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Showing posts from January, 2016

Stopping for a Spell: Three Magical Fantasies by Diana Wynne Jones

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Stopping for a Spell: Three Magical Fantasies by Diana Wynne Jones; illus by Chris Mould
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pgs
Published July 1st 2004 by HarperCollins Publishers
first published May 27th 1993
Source: thrift store


A collection of three previously published stories by Diana Wynne Jones. The first two were published as individual titles in Great Britain and the third was included in a British anthology. They were then collected together and published for the first time in North America as this combined edition. The stories all follow a theme of the "uninvited guest" and are aimed at the younger reader, perhaps 10 and under. They are hilarious fantasies told with tongue firmly planted in cheek and should please readers of any age who like a bit of wicked fun. Diana's fans will find these short stories to be little gems they may not have come across before and they are sure to delight Wynne Jones' followers. It will remain a keeper for my shelves.

1}…

Harry Lane is Innocent by J. Scaddon

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Harry Lane is Innocent by J. Scaddon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 95 pages
Published September 10th 2015
Source: Kindle freebie


Oh my, an intense, emotional read. The last pages were almost unbearable to read. Time was running out, my heart was pounding and I was afraid to find out how the book might end. Very well written! The book starts off with a frightening scene and then turns towards a plot that has been done before but the author makes it his own. A mentally challenged man in the wrong place at the wrong time is charged with a murder he didn't commit and the police easily manipulate a confession out of him. Set in late 1940s London, England, this is a powerfully emotional tale of the innocence of the mentally child-like and the man-made justice system that is, and always will be, flawed. Sad and compelling.



The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence

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The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Review copy from Random Penguin House Canada


I enjoy survival stories and have been impressed with the two previous books I've read (here and here) by this author. The Skeleton Tree lived up to my expectations. Two young boys are sailing down the Alaskan coast with Jack, uncle to one of the boys when a storm hits and tragedy strikes ending with Jack drowning right before his nephew's eyes. The two boys end stranded on the coast of Alaska with a forest behind them and mountains close by. This is a survival story and theirs isn't as tough as some situations can be, but it is realistic. They've landed near a river during salmon season, they find a rough-made cabin that someone had prepared to be there for a while but obviously left in a hurry, and the elder boy is outdoorsy. But the boys know they won't make it through…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #3

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This meme is held over on Book Date's blog and here we talk about what we are Currently Reading, What we read/posted the last week and what we plan on reading next week. I won't be posting what's coming up. 

I do have a request for suggestions if anyone can help. I'm trying to read a book from all 50 states + DC and only have 2 states left. So does anybody have any suggestions for a thriller, crime or detective novel set in either Delaware or Idaho? Thanks so much!

What I am Currently Reading:

Fiction

I've read one other book by this author and she is *brilliant*! A hidden gem!




















NonFiction

I'm only a few chapters in but, so far I can tell I'm really enjoying this. 













Maximum Insecurity: A Doctor in the Supermax by William Wright & Miracleville by Monique Polak

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I've been sick this weekend and just reading and don't feel like writing so just a couple of posts with mini-reviews to both my blogs today.


Maximum Insecurity: A Doctor in the Supermax by William Wright, MD
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Mini Review - Enjoyed the first half with anecdotes of patients and the author's black humour. Second half became more of a diatribe on his dislike for bureaucracy and "bleeding heart liberals" and he had a bit of a holier than thou attitude that made me roll my eyes more than several times.











Miracleville by Monique Polak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Mini Review - Lovely story. Very Catholic, well done. About a teen girl going through the usual questioning of her faith. Set in the pilgrimage town of St. Anne de Beaupre, Quebec. The family has a mother and eldest daughter who have the Faith and the father and youngest daughter who do not. I had a few issues with the theology but regardless for a secular book it presented the Faith and faithful …

Green Tea and Other Ghost Stories by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

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Green Tea and Other Ghost Stories by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Introduction by John Grafton
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published October 21st 2015 by Dover Publications
Reprint of a 1993 edition
Source: egalley via Netgalley AND I own the 1993 print edition


A collection of four long, short stories by the great Victorian writer most known for his ghost stories though he did write over a dozen Gothic novels. I like LeFanu though I've only been reading him for several years. He's a bit hit and miss with me. I love his signature ghost stories, his stories of the macabre and those that fall under the label Gothic. His writing can be a bit too descriptive for my tastes and topics too metaphysical for my likes, but I'll always give him a go. This collection is a good sampling of what he has to offer, especially if you are not familiar with him. It's certainly not a "Best of" but does showcase some different plots (as I've mentioned) and lengths…

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 386 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Crown
Source: Purchased @ Kindle Store


Utterly, utterly amazing! This is only January but I'll be hard-pressed to find a book that will pass this as the number one book of my year! There are thousands of reviews of this so I'll come at this a little differently. I actually read Armada first, when it came out and I enjoyed it to a point, but now I really understand why readers were underwhelmed with it as a second book. Honestly, Cline will probably always find his future writing compared as never quite reaching the heights of this, his first novel. He genuinely hit the mark with his first novel. This doesn' just have lots of eighties references, the whole thing is virtual immersion into eighties geek culture. Having come of age in the eighties myself, and now thinking of them as my glory days I sooooo get this book and pretty much remembered playing every Atari …

Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

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Shade Me by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 448 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Nikki Kill (#1)

Nikki Kill does not see the world like everyone else. In her eyes, happiness is pink, sadness is a mixture of brown and green, and lies are gray. Thanks to a rare phenomenon called synesthesia, Nikki’s senses overlap, in a way that both comforts and overwhelms her.Always an outsider, just one ‘D’ shy of flunking out, Nikki’s life is on the fast track to nowhere until the night a mysterious call lights her phone up bright orange—the color of emergencies. It’s the local hospital. They need Nikki to identify a Jane Doe who is barely hanging on to life after a horrible attack.The victim is Peyton Hollis, a popular girl from Nikki’s school who Nikki hardly knows. One thing is clear: Someone wants Peyton dead. But why? And why was Nikki’s cell the only number in Peyton’s phone?As she tries to decipher the strange kaleidoscop…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #2

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This meme is held over on Book Date's blog and here we talk about what we are Currently Reading, What we read/posted the last week and what we plan on reading next week.  I keep my sidebar up-to-date with that so don't list what's coming up.
What I am Currently Reading:
Fiction:


Non-Fiction:
I started and DNF'd 2 other books this week before I settled on this one



















Graphic Novel/Manga:


















I always have a short story collection going as I read one short story every morning with my cup of coffee. My current collection is not a collection but a single short story on my ereader for Monday morning:

The Little Goblin by J Scaddon



What I Finished Reading and/or Posted This Week
Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum: Twelve Shuddery Stories for Daring Young Readers
City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
Milwaukee Mayhem: Murder and Mystery in the Cream City's First Century by Matthew J. Prigge


Manga/Graphic Novels
Oddly Normal Vol. 1 & 2 by Otis Frampton
A Glance Backward by Pierre P…

Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum: Twelve Shuddery Stories for Daring Young Readers

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Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum: Twelve Shuddery Stories for Daring Young Readers edited by Alfred Hitchcock

Hardcover, 207 pages
Published 1965, by Random House
Source: used book sale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a great collection of mostly science fiction from the fifties with a few from earlier days. These stories were all previously published in the sci-fi magazines of the era and were curated together here with a theme of "monsters" and chosen as appropriate for young readers. I loved these Alfred Hitchcock collections as a kid and I'm pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this as an adult. The selection of authors contains a few famous names, and other lesser-known names but research shows they were all prolific short story writers. I really enjoyed the selection only finding one dud in the whole group and several very excellent ones.

1. The Day of the Dragon by Guy Endore (1934) - An apocalyptic tale of how an underappreciated professor brings abou…

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

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City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 480 pages
Published January 2nd 2016 by Random House Canada
Source: review copy from Random Penguin House Canada


Well, I've found a new favourite author! I've read a few of her paranormals and now two of her thrillers and I can say I'm hooked on Kelley Armstrong. This is a brilliant and unique premise allowing for a creepy thriller and Armstrong delivers! She kept me guessing throughout the entire book, changing my mind right up until the very end. I had my suspicions on too many people to have ever solved this one! There is one of the grossest crime scenes I've ever read in a serial killer mystery and I don't throw names around much but the scene is worthy of Mo Hader (my fav for gruesome scenes). I just loved the whole atmosphere of the book: the abandonment, the loneliness, the Wild West aura, and yet it was pure Canadian. There is a romance subplot, and I know always say I'm not into ro…

Milwaukee Mayhem: Murder and Mystery in the Cream City's First Century by Matthew J. Prigge

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Milwaukee Mayhem: Murder and Mystery in the Cream City's First Century by Matthew J. Prigge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Source: LibraryThing Early Review Program


A collection of dark tales from Milwaukee's early history taken from the newspapers, written in the author's own words. Divided into four sections: Murder, Accidents, Vice, and Secrets. The stories have no segues between them and are in no chronological order; they are simply vignettes ranging from a paragraph to three pages long. Themes are arranged together such as all suicides are together, as are fires, poisonings, prohibition cases etc. I had expected more of a flowing narrative than a collection of stories so took off to a slow start, but once I decided to read about 25 pages in a sitting I enjoyed the book much more in the small doses and found many of the stories interesting. Personally, rather than satisfying my interest i…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #1

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Well, I used to participate in this waaaaay back in the day when J. Kaye started it. It's moved around a bit since then and is now hosted by Book Date. I've decided to join the meme again and have fun visiting the blogs.

What I am Currently Reading:

Fiction:


















Non-Fiction:






















Graphic Novel/Manga:



















I also usually may have a few other things on the go long term that I won't include here, but I do always have a short story collection going as I read one short story every morning with my cup of coffee. My current collection is:

Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum: Twelve Shuddery Stories for Daring Young Readers edited by Alfred Hitchcock

What I Finished Reading and/or Posted This Week
Mister Doctor by Irène Cohen-Janca
The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
Chronological with Stephen King

Manga/Graphic Novels
Your Lie in April Vol. 5 by Naoshi Arakawa
My Love Story!!, Vol. 7 by Kazune Kawahara
One-Punch Man, Vol. 4 by ONE
Twin Star Exorcists: Onmyoji, Vol. 3: by Yoshiaki Sukeno
Noragami: S…

Mister Doctor by Irène Cohen-Janca

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Mister Doctor by Irène Cohen-Janca; illus by Maurizio A.C. Quarello
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 68 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by Annick Press
Source: egalley via netgalley


A sad, depressing tale for a children's picture book but a story that must live through the ages and never be forgotten. The Warsaw Ghetto was an abomination, pure and simple. This book takes a look at a group of ill-fated orphans who had the fortune to be housed with Polish hero Janusz Korczak when they were sent to the Warsaw Ghetto. The book presents the horrors of The Ghetto, toned down for age appropriateness but not holding back on the truth. We see the heroism of Mister Doctor as the children called Korczak and how perhaps he managed to make their short life a little less hard or mayhap a little more bright. The drawings done in yellows and browns are very atmospheric and the book end with an afterword "About Janusz Korczak" which briefly details his life story. Well done. Appropr…

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

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The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. illustrated by David Palladini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, First Edition, 326 pages
Published February 2nd 1987 by Viking
Source: Used book store


On my continuing saga of re-reading King's books in chronological order. I actually wasn't looking forward to this much as it was the first one that I had absolutely no recollection of the story. I couldn't bring to mind one thing about it though I do certainly remember reading it and have a faint remembrance of enjoying it. King really brought something new to his readers with "The Eyes of the Dragon" as this is his first book not for adults. In the '80s there really wasn't such thing as Young Adult books, but by today's standards, this would be classified as YA. Most of the book is suitable for children but the beginning is somewhat bawdy, making it hard for me to recommend for younger than teens.

This is not a traditional fantasy, but more of a fairytale with…

Chronological with Stephen King

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(Re) Reading Stephen King in Chronological Order
Finally decided to give this personal challenge its own page! All my posts have been gathered into this one. 

I started this project in 2007, hit a snag for a few years, then since 2011 have started each year off with a Stephen King book.  Other than that this is a long-term project with no goals or objectives other than an "I hope to maybe accomplish "this" this year.



2007
1.  Carrie (1974)
2.  'Salem's Lot (1975)

2008
3.  Rage (1977)
4. The Shining (1977)
5. Night Shift (1978)

2009-2010
snoozefest

2011
6. The Stand (1978)
7. The Long Walk (1979)

2012
8. The Dead Zone (1979)
9. Firestarter (1980)

2013
10. Roadwork (1981)
11. Danse Macabre (1981)



2014


12. Cujo (1981)
13. The Mist (1981)
14. The Running Man (1982)
The Gunslinger (see below)
15. Creepshow (1982) (had a really hard time finding this)
16. Different Seasons (1982)




2015
17. Christine (1983)
18. Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
19. Pet Sematary (1983)

2016
20. The Eyes of the Dragon (1984…

2016 Master ARC List

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This is my updated ARC list for 2016. I did fantastic last year in keeping up with all incoming arcs. I only had three actual requests that didn't get read, then some mangas piled up when I had to rush out to Calgary when my dad had a stroke in November.  Then, of course, I was bombarded with graphic novels for the Cybils judging. Towards the end, my reading was geared towards our discussions so I still have plenty left that I'm looking forward to. 2012 is the last year on my list with a bad backlog; I've been keeping things under control since then. So we'll see what I can do with those and my plan is to eliminate the Library Thing backlog this year.  That is why I've separated them out prior to this year. 




Library Thing 2011-2015
1. Miracleville by Monique Polak
2. Bound by Antonya Nelson
3. A Mind of Winter by Shira Nayman
4. December Park by Ronald Malfi
5. Millhouse by Natale Ghent
6. We are all Made of Molecules by Susin Nielson
7. Shattered Glass by Teresa Toten
8. M…