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Showing posts from September, 2014

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

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Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Big Stone Gap (1)

I love southern fiction and this series has been on my tbr for quite some time. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me and did not live up to my expectations. The setting in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains was delightful but missing were the quirky, lovable characters. The characters were here but were a mere shadow of anything you would find in say a Fanny Flagg. The main character was Italian and basically the plot surrounded her finding out about her heritage. When all was said and done though, the book's main focus is that of a romance. There is a slightly unusual love triangle going on and "boy gets girl" is the main theme. I'm not big on romances, but that being said, this did make for an easy read and did keep my attention enough that I kept reading the whole book. It was well written and though they fell short of my expectations I did enjoy it mildly enough.



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Gold Without Alloy: A Brief Account of the Life of Saint Mary Mazzarello by Paul Aronica

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Gold Without Alloy: A Brief Account of the Life of Saint Mary Mazzarello by Paul Aronica

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Entirely readable brief booklet detailing the life of Mary Mazzarello, founder of the Salesian Sisters, appointed by Saint Don Bosco as first Mother Superior and later canonized a saint herself. The priestly author missed out on another calling as this is a finely entertaining biography written in a narrative story-telling voice making it a pleasure to read. Being only a small booklet, the focus is on the good parts of Saint Mozzarello's life and pushes forward from her childhood until her death at 44 years old from "pleurisy". She had visions of herself working with young needy girls in a school/training environment and later on Don Bosco had the same, realizing his famed boys' schools needed a female counterpart, came to hear of and then call upon Mary to do just this. As I said this is just a little booklet, yet entirely readable and brought to life a n…

The Eighth Circle of Hell by Gary Dolman

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The Eighth Circle of Hell by Gary Dolman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lucie & Atticus Fox (1)


Written with an authentic Victorian voice this little mystery can be quite difficult to read at times due to its subject matter. Dealing not only with pedophilia but the trade of and solicitation of children for sex this is a very delicate and heartbreaking mystery to read. Describing events which really occurred in Victorian times (as, sadly, they still do today) the mystery sends Atticus and Lucie Fox off on their first case as private investigators by a nephew to bring home an old maiden aunt who has been tucked away in a poor house for decades. The night of her arrival she violently kills the old man of the house, her own uncle. I have to say this wasn't much of a mystery to me as it was quite obvious what really happened only pages afterwards that to have characters ruminate upon it for a whole book seems pointless. However, the book does succeed as an historical fiction of the time, t…

Dear Canada: Pieces of the Past: The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1948 by Carol Matas

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Pieces of the Past: The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1948 by Carol Matas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dear Canada

I knew this would be good when I noted that Carol Matas was the author. One always has to look to the title page to find the author on these books, so it's like a hidden treasure when you see a favourite author there. This is an outstanding book in the series and really adds to the collection and children's Holocaust stories in general by its topic and the way it's presented. From a Canadian pov the book concerns a fictional Polish Jewish orphan who has emigrated to Manitoba, Canada and her diary entries always start with a little bit about what life is like for her now in the new country. The majority of the book, though, is about her writing down her memories, with the help of other Polish orphans at a monthly meeting place, as she remembers what happened to her during the war. Being only five at the start of Poland's Nazi invasion he…

Goofballs #1: The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder by Tony Abbott

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The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder by Tony Abbott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goofballs #1


Tony Abbott has written a lot of beginning chapter books for the Gr. 1-3 age range but this is the first time I have got around to reading any of his work. The first book in the Goofballs mystery series is just what one expects from a well-written piece in this genre. I enjoyed the characters, story and humour. This is a fun group of kids who have a unique detective agency, different from the usual. The first book in a series like this usually is about how everyone meets and how they got started detecting. I really like how Abbott dumps us right into the middle of these kids' lives. They've already solved a case, are famous in their town, are wanting another case to work on and get that call when we first meet them, an established group with a past. The only thing that bothered me was a bit of behaviour which was rather risky: going to meet a strange man way out in the boondocks. Now mom does …

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

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Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is Slaughter's first stand-alone novel and I have read all of her other books from the series. This is a difficult book for me to rate and review. It was a good story but so very different from her others and just not what I would expect from a "Karin Slaughter" thriller. In her "Acknowledgements" at the back of the book I think the author herself sums up what is different and unexpected to her fans about this book when she calls out to "Mo Hayder: I am sorry so few people die horribly in this one. Next time." Really that call out should have been to her entire fan-base. Slaughter is a good writer and this is a good cop story, technically a serial killer case, though with an execution-style M.O.; it's an entertaining case and wowed me with the reveal of the killer. I liked the characters and enjoyed the look back at the 1970s world of policing with the rampant sexism and racism. However, if …

What I was Watching in August

I keep a running list of what I watch but don't do full reviews, just short notes with my opinion.  I'm not a big TV watcher and watch most of my stuff on Netflix.  But we did go to the movies a few times last month.  Here's what I've been watching in August:

6. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) (in the theatre) - We just watched the regular non-3D version.  None of us knew anything about this as I am not a Marvel reader (I'm a DC girl), and the guys are superhero movie fans, not comic readers.  So we all went, including Uncle Jeff, so that made 4 of us and we all really enjoyed it but no one thought it was extra-special or anything.  Of course, we all loved Groot, even though he is waaaaay too soppy for a superhero in my opinion. Then Rocket Raccoon was hilarious, the rest were just 'meh'.  Good movie, better than ok, but not great.  I'd definitely buy a Groot Funko POP!

ETA: It is now the end of Aug. and I have in my possession a Groot POP Bobble-Head!!

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