Showing posts from December, 2013

Master Challenge List 2014

2015 Challenges


8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge
ends June 30, 2015
read 13 books by, about or set in Canada/Canadians
Jul: 1/13
Aug: 5/13
Sept: 7/13
Oct: 11/13
Nov: 15/13 (finished)

2014 Challenges

These are all the challenges and projects I will be participating in during 2014.

FINISHED 7th Graphic Novel & Manga Challenge 2014 ends Dec. 31. 2014 Silver Age: read and review 52 books during the year Progress: Jan: 16/52 Feb: 47/52 Apr: 102/52 May: 141/52 Jun: 175/52 Jul: 200/52 Aug: 218/52 Sept: 240/52 Oct: 267/52 Nov: 291/52

FINISHED 2014 ARC Reading Challenge ends Dec. 31 2014 Level Platinum: Read 40 or more ARCS Progress: Jan: 10/40 Feb: 16/40 Apr: 28/40 May: 47/40 Jun: 54/40 Jul: 60/40 Aug: 61/40 Sept: 63/40 Oct: 71/40 Nov: Stopped keeping count *****

The 2014 TBR Pile Challenge ends Dec. 31, 2014 Read 12 books from list Progress:  Jan: 1/12 Feb: 2/12 Apr: 4/12 May: 5/12 Jun: 6/12 Jul: 7/12 Aug: 8/12 Sep: 9/12 Oct: 10/12 Nov: 11/12

2014 Horror Reading Challen…

2014 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge - FINISHED

I have so many books on my ereaders and so many of them come from Netgalley or Edelweiss that I was pledging to myself to spend more time e-reading this year.  Then I stumbled upon this challenge and thought, yes!  A challenge to keep me in line.  Now I want to read more than this but I'm going to set my goal low so I don't feel pressured.  I'm thinking 1 per month so I'll sign up for the second level of 10 books and hope to level up from there.  I'm self imposing a no graphic novels rule because if I included those then that's all that would be included here and my purpose wouldn't be served!  For more information and to sign-up click here
Post reviews here.
Jan.1-Dec. 31 (2014) Goal:  10 books
Bronze – 10 books 1. The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond 2. Little Joe by Michel E. Glasscock II 3. The Kept by James Scott 4. The Trial of Dr. Kate by  Michael E Glasscock III  5. Going Home by A. American 6. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Brad…

444. Advent Meditations With Fulton J. Sheen

Sunday Christian Book Review

Advent Meditations With Fulton J. Sheen 


2007, Liguori Publications, 31 pgs


"Drawn from Archbishop Sheen's best-selling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season—patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy—and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century's greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world."

Was gifted a secondhand copy from a friend when she was clearing off her shelves.
This is a little book to be used for daily morning devotions during Advent.  It contains enough readings for a complete 4 week Advent so can be used any year.  This year (2013) Advent was over on a Tues. so there were still 4 more days left over.  Every morning before I got out of bed, I did my daily reading and had the sentiments to ponder upon for the day.  This is very sh…

440. Killing Hour by Paul Cleave

Killing Hour by Paul Cleave.
Christchurch Murders, #2

Rating: (3/5)

Apr. 23 2013, Atria Books/Simon Schuster, 374 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"Imagine waking up covered in blood—but it’s not your blood. There’s a nasty bump on your head, and you can’t remember a thing about last night. The morning paper reports that two young women were brutally murdered. You recognize their names. Pieces of the night before come back to you through the haze. And now you’re the suspect in their grisly deaths. Welcome to Charlie’s world. 

In this heart-pounding thriller, only the dead know what happened last night. On the run, Charlie suspects a man named Cyris, but no one believes that Cyris exists. Not the police and not Charlie’s ex-wife Jo, though she wants to trust that the man she once loved is innocent. Soon, Charlie has Jo bound and gagged in the trunk of his car, fleeing across the countryside while the killing hour approaches yet again."

Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Originally publi…

446. The Christmas Star by Ace Collins

The Christmas Star by Ace Collins

Rating: (4/5)

Oct. 1 2012, Abington Press, 214 pgs +Discussion Questions

Ages: (18+) (good YA crossover)

"Robert Reed gave his life for his country in the early days of World War II. His sacrifice was honored when his widow and son were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. At Christmas, the final decoration Marge Reed hangs on the family’s tree is that medal. Rather than being a symbol of honor for young Jimmy Reed that shining star represents loss, pain, and suffering. 

Yet a message delivered by one of Robert’s fellow soldiers and a mystery letter found in a Bible put a father’s sacrifice and faith into perspective and bring new meaning to not just the star hanging on the Christmas tree but the events of the very first Christmas. Then, when least expected, a Christmas miracle turns a final bit of holiday sadness into a joy that Jimmy has never known."

Received an unsolicited review copy from the publisher.
I received a surprise r…

2014 Horror Reading Challenge - DNF

Horror used to be one of my favourite genres and I don't read as much of it as I used to but I make up for that by getting my fix from many of the horror graphic novels I read.  I am however, doing my Stephen King project (look in the sidebar), and after reading Danse Macabre in 2013 I've added a lot of horror books and authors to the tbr making this challenge perfect for me.  I'm really looking forward to getting back into this genre more, but I'm going to put a self-imposed ban on including graphic novels for this challenge or else it would all be GN's since I *do* read a lot of of horror graphic novels.  I'm going to make my goal obtainable by choosing the first level "Running Scared" but hope to work my way up to at least the next level.  For more information and to sign up click here.

Post reviews here

Jan.1-Dec. 31 (2014) Goal:  5 books
1-5 Horror Books - Running Scared
1. Cujo by Stephen King
2. Dark Forces: The 25th Anniversary Edition edited…

442. Goosebumps: Don't Go to Sleep by R.L. Stine

Don't Go to Sleep by R.L. Stine
Goosebumps, #54

Rating: (3/5)

1997, Scholastic, 118 pgs

Ages: (8+)

"Matt hates his tiny bedroom. It's so small it's practically a closet! Still, Matt's mom refuses to let him sleep in the guest room. After all, they might have guests. Some day. Or year.

Then Matt does it. Late one night. When everyone's in bed. He sneaks into the guest room and falls asleep.

Poor Matt. He should have listened to his mom. Because when Matt wakes up, his whole life has changed. For the worse. And every time he falls asleep, he wakes up in a new nightmare. . . .."

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

I've read exactly one Goosebumps book before this and that was about 15 years ago.  That one was about a plant in the basement (or something like that) and at the time I thought it was alright for what it was.  Anyway, I promised my son if he read a chapter book and liked it I would read it after him.  He is an autistic 13yob and surprised every…

436. A Stubborn Sweetness and Other Stories for the Christmas Season by Katherine Paterson

A Stubborn Sweetness and Other Stories for the Christmas Season by Katherine Paterson
Rating: (3/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK-Kindle Only)
Aug. 30 2013, Westminster John Knox Press, 185 pgs

"This compilation includes stories of real-life people such as a shopping mall's night watchman, a lonely widower, a pregnant teenage runaway, a political prisoner in China, a grieving mother, and a privileged American, who have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas because of loss, pain, greed or circumstances. Through unexpected and uplifting ways, each is reminded of the first Christmas story and the vision of hope and peace it offers the world. They realize that even in the darkness, the light and song of Christmas can be seen and heard.

This heart-warming gift book, filled with stories of real people finding hope, courage, and faith amidst life's circumstances, radiates the spirit of the season and reminds each of us what Christmas truly means. Originally wr…

430. Ink Me by Richard Scrimger

Ink Me by Richard Scrimger
Seven: The Series

Rating: (3/5)

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

Oct. 10 2012, Orca Books, 224 pgs

Age: (10+)

"Bunny (real name Bernard) doesn't understand why his late grandfather wants him to get a tattoo. Actually, Bunny doesn't understand a lot of things, so it's good that his older brother, Spencer, is happy to explain things to him. But this is a task Bunny is supposed to do on his own, and nobody is more surprised than Bunny when, after he gets tattooed, he is befriended by a kid named Jaden and adopted into Jaden's gang. The gang hangs out at a gym, where Bunny learns to fight, but when it finally dawns on him that the gang is involved in some pretty shady—and dangerous—business, Bunny is torn between his loyalty to his new friends and doing what he knows is right."

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

This series has no particular reading order and I picked this one next because two of the books take place within Canada so…

425. The Unwanteds: Island of Fire by Lisa McMann

Island of Fire by Lisa McMann.
The Unwanteds (Book 3)

Rating: (5/5)

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

Sep. 3 2013, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 451 pgs

Age: (10+)

"The magical world of Artimé is gone. The Unwanteds have no food, no water, and no hope. And everyone is looking to Alex Stowe for answers.

Overwhelmed and feeling totally helpless, Alex knows it’s up to him to find a way to restore Artimé, rescue his captive friends, and free Megan from her voice-stealing necklace of thorns—three impossible tasks. But could help lie with the silent, orange-eyed newcomers?

Meanwhile, Alex’s twin brother Aaron continues to build his army in the stark land of Quill, preparing for the ultimate showdown with the Unwanteds. But a shocking twist reveals that Alex and Aaron share a common enemy more dangerous than either could have imagined..."

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

I'm really enjoying this dystopian series that brings magic to the table making it more …

Movie Break: Philomena (2013)

Philomena (2013) (at the theatre)
We actually went to see Catching Fire but there were only three seats left in the theatre so declined them and went to see this instead.  We just loved it.  A very positive Catholic movie.  Of course it deals with tragedy and how things were in orphanages during the fifties, not just Catholic ones but all of them really at that time and the plight of unwed mothers.  Judi Dench was brilliant as usual and her character's unwavering faith through all her hardships is a role model we can all only hope to aspire to ourselves.  The contrast between her and the bitter ex-Catholic was remarkable.  We both loved the film.  Stars: Judi Dench

Documentray Break: The Queen's Mother-in-Law

The Queen's Mother-in-Law (2012) (aired on Canada TV as: The Other Queen Mother)  (watched on Channel 4oD)
 A one hour TV documentary.  My friend called me up to say this was on TV but my husband was watching sports (as usual) so I looked for it online and watched it from the British Channel 4.  This is an absolutely fascinating biography of Prince Phillip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.  It tells of Phillip's strange and unusual childhood and a story not well-known to many at all.  Princess Alice spent much time in mental institutions and ended up becoming a Catholic nun.  Absolutely fascinating story, tragic yet heart lifting and also adds a new dimension to the bumbling, stoic Prince Phillip we all think we know so well.

Captain Underpants Books 8 and 9! Grab Onto Your Waistband!

These are my last two Underpants reviews.  I've now read the whole series!  I'm really quite amazed I read this for my own enjoyment and had such a fun time with it.  Book #9 ends as if it is the end of the series but then announces that book 10 will be the last Captain Underpants.  After #10 we are left feeling the series is over but recent news brings us relief that books 11 & 12 will be forthcoming over the next two years, 2014 & 2015.  Tra-la-laaa!

417. Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People by Dav Pilkey.
Captain Underpants, #8

Rating: (5/5)

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

2006, Scholastic, 176 pgs

Age: (7+)

"When we last saw George and Harold, they were about to take their pet pterodactyl, Crackers, back to the Cretaceous period in the Purple Potty time machine. But things didn't work out quite as they had hoped. They've entered an absurd alternative reality where teachers are nice, kids are allowed to read banned …

414. Practice to Deceive by Ann Rule

Practice to Deceive by Ann Rule.

Rating: (4/5)

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

Oct. 8 2013, Gallery Books/Simon Schuster, 339 pgs

Age: (18+)

"In Practice to Deceive, her first book-length investigative chronicle since In the Still of the Night, Rule unravels a shattering case of Christmastime murder off the coast of Washington State—presented with the clarity, authority, and emotional depth that Rule’s readers expect. It’s a case with enough drama, greed, sex, and scandal to be called “The Real Housewives of Whidbey Island,” but this was not reality television. This was murder: pure, cruel, ugly, and senseless. And someone had to pay the price. 

Nestled in Puget Sound, Whidbey Island is a gem of the Pacific Northwest; accessible only by ferry and the soaring Deception Pass Bridge, it is known for its artistic communities and stunning natural beauty. Life there is low-key, insular, and the island’s year-round residents tend to know one another’s business. But when the blooddrenche…

413. The Great Houdini by Monica Kulling.

The Great Houdini by Monica Kulling. Illustrated by Anne Reas.
Step into Reading, Step 4

Rating: (4/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

1999, Random House, 48 pgs

Age: (7+)

"Harry Houdini was a great escape artist, but perhaps his greatest trick was becoming the famous magician that we have come to know. As a child, Houdini worked hard--and even quit school--to help support his family. But his dream always was to become a great magician and performer. He practiced day and night, thinking up new tricks and more and more dangerous stunts. His intense ambition paid off, and soon Harry Houdini became known worldwide! This kid-appealing Step 4 traces Houdini's life from his poor beginnings to his eventual success as the most famous mystical magician and escape artist of all time."

Borrowed a copy from my public library.

Monica Kulling has written several biographies in this easy reader series and she has a deft hand relating an entertaining story of a person's life in a manner that w…

408. Alfred Hitchcock Presents A Hangman's Dozen

A Hangman's Dozen edited by Alfred Hitchcock. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Rating: (3/5)
(US) - (Canada) - (UK)
1962,  Dell Publishing, 222 pgs
Age: (18+)

"Swing and sway the Alfie way! There's nothing that Alfred Hitchcock likes better than a gentle summer breeze - if there are a few hanging bodies swinging in it. It's not that Alfie likes punishment, you understand. But usually where there's punishment, there's a crime to be found, and now Alfie wants to show you what fiendish fun the best of crimes can be as he digs into his treasure trove of gruesome goodies to unearth 15 of his very favorite terror tales."
Purchased a secondhand copy from a book sale.

The book opens with a short introductory essay purportedly by Alfred Hitchcock and each story is introduced in a short eerie blurb also supposedly by Hitchcock.  And so we feel as if the great man himself is leading us through this collection of stories he has perhaps picked especially for us. It is quite a …

403. Danse Macabre by Stephen King

Danse Macabre by Stephen King
Rating: (4/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
1981, Revision 1983, 2010 added Foreword, Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, 438 pgs +Appendixes/Index
Age: (18+)

"From the author of dozens of #1 New York Times bestsellers and the creator of many unforgettable movies comes a vivid, intelligent, and nostalgic journey through three decades of horror as experienced through the eyes of the most popular writer in the genre. In 1981, years before he sat down to tackle On Writing, Stephen King decided to address the topic of what makes horror horrifying and what makes terror terrifying. Here, in ten brilliantly written chapters, King delivers one colorful observation after another about the great stories, books, and films that comprise the horror genre—from Frankenstein and Dracula to The Exorcist, The Twilight Zone, and Earth vs. The Flying Saucers.

Danse Macabre is an enjoyably entertaining tour through Stephen King’s beloved world of horror."

402. Help For the Haunted by John Searles

Help For the Haunted by John Searles
Rating: (5/5)
(Kindle) - (US) - (Canada) - (UK)
Sep 17 2013, William Morrow, 368 pgs
Age: (18+)

"It begins with a call one snowy February night. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation: helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet something in Sylvie senses that this call is different from the others, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep, only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

As the story weaves back and forth through the years leading up to that night and the months following, the ever-inquisitive Sylvie searches for answers and uncovers secrets that have haunted her family for …

Let's Read and Find Out about Science Books

I collect books from this series from the sixties and seventies, mostly for the illustrators.  Though I will choose books based on author or topic or sometimes just its vintage appeal.  I've always used any of these books in my homeschool though and now I'm clearing off the shelves and deciding which to keep for my personal collection now that the kiddos are teenagers or grown.

396. Volcanoes by Franklyn M. Branley. Illustrated by Marc Simont
Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science Book

Rating: (4/5)
(US) - (Canada) - (UK)
(links to current 2008 edition)
1985, Thomas Y. Crowell, 32 pgs
(current 2008, HarperCollins)
Age: (4+)

"Volcanoes are one of nature's great wonders. For years they can stand dormant, but once active they can erupt in tremendous explosions of power. Some eruptions are so big, they change the earth's climate. Luckily, geologists can now approximate when an eruption will occur. What are the causes of an eruption and what are the warning signs? Read and…