Welcome

A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, Catholic (with Asperger's) who reads and writes as her obsession. I've been reading over 400 books a year lately. These are my ramblings on some of the books I read. To read about all the books I read and comment on, visit me at LibraryThing or Goodreads.

I've been blogging since 2007 and at this point (July 2015) am trying my hand at turning the theme of this blog towards mystery, thriller, and crime, fiction and nonfiction. I have some special interest topics and categories within this broad genre which include (but are not limited to) serial killers, scandi-crime, Victorian history and historicals, history of the criminally insane and asylums, psychopathology, death, funerary practices and burial, corpses, true crime and anything dealing with the real life macabre, or that portrayed in fiction.

I also read a short story a day from various collections, sometimes anthologies othertimes collections of a single author's work. These reviews are also posted here and while they are of mixed genre the mystery, thriller, horror, gothic and macabre often appear within their pages as well.


I also blog about
graphic novels and manga on a separate BLOG.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis


Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Where do I even start. I haven't read any of Lewis' non-fiction before though I've wanted to for ages. I'm so glad I chose this as my first one. Basically I don't have the words to do the book justice. It is terribly profound. It is logical and oh, so simply deep. At first I found the writing as if I was being talked to like a child but I did have to realise the book was first written in the 1940s and I got used to the style along with realizing that I am a child, a child of God. As I said I do not have the words to do the book justice and that is how I felt throughout reading the whole book. His explanations of why there must be a God ... the God ... Our Father, are so simplistically logical that I was literally stunned and wished I could have thought of that myself. He goes on to describe the whole Christian religion, from the standpoint of an atheist who converted because it was the only sensible answer to his searching. As a Christian, Catholic, myself I didn't need the proof but I found it utterly enlightening the way he explained things so simply. He covers all the points most non-believers raise as he raised them himself on his journey and C.S. Lewis was one of our great modern thinkers. I could have read this book quickly but it took me a while to read as after I had read 1, sometimes 2, chapters I just had to stop because I wanted to remember, muse upon and discuss the next day with my coffee group, the way he had made me look at things from a different angle. This is "the" book to read for those looking, searching and trying to find God, even before you decide upon a denomination. Lewis even talks about this. The book is completely Christian without denominational influence. He was Church of England (Anglican/Episcopal) but he talks of how one should find their own denomination without bias. Now that I've read the book, this is one I'm going to keep by my bedside and read a chapter from now and then to learn his phraseology and allegory to help myself when speaking with non-believers. Truly a classic of the 20th century that should be read by all because even if the book doesn't convert you it will give you the true meaning of Christianity and let you know why these Christians you meet aren't perfect.



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Death at Chinatown (An Emily Cabot Mystery 5) by Frances McNamara

Death at Chinatown (An Emily Cabot Mystery 5) by Frances McNamara

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A good mystery which I'd normally call a cozy but it contains a serious degree of historical information not usual for the everyday cozy. One can tell the author is extremely researched in the time period and in all the details which the main character comes across in this story which mainly have to do with medicine and the state of the Chinese in Chicago during this time period. I enjoyed the characters, except Stephen the husband, and many real-life personages are included in the cast. I did find the book slow going for the most part, the historical atmosphere held my attention more than the plot but I did find the solution to the mystery a surprise at the end. I also found the book too feminist for my tastes. Without going into too much detail the main character is continuously coaxed and given ultimatums to go back to work, for the sake of the women's cause, when her natural instinct is telling her to be at home with her two children aged 15mos and younger. The husband's actions particularly irritated me.



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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pray the Rosary: for Rosary Novenas, Family Rosary, Private Recitation, Five First Saturdays by Rev. J.M. Lelen

Pray the Rosary: for Rosary Novenas, Family Rosary, Private Recitation, Five First Saturdays by Rev. J.M. Lelen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is a beautiful vintage little booklet that I love and carry in my purse because I just adore the pictures and the little thoughts that each Mystery tells you to think about while you are praying. Being from the 50s it does not have the Luminous Mysteries we nowadays say on Thursdays but otherwise the Rosary is still the same. It starts off with how to say the Rosary, tells about Novenas and a few ways to do Rosaries,contains the words to every prayer needed or used in the Rosary then has a page for each of the remaining mysteries. There is a picture, a thought to concentrate on and a list of the prayers for newbies so you won't forget what order to say them. As I said before I love the gorgeous old-fashioned pictures and concentrate on them when using this booklet to pray the Rosary. A really nice vintage booklet to have and treasure.



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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper by William Swanson

Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper by William Swanson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Something about the description of this book piqued my interest, though I'm not sure what. I read a lot of true crime but this is the first time the case has not been about a serial killer or at least a murder. No. Here we have a fairly simple crime. A wealthy socialite is kidnapped in the 70s, a ransom note for $1,000,000 is sent, the money delivered and the woman found, scared and disheveled but unharmed. What follows however is a very long and twisting case. It goes cold, until 7 years later an arrest is finally made, but then that is when all the strangest parts of all happen. I enjoyed the book well. It's written in an easy to read style, The author is more than respectful to the victim and her family. Included are pages of actual court case testimony and a few pictures. I had never heard of this case before; probably because many high-profile kidnappings happened during this time period (including Patty Hearst). But this is an absorbing and interesting case and Swanson has presented it in a compelling read.



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Monday, October 13, 2014

The Sixteen (Soul Jumpers Book 2) by Ali B

The Sixteen by Ali B

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Soul Jumpers (Book 2)

Excellent! A fine follow-up to "Iris Brave". A non-stop adrenaline rush from beginning to end. I had a few problems with the first book but those can be attributed to author's first-book-syndrome as they have been cleared up in this sequel. Iris is a fine character and one I've grown to care about. She is no longer so impulsive, yet still courageous, making her a much more believable, real character. I love the unique plot and while book one was mainly a set up, "The Sixteen" was action, through and through. We meet a great quirky bunch of supporting characters here and the ending brings a surprise twist. I also like that even though the book ends with rising action as Iris starts out on the next part of her journey, the plot here has a definitive climax and the reader finishes with a sense of satisfaction. A great second book and I'm highly looking forward to continuing this series. Bravo!



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Friday, October 10, 2014

Iris Brave by Ali B

Iris Brave by Ali B

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Soul Jumpers (Book 1)

I really enjoyed this intriguing middle grade fantasy. I found the plot to be quite unique and compelling, making for a quick read. The focus of this volume is on Iris and builds up to the reveal at the conclusion so, unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of the paranormal actually happening here, or at least that we are let in on yet. This was the problem I had with the book, that it ended just as the plot was getting to the exciting part! It felt like I'd read only half a book. Otherwise, I really enjoyed Iris, finding her to be a fun and captivating character that I cared about. Her actions were a bit beyond believability but honestly, her impulsive behaviour just made her more endearing to me. So, a good, fun, quick read that ended way too soon and now I'm picking up the second volume so I can find out what's going to happen!



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Thursday, October 9, 2014

St. Vincent De Paul... The Man Who Said "Yes" by Boniface Hanley, OFM

St. Vincent De Paul... The Man Who Said "Yes" by Boniface Hanley, OFM

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This 30 page booklet has small print in two-columns so it contains a lot more text than one assumes at first glance. Quite a meaty history of the years of St. Vincent de Paul's life. A biography of the saint who founded the Vincentians and the Daughters of Charity it also gives a history of France and the Church through the 1600s. de Paul led quite an eventful life and an inspirational one making for interesting reading. The history covering the Thirty Years War, the Fronde, and a time of spiritual emptiness in the French Church also brings fascinating reading. The booklet has no date but from a photograph of a hospital ward I'd date it as being from the 50s. The book is illustrated with photos and prints that are in the same monotone blue as the cover. Well, worth the read and one that makes me interested in reading more about St. Vincent de Paul's life and times.



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Dear Canada: A Trail of Broken Dreams: The Gold Rush Diary of Harriet Palmer, Overland to the Cariboo, 1862 by Barbara Haworth-Attard

A Trail of Broken Dreams: The Gold Rush Diary of Harriet Palmer, Overland to the Cariboo, 1862 by Barbara Haworth-Attard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dear Canada (1862)

A typical story of the hardships going along the trail overland from Winnipeg to the Cariboo during the Cariboo Gold Rush of British Columbia. I've read so many books about the various gold rushes that this had nothing new to offer and was a fairly uneventful tale; though I did find the ending picked up and went in a different direction than I had at first expected. The story also has a girl pretending to be a boy and I really don't like this device in juvenile historicals as it usually, as it does here, follows the expected tropes of "wow! how much easier it is to be a boy. I can wear pants and swear!" Haworth is a good writer though, and if you've not read anything about the Cariboo before the experience is fully realised here, for the intended age level. Not bad.



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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl

Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


An eye-opening look at the two years prior to Princess Victoria ascending the throne. While HRH is not the main character we are given a wonderful insight into her young character and her circumstances leading up to her becoming Queen. The focus is upon her fictional maid, a lady who has been orphaned without inheritance and must fall from grace and accept work to survive. Here we are introduced to downstairs life, the seamy underbelly of London life for single helpless women as the maid finds herself involved in intrigue involving the Princess and a plot to keep her from the throne for as long as possible. Along with the mystery is a romance and much detail on pre-Victorian life and Princess Victoria's life from 16 1/2 to 18 years old. Well-written with much obvious research done. This is the author's first book and that is a bit visible in some over dramatic scenes and flowery passages but this is forgiven with the inclusion of real excerpts from the Princess Victoria's journals of the time. I've read another of MacColl's work and can say this was a good effort for her first book. Will appeal to Victorian fans and is suitable for the younger age range of YA.



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Ghost Walls: The Story of a 17th-Century Colonial Homestead by Sally M Walker

Ghost Walls: The Story of a 17th-Century Colonial Homestead by Sally M Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


First off, this isn't about ghosts, hauntings or anything of that nature. I'm fascinated by what a riveting, fast-paced, interesting non-fiction history book this is. Ms. Walker has an excellent storyteller's voice and writes as if she is with the reader telling you first hand a fascinating story she is enthusiastic about. Peppered densely with quotes from contemporary sources such as letters, diaries and court records this book is a history lover's dream. In the beginning the topic was only of general interest to me. My interests in archaeology, architecture and early settlers pointed me towards this book but my main interests lie in the 19th century, while this book tells us the history of 17th century Maryland. A topic I never thought I'd be so enchanted by, the author's skill in research and obvious love for her topic make the reader join her enthusiasm. While the book is recommended for Gr. 4-8 by the publisher, I honestly would not hesitate to say the writing style is mature enough for any teen or adult to thoroughly enjoy. I've added St. John's House to my "list of places to visit someday" and am checking the library for more of Sally M. Walker's books.



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Star Wars: Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown

Star Wars: Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Darth Dad (3)

This book is very different than the previous two in the series. This one is the most aimed at children, being a picture book. It is a good night themed bedtime storybook with one sentence per page. There are a couple of "Goodnight Moon" type pages but the story does have a little plot as Vader tries to get the twins to bed by reading them a bedtime story. It's not particularly funny, though perhaps slightly grin producing. The book covers characters from all various Star Wars movies, so is best for the complete Star Wars fan. The art is just what we've come to expect from Jeffrey Brown by this point and if you are a fan of his, you'll want to add this to your collection.



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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cybils 2014


I',m pleased to announce that I'm a Round 1 Judge for the Graphic Novels category of the Cybils award this year.  I've been a judge two years in the past but it's been a while since I participated and I was just itching to get back into the excitement of it all.  Nominations for all categories open today and run until Oct. 15 so go on over and nominate your favourite children's and young adult books of 2014 in a variety of different categories.  All details can be found on the Cybils website.