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Showing posts from January, 2014

35. Harley by Star Livingstone. Illustrated by Molly Bang

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Harley by Star Livingstone. Illustrated by Molly Bang  (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

2001, SeaStar Books, 64 pgs

Ages: (6+)

"Harley is a young llama who lives on a ranch. He is learning to be a pack animal, but he is having a hard time. He kicks. He screams. He spits! But then a shepherd calls; she needs a llama to watch over her sheep. She decides to take a chance on Harley. Through the seasons, a series of challenges both great and small turn the temperamental llama into a loving leader whether he's facing mischievous lambs, a bullying ram, or a pack of coyotes who prey on the sheep. With its poetic language and captivating artwork by Caldecott Honour-winning Molly Bang, this distinctive book speaks to all those who sometimes march to the beat of a different drummer.."

Purchased a secondhand copy from a book sale.

Molly Bang is a Caldecott Award-winning author and her illustrations in this unique easy reader are absolutely beautiful.  Star Livingstone actually camped out in a ti…

Renee French as Rainy Dohaney: Tinka & My Best Sweet Potato

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31. Tinka by Rainy Dohaney (Renee French)  (buy)

Rating: (3/5)

2003, Atheneum, 40 pgs

Ages: (3+)

"What's it like to be so small you can fit under a door? So small you can fly on the back of a bird? So small you can have an amazing adventure others can only dream about? Join Tinka -- a sheep the size of a cupcake -- and find out!"

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

Rainy Dohaney is an alias used by graphic artist Renee French to write two children's picture books in early 2000.  I was first introduced to French through her current children's graphic novel Barry's Best Buddy and thought I'd try her earlier children's work.  This is certainly a cute book; having all the essential cute bases covered.  It's sweet and if that's the type of picture book you are looking for this will please.  However, there wasn't much that interested me here.  Barry's BB is waaay better.  French dropped her unusual unsettling writing/drawing format and I…

28. The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce

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The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce  (buy)
The Guardians (Book 4)

Rating: (5/5)

Nov 5 2013, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 240 pgs

Ages: (7+)

"When the Man in the Moon brought together the Guardians, he warned them that they would face some terrible evils as they strove to protect the children of earth. But nothing could have prepared them for this: Pitch has disappeared and taken Katherine with him. And now the Guardians are not only down one member, but a young girl is missing.

Fortunately, MiM knows just the man to join the team. Sanderson ManSnoozy—known in most circles as the Sandman—may be sleepy, but he’s also stalwart and clever and has a precocious ability to utilize sand in myriad ways. If the other Guardians can just convince Sandy that good can triumph evil, that good dreams can banish nightmares, they’ll have themselves quite a squad. But if they can’t…they might never see Katherine again"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.
I a…

26. The Future of Catholicism by Michael Coren

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The Future of Catholicism by Michael Coren  (buy)

Rating: DNF 152/229 pgs (3/5)

Nov 5 2013, Signal/McClelland & Stewart, 229 pgs +notes & Bibliography

Ages: (18+)

"From the author of the bestselling Why Catholics Are Right, a perfectly timed book on the new Vatican -- where it is, where it needs to go, and why it is more relevant than ever.

When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, became Pope Francis in March 2013, there were almost 6,000 journalists in Rome to cover the Papal election. Some of them reported on the conclave with expertise and empathy, but others -- either out of ignorance or an agenda -- insisted on asking the same questions again and again: Is the Church going to change? Will the new Pope be flexible? Is Catholicism going to adapt to the times and alter its teaching on same-sex marriage, abortion, contraception, female ordination, celibate clergy, and divorce? Interestingly, these questions center on moral and sexual issues rather …

25. Flower Fairies of the Garden by Cicely Mary Barker

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Flower Fairies of the Garden by Cicely Mary Barker  (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

1944, Blackie & Son, 56 pgs

Ages: (3+)

"In a format that has enchanted readers for 90 years, each of Cicely Mary Barker’s beautiful illustrations of the fairies of wild and familiar garden flowers is accompanied by a delightful poem. Flower Fairies of the Garden celebrates and introduces children to the flowers and plants that grow in the garden by making them magical. Garden favourites to be found in Flower Fairies of the Garden include: The Narcissus Fairy, The Lavender Fairy and The Cornflower Fairy.."

Passed on to me from my mother.

This isn't really a review but rather an homage to a book, a memory, a keepsake.  This book was my mother's from when she was a little girl and she kept it in her underwear drawer.  My parents' room was the forbidden zone and we only went in when invited, otherwise I would just stand upon the threshold looking in, hoping I'd be invited.  So if I was, I …

20. Little Joe by Michael E Glasscock III

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Little Joe by Michael E Glasscock III  (buy)
Round Rock Series, Book One

Rating: (5/5)

Jun 1 2013, Greenleaf Book Group Press, 256 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"A boy who has lost everything learns that love and friendship can bloom in the most unlikely of places.
--
When Little Joe Stout survives the car accident that took his parents’ lives, he is sent to live with his maternal grandparents in the small town of Round Rock, Tennessee. Orphaned and missing his Texas home, Little Joe is reluctant to adapt. But his grandparents, especially his grandmother, are up to the challenge of raising him despite their own struggles. Soon, childhood friendships are forged in the oddball duo of Sugar and Bobby, and—with the help of a new canine companion—Little Joe begins to see that his new home offers the comfort and love he thought was lost forever.

Set against the drama of World War II and the first sparks of the civil rights movement, Little Joe’s new home is a microcosm of America in the 1940s. A frighte…

19. The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell

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The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell (buy)

Rating: (3.5/5)

Oct 14 2013, Back Bay Books/Hachette Book Group, 167 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"Daniel Woodrell is able to lend uncanny logic to harsh, even criminal, behaviour in his wrenching first collection of short fiction. Desperation - both material and psychological - motivates his characters. A husband cruelly avenges the murder of his wife's pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behaviour; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbour. There is also the tenderness and loyalty of the vulnerable in these stories - between spouses, parents and children, siblings and comrades in arms - which brings the troubled, sorely tested cast of characters to vivid, relatable life."

Purchased new from an online retailer.


Withe the completion of this collection of short stories I have now read Woodrell's complete oeuvre. Bei…

13. Jump Cut by Ted Staunton

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Jump Cut by Ted Staunton (buy)
Seven, the Series

Rating: (5/5)

Oct 10 2012, Orca Books, 220 pgs

Ages: (12+)

"Spencer loves movies, but real life is boring, right? When his late grandfather's will reveals the tasks he wants his grandsons to undertake, Spencer thinks he got screwed. He's not going to France or Spain or Africa. He's not even getting a cool tattoo, like his younger brother. No, he's going to Buffalo to get a kiss from an ancient movie star. Gross. And he's supposed to film it. Grosser. But Spencer hasn't bargained on Gloria Lorraine, star of the silver screen back in the day. Gloria has big plans—plans that involve her granddaughter AmberLea, a gun, a baker who might be a gangster, some real gangsters and a road trip to Nowheresville, Ontario. After being shot at, jumping into an icy lake and confronting some angry bikers, Spencer finally realizes that real life can be as exciting (and dangerous) as reel life.."

Borrowed a copy from my loc…

10. Typhon and the Winds of Destruction by Joan Holub

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Typhon and the Winds of Destruction by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams. Illustrations by Craig Phillips (buy)
Heroes in Training, #5

Rating: (3/5)

Dec 3 2013, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 102 pgs

Ages: (6+)

"After battling fireball-throwing Titans, the young Olympians find themselves on a double quest: Not only must they find more Olympians that Cronus has swallowed, but they’re also in search of magic seeds that will help rejuvenate the earth after the terrible drought that plagued the lands, thanks to Hyperion. But a wind-throwing giant named Typhon has other ideas. Can the Heroes in Training withstand the storms that are coming their way?"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

I love this series but found this one not quite up to par with the rest of the series to date; though it was still a decent entry.  The title names itself after the villain fought in this quest and Typhon is a giant with mighty strength keeping another Olympian prisoner.  On the…

9. The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond

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The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond. Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (buy)

Rating: (4/5)

Aug 6 2013, Candlewick Press, 256 pgs

Ages: (9+)

"Stanley Potts’s uncle Ernie has developed an over-the-top fascination with canning fish in the house, and life at 69 Fish Quay Lane has turned barmy. But there’s darkness in the madness, and when Uncle Ernie’s obsession takes an unexpectedly cruel turn, Stan has no choice but to leave. As he journeys away from the life he’s always known, he mingles with a carnival full of eccentric characters and meets the legendary Pancho Pirelli, the man who swims in a tank full of perilous piranhas. Will Stan be bold enough to dive in the churning waters himself and choose his own destiny?."

Received an egalley from Netgalley.
I enjoy David Almond very much and while I've only read a handful of his books to date; I've found them to share themes of death/grief and either father/mother to child relationship.  So I looked forward to this …

7. Junior Science Book of Pond Life by Alexander L. Crosby

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Junior Science Book of Pond Life by Alexander L. Crosby. Illustrated by Jean Zallinger
Junior Science Books

Rating: (4/5)

1964, Garrard Publishing Company, 62 pgs +index

Ages: (7+)

"The author describes the construction of his own pond and discusses photosynthesis as the basis of the food cycle involving various forms of aquatic vegetation, insects, amphibians, and higher forms of life."

Purchased from a thrift store.

I love the books by Garrard Publishing and the Junior Science Books.  We used these in my homeschool frequently.  Crosby wrote several books for Garrard and Jean Zallinger was a prolific children's nature & science illustrator.  Many books have an appeal to collectors simply because of her artwork, of which I also am a fan.  Pond Life ended up being a surprise for me as it really is a little memoir of the author's as he describes how they had a pond built on his large property in the woods of Pennsylvania and then goes on to describe the habitat and …

6. Cujo by Stephen King

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Cujo by Stephen King (buy)

Rating: (3/5)

1981, Signet/Penguin, 304 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"Outside a peaceful town in central Maine, a monster is waiting. Cujo is a two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard, the best friend Brett Camber has every had. One day Cujo chases a rabbit into a bolt-hole - a cave inhabited by sick bats. What happens to Cujo, how he becomes a horrifying vortex inexorably drawing in all the people around him makes for one of the most heart-stopping novels Stephen King has written.."

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

I am (re)reading Stephen King's works in chronological order and this re-read was up next for me.  I originally read the book when it was first published in 1981 making me 13yo.  It made a big impression on me at the time and I was quite shocked it ended the way it did.  The change in the movie ending infuriated me.  Re-reading it all these years later, I don't find it anywhere near as good as what King had written to this point, though better…

1. Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny by Nick Nicholson, M.D. & B.A. Blackwood

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Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny by Nick Nicholson, M.D. & B.A. Blackwood (buy)

Rating: (4/5)

Nov. 13 2013, Obesity Resources Publishing, 109 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"As a way to help educate Americans who are considering bariatric surgery, or those who have already undergone the procedure, well-regarded bariatric surgeon, Dr. Nick Nicholson wrote the book, Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny.  In his new book, Dr. Nicholson shares his passion for healthy living to encourage people suffering from obesity to make the necessary changes to live a healthier lifestyle.  
Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny also reveals:

Why diets don’t work for most obese peopleWhat weight loss surgery is really all aboutWays for patients to choose the right surgeonHow emotions play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy weightHow weight loss surgery impacts relationships: the good, the bad, and the ugly  Simple ways to develop a post-surgery weight loss plan that really worksCommon obstacles people …

450. Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo

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This is the last book I read in 2013!


Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
Harry Hole, #2

Rating: (4/5)

Dec. 10 2013, Random House Canada, 374 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"The thrilling sequel to Jo Nesbo's debut novel, The Bat, Cockroaches sees Harry Hole sent to Bangkok to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador. 

Detective Harry Hole arrives in a steaming hot Bangkok. But it's work, not pleasure. The Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a seedy motel room, and no witnesses have come forward. The ambassador had close ties to the Norwegian prime minister, and to avoid a scandal Harry is sent there to hush up the case. But he quickly discovers that there is much more going on behind the scenes and very few people willing to talk. When Harry lays hands on some CCTV footage that will help him unravel what happened that night, things only get more complicated. The man who gave him the tape goes missing, and Harry realises that failing to solve a murder case is by no means the only dang…

2014 ARC Master List

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I implemented a new strategy last year using the inventory control method of LIFO (last-in, first-out) while reading my ARCs and managed to read 79% of all ARCs received during the year 2014.  That's a great turn over as far as I'm concerned, since some of those books were unsolicited and yet I chose to read.  On top of that I also read widely across the previous years' backlog of ARCs that I still have every intention of reading someday.

Part of me wants to just knock off the first couple of years here as who knows when I'll eventually get to them now but full disclosure, honesty and my OCD with making and maintaining lists won't permit it.

So in all it's awesome glory, here is the remainders of my ARC list from 2009-2013 with new 2014 arrivals being added to the bottom.  I will again be using the LIFO method and will see if I can reach a round 80% read rate for the years ARCs.

2009
1. Portobello by Ruth Rendell
2. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro
3. Etta by Gerald …