods outside his house. In order to finally get a good night’s sleep, Jason musters up all of his resources and comes up with a most unexpected solution—tying his dad’s toe to the bathroom doorknob to keep him in place.Now available as a simplified, toddler-friendly board book with revised art by Michael Martchenko, this story will delight young children discovering it for the first time"
Received a review copy from Annick Press through NetGalley.

I thought this would be a board book edition of the 1985 picture book "50 Below Zero".  One of my favourite Munsch books.  Instead it is an adaptation of that book, which has had the text simplified and the  art…

DNF. The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

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The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

Rating: DNF

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

2012 UK; July 23 2013, Hogarth/Random House, 21/304 pgs

Age: 18+

"Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais’s school uniform is covered in blood. Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counter-culture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor. Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon – they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confine…

260. Mr. Happy by Roger Hargreaves

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Mr. Happy by Roger Hargreaves
Mr. Men, #3

Rating: (5/5)

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

1971; 1997 Revised Edition, Price Stern Sloan/Penguin, 32 pgs

Age: 3+

"Mr. Happy meets Mr. Miserable and is determined to make him happy, too!"
Purchased a used copy a long time ago, probably from a thrift store.

Short and sweet.  Both the book and my review.  A children's classic, that can be enjoyed with just as much pleasure today as when it was written in 1971.  Adorable story about being happy that will keep the attention of all who read it.  I read the originals myself as a child in the early 70s and read them again to my children. The illustrations are the type that will have children trying to draw the men themselves and achieving good results.   I'm wondering though what the "revised edition" means.  The 1997 edition is still currently being published in North America.  I have a feeling it may just have had "British-isms" removed but will have …

254. Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn

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Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn

Rating: (3.5/5)

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

Aug. 6 2013, Simon & Schuser, 512 pgs

Age: 18+

"More than forty years ago Charles Manson and his mostly female commune killed nine people, among them the pregnant actress Sharon Tate. It was the culmination of a criminal career that author Jeff Guinn traces back to Manson’s childhood. Guinn interviewed Manson’s sister and cousin, neither of whom had ever previously cooperated with an author. Childhood friends, cellmates, and even some members of the Manson Family have provided new information about Manson’s life. Guinn has made discoveries about the night of the Tate murders, answering unresolved questions, such as why one person on the property where the murders occurred was spared. Manson puts the killer in the context of his times, the turbulent late sixties, an era of race riots and street protests when authority in all its forms was under siege. Guinn shows us how …

253. The Accident by Linwood Barclay

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The Accident by Linwood Barclay

Rating: (3.5/5)

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

Aug 9, 2011, Bantam Books, 400 pgs

Age: 18+

"It’s the new normal at the Garber household in Connecticut: Glen, a contractor, has seen his business shaken by the housing crisis, and now his wife, Sheila, is taking a business course at night to increase her chances of landing a good-paying job.But she should have been home by now.Waiting for Sheila’s return, with their eight-year-old daughter sleeping soundly, Glen soon finds his worst fears confirmed: Sheila and two others have been killed in a car accident. Adding to the tragedy, the police claim Sheila was responsible.Glen knows it’s impossible; he knew his wife and she would never do such a thing. When he investigates, Glen begins to uncover layers of lawlessness beneath the placid surface of their suburb, secret after dangerous secret behind the closed doors.Propelled into a vortex of corruption and illegal activity, pursued by mysterious killers,…

231. Animals of the Bible by Isaac Asimov

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Sunday Christian Book Review
Animals of the Bible by Isaac Asimov. Pictures by Howard Berelson

Rating: (3.5/5)

(US) - Out of Print

1978, Doubleday & Company, 32  pgs

Age: 6+
"Discusses the origins and folklore of forty-five animals mentioned in the Bible" Purchased a secondhand copy from a book sale.

I love Asimov as a science fiction writer and I've read a number of his non-fiction science books for children.  He is a great writer.  He is also known for being a great atheist and is well-known for some stinging remarks made about the Bible/believers and his atheistic quotes are favourites of his like-minded fellows.  So seeing that he wrote books about the Bible and Bible stories during the days he professed to being agnostic (admittedly feigned) is quite humorous and since I'd never actually come across one before I had to pick this up especially when I saw the gorgeous illustrations.  Each page is devoted to one animal and has a paragraph of information, obvious…

252. Ready Freddy! Shark Tooth Tale by Abby Klein

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Shark Tooth Tale by Abby Klein. Illustrated by John McKinley
Ready, Freddy! #9

Rating: (3.5/5)

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

2006, Scholastic, 95 pgs

Age: 5+

"Get to know Freddy Thresher, the first grade shark expert with an uncanny knack for mischief. Join Freddy in this adventure as he schemes and scrimps, trying to earn enough money to buy an awesome fossilized shark tooth. Packed with humor, illustrations, and even factual information about sharks."
Purchased a new copy at a Scholastic Book Fair some time ago.

I'd never even heard of this series for beginning chapterbook readers and was pleasantly surprised to find it an enjoyable read.  The story was fun with several events taking place for excitement.  I enjoyed that the whole family was part of the story including the parents. I only disliked the bickering with the older sister; it was a bit too mean for my tastes but otherwise the characters were well written if cliched: the bully, the snooty girl, etc.  Educat…

SHORT STORY: The Choice by Jason Mott

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The Choice by Jason Mott
a short story
The Returned (Prequel Trilogy, #3)

Rating: (5/5)

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

Aug 1, 2013, Harlequin MIRA, 32 pgs

Age: 18+

"In this short story by Jason Mott, author of The Returned, a man is forced to choose between the life he has now, and the one he thought was gone forever...Peter Galvin was just seventeen when Tracy Whitland--the love of his life--vanished without a trace. In the years after her death, he had finally moved on, gotten married, started a family. He is content with his life now--happy, even.... Until Tracy suddenly and inexplicably returns.For weeks, Peter and his wife, Samantha, have been watching mysterious reports of people's loved ones returning from beyond, the world spinning into uncertainty and chaos. But they never imagined it would happen to them. With Tracy's unusual homecoming, Peter and Samantha must decide where they can possibly go from here, and whether their family can survive...."

249. A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay

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A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay

Rating: (4/5)

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

Aug 6, 2013, Doubleday Canada, 512 pgs

Age: 18+

"It's been two months since private investigator Cal Weaver's teenage son, Scott, died in a tragic drug-related accident. Ever since, he and his wife have drifted apart, fracturing a once-normal life. Cal is mired in grief he can't move past. And maybe that has clouded his judgment. Because he made a grave mistake driving home on a very rainy night. A drenched young girl tapped on his window as he sat at a stoplight and asked for a ride. And even though he knew a forty-something man picking up a teenage hitchhiker is a fool, he let her in the car—she was the same age as Scott and maybe she could help him find the dealer who sold his son the drugs that killed him. However, after a brief stop at a roadside diner, Cal senses that some thing's not right with the girl or the situation. But it's too late. He's already involved.Soon Ca…