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Showing posts from June, 2011

138: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith

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Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith (Canada) - (US)
Bone, Vol. 1

Pages: 138
Ages: 9+
Finished: Jun. 7, 2011
First Published: 1991, 1992 (2005, colourized)
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: children, graphic novel, fantasy, humour
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Still no sign of the townspeople.
Acquired: Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

Reason for Reading: One of my goals this year is to finally read this series!  So, here I go!

Volume One of the Bone series was everything I had hoped it would be.  This has been on my must read list ever since Scholastic came out with the colourized editions, so that would make it six years of getting around to it.  Happy to say I was not disappointed.  The characters are adorable.  The writing is funny, even witty, and an interesting journey has begun with a bad guy after one of our heroes for unknown reasons at this point.

The Bone cousins, Phoney, Fone and Smiley have been run out of Boneville, crossed the desert, get lost in the mountains and are s…

137. Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman

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Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman (Canada) - (US)
Astronaut Academy

Pages: 188
Ages: 8+
Finished: June 5, 2011
First Published: June 7, 2011
Publisher: First Second
Genre: graphic novel, children, humour
Rating: 3/5
First sentence:

Welcome now! The official promotional guide: To: Astronaut Academy.Acquired: Received a review copy from First Second Books.

Reason for Reading: It sounded like a lot of fun.

This tells of the happenings of first semester at Astronaut Academy.  Opening with the official promotional guide the principal shows off the school and then we start off with the main character Hakata Soy arriving at the school a month late due to his former status as a space hero.  Then in a unique way, each short "chapter" starts off with "My name is ...." and is told from the point of view of various different classmates, the occasional teacher or surprise narrator.  Of course, nothing is as simple as it seems and Hakata's first semester is interru…

136. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 3

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The Nura Clan Assembly by Hiroshi Shiibashi (Canada) - (US)
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 3

Pages:192
Ages: 13+
First Published: 2008 Japan (June 7, 2011, English translation)
Publisher: viz media
Genre: YA, manga, fantasy
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:
When the yokai Gyuki was still a human being, he was called Umewakamaru.Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Rikuo is challenged by Gyuki if he wants to be the next leader.  After accepting Gyuki as a member of the clan those who are not loyal to Rikuo are exposed and again another clan comes along from the West to take out the leaders of the other clans so they can be the ruling clan.  This time it is not Rikuo who is in danger but the Supreme Commander himself who reveals his real magic power.

Another good entry in the series.  Lots of new yokai are introduced and while Rikuo's schoolmates make appearances only Yura plays a major part.   This volume concentrate…

135. Nick of Time by Tim Downs

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Nick of Time by Tim Downs (Canada) - (US)
A Bug Man Mystery, #6

Pages: 309
Ages: 18+
First Published:May 17, 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: crime, mystery, Christian fiction
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

"I'm not sure I can do this," Nick said.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze Program.

Reason for Reading: I've always wanted to read this series.

Nick is about to get married on Saturday, but a few days before the wedding he is called out of town and discovers that a close friend has been murdered.  As he investigates he finds himself moving farther away from the church as he finds a suspicious death of a deputy sheriff in a small town in the Poconos and starts to solve a cold case in the same area, all which bring him closer to solving his friend's death and further from making it home in time for the wedding.
I loved this book!  The actual plot, once one of the cases has been solved, is quite a bit over-the-top from believabi…

134. Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 5

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Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 5 by Kiiro Yumi (Canada) - (US)
Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 5

Pages: 200
Ages: 16+
First Published: 2010 Japan (June 7, 2011, English translation)
Publisher: viz media
Genre: YA, manga, science fiction, romance
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:



My parents have been following me around the library all day long.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Continuing on right where vol. 4 leaves off, only several uneventful weeks ahead.  Iku's parent's are on the last day of their visit and it has been hard on all involved.  The plot of this volume changes pace and concentrates on a side story about Instructor Komaki and a love interest.  He is also arrested, due to idle untrue gossip, by the MBC (Media Betterment Committee) and held for several days while being tortured.  The story mainly involves the team figuring out a way to rescue him.  In the meantime, Iku and Dojo are back to b…

143. Empire of Ruins by Arthur Slade

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Empire of Ruins by Arthur Slade (Canada) - (US)
The Hunchback Assignments, III

Pages: 309
Ages: 10+
Finished: Jun. 19, 2011
First Published: Feb.8, 2011 (US: Sept. 13, 2011)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: YA, steampunk, fantasy
Rating: 5/5
First sentence:


In a Queensland rainforest, over ten thousand miles away from London, Modo leaned his humped back against a strangler fig tree.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series; plus I read every new book by the author.

Modo and 'Tavia are back with a bang in a brand new adventure that is fresh and exciting.  The Clockwork Guild are back as is the villain with Miss Hakkandottir at the command but she has some new tricks up her metal hand's sleeve, namely a falconer and some vicious clockwork falcons added to the poisonous menagerie who are out to get Modo.  On an exploration trip to Australia to find perhaps a valuable weapon called the God's Face, the Association enters …

133. The Boxcar Children #1 by Gertrude Chandler Warner

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The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner.  illustrated by L. Kate Deal  (Canada) - (US)
The Alden Family Mysteries, #1

Pages: 156
Ages: 7+
Finished: June 1, 2011
First Published: 1942
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Genre: Children, mystery
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

One warm night four children stood in front of a bakery.Acquired: Purchased a used copy from a book/garage sale of thrift shop.

Reason for Reading: This is another book from the Random Bookshelf that I am reading from this year.The Boxcar Children have played a big part in my and my children's lives.  I intend to acquire a complete set of the first 19 books (the others hold no interest to me) and keep them as keepers on my juvenile shelves for my future grandchildren.

When I read these books from the library is the mid '70s, they were hardcover's with picture boards and I was entranced with them.  I'd always go over an pick one out to read whether I'd read it before or not.  For my oldest…

132. The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell

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The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell (Canada) - (US)
Pages: 247
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 30, 2011
First Published: 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: graphic memoir, non-fiction,
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Whenever my father went out of town, he had the mail stopped.
Acquired: Won a copy from bookfool at Bookfoolery and Babble.

Reason for Reading:  I love memoirs; I love graphic memoirs.  The shady dealings grabbed my interest.

The author is a journalist who mostly spends her time interviewing celebrities.  She is currently an editor for a well-known fashion magazine and has written for many well-known magazines.  She grew up very close to her father who was an awe inspiring man (sometimes fear inducing) who was a former Green Beret, fought in Viet Nam, held 4 prestigious diplomas and spoke several languages.  But when Laurie went to college and tried to apply for a credit card she was denied and found out that she was in debt to several credit card companies.  She had her t…

131. Stones for my Father by Trilby Kent

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Stones for my Father by Trilby Kent (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 170
Ages: 11+
Finished: May 30, 2011
First Published: Mar. 22, 2011
Publisher: Tundra books
Genre: children, historical fiction, war
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:


My mother once told me of a dream she had as a young girl, in the days before the English came.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading: In my love of all things Victorian, I enjoy reading historical fiction about the Boer War, especially when it involves the Canadians who fought in the war.

This is a haunting story of the Boer War (fought in what is now South Africa) between the Africaaners (of Dutch descent) and the British.  Told through the eyes of a young girl, we are told the behind the scenes side of the war, that of the Boer women and children left alone on the veldt to fend for themselves.  Often their homes are burnt to the ground so that they cannot help their soldiers hiding out in the bush and many turn to joining together and…

130. I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg

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I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg (Canada) - (US)
Pages: 315
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 28, 2011
First Published: Nov. 9, 2010 (Paperback Jun. 28, 2011)
Publisher: Random House
Genre: southern fiction
Rating: 4/5




First sentence:

Today was the day Maggie had been thinking about, obsessing about really, for the past five years.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading:  I've only read one Fannie Flagg book, Fried Green Tomatoes, but I loved it so much.  I'd like to read all her books because I love Southern Fiction and after I read the book I realized she was one of the regulars on Match Game. LOL

Now this wasn't as good as "Fried Green Tomatoes" and since I haven't read any others yet I can't compare but as one of the characters in this book was fond of saying "Close enough!."  It is a delightful, entertaining story with a rather macabre plotline but a feel good, happy ending.  A good book for a summer read …

128 & 129 Yokaiden Vol. 1 & 2 by Nina Matsumoto

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Yokaiden, Vol. 1 by Nina Matsumoto (US) - (Canada)
Yokaiden, Vol. 1

Pages: 192 pgs.
Ages: 13+
Finished: May 26, 2011
First Published: Nov. 18, 2008
Genre: fantasy, manga, YA
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

Yokai...A class of creature in Japanese lore, often translated as "monster", "demon", or "spirit."
Reason for Reading: Re-read, in preparation for reading volume 2
Acquired: Purchased new from an online retailer.

This is a re-read for me as I am about to read Vol. 2 which I bought pretty much right after reading Vol. 1 (in 2009) but never got around to reading as the series was never finished due to the publisher dropping this particular line of their books.  The author is contemplating continuing the series in a web comic format, but if she does I would hope that she also published them in book format like so many others do as this is a fabulous book.  I'm not going to re-review it.  I have changed my rating to a 5 instead of the stingy 4.5, I gave it la…

Away For a Week

Well I'm setting off first thing in the morning to go away for a week with my aunt.  We'll be headed up North a bit to Port Elgin to spend some relaxing time in a cottage and at the beach, if the weather permits.  But no worries, the whole point is to kick back, relax, have some drinks, watch some movies, read and most importantly, No Husbands and accompanying stresses of life.  Girl Time!

I've left you with a few scheduled posts over the week so this spot won't be empty while I'm gone.  See you again around the end of next weekend.  I'm going to be totally cut off from the internet!!

Canadian Starters (Canadian Themed Readers)

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Canadian Starters are a huge set of 90 easy readers published for the school market in the 1970s and 1980s.  I have seen British and Australian versions of these as well and I'm fairly certain they started in Great Britain as the "MacDonald Starters".  The Australian once are aptly called "Australian Starters".  There are 9 categories starting off with the simple Me & My Community and from there they move onto culturally significant topics pertaining to the country is question.  There has never been a set of Canadian easy readers comparable to these, nor do I ever think there will be.  I'll admit the drawings are 70s/80s cheesy but the text is wonderfully simple to read while being informational and interesting.  What other set of easy readers includes books on all the provinces, Norman Bethune, Nellie McClung, Stephen Leacock, Insulin, Standard Time, Snowmobile, Hockey, Curling, Lacrosse, Welland Canal, Casa Loma, Giant Nickle, Columbia Icefields, Magn…

127. Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection

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Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection edited by Matt Dembicki (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 231
Ages: All Ages
Finished: May 25, 2011
First Published: June 1, 2010
Publisher: Fulcrum Books
Genre: Graphic Novel, Folktales, Legends, Short Stories
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

When the Mother Earth was extremely young, things were not as they are now.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Fulcrum Books.

Reason for Reading:  This was a Cybils '10 nominee and I hadn't read it by the time judging was due as it was not a contender by that time and I'm just now getting to it.

I have to admit I was not exactly excited about reading this book.  Graphic anthologies have mostly been a miss for me in the past and though I love myths and legends, Native American tales are not exactly my favourite (tall tales don't do it for me either).  So it was with some trepidation I read the first story which I found entirely entertaining, as I did the next, and the next, and the next, an…

126. Alone in the Classroom by Elizabeth Hay

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Alone in the Classroom by Elizabeth Hay (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 306
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 12, 2011
First Published: Apr. 26, 2011 (CAN)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Genre: literary fiction, historical
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

Other children were out picking that morning, but she passed them by in her light-blue dress and sandals.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: I've been interested in reading this author for a while now and haven't got around to it yet.  The early 1930's and the Saskatchewan setting pulled me into starting off with her latest book.

An excellent book!  Though a hard one to describe.  The plot has many layers and is meandering to the point where it is not exactly what drives the book.  The book is most certainly character driven and the relationships between these characters are what propels the story along.  The story covers the time period from 1929 to 2008 and focuses on one Connie Flood, a school t…

125. A Study in Scarlet Graphic Novel by Ian Edginton

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A Study in Scarlet by Ian Edginton. Illustrated by I.N.J. Culbard. Adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Foreword by Paul Johnson (Canada) - (US)
A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel (2)

Pages: 129
Ages: 12+
Finished: May 23, 2011
First Published: Feb. 100, 2010
Publisher: Sterling
Genre: YA, graphic novel, mystery, classic
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

In the year 1878, I took my degree as Doctor of Medicine at the University of London before proceeding to Netley and the course prescribed for Army Surgeons.
Acquired: Received a copy from Sterling.

Reason for Reading: This was a Cybils '10 nominee and I hadn't read it by the time judging was due as it was not a contender by that time and I'm just now getting to it.

I was a young teenager when I read through all of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and since then I've only reread the occasional short story as it appears in anthologies that cross my path so my memory is dim on the book. A bit brighter on the various movie versions but …

124. Death Note, Black Edition, Vol. 3 by Tsugumi Ohba

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Death Note: Black Edition, Vol. 3 by Tsugumi Ohba. Art by Takeshi Obata (Canada) - (US)
Death Note, Vol. 5 & 6

Pages: 400
Ages: 16+
Finished: May 22, 2011
First Published: 2003 Japan; 2006 English (May 3, 2010 this edition)
Publisher: viz media
Genre: YA, manga, paranormal, crime, serial killer
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:

I wouldn't wanna live in a place like this...
Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series

Wow!  This series just keeps getting better and better!  The best volume so far.  In this omnibus edition volumes 5 and 6 go together so well as they contain a mini story-arc.  Both Light and Misa have temporarily given up their notebooks and had their memories erased all as part of Light's master plan to throw L.'s suspicion off of him, while at the same time Misa's book has been turned over to someone else and a group of 8 individuals at a Japanese corporation, knowing one of them, but not which on…

123. Tales of an African Vet by Dr. Ray Aronson

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Tales of an African Vet by Dr. Roy Aronson (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 224
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 21, 2011
First Published: Oct. 5, 2010
Publisher: Lyons Press
Genre: non-fiction, memoir, animals
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

I was crouched in a small clearing in the dense African bush with the trackers about 10 meters (11 yards) ahead of me when all hell broke loose.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Globe Pequot Press.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy travel books and although I am not an animal activist I enjoy memoirs of vets along the lines of James Herriot and Gerald Durrell. This book simply caught my attention.

Roy Aronson has been a veterinarian in Cape Town, South Africa for twenty-five years and while he sees his fair share of cats and dogs, he's also had some unique African wild animals brought into his office. Plus he has friends who are vets on Wildlife Reserves and they often call him in to assist or simply to have a look-see at an interesting case and thus Aronson has led …

122. John F. Kennedy: The Making of a Leader

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John F. Kennedy: The Making of a Leader by the Editors of TIME for kids with Ruth Upadhyay (Canada) - (US)
TIME For Kids Biographies

Pages: 44
Ages: 7+
First Published: 2005
Publisher: Harper Trophy
Genre: children. biography, easy reader
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:


On a cold spring day in Brookline, Massachusetts, a baby was born in the big frame house at 83 Beals Street.

Acquired:  Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.

Reason for Reading: read aloud to my son as part of our history curriculum.

We've really enjoyed the books in this series and this one was no exception.  Telling the story of JFK's life, briefly, from birth to assassination in a lively, interesting narrative with lots of photographs that contain extra information in their captions.  There are also a few sidebars throughout which bring further details to the table other than those discussed in the text.  It is in one of these sidebars we learn of the futures of Jackie, John Jr and Caroline.  Pleasantly e…

121. MAOH: Juvenile Remix, Vol. 5 by Megumi Osuga

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MAOH: Juvenile Remix, Vol. 5 by Megumi Osuga (Canada) - (US)
MAOH: Juvenile Remix, Vol. 5

Pages: 200
Ages: 16+
First Published: 2007 Japan (May 10, 2011, English translation)
Publisher: viz media
Genre: YA, manga, science fiction
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

Thanks to your old man...
we've got nothing left.


Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

The story takes an obvious shift in the protagonist's character and this volume takes the plot up a notch.  Interestingly enough, the nemesis,Inukai, leader of the vigilante Grasshoppers is not a part of this volume, though he is mentioned.  The assassins are the main feature for a good majority of the book.  They are out to get the mayor while Semi continues his odd new job of protecting the mayor.  The book is chock full of assassin vs assassin violence.  We are also introduced to a cool new assassin, with an abnormal power.  During this part of the story, Semi has to t…