Showing posts from May, 2009

Giveaway - Latino Book Month Book Pack - Closed

Hatchette Group is graciously giving away a book pack of 5 Latino themed books for the Latino Book Month of May. There are 5 chances to win, that means 5 different people can each win all 5 books listed below! Here's what you can win!

Latino Book Month:

1. B as in Beauty By Alberto Ferreras ISBN: 0446697893
2. Into the Beautiful North By Luis Urrea ISBN: 0316025275
3. Hungry Woman in Paris By Josefina Lopez ISBN: 0446699411
4. The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos By Margaret Mascarenhas ISBN: 0446541109
5. Houston, We Have a Problema By Gwendolyn Zepeda ISBN: 0446698520

1) This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only. No PO Boxes.
2) Please leave a comment below for an entry, make sure your email is available in your post or in your profile.
3) Blog about this contest (with a link to this post) on your own blog, then come back here and post a link to your blog post for a second entry.
4) Contest will close midnight May 31 Eastern Time
5) I'll use a random number generator…

Coming Home

I'm flying home tonight and will be arriving around midnight. So watch out for regular daily posts to start back up any day soon.

100. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

First of all let's all say a great big "YAHOO!" for book #100 of 2009!!! I didn't dare even suggest I might make 200 books this year but it's not even half over yet, so at this rate ..... {who knows?}

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Pages: 466
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 26, 2009
First Published: Apr. 30, 2009
Genre: Gothic, historical fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

I first saw Hundreds Hall when I was ten years old.

Reason for Reading: Sarah Waters had a new book out! Need I say more! I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: The Ayres family have lived at Hundreds Hall since the early-mid 1700s and now in post-war times (WWII) there remain three family members, one live-in servant and one half-time servant under its roof. During the war, they did their part for the war effort giving their rooms over to soldiers, their land over to the army for its use, their silver for melting, their furs, woolens, linens, etc for cutting apart and making clothing,…

99. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (aka Domenica de Rosa)
A Ruth Galloway Mystery, Book 1

Pages: 301
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 22, 2009
First Published: Feb. 5 '09 UK (Apr. 28, 2009 CAN)(Jan 5, 2010 US)
Genre: mystery
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

They wait for the tide and set out at first light.

Reason for Reading: Whenever I am reading the summary of a mystery/crime novel and the word forensic is used to describe the main character's job, you've got me at the word. Ruth Galloway is described as a forensic archaeologist and I knew at that point I would be reading the book. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Ruth Galloway is a year off her 40th birthday, very overweight, not in a relationship and has two cats which everyone assumes are baby substitutes. She gets angry at herself for her occasional bouts of maudlin "what-ifs" because most of the time she is quite happy with her life if others would just stop pestering her. Ten years ago a little gir…

98. Clara's War

Clara's War: A young girl's true story of miraculous survival under the Nazis by Clara Kramer with Stephen Glantz

Pages: 339
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 20, 2009
First Published: 2008 UK (Apr. 7, 2009 CAN)(April 21, 2009 US)
Genre: memoir, nonfiction, Holocaust
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

My entire family was camped out on blankets and goosedown bedding in the apple orchard behind Aunt Uchka's little house.

Reason for Reading: I am always driven to read first hand Holocaust accounts, especially from children's points of view. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Young teenager Clara Kramer is living in a small Polish town when WWII starts. The book is her story retold from her memories and from the aid of her diaries kept while hidden during the last 2 years of the war. Starting off in 1939, we get a quick feel for pre-war life, then immediately a Russian protection takeover then quick withdrawal. The Germans soon infiltrate the town and a Jewish Ghetto is se…

97. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Buckshaw Chronicles, Book 1

Pages: 292
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 19, 2009
First Published: April 128, 2009
Genre: mystery, cozy, Gothic
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

It was as black in the closet as old blood.

Reason for Reading: At first, the title grabbed me. Then I read the publisher's summary and was very excited to read this mystery. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Flavia is an 11-year-old girl who lives in a run-down ancestral home in a tiny village in England with her Father, two sisters and a few servants. Flavia isn't your ordinary 11yo, she has taken over an ancient chemistry studio in the house from a former ancestor and her whole world revolves around chemistry. Her speciality? Poisons. Early one morning Flavia stumbles upon a dead man lying in the cucumber patch and that is just the beginning of a series of events that Flvaia becomes involved in as she finds herself matching wits with the l…

96. The Dragon of Trelian

The Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen

Pages: 407
Ages: 8+
Finished: May 18, 2009
First Published: April 14, 2009
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

Calen tried not to look down.

Reason for Reading: YA fantasy about dragons? Need I say more! I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Calen is the apprentice to the rather surly palace mage, Serek. One day while loitering about instead of gathering herbs he meets the Princess Meglynne out for her daily jaunt in peasant clothing. They become friends and she shares her darkest secret with him. She has a young dragon hidden nearby! But as the dragon is reaching adolescence Meg is having strange experiences, she can feel what the dragon feels when she is away from him and she seeks Calen's help in gathering knowledge about dragons from the mage's library. Together they explore this strange phenomenon but meanwhile the kingdom is under a secret attack from the inside that Meg and Calen accidentally disc…

95. Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson

Pages: 329
Ages: 10+
Finished: May 14, 2009
First Published: April 28, 2009
Genre: children, YA, fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

"I only want to go out for a little, little while," the faery child pleaded.

Reason for Reading: I have a fondness for faeries in fantasy as long as they are not cutesy and when I saw the title of this book that combined the words "rebels" and "hunter" with "faery" I was very intrigued. Also the picture of the very pretty yet so serious faery on the cover also helped to pique my interest. I received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Comments: In the Oakenwyld lives a faery realm which is slowly dying out. They lost their magic hundreds of years ago and no one remembers exactly how. A sickness is slowly killing them all off one by one. They do not reproduce but only replace themselves with a baby upon death. These faeries are selfish, friendless and joyless. They also have…

94. The Robe of Skulls

The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French
Illustrated by Ross Collins
The First Tale From the Five Kingdoms

Pages: 200
Ages: 8+
Finished: May 12, 2009
First Published: 2007 (pb release - Apr. 14, 2009)
Genre: children's fantasy, humour
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

"Skulls," said Lady Lamorna.

Reason for Reading: I have to admit it was the cover that first attracted me to this book. Then once I read the plot summary I knew I had to read it. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Lady Lamorna has ordered a new dress to be made by the Ancient Ones but when she goes to check her finances she finds her treasure chest empty. So she sets forth with her clumsy slave Grubble, the troll, to capture all the local princes and princesses, turn them into frogs and ransom them back to fill her coffers once again. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, Lady Lamora's path is about to be crossed and her plans possibly dashed by brave Gracie Gillypot, prankster second-son prince Marcus, t…

93. The Winner Stands Alone

The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho

Pages: 343
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 11, 2009
First Published: Apr, 7, 2009
Genre: literary fiction, realistic fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The Beretta Px4 compact pistol is slightly lager than a mobile phone, weighs around seven hundred grams, and can fire ten shots.

Reason for Reading: I have never read a Paulo Coelho book before and honestly really had no interest in them when I read descriptions of the plots. But bloggers continue to wax eloquent about how wonderful his books are that I knew I would have to give in a read one some day. So when I saw he had a new one coming out, the plot actually piqued my interest so I thought I'd give it a go. I received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Comments: I'll start off by saying this is a difficult book to summarize as there are many different layers a reviewer may want to concentrate on. On the surface the plot concerns Igor,a wealthy Russian man, who is obsessed with his ex-wife; it i…

92. The Third Eye

92. The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan*
Tara Trilogy, Book 1

Pages: 240
Ages: 10+
Finished: May 8, 2009
First Published: 2007
Genre: fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Reason for Reading: the Indian mythology aspect appealed to me. Received as part of the now "in hiatus" Chapters-Indigo Top Reviewer Program.

First sentence:

Someone was following him.
Comments: This is a fairy tale, a myth, and a quest fantasy, set in an Indian village, all rolled into one. Tara and her younger brother's mother leaves them suddenly one night with only a hushed whisper that one day she will return. A year later her father is nothing but a walking shell who lets their stereotypical evil stepmother treat them like servants. Tara's grandfather also disappeared the same night as her mother and he was the villages' healer; now a new healer has arrived and some think he is evil but the men in town either turn to his side or disappear. Then one night Tara overhears a plan that involves killing herself and her broth…

Luke on the Loose WINNER

And the winner of Luke on the Loose is:

cstironkat !

Congratulations! I'm sure Holt (and you!) are going to love this book. I'll be contacting you shortly for your snail mail address and then the publisher, Toon Books, will be sending the book directly to you. Congratulations!

Read my review of the book here.

Book Contest

Welcome to my very first book contest! The folks over at Toon Books have generously offered to giveaway a copy of Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss, which came out this month at a bookstore near you.

Luke looks on at the pigeons in Central Park, while Dad is lost in “boring Daddy talk,” and before you know it—LUKE IS ON THE LOOSE! He’s free as a bird, on a hilarious solo flight through New York City.Harry Bliss, the renowned illustrator of many bestselling children’s books, finally goes on a solo flight on his own with a soaring story that will delight any young reader who has ever felt cooped up.

Perfect for emerging reading. This was one of my son's favourite out of the entire Toon Book series of books and you can read our own review here. I'd recommend the book for up to age 8 but older struggling readers would also find the story funny without being babyish. Heck, I liked it and I'm 40! View sample pages here.

1) This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only.

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Just a quickie note to let y'all know that I'll be flying out of here this evening to go visit my Dad in Alberta for 3 weeks. I'm going to be busy today packing plus I want to get one more review written so I can start off the trip with no backlog. The trip will not affect my blogging. I'm not going there to be entertained. I'll be spending my days lounging around the house, outside hopefully if the weather is nice, reading and will have plenty of time to blog. They are big movie watchers so I'll get lots of movie watching done too. I go out there every six months on the advice of my psychiatrist for a break from it all. As you know I have Asperger's; now while that is not a disease that does not need curing or medication, unfortunately many people with Asperger's also have other mental issues and I am one of those people. One of the issues I deal with and am medicated for is clinical Depression and these 3 week getaways are time for me to unwi…

Two Reviews on American History: Fact & Fiction

#90. The Lewis & Clark Expedition: Join the Corps of Discovery to Explore Uncharted Territory by Carol A. Johmann. Illustrated by Michael Kline

Pages: 106
Ages: 10+
Finished: May 5, 2009
First Published: 2003
Genre: children, history, non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5

Comments: This non-fiction book takes the child inside the journey and events surrounding the famous Lewis & Clark crossing of the west by water to the Pacific Ocean. It is profusely illustrated with realistic drawings, cartoons, maps and diagrams. There is no main narrative of text but rather blocks of text which follow a theme as the book is divided into chapters. One constant however, is frequent summarizing of Clark or Lewis' journals frequently including exact quotes (with strange spellings and all). This does lend some sort of continuity to the book. The other blocks of text would then expound on the topic or add further comment or interesting tidbits of info.

I found out pretty quickly, that reading the entire text of…

R.I.P. - Dom DeLuise

Actor, comedian and chef, Dom DeLuise dies in his sleep at age 75. I most remember him for the movies in the 70s such as Cannonball Run, Smokey and the Bandit 2 and History of the World Part 1 and as being the father of three fabulous sons who are all in show business Peter (StarGate), Michael (SeaQuest DSV) and David (3rd Rock from the Sun). Rest in Peace Dom. We will miss you.

89. Hell's Horizon

Hell's Horizon by D.B. Shan (aka Darren Shan)
The City Trilogy, Book 2

Pages: 389
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 4, 2009
First Published: Mar 5, 2009 UK & Apr. 3 2009 CAN
Genre: urban fantasy
Rating: 5/5

Reason for Reading: next in the series. Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

First sentence:

In room 812 of the Skylight Hotel a woman lay close to death.

Comments: The summary of this book is going to be very hard to understand if you haven't read the first book. You can read my review of Procession of the Dead for a fuller understanding of the story without any spoilers. This second book starts off with completely different characters within The Cardinal's Troops, his own personal police/security force. The plot runs parallel with the first novel with very few crossover's until the end. The theme centers around a vicious killing of a young woman and Al Jeery, Troop member, is personally assigned, by The Cardinal himself, to solve the case. The case becomes personal t…

Monday: ARCS in the Mail

Last week saw books arriving from Simon & Shuster Canada every couple of days and these look fabulous! A total of 4 new Review Copies to add to Mount TBR. While at the same time, last week saw the reading and reviewing of 3 ARCs making Mt TBR actually only 1 book taller. That's pretty good progress. Here are my new Review Copies:

Plus Saturday May 2 was Free Comic Book Day at participating comic book stores across North America and I picked myself up this book from the Graphic Clasics series I've started reading. This book is actually available on their website as a Special Edition and I got it for Free! Hee Hee! Mine has the same content but instead of "Special Edition" on the front it says "Free Comic Book Day"

88. Eagle Mask

Eagle Mask: A West Coast Indian Tale
written & illustrated by James Houston

Pages: 63
Ages: 7+
Finished: Apr. 30, 2009
First Published: 1966
Genre: children, historical fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 8yo.

First sentence:

Skemsham awoke suddenly and listened.

Comments: This is the coming of age story of a young boy, the son of a the chief of the Eagle Clan of the Northwest Indians. The book follows the life of Skemsham and his village through its rituals, ceremonies, way of life and celebrations. They go salmon hunting, Skemsham and his friend go on a trip without food or tools to test their courage, their is the building of a new totem pole for the clan, a whale hunt and a potlatch. At the end Skemsham has turned from boy to man.

A well-written piece of Native literature. Written in 1966, there are no incidents that would concern one wondering about political correctness. The whole book takes place in a pre-white man setting and in fact, except in the title, I'…

87. The Wonderful O

The Wonderful O by James Thurber
Illustrated by Marc Simont

Pages: 72
Ages: 9+
Finished: Apr. 30, 2009
First Published: 1957, New York Times Review edition Mar. 31, 2009
Genre: children, fantasy,
Rating: 3.5/5

Reason for Reading: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

First sentence:

Somewhere a ponderous tower clock slowly dropped a dozen strokes into the gloom.

Comments: Two pirates meet in a tavern one with a map, the other with a ship. Off they go to find the island called Ooroo and a hidden treasure. Once they arrive we find that one of them hates the letter "O" and while they take over the small island looking for the jewels they decide to forbid the existence of the letter 'O' in writing and speech by the inhabitants. This causes immense problems as one can imagine.

On the top this is a silly little story with a lot of fun wordplay while underneath it is a story of the fight for freedom. A fun romp that children old enough to manipulate the removal of the 'O…

86. The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book One

Pages: 310
Ages: 14+
Finished: Apr. 30, 2009
First Published: Mar. 10, 2009
Genre: YA, post apocalyptic fiction, horror
Rating: 5/5

Reason for Reading: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

First sentence:

My mother used to tell me about the ocean.

Comments: Mary's world is very small and quite simple. Her village is large enough to roam around in and grow crops but it is completely enclosed by heavy-duty wire fencing. Her world is run by the Sisterhood who guide their laws and lives through religion and the Guardians who take orders from the Sisterhood and guard the village with force. Day to day life is quaint and simple but on the other side of the fencing are the Unconsecrated and one bite from them will turn you into one yourself, so you must never get too close to the fence ....

This was a fabulous book! Initially it reminds me of the society portrayed in the movie The Village, while not…