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Showing posts from June, 2013

178 & 184: Saint Catherine Laboure & Saint Colette

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178. Saint Catherine Laboure: Mary's Messenger by Sister Marie-Genevieve Roux & Sister Elisabeth Charpy. Illustrated by Augusta Curreli. Translated by Caroline Morson.
Along the Paths of the Gospel

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - Out of Print

2000, Pauline Books & Media, 71 pgs

Age: 7+

"When Catherine Laboure' was very young, her mother died. She learned that Mary, Jesus' Mother, would love and help her. Mary gave Catherine a message for all people, the message that Mary's love would help them in times of need. She will help you, too. Read this story to find out how the Blessed Mother visited Catherine, and how Catherine shared Mary's love through a very special symbol, the Miraculous Medal. Full color illustrations."
Purchased a new copy from an online Catholic bookstore.

I love this little series of palm-sized picture books on a selection of Saints.  There are a lot of Saint Catherines and I never know which is which.  Laboure is a rather modern …

192 . Lady Susan by Jane Austen

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Lady Susanby Jane Austen.
The Art of the Novella

Rating: (3/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

1794 (1st written); 1871 (1st published)
2011, Melville House Publishing, 84 pgs

Age: 18+

"Thus high-spirited tale, told through and exchange of letters, is unique in Jane Austen’s small body of work. It is the story of Lady Susan, a brilliant, beautiful and morally reprehensible coquette who delights in making men fall in love with her, deceiving their wives into friendship and even tormenting her own daughter, cruelly bending her to her will.Austen clearly delighted in her wicked heroine — tracing Lady Susan’s maneuverings to remarry yet continue on with her lover, and to marry off her young daughter, with great wit, zest and unfailing panache."
Received a copy as part of this month's Bookclub selection.  The publisher has given us two light-hearted books with purple covers for Spring time reading.  I read most of Austen as a teenager but am not a fan of her now.  I basically find h…

191 . The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

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The Black Stallionby Walter Farley.
The Black Stallion, #1

Rating: (4/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

1941, Random House, 188 pgs

Age: 8+

"First published in 1941, Walter Farley's best-selling novel for young readers is the triumphant tale of a boy and a wild horse. From Alec Ramsay and the Black's first meeting on an ill-fated ship to their adventures on a desert island and their eventual rescue, this beloved story will hold the rapt attention of readers new and old."
Bookmooched a copy.

This is a book I've wanted to read almost my whole life.  As a kid I loved animal stories but had an aversion to horse books but as I got older the urge to read this crept upon me until at last today I can finally say I've read "The Black Stallion" and plan on reading its sequel, which I managed to snatch up for a great deal on my Kindle a while back.  The writing is wonderful and there are so few references to technology or current events that one is only reminded that…

190. The Sixth circle of Heck, Precocia: Where the Smartypants Kids Go by Dale E. Basye

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Precocia: Where the Smartypants Kids Goby Dale E. Basye. Illustrations by Bob Dob
Heck (The Sixth Circle)

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Feb. 26, 2013, Random House, 422 pgs

Age: 8+

"When Bea "Elsa" Bubb, the Principal of Darkness, tells Milton and Marlo Fauster they've gotten too big for their britches, she sends them to Precocia, the circle of Heck for smartypants kids who grow up too fast. There, the children learn adult jobs. William the Kid teaches bill collection. Mozart teaches commercial jingles. And all the students are forced to act, dress, and talk like little adults. Soon, the Fausters realize that Precocia's vice principals Napoleon and Cleopatra want more than to hasten adulthood—they seem to want to eliminate childhood altogether. Can Milton and Marlo figure out their plan in time to stop it?Heck is a school in the afterlife where bad kids go for all eternity, or until they turn eighteen, whichever comes first. As in Dante's Inferno, t…

Movie Break: World War Z

World War Z - (2013) (at the Theatre in UltraVox 3D)
I don't have a lot to say about this movie. I really enjoyed it as I am a fan of zombie movies. It was well done, not gross by any means but very, actually tremendously, intense. I am not a big Brad Pitt fan, never have been but he was good in this. His character was cool but low-key. And it certainly was Brad's movie! Not too many scenes without him. LOL. I have not read the book but it has always been on my tbr ever since it first came out. I'm not too bothered I saw the movie first as I've heard it is quite different from the book and even has a different ending. So this makes me interested in getting it read more than ever! Went to the theater with a friend and we decided to try out the UVX 3D experience. More money, cushy comfortable seating, loud sound and 3D, but I'd never choose this over just seeing the regular movie at the regular price.

173. Waking Up In Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again. by Crystal McVea and Alex Tresniowski

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Waking Up In Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again.  by Crystal McVea and Alex Tresniowski

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Apr. 2, 2013, Howard Books/Simon & Schuster, 239 pgs +readers guide

Age: 18+

"On December 10, 2009, Crystal McVea, a thirty-two-year-old mother of four, stopped breathing. Her face turned a dark shade of blue, then black. Her mother screamed for help, and a nurse tried to revive her . . . to no avail. Today, Crystal does not remember what happened in that hospital room during the nine minutes she was unconscious and unable to breathe on her own. She has no memory of the panic and the rushing nurses and the loud cries of “Code Blue.” She simply remembers drifting off. And she remembers waking up in heaven. For most of Crystal’s broken life, she felt utterly beyond the reach of God— if God was even real. Then came December 10—and the nine minutes that changed everything. Waking Up in Heaven invites readers along on a journey to …

174. Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures: The Mount Rushmore Calamity

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The Mount Rushmore Calamity by Sara Pennypacker. Created by Jeff Brown. Illustrated by Macky Pamintuan
Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures (1)

Rating: (3/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

2009, Harper Collins, 96 pgs

Age: 7+
"Saddle up with Flat StanleyEver since Stanley was flattened by a bulletin board, every trip is an adventure!The whole Lambchop family is off to see Mount Rushmore. But when Flat Stanley and his brother, Arthur, team up with a scrappy cowgirl named Calamity Jasper, their vacation turns into the Wild West experience of a lifetime. Pretty soon, they find themselves in a real tight spot—even for a flat boy like Stanley!"
Purchased the Kindle edition for my son to read.

Amazon credits this as *by* Jeff Brown and since I'd never heard of this follow up series I was rather disappointed to find out it is not written by him at all, only based on his character.  Anyway, the actual author, Sara Pennypacker, did a nice job here and I was well pleased with this st…

172. Dive! A Book of Deep-Sea Creatures by Melvin Berger

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Dive! A Book of Deep-Sea Creatures  by Melvin Berger
Hello Reader! Science (Level 3)

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada)

2000, Scholastic/Cartwheel Books, 40 pgs

Age: 5+
"How giant is the giant squid? How do fish see in the darkness of the ocean floor? These questions and many more are answered in a nonfiction easy-reader that is filled with spectacular full-color photographs."

Purchased a used copy from a garage sale.

Melvin Berger is a prolific writer of science books for kids.  Writing books for all the major series throughout the decades.  He wrote a set of these books for "Hello Reader" where the title starts with an exclamatory word.  Most of them are now out of print, including this one (though amazon.ca says it is available), but a few other titles can be found under the Scholastic Reader series.  "Dive!" is a great non-fiction easy reader!  Filled with photographs, this is a subject that is sure to amaze and possibly creep any reader.  These fascinating …

144. The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories by Saki

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The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories by Saki (H.H. Munro).  Illustrated by Edward Gorely

Rating: (4/5) (based on 22/27 stories)

(US) - (Canada)

collected from 1904-1923
June 18, 2013, New York Review Book Classics,  176 pgs
Age: 18+

"The whimsical, macabre tales of British writer H. H. Munro—better known as Saki—skewer the banality and hypocrisy of polite English society between the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of World War I. Saki’s heroes are enfants terribles who marshal their considerable wit and imagination against the cruelty and fatuousness of a decorous and doomed world.Here, Saki’s brilliantly polished dark gems are paired with illustrations by the peerless Edward Gorey, available for the first time in an English-language edition. The fragile elegance and creeping menace of Gorey’s pen-and-ink drawings perfectly complements Saki’s population of delicate ladies, mischief-making charges, spectral guests, sardonic house pets, flustered authority figures, and delig…

169-170: Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science Energy Makes Things Happen & Forces Make Things Move

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169. Energy Makes Things Happen by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  Illustrated by Paul Meisel.
Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science

Rating: (5/5)
(US) - (Canada)

2003, HarperCollins, 33 pgs

Age: 6+

"Did you know that energy comes from the food you eat? From the sun and wind? From fuel and heat?
You get energy every time you eat. You transfer energy to other things every time you play baseball. In this book, you can find out all the ways you and everyone on earth need energy to make things happen." Purchased new from a homeschool retailer, a long time ago.

I've always loved this set of science books and it is a legacy to it's founder Dr. Franklyn M. Bradley, that it is still going strong over 50 years after he started it.  This book is very well written in an engaging style.  While obviously covering a wide range of topics briefly at only 33 pages it can only touch upon the topic but it manages to set a firm foundation.  I'm particularly pleased with how well the book g…

168. China by Anne Lonsdale.

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China by Anne Lonsdale.  Illustrated by Wendy Yeo.
Oxford Children's Reference Library, 17

Rating: (4/5)

1971, Oxford University Press, 93 pgs +index

Age: 8+

Purchased a used ex-lib copy from a book sale.
This is an interesting book and especially interesting to read today from a sociological point of view because of the time period in which it was written.  A look at current China from the point of view of an early 1970s British author.  First of all the book is gorgeously illustrated in the Chinese ink water brush style by Wendy Yeo.  The pages alternate with a black/white illustration then a full colour illustration providing some beautiful art worthy of framing.  Secondly, the book is written in a wonderful storyteller narrative, occasionally breaking into telling myths and legends and turning history into a story; this makes the book entertaining as well as informative to read.  Why can't children's non-fiction still be written like this?  Each chapter is a two-page sp…

160. Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church by Scott Hahn

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160. Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church by Scott Hahn.

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

May 28, 2013, Image/Random House, 146 pgs +bibliography
Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur

Age: 18+

"Long before the New Testament was a document, it was a sacrament. Jesus called the Eucharist by the name Christians subsequently gave to the latter books of the Holy Bible. It was the "New Covenant," the "New Testament," in his blood. Christians later extended the phrase to cover the books produced by the apostles and their companions; but they did so because these were the books that could be read at Mass.This simple and demonstrable historical fact has enormous implications for the way we read the Bible. In Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church, Dr. Scott Hahn undertakes an examination of some of Christianity's most basic terms to discover what they meant to the sacred authors, the apostolic p…

155-157. Heroes in Training Books 1-3 by Joan Holub

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155. Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams.  Illustrations by Craig Phillips.
Heroes in Training (1)

Rating: (4/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Aug. 7, 2012, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 100 pgs
Age: 6-10

"After pulling a magical thunderbolt from a stone, ten-year-old Zeus goes on the adventure of a lifetime in this thrilling start to a brand-new series!The terrible Titans—merciless giants who enjoy snacking on humans—have dominated the earth and put the world into chaos. But their rule is about to be put to the test as a group of young Olympians discover their powers and prepare to righteously rule the universe.... Ten-year-old Zeus is mystified (and super-annoyed) by the fact that he keeps getting hit by lightening. Every. Single. Year. He also longs for adventure, as he has never been far from the cave where he grew up.Zeus gets his wish—and a lot more than he bargained for—when he is kidnapped by dangerous, giant Titans! In self-defense, Zeus gra…

154. Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf

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Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf.
The Art of the Novella

Rating: (3/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

1922
Jan, 2011, Melville House, 212 pgs
Age: 18+

"Jacob’s Room was the first book in Virginia Woolf’s unique, experimental style, making it an important text of early Modernism. Ostensibly, the story is about the life of Jacob Flanders, the title character, who is evoked purely by other characters’ perceptions and memories of him. Jacob remains absent throughout. Elegiac in tone, the work beautifully memorializes the longing and pain of a generation that lost so many of its promising young men to World War I."

Received a new copy as.part of this months novella book club from the publisher.

Virginia Woolf is an author I've always felt I should have read so I was thrilled when this novella showed up in the mail as part of the book club I belong too.  The synapses didn't sound exactly thrilling but I was certainly game to reading this.  The book started out great for me a w…

153. Doll Bones by Holly Black

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Doll Bones by Holly Black. Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler.

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

May 7, 2013, McElderry Books, 256 pgs
Age: 10+

"Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her.But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a g…

149. Crash by Lisa McMann

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Crash by Lisa McMann
Visions, Book 1

Rating: (3.5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Jan. 8. 2013, Simon & Schuster, 233 pgs
Age: 14+

"Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Ju…

148. The Distracted Preacher by Thomas Hardy

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The Distracted Preacher by Thomas Hardy
The Art of the Novella

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

1879
Jun. 2012, Melville House, 98 pgs
Age: 18+

"When young Mr. Stockdale arrives in a small village to fill in for the Methodist minister, he finds himself pining for his comely new landlady. But she leads a mysterious life, keeping odd hours and speaking in hushed tones. As his love for her grows, he’s soon at the center of a hilarious high-stakes adventure, complete with slapstick, hijinks, and a marauding band of cross-dressers. And he’s forced to choose: follow his heart or his higher purpose?"
Received a new copy from the publisher's book club.


I may or may not have read "The Mayor of Casterbridge" when I was young, but seeing as I can't remember we'll go with this being my first work by Hardy.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  From the Victorian era this is my favourite period of literature to read from and I found Hardy very easy and pleasant to read. …

Most Popular Books in May

I've been looking at my stats a lot more often recently, never really had much interest in them before except to make sure I was getting traffic LOL.  Anyway, I've been finding it interesting to see which books I've reviewed are the most popular over time and thought I'd try listing the top 5 at the end of each month.  So here they are in order.

Most popular reviews read in May

There is a tie for first place!

1.  The Book of Revelation: from Feb. 19, 2011 - This has been my most read post for ages.  People must be very interested in the end times!  It has gone down to the number two position in recent time because the book that it is tied with this month has often been number as well.

1. Carrie by Stephen King from Sept. 11, 2007 - I'm presuming interest has increased in this title because of the upcoming October release of the new movie.  I'm not sure if I plan on watching it or not. What about you?

Can't believe it but there is also a tie for 2nd place.

2…