Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Identity Crisis: The Murder, the Mystery, and the Missing DNA by Jefferson Bass

Identity Crisis: The Murder, the Mystery, and the Missing DNA by Jefferson Bass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ebook, 112 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Witness Impulse

A novella, or the nonfiction equivalent, in which Bill Bass ,mostly, of the Jefferson Bass duo, describes a case the two worked on in the early 2000s in which a family asked to have the remains of a long buried relative identified with DNA to quell a constant family rumour that it may not actually be her buried in the family plot. In this case, the author tells how what he assumed would be a simple DNA profile turned into a puzzling two-year search to positively identify the remains. Not exactly a riveting case, but one that shows DNA is not the be all and end all it is often portrayed to be on TV. In this case, the DNA came back with more questions than they had started with and Bass details the various technology used to identify the remains as well as the repeated attempts at different methods of DNA sampling.




Julius and Ethel Rosenberg - Spies or Scapegoats? You Make the Call! by Joe Bruno

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg - Spies or Scapegoats? You Make the Call!
by Joe Bruno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 80 pages
Published August 31st 2014 by Knickerbocker Publishing Company

Short but good book giving the entire story of the Rosenbergs. The author starts with the foreknowledge of what we know today and with an attitude that Julius is a "creep" so we know how things will turn out and are aware of the author's opinion from the get go. I haven't studied this case but am aware of it and the change in public opinion over the years and the knowledge that has come to light in more recent years. While the author tells the story giving us knowledge that wasn't known publicly at the time he does leave some surprises for when then were revealed many years later. Although public opinion often swayed towards claiming this husband & wife had been martyred by the anti-red cause, the author's take and the general opinion today is that Julius was justly accused and sentenced. On the other hand, while the author may be a bit heavy-handed against Ethel, popular opinion is generally still open to debate on the extent, if any, of her involvement but it's generally agreed, with the author also being sympathetic to, her punishment being unjustly harsh. I learned quite a bit of information about more recent events that I hadn't known and found the book easy to read. I would have preferred if the author had released details chronologically as they unfolded though to make the story more interesting rather than journalistic.




Winemaker Detective Series #4: Deadly Tasting by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen

Deadly Tasting by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 140 pages
Published October 17th 2014 by Le French Book
First Published: 2005 in French

Winemaker Detective Series: #4

I have been reading this series and quite enjoying it but have to say I was quite disappointed in this one. First, I did like the mystery. It was a neat serial killer puzzler which was described as gruesome but still kept a cozy as no details were given. The problem was there was way too much history packed into this tiny novel that the story suffered from it. I'm already fond of Benjamin and Virgile, but the book didn't allow for their lovable characteristics to come forward. I read a lot of WWII history so know about Vichy France, yet it felt like the book went into history teacher mode; this has been translated into English so I'm sure this information would have been elementary to the original audience and was just tedious for me. I kept wanting the lesson to end and them to get back to the mystery and comradery between Benjamin and Virgile. One thing that is established with this volume though is that the Inspector calls Benjamin in to work on the case as an expert and his prowess as an amateur detective is acknowledged. I think this will set him up nicely for continuing to keep poking his nose into police affairs for the rest of the series. I do not recommend anyone start with this as your first introduction to the series though. Hoping the next one gets me back in the mood for Cooker and his wine, cigars, and vintage cars.




Friday, April 24, 2015

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by Bond Street Books

This is the first book I've read by the author, although I've wanted to read the others. I can't believe I waited this long! I just loved this! It had a little bit of everything I enjoy: historical fiction, quirky characters, and suspense. Although I'm not a romance reader, I found the love story just beautiful. Mostly I enjoyed the suspense as the secrets were revealed throughout and the dramatic ending. I also enjoyed all the characters; the Scottish ones were adorable. Maddie was an engaging, believable character and I enjoyed the personal journey and awakening she went through during the story. Hank and Ellis, on the other hand, are not likable, nor are they meant to be; Ellis, I found to be the weakest written character being somewhat unbelievable and over-the-top while I had wished Hank had been developed more. I found myself wanting to know more about his point of view, what he knew and didn't know and his thoughts/feelings on the situation, something the reader is never made privy to. It felt as if his character was important in a way that never fully materialized. In all, it was a riveting story that took me two sittings to read, both lasting until the wee hours of the night.




Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Golden Books

Little Golden Books
Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book (1)

I've read and own the other books in this series and, of course, loved this first one that started it all. An inspirational pick-me-up on how to live and enjoy your life to the fullest using illustrations and values from the early 1940s-1960s Little Golden Books. This is not a children's book; it contains original text written for adults though this one, unlike the others, would be fitting for children also. This is a cheery little ditty with a positive, uplifting message, but it is the illustrations that will delight the LGB fans for the nostalgia effect. All the famous illustrators are here: Tibor Gergely, Garth Williams, Feodor Rojankovsky, Richard Scarry, Eloise Wilkin, and many more. A wonderful book for an inspirational pick-me-up or for Little Golden Book fans and collectors. Since I've read the others and can compare this to them I will say I liked Love and Christmas the most, maybe because they had a theme.

I would buy more if the series were to continue but I will be passing on the next one (July, 2015) because it is Disney-themed and my like of Disney only stretches to 1977 when the involvement of the Disney family ended. The summary of the Disney book lists mostly modern movies so I'll wait and see if there is another book.




Have You Been Saved?: A Catholic Perspective by Rev. John Dowling

Have You Been Saved?: A Catholic Perspective by Rev. John Dowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 24 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Liguori Publications

A small pamphlet (booklet) which explains to Catholics what evangelicals and fundamentalists mean when they ask "have you been saved?" The book is written to the cradle Catholic to whom this question may be baffling and not know how to respond. Then gives a 10-step thorough, excellent understanding of what salvation actually means and the Catholic view, supported by Scripture, of this ongoing process. I am a convert and having been on both sides of the coin certainly understand the saved question but found this an excellent, concise source of the information one should be armed with tackling the topic with non-Catholics.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 135 pages
Published July 23rd 2002 by Perennial
(first published 1972)

The ending is very tight and suspenseful but otherwise I found it greatly outdated. The roaring feminism is a product of its times; thankfully the type of woman who spent their life being a victim of men are now reaching senior-hood. I feel pretty confident in saying that most mentally healthy 21st-century men would become bored *very* fast with a robot wife. LOL




Crime Seen: Stories from Behind the Yellow Tape, From Patrol Cop to Profiler by Kate Lines

Crime Seen: Stories from Behind the Yellow Tape, From Patrol Cop to Profiler by Kate Lines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Random House Canada

Kate Lines was the second Canadian and first Canadian woman to complete the FBI's criminal profiling course at Quantico. She started her career with the police force as a traffic cop, moved up into undercover vice, then became a detective and rose to higher positions of authority once she became a leader in profiling in Canada. She is much decorated and honoured in the profession and this is her personal story up to the present. What drew me to reading this memoir was, of course, the profiling aspect due to my interest in that field, however, the best part of the book was the first half. Kate starts off briefly with her childhood and upbringing to how her interest in police work began. Her days of training and becoming a cop follow with details of her work as a traffic cop and undercover "narc" working in the high-risk area of biker gangs. Surprisingly, I found this part terribly interesting especially finding out how the Canadian system works. (So much of what is written is from an American perspective) I thought the really good part would start once she went to Quantico and her ten months there were quite interesting but not very detailed. The rest of the book was rather disappointing as she describes profiler work matter of factly, insistently tells the reader how unlike the TV shows it is, and even though she goes over a few high profile cases including Paul Bernardo and Colonel Russell Williams they are the most boring retellings of those crimes I've ever read. Lines also has an annoying habit of taking time out to praise the police force and pat her colleagues and the entire force on the back that it made me roll my eyes and think "save it for the acknowledgements!". This back patting was an obvious strike at public image control for the police in general. So while the book wasn't as good as I'd hoped for, the writing style not overly engaging, and the author's voice on the annoying side; I did enjoy learning how these things are done in Canada and especially hearing the story of her early days as a woman in the police force. Lines is now retired and works as a private detective and consultant.




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tom Gray #1: Gray Justice by Alan McDermott

Gray Justice by Alan McDermott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Published July 8th 2011 by Amazon Digital Services

Tom Gray (#1)

I have to admit I put off reading this for the longest time because the reviews are all over the place with ratings from 1 to 5. But it sounded good and I'm glad I finally read it. I was hooked right away and glued to my seat from the get-go. This was a can't-put-down page-turner. Certainly, it's a vigilante anti-hero vengeance story with a highly unlikely scenario and belief has to be suspended to enjoy it. The better title would have been "Gray Vengeance". I won't critique it as I could go on about what was wrong with the logic of the plot, the dialogue, the writing, etc. But in all honesty and reality, I didn't care. I loved it!!! I didn't like Tom Gray, he is morally ambiguous and not even relativistic as he knows he's doing wrong but doesn't care and thinks if he can get through the loopholes then so what. But I will definitely be returning for book 2 (which I have) as the ending was intriguing and I would love to go another round with this testosterone filled action-adventure political thriller series. Sometimes books are just a heck of a lot of fun!




Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hellfire & Damnation II by Connie Corcoran Wilson

Hellfire & Damnation II by Connie Corcoran Wilson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 170 pages
Published July 28th 2012 by Quad City Press

A collection of stories based on the 9 level's of Dante's Hell. I wasn't terribly impressed with this collection. I love Dante's version of Hell and had been expecting more; perhaps more horror or terror. The stories were mediocre. Some were real duds and the majority were just ok. The last few stories were better than the earlier stories making the average rating come out to a close 3/5.

1. Cold Corpse Carnival - A man died by falling into an ice pit and is kept there frozen, eventually becoming the small town's main (only) attraction. But the 130-odd-year-old corpse is in a state of Limbo. His body may be dead, or more like in suspended animation, but his brain has been completely functional all these years and he's vowed to exact vengeance on people in general who represent the decades of people who have dishonoured his corpse all these years, Just ok. Predictable with an unsatisfying ending. Interesting premise though and I remember reading an article once about a true-life miner's body on display somewhere. (3/5)

2. The Shell - A harsh story of an old Mayan religious fanatic who kidnaps a 12yo girl for Quetzalcoatl. She's there for a few days being raped and the story is a bit hard to read but the focus turns onto the girls courage, intelligence and bravery in concentrating on how to escape. This story gives me better expectations of Wilson's writing than the previous story. (4/5)

3. Tempus Fugit: Resurrection Cemetary - Lady in a white dress ... hitchhiker ... ghost story. meh. (2/5)

4. The Champagne Chandelier - A well-written narrative of an only child who upon getting ready for her mother's funeral looks back upon her flamboyant life with five husbands. She was widowed by them all except for a divorce from one who had two children, one a daughter, the narrator's own age, who was mean, evil and tormented her for the three years their parents were together. A tale of a dysfunctional family with a spooky ending. (4/5)

5. A Spark on the Prairie - This is pure historical fiction. An ex Kiowa Indian Chief who has been shamed for his cowardice narrates the downfall of the Natives and the greediness and lies of the white man until the end when they have all been rounded up onto reservations. Lots of quotes, names and dates, and BORING. (1/5)

6. M.R.M. - Very short but when of the best-written stories so far. A hen-pecked man has been working on an invention to modify his wife back to the way she was when he met her for most of their thirty year marriage. (4/5)

7. A Bridge Too Far - Three people are in some type of music competition, maybe reality show, this night they had to form a group, write an original song, then they will perform it the next day. The bridge to the chorus is stumping the songwriter of the group, she and the lyricist can't stand the arrogant cowboy singer and at the last minute have a plan to get rid of him. Short and sweet ... make that devious. Nothing rally happens though. (2/5)

8. Letters to LeClaire - A tragic little story set in 1920 where a brother returns home to bury his only sister and last remaining relative, age 23. He finds her correspondence in the house and reads it during the night he spends with the coffin, including his own letters while determining on the morrow to find out just exactly how his sister died. I liked the atmosphere of this one. (4/5)

9. Room Service - This was funny! On the way to the BEA a humourist writer finds herself on the same plane as her agent, a woman who has never smiled in the seven years she's known her. Trying to be friendly, she's rebuffed as the agent in the seat in front of her says she needs a nap then proceeds to recline her seat back as far as possible. The anger builds inside our author until, at the hotel, she ends up killing more than one person. (5/5)

10. Oxymorons - This one is a mystery that went over well with me. A secret service guy for the possible next Republican party leader talks with a close friend about this man's recent attempt on his life, the recent "accidental" death of his wife and many of the deep dark secrets of his past. I thought I knew what was going to happen, something much more sinister than the actual ending but it was a good read. (3/5)

11. The Bureau - A longer story than the others, this is a tale of family betrayal, greed, and murder. Illegal organ transplant harvesting is the theme and once one commits their first crime the next becomes much easier, especially when you keep it all in the family. (3/5)



View all my reviews

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dear Canada: If I Die Before I Wake: The Flu Epidemic Diary of Fiona Macgregor, Toronto, Ontario, 1918 by Jean Little

If I Die Before I Wake: The Flu Epidemic Diary of Fiona Macgregor, Toronto, Ontario, 1918 by Jean Little
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published 2007 by Scholastic Canada

Dear Canada series

Jean Little's contributions to this series are exceptional and "If I Die Before I Wake" is no different. Little portrays life in 1918 Toronto vividly. The Spanish Flu Pandemic is, of course, the main theme but various other topics are also explored: the last year of WWI, Armistice Day, class distinctions, women doctors and the growing changes in women's freedom. General everyday life is explored deeply showing the great conveniences now available since the parent/grandparent's Victorian days and the hardships the reader will notice compared with modern day's easy use of technology. Fiona introduces us to her unique family consisting of multiple twins, widowed father and Aunt caretaker bringing great character development and a charming, lovely household that we grieve with when the obvious death(s) occur(s). I was surprised though because I thought clues were being given that a certain character would be the one who perished and I, thankfully!, was wrong. The book is better given to the older age range of this series (8-12) due to the amount of death and descriptions of the disease. The ending is satisfying enough but the usual epilogue which tells what happened to the characters after the book was unusually depressing. Also includes some good photographs at the end, though more seem to be from Alberta & Manitoba than Toronto, where the book is set.




Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Enchanted Lion Books

An illustrated picture book of famous poetry about animals from the quaint to the silly to the serious. There are free verse, rhyming stanzas and even one limerick. Poets include those hailed for children such as Christina Rossetti, those famed for the humorous such as Ogden Nash and the masters such as Blake. I always say I'm not a poetry person, and I'm not really. But! This is the way I like my poetry: presented in an illustrated children's collection. Several of these have prominent places on my shelves and this one is worthy of buying also. I read an egalley provided by the publisher so did not get the full experience of this but some of the pages are even magnificent fold-outs. The illustration is gorgeous! It reminds me of a childhood book of poems I have by Polish illustrator Krystyna Stasiak. JooHee Yoon's artwork is very reminiscent of the 70s: wild colour combinations such as orange/yellow, green/yellow and vibrant green/blue, pattern mixing such as polka dots/bricks, diamonds/gingham and tiger print/leaves. His work is obviously highly printmaking-based but I'd guess he adds sketching/drawing as well. The only complaint I have is that on a couple of occasions the colour of the text vs background was a poor choice making a few poems difficult to read such as yellow text on a patterned blue/green background and light blue text on a yellow background but most of the time the contrast works well. A wonderful collection and variety of poems that children will enjoy and marvellous, bold, bright illustration to make it simply fun to read.




Monday, April 6, 2015

Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields by Kathryn Casey

Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields by Kathryn Casey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 25th 2014 by Harper

I wasn't particularly acquainted with these murders which all occurred along a specific portion of the Texas I-45 near Galveston so it was all pretty much new information to me. This is my first true crime by this author also and I found her writing incredibly sympathetic to the victims and their families which I always appreciate when reading modern accounts of murder. This book covers a lot of information and many, many cases while covering a time period from the late '60s to 2000. Some victims had a short amount of time spent on them while others had chapters while Casey covered trials that brought their killers to justice. Casey manages to skillfully keep the abundant information from becoming an overload by presenting the Killing Fields' history in chronological order and revisiting cases when new evidence is found while following the future crimes. In the end, Casey names the most likely suspect in each case where viable persons of interest were suspected but evidence wasn't solid enough for an arrest. She also concludes that the sheer number of small town police, their methods and politics played a major role in the number of unsolved crimes in this area. I found this a quick, engrossing read and love Casey's writing style. I'll certainly seek out some of her other books.




Deadly Appearances by Gail Bowen

Deadly Appearances by Gail Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mass Market Paperback, 265 pages
Published February 1st 1992 by Seal Books
first published 1990

Joanne Kilbourne Mystery (1)

Well, I sure wish I hadn't waited so long to start this series! It's not my usual "serial killer thriller" mystery and I thought it might be lame because of the politics theme but this Canadian author is up to book 15 in this series so I had to see what was up. Deadly Appearances is at heart a political mystery with the book starting off with the murder of the prime candidate for Premier of Saskatchewan. The main characters then are all those surrounding his political campaign, spouses, and friends. I found this an engrossing quick read but not because of the actual mystery. What impressed me the most was character development and the focus on the amateur sleuth's family and its dynamics. Mysteries often forgo characters for action. The mystery wasn't very hard to figure out but the nuances of the motive and secrets that were revealed dealt with real issues. The story was authentic, as were the characters and I found the main characters fully developed. I most certainly would continue on with the series




Friday, April 3, 2015

Button Hill by Michael Bradford

Button Hill by Michael Bradford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 253 pages
Published April 2015 by Orca Books

I enjoyed this horror/fantasy for middle graders. An exciting tale that has a brother and sister involved in the Underworld and afterlife risking their very own life force and in one case beating heart. I was quite pleasantly surprised at the amount of horror in a book for this age group. It gets pretty scary (and a little gruesome) at times but always remains age appropriate. The characters are realistic and likeable with the brother and sister behaving like real siblings having an antagonizing relationship yet one based on love at the heart. The secondary characters are a motley crew and I especially enjoyed Aunt Primrose, the keeper of Dayside. The author's mythos of his imaginary world does have quite a few holes that keep it from holding together under scrutiny; I kept finding myself asking questions as to how this would apply to the supposed entire afterworld it occasionally refers to, but it is an intriguing story nevertheless. The ending is conclusive and yet it is has left an opening for a sequel. I found it a fast read that kept me turning the pages and would certainly recommend for those looking for something scary but appropriate for this age group. A fun read.




Bruce Coville's Shapeshifters

Bruce Coville's Shapeshifters by Bruce Coville
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 6th 1999 by HarperCollins

Bruce Coville has been the editor of a ton of anthologies for young people and this is the first one I've actually had a chance to read. It's a mediocre collection with a handful of previously published stories and the majority written for the collection. I'd only heard of a few of the authors, plus two great authors are also included Ray Bradbury and Jane Yolen. Obviously the theme that ties these stories together is shapeshifters of various kinds and forms. There were a couple of gems, a few duds, and most were just ok but they all averaged out to a solid rating of three. I'd read another of Coville's anthologies, especially because he did everything right as an editor. I read a lot of short story collections and Mr. Coville included everything I like to see. First and foremost, a copyright page that dates all the stories included letting us know which have been previously published and which are new to the collection (you wouldn't believe how many anthologies omit this information), and secondly, a brief biography of each author included. I find this very important information as it lets me know if the author is a veteran or newcomer, whether they specialize in the short story form or write novels and from this I may 1) realize I've read the author although the name didn't ring a bell at first glance or 2) go on to look for further works by the author. Kudos to Bruce Coville as an excellent editor of short story collections!

Now on to the stories included:

1. Homeward Bound by Bruce Coville (1987) - I've only read Bruce Coville's "Unicorn Chronicles" so it was somehow appropriate that this is a unicorn story. Nothing too special; I'd classify it as being a fairytale. It ends in a death, but the death is joyous and I'm partial to endings where death is a happy or redeeming outcome. (3/5)

2. I Was a Bestselling Teenage Werewolf by Lawrence Watt-Evans (1998) - Very short. The title says it all but an amusing twist ending. (2/5)

3. Myself by Mark A. Garland (1998) - Set in Outerspace aboard a spaceship, a boy has ended up alone, the last survivor. Or is he? This is a well-told story with mounting suspense and a reveal at the end. It's a thinker though and I can't say what the shapeshifter is as that's key to the story. Good one! (3/5)

4. Frog Princes by Janni Lee Simner (1998) - This is a silly story with a twist on the old fairy tale. How would the girl and the kissed frog prince get along today in modern America? (2/5)

5. Tricky Coyote by Susan J. Kroupa (1998) - Awe, I liked this story. It's about a Hopi boy who moves off the reservation to go live with his mother. A story of bullying, retaliation, the Native legends of Coyote and finally finding a home, love and acceptance. Good one. (4/5)

6. Swan Sister by Anne Mazer (1996) - A girl reflects her thoughts on how she feels left out having seven brothers who turn into swans every evening. Has a fairytale atmosphere and well-written but the ending didn't satisfy me. The first thing I did when I saw the author though was google to see if she was related to Norma and Harry and, indeed, she is their daughter! I grew up reading the Mazers' books. (3/5)

7. The Changelings (1995) by Jessica Amanda Salmonson - This is a Native American myth of the Tualatin or Wapato Lake Indians. I'm fairly sure the author took liberties with the creature in the story as I can find no reference to it online. This is a sad, depressing tale and only remotely fits the shapeshifter theme. I didn't particularly like it but did find the writing to be strong. (3/5)

8. The Talking Sword by Jack Dann (1998) - We are in the middle of the book now and this story is quite longer than the others, except Coville's opener. The first few sentences let us know the narrator is a sword who is really a demon. Quite different from any other story up to this point. What ensues is an example of how the demon creates dragonslayers. The story is full of pop culture references making it quite dated to a modern reader. I don't think it's held up well over time. It's a humorous story but actually became quite boring. (1/5)

9. Freedom by Connie Wilkins (1998) - More of a classic shapeshifter story this time around. A boy in a wheelchair is drawn to some wolf gargoyles he can see from his window and a girl his own age is drawn to him. They visit the wolf building one night and discover their true natures (and it is not wolves!), A much better piece than what's come before it. (3/5)

10. Fever Dream by Ray Bradbury (1948) - This story is the gem inside this collection; a very old tale from the master of science fiction. A very creepy, sinister tale that reveals what is happening quite early but the full meaning not until the horror-style ending. An ominous tale of evil and on another level of writing than the other stories in this collection (5/5)

11. The Electronic Werewolf by Lael Littke and Lori Littke Silfen (1998) - I enjoyed this one quite a bit! A bit dated with '90s computers and the title tells us the shapeshifter so no surprise there. But a well-written, intriguing story with some anger that doesn't quite let you know where it is going to go in the end. Written by a mother/daughter team. (4/5)

12. Wilding by Jane Yolen (1995) - I'm a big fan of Jane Yolen and this is by far the most original story in this entirecollection. She takes a unique twist on the theme set in a futuristic New York city where DNA manipulating is not only legal but used for sport. Even better than Bradbury's entry. (5/5)

13. Jonas. Just Jonas by Nancy Varian Berberick and Greg LaBarbera (1998) - I've never heard of these authors so was delighted to find this a fine entry into the collection. Well-written, set in the future, and like Yolen's piece a unique take on the shapeshifter theme. It's a story of courage ad being true to yourself when the truth could be a matter of your own life add death. A bit dated with its computer technology though. (4/5)

14. A Million Copies in Print by John C. Bunnell (1998) - Not exactly the best-written story. But a fun, and certainly different take on the theme than the others. Without mentioning the actual name of the series, our narrator tells us the sinister truth about those "Goosebumps" books and a plot to take over the world. (3/5)