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Showing posts from August, 2007

Upcoming Reads

I went to the library today and have filled my bedside table with all my future reads for the next little while. I went through my RIP Challenge list and I own most of those books so I took them off the shelves and onto the TBR stacks.

Also on the TBR stacks is:

The Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Fluke by Christopher Moore
A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs
Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton

Currently reading: Pure Dead Wicked by Debi Gliori
Currently reading aloud to the 7yo: Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne and The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon.

Edited to add: A hold came in at the library today, so I had to go back and pick it up. So while I was there I decided to pick up another Lowry book and try another Duncan book.

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry
Ransom by Lois Duncan

August in Review

Lots of good reading this month! A total of 18 books read in August plus 4 DNFs (did not finish). It's been a long time since I had dnf's but I'm in the mood right now where I don't want to bother with books that don't grip me. My best book of the month was a hard choice between A Dirty Job and The Echo Maker, two completely different books, but after a bit of thought I chose the fun book over the emotional one.

I didn't have a really terrible read this month for the worst book since I gave up on the truly horrible ones. I wrote about the first 3 I quit reading in this post. I'm sorry to say that I had another book I gave up on and that was Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. I hate to say it but I just got fed-up with it. The one main character I actually liked (Jacob) became just as annoying as the others and my mind just started wandering while I was reading. I was in a precarious situation with this series anyway; I loved the world Meyer created, the mythos behi…

#66. I Know What You Did Last Summer

I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan

Pages: 198
Finished: Aug. 31, 2007
Reason for Reading: one of my picks for the RIP Challenge
First Published: 1973
Genre: YA thriller
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:


The note was there, lying beside her plate when she came down to breakfast.


Comments: This was a page-turning thriller! I came into this book 'cold-turkey', I hadn't read it before, nor have I seen the movie so I didn't really know anything about it apart from a general idea of the plot. It was incredibly suspenseful and chilling. The twist-ending was fabulous! But I wonder how they pulled that off in the movie. For a book written in 1973, it has a surprisingly modern feel to it. Apart from the mention of Vietnam and a college demonstration it felt very current. I have to say I thought that a YA thriller might be a bit lame but this was just what I would expect from an adult book, minus the graphic violence and sex. Duncan has a long list of books to her name and I'm d…

#65. Rebel Angels

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
Second in the Gemma Doyle series

Pages: 548
Finished: Aug. 29, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series, this is one of my picks for the RIP Challenge
First Published: 2005
Genre: YA historical fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:


Herein lies the faithful and true account of my last sixty days, by Kartik, brother of Amar, loyal son of the Rakshana, and of the strange visitation I received that has left me wary on this cold English night.

Comments: This is my favourite series at the moment. I can't wait for the sequel to come out in December of this year. While not quite as much of a page-turner as A Great and Terrible Beauty this was pretty close. This book combines all my favourite genres into one : Victorian, fantasy, historical fiction and Gothic mystery. I am so intrigued with the fantasy world Bray has created. I find myself wanting to visit the Realms along with the characters. I'm really pleased with how the plot developed in this volume although I di…

Cardathon Challenge

Last year I decided I wanted to read everything by Orson Scott Card. Since then I've read a few of his books here and there. Today I discovered the Cardathon Challenge and I've decided to join the challenge and make it official. The good news is that it doesn't start until Jan 2008 and it runs until whenever.

My list is a compilation of all of Card's fiction. I intend to read them all eventually.

Ender's Game
Speaker for the Dead
Xenocide
Children of the Mind
First Meetings
War of Gifts
Ender's Shadow
Shadow of the Hegemon
Shadow Puppets
Shadow of the Giant

Seventh Son
Red Prophet
Prentice Alvin
Alvin Journeyman
Heartfire
The Crystal City

The Memory of Earth
The Call of Earth
The Ships of Earth
Earthfall
Earthborn

Sarah
Rebekah
Rachel & Leah

Songmaster
Hart's Hope
Saints
Wyrms
Treason
The Abyss
The Folk of the Fringe
The Worthing Saga
Maps In A Mirror
Lost Boys
Lovelock
Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus
Treasure Box
Stone Tables
Homebody
Enchantment
Magic Mirror
Robota
Magic S…

First in a Series Challenge

Joy is hosting a new challenge called First in a Series Challenge and since I'm such a series addict I have to join this one. Rules are simple enough: read 12 books that are first in a series from Jan-Dec. 2008.

Here is my tentative list that I will pick from, but it is subject to change as Jan. is still quite a ways off and I may not be able to wait that long to start some of these.

George Felse series by Ellis Peters
#1 - Fallen into the Pit

Cadfael series by Ellis Peters
#1 - A Morbid Taste for Bones

Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffrey Deaver
#1 - The Bone Collector

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
#1 - Storm Front

Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert
#1 - The Tale of Hill Top Farm

Black Jewels by Anne Bishop
#1 - Daughter of the Blood

Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
#1 - The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Fairacre series by Miss Read
#1 - Village School

Rogue Angel by Alex Archer
#1 - Destiny

Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell
#1 - Postmortem

Sookie S…

#64. Secret Seven Adventure

Secret Seven Adventure by Enid Blyton
Second in the Secret Seven series

Pages: 96
Finished: Aug. 26, 2007
Reason for Reading: read aloud to my 7yo
First Published: 1950
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:


The Secret Seven Society was having its usual weekly meeting.


Comments: A pearl necklace has been stolen and the Secret Seven realize they saw the thief making his getaway through the bushes. They decide to track down the thief and their adventure takes them to the circus. My 7yo really enjoyed this mystery. The circus theme was lots of fun and he was on the edge of seat whenever the Secret Seven found themselves in danger. I enjoyed reading it and I can understand why I loved this series so much as a child. I do find myself editing some of the old-fashioned British words so the 7yo will understand better. ie: flashlight for torch, radio for wireless. Recommended.

#63. The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets by Jean Craighead George

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The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets by Jean Craighead George

Pages: 134
Finished: Aug. 24, 2007
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my 7yo
First Published: 1996
Genre: children, non-fiction, memoir
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:


My children, Twig, Craig, and Luke, were the third generation of Craighead children who brought home wild birds and beasts to have and to contemplate.

Recommend: I don't think I would recommend this book, I'm sure there must be a better nature book out there than this one. That said, this wasn't bad, just rather ho-hum. Most of the humour went over my 7yo's head and there were quite a few parts where he zoned out. But on the other hand there were some parts that we enjoyed, that were funny and interesting. The majority of the tales take place in New York state and since we live in the neighbouring province of Ontario the wildlife discussed is native here also. The 7yo is quite excited when he sees crows now, and calls out "Look Mum…

#62. Gossamer by Lois Lowry

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Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Pages: 140
Finished: Aug. 23, 2007
Reason for Reading: Lois Lowry is a favourite author and this is my first book for the RIP Challenge
First Published: 2006
Genre: YA fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:


An owl called, its shuddering hoots repeating mournfully in the distance.

Recommend: This is a beautiful, sweet tale. It is also a sad, haunting tale. Humans are visited each night by almost transparent creatures who bestow dreams upon them; they are also visited, occasionally, by the terrifying, thundering night mares. On rare occasions, the night mares will congregate into a Horde and descend upon a helpless one and eight-year-old John is their next victim. I loved the beauty of this story, the words, the images and then, in contrast, the topics of child and spousal abuse strike a painful balance. This is a short read, but an emotional and satisfying one.

#61. A Dirty Job

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Pages: 387
Finished: Aug. 22, 2007
Reason for Reading: I wanted to read a Christopher Moore book and darla d recommended this as a good one to start with. Thanks darla!
First Published: 2006
Genre: humour, horror
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:



Charlie Asher walked the earth like an ant walks on the surface of water, as if the slightest misstep might send him plummeting through the surface to be sucked to the depths below.

Recommend: Wow! This was a fabulous book. It was just so much fun! We start with an incredibly exciting and delicious demon story complete with hellhounds and The Morrigan. Then Moore has added an element of humour that is unmatched in anything I've read before; the only thing I can think of to compare it to is Monty Python humour. Very dark, dry, non-PC and sent me into occasional giggle fits.

The characters were pure joy. I really enjoyed Lily the goth girl. As I read this book I actually pictured it as a movie in my head. Maybe Joss Whedon …

A Few Bumps in the Road

I've encountered a few bumps in the Reading Road this month. It has been an awful long time since I started a book and then did not finish it. Everything I've read this year has just been so good, with only a few I didn't enjoy very much but they at least were compelling enough that I had to finish them.

This month I have had 3 DNF! And two of those have been right after each other in the last two days. Earlier this month I started but could not finish Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate. I got about 80 pages in and was just bored with it so I moved on.

Now, just since I finished my last review, I've started Big Fish by Daniel Wallace and again got about 80 pages in and was bored. Maybe because I've already seen the movie? The movie seemed to have much more cohesiveness than the book.

So then I picked up Beau Sabreur by PC Wren. Beau Geste is one of my all-time favourite books so I was looking forward to this. I read about 130 pages the first day and it was readable but…

R.I.P. II Challenge

The R.I.P. Challenge will be starting soon and I am so excited to join this time around! This is my absolute, most favourite genre. I'm tempted to put all my other reading on hold and read nothing but scary, creepy tales until October 31st. I'm signing up for Peril the First, where we must read 4 qualifying books between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31.

Hopefully I will read more than 4, I'd actually like to read at least 10. Here is my list of possible reads based on what I have here at home already:

I will read these for sure:
1. Gossamer by Lois Lowry - a haunting tale of the bestowers of dreams and their counterparts, the Sinisteeds who inflict nightmares. - Review here
2. Pure Dead Wicked by Debi Gliori - the second book in the series about the gothic Strega-Borgia family, sort-of a Scottish Addams Family. - Review here.
3. High Spirits: A Collection of Ghost Stories by Robertson Davies
4. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyers - DNF

I'd like to include Dirty Job (Review here)by Christop…

#60. King of the Middle March

King of the Middle March by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Third in the Arthur Trilogy

Pages: 396
Finished: Aug. 19, 2007
Reason for Reading: next, and last, in the trilogy
First Published: 2003
Genre: YA, arthurian historical fantasy
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

Away east over the thousand-tongued sea, with all its sweet promises, its stabs and sudden rushes, one silver-gold blade of light.


Recommend: If you've read the first two in this trilogy then, yes, I recommend you read this last book. With this final book, I would definitely say this is a YA book as opposed to a children's book such as the first two. King of the Middle March is much darker than the other's in this series. The majority of the book takes place as the middle ages Arthur is journeying to the crusades and Jerusalem, where he sees much violence and rape. There is one scene in particular that was very disturbing. This book is also much more historical fiction than fantasy and I was a little disappointed that it took so lon…

#59. Feed by M.T. Anderson

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Feed by M.T. Anderson

Pages: 236
Finished: Aug. 16, 2007
Reason for Reading: Looked like something I would enjoy
First Published: 2002
Genre: YA science fiction, dystopia
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:


We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.

Recommend: so-so. I'm always intrigued by dystopian literature and the society in this novel is frighteningly possible. How easily today's online technology could turn into this society's implanted technology! However, while I found the society intriguing I wasn't terribly fond of the book. Right from the first page, I found the profanity annoying. I have a hard time reading books that swear at me, especially when it has no real value. I also didn't like any of the main characters, they felt very two-dimensional. This is also a depressing story and while I don't mind (I even often enjoy a good depressing book!), combined with unlikable characters it left me thinking ... ho-hum, whatever.

#58. Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales

The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter

Pages: 400
Finished: Aug. 16, 2007
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my 7yob
First Published: 1902-1930
Genre: children's picture book, animal fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:


Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were -- Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.

Reccomend: Yes. I've been reading this aloud to my 7yo for a month or so, reading one story every now and then. The stories are presented here in chronological order as published with 4 unpublished works at the end. The stories are wonderful, darling tales of anthropomorphic animals. Once she married in 1913 she didn't have as much time for her painting and writing and I think it shows as the stories in the first half of the book are much more enjoyable than the latter ones. The stories are somewhat didactic but not overly so. They are also much more violent than I would have thought them to be. Naughty children are spanked frequently and Potter presents as a …

#57. The Echo Maker

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

Pages: 451
Finished: Aug. 14, 2007
Reason for Reading: This is the Sept. read for the Pulitzer yahoo book group.
First Published: 2006
Awards: National Book Award
Genre: Literature
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:


Cranes keep landing as night falls.

Recommend: Highly! This is an immensely powerful book! Simply staggering. At the core of this novel is a search for self. Who are we really? Are you who you think you are or are you who others think you are? The 3 main characters are all struggling to find their true self: Mark, a man who received a traumatic head injury in a car accident, his sister, whom he believes is an impostor and the famous neurologist who takes on the case.

I found the medical information about the brain and the case histories absolutely fascinating. As a fan of shows such as ER and House, this was right up my alley! I found myself relating to all the main characters and becoming fond of them all in different ways. On top of all this there is a riv…

#56. Messenger

Messenger by Lois Lowry
Third in the Giver sequence

Pages: 169
Finished: Aug. 11, 2007
Reason for Reading: next, and last, in the series
First Published: 2004
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

Matty was impatient to have the supper preparations over and done with.

Recommend: Yes. If you've read the first two you will probably want to read this one. I had hoped for more about the main characters in The Giver and Gathering Blue, instead some of the characters were completely missing and never mentioned at all. I wasn't thrilled with the fanciful ending either. I think I would have enjoyed the story more as a stand-alone but with it being tied into the previous two I just expected more from it.

#55. Gathering Blue

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
Second in the Giver sequence

Pages: 215
Finished: Aug. 10, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series
First Published: 2000
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

"Mother?"

Recommend: Highly recommend. I am enjoying these books so much. This book is completely different than The Giver and has no apparent connection with it until a very brief hint is given on the second to last page. The dystopian society featured in this book is almost the opposite of the one in The Giver though one grim element is the same: Anyone who is not useful to society is disposed of. The characters in this book are very likable and I'm looking forward to meeting them again in the next, and last, book. Once again I'm left with a feeling that this book will stay with me.

#54. Just So Stories

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Pages: 96
Finished: Aug. 9, 2007
Reason for Reading: read-aloud to my 7yob
First Published: 1902
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

In the sea, once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Whale, and he ate fishes.


Recommend: Yes. I especially recommend these stories as read-alouds. The narration is written directly to the listener and the use of repetition make these stories ideal read-aloud material. There are 12 stories in the book and we've been reading one story every day. Many of the stories are fanciful tales of how an animal received one of it's special characteristics, such as How the Camel Got its Hump and these were our favourite ones. Ds just laughed and laughed through these and I enjoyed them just as much as he did. This was my first time reading this book though I have previously read Kiplings' Kim and The Jungle Books. Lots of fun!

#53. The Giver by Lois Lowry

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

Pages: 180
Finished: Aug. 9, 2007
Reason for Reading: I will be reading the next two books in the trilogy and wanted to re-read this first book.
First Published: 1993
Awards: Newbery Medal
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.

Recommend: Highly recommended! This book was a re-read for me but I read it long enough (7-8 years) ago that I didn't quite remember all the details. This is a compelling story of a dystopian society. A quick yet thought-provoking read that should be on everyone's to-be-read list. This is definately a story that makes you think and will stay with me.

Upcoming Reads

Went to the library today and have my next pile of books lined up to read. Here's the list of books I'll be reading over the next few weeks.

Currently reading: Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate - the 2002 Whitbread Novel Winner. This is a book I own and I'm just a few pages in. I have a little plan where everytime I go to the library I take one of my own books off the shelf and add it to the pile. This way I make a little progress on reading books I actually own. This book was in the last library pile.

Library Haul:

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers - this is a Pulizter finalist and winner of the National Book Award. Also is the upcoming September read for the pulitzer yahoo group.

The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger by Lois Lowry. The Giver is a Newbery Award winner and I read it a long time ago. I wanted to read the rest of trilogy and decided I should re-read The Giver as well. The 2nd and 3rd books seem to get mixed reviews, people seem to either love them or hate …

#52. Monday Mourning

Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs
Seventh in the Temperance Brennan series

Pages: 303
Finished: Aug. 7, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series
First Published: 2004
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

"As the tune played inside my head, gunfire exploded in the cramped underground space around me."


Recommend: Yes. This seventh entry in the Temperance Brennan series is just as good as expected. I won't give anything away, but this case quite made my heart pound as it somewhat resembled a true case which happened very close to where I live and that very same case was even mentioned in the text! Truly gruesome and page-turning, especially the last 50 pages, just as I expect when I read Kathy Reichs.

I'm in a bit of a quandary now. There are two books left in this series for me to read and a new one coming out this month. That makes me feel a bit sad knowing there are only three left to read until I have caught up with the author. So, I think I'm going to take a break from reading t…

#51. New Moon

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
second in the Twilight series

Pages: 563
Finished: Aug. 4, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series
First Published: 2006
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

I felt like I was trapped in one of those terrifying nightmares, the one where you have to run, run till your lungs burst, but you can't make your body move fast enough.


Recommend: Yes. A stunning sequel to Twilight. This book is even better than the first, which is often not the case with sequels. I still don't like the character of Bella but the angry language that riddled the first novel is much less frequent this time around. The story was amazing, page-turning. We are introduced to the werewolves and my favourite character of this series, Jacob, whom we met briefly in last novel. The mythos the author has created for her vampires and werewolves is unique and compelling. I can't wait to read the next book, Eclipse, due out this month.

Sally Ann Saturday

After a fruitless morning of garage sale-ing and finding absolutley no books, I had to finish off by stopping by the Sally Ann. Wasn't I happy to find they were having a bogo sale on books! So this weekend I've added the following books to my library:

Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell - a Newbery Honor book. O'Dell is one of my favourite historical fiction authors for children and I'll be re-reading these all over the next few years with my son.

Thinner
The Dark Half
Dreamcatcher
all by Stephen King - I've decided I am going to re-read all Stephen King's books in order, so I'm picking them up as I see them. I haven't read any of his newer stuff as the last book of his I read was Nightmares and Dreamscapes back in 1993. Up to that point I had read all his books each year as they came out. Now, I was 11 when I started reading him so it will be interesting to re-read them as an adult and see if they scare me as much! I have Carrie and Salem's Lot (his …

#50. The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Pages: 521
Finished: Aug. 2, 2007
Reason for Reading: yahoo book awards group read for July
First Published: 2000
Awards: 2000 Booker Prize, 2001 Hammett Prize
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.

Recommend: Highly recommend! This has moved to the top of my list as best book read this year. Wonderful story. At first it seemed simple and I thought it was good but why did it win an award, I wasn't sure it really deserved it but by about page 250 I realized just how much depth this book had.

This is a book within a book within a book within a book and the plot unfolds layer by layer. At first the story appears to be the memoirs of an elderly woman who is nearing the end of her life. The memoir is two-fold recalling events of the past within her daily life of the present. But woven between the pages of this memoir is the text of the book "The Blind Assassin" written by her sister in th…

#49. The Secret Seven

The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton
First in The Secret Seven series


Pages: 100
Finished: Aug. 2, 2007
Reason for Reading: read-aloud to my 7yo
First Published: 1949
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

"We'd better have a meeting of the Secret Seven," said Peter to Janet.

Recommend: Yes. The Secret Seven discover someone is being held prisoner in an old empty house and decide to take matters into their own hands to find out both who and why. I loved these books when I was kid, as well as the Famous Five. Not having ever re-read them since I was little, I wasn't sure how well this would go over with my 7yo or whether I would still enjoy it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very readable. The mystery was predictable to me from the start but ds was along for the ride till the end. He enjoyed it very much getting more and more excited as the mystery unfolded and the daring-do of the children became bolder and bolder. I asked if he'd like to hear another of their adventures …

July in Review

These are the books I've read for July. More than I thought there would be, 14 books. This is the first time I've actually counted books for a single month so I don't know if this is bad or good for me but it feels like it's probably average.

Best book for July: A Great and Terrible Beauty with Saving Fish from Drowning coming very close behind.

Worst book for July: The Road

48. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
47. Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
46. Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5) by Mary Pope Osborne (RA)
45. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
44. Pure Dead Magic by Debi Gliori
43. At the Crossing-Places (Arthur Trilogy #2) by Kevin Crossley-Holland
42. Pirates Past Noon (Magic Tree House #4) by Mary Pope Osborne (RA)
41. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
40. Socks by Beverly Cleary (RA)
39. Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan
38. Lady Friday (The Keys to the Kingdom #5) by Garth Nix
37. Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs
36. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
35. Gil…

I Won! Again!

Wow! I can't believe it. I won a book today! I won a copy of InterWorld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves over at Estella's Revenge.

I'm one of those people who never win anything and here I've won two books in the past month. I never knew it was so exciting to win things! Maybe I'm on a roll, maybe I should go buy a few lottery tickets, whaddya think?