Welcome

A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, 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 nonfiction; but you'll find I read an even wider variety of books than that. 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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Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Reflections

As today is the last day of the month and I don't have any book reviews to write, I thought I'd take a look at the month in review. This month I felt like I've read and read but have only read 16 books in total and some of those are kids' books! This is the first month this year that I have less than 20 books total and I cannot find a reason for it. But when I think about it, we were overly busy with appointments this month and all the extra days of church over Easter so I guess a lot of my reading time was taken up otherwise. (Speaking of Easter, we are still celebrating that, many people may do not know this but the Easter celebration lasts for 5o days. It is not a one day religious celebration, as it is a one day secular holiday.) Anyway, I'm hoping to finish two more books today, The Forest of Hands and Teeth which I am more than half finished and then The Wonderful O which is a long picture book or novelette for children. I won't get them reviewed today but I go by finish dates as to which month they are included in and that will get me up to 18, a number I feel more comfortable with. But then we do have an appointment for speech therapy for the 8yo this afternoon, so who knows!

Here's the list of books I've read this month minus the two I'm hoping to add today (the books marked xx are not counted towards my final total as they are either picture books or mainly read to me by the 8yo):
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*****) (FAVOURITE of the month)
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**)
+ 2 more hopefully = 18

Now movies/DVD watching on the other hand was even worse! We only watched one DVD the entire month. I guess everyone was so darned tired at the end of the day no one wanted to even watch a movie or TV episode. I, who am addicted to TV on DVD, do not even have a show on the go at the moment! So what was this one movie we watched you ask. Well, it was a re-watch actually. Here you go:

22. (#) King King (2003) (re-watch) (own) - First saw this in the theatre when it first came out and enjoyed it very much; this is the first time I've re-watched it. This time, though, we let the 8yo watch it and only had to have him close his eyes a couple of times when people were getting killed, otherwise the violence was monster movie violence and nothing worse than cartoon violence. Anyway, I am what you would call a King Kong aficionado. I've seen every King Kong movie at least twice and yes that includes (Godzilla vs. King Kong), the original King Kong many times and even Mighty Joe Young, and I think they did a very good job with making it and keeping it essentially as a love story. I only think they made a very bad choice in choosing Jack Black as the lead. I like Jack Black but he can't do drama and he played the part way over the top. A much more serious take on the part would have put the movie up another notch onto a much more serious playing field. But other than that the casting was good and I enjoy the movie and will watch it again.

Back to reading, I had a huge stack of arcs to read this month and pretty much read nothing but to try and make my way through them but sadly did not finish them all. Again, if, I get the two read today, I am left over with just 5 I should have read this month. These are my first arcs that put me behind this year. May is another big month for arcs, though not as big as this month has been. So the plan is to get May's books read and catch up with a couple left over from April. My whole goal this year is to not be behind on any arcs by the end of the year, except of course books I receive in December. Wouldn't that be lovely if I could accomplish it!

Keep a goal in your head, hope in your heart and a smile on your face and if one should waver the other two will pull you through.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

85. Hand of Isis

Hand of Isis by Jo Graham

Pages: 508
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 28, 2009
First Published: Mar. 23, 2009
Genre: historical fantasy
Rating: 2.5/5

Reason for Reading: Received a review copy from the publisher.

First sentence:

In twilight I approached the doors, and in twilight they stood open for me.


Comments: This is the story of Cleopatra told through the eyes of her sisterly handmaiden. Born just months apart, it is the story of three sisters, all of whom have the same Pharaoh as a father. One of them, had the first Queen as her mother while the other two were born from the Pharaoh's harem. The two sisters of the harem are given to Cleopatra as handmaidens when they are five years old to be playmates for her and to attend studies with the princess who is a forgotten third daughter of the dead first Queen. The girls spend their childhood banished to a Temple Island and when they come back Cleopatra is the new Pharaoh. The book continues through the period of Julius Caesar, then Mark Anthony and finally the fateful death of Cleopatra and her two handmaidens by snakebite.

The book is told through the eyes of the youngest sister, Charmian, as she describes her life in relation to Cleopatra's. The first part of the book when the sister's are children growing up on the island together was good reading and a great start to the book. One got to know each of the three girls quite well, though of course Charmian's character stood out the most. As the girl's became adults and moved back to Alexandria, Charmian's secondhand view of Cleopatra really filtered down her character and the third sister all but disappeared from the main plot making the story revolve around Charmian. This is unfortunate because at this time Charmian's life becomes graphically s*xual and from this point on there are many elements of the book that didn't appeal to me at all.

Jo Graham's first book Black Ships was stellar (you can read my review here) and I was disappointed not to have enjoyed this one very much. The fantasy element of the book, while not being much in the way of fantasy was quite intriguing. The book starts with Charmian being dead as she enters the Egyptian Underworld to have her heart weighed on the scales against a feather. Here she meets Thoth and Isis and other Egyptians gods. Essentially the book is her telling her life story to the gods to see whether the goodness in her heart outweighs the evil. Every so often during the novel we would switch back to these interludes of Charmian in the Underworld.

Unfortunately, the graphic s*xual nature of the book and the elements therein were too much for my own conservative nature and I can not recommend the book. However others have enjoyed the book and you can find some positive reviews at these blogs:

Fyrefly's Book Blog
Holley's House
Tanzanite's Shelf and Stuff

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Asperger's and a Haircut

I got my hair cut yesterday by a hairdresser! Doesn't sound like much I know but it was a rather landmark moment in my life since I have cut my own hair for the last 10 or so years. Nothing special just a trim, the same length all the way round, but how I hated doing it! But the alternative was worse, going to a hairdresser's. You see, I have Asperger's and my whole life I've been uncomfortable at the hair salon and as I got older it got worse and worse until it reached the point where I can remember my last professional haircut distinctly. Nothing tragic happened, I just decided once and for all I wasn't subjecting myself to that anymore.

You see there are two things about going to the hairdresser's that make me want to run out of there screaming. One, I have personal space issues. I don't like anyone entering my personal space and it is very hard for someone to cut my hair without not only entering my personal space but also touching me. This is a big no-no. Do not touch me unless I initiate it! Secondly, I am unable to chit-chat and prefer not to talk unless there is a point to the conversation. At a hairdresser's they start talking to you right away, asking questions, trying to come up with a topic of conversation to babble on about while they cut your hair. This absolutely terrifies me. The thought of it is unbearable and the experience is excruciating. That's why I quit going.

Anyway, after all these years we finally (hello? anyone home?) came up with the brilliant idea of advertising for someone to come into our home to cut my hair. So we put an add on craigslist and a local lady answered right away. My husband did all the arranging. He told her my problem. Asked her not to talk to me unless it was actually about my hair. And she told not to worry she works exclusively with people at home and everything will be fine.

So she arrived here yesterday. I don't look people in the eye (another thing that makes it hard for me to go into a hairdresser's or many other places). And while looking over her shoulder told her what I wanted and then she added some extra comments on what she could do and it sounded great so she got to work. At first I had my hands clenched and bit my lip as she touched me but eventually I got used to it, and her not speaking helped me relax sooooo much. Then I started asking questions as to what she was doing and she answered me very nicely without every going on to chit-chatting. It was a great experience. I'll certainly be having her back. And I finally have a nice hair do! It's the same do I've been giving myself but with an invisible layer and lots of thinning (I have thick hair), so I finally really love my hair!

I'm going to leave you all with a video I made a while ago (pre new hair cut) that I will be putting up on youtube one of these days (having technical issues at the moment) as I am going to be making some vlogs about living with Asperger's as an adult.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Arcs in the Mail

Last week brought in a few packages with some lovely books to read with a couple that I am really dying to start to read. Last week I only managed to read 2 arcs, I'm not sure why, but I think taking time out to read Watchmen was what kept the arcs down as that is one huge book, even though it is a graphic novel. So the stats don't look quite as good for Mount tbr this week with 2 read and reviewed and 8 new arcs in, that leaves the pile a staggering 6 books larger and with a definite lean. Now on to the books!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Shrinking of Treehorn


The Shrinking of Treehorn
by Florence Parry Heide
Illustrated by Edward Gorey

First Published: 1971

Reason for Reading: Dad, who usually does the bedtime reading, had to be out until late last night. So I had to find something on the shelves that would take one sitting to read and I've been eager to read this one since I bought it.

First sentence:

Something very strange was happening to Treehorn.

Comments: A wonderful story about a boy who loves to send away for the things on the back of cereal boxes. He has a whole collection of such things. One day he wakes up and after a while realizes that he is shrinking. His parents don't believe him at first but by the end of the school day it's quite clear to all that he is indeed shrinking and his parents are quite put out about what to do. Treehorn himself discovers the reason and all ends well but, then, does it?

I bought this book from a thrift shop simply because it was illustrated by Gorey; I couldn't have cared less what the book was about. Now the time comes to actually read the book and what a delightful little treasure is hidden in this unpretentious little book. A picture book with text that just pushes the comfort zone for a one sitting read but a captivatingly fantastic story for children. Needless, to say Gorey's b/w drawings have his usual Gothic feel to them even though everyone is oddly dressed in "groovy" seventies clothing. (Not really odd as the book was written in the '70s, but odd for my usual idea of Gorey illustrations)

The adults that Treehorn encounters during the day, his parents, his teacher, the principal either don't believe his claim or are much too wrapped up in themselves to really pay attention to his story and any child who has tried to get the attention of a busy adult will relate to this charming, fantastical story. What a delight to know that this little treasure is still in print. Highly recommended for all ages!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

R.I.P. Bea Arthur


Aged 86, Bea Arthur most remembered for her portrayal as Maude during the '70s and as one of the Golden Girls during the '80s died at home today. She will be sadly missed.


84. Tree in the Trail


Tree in the Trail
written & illustrated by Holling Clancy Holling

Pages: unpaginated
Ages: 10+ (younger for read aloud)
Finished: Apr. 24, 2009
First Published: 1942
Genre: children, historical fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

Reason for Reading: read aloud to the 8yo as part of our curriculum.

First sentence:

An Indian boy and his uncle, a scout of the Kansas tribe, followed an ancient buffalo trail up a low hill.


Comments: This book follows the story of a cottonwood tree located on the Santa Fe trail somewhere past Kansas City. The story starts with a young Indian boy saving the sapling from an impending buffalo stampede by surrounding it with many rocks. Then follows the growth of the tree as it becomes a part of the Indian culture, sees the coming of the Spaniards, warring Indian tribes, the arrival of French trappers and finally the caravans that followed the Santa Fe trail.

The book is in traditional oversized picture book format but is a somewhat lengthy chapter book. Each chapter is one page long with the right hand page being a gorgeous full colour painting by Holling and the left hand side containing the text. Also on the text side, the margins have been filled with b/w line drawings, labeled diagrams and even maps to further enhance the text. The book is extremely visually pleasing, as are all Holling's books.

The story itself is wonderfully appealing. It is a slow moving story and more appreciated taken with small bites at a time. We usually read four chapters at a sitting. The 8yo absolutely loved this book and was full of questions; about the story, about words, about pictures, everything. (It helped that we have studied the time period in school.) Time is spent over each page naturally as you are drawn into the pictures that further enhance the words of the text. Each time we picked the book up the 8yo would want to go back a few pages and retell the latest events by looking at the pictures before we continued on where we had left off.

Once the middle of the book is reached the time period hits the early 1800s and we follow a caravan (and the tree!) along the Santa Fe Trail. Amazingly for a book written in 1942, there are no racial concerns to be found in the book, unless the word Indian bothers you. The only thing of note is the language of the two men leading the caravan who become main characters. The year is 1804 and when they speak, within quotes, the word "Injun" is used. Now to me, this is perfectly acceptable as men in 1804 on the Santa Fe trail would have used that word. It is only found within quotes. The author does not use the word in his narrative.

A really wonderful book! Highly recommended! I hope I get the time to read other of Holling's books to the 8yo while he's still young as I'm particularly fond of Paddle-to-the-Sea and Seabird plus we have Pagoo in the house and I've never actually read that one.

Friday, April 24, 2009

83. If You Lived With the Iroquois


...If You Lived With the Iroquois by Ellen Levine
Illustrated by Shelly Hehenberger

Pages: 80
Ages: 7+
Finished: Apr. 23, 2009
First Published: 1998
Genre: children, non-fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

Reason for Reading: read aloud to the 8yo as part of our curriculum.

First sentence:

Before there was a United States, there were hundreds of thousands, some say millions, of people living on the land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Comments: After a brief introduction to introduce the Iroquois and a map to show the land they occupied the rest of the book follows a question and answer format. The book is very thorough and every possible topic that would interest a child is presented: food, clothing, family relations, lodgings, games, sports, what boys and men did opposed to what girls and women did and many more topics. The text is written to the reader in the second person speaking to "you" directly as if you had asked the question yourself. The book is profusely illustrated with each page being completely coloured itself, no white pages to be found here. We read a previous book in this series earlier this year on the Hopi Indians and my son enjoyed this one much more. I'm not sure whether it was because of the the writing itself or because these Indians are from where we live that he had more interest.

I only have a couple of minor problems with the book. One is the few pages that discuss the Iroquois creation story. It is compared to the Biblical creation story and then to many other religious creation stories and it is noted how similar they all are. The tone is that all religious stories are just that, stories. I found that disrespectful, and, personally, I saw very little similarities between the Iroquois and Biblical views of creation. The other was that when discussing the area, the words America or the United States were often used when it is obviously clear from the map that the area inhabited by the Iroquois is equally in modern day Canada and the US. I always used the word North America and sometimes even used just the word Canada. If they can just use United States, I can just use Canada! But otherwise everything else was unbiased. The book only pertains to pre-white man times which enables it to keep to a very evenhanded presentation.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

82. Life Sentences


Life Sentences by Laura Lippman

Pages: 344
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 22, 2009
First Published: Mar. 10, 2009
Genre: fiction
Rating: 4/5

Reason for Reading: I received a Review Copy from Harper Collins Canada.

First sentence:

"Well," the bookstore manager said, "it is Valentine's Day."

Comments: Cassandra Fallows, author of two memoirs and one novel, travels back to her Baltimore neighbourhood to research her new book. Her first memoir centred around the lives of her middle class white family and that of her three best friends who are black and of mixed financial backgrounds. There was a fifth black girl on the outskirts of her group of friends whom Cassie never really paid any attention to but it has just now been revealed to her that this girl was questioned in the death of her infant son and then spent seven years in jail for contempt for pleading the fifth and has never uttered one word about her missing, presumed murdered son. This is what Cassie wants to base her new book on and as she travels home she finds that no one from the past wants to talk about that incident. It seems she has come to uncover a secret so big that many people have been silenced for what very little they do know and no one wants to open those doors again. But while unraveling other families secrets Cassie finds herself face to face with a secret from her very own family's past which she has not known of and must face before she can face anyone else's secrets.

I really enjoyed this book. I've read one other Lippman book and it was not a stand-alone as this one is. I had expected this to be a mystery but, in fact, I would not classify it as such, nor would I call it a thriller, crime or even a suspense. It is much more akin to what I think of as Southern Fiction (with the eccentric characters and the race relations) but being set in Baltimore takes that option away. What we have here is really non-genre fiction. A story of people, a select group of people, and how a secret affected their lives.

Lippman is wonderful at characterization. There is a big company of players in this book and the main characters are fleshed out, fully realized with full backgrounds and flawed human beings. The secondary characters are less developed but they certainly consist of an eccentric cast. While the plot mainly focuses on Cassandra and her life and relationship with her parents and friends from the past, often including passages from her published book of memoirs, the tracking down of the girl who grew up to possibly kill her own son forms a cohesive plot that pulls the whole together and gives an enjoyable mystery to solve with a satisfying ending, for this reader. But other readers looking for a traditional mystery may not find the ending quite so satisfying. Not having read many Lippman books I can't say whether this book is typical or not of her stand-alones but if you are looking for a traditional mystery/thriller/crime book this is not the book you are looking for. However, if you are looking for a compelling read with an intriguing plot that includes a secret to unravel then by all means you'll have found your book with Life Sentences.

P.S. I can't help but mention that I just love the cover of my edition!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

81. Poe: A Life Cut Short


Poe: A Life Cut Short by Peter Ackroyd
Brief Lives series

Pages: 160
Ages: 18+ (though accessible to 15+)
Finished: Apr. 21, 2009
First Published: Mar. , 2009
Genre: biography, non-fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

Reason for Reading: I received a Review Copy from Random House Canada. I'm also a bit of a Poe fanatic.

First sentence:


On the evening of 26 September 1849, Edgar Allan Poe stopped in the office of a physician in Richmond, Virginia -- John Carter -- and obtained a palliative for the fever that had beset him.

Comments: This is a short, or rather, brief biography of Edgar Allan Poe, part of a series the author has done called Brief Lives in which also includes biographies of Chaucer, Newton and Turner. This is not the first biography of Poe I have read, nor will it be the last. It has been quite some years since I last read of Poe, though, so the information was all coming fresh to my hazy mind.

For such a short book, there is a wealth of information and detail included that leaves nothing out of Poe's tragically brief life. His melancholy and morbid life is so fascinating as one compares it to the macabre literature and poetry that he wrote. Poe was an orphan early in life, taken in by people of no relation, who, after the mother's death, refused to have anything to do with him. He became notorious and well-known during his life but never enjoyed appreciation for his work while he was alive and thus fortune alluded him, leaving him always on the verge of penury. He also had a habit of attaching himself to women who died at young ages of consumption from his birth mother through several ladies down to his own wife. Of course, his frequent bouts of extreme drinking lasting for days which left him to be found laying in ditches by acquaintances did not help his health or his reputation.

The book is well written, including many direct quotes from contemporary sources, taken from people who knew him and newspapers of the time and his own words. The author has done a good job of giving a background as to whether the modern reader should take those quotes as truth or with a grain of salt. While focusing on his life a good deal of time is also spent on the writing of certain of his works and the literary criticism of the time; in fact a whole chapter is devoted to The Raven. I enjoyed the book and found it very interesting, even to one who had read the story before; I found this a rather studious approach to the subject. This does make the reader take the work serious but on the other hand, I did find the writing a bit dry at times. I prefer my biographies to be written in a narrative which almost reads like fiction and the quotes and literary criticism got in the way of that for me. But nevertheless a well-written book and certainly a good place to start for the person who has never read anything on Poe himself before; with only 160 pages it will give you the answer as to whether you want to read more about the man himself.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I've Been Interviewed

Wendy (aka Literary Feline) was kind enough to ask me for an interview! The result is up today on her blog Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Go on over and have a read!

80. Watchmen


Watchmen by Alan Moore
Illustrated by Dave Gibbons

Pages: 416
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 20, 2009
First Published: 1986/1987 (previously published as individual comic books)
Genre: graphic novel, super heroes
Rating: 5/5

Reason for Reading: I've been wanting to read this for quite some time. Longer than I even knew they were thinking about making a movie. I've often seen it on the library shelf but decided against picking up this very thick graphic novel. Of course, it took the recent movie to make me actually get up and read it but by then everybody else wanted to read it and I had to add my name to the very long waiting list at the library. Finally it was my turn.

First sentence:

Rorschach's journal, October 12th, 1985: Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach.


Comments: Only a very broad summary can tell the premise of this plot without giving anything anyway and that hardly does the story any justice. A group of costumed heroes worked at thwarting crime during the forties, early fifties but they eventually went out of fashion in the fifties. But another younger, more resourceful group took over in the sixties only to have an act passed in '77 banning vigilantes altogether, except for a select few who worked for the government. This all takes place on an alternate earth where costumed vigilantes are real, Nixon is still President in the '80s (he removed the 2-term rule) and America won the Vietnam War. Now the world finds itself on the brink of World War III as US and Soviet Nuclear weapons are pointed at each other as the USSR starts to attack Asia starting with Afghanistan then Pakistan.

In this setting we have a more personal story of former superheroes, some retired, some still working underground and suddenly, former masked heroes are turning up dead or worse. One currently working costumed vigilante has an idea that someone is picking off former masked heroes and he tries to warn the others but no one really takes him seriously in this political clime of uncertainty.

This is an amazing book! The story is so intricate. Not only are the two main themes going on as described above but each of the superheroes involved carries their own personal subplot as well throughout the series. Amazingly everything ties together and I'm always stunned when a graphic novel can show such depth and intricacies with such limited text. Of all the great books I've read this month this is my favourite so far. Certainly a product of it's time; the eighties fear of nuclear attack from the Soviets, the Cold War, the threat of a third world war and yet somehow things never change. While the "bad guys" are different today, we still have these threats of nuclear arms making headlines today.

I'm really excited to see the movie now. I've purposely avoided any notice of it as I wanted to read the book without any preconceptions. I don't even know who is in the movie and that is why while reading the book I visualized one of the characters as a certain actor. Jon is a science experiment gone wrong and is a big blue muscular naked guy with a circle on his forehead. His voice is distinctly different from the others, unemotional, and I immediately thought of him as a Jaffa, T'ilk to be exact, and I just heard Christopher Judge's deep voice saying that character's voice throughout the novel! It's weird when that happens.

Back to the book, totally engrossing and riveting. I wish I hadn't waited this long. I said this was my favourite book of the month but this is also probably one of the finest graphic novels I've ever read. It is tough, hard and bloody and most definitely one for adults though, so don't go thinking of this is a "comic" and handing it off to the kiddies. Highly recommended!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday: Books in the Mail

Last week was a very bookish mail week for me. I received an assortment of arcs every day of the week except Wednesday from an assortment of publishers. I found packages on my doorstep and in my mailbox and saw CanPar, UPS and FedEx trucks all stop by plus neither was the mailman empty handed. Lots of fun. Thank goodness I did well with reading arcs this week, too! I read and reviewed 4 arcs and received 7 making the arc pile only 3 books larger. And what I really like about this assortment is that the publishing due dates stretch from Mar all the way through to July. So not a bombardment of all must be read now. A great assortment here too. I can't wait to read them. Now what you are all waiting for, the books!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Ramblings

One of the big problems in my life is I have a hard time getting personal about myself. I often come off as being very stuck up or aloof to people who first meet me because of this. As you'll find out later this has more to do with other things than a general character flaw. I've been thinking this over for quite a while now, and especially over Lent, and I'm going to try and be more personable on my blog here. Now I don't mean lamenting over the weather or my pets (I don't have any btw) but I mean talking about more personal topics rather than just posting book reviews day in and day out. I have many things I'd like to talk about and instead of starting another blog which will cause severe problems for me as I've already tried and failed at juggling more than one content-heavy blog, I'm going to try out chatting here on days I don't have book reviews to post. I read many of your blogs that are a mixture of books and posts about your hardships and successes and opinions that I hope you'll also find that addition here interesting rather than tedious.

So seeing as today is Sunday. Today's topic will be religious. This past Easter my husband, myself and our 8yo became Catholic and this last Friday I gave my first Reconciliation (most commonly referred to as confession). Wow, what an experience! Our teacher at RCIA class had said that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the one that people most dread and yet it is the most beautiful one to experience and she was so right! Many people who are not Catholic have a misconception that Catholics are confessing their sins to a priest. This is not so. We confess our sins to God, just like all other Christians but the act of confessing out loud to another human being is humbling. Jesus came to us on earth to experience the fullness of being human. He knows what it feels like to be human and how hard it is to not sin and how hard it is to humble oneself and to feel that one is truly forgiven by God. Confession humbles us and adds a human component to asking forgiveness from God and a total awareness of having been forgiven.

I trembled, my voice broke and I cried a little as I confessed. Then when Father spoke to me his words were so filled with love and tenderness I cried as he told me of ways I could possibly try to work on a select few of my sins. The prayers he said over me, the absolution of my sins was a huge weight of relief that I felt gently lifting off my shoulders and I felt a joy I haven't felt for a very long time. His final prayer was so beautiful I knew that I had just experienced the most wonderful moment of my life, this and the moment that each of my children came into this world are the days I will never forget, as long as I live.

The last part of Reconciliation is to be given a penance. Father said my penance as a new Easter Catholic was to say an "Our Father" and then reflect upon this statement "God loves me so much that he gave his one and only son for me" and while I reflected on that to think of wee (my 8yo) and how much I love him and multiply that love by 10 trillion times and that is how much God loves me. I was to do this for 15 minutes and then finish with another "Our Father". Then I proceeded to the front of the church, knelt in the pews and gave my penance. A totally heart-wrenching, joy-filled 15 minutes.

I am so glad to have written this moment down. It was so beautiful for me. I'll never forget my first Reconciliation. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

79. The Glister


The Glister by John Burnside

Pages: 228
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 17, 2009
First Published: March 10, 2009
Genre: horror, thriller
Rating: 3/5

Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Random House.

First sentence:

In the beginning, John Morrison is working in his garden.


Comments: Innertown, located somewhere on the coast of Britain, has been more like a ghost town since the chemical plant closed down years ago. Since them most people who worked there have either died or are very sick with undetermined illnesses. The plant and the surrounding acres have been shut down and closed off, left to the elements and time. Of course kids being kids, there are some who still like to hang out and wander around the old plant. This is the setting for a sudden disappearance of a local boy, there one minute, gone the next. Now over the years, every so often a boy will disappear, one this year, then one two years later, then one the next year and so on. The local police find no traces, the boys are just old enough, and family circumstances just bad enough for them to say this is a dead end town for these kids, they've had enough, they've packed up and gone off to face the world on their own. Some believe that line, others don't.

Each chapter of the book is narrated by a different voice and thus the story is told from many points of view. Some characters only share their view occasionally while others, such as the main character, a local boy called Leonard, come to the front more often. From reading the blurbs and book summary I had presumed this would be a horror story but it is no ordinary horror book, instead I found it much more like what I would call a crime thriller. I found it very engrossing and read the book within a 24 hour period always coming back to it after having had to put it down for some reason or other. A page turner with wonderful characterization especially considering the short number of pages. I was really caught up in the story and found some of the scenes as the case started to unravel quite unnerving. My problem is with the ending, well with the last page exactly. As I was reading along and the case had been solved to the reader's satisfaction, I came to the last page and came upon a scene which made me exclaim a great big "HUH???" I have no idea why it ended the way it did or what it's supposed to mean. Remove that last page and I would have enjoyed the book for a higher rating but the ending left me so confuddled, I'm at a loss to say how I feel about the rest of the book now. Read the book and you'll enjoy a good thriller but do yourself a favour and skip the last page or maybe come back to it and read it a week later.

Friday, April 17, 2009

78. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World


The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by e.l. konigsburg

Pages: 244
Ages: 10+
Finished: Apr. 16, 2009
First Published: 2007 (paperback out March, 2009)
Genre: children, YA, realistic fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

First sentence:

In the late afternoon on the second Friday in September, Amedeo Kaplan stepped down from the school bus into a cloud of winged insects.

Comments: Amedeo Kaplan, a new boy in town, is our main character and he has always wanted to discover something that was lost but that nobody knew was lost, such as a dinosaur or the Lascaux caves. Next door to him is an elderly lady preparing to move into a retirement settlement and she is packing up and sorting through her worldly goods looking for keepers and estate sale fodder. Aida Lily Tull Zender is a flamboyant, self-serving, outspoken, crotchety, former operatic (though second-tier) star. Helping her is the estate agent and her son William, whom Amedeo befriends. When Amedeo finds a sketch behind some books in the library then goes to an Art Show in the city with his Godfather a painful secret is discovered. A mystery from the past of World War II involving the Nazis and a Jewish family close to Amedeo is discovered and solved.

This is a slow paced story with a lot of wonderful ambiance and feeling to it. The plot is slow and unwinds very slowly until the last third where is quickly reveals itself. While the plot is, of course, important, the characters themselves are more important. Getting to know the background of Mrs. Zender and what drives her as a person along with that of the Jewish family members is so important to the theme of the story which explores the thin line between what makes an act heroic and who decides if it is heroic or not. A very compelling read with an atmosphere that is almost visible hanging over the pages of the book as you read. Being a character driven story, I'd recommend the book to older children, perhaps 12+. e.l. konigsburg is one of my favourite authors since childhood whom I always go back to and catch up with every now and then and it is always a delight. I have yet to meet a book of hers I haven't liked.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

77. Alligator Bayou


Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli

Pages: 280
Ages: 11+
Finished: Apr. 13, 2009
First Published: Mar. 10, 2009
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Rating: 4/5

Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

First sentence:

The night is so dark, I can barely see my hands.


Comments: This is a coming of age story of one Italian immigrant boy, Calogero, of uncertain age until the end of the book where we can figure he is about fourteen years old. It is the story of his life with his uncles and cousin, as the only Italian family in a small Louisiana town in 1899. They grow vegetables and are grocers and doing a might fine job at the business. He becomes friends with a small group of black boys and falls in love with one of their sisters, Patricia. The book is filled with their adventures, alligator hunting in the swamp, sneaking a kiss at a church picnic and a meeting with a very old Indian way out in the swamps.

But this story is also set against a very disturbing time in American history. One in which I knew nothing about. The discrimination against Italian immigrants in the south. This was the time of Jim Crow laws which were set up to make sure that the whites had superiority over the blacks but also left certain immigrant groups in a no man's land. The Italians in the south were not considered white and were not welcome where white society was. They were also given a tough time because economically they were taking business away from the white company stores. On the other hand, Italians were neither considered to be black and an Italian was sure to get himself beat up at the least or lynched at the most for fraternizing with the blacks; the whites certainly didn't want the Italians giving the blacks any high and mighty ideas. The Italians were also denied an education at this time as they were not allowed in the white schools and the blacks had their schools in their churches, Protestant, and the Italians were Catholic and therefore chose to go without for the time being. It was within this climate that our main character, Calogero, finds himself.

Based on a true story of which little but the barest of facts are known, Ms. Napoli has brought to life a terribly tragic story and a pocket of time back to the future so that we may not forget the hardships and the abuses that went on not so long ago. A beautifully written story with searing truthfulness. The characters are wonderful and the end is too sad to comprehend. This is a quick little read but it's packed with a lot of punch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

76. The Redeemer

The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo
Harry Hole, Book 6
Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett

Pages: 457
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 12, 2009
First Published: 2005 (Norway), Mar, 10 2009 UK/Can
Genre: crime fiction, mystery
Rating: 4.5/5

Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

First sentence:

She was fourteen years old and sure that if she shut her eyes tight and concentrated she could see the stars through the roof.

Comments: One evening during Christmas a Salvation Army man is shot (assassination style) at his collection post. As the police try to find whether this murder is aimed at the Salvation Army as a whole the man's brother is shot at and barely escapes with his life. Now it becomes a family thing and the police want to know which brother was the real target or are they both wanted dead? But when a seemingly unrelated woman's brutal death soon follows the police are stumped as to whether there is any connection. There is an unknown hit man on the loose and the bodies are piling up when another man related to the case kills himself.

An absolutely brilliant piece of crime fiction! Starting out slowly with the first hit and lots of character introductions and generous characterizations filled with background the reader gets to know the people involved. This is a thinking man's mystery, no car chases or helpless females running through the woods with a serial killer chasing after them. No, most of the detection is done inside Harry Hole's head as he pieces the bits of evidence together and his team goes out into the field to bring him answers to his questions. An amazingly intricate plot, I had no idea how this was going to end. Once I had my mind on whodunit a wide curve would set my mind reeling in a different direction and I was completely shocked by the solution. Of course, I found myself set up with a misconception right from the beginning too. True brilliance. Somewhat slower of a read than the slash and dash thrillers I usually read but oh so much more rewarding with it's intelligent plot and real, flawed characters. I'm anxious to go back and read the other's in this series I've not read yet and I so hope the publishers go back and have #1 and #2 in this series translated to English as soon as possible. Highly recommended!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday: Arcs in the Mailbox

Last week was a quiet week for book mail. I only received one package of books and that was last Monday, so it's been a while. But fortunately that one package was a nice big doozy from Random House Canada which more than made up for not receiving any other book goodies. Here's what I received:



So for my grand tally that brings in 5 more arcs to read and last week I read and reviewed 2 books (though really 3 but I won't review it until today so it won't count until next weeks stats), making the arc pile 3 books larger. That seems to be my average. If I can just get all the books I have earmarked to read and review for this month I will be a-ok and way on schedule, with plenty of room for personal reading too. My next 3 reads should be short quick reads helping me along. Wish me luck; this month is going by too fast for my liking. Now to get off the computer and go read!

I'll be back later though with a review of the book I finished over the weekend, The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

To My Little Sister

Well, when I wrote my list of six things that make me happy I must say that they were written in NO PARTICULAR ORDER. C'mon rain is nice of course, but it wouldn't be number #1. My sister did not like being number 5 out of 6. She can understand coming second to Michael Buble but not after rain or coffee. So I hereby declare that the things that make me happy are not in any particular order except #1 is Michael Buble and #2 is talking to my sister. But after complaining like that I am tempted to knock her down to #3 after my immediate family. Just kidding Mich! #2 spot is a tie between you and the whole family,with you a little ahead of everybody else except my kids. LOL! But if Michael Buble comes knocking, I'm outa here!!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Awards

I just found out that J. Kaye tagged me with the HAPPY TAG while I was away from the computer. Thanks J! I love being happy. Here are the rules:

Here are the rules..

1. Link to the person who has tagged you.

2. Write down six things that make you happy.

3. Post the rules, tag six others and let them know you did it.

4. Then tell the person when your entry is complete.

Six Things That Make Me Happy

1. The smell of rain
2. My family
3. The sound of Michael Buble's voice (not to mention the look of him either)
4. A really good cup of coffee
5. Talking to my sister (who lives very far away from me)
6. When the first rose blooms in my front garden



And Trish was so kind to give me the Sisterhood Award the other day! Thanks so much!

I'm not very good at giving awards back. I feel bad for leaving people out and I end up giving awards to people I later find out were just given the award by someone else so I'm not going to give these awards to anyone specific. If I've ever left a comment on your blog, you know I love you and consider yourself tagged!

75. The Revolutionary John Adams


The Revolutionary John Adams by Cheryl Harness

Pages: 39
Ages: 8+
Finished: Apr. 9, 2009
First Published: 2003
Genre: childrens, biography
Rating: 3/5

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 8yo as part of our curriculum.

First sentence:

On the 19th of October 1735 in a cottage at the foot of Penn's Hill in the village of Braintree, not quite a mile from where the Atlantic Ocean meets the coast of New England, Susanna Adams had a son.


Comments: Part of a series of biographies published by National Geographic, the author also illustrated this book profusely. Published in an oversized picture-book format the pages are colourful and full of gorgeous illustrations throughout that will keep the attention of any child. The text is written in an engaging, informative style and both the 8yo and I, who knew nothing of the subject before hand, learned a lot. The book goes from Adams' birth until his death and was an interesting read. Not until the Revolution did the use of dates become too extensive that they made the reading turn dry, so I started skipping over them and said things like "in January" or "then one day". Dates do not keep a child intrigued in the story. Otherwise a nice book that does it's job well.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Books Read & DVDs Watched in March

A little late, I know. But with being away from the computer I missed posting my February end of the month results and March ones as well. It is still close enough to say rather late than never with the March ones so here's my list. You can see my complete list of books read for the year so far here and my complete list of movies/DVDs watched for the year so far here.

Books Read in March: 22
Books marked with xx are not counted towards my total
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****)

Movies/DVDs watched in March: 7

15. Stargate SG-1 Season 8 (2004/2005) (own) - Love, love, love Stargate! I've seen a large portion of these episodes on TV but not all of them and it was enlightening to follow the story in order. Not much more to say. One of the best shows ever and a great season with some really cool episodes. Loved the ending when the nerdy alternate Sam & Daniel travel back in time and also love the first episode that introduces Vala. Last season with Jack O'Neill as a regular though. I'm gonna miss him, but as long as Daniel Jackson is around I'm happy!

16. Hancock (2008) (library) - I basically had no idea what this movie was about when I took it out. I knew it was something superhero-ish and that it had Will Smith in it was enough for me. At first I wasn't quite sure whether I was going to enjoy it or not but once one sees where the plot is going (or at least thinks one knows) I started enjoying it. In fact, I really enjoyed it. As a fan of superhero movies this was very unique and I actually loved the story behind his powers. Not the best movie in the world, or even Smith's best but I have to say it was a winner for me. My dh, on the other hand, has no more comment than "It was ok" but then he only watches superhero movies for my benefit.

17. (#) The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Volume 1, The Early Years (1992) (library) - The 8yo and I really enjoyed this series. I just barely remember watching some episodes when they first came out on TV. Seven movie length episodes show Indy's adventures as a ten year old and the last two episodes have him grown to about 18. 8yo loved these, found them very interesting and love seeing Indiana when he was the same age as him. He liked the last two episodes the best though, with the older Jones as they were more like Indy from the movies, ie. swashbuckling action. The series also includes a ton of documentaries on all the real life people and events Indiana Jones meets in the time period from 1908-1918. We both enjoyed this series very much. There are two more volumes but we will be holding off on them for a few years as the next one covers WWI and is too mature for my 8yo. This volume though is lots of fun and informative.

18. The Number 23 (2007) (owned) - As I looked for the amazon link for this movie I noticed the average review was not good for this movie. I didn't bother to read why because we actually enjoyed the movie. It started out great, got very weird in the middle, and slowly started to disprove my feelings that the route the plot was taking was full of inconsistencies. I didn't figure out what was happening and once I knew, I didn't believe it, but my reservations were proven to be wrong and the plot was consistent and very well done. I love a movie that has me stumped; as I figure out how they will end quite easily most times. Jim Carey is at his best, imho, when playing serious roles and I loved him in this. I also enjoyed the actor who played his son. Let's see imdb says his name is Logan Lermon. While probably not for everyone, if you like weird you may just enjoy it as much as I did.

19. (#) Madagascar 2 (2009) (free live viewing at the library) - not bad, has some funny bits but not that many. Sure kids will like, they all seemed to be enjoying themselves in the theatre. But nowhere near as good as the first, which I loved. I suggest you rent, not buy this one.

20. Stargate SG 1: Season 9 (2005/2006) (own) - What can I say, with all the cast changes this season I thought it wouldn't be as good. But man, was I wrong! This is the best season ever; it's almost like a brand new show starting it so fresh and new. All the story arcs from the previous seasons have ended and new bad guys, worse than the Guaols (sp?), come along. Ben Browder, Claudia Black and Beau Bridges are awesome additions to the cast and while I loved RDA as Jack O'Neill so much, I didn't even miss him. Bridges is as good a leader as Hammond was and the relationship between Daniel (my fav. character) and Vala is so funny and electric. I hope it goes somewhere with them next season. Mitchell is just as eccentric a character as O'Neill was but in no way tries to replace him. Mitchell's character is very different but terribly humorous in his own way. Bravo season 9! I can't believe there is only one more season to go. But I console myself that I also have two movies to watch after that.

21. Stargate SG 1: Season 10 (2006/2007) (own) - Oh wow! I just loved the final season. It was truly brilliant and so fresh. There was so much more they could have done with the storylines it's sad to see them end here with season 10. I'm sure they could have easily gone to season 14 without losing any integrity of the story, The new characters had so much more to offer. I was surprised at the number of times that Richard Dean Anderson showed up as a guest star and also surprised that they didn't make it known that he and Sam were together now. It was indicated that they were on his last full time episode when she was asked if she was single now she said she said she wasn't but when they were on the screen together not a single look, touch or electricity whatever. But who cares, there was plenty of that between Vala and Daniel and the last episode was truly wonderful. The relationship between them was everything I had hoped it would be, just too bad they had to go back in time to before it started. {sigh} I hope the movies finish off the relationships for us. But I absolutely loved the Ori as the new bad guys, the lingering Ba'al causing trouble and the new Arthurian legend as opposed to the Egyptian ones which were indeed getting old. Love this show and will indeed sit down someday in the future and watch them all over again. But I still have two movies ahead to watch first!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Here's How Yesterday Went

I woke up yesterday morning and went into the bathroom to do my ablutions when it clicked in my head that I might actually, no wait a minute, I'm pretty sure I don't have any appointments today. So I open the door and call to my dh:

"Can you look at the calendar? Do I have any appointments today?"

He says "I think you have one with Judy"

I say "No, I'm pretty sure that's tomorrow"

He goes and looks comes back and says "No, you're right, no appointments"

Me, thinking in my head now "Yippee! I think I'm going to have a pajama day! I'll just wash up a bit run the comb through my hair and have a happy pj day".

So there I am happily scrubbing my face when dh knocks on door "The dentist is on the phone, they've had a cancellation, can you come in today at 10 for your root canal?"

Total 360!!!

Ended up taking pjs off and wearing clothes as I spent 3 hrs (including waiting times) getting a quite painful root canal on my last bottom molar. Dr. says I have a small mouth, can I open just a bit wider, (a hundred times) now that little corner where your two lips meet is torn and sore, not to mention the insides of my mouth. Ah well, at least it's over right.

Hope your day was better!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Two ARC Challenges Finished

While I was away on my Lent sabbatical I managed to finished two of my challenges which were very closely related making some books overlapping and thus, making it easier to finish them both.

The Pub Challenge '09 (read 9 books) FINISHED
1. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (Jan.27 2009)
2. The Lost City of Z by David Grann (Feb.24 2009)
3. American Rust by Philipp Meyer (Feb. 24 2009)
4. The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (Jan. 6 2009)
5. A Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock (Jan.19 2009)
6. Fool by Christopher Moore Feb.9 2009
7. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Feb.3 2009)
8. Bloodprint by Kitty Sewell (Feb.3 2009)
9. The Vagrants by Yiyun Li (Feb.3 2009)

This was hosted by Michelle and I had a great time. She always runs a fabulous, smooth challenge and is one of the nicest ladies out there plus one of the first book bloggers I met. I have to tell these books were so awesome that I can't pick out a best. I can petty much guarantee that both American Rust and Cutting for Stone will be on my top ten of the year list; they were that good.

2009 ARC Challenge (Level 2: read 25 books) - FINISHED
1. Stalin's Children by Owen Matthews
2. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
3. Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz
4. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
5. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
6. American Rust by Philipp Meyer
7. Here's the Story by Maureen McCormick
8. 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
9. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo
10. The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas
11. A Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock
12. Otherwise by Farley Mowat
13. Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
14. Fool by Christopher Moore
15. Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs
16. Pieces of my Heart by Robert J. Wagner
17. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
18. Bloodprint by Kitty Sewell
19. The Vagrants by Yiyun Li
20. Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson
21. Heck: Where All the Bad Kids Go by Dale E. Basye
22. She Always Knew How: Mae West by Charlotte Chandler
23. Fade by Lisa McMann
24. Unpolished Gem: My Mother, My Grandmother, and Me by Alice Pung
25. Drood by Dan Simmons

I'm officially finished this challenge though I am still posting books read over on the challenge page and have entered the Level 3 category of Obsessed which is me to a 'T', just ask anyone who knows me. I either don't do things or I obsess over them. LOL but true. This challenge was hosted by Teddy Rose, whose blog is a joy to read and she's doing this challenge manually! I don't know how she doesn't lose her mind trying to keep everyone's posts straight. You go Girl! Again, so many good books on this long list that it's impossible to pick a winner but with being able to also include YA books for this challenge unlike the above one I was able to read the fantastic Fade by Lisa McMann which is the sequel to her previously published Wake, both must reads!

ARCS Received and Read in 2009

I finished the ARC Reading Challenge which I'm going to post next and it is such a great resource list that I decided to start a separate post to continue keeping up-to-date with review books as I receive them and adding links as I review them. Helps me see how I'm making progress.

I'm certainly keeping up this year. I have a new plan! I scrapped last years plan of reading them in the order in which they came in and am instead reading them by publishing due dates. I read all books the month after publication date, hence this month April I am reading all the March books. This way I can see how many books I have to read each month. If it's a small pile like last month I have time to add in some older arcs that are overdue or some library books or pleasure reads and if it is a large pile like March is then I buckle down and only read those arcs till they are done. I basically have them piled up in order by due date but I'll take them out of order if I feel like it. For ex. I don't like reading two emotionally heavy books one after another and making the switch from adult to YA has to be done with the correct combination of books. But this is working for me so far this year. Lets take a look at the stats. Ratio of books read to books in is 32:58 not bad plus I always have two on the go ( 1 fic and 1 nonfic). My math tells me that 55% of my arcs are read. At least it's a passing grade and I'm going to be an arc reading woman of fire this month, so watch out. (LOL)

My list of arcs currently not read and in possession as of Dec. 31, 2008.

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
20. a mercy by Toni Morrison
Added after above date:
21. Fool by Christopher Moore
22. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
23. Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss
24. Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! by Geoffrey Hayes
25. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo
26. The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas.
27. Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
28. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
29. 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
30. Drood by Dan Simmons
31. A Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock
32. Portobello by Ruth Rendell
33. Wanting by Richard Flanagan
34. Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
35. She Always New How: Mae West by Charlotte Chandler
36. Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson
37. The Vagrants by Yiyun Li
38. Bloodprint by Kitty Sewell
39. Fade by Lisa McMann
40. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by e. l. konigsburg
41. Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung
42. The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo
43. Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli
44. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro
45. BoneMan's Daughter by Ted Dekker
46. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman
47. Poe: A Life Cut Short by Peter Ackroyd
48. Starfinder by John Marco
49. Hand of Isis by Jo Graham
50. The Color of Lightning by Paulette Jiles
51. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
52. Etta by Gerald Kolpan
53. The Side-Yard Superhero by Rick Niece
54. Angels of Destruction by Keith Donohue
55. Palace Circle by Rebecca Dean
56. The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan
57. Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
58. Clara's War by Clara Kramer 55% read April 7
59. The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho
60. The Wonderful O by James Thurber
61. The Robe of Skulls by Vivien French
62. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
63. The Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudson
64. The Daring Adventures of Penhaligan Brush by
65. The Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nonna Bannister
66. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
67. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
68. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alex Bradley
69. Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher
70. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
71. The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine
72. Saints in Limbo by River Jordan
73. Don't Call Me a Crook! by Bob Moore
74. Hell's Horizon by D.B. Shan
75. Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson
76. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
77. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
78. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
79. Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk
80. Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Lyndsay Faye
81. Anything But Typical by Nora Raliegh Baskin
82. Sea Monsters and Other Delicacies by David Sinden
83. Werewolf versus Dragon by David Sinden
84. The House of Power by Patrick Carmen
85. Rivers of Fire by Patrick Carmen
86. The Dark Planet by Patrick Carmen
87. Cemetery Dance by Douglas Prestan
88. Science Fiction Classics by Tom Pomplun
89. The Demon's Lexicon by Sara Rees Brennan
90. The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha
91. Oracles of Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie
92. The Beacon by Susan Hill
93. Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw
94. Shaghai Girls by Lisa See
95. Far North by Marcel Theroux
96. Valeria's Last Stand by Marc Fitten
97. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
98. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
99. Afraid by Jack Kilborn
100. Relentless by Dean Koontz
101. Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGintly Told Me by Nan Marino
102. The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
103. Die For You by Lisa Unger
104. The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville
105. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
106. Zamora's Ultimate Challenge by M.K. Scott
107. Roadside Crosses by Jeffrey Deaver
108. Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert
109. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
110. The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner
111. The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox
112. The Glass of Time by Michael Cox
113. Dragon Seer by Janet McNaughton 52% read June 15
114. The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe
115. Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon 58% read June 29
116. Matchless by Gregory Maguire
117. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
118. Something Wonky This Way Comes by Kate DiCamillo
119. Undone by Karin Slaughter
120. The Texicans by Nina Vida
121. Innocent War by Susan Violante
122. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams
123. The Dragon's Pearl by Devin Jordan
124. The Rapture by Liz Jensen
125. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
126. Intertwined by Gina Showalter
127. Crush by Alan Jacobson
128. Rapacia by Dale E. Basye - 63% read July 27
129. Free Agent by Jeremy Duns
130. The Curse of the Romany Wolves by S. Jones Rogan
131. Grimpow: The Invisible Road by Rafael Abalos
132. The Hollow People by Brian Keaney
133. The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein
134. Meridian by Amber Kizer
135. The Kid Who Saved Superman by Paul Kupperberg
136. Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri
137. The Child Thief by Brom
138. Ghost Song by Sarah Rayne
139. The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
140. Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard
141. Hamlet and Ophelia by John Marsden
142. Evidence of Murder by Lisa Black
143. The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
144. 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
145. Winter's Child by Cameron Dokey
146. Bovine by Libba Bray
147. The Bag of Bones by Vivian French
148. Hoodoo Sea by Rold Hitzer
149. Voices in the Dark by Catherine Banner
150. The Midnight Charter by David Whitley
151. Bang Goes a Troll by David Sinden
152. Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz
153. Genesis by Bernard Beckett
154. Black Angels by Linda Beatrice Brown
155. The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
156. The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason
157. High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips
158. The Taken by Inger Ash Wolfe
159. Angel Time by Anne Rice
160. Paul McCartney: A Life by Peter Ames Carlin
161. Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
162. Spellbinder by Helen Springer
163. Claim to Faim by Margaret Peterson Haddix
164. The Gates by John Connolly
165. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
166. I am Not a Psychic by Richard Belzer
167. Irredeemable Vol. 1 by Mark Waid
168. The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy
169. Hatter M: Mad with Wonder by Frank Beddor
170. The 3-2-3 Detective Agency: The Disappearance of Dave Warthog by Fiona Robinson
171. Binky The Space Cat by Ashley Spires
172. Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones: Girl Genius Book 8 by Kaja Foglio
173. Kith by Holly Black
174. The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi
175. The Shadow Door by Nykko
176. T-Minus: The Race to the Moon by Jim Ottaviani
177. Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Death and Dementia by Chris Grimly
178. Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not so Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell
179. Constance and the Great Escape by Pierre Le Gall
180. Fallen by Lauren Kate
181. The Incredible Rockhead by Scott Nickel
182. The Emperor's New Clothes by Stephanie True Peters
183. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4, Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
184. We Were There Vol. 1 by Yuki Obata
185. Children of the Sea by Daisuke Igarashi
186. Stitch by Tommy Kovac (looked at; not reading)
187. The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks
188. King Lear by Gareth Hinds (looked at; not reading)
189. The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
190. Outlaw, the Legend of Robin Hood by Tony Lee
191. Artemis Fowl 2: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
192. Crogan's Vengeance by Chris Schweizer
193. Black is for Beginnings by Laurie faria Stolarz
194. Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. 2 by Svetlana Chmakova
195. Avalon High Coronation Vol. 3: Hunter's Moon by Meg Cabot
196. Wicked Lovely Desert Tales Vol 1: Sancturary by Melissa Marr
197. Gunnerkrigg Court Vol 1: Orientation by Thomas Siddell - 69% read Dec. 16
198. the road to god knows ... by Von Allen
199. The Silver Anklet by Mahtab Narsimhan
200. The Dreamer Vol. 1: The Consequence of Nathan Hale by Lora Innes
201. The Dreamland Chronicles Vol. 1 by Scott Christian Sava
202. Calamity Jack by Sharon Hale
203. The Junglen Vampire by Dick Sinden