Showing posts from March, 2008

61. Body Double

Body Double by Tess Gerritsen
Fourth Jane Rizzoli book

Pages: 339
Finished: Mar. 30, 2008
First Published: 2004
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

That boy was watching her again.

Reason for Reading: next in the series.

Comments: Maura Isles returns from a conference to find a crime scene in front of her apartment building. The victim was shot in her car on the street. Everyone is shocked to find that the victim looks exactly like Maura and turns out to be a twin sister she didn't know she had. Maura sets off to follow her sister's footsteps and find out more about her as the police look for her killer. In the meantime, another crime is being committed as we get glimpses of a woman who is being held captive in a box underground. This is another fine entry in the series. A real page-turner that kept me guessing until the end. Maura and Jane seem to be sharing time as the main character now and I'm not sure if I like that as I much prefer Jane. At first I thought the…

60. Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
First Dexter Morgan book

Pages: 288
Finished: Mar. 28, 2008
First Published: 2004
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 2.5/5

First Sentence:

Moon. Glorious moon. Full, fat, reddish moon, the night as light as day, the moonlight flooding down across the land and bringing joy, joy, joy.

Reason for Reading: When I first heard of this book I knew I'd have to read it some day. I've had it on request at the library for a couple months and it finally arrived for my turn. I have not seen the TV show.

Comments: Dexter Morgan is a serial killer. He has 36 kills under his belt and the first chapter proceeds to follow his 37th. Meanwhile his police officer sister, Deb, a wannabe detective, is working on a case with a killer that Dexter finds is using techniques similar to his own. At Deb's request he joins her in tracking down the killer. I didn't really enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would. Right from the start I did not enjoy the first person n…

Fairy Tale Friday

#9. The Tower of Babel (A Hebrew myth) - This, of course, is the bible story that tells why we have many different languages in the world.

#10. Saint Christopher (A European legend) - The story of the patron saint of travellers.

#11. God Moves Away (A myth from Togo) - The only story that was unfamiliar to us this week. God used to live in the sky just above people's heads but after getting poked in the eye one time too many he takes his stuff and moves up into the heavens. The woman who poked him tries to build a tower of pots so she can apologize.

#12. Wilhelm Tell (A Swiss legend) - We read the Buff's retelling of this legend earlier this year so this was fun to read another retelling and see if it differed. It was pretty much the same.

#13. A Heart of Stone (A Greek myth) - The King, Pygmalion, hates women. Venus, the Goddess of Love, is tired of listening to Pygmalion complain all the time so she decides to teach him a lesson. Pygmalion carves a statue of a beautiful woman a…

59. The Treatment

The Treatment by Mo Hayder
Second Jack Caffery book

Pages: 357
Finished: Mar. 26, 2008
First Published: 2002
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

When it was all over, DI Jack Caffery, South London Area Major Investigation Team (AMIT), would admit that, of all the things he had witnessed in Brixton that cloudy July evening, it was the crows that jarred him the most.

Reason for Reading: next in the series

Comments: A man and his wife are found handcuffed in their home, severely dehydrated, the man badly beaten, and the wife's hands nearly severed from trying to get free. This is not the worst of it though, they have an eight year old son and he is missing. Jack Caffery is on the case and as he hunts for the missing boy he can't help but be haunted by the long ago disappearance of his own brother.

This story slowly escalates into the most disturbing book I've ever read. Mo Hayder is a master of this genre. I found the tension almost unbearable. I quickly realized on the…

58. The Wrath of Mulgarath

The Wrath of Mulgarath by Holly Black
Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 5

Pages: 139
Finished: Mar. 25, 2008
First Published: 2004
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

The pale light of the newly risen sun made the dew shimmer on the nearby grass as Jared, Mallory, and Simon trudged along the morning roads.

Reason for Reading: read aloud to my 7yo. next in the series. Once Upon a Time Challenge

Comments: In this final installment of the Spiderwick Chronicles, the Grace children must rescue their mother and save the human world from the evil ogre, Mulgarath. A fitting end to this series, this book was non-stop action from beginning to end. All story lines are brought to a satisfying conclusion and yet the door is left open for a sequel. This series is a perfect introduction to fantasy for young children. My 7yo was on the edge of his seat for the entire series and this will be remembered as one of our favourite read alouds.

57. The Sinner

The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen
The third Jane Rizzoli mystery

Pages: 342
Finished: Mar. 23, 2008
First Published: 2003
Genre: thriller
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

The driver refused to take him any farther.

Reason for Reading: next in the series

Comments: Two nuns are found brutally beaten in their cloistered convent, one dead and one barely alive. Maura Isles and Jane Rizzoli work the case but soon Dr. Isles is called to another seemingly unrelated case of an unknown victim who has had all identifiable parts of her body removed. These two cases, and then later a third, gradually come together in this riveting thriller.

It has been several months since I read the first two books in this series and it was pure joy to return to the world of Jane Rizzoli. Her character has developed so much since the first book and I have grown to really like her. Maura Isles returns in this book and becomes as much of a major character as Jane. I really enjoyed the Catholic theme of this book as well as the …

56. The Forgery of Venus

The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber

Pages: 318
Finished: Mar. 21, 2008
First Published: April, 2008
Genre: psychological suspense
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

Wilmot showed me that one, back in college; he'd written it out in his casually elegant calligraphy and had it up on the wall of his room.

Reason for Reading: I received this as an ARC.

Comments: Chaz Wilmot is a painter who is stuck in a rut producing advertising art so he can afford to pay for his son's expensive medical treatments. He agrees to take part in an experimental drug study focusing on artists and their creativity. Soon afterwards Chaz starts slipping into memories of the great painter Diego Velazquez. But these may not just be memories; he seems to actually be leaping back in time and living the painters' life.

This is the beginning of a roller coaster ride that carries Chaz from New York to Italy, from sanity to insanity and into the world of international art forgery. Chaz is very confused and doesn&…

The Fourteen Bears in Summer and Winter

The Fourteen Bears in Summer and Winter by Evelyn Scott
Illustrated by Virginia Parsons

First Published: 1969
Genre: picture book
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

Once upon a time, in a summer forest, there were fourteen bears.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my 7yo.

Comments: This is a collection of two stories about the fourteen bears who lived in hollow trees and played in the forest, first in summer then in winter. This was originally published as a Big Golden Book and a beloved book of many which sold for hundreds of dollars at online auctions until it was, thankfully, republished for another generation of children (and parents!) to enjoy. A very simple, but touching story with detailed illustrations. This is one that you linger on each page before turning to the next. A good book for those who have just started to read. For younger kids, this is one they'll want to hear over and over again.

55. James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Illustrated by Lane Smith

Pages: 126
Finished: Mar. 18, 2008
First Published: 1961
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

Here is James Henry Trotter when he was about four years old.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my 7yo. I also chose this for the 1960s in the Decades Challenge.

Comments: James is an orphan and is sent to live with his two awful aunts. James is terribly lonely. One day a strange man gives him some magic elements in a little sack but as James goes to mix his magical concoction he trips and spills it all under the dead peach tree. The tree grows a giant peach and James climbs inside. There he and the insectoid residents set off in the peach for a wonderful journey. This is your typical Dahl with the most hilariously mean and nasty adults and exaggerated humour. For this umpteenth re-read I don't really find it as funny as I used to but the 7yo loved it, though he did make me skip over the songs. He's looking forw…

Once Upon a Time II Challenge

The Once Upon a Time Challenge is starting soon. I missed out on Carl's challenge last year and have been looking forward to this years'. The challenge runs from March 21 to June 20. I'm not sure whether I'll do Quest 1 (to read any 5 books that fit the genre) or Quest 2 (to read 4 books, each one fitting in the categories: fantasy, folklore, mythology, folklore), but I do know I'll most likely read way more than 4 or 5 books that will fit so we'll see how it comes out in the end.

My tentative list below is taken from books that are sitting on my bedside table and some are already slated for other challenges.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
The Silver Treasure: Myths and Legends of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
The Shining by Stephen King
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The Vampire LeStat by Anne Rice
Redemption by Mel Odom
The Face of Apollo by Fred Saberhagen
The Marvelous…

54. The Monsters of Templeton

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

Pages: 363
Finished: Mar. 18, 2008
First Published: Feb. 2008
Genre: fiction
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass.

Reason for Reading: I received this book from the HarperCollins Canada "Reading Group". It sounded interesting and Stephen King has written a blurb for the back so I thought I couldn't go wrong with a recommendation from Uncle Steve.

Comments: I don't know what I expected from this book but it certainly wasn't what I expected. (Does that make sense?) It is tough to give a plot outline on this as the story is revealed slowly throughout the course of the book and I won't give anything away. It is also a very unusual story. On the surface, it is the story of a young woman, Willie, who comes home to her small town, which her family has lived in for generations. In fact, they founded it and it is named after the…

53. Footsteps in the Snow

Footsteps in the Snow: The Red River Diary of Isobel Scott by Carol Matas
A book in the Dear Canada series

Pages: 185
Finished: Mar. 13, 2008
First Published: 2002
Genre: children, historical fiction
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

Mother is dead.

Reason for Reading: I've wanted to read this series for a while. I chose this one to start with because I have read other of Carol Matas' historical fiction and enjoy her work.

Comments: Written in diary format this is the story of a young Scottish girl who journeys with her father and brothers to the Red River Settlement in Rupert's Land, located in what is now called Manitoba. This was an ill-fated and trouble-filled settlement. The settlers faced hardships every step of the way. Isobel has a very interesting voice and I enjoyed this book. Isobel describes the settlers disappointments, their hardships through the winters, their friendship with the Indians and the attack of the Metis at the Seven Oaks Massacre. We also see the personal side o…

Fairy Tale Friday

#6. The Harp of Dagda (an Irish myth) - Dagda, the giant god, has his treasured harp stolen by the winged Fomorians. He visits them and uses the harps powers to get it back. This was very good we both enjoyed it very much, it also explains how the faeries of Ireland came to be.

#7. A Nest and a Web (a legend from the Middle East) - This is a tale of Muhammad and how God kept Muhammad and his wife safe from the idol-makers who were chasing them.

#8. Ash (a Native American myth of the Tlingit tribe) - Ash was a lazy, good for nothing who did nothing but laze in front of the fire all day long. However, one day he demonstrates great strength. It seems that there is magic in Ash. He defends the town against a giant, stops the trees from attacking the village and the mountains from crushing the village, Eventually Ash is called to the sea where his destiny awaits him. This one was a bit longer than the others and our favourite of the week.

52. Beyond Reach

Beyond Reach by Karin Slaughter
Sixth in the Grant County series

Pages: 404
Finished: Mar. 13, 2008
Reason for Reading: next in the series.
First Published: 2007
Genre: thriller
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

What had they given her?

Comments: Lena Adams is in her hometown and has been arrested after she is found on the scene of a terrible car fire containing a burnt body and a gas can beside her. Jeffrey, bringing Sara with him, goes to talk to her and walks into the middle of a town keeping a dark secret. This latest Grant County thriller throws drug trafficking, meth addiction and white supremacists into the mix. As Indelible took us into Jeffrey's past, Beyond Reach takes us into Lena's past and uncovers her family secrets. This was an another exciting, masterfully plotted mystery with a solution that took me by surprise. Karin Slaughter is a master of this genre.

However, the ending of this book is another matter.

As I read the last pages I felt like I had been hit by a ton of br…

Books Read in 1999

This is my last list of books previously read from my notebook. This list only covers June and July of 1999. Most, but not all, of the books here are books that I was pre-reading for my son to either use as readers for school or for future read-alouds for Canadian history. If you homeschool, you'll recognise a lot of this as SL3.

Books Read in 1999 - June and July

1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
2. Buckskin Colonist by John F. Hayes
3. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
4. Escape, Adventures of a Loyalist Family by Mary Beacock Fryer
5. White Buffalo's Story of Plains Indian Life by Vostaas
6. Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky by Barbara Schiller (RA)
7. Skippack School by Marguerite De Angeli
8. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield (RA)
9. Mr. Revere and I by Robert Lawson
10. The Mackenzie: River to the Top of the World by Beatrice Lambie
11. Walkabout by James Vance Marshall
12. John Billington, Friend of Squanto by Clyde Robert Bulla
13. Om-kas-toe: Blackfeet Twin C…

51. Black Ships

Black Ships by Jo Graham

Pages: 411
Finished: Mar. 10, 2008
Reason for Reading: Review copy.
First Published: Mar. 10, 2008
Genre: historical fantasy
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

You must know that, despite all else I am, I am of the People.

Comments: Set in approximately 1200 BC along the coast of the Mediterranean from Egypt to Italy this tale is a retelling of Virgil's Aenid from the viewpoint of Gull, a young woman who is the Sybil, oracle of the Lady of the Dead, as she accompanies Aeneas on his journey to find a new home for their People. The first words that come to mind as I think about this book are lyrical and haunting. The writing is lyrical, the tale is woven around the reader as you are drawn into the very fabric of this haunting tale. I just loved everything about this book. Each time I picked up the book it felt magical. I wanted to be there forever. The characters are wonderful and so real. There is nothing more satisfying to a reader than to have characters that tug at your…

50. The Ironwood Tree

The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 4

Pages: 108
Finished: Mar. 7, 2008
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my 7yo. Next in the series.
First Published: 2004
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

The engine of the station wagon was already running.

Comments: This one is a bit different from the others. Instead of the three siblings at Spiderwick estate, this book starts off at school where Mallory is kidnapped and the twins are together for much of the book looking for her in the Dwarf kingdom in the old quarry. The story also is much darker as there is a battle (with deaths) and Mulgarath (whom we've heard mentioned) makes his first evil appearance. The 7yo is anxious to read the last one and find out how it all ends.

Homeschool Alert:
I've added a review for Handwriting Without Tears' My Printing Book at LibraryThing. My review is here.

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Nicola

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Nicola!Nicola can be found on a Cluedo board between the Library and the Conservatory!All swans in England belong to nicola!Louisa May Alcott, author of 'Little Nicola', hated nicola and only wrote the book at her publisher's request.Nicola once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest!In Chinese, the sound 'nicola' means 'bite the wax tadpole'.Nicola has a memory span of three seconds.Some hotels in Las Vegas have nicola floating in their swimming pools.If you drop nicola from more than three metres above ground level, she will always land feet-first.The eye of an ostrich is bigger than nicola.Forty percent of the world's almonds and twenty percent of the world's peanuts are used in the manufacture of nicola!I am interested in - do tell me aboutherhimitthem
I'm so upset about #3, but #2 sure makes me happy! What a fun meme.

49. Birdman

Birdman by Mo Hayder
Jack Caffery Thriller, #1

Pages: 327
Finished: Mar. 6, 2008
Reason for Reading: I've seen this one around on blogs and it sounded good.
First Published: 1999
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

North Greenwich. Late May. Three hours before sunup and the river was deserted.

Comments: Detective Jack Caffery is on his first homicide case with London's special homicide team. The body that has been found is one of the most brutally degraded they have ever seen. The plot is slowly revealed over the course of the entire book and there is a major twist in the middle which turns the whole case around. This is probably one of the most unsettlingly gruesome thrillers I have ever read. From about page 100, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. However, the first third of the book was quite slow. I had a hard time getting to know the main characters or finding them believable at first. I don't think I ever truly warmed up to the main character but the…

Fairy Tale Friday

This week we started a new book for our fairy tale read aloud. This one is mostly myths and legends rather than fairy tales. The Silver Treasure: Myths and Legends of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean is the second in her three book set and is also illustrated profusely by Bee Willey.

#1. The Silver-Miners (A legend from Bolivia) - This is a tale of when the Spanish were ravaging mountains of silver. The mountain Parichata uses his powers to protect himself and his people who are being used as slaves.

#2. The Men in the Moon (A tale from Kenya) - Murilay's mother nags him so much he wishes he lived on the moon. When suddenly his bench lifts off and flies him there. He teaches the cold moon residents about fire, then marries seven princesses and becomes a wealthy resident but eventually misses his family. Ds loved this one.

#3. Dream Journey (A Maori myth) - A great chief has a dream that sends him on a long journey where he eventually learns about the fishing net and bring…

6 Unimportant Things About Me

Teddy Rose tagged me for this meme!

The rules are:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.

1. I like old black and white movies but nobody else in my family does so I hardly ever get to watch them.

2. I was once picked from the audience to be an angel in the play 'Heaven Can Wait".

3. I don't drive.

4. My favourite season is autumn.

5. I used to hate my first name and wanted to be called 'Marie' when I was young. I have no idea why. P.S. I love my first name now.

6. I sleep with four pillows, which includes 1 body pillow and 3 feather pillows.

I've seen this meme in a lot of places, so I'm not going to tag anyone this time. If you haven't done this one yet, consider yourself tagged.

48. The Flying Flea, Callie, and Me

The Flying Flea, Callie, and Me by Carol and Bill Wallace
Illustrated by David Slonim
First book in the Gray Cat Trilogy

Pages: 85
Finished: Mar. 4, 2008
Reason for Reading: read-aloud to my 7yo
First Published: 1999
Genre: children, humour, animal fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

I strolled toward the porch with my trophy.

Comments: Gray cat is a kitten who finds new things everyday to explore in his world. Then one day he finds himself looking after a baby bird. This book was a lot of fun and we both enjoyed it. The writing was a bit stilted at times but that is often the case for novels written at a low (Gr. 2/3) reading level. The story was fun and the message (having confidence in oneself) was clear and heartfelt. This is our second book by this husband and wife team that we've enjoyed and ds has requested we continue this trilogy. A quick and easy read, especially recommended for Grades 1 to 3.

Homeschool Alert:
I also added a review of Rod and Staff Phonics 1 on LibraryThing. My …

47. Naked in Death

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
Eve Dallas, book 1

Pages: 294
Finished: Mar. 2, 2008
Reason for Reading: I've been meaning to try this series for ages. 1st in a series challenge.
First Published: 1995
Genre: science fiction, mystery, romance
Rating: 4.5/5

First Sentence:

She woke in the dark.

Comments: The year is 2058 and Eve Dallas is a lieutenant in the NYPD investigating a murder of a professional companion. The killer has left a note indicating that this is only the first of six and to make matters worse politics is thrown into the mix as the victim's grandfather and mother are senators.

I've wanted to try this book for some time now but have to admit that knowing this is by Nora Roberts has kept me from giving it a go. I'm not a fan of romance and thought this might be pretty lame as far as the mystery aspect went and too heavy on the romance part. I was in for a big surprise. I absolutely loved this book! The murder was intense, gritty and quite graphic. I did figure it out by…

Books Read in 2003

1. The Time is Noon by Pearl S. Buck
2. Death in the Castle by Pearl S. Buck
3. A Book by Desi Arnaz
4. Dark Nantucket Noon by Jane Langton
5. The Exile by Pearl S. Buck
6. Owlflight by Mercedes Lackey
7. Owlsight by Mercedes Lackey
8. Owlknight by Mercedes Lackey
9. The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson
10. Gemini Game by Michael Scott
11. Into the Dream by William Sleator
12. The Duplicate by William Sleator
13. Singularity by William Sleator
14. The Spirit House by William Sleator
15. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
16. The Manticore by Robertson Davies
17. As For Me and My House by Sinclair Ross
18. Woodsmen of the West by M. Allerdale Granger
19. Sister Wendy's Book of Saints by Sister Wendy Beckett
20. Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
21. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
22. Beau Geste by P.C. Wren
23. Master of Morgana by Allan Campbell McLean
24. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
25. The Little Lame Prince by Dinah Mulock
26. The Adventures of a Brownie by Dinah M…

March Reading List

This month I'm going to concentrate on the few ARCs I have here to read. I've also decided I'm not going to worry much about the First in a Series Challenge or the YA Challenge as I read books that fit both those categories naturally. I think I'll be able to finish those challenges without even trying.

Here is my list of must read books for March. I'll add links as I review them.

1. Black Ships (ARC)
2. The Resurrectionist (ARC)
3. The Monsters of Templeton (ARC)
4. James and the Giant Peach (decades)
5. Hotel du Lac (booker)
6. The Shining (chunkster, chrono. project)
7. Alias Grace (GRTB)

My only problem going into March is that I have a huge library stack that needs to be read as due dates loom, so I'm feeling a little hesitant that I'll get to all the books listed above but I'm feeling optimistic!

46. Shoot the Moon

Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts

Pages: 333
Finished: Feb. 28, 2008
Reason for Reading: I read favourable reviews of this and added it to my tbr list.
First Published: 2004
Genre: fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

Back when it happened, back in 1972, there wasn't an adult in the county who didn't know every detail of the crime.

Comments: Mark Albright's parents have died and he has just discovered that he was adopted almost 30 years ago. He sets off to Oklahoma to meet the mother who gave him up only to discover that he has walked into the town's deepest kept secret. Mark (or Nicky Jack as he was born) disappeared when he was 10 months old and his mother was found murdered. Nicky Jack decides to stay in town to find out more about his mother and who murdered her and kidnapped him. As he stays he finds that he is changing in ways that will change his life forever. This was a wonderful story. It is a quick, easy read and very charming. I loved the characters and wished the book…