Welcome

A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Catholic, with Asperger's, who reads and writes as her obsession. These are the ramblings of the books I read.

I sometimes go through stages of "genre love", I'm addicted to mystery thrillers, Catholic theology, memoirs, 20th century Chinese historical fiction & Victorian fiction and non-fiction, but you'll find I read an even wider variety of books than that, both fiction and non-fiction. I have a teensy fascination with macabre non-fiction books about death and anything about insane asylums.

I also tend to post a lot of reviews of juvenile/teen books, with a nod towards what parents can expect to find that might or might not be objectionable.

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

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Challenges I'm joining for 2009

Graphic Novels Challenge 2009 (Jan 1 - Dec.31 2009)

Reason I can join: I read graphic novels all the time so this challenge fits with my regular reading.

choose a level of participation:
Minor: Read 6
Major: Read 12
Masters: Read 18
Doctorate: Read 24

Hmm let's see I have on hand

Louis Riel, 3 by Rick Geary, 2 Angel's that makes 6, I'd love to read Maus, Persopolis and the Sandman and the Fables series so I think I can safely say I'll join the Major Club and see if I can make it further.

The Pub Challenge '09 (Jan 1 - Dec. 31) read 9 books published in 2009

Reason I can join - I read arcs regularly and at time exclusively so this fits in with my regular reading. Only rule of note for me is that no children/YA books are allowed. I'll make a list as I go.

2009 ARC Challenge (Jan - Dec '09) read 12 arcs (any book sent for review purposes), must list all arcs currently in possession and keep it up to date.

Reason I can Join - same as above challenge and this one allows me to include children/YA books while the above one let's me use library/bought books. Perfect!

My list of arcs currently not read and in possession as of today:
1. Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs
2. When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson (currently reading)
3. Stalin's Children by Owen Matthews (currently reading)
4. Shadow of Colossus by T.L. Higley
5. Twisted by Andrea Kane
6. The Private Patient by PD James
7. Otherwise by Farley Mowat
8. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
9. Here's the Story by Maureen McCormick
10. The Jumping Off Place by Marion Hurd McNeely
11. The Levee by Malcolm Shuman
12. Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland
13. Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz
14. The Glister by John Burnside
15. The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
16. Pieces of my Heart by Robert Wagner
17. American Rust by Phillip Meyer
18. Heck, Where the Bad Kids Go by Dayle E. Bayse
19. Testimony by Anita Shreve

The 2009 Young Adult Challenge (Jan - Dec 2009) read 12 books

Reason I Can Join - I read YA books all the time any way. I will make a list as I go along.

Pub '08 Challenge Finished

I just realized I forgot to post about finishing this challenge.

Here are the books I read:
Pub '08 Challenge ends Dec. FINISHED
1. The Anatomy of Deception by Lawrence Goldstone
2. A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock
3. Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman
4. The Arthurian Omen by G.G. Vandagriff
5. The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber
6. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
7. Black Ships by Jo Graham
8.The Resurrectionist by Jack O'Connell

A-Zed Challenge Almost Finished

Well, I gave it the old college try and almost finished this challenge. I ended up stuck with Authors Q-U-X-Z and Titles X-Y-Z. I just wanted to fit the books I read in to the challenge and not read a book simply because it fit into the challenge, ykwim. I think this is running again next year with different rules but I plan on trying it again in 2009 with the same rules as before.

My 2008 List:

AUTHOR LIST
"A" ~ Atwater, Richard and Florence (Mr. Popper's Penguins)
"B" ~ Barrie, J.M. (Peter Pan)
"C" ~ Carey, Peter (True History of the Kelly Gang)
"D" ~ Dexter, Colin (Last Bus to Woodstock)
"E" ~ Erdrich, Louise (The Plague of Doves)
"F" ~ Fox, Paula (The Slave Dancer)
"G" ~ Gardner, Lyn (Into the Woods)
"H" ~ Hayder, Mo (Birdman)
"I" ~ Ingoglia, Gina (Johnny Appleseed and the Planting of the West)
"J" ~ James, Emmett (Admit One)
"K" ~ King, Stephen (Rage)
"L" ~ Lattimore, Eleanor Frances (Little Pear and Friends)
"M" ~ Martin, Steve (Born Standing Up)
"N" ~ Nix, Garth (Abhorsen)
"O" ~ Oppel, Kenneth (Sunwing)
"P" ~ Peet, Bill (Capyboppy)
"Q" ~
"R" ~ Ruddick, James (Death at the Priory)
"S" ~ Stewart, Paul (Beyond the Deepwoods)
"T" ~ Turtledove, Harry (Gunpowder Empire)
"U" ~
"V" ~ Vandagriff, G.G. (The Arthurian Omen)
"W" ~ Wallace, Carol and Bill (The Flying Flea, Callie and Me)
"X" ~
"Y" ~ Ye, Ting-Xing (My Name is Number 4)
"Z" ~

TITLE LIST
"A" ~ The Apple and the Arrow by Mary & Conrad Buff
"B" ~ The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
"C" ~ Coyote Autumn by Bill Wallace
"D" ~ Destiny by Alex Archer
"E" ~ Empress of Asia by Adam Lewis Schroeder
"F" ~ The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
"G" ~ The Golden Hoard by Geraldine McCaughrean
"H" ~ Here We Go Again: My Life in Television by Betty White
"I" ~ Indelible by Karin Slaughter
"J" ~ James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
"K" ~ Kept: A Victorian Mystery by D.J. Taylor
"L" ~ The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
"M" ~ The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
"N" ~ The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh
"O" ~ One Beastly Beast by Garth Nix
"P" ~ Procession of the Dead by D.B. Shan
"Q" ~ Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion
"R" ~ The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
"S" ~ The Serpent's Egg by J. Fitzgerald McCurdy
"T" ~ Triptych by Karin Slaughter
"U" ~ Up to Low by Brian Doyle
"V" ~ Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
"W" ~ The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
"X" ~
"Y" ~
"Z" ~

2009 Master Challenge List

My plans for the new year are pretty simple: read arcs, work on series that I've started, not start any new series unless it is for arc reading, and not join any challenges that don't include books I will already be reading.

Random Reading Challenge (Aug. 1 2009 - Jul. 31 2010) (12 books)
1. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl (Aug)
2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (Sept)
3. Testimony by Anita Shreve (Oct.)
4. Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri (Nov.)
5. BoneMan's Daughter by Ted Dekker (Dec.)
6.

I'm currently involved in these perpetual challenges or projects:

Chronological Stephen King - This is my own personal project and I got stuck at The Stand. It's just such a huge book that every time I looked at it I just thought how many other books I could read in the same time. But I do vow to read this book in 2009 and hopefully continue on with this project. I have read the first 5 books so far and will start this year off with The Stand.

1. Carrie
2. 'Salem's Lot
3. Rage
4. The Shining
5. Night Shift


Newbery Challenge (ongoing) - I intend on continuing this never-ending quest to read all the Newbery winners. Hopefully I can add about 12 more by reading one per month.
see progress here

A-Z Challenge - link
fit in books reading for other challenges

Geographical Project - link
fit in books as they are read

FINISHED IN 2009

Book Awards II Challenge - Finished
10. Laika by Nick Abadzis Eisner Award
9. The Doll People by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin Maud Hart Lovelace Award
8. Louis Riel by Chester Brown Harvey Award
7. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare Scott O'Dell Award
6. The Line Painter by Claire Cameron Northern Lit Award
5. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan Bellwether Prize
4. The Birchbark Tree by Louise Erdrich WILLA Award
3. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale Samuel Johnson Award for Nonfiction
2. The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting Newbery Medal
1. Postmortem by Patricia Cromwell Macavity Award, 1st novel

The Pub Challenge '09 read 9 books published in 2009 (FINISHED)

Reason I can join - I read arcs regularly and at time exclusively so this fits in with my regular reading. Only rule of note for me is that no children/YA books are allowed. I'll make a list as I go.

1. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
2. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
3. American Rust by Philipp Meyer
4. The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas
5. A Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock
6. Fool by Christopher Moore
7. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
8. Bloodprint by Kitty Sewell
9. The Vagrants by Yiyun Li

2009 ARC Challenge (Jan - Dec '09) read 12 arcs (25 for Overachievers!) (any book sent for review purposes), must list all arcs currently in possession and keep it up to date. FINISHED

Reason I can Join - same as above challenge and this one allows me to include children/YA books while the above one let's me use library/bought books. Perfect!

My list of arcs currently not read and in possession as of today:
1. Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs
2. When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
3. Stalin's Children by Owen Matthews
4. Shadow of Colossus by T.L. Higley
5. Twisted by Andrea Kane
6. The Private Patient by PD James
7. Otherwise by Farley Mowat
8. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
9. Here's the Story by Maureen McCormick
10. The Jumping Off Place by Marion Hurd McNeely
11. The Levee by Malcolm Shuman
12. Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland
13. Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz
14. The Glister by John Burnside
15. The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
16. Pieces of my Heart by Robert Wagner
17. American Rust by Phillip Meyer
18. Heck, Where the Bad Kids Go by Dayle E. Bayse
19. Testimony by Anita Shreve
Added:
20. Fool by Christopher Moore
21. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
22. Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss
23. Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! by Geoffrey Hayes
24. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo
25. The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas.
26. Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
27. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
28. 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
29. Drood by Dan Simmons
30. A Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock
31. Portobello by Ruth Rendell
32. Wanting by Richard Flanagan
33. Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
34. She Always New How: Mae West by Charlotte Chandler
35. Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson
36. The Vagrants by Yiyun Li
37. Bloodprint by Kitty Sewell
38. Fade by Lisa McMann
39. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by e. l. konigsburg
40. Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung
41. The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo
42. Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli
43. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro
44. BoneMan's Daughter by Ted Dekker
45. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman
46. Poe: A Life Cut Short by Peter Ackroyd
47. Starfinder by John Marco
48. Hand of Isis by Jo Graham
49. The Color of Lightning by Paulette Jiles
50. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
51. Etta by Gerald Kolpan
52. The Side-Yard Superhero by Rick Niece
53. Angels of Destruction by Keith Donohue
54. Palace Circle by Rebecca Dean
55. The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan
56. Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
57. Clara's War by Clara Kramer

2009 YA Challenge (Jan - Dec 2009) read 12 books FINISHED

Reason I Can Join - I read YA books all the time any way. I will make a list as I go along.

1. Laika by Nick Abadzis
2. Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
3. Wake by Lisa McMann
4. Fade by Lisa McMann
5. Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
6. Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli
7. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by e.l. konigsburg
8. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
9. The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan
10. Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson
11. Starfinder by John Marco
12. Anything but Typical by Noral Raleigh Baskin

Graphic Novels Challenge 2009 (Jan 1 - Dec.31 2009) FINISHED
choose a level of participation:
Minor: Read 6
Major: Read 12
Masters: Read 18
Doctorate: Read 24

1. Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown
2. The Amazing Spiderman: Coming Home by J. Michael Straczynski
3. Laika by Nick Abadzis
4. The Case of Madeleine Smith by Rick Geary
5. The Amazing Spider-Man: Revelations by J. Michael Straczynski
6. The Saga of the Bloody Benders by Rick Geary
7. Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
8. Until the Stars Turn Cold by J. Michael Straczynski
9. Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon
10. The Life & Death of Spiders by J. Michael Straczynski
11. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon & Dean Hale
12. Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
13. Unintended Consequences by J. Michael Straczynski
14. Graphic Classics: Edgar Allan Poe edited by Tom Pomplun
15. Happy Birthday by J. Michael Straczynski
16. Serenity: Better Days by Joss Whedon
17. The Book of Ezekiel by J. Michael Straczynski
18. Storybook Love by Bill Willingham
19. Sins Past by J. Michael Straczynski
20. Graphic Classics: Arthur Conan Doyle edited by Tom Pomplun
21. Watchmen by Alan Moore
22. Science Fiction Classics edited by Tom Pomplun
23. The Linbergh Child by Rick Geary
24. Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham

RIP IV Challenge (Sept 1 - Oct. 31, 2009) (4 books) FINISHED
1. Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy
2. Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard
3. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
4. The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein
5. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
6. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
7. The Child Thief by Brom
8. The Bag of Bones by Vivian French

Canadian Reading Challenge III (July 1 2009 - Jul 1 2010 (13+ books)
1. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
2. The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
3. Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard
4. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
5. O Canada! by Isabel Barclay
6. Larger Than Life: True Stories of Canadian Heroes by Janet Lunn
7. A Pioneer Story: The Daily Life of a Canadian Family in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood
8. A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841 by Barbara Greenwood
9. Alligator Stew: Favourite Poems by Dennis Lee
10. Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner
11. Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
12. The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
13. Binky: The Space Cat by Ashley Spires

Year in Review & Top 10 Books of 2008

Well, in 2008 I read the amazing amount of 194 books! So close to 200! Next year it is tempting to give myself a 200 books challenge but I think that would be pushing myself too much and might take the fun out of reading. Wouldn't want to do that!

You can read my list of 2008 books read here. That page also includes (at the bottom) the 73 books which I read to aloud to my 7/8 yo.

In 2008, I completed the following 13 Challenges and enjoyed every single one:

Canadian Book Challenge II
RIP III Challenge
Decades Challenge
Medical Mystery Challenge
Pub 08 Challenge
Chunkster Challenge

Southern Challenge
YA Challenge
Once Upon a Time II Challenge
Short Story Challenge
First in a Series Challenge
Canadian Book Challenge
Book Awards Challenge

Man Booker Challenge (ended Dec. 31) - this challenge is over and I read a measly one of the six books that I had planned on reading. I'm giving it up as a lost cause.

My reading around the world project went very well. I started on Jan. 1 2008 and plan to continue it, well, forever. Complete list is here. I managed to read 6 provinces, 21 States and 13 countries (plus US /Canada) during the year.

Now one of the toughest things to do each year is pick my top 10 favourite reads of the year. So after much deliberation and debating with myself here are my

Top Ten Favourite Books I Read in 2008

10. Procession of the Dead by D.B. Shan
9. The Shadow of Malabron by Thomas Wharton
8. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
7. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
6. Saye by Jeremy H. Walker
5. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
4. The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder
3. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
2. The Horseman's Graves by Jacqueline Baker
1. The Treatment by Mo Hayder

plus a few honourable mentions (in no particular order)
Fatal: The Poisonous Life of a Female Serial Killer by Harold Schechter
The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale
Bookweird by Paul Glennon
The White Mary by Kira Salak
The Seventh Victim by Alan Jacobson
Red Dog Red Dog by Patrick Lane
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
The Eyes of a King by Catherine Banner
Night Runner by Max Turner
Madapple by Christina Meldrum
Coventry by Helen Humphreys
Darkwing by Kenneth Oppel
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

194. All the Colours of Darkness


All the Colours of Darkness by Peter Robinson
An Inspector Banks Mystery, Book 18

Pages: 349
Finished: Dec. 31, 2008
First Published: Sept. 30, 2008 (Can/UK), Feb. 17, 2009 (USA) as All the Colors of Darkness
Genre: mystery
Rating: 3/5
Reason for Reading: received a review copy from the publisher.

First sentence:

Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot thought it was a great shame that she had to spend one of the most beautiful days of the year so far at a crime scene, especially a hanging.


Comments: Two men are found dead, one brutally beaten in his apartment and the other hanging from a tree in a local park. It appears to have been a lover's spat turned into a murder/suicide but once it is found out that one of the dead men was a secret agent with MI6 things start to seem more complicated than at first presumed.

I enjoyed this book but can't say that it is up to par with the other Inspector Banks novels I've read to date. I enjoyed the whodunit and the author digs deep into Banks' psyche making him one of my favourite detectives. What I found (shall I say) boring was all the secret agent/spy stuff. MI5 this, MI6 that, just doesn't do it for me. I like my mysteries to be crimes and thrillers not spy novels. While I enjoy an Ian Fleming as much as the next fellow, I didn't expect this book to be so dependent on the spy aspects for the plot.

The ending was a surprise, rather bleak, certainly not a happy ending. Inspector Banks' private life is a main feature of this novel and I enjoyed that aspect very much and once again it also was left with a bleak uncertainty, leaving one curious as to where his personal life will go in the next novel. Fans of the series will find enjoyment meeting up with favourite characters again but if you are new to the series do not start with this one as it is not representational of the series as a whole.

Books Read in 2009

Books Read in 2009
Titles in green were read aloud to or read by my 8/9yo or used as curriculum.

January: 21
1. Stalin's Children: Three Generations of Love, War, and Survival by Owen Matthews (3***)
2. The New Americans: Colonial Times, 1620-1689 by Betsy & Giulio Maestro (2**)
3.
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (5*****)
4. When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson (5*****)
5. Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown (3***)
6. The Doll People by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin (4.5****)
7. Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz (4****)
8. The Amazing Spider-Man: Coming Home by J. Michael Straczynski (4****)
9. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (4.5****)
10. The Lost City of Z by David Grann (4 ****)
11. The Meanest Doll in the World by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin (4****)
12. Laika by Nick Abadzis (2.5**)
13. The Case of Madeleine Smith by Rick Geary(4****)
14. A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (3***)
15. American Rust by Philipp Meyer (5*****) (FAVOURITE of the Month)
16. The Runaway Dolls by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin (4.5****)
17. Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice by Maureen McCormick (3.5***)
18. 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson (4.5****)
19. The Amazing Spider-Man: Revelations by J. Michael Straczynski (2.5**)
XX. Toon Books (part two) (5*****)
20. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo (5*****)
21. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (3.5***)

February: 26
22. The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (5*****)
23. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (4.5****)
24. If You Lived with the Hopi by Anne Kamma (3***)
25.
Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin (4.5****)
26. The Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock (3.5***)
27. Otherwise by Farley Mowat (3.5***)
28.The Saga of the Bloody Benders by Rick Geary (3.5***)
29. King Lear by Shakespeare (English translation) (no rating)
30. Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham (4.5****)
31. Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began by Lucille Recht Penner (3***)
32. Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner (5*****)
33. Until the Stars Turn Cold by J. Michael Straczynski (3.5***)
XX. Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth (DNF)
34. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (3.5***)
35. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards (3.5***)
36.
The Valentine Cat by Clyde Robert Bulla (4****)
37. Fool by Christopher Moore (4****)
38. Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon (3.5***)
XX. Wolves in the Wall by Neil Gaiman (NR)
XX. Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda (NR)
39. Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs (5*****)
40. The Amazing Spider-Man: The Life & Death of Spiders by J. Michael Straczynski (4****)
41. Pieces of my Heart by Robert J. Wagner (4.5****)
42. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale (5*****)
43. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (5*****) (FAVOURITE of the Month)
XX. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems (5*****)
44. Animal Farm (Fables #2) by Bill Willingham (4****)
45. Unintended Consequences by J. Michael Straczynski (3.5***)
XX. Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews (DNF)
46. Bloodprint with Kitty Sewell (4.5****)
47. Graphic Classics: Edgar Allan Poe edited by Tom Pomplun (3.5***)

March: 22
48. The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore (4****)
49. The Vagrants by Yiyun Li (4****)
50. Serenity: Better Days by Joss Whedon (3***)
51. The Amazing Spider-Man: Happy Birthday by J. Michael Straczynski (4****)
XX. The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman (2**)
52. Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson (4.5****)
XX. A Dog Came, Too by Ainslie Manson (4.5****)
XX. The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman (3***)
53. The Amazing Spider-Man: The Book of Ezekiel by J. Michael Straczynski (4.5****)
54. Storybook Love by Bill Willingham (4.5****)
55. The Fighting Ground by Avi (4****)
56. Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale E. Basye (3***)
57. She Always Knew: Mae West, A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler (4****)
58. The Golden Phoenix: Eight French Canadian Fairy Tales by Marius Barbeau (5*****)
XX.
Saint Patrick by Ann Tompert (5*****)
59.
The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson by Ann McGovern (3***)
60. The Amazing Spider-Man: Sins Past by J. Michael Straczynski (5*****)
61.Wake by Lisa McMann (5*****)
62. Fade by Lisa McMann (4.5****)
63. Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore (4****)
xx. All About Spelling: Level One (NR)
64. Unpolished Gem: My Mother, My Grandmother, and Me by Alice Pung (4****)
65. Who Was Thomas Jefferson? by Dennis Brindell Fradin (3***)
66. Drood by Dan Simmons (5*****) (FAVOURITE of the month)
67. Believing in Jesus: A Popular Overview of the Catholic Faith by Leonard Foley (NR)
xx. Meeting Jesus in Holy Communion: A Child's First Eucharist by Roger Marchand (NR)
68.
The Werefox by Elizabeth Coatsworth (2.5**)
69. Angels of Destruction by Keith Donohue (4.5****)

April: 19
xx. Goalkeeper Goof by Cari Meister (5*****)
xx.
The End Zone by Lori Mortensen (5*****)
70.
The Talking Cat and other stories of French Canada by Natalie Savage Carlson (4****)
71. Graphic Classics: Arthur Conan Doyle edited by Tom Pomplun (4****)
72. The Side-Yard Superhero by Rick D. Niece (3.5 ***)
73. Wanting by Richard Flanagan (3***)
74. Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison (5*****)
75. The Revolutionary John Adams by Cheryl Harness (3***)
76. The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo (4.5 ****)
77. Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli (4****)
78. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by e.l. konigsburg (3.5***)
79. The Glister by John Burnside (3***)
80. Watchmen by Alan Moore (5*****)
81. Poe: A Life Cut Short by Peter Ackroyd (3.5***)
82. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman (4****)
83. If You Lived With the Iroquois by Ellen Levine (3.5***)
84.
Tree in the Trail by Holling Clancy Holling (4.5****)
xx.
The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide (nr)
85. Hand of Isis by Jo Graham (2.5**)
86. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (5*****) (FAVOURITE of the month)
87. The Wonderful O by James Thurber (3.5***)
88. Eagle Mask by James Houston (3.5***)

May: 13
89. Hell's Horizon by D.B. Shan (5*****)
90. The Lewis & Clark Edpedition : Join the Corps of Discovery to Explore Uncharted Territory by Carol A. Johmann (2.5**)
91.
Ben and Me: An Astonished Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos by Robert Lawson (3.5***)
92. The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan (4****)
93.The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho (4****)
94. The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French (4****)
95. Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson (4.5****)
96. The Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen (3.5***)
97. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (4.5****)
98. Clara's War: A Young Girl's True Story of Miraculous Survival Under the Nazis by Clara Kramer (5*****)
99. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (4****)
100. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (4****) FAVOURITE Book of the Month
101. Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Lyndsay Faye (3***)

June: 16
102. Starfinder by John Marco (4.5****)
103. The House of Power by Patrick Carman (4.5****)
104. Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (4****)
105. Don't Call Me a Crook!: A Scotsman's Tale of World Travel, Whisky, and Crime by Bob Moore
106. Rivers of Fire by Patrick Carman (4****)
107. Zamora's Ultimate Challenge by M.K. Scott (3***)
108. The Dark Planet by Patrick Carman (4.5****)
109. Werewolf versus Dragon by David Sinden, Matthew Morgan, Guy Macdonald (3.5***)
110. Neil Armstrong is My Uncle & Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino (3.5***)
111. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (5*****) FAVOURITE Book of the Month
112. The Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nona Bannister (3***)
xxx. Zinc Alloy vs. Frankenstein
xxx. Eek & Ack vs the Wolfman
113. Science Fiction Classics by Tom Pomplun
114. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (4****)
115. Jed Smith: Trailblazer of the West by Frank Latham (3.5 ***)
116. Oracles of Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie (4****)
117. The Jumping-Off Place by Marian Hurd McNeely (4.5****)

July: 21
118. The Beacon by Susan Hill (3.5***)
119. Sea Monster and Other Delicacies (3.5***)
120. Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon (4****)
121. Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert (3***)
122. The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner (4.5****)
123. Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver (4****)
124. Far North by Marcel Theroux (4****)
xxx. Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts by Gail Saltz (5*****)
125. Die for You by Lisa Unger (4.5****)
126. The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman (3.5***)
127. A Head Full of Notions: A Story about Robert Fulton by Andy Russell Bowen (3.5***)
xxx. The Fire Cat by Esther Averill (5*****)
128. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams & Deborah Beale (4****)
129. Uncovering Jack the Ripper's London by Richard Jones (5*****)
130. Relentless by Dean Koontz (4****)
131. The Lindbergh Child by Rick Geary (4****)
132. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo (5*****) FAVOURITE Book of the Month
133. a mercy by Toni Morrison (2.5**)
134. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (5*****)
135. Later, Gator by Laurence Yep (4****)
136. The Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac (3.5***)
137. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (4****)
138. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (3***)

August: 21
DNF. Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk
139. Undone by Karin Slaughter (5*****)
140. The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine (4.5 ****)
xxx. Billy Blaster: Ice Caves of Pluto by David Orme
xxx. Billy Blaster: Mind Thief by David Orme
141. Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck by Dayle E. Basye (3.5 ***)
142. Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham (5*****)
143. The Dragon's Pearl by Devin Jordan (4****)
144. Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan (5*****)
145. Free Agent by Jeremy Duns (4.5****)
146. Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo (5*****)
147. Catholicism for Dummies by Rev. John Trigilio Jr., PhD, ThD (4.5****)
xxx. A Ghost Named Fred by Nathaniel Benchley (3.5***)
148. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl (3.5***)
149. Classic Myths to Read Aloud: The Great Stories of Greek & Roman Mythology by William F. Russell (5 *****)
150. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (4****)
151. Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy (4.5****)
152.Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride by Kate DiCamillo (5*****)
153. Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo (3***)
154. Mercy Watson Princess in Disguise by Kate DiCamillo (4****)
155. Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Kate DiCamillo) (3.5***)
156. The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan (5*****) (FAVOURITE Book of the Month)
157. Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard (4.5****)
158. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay (4****)
159. Mercy Watson Something Wonky This Way Comes by Kate DiCamillo (3.5***)

September: 15
160. The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein (5*****)
161. A Child's First Book of Poems illustrated by Cyndy Szekeres (4****)
162. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent (4.5****)
163. 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs (4****)
164. Fables: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham (4****)
165. O Canada! by Isabel Barclay (5*****)
DNF. The Demon's Lexicon by Sara Rees Brennan
166. If You Lived with the Sioux Indians by Ann McGovern (3***)
167. Larger Than Life: True Stories of Canadian Heroes by Janet Lunn (4****)
168. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (4****)
169. A Pioneer Story: The Daily Life of a Canadian Family in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood (5*****)
xxx. Recon Academy: Shadow Cell Scam by Chris Everheart
xxx. Recon Academy: Nuclear Distraction by Chris Everheart
170. The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed by Heather Vogel Frederick (5*****) (FAVOURITE Book of the Month)
171. The Drunken Forest by Gerald Durrell (3.5***)
172. The Kid Who Saved Superman by Paul Kupperberg (4****)
173. The Rapture by Liz Jensen (3***)
174. Wild West by Mike Stotter (4****)

October: 21
175. The Child Thief by Brom (5*****)
176. Fables: Homelands by Bill Willingham (5*****)
177. The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis (3***)
178. A Family Treasury: Classic Bible Stories retold by Lise Caldwell (4****)
179. A Pioneer Thanksgiving by Barbara Greenwood (4****)
180. The Bag of Bones by Vivian French (4****)
181. A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld (3***)
182. Alligator Stew: Favourite Poems by Dennis Lee (4****)
xxx. Little Bear's Friend by Else Holmelund Minarik (4****)
183. Testimony by Anita Shreve (3.5***)
184. Wonderland by Tommy Kovac (4****)
185. Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner (5*****)
186. 20 Bible Verses Every Child Should Know with 20 original Bible memory songs on full-length CD (5*****)
187. Hoodoo Sea by Rolf Hitzer (4****)
188. Perseus and Medusa by Blake A. Hoena (5*****)
189. Fashion Kitty and the Unlikely Hero by Charise Mericle Harper (3***)
190. By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman (4****)
191. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (3***)
xxx. The Three Little Pigs by Lisa Trumbauer (5*****)
192. Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon (3***)
193. Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman by Monica Kulling (3***)
194. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (4****)
195. Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation by Tim Hamilton (4.5****)

November: 48

196. The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade (5*****) (Favourite Book of the Month)
197. Fables: Arabian Days (and Nights) by Bill Willingham (4****)
198. Jason and the Golden Fleece by Nel Yomtov (5*****)
199. Babymouse: The Musical by Jennifer & Matthew Holm (4.5****)
200. Babymouse: Dragonslayer by Jennifer & Matthew Holm (4****)
201. Joseph and Chico: The Life of Pope Benedict XVI as Told by a Cat by Jeanne Perego (4****)
202. Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (3***)
203. Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (3.5***)
204. Katman by Kevin C. Pyle (4****)
205. Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel (2**)
206. Binky: The Space Cat by Ashley Spires (5*****)
xxx. Rapunzel by Stephanie Peters (5*****)
207. The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe (4****)
208. Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell (3.5***)
209. Yokaiden Vol. 1 by Nina Matsumoto (4.5****)
210. High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips (4.5****)
211. Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri (5*****)
212. The 3-2-3 Detective Agency: The Disappearance of Dave Warthog by Fiona Robinson (4****)
213. Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones: Girl Genius Book 8 by Phil & Kaja Foglio (3.5***)
214. Adventures in Cartooning by James Strum (5*****)
215. Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala (4.5****)
216. Bang Goes a Troll by Davind Sinden (4****)
217. Constance and the Great Escape by Pierre Le Gall (2**)
218. The Elsewhere Chronicles 1: The Shadow Door by Bannister & Nykko (3.5***)
219. T-Minus: The Race to the Moon by Jim Ottaviani (5*****)
220. The Taken by Inger Ash Wolfe (4****)
221. The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi (4****)
222. The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders by Emmanuel Guibert & Didier Lefevre (5*****)
223. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin (3***)
224. Artemis Fowl, The Arctic Incident: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin (4****)
xxx. Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff (4****)
225. The Heroine of Long Point by Leslie and Lois Benham (4.5****)
226. Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things by Ted Naifeh (4****)
227. Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics by Ted Naifeh (5*****)
228. Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom by Ted Naifeh (5*****)
229. Courtney Crumrin's Monstrous Holiday by Ted Naifeh (4****)
230. The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa (4.5****)
231. Joey Eye Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds(5*****)
xxx. The Incredible Rockhead by Scott Nickel (1*)
xxx. The Emperor's New Clothes by Stephanie True Peters (3.5***)
232. Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood by Tony Lee (4****)
233. The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan (2.5**)
234. Children of the Sea Vol. 1 by Daisuke Igarashi (5*****)
235. The Eternal Smile: Three Stories by Gene Luen Yang (4.5****)
236. Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Death and Dementia by Gris Grimly (5*****)
237. Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (3***)
238. Hatter M: Mad with Wonder by Frank Beddor (4****)
239. Kin by Holly Black (5*****)
240. Kith by Holly Black (5*****)
241. If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon by Ellen Levine (4****)
242. We Were There Vol. 1 by Yuki Obata (0)
243. The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks (4****)

December: 27
244. Avalon High: Coronation: The Merlin Prophecy by Meg Cabot (2**)
245. Avalon High: Coronation: Homecoming by Meg Cabot (2.5**)
246. Avalon High: Coronation: Hunter's Moon by Meg Cabot (3***)
247. Crogan's Vengeance by Chris Schweizer (4****)
248. Black is for Beginnings by Laurie faria Stolarz (3.5***)
249. Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight (4.5****)
250. The Private Patient by P.D. James (4****)
xxx. Ghosts of the Civil War by Cheryl Harness (4****)
251. Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham (4****)
252. Old Peter's Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome (5*****)
253. Wicked Lovely: Desert Tales, Volume 1: Sanctuary by Melissa Marr (NR)
254. Bride of the Water God Vol. 1 by Mi-Kyung Yun (2.5 **)
255. Bride of the Water God Vol. 2 by Mi-Kyung Yun (3***)
256. Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. 1 by Svetlana Chmakova (3***)
257. Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. 2 by Svetlana Chmakova (3***)
258. Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland (3***)
259. Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation by Thomas Siddell (4.5****)
260. the road to god knows ... by Von Allan (3.5***)
261. A Pioneer Christmas by Barbara Greenwood (3.5***)
262. BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker (5*****) (FAVOURITE Book of the Month)
263. Matchless, A Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire (3.5***)
xxx. Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel (4****)
264. The Dreamer Vol 1: The Consequence of Nathan Hale by Lora Innes(4.5****)
265. Shadow of Colussus by T.L. Higley (4.5****) .
266. The Dreamland Chronicles Book One by Scott Christian Sava (5*****)
xxx. Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith (4****)
267. Fables: Wolves by Bill Willingham (5*****)
268. The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr (3.5***)
269. Twisted by Andrea Kane (4.5****)
270. Paul McCartney: A Life by Peter Ames Carlin (4****)

Monday, December 29, 2008

193. tales from outer suburbia


tales from outer suburbia by shaun tan

Pages: 95
Finished: Dec. 27, 2008
First Published: Oct. 28 (Can), Feb. 1 (USA)
Genre: short stories, adult picture book, YA
Rating: 4/5
Reason for Reading: received a review copy from the publisher .

First sentence:


when I was a kid, there was a big water buffalo living in the vacant lot at the end of our street, the one with the grass no one ever mowed.


Comments: This is a beautiful, picture book of short stories. The publisher promotes it as juvenile literature but I found the stories immensely deep and could not imagine a child appreciating the full depth of each story. Some stories are one page long, some are several pages long but each is profusely illustrated in full colour by the fantastic shaun tan. The illustrations are not just there to illustrate the story but are an integral part of the story, in fact one story has several pages of wordless illustration to propel the story along. Some of the stories are about children but certainly not all of them, one for example is about a couple about to be married.

I enjoyed each story but would classify them as strange and quirky. Each tells a rather bizarre tale that the reader finds themselves looking deeper for the message or reading between the lines for what is really happening. The artwork is amazing and there are several spreads of collage art, which as a practitioner myself, I found highly appealing. I would recommend this to those who enjoy bizarre short stories and those who enjoy graphic novels. Even though this is not a graphic novel, I found the same elements present of text and illustrations working hand in hand. Really, a delightful quick read.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

192. Sons of Destiny


Sons of Destiny by Darren Shan
The Saga of Darren Shan, Book 12 (final book in series)

Pages: 199
Finished: Dec. 26, 2008
First Published: 2004
Genre: YA, paranormal
Rating: 4/5
Reason for Reading: next book in the series.

First sentence:

If my life was a fairy tale and I was writing a book about it, I'd start with, "Once upon a time there were two boys called Darren and Steve..." But my life's a horror story so if I were to write about it, I'd have to begin with something like this instead: Evil has a name -- Steve Leopard.

Comments: Well, here it is the final book in the series. I won't be giving a plot summary this time because, well, you just have to read the series. All the ends come together, mysterious doings from the past are finally understood and several reveals twist the plot in a different direction. The ending is very surprising and somewhat bittersweet. A very satisfying ending to a twelve book series. I can appreciate how hard it must be for an author of such a long series to come up with an ending which makes readers glad they've invested the time into all the books. I highly recommend this series and will look forward to reading more from Darren Shan.

Since my last review on Shan I've found out that the last two books in his "The Demonata" series will be released in the UK and Canada next year (2009) so I intend on starting to read it early next year. Also the second book of his adult series "The City" will be released in March in the UK and April in Canada.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

This will be my last post until Boxing Day is over. I wish all my readers have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Every Christmas I miss the most wonderful person I ever knew. She was both my best friend and my mother. She passed in 1993 (only just turned 50 yo) and my life has never been the same since. Yet I do continue living my life, knowing we will meet again one day. In memory of my mother here is her favourite Christmas Hymn:



And here is my favourite Christmas song which I first heard on an Elvis Christmas Album. Though the song does not sound very Christmasy it reminds me of my mother and makes me cry each time I hear it. I guess Elvis missed his mum the most at Christmas too. It is very beautiful. Wait until you hear the last verse.



And finally, a more recent Christmas song that I loved the first time my son showed it to me.