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Showing posts from August, 2014

Dear Canada: A Country of Our Own: The Confederation Diary of Rosie Dunn, Ottawa, Province of Canada, 1800 by Karleen Bradford

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A Country of Our Own: The Confederation Diary of Rosie Dunn, Ottawa, Province of Canada, 1800 by Karleen Bradford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dear Canada

I always look at the author first for these as some are long-time favourites and I know I'm in for a treat for those. This author, Karleen Bradford, I'd heard of and knew I had read a book by her but it wasn't until now that I've checked to see it was a book from a very long time ago about time travel back to the War of 1812 "The Other Elizabeth". I do have a fond remembrance of it. This was an entirely enjoyable book, written in journal format as usual for the Dear Canada series. Most children's books I read about Confederation take place in PEI but this one is a little unusual in that it takes place mostly in the time leading up to Confederation and takes place in Ottawa. It concerns a young girl who has been hired into service for a family in politics in "Eastern Canada" (renamed Quebec when it …

Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 by Dav Pilkey

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Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 by Dav Pilkey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Captain Underpants (#11)

It's been a year long wait to find out what would happen to our friends George and Harold and Book #11 doesn't disappoint. There is a slight mixing up of the usual format which I missed but it is all there just slightly out of order. Thankfully, a comic book starts off with a brief four pages that summarizes books 1-9, then the first chapter spends a couple of pages reminding us where we are after book ten. Book 11 is just as fantastically hyperspeed as the last one, time-travel back and forth, speeding here, speeding there and then the ultimate problem arises when the time traveling results in double sets of our heroes. Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold are living in the same time as the present ones and by book's end all four Harold and George's are in big trouble with the only consolation the announcement of book 12. The book i…

The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn

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The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is the third book in a trilogy that I believe only has the connection that they take place in the same geographic area at some point. I read this book before a very long time ago but did not remember it as I re-read it this time. It's a bit slow to get into and not exactly a page-turner story. The plot is quiet and meandrous even though an adventure and mission is taking place. We are privy as much as to what is taking place inside Phoebe's thoughts as to what is happening to her physically. It is still a refreshing approach to the American War of Independence. The characters in the book are Loyalists who have to flee from their homes to Canada after being made to leave by the rebels, some violently others just forcibly. However, the main character, Phoebe, is neutral. Her freedom loving professor of a father leaves to fight for the rebels and gets killed the first year. At 13 she moves across the creek to her Aunt and…

Always Emily by Michaela MacColl

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Always Emily by Michaela MacColl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Overall, I quite enjoyed this Gothic mystery in the vein of the Bronte sisters, Emily and Charlotte, on whom the book uses both as inspiration and as the main characters. Elements are taken from both "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" and incorporated into this historical mystery featuring the sisters and their brother, Branwell. I found it rather slow for a mystery and more in tune with the novels than the real Brontes but nevertheless it was still an entertaining Gothic mystery. Of particular note is the engaging Author's Note at the end of the novel detailing some real historical facts and notes on where she took artistic license.



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Lucille by Arnold Lobel

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Lucille by Arnold Lobel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An I-Can-Read Book

I collect old I-Can-Read books and this one is a keeper for the collection. Lucille is just a pure fun, silly story. Arnold Lobel is a favourite children's illustration and this is a book that he both wrote and illustrated. One of the easier books to read with only one or two sentences per page and illustrations done in a profusion of pink, yellow and orange to match the mood. Lucille the horse is tired of being a dirty mess all the time pulling the farmer's plow. One day the farmer's wife, who has the luxury of spending her days sitting in the house, drinking tea and listening to the radio decides to prettify Lucille by taking her shopping. Well Lucille gets herself a fancy hat, high heels, and a lovely white dress. Now she spends her days drinking tea with the farmer's wife and cannot work in the fields as she is too dainty for such. All the wife's friends come for visits, but Lucille quickly finds…

Winter of Peril : The Newfoundland Diary of Sophie Loveridge, Mairie's Cove, New-Found-Land, 1721 by Jan Andrews

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Winter of Peril : The Newfoundland Diary of Sophie Loveridge, Mairie's Cove, New-Found-Land, 1721 by Jan Andrews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dear Canada series

An enjoyable read by an author I'm more familiar with as a picture book author, so was surprised to see her name on this book. A quick read that kept me interested and about a time period that isn't really written about much: when the fishermen came to Newfoundland during the late 17th century before and just as settlement in the area was starting to catch on. The story does take quite some suspension of belief though and I found the characters irritating. The parents have ventured into this New-Found-Land completely clueless and it is their pampered 12yo daughter who quickly learns "the way of the world" and takes on wanting to be "USEFUL" and learn how to take care of herself and others. The book heavily concentrates on life for the itinerant fishermen who traveled to Newfoundland from England/Irela…

Smasher by Dick King-Smith

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Smasher by Dick King-Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I thought I hadn't read this before but not too many pages in I realized I had. My eldest son was quite fond of this author so we've had a lot of his books in the house and I still have some left, but my youngest never took to them. Smasher is a cute book. A bit of a take on the ugly duckling story. This is an easy chapter book as well. Probably good for average 3rd grade readers. This is a realistic story of a "throwback" puppy of a litter; he's not weak or a runt. In fact he's the biggest and strongest, but looks nothing like the mother or other pups and is, in the farmer's opinion down right ugly. Smasher truly owns his name by causing all sorts of trouble from chasing chickens and sheep to entering the house, stealing a steak, whizzing in the living room and causing major havoc. Mrs. Farmer has enough and orders the pup begone. In this heart-warming story the kind-hearted farmer has grown too fond of …

Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

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Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is my third book by Jennifer Brown, which I enjoyed, but not to the degree of the other two. This book is much more laid back that the others with no major crisis or climax that the story is propelling towards. Of course, things happen, an event starts the two siblings running away together in the first place. 16yo Jennifer is in major trouble at school, perfect Jennifer, and she reacts in haste by grabbing her severely OCD incapacitated older (19yo) brother and running away on a road trip across the country, hoping to meet up with an old friend they haven't seen in three years. This is a character driven novel and the particular type of writing I like the best. However here we don't ever really get to know the characters all that well. Jennifer is the narrator and she is unreliable as she goes through many stresses and delusions until she straightens herself out by the end. But there are two key themes that kept my…

BOOK TOUR: Beyond the Pale edited by Henry Herz

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Beyond the Pale edited by Henry Herz
Published: July, 2014; Birchtree Publishing

Rating: (4.5/5)

This is an absolutely fantastic collection of fantasy stories aimed at older Young Adults written by top-notch authors that all centre around the abstract theme of that thin veil that separates our world from the beyond. With most anthologies as a reader I always expect a mixed bag with perhaps a dud or two but Beyond the Pale is without exception the best collection of short stories I've read this year and this is my 10th.  The stories range from great to excellent. Most of the authors I had heard of, several I'd already read and the others I would read again.  A couple of my all-time favourite authors are included here also: Peter S. Beagle and Jane Yolen.  Superb!

1. Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela by Saladin Ahmed (2009) - A fine story to open this collection with!  Hard to describe its genre as just what exactly but mostly it resembles a tale of the Arabian Nights with to…