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Showing posts from November, 2013

368. The Cleaner by Paul Cleave

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The Cleaner by Paul Cleave.
Christchurch Murders, #1
Christchurch Carver, #1

Rating: (4/5)

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

2006,  Atria/Simon & Schuster, 387 pgs

Age: 18+

"Joe is in control of everything in his simple life—both his day job as a janitor for the police department and his “night work.” He isn’t bothered by the daily news reports of the Christchurch Carver, who, they say, has murdered seven women. Joe knows, though, that the Carver killed only six. He knows that for a fact, and he’s determined to find the copycat. He’ll punish him for the one, then frame him for the other six. It’s the perfect plan because he already knows he can outwit the police. 

All he needs now is to take care of all the women who keep getting in his way, including his odd, overprotective mother and Sally, the maintenance worker who sees him as a replacement for her dead brother. Then there’s the mysterious Melissa, the only woman to have ever understood him, but whose fantasies of blackmail a…

Three Classic Historical Easy Readers: Pompeii, Titanic & Balto

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363. The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford. Illustrated by Donald Cook.
Step Into Reading, Step 3
Rating: (4/5)
(US) - (Canada) - (UK)
1989, Random House, 48 pgs
Age: (6+)

"Balto has a quiet life as a sled dog - until tragedy strikes. Dozens of children in Nome become sick with diphtheria. Without antitoxin serum, they will perish - and the closest supply is 650 miles away! The only way to get the serum to Nome is by sled, but can the dogs deliver it in time? Heading bravely into a brutal blizzard, Balto leads the race for life."
Purchased a used copy from the library sale shelf.
This book has earned its way into being called a classic of children's early readers.  Still in print after more than twenty years, it's a story that will never age.  Briefly telling the true story of a sled dog relay that travelled from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska to save the people of Nome from an outbreak of diphtheria in 1925.  The story plays on the emotions b…

359. Making Contact: Marconi Goes Wireless by Monica Kulling

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Making Contact! Marconi Goes Wireless by Monica Kulling. Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki Great Ideas Series, #5

Rating: (4/5)
(US) - (Canada) - (UK)
Sept 24, 2013, Tundra Books, 32 pgs
Age: (6+)

" The fifth book in Tundra's Great Idea Series, Making Contact! tells the story of Guglielmo Marconi, who became the father of wireless communication. 

 As a boy, Marconi loved science and invention. Born in 1874 in Bologna, Italy, to a wealthy family, Marconi grew up surrounded by books in his father's library. He was fascinated with radio waves and learned Morse code, the language of the telegraph. A retired telegraph operator taught him how to tap messages on the telegraph machine. At the age of twenty, Marconi realized that no one had invented a wireless telegraph. Determined to find a way to use radio waves to send wireless messages, Marconi found his calling. And, thanks to his persistence, on December 12, 1901, for the first time ever, a wireless signal traveled between two co…

Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 1 & Part 2 by Dav Pilkey

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358. Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets by Dav Pilkey. Captain Underpants, Book 6

Rating: (3/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
2003, Scholastic, 175 pgs
Age: (8+)

"George and Harold's latest prank has snotty school brainiac Melvin Sneedly seeing red, and he has a plan to get them back. But when Melvin tries to transform himself into a bionic-powered super boy, things go from bad to worse and the Bionic Booger Boy is born! Will Captain Underpants beat this blobby behemoth of blech, or is the entire world doomed to drown in disgusting nose dribble? "

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

I'll start off by saying this was my least favourite of all the Captain Underpants books so far.  I just didn't find it funny and actually felt sorry for the recurring character who goes a little crazy and turns into the bad guy in this episode.  I don't have much to say.  Kid's will probably …

354. The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell

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The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell
Rating: (3/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
Sep. 3, 2013, Little, Brown & Co, 176 pgs
Age: (18+)

"Alma DeGeer Dunahew, the mother of three young boys, works as the maid for a prominent citizen and his family in West Table, Missouri. Her husband is mostly absent, and, in 1929, her scandalous, beloved younger sister is one of the 42 killed in an explosion at the local dance hall. Who is to blame? Mobsters from St. Louis? The embittered local gypsies? The preacher who railed against the loose morals of the waltzing couples? Or could it have been a colossal accident?

Alma thinks she knows the answer-and that its roots lie in a dangerous love affair. Her dogged pursuit of justice makes her an outcast and causes a long-standing rift with her own son. By telling her story to her grandson, she finally gains some solace-and peace for her sister. He is advised to "Tell it. Go on and tell it"-tell the story of his family's strugg…

Step Into Reading: X-Men & Pirate Mom

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Two Level 3 Step Into Reading Early Readers
352. Pirate Mom by Deborah Underwood. Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin Step Into Reading, Step 3
Rating: (3.5/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
2006, Random House, 48 pgs
Age: (6+)
"Yo ho ho! Pete loves pirates, but his mom thinks they are rude and messy. Then Pete and his mom go to see the Amazing Marco, and Marco hypnotizes Pete’s mom into thinking she’s a pirate! Now Pete’s mom won’t behave. She chases the neighbors. She steals underwear off other people’s clotheslines. She’s even flying the Jolly Roger over the house. Pete has to find the Amazing Marco. He wants his real mom back!"
Purchased a used copy from a book sale.
Having never heard of author or illustrator I had no high expectations of this easy reader beginning chapter book.  I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find a fun, imaginative story with a message for both the child and the parent.  The art is also humorous and of the cartoon show quality.  When Pete wishes …

348. Close to the Heel by Norah McClintock

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Close to the Heel by Norah McClintock
Seven: The Series
Rating: (5/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
Oct 10 2012, Orca Book Publishers, 257 pgs
Age: (13+)

"No one is more surprised than Rennie to hear that his late grandfather, whom he hardly knew, has left a mission for him to fulfill. Rennie is to fly to Iceland and deliver a message from beyond the grave, but when he gets there, nothing is simple or straightforward. For one thing, Brynja, the teenage daughter of the family he's staying with, is downright hostile. Her father Einar, who is to be Rennie's guide in Iceland, is preoccupied with looking after his elderly father-in-law, an old friend of Rennie's grandfather. Bored and a little bit annoyed, Rennie explores the town and becomes aware that the family is dealing with more than their grief over Brynja's mother's death the year before. Before he realizes what is happening, his curiosity puts Rennie in grave danger, with no one to trust and no one to sa…

344. The Blossoms Meet the Vulture Lady by Betsy Byars

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The Blossoms Meet the Vulture Lady by Betsy Byars. Illustrated by Jaqueline Rogers The Blossom Family, 2

Rating: (4/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
1986, Delacorte Press, 134 pgs
Current Publisher: Holiday House
Age: (8+)

"Junior Blossom has set out to test his brand-new invention, a coyote trap. How on earth does he end up lost in a cave with Mad Mary, a.k.a. "the Vulture Lady," while his family attempts to find him in this suspenseful and sidesplitting Blossom Family sequel."
Received a used copy through Bookmooch.
Byars was one of my all-time favourite authors as a kid and I've continued to read her work ever since.  The Blossom series is one of my favourites.  Book 1 was absolutely hilarious and while this book has its funny moments it is more of a poignant story.  Jr. is up to his usual inventing and creating; this time building a coyote trap so he can win the capture reward money.  Only things don't go as planned and Jr. ends up capturing two pitif…

341. The Duel by Alexander Kuprin.

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The Duel by Alexander Kuprin.  Translated by Josh Billings.
The Art of the Novella
Rating: (3/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
1905; 2011 Melville House, 306 pgs
Age: (18+)

"An absorbing saga about the brutalities of military life upon its own soldiers. Stranded at a distant outpost, young Romashov finds himself obliged to fight a duel—over something he realizes is meaningless. As the novel hurtles toward a startling conclusion, it reveals itself to be a luminous depiction of the end of an era."
Purchased from the publisher as part of their monthly novella book club.
This was a tough read for me, taking me several weeks to read as I would easily put it down and ended up making myself read something from it every day to complete it.  It's not that I didn't receive any enjoyment from the story but rather that I couldn't connect with it on any level.  For the most part it is the story of a young love-sick soldier in the Russian Tsarist Army.  He visits and pines f…

339. Police by Jo Nesbo. Harry Hole # 10

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Police by Jo Nesbo. Translated by Dan Bartlett.
Harry Hole, # 10
Rating: (5/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
Sep. 17, 2013, Random House Canada, 518 pgs
Age: (18+)

"The thrilling follow-up to Jo Nesbo's #1 bestseller Phantom.

Several police officers are found murdered at the scene of an old and unsolved murder case that they were involved in investigating. The killings are extremely brutal and bestial. The police have no leads. What's more, they're missing their best investigator. A severely wounded man in a coma is kept alive at a hospital in Oslo. The room is guarded by the police and the identity of the patient is kept secret."

Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Wow. Wow. Wow.  After Phantom, which left everybody wondering if it was the end of the Harry Hole series, I just didn't think Nesbo could ever outdo himself.  But, my God, he has indeed done just that.  What an absolutely thrilling, horrific serial killer story that both grips the re…

345. Original Unity of Man and Woman: Catechesis on the Book of Genesis by Pope John Paul II

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Sunday's Christian Book ReviewCatholic Edition
Original Unity of Man and Woman: Catechesis on the Book of Genesis by Pope John Paul II. Preface by Donald W. Wuerl
Rating: (5/5)
(US) - Out of Print Original text available free at the Vatican (minus extensive footnotes added to book)

1981, St. Paul Books & Media, 178 pgs +index
Age: (18+)

"This "Catechesis on the Book of Genesis" was presented by His Holiness in his weekly general audiences from September 5, 1979, to April2, 1980. Pope John Paul II explains that these reflections " sprang from the answer given by Jesus. to His questioners (Gospel of Matthew 19:3-9; and of Mark10:1-12), who had asked Him a question about marriage, its indissolubility and unity. The Master had urged them to consider carefully that which was 'from the beginning.'

"We, penetrating the simple content of this answer, are trying at the same time to shed light on the context of that 'beginning' to which Christ referred. …