Friday, January 31, 2014

35. Harley by Star Livingstone. Illustrated by Molly Bang

Harley by Star Livingstone. Illustrated by Molly Bang  (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

2001, SeaStar Books, 64 pgs

Ages: (6+)

"Harley is a young llama who lives on a ranch. He is learning to be a pack animal, but he is having a hard time. He kicks. He screams. He spits! But then a shepherd calls; she needs a llama to watch over her sheep. She decides to take a chance on Harley. Through the seasons, a series of challenges both great and small turn the temperamental llama into a loving leader whether he's facing mischievous lambs, a bullying ram, or a pack of coyotes who prey on the sheep. With its poetic language and captivating artwork by Caldecott Honour-winning Molly Bang, this distinctive book speaks to all those who sometimes march to the beat of a different drummer.."

Purchased a secondhand copy from a book sale.

Molly Bang is a Caldecott Award-winning author and her illustrations in this unique easy reader are absolutely beautiful.  Star Livingstone actually camped out in a tipi in eastern Massachusetts to observe Harley and his sheep while she wrote this book based on real-life events.  This is such a beautiful easy reader I was just charmed by it!  A lovely tale of a sheep ranch owned by a female shepherd who buys a guard lama to protect her sheep after they are attacked by coyotes in the night.  The story then goes on to describe the life of the llama (and the sheep, the ram, a herd dog) as they go about their day to day routines and the special bond that is formed between Harvey and the sheep as he quickly becomes their protector.  Such a unique story!  This is an easy reader, suitable for very beginner readers so the text is simple and all the sentences are subject/verb format.  It is not easy to write in this simple style and still tell an engaging story.  I ended up being entirely smitten with Harley, and the ram!  I'm going to keep this book for my collection.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Renee French as Rainy Dohaney: Tinka & My Best Sweet Potato

31. Tinka by Rainy Dohaney (Renee French)  (buy)

Rating: (3/5)

2003, Atheneum, 40 pgs

Ages: (3+)

"What's it like to be so small you can fit under a door? So small you can fly on the back of a bird? So small you can have an amazing adventure others can only dream about? Join Tinka -- a sheep the size of a cupcake -- and find out!"

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

Rainy Dohaney is an alias used by graphic artist Renee French to write two children's picture books in early 2000.  I was first introduced to French through her current children's graphic novel Barry's Best Buddy and thought I'd try her earlier children's work.  This is certainly a cute book; having all the essential cute bases covered.  It's sweet and if that's the type of picture book you are looking for this will please.  However, there wasn't much that interested me here.  Barry's BB is waaay better.  French dropped her unusual unsettling writing/drawing format and I didn't find what I like about her work present here.  She hasn't quite given up on worldview though as in the end Tinka does have a tiny sense of vindication when she can finally hold a little power of her own.  The illustration of Sooty the Crow was my favourite.


45. My Best Sweet Potato  by Rainy Dohaney (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

2006, Atheneum, 40 pgs

Ages: (3+)

"Woolyman is K's best friend, and Woolyman says K is his best . . .sweet potato. Woolyman used to say ordinary things when you pulled his string, but that was before he went through the washing machine. Now, life is never dull. One Tuesday they meet Mr. Tree and Mac, the weaverbird, and the adventure that follows is a story of friendship, sharing, and . . .sweet potato."

Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Much better than Tinka!  This is the type of illustration I expect and love from Renee French!  Absolutely adorable and just a little odd at the same time.  A lovely story for those who have a special place in their hearts for a beloved stuffed toy.  Woolyman could be seen as cute or just a tiddly bit creepy, depending on your point of view, however I found him so charming I want my own Woolyman.  What a shame this book is out of print.  Well worth finding a copy!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

28. The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce

The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce  (buy)
The Guardians (Book 4)

Rating: (5/5)

Nov 5 2013, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 240 pgs

Ages: (7+)

"When the Man in the Moon brought together the Guardians, he warned them that they would face some terrible evils as they strove to protect the children of earth. But nothing could have prepared them for this: Pitch has disappeared and taken Katherine with him. And now the Guardians are not only down one member, but a young girl is missing.

Fortunately, MiM knows just the man to join the team. Sanderson ManSnoozy—known in most circles as the Sandman—may be sleepy, but he’s also stalwart and clever and has a precocious ability to utilize sand in myriad ways. If the other Guardians can just convince Sandy that good can triumph evil, that good dreams can banish nightmares, they’ll have themselves quite a squad. But if they can’t…they might never see Katherine again"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

I absolutely LOVE this series and was sooo excited to read this next volume.  If you've read the last book, the picture book "The Sandman" then you've already met Sanderson Mansnoozy and know his background story.  This book starts with current events but it does retell his background so you don't need to have read the picture book, but who would want to miss such a beautiful book?!  This is just such a fast-paced adventurous story where I absolutely heart all the characters that I made myself take two days to read it.  I read half one day and finished up the next, just so I could savour and linger over the story.  There aren't very many top-notch fantasy novels/series for the 7-11 age group and this is up there with the first Spiderwick Chronicles in my opinion.  The illustration is just as appealing as the text.  I do want to warn readers though to *stay away* from the movie.  It has absolutely nothing to do with these books, this series, AT ALL.  It doesn't even have the same characters!  Well, the characters look the same and have the same names but they are not the same characters as known in the books.  So think of the books and the movie as two separate and non-related entities.  But read this series.  Adorable elementary fantasy.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

26. The Future of Catholicism by Michael Coren

The Future of Catholicism by Michael Coren  (buy)

Rating: DNF 152/229 pgs (3/5)

Nov 5 2013, Signal/McClelland & Stewart, 229 pgs +notes & Bibliography

Ages: (18+)

"From the author of the bestselling Why Catholics Are Right, a perfectly timed book on the new Vatican -- where it is, where it needs to go, and why it is more relevant than ever.

When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, became Pope Francis in March 2013, there were almost 6,000 journalists in Rome to cover the Papal election. Some of them reported on the conclave with expertise and empathy, but others -- either out of ignorance or an agenda -- insisted on asking the same questions again and again: Is the Church going to change? Will the new Pope be flexible? Is Catholicism going to adapt to the times and alter its teaching on same-sex marriage, abortion, contraception, female ordination, celibate clergy, and divorce? Interestingly, these questions center on moral and sexual issues rather than directly theological topics, but they are all based on the premise that the Church is wrong, outdated, in need of fundamental transformation. 

Does the Church need to change, and if so, where? Where it cannot change, why is this so? In his signature frank style, Coren will explain and outline why the Church believes as it does on many of the most pressing moral issues, giving reasons for teaching and belief, and applying these to contemporary challenges. And for those areas where the Church must change and establish reform -- the transparency of leadership and finance; the competence of the curia and Vatican civil service; the approach the Church takes towards media, the way it deals with the detritus of the abuse crisis; and its approach to the developing world band towards others religions, particularly Islam -- Coren will offer insight into the faith's next steps.

The Church is at a crossroads, but perhaps more significantly and accurately, the Western world is at a crossroads, and how the Church reacts to and deals with this phenomenon will decide and define so very much of the future -- of our future.."

Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

I didn't actually finish this.  I stopped 2 chapters from the end but I feel I've read enough to review the book as I have read, and immensely enjoyed, Michael Coren's previous two  books on Catholicism/Christianity.  I found this a chore to read though and just sighed and closed the book upon the final two chapters.  I'm a practicing Catholic and found that I knew everything this book had to say and that most of it was a repeat of what Coren had to say in his previous books.  I'm not really the intended audience for this book and is felt like "preaching to the choir".  Coren is very good at telling it like it is though and he accomplishes what he sets out to do here.  If you don't understand why the Catholic Church teaches what it does and why it can and cannot change certain things it practices this book will explain that to you.  If you want to understand how Pope Frances is different but why he is not really all that different this book will explain that to you.  One thing the Catholic Church can never be is Protestant.

Friday, January 24, 2014

25. Flower Fairies of the Garden by Cicely Mary Barker

Flower Fairies of the Garden by Cicely Mary Barker  (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

1944, Blackie & Son, 56 pgs

Ages: (3+)

"In a format that has enchanted readers for 90 years, each of Cicely Mary Barker’s beautiful illustrations of the fairies of wild and familiar garden flowers is accompanied by a delightful poem. Flower Fairies of the Garden celebrates and introduces children to the flowers and plants that grow in the garden by making them magical. Garden favourites to be found in Flower Fairies of the Garden include: The Narcissus Fairy, The Lavender Fairy and The Cornflower Fairy.."

Passed on to me from my mother.

This isn't really a review but rather an homage to a book, a memory, a keepsake.  This book was my mother's from when she was a little girl and she kept it in her underwear drawer.  My parents' room was the forbidden zone and we only went in when invited, otherwise I would just stand upon the threshold looking in, hoping I'd be invited.  So if I was, I remember it smelled like talcum powder, it was usually when my mum was getting ready for going out.  I'd get to see the special stuff and this was one of the things.  She'd let me look at it, read it and talk about her childhood.  When I was older she gave the book to me.  I'm not a big fan of poetry but as a kid I did have some poetry books and I "knew what I liked".  I talked about another childhood favourite here.  I loved this old-fashioned book and gorgeous illustrated plates more than the sweet fairy poems but re-reading through it now, there are stanzas and lines that vividly come back to my memory since I'd said them so many times as a child.  This particularly caught my attention as I can recall my childlike self saying it :

"...Yet who
Does not love Periwinkle's blue?"

But I would say it like this:

"Yet whooooo.  
Does not love.  
Periwinkle's bluuuuue?"

and I never knew what this flower, or many of the British garden flowers mentioned in the poems, looked like in real life but I always connected it with my periwinkle Crayola crayon.

This book is falling apart but it is a keeper for me, and I keep it in my underwear drawer.

Monday, January 20, 2014

20. Little Joe by Michael E Glasscock III

Little Joe by Michael E Glasscock III  (buy)
Round Rock Series, Book One

Rating: (5/5)

Jun 1 2013, Greenleaf Book Group Press, 256 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"A boy who has lost everything learns that love and friendship can bloom in the most unlikely of places.
When Little Joe Stout survives the car accident that took his parents’ lives, he is sent to live with his maternal grandparents in the small town of Round Rock, Tennessee. Orphaned and missing his Texas home, Little Joe is reluctant to adapt. But his grandparents, especially his grandmother, are up to the challenge of raising him despite their own struggles. Soon, childhood friendships are forged in the oddball duo of Sugar and Bobby, and—with the help of a new canine companion—Little Joe begins to see that his new home offers the comfort and love he thought was lost forever.

Set against the drama of World War II and the first sparks of the civil rights movement, Little Joe’s new home is a microcosm of America in the 1940s. A frightening incident with a Chinese motorist traveling on the wrong side of town, the migration of troops across the countryside, and a frank discussion of Jim Crow laws are just a few of the local events mirroring the radio broadcasts that bring the news of the day into his grandmother’s kitchen.."

Received an egalley through Netgalley.

This was a wonderful book and I was at the perfect time to be reading it.  I love these boyhood stories and haven't read WWII era for a while so I found Little Joe filling a void I didn't know I had. I just simply loved this tale.  It's a time of boyhood, growing up on the cusp of WWII on the homefront.  Living in the south at a time when Negroes were segregated and life wasn't fair.  The book deals with death a lot starting from the beginning when Joe and his parents are in a car crash and Joe is the only one who survives and that's a pretty close call, too.  Moving from Texas to live with his maternal grandparents in Tennessee, he has a lot of adjusting to do and over the next year he has a passel full of experiences that help him grow and mature into a different kind of boy than the one who first arrived.  To help reach that maturity and to join in all the hijinx and mayhem are two outsider friends his own age.  First, Sugar, a girl in his class who is more tomboy than decorum usually allows and then the neighbour's boy, Bobby, a "colored" boy his own age.  Joe learns about war, death, prejudice, poverty, white trash.  People and things that will try hard to pull you down and make it hard for you to get up in the world and most of all end up happy.  But he learns well  from the grandparents raising him.  The story follows a chronological timeline but at times has an episodic feel to it with some chapters being  a vignette rather than an event that impacts the continuity of the novel.  These all give wonderful glimpses into life of children during this era.  I loved every single character in this story; the three children, the grandparents and even the Sheriff.  I really look forward to the second book n this quartet that takes place in the same town, which I also already own.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

19. The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell

The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell (buy)

Rating: (3.5/5)

Oct 14 2013, Back Bay Books/Hachette Book Group, 167 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"Daniel Woodrell is able to lend uncanny logic to harsh, even criminal, behaviour in his wrenching first collection of short fiction. Desperation - both material and psychological - motivates his characters. A husband cruelly avenges the murder of his wife's pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behaviour; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbour. There is also the tenderness and loyalty of the vulnerable in these stories - between spouses, parents and children, siblings and comrades in arms - which brings the troubled, sorely tested cast of characters to vivid, relatable life."

Purchased new from an online retailer.

Withe the completion of this collection of short stories I have now read Woodrell's complete oeuvre. Being such an accomplished author of the short novel, I was looking forward to reading this collection of short stories thinking he would excel at this form as well.  I have to say I was somewhat disappointed overall.  On the whole, I found the stories to be okay.  Of the twelve I thought three were excellent, one I didn't like, leaving the rest simply in the generally "good" category.  One thing that did bother me was there was no copyright page for the stories, so I didn't know which were earlier works and which were newer.  An interesting piece was the inclusion of "Woe to Live On", obviously the short story that proceeded his novel of the same name.  Very good, the same as the novel but different as well.

1. The Echo of Neighborly Bones - An Ozark man kills his Minnesotan neighbor, a rude opinionated man.  He keeps going back to revisit and rekill the corpse while we learn of the Minnesotans affronts to the man.  It isn't until the end we learn the real reason he was killed.  Short, but mesmerising. (3/5)

2. Uncle - A woman and her daughter are abused by her (I guess dead) husband's evil brother.  He also takes lone tourist college girls floating down the river and rapes them.  One day the daughter hits him viciously over the head blaming it on his last victim and now she had a 200 lb baby in a wheelchair to look after.  This is creepy and where it heads and finishes is creepy too. (4/5)

3. Twin Forks - A fine story to read, haunting, but it's just weird.  An event occurs but it is more about the man's past, his feelings, his having a moment in life and choosing which "fork" in the road to take.  (3/5)

4. Florianne - Well this one is just kinda creepy.  Very short.  A father ruminates on his daughter's whereabouts, now 11 years since she went missing.  He imagines where she might be buried, suspects anyone might have raped and murdered her.  Everyone else thinks she ran off.  (3/5)

5. Black Step - This one is longer than the others so far.  It is the story of a young man back from one of the desert wars, waiting to hear if he can go back.  Told through his voice, it is a depressing tale of a depressing life in rural wherever.  Nothing happens but a world is created and surrounded by death everywhere, life goes on.  (4/5)

6. Night Stand - Another longer one dealing with PTSD in soldiers from Vietnam and Iraq.  A couple wakes up in bed one evening to find an intruder standing naked at the end of their bed growling.  The line is blurred as to who is the victim and who is the attacker and almost disappears as their similarities are revealed.  My favourite so far. (5/5)

7. Two Things - An obviously uneducated man is visited by a woman who tells him his incarcerated son has become an accomplished poet.  He's not impressed.  I agreed with him.  Short. (3/5)

8. The Horse in Our History - A black man goes to an ancestral town and asks questions of a relative who walked in front of a train in the sixties.  He gathers quite a collection of somewhat contradicting stories.  Loved the atmosphere and could have liked this to turn into a whole book.  But much too short to really feel anything for the characters as I'm finding in all these stories. (3/5)

9. Woe to Live On - I'm annoyed this collection doesn't give the dates the stories were first published but we'll have to assume this short story came before the novel.  I recall the events described here from reading the novel but they are sandwiched between an older Jake now in WWI days experiencing the fallout of his Civil War actions with his now grown up son and young grandsons.  The best story in the collection and I'll be surprised if I find any of the next ones better than this.  (5/5)

10. Dream Spot - This is just plain weird.  Not sure what happened or what it's supposed to mean :( (2/5)

11. One United - Well now, this is rather haunting.  I'll be musing upon this to fully "get" it.  The story reveals itself piece by piece as it unfolds.  Funnily enough, it is narrated by a female, which doesn't become apparent for a bit.  She is related to the man, perhaps his daughter, and she is back home and well now.  He wants her to dress "decent" now, put on a polka dot dress he bought her, comb her hair and we don't know why she was not well; she could have come home from hospital but something kept me thinking it was psychiatric.  They go for a visit and as I say everything is revealed slowly.  (3/5)

12. Returning the River - Very good one to end the book with.  Short but meaningful.  Starts with an old man running through a field after his son who has just set the neighbour's house on fire.  A story of familial love.  (5/5)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

13. Jump Cut by Ted Staunton

Jump Cut by Ted Staunton (buy)
Seven, the Series

Rating: (5/5)

Oct 10 2012, Orca Books, 220 pgs

Ages: (12+)

"Spencer loves movies, but real life is boring, right? When his late grandfather's will reveals the tasks he wants his grandsons to undertake, Spencer thinks he got screwed. He's not going to France or Spain or Africa. He's not even getting a cool tattoo, like his younger brother. No, he's going to Buffalo to get a kiss from an ancient movie star. Gross. And he's supposed to film it. Grosser. But Spencer hasn't bargained on Gloria Lorraine, star of the silver screen back in the day. Gloria has big plans—plans that involve her granddaughter AmberLea, a gun, a baker who might be a gangster, some real gangsters and a road trip to Nowheresville, Ontario. After being shot at, jumping into an icy lake and confronting some angry bikers, Spencer finally realizes that real life can be as exciting (and dangerous) as reel life.."

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

This is the fifth book I've read in this series and, while I'm highly pleased with series as a whole, at this time I can fairly say this has been my favourite title to date and may be the best in the whole series.  I do still have Shane Peacock's entry to read, though, so I'll reserve final judgement till then.  Hooked from the beginning, this is a classic tale of boy's adventure.  The main character is 17yo film director wannabe Spencer and his quest from the Grandfather involves filming his task.  Filmmaking, movies, the "pictures" is a major theme here and the book reads as if it is a movie.  Pure action from start to finish, with admittedly over-the-top events accumulating on top of one another.  One has to suspend belief for this tale, but it is obvious the author has written the plot like this on purpose as real life is compared and contrasted to movies frequently.  Involving hidden secrets from the past, drug deals, bikers, mafia and a race against time, I found this story to be both exciting and good fun. The events of this and Ink Me are tied to one another, in that what is happening in one affects the plot of the other, but this is conveyed to the brothers through texts and it won't matter which one you read first.  Though having already read Ink Me, I completely understood what was happening with that aspect of this plot.   It's wonderful to read a book where you love all the characters and here I certainly did, right down to the dog, Mistah Bones.  And GL, the grandma?  Let me say, everybody is going to want to go out and get themselves a 90yo grandma after meeting her.  Staunton is a new author for me.  I've only just read his latest book "Who I'm Not" and look forward to his further ventures in Young Adult action/suspense.

I have two books left in the series and since no connection was made to either of them with this one, I'm going to choose "Devil's Pass" next just so I can save Shane Peacock's (a favourite author of mine) for last.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

10. Typhon and the Winds of Destruction by Joan Holub

Typhon and the Winds of Destruction by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams. Illustrations by Craig Phillips (buy)
Heroes in Training, #5

Rating: (3/5)

Dec 3 2013, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 102 pgs

Ages: (6+)

"After battling fireball-throwing Titans, the young Olympians find themselves on a double quest: Not only must they find more Olympians that Cronus has swallowed, but they’re also in search of magic seeds that will help rejuvenate the earth after the terrible drought that plagued the lands, thanks to Hyperion. But a wind-throwing giant named Typhon has other ideas. Can the Heroes in Training withstand the storms that are coming their way?"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

I love this series but found this one not quite up to par with the rest of the series to date; though it was still a decent entry.  The title names itself after the villain fought in this quest and Typhon is a giant with mighty strength keeping another Olympian prisoner.  On the quest for the magic seeds, a very similar Jack-in-the-beanstalk type story is used to tell the tale of how they rescue the next Olympian to join their group and the magic seeds are given to a different member .  The story starts with action and never lets up till the end; not much character development is added to the existing personalities as they are all too busy *doing* this time around.  The character comes in right at the end so we won't get to know them until the next book, however a big reveal about the other Olympians is disclosed at this point.  Full of action and excitement but lacking a bit in the humour department, "Typhon" is a good read; just not as much as the previous entries so far.  The next book will focus on the new character and I'm looking forward to its release.

Monday, January 13, 2014

9. The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond

The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond. Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (buy)

Rating: (4/5)

Aug 6 2013, Candlewick Press, 256 pgs

Ages: (9+)

"Stanley Potts’s uncle Ernie has developed an over-the-top fascination with canning fish in the house, and life at 69 Fish Quay Lane has turned barmy. But there’s darkness in the madness, and when Uncle Ernie’s obsession takes an unexpectedly cruel turn, Stan has no choice but to leave. As he journeys away from the life he’s always known, he mingles with a carnival full of eccentric characters and meets the legendary Pancho Pirelli, the man who swims in a tank full of perilous piranhas. Will Stan be bold enough to dive in the churning waters himself and choose his own destiny?."

Received an egalley from Netgalley.

I enjoy David Almond very much and while I've only read a handful of his books to date; I've found them to share themes of death/grief and either father/mother to child relationship.  So I looked forward to this one though I hadn't heard anything about it beforehand.  The book is much lighter than the previous books I've read by the author and while I still find the same themes present it is only in a smaller way.  The book starts with a boy being orphaned quite horrifically and then going to live with an aunt and uncle who, obviously love him, but he's treated with neglect and the uncle is near abusive.  This is all kept in a high over the top humorous manner with the entrance of the DAFT Squad who investigates all suspicious goings on.  The second half of the book has Stanley running off with the circus, an age-old dream of childhood. (though I think it went out with not Almond's but perhaps my own generation).  The story is hilarious and like all of Almond's works, very British.  Candlewick publishes the US editions but they don't Americanize the text, so you get a very big dose of crazy, off the wall British humour.  While the book holds many characters, Stanley is the one the reader gets to know the best and watching out for his welfare and caring about what happens to him enhances the reading experience.  The bad guys get theirs in the end and each character receives their own kind of redemption for a satisfying and (funny) ending.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

7. Junior Science Book of Pond Life by Alexander L. Crosby

Junior Science Book of Pond Life by Alexander L. Crosby. Illustrated by Jean Zallinger
Junior Science Books

Rating: (4/5)

1964, Garrard Publishing Company, 62 pgs +index

Ages: (7+)

"The author describes the construction of his own pond and discusses photosynthesis as the basis of the food cycle involving various forms of aquatic vegetation, insects, amphibians, and higher forms of life."

Purchased from a thrift store.

I love the books by Garrard Publishing and the Junior Science Books.  We used these in my homeschool frequently.  Crosby wrote several books for Garrard and Jean Zallinger was a prolific children's nature & science illustrator.  Many books have an appeal to collectors simply because of her artwork, of which I also am a fan.  Pond Life ended up being a surprise for me as it really is a little memoir of the author's as he describes how they had a pond built on his large property in the woods of Pennsylvania and then goes on to describe the habitat and the wildlife he encounters there.  Like all old children's science books, this is written in a storytelling narrative and is interesting to read.  This is what we would call an "easy chapter book" today, so the sentence structure is simple but content does not talk down to its reader.  A lovely little book about insects, frogs, herons, fish, muskrats, turtles and more.  Zallinger's illustrations are detailed and typical of the time, printed in a monochrome, here the colour being a turquoise-blue.  There are also a few actual b/w photographs included.  I'm keeping this book for my library as an example of the series, especially because of its unique memoir format which is different from other Junior Science books.

Friday, January 10, 2014

6. Cujo by Stephen King

Cujo by Stephen King (buy)

Rating: (3/5)

1981, Signet/Penguin, 304 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"Outside a peaceful town in central Maine, a monster is waiting. Cujo is a two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard, the best friend Brett Camber has every had. One day Cujo chases a rabbit into a bolt-hole - a cave inhabited by sick bats. What happens to Cujo, how he becomes a horrifying vortex inexorably drawing in all the people around him makes for one of the most heart-stopping novels Stephen King has written.."

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

I am (re)reading Stephen King's works in chronological order and this re-read was up next for me.  I originally read the book when it was first published in 1981 making me 13yo.  It made a big impression on me at the time and I was quite shocked it ended the way it did.  The change in the movie ending infuriated me.  Re-reading it all these years later, I don't find it anywhere near as good as what King had written to this point, though better than Firestarter.  Cujo is a short book compared to the other's but longer than Carrie.  I had thought this was going to be pure realistic horror but had forgotten about the boogieman element.  King goes about playing this realistic, frighteningly possible story of a rabid dog wandering in a rural backwoods area while adding in just a touch of the paranormal which we could believe is imagination on the part of the participants but King won't let us off that easily.  Cujo has a small cast of characters and King does something different here for the first time (disregarding the Bachman books) by spending a lot of time on character development of the main handful of major players.  There is not even any threat until well over 100 pages in which is 1/3 of the book.  King also chooses to write from the dog's point of view occasionally; this is a tricky thing to do and pull off well.  But The King does it!  Cujo's thoughts come much less frequently than any others, and his passages are always short lending great credibility and success to Cujo never becoming personified.  He is always an animal, even though the reader is party to his brief canine thoughts.  A good quick read.  Classic King, but I'd call this a turning point from  his work to date so far, more of a psychological thriller than horror; but still horror in a more real sense than in actually being scary or creepy.

Now as I'm reading through the books, I'm also looking for the connections to the previous books in the big Stephen King Universe and this one is easy.  Taking place in Castle Rock, right after the events of The Dead Zone, our new family moves into the house owned by the killer in DZ.  This killer (I won't say who it is) and the case which forms the first half of DZ are referred to frequently in Cujo.  Finally, Sheriff Bannerman from DZ is a character in both books.  I didn't pick up on anything else.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

1. Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny by Nick Nicholson, M.D. & B.A. Blackwood

Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny by Nick Nicholson, M.D. & B.A. Blackwood (buy)

Rating: (4/5)

Nov. 13 2013, Obesity Resources Publishing, 109 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"As a way to help educate Americans who are considering bariatric surgery, or those who have already undergone the procedure, well-regarded bariatric surgeon, Dr. Nick Nicholson wrote the book, Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny.  In his new book, Dr. Nicholson shares his passion for healthy living to encourage people suffering from obesity to make the necessary changes to live a healthier lifestyle.  
Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny also reveals:

  • Why diets don’t work for most obese people
  • What weight loss surgery is really all about
  • Ways for patients to choose the right surgeon
  • How emotions play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy weight
  • How weight loss surgery impacts relationships: the good, the bad, and the ugly  
  • Simple ways to develop a post-surgery weight loss plan that really works
  • Common obstacles people face after the surgery and what they can do about it."

Received a review copy from the publicist.

I am a few months over two years out from having bariatric surgery.  I had a complete gastric bypass and was interested in what this book had to say about the process I had been through and to gather some insight into the maintaining aspect that I am in now.  For a slim book, this is very concise with no wasted words and gets right to the point.  Bariatric surgery is not a cure-all but a second chance to get yourself together if you are obese and in dire medical condition.  This book explains the process but focuses on what you, the one having the surgery, will go through and what you can expect plus what you will emotionally have to conquer  as obesity is not all about food and eating.  It is psychological, emotional and lifestyle.  The book is very easy to read and I found it described what I went through very accurately.  I did not lose an astounding amount of weight but did lose 100 pounds and went from a size 24 to a size 12, which I am now slightly struggling to maintain, 3-5 lbs up and down.  This little book is very informational and I'd certainly recommend it to those who have decided to go through with the surgery so they can get down to the reality of what will be happening to them.  I found the section on maintaining the most informative, of course, and learnt some new things, alongside being inspired to put some new healthy living practices into action.  I am a Canadian so I did not read the chapter on choosing a surgeon as our healthcare system pays for this operation and a surgeon is assigned to us; we don't get to choose.  I also did not read the chapter on getting back into the dating scene as my now 18 year marriage is completely intact, and all the better for the surgery.  Not that there weren't some rough spots for my husband adjusting to the new me.  The only thing I wish had been added to the book was a chapter on plastic surgery.  The hanging, flabby skin is mentioned but not addressed seriously enough; tummy tucks and breast lifts or reductions are very common concerns for many after the two year mark.  This is the place I find myself now, along with maintaining.  Certainly a recommended book, which I was quite impressed with.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

450. Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo

This is the last book I read in 2013!

Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
Harry Hole, #2 

Rating: (4/5)

Dec. 10 2013, Random House Canada, 374 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"The thrilling sequel to Jo Nesbo's debut novel, The Bat, Cockroaches sees Harry Hole sent to Bangkok to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador. 

Detective Harry Hole arrives in a steaming hot Bangkok. But it's work, not pleasure. The Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a seedy motel room, and no witnesses have come forward. The ambassador had close ties to the Norwegian prime minister, and to avoid a scandal Harry is sent there to hush up the case. But he quickly discovers that there is much more going on behind the scenes and very few people willing to talk. When Harry lays hands on some CCTV footage that will help him unravel what happened that night, things only get more complicated. The man who gave him the tape goes missing, and Harry realises that failing to solve a murder case is by no means the only danger in Bangkok.."

Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

I loved this book and wanted to give it a 5* but having last read Harry Hole #10 I know they get even way better, so have to keep this to a 4*.  Harry is in Thailand this time; he's been sent there to take care of a potentially embarrassing situation where the married Norwegian ambassador has been found murdered in a brothel/hotel.  Unknown to Harry, the alcoholic detective, has been sent to hush-hush and cover things up quietly, nobody expects him to actually solve the case.  But this is Harry Hole, he can smell a rat a mile away and is in full detective mode as soon as he sees the crime scene.  Great case, enjoyable characters, gives readers of the series the background finally on the Thailand connection for Harry and why he's always pulled back there.  I loved getting to know the early Harry, where his problems came from, how he was shaped, his problems with alcohol and opium.  This is the man who in the rest of the books fights these demons constantly.  I also finally understand why the publisher's skipped these first two books for English readers.  Here was the English speaking world becoming fascinated, addicted even, to Scandinavian mysteries and Jo Nesbo was a brilliant author to introduce us to but his first two Harry Hole books don't even take place in Scandinavia, first in Australia, second in Thailand.  They weren't the type of dark, cold, brooding Scandi-crime English readers were discovering and clamouring for.  So yeah, I finally get.  I loved The Bat more than Cockroaches but it was fun reading them in retrospect from the point of view of someone who already knows the character.  Newcomers to the series should keep in mind that the scandi-crime aspect is coming and let these first two books introduce you to Nesbo's pacing, and fantastic plotting.

Now, since I started this series sort of in the middle I have two more books to read which I've been holding onto so I could at least read them in order after these two first books.  So next up is Redbreast!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 ARC Master List

I implemented a new strategy last year using the inventory control method of LIFO (last-in, first-out) while reading my ARCs and managed to read 79% of all ARCs received during the year 2014.  That's a great turn over as far as I'm concerned, since some of those books were unsolicited and yet I chose to read.  On top of that I also read widely across the previous years' backlog of ARCs that I still have every intention of reading someday.

Part of me wants to just knock off the first couple of years here as who knows when I'll eventually get to them now but full disclosure, honesty and my OCD with making and maintaining lists won't permit it.

So in all it's awesome glory, here is the remainders of my ARC list from 2009-2013 with new 2014 arrivals being added to the bottom.  I will again be using the LIFO method and will see if I can reach a round 80% read rate for the years ARCs.

1. Portobello by Ruth Rendell
2. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro
3. Etta by Gerald Kolpan
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4, Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
5. Cemetery Dance by Douglas Prestan
6. The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha
7. Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw
8. Valeria's Last Stand by Marc Fitten
9. The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville
10. The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox
11. The Glass of Time by Michael Cox
12. I am Not a Psychic by Richard Belzer
13. Ghost Song by Sarah Rayne
14. Evidence of Murder by Lisa Black
15. Voices in the Dark by Catherine Banner
16. Black Angels by Linda Beatrice Brown
17. Spellbinder by Helen Springer
18. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

19. Peter and Max by Bill Willingham
20. A Lonely Death by Charles Todd
21. The Time Pirate by Ted Bell
22. The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge by Patricia Duncker
23. The Whisperers by John Connolly
24. A Small Death in the Great Glen by A.D. Scott
25. Red Glove by Holly Black
26. No Such Thing as Dragons by Philip Reeve
27. Essential Modern Classics: The Rescuers by Margery Sharp
28. City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell
29. The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor
30. The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby
31. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
32. Essential Modern Classics: Ballet Shoes for Anna by Noel Streatfield
33. Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl
34. The Action Bible
35. Started Early Took my Dog For a Walk by Kate Atkinson
36. Sparrow Road by Shelia O'Connor
37. Virals by Kathy Reichs

38. Rebirth by Dave Longeuay
39. The Green Man by Michael Bedard
40. Bound by Antonya Nelson
41. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
42. The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
43. The Fifth Rule by Don Akers
44. How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain
45. Mind Gap by Marina Cohen
46. Miracleville by Monique Polak
47. No Safe Haven by Kimberley Woodhouse
48. Saye: Winter on Valiku by Hasani Walker
49. Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
50.  mothers & daughters by Rae Meadows
51. The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker
52. A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison
53. Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne
54. Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison
55. Ocean of Blood by Darren Shan
56. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Eric Larson
57. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
58. Lot's Return to Sodom by Sandra Brannan
59. The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
60. Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon
61. Kiss Her,Kill Her by Lisa Dewar
62. The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy
63. The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
64. Forbidden by Ted Dekker
65. Pure by Julianna Baggot
66. Season of Darkness by Maureen Jennings
67. Darkness, My Old Friend: A Novel by Lisa Unger
68. Wicked Good by Amy Lewis Faircloth
69. The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma
70. Inheritance by Lisa Baker
71. Ashtown Burials #1: The Dragon's Tooth by N.D. Wilson
72. Viper by John J. Desjarlais
73. The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
74. Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
75. The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy
76. Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
77. Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
78. Burned by Thomas Enger
79. The Infernals by John Connolly
80. Dreamland by Alyson Noel
81. The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
82. Before the Poison by Peter Robinson
83. The Alphabet of Vietnam by Jonathan Chamberlain
84. The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia's Convict Women by Deborah J. Swiss
85. Vincent Shadow: Toy Inventor by Tim Kehoe
86. The Shattering by Karen Healing

87. The Intercept by Dick Wolf
88. Five Farthings by Monica Redich
89. The Adventures of Jewell Cardwell: Hydra's Nest by Fumi Hancock
90. Don't Feed the Boy by Irene Latham
91. Watching Jimmy by Nancy Harty
92. Saint Kaateri: Lily of the Mohawks by Matthew E. Bunson
93. A Note From An Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker
94. Kepler's Dream by Juliet Bell
95. Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer
96. The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
97. Vincent Shadow: The Top Secret Toys by Tim Kehoe
98. Beyonders #2: Seeds of Rebellion by Brandom Mull
99. The Inquisitor by Mark Allan Smith
100. The Space Mission Adventure by Sharon M. Draper
101. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
102. Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism by Arthur & Carly Fleischmann
103. Leaving Fishers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
104. Don't You Dare Read This Mrs. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix
105. Black Heart by Holly Black
106. The Red House by Mark Haddon
107. The Opposite of Tidy by Carrie Mac
108. Heroes of Olympus by Philip Freeman; adapted by Laurie Calkhoven
109. The Sanctuary by Ted Dekker
110. Brachman's Underworld by Vlad Vaslyn
111. Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter edited by Leonard S. Marcus
112. No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz
113. Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price
114. Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
115. Home by Toni Morrison
116. Anteater-Boy by Dean Ammerman
117. My Afghanistan: The Adventures of an American School Teacher Before the Taliban by Jean Boyce-Smith
118. XO by Jeffrey Deaver
119. Unconquered: The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley by J.D. Davis
120. A Mind of Winter by Shira Nayman
121. Hocus Pocus Hotel by Michael Dahl
122. The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
123. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
124. Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger
125. The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
126. Long Lankin by Lindey Barraclough
127. The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace
128. The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams
129. Toby's Room by Pat Barker
130. Widow's Might by Sandra Brannan
131. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susan Nielsen
132. Genocidal Organ by Project Itoh
133. Gold Mountain Blues by Ling Zhang
134. The Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma
135. Midwinter Blood by Mons Kallentoft
136. Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon
137. The Black Heart Crypt by Christ Grabenstein
138. Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs
139. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legraand
140. Until We All Come Home: by Kim de Blecourt
141. The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo
142. Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
143. Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth
144. Bookweirdest by Paul Glennon
145. The Twelve by Justin Cronin

146. Buried Prey by John Sandford
147. The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
148. Far Far Away by Tom MacNeal
149. Vortex by S.J. Kincaid
150. The Color of Rain by Cori McCarthy
151. The Tilted World by Tom Franklin &
152. These Fragile Things by Jane Davis
153. Judge Dredd: Fatties by John Wagner
154. Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
155. Red Dragon - White Dragon by Gary Dolman
156. Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 06 by John Wagner
157. Songs of the Willow Frost by Jamie Ford
158. The Magical Fruit by Jo Nesbo
159.The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton
160. Button Man: Get Harry Ex by John Wagner
161. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock
162. The Tree of Story by Thomas Wharton
163. Frankenstein and Philosophy: The Shocking Truth edited by Nicholas Michaud
164. The Future of Catholicism by Michael Coren
165. The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
166. The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce
167. Rogue Trooper: Tales of Nu Earth 2 by Gerry Finley-Day
168. Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny by Nick Nicholson M.D.
169. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 3 by Shinobu Ohtaka
170. Judge Dredd: Mutants in Mega-City One by John Wagner
171. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 18 by Hiroshi Shiibashi
172. Dragon Ball (3-in-1), (7-8-9) by Akira Toriyama
173. Typhon and the Winds of Destruction by Joan Holub
174. Wise Acres by Dale E. Basye

(last year at this point I had 196 waiting in backlog, I'm 22 ahead of the game and feeling like I made good progress last year when you also take into account my 79% rate of 2013 ARCs read!)
(all new ARCS added from this point on)

175. Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie's Story by Freddie Owens
176. Vinland Saga 2 by Makoto Yukimura
177. December Park by Ronald Malfi
178. Voice Over!: Seiyu Academy, Vol. 2 by Maki Minami
179. Bleach (3-in-1 Edition), V. 19-20-21 by Tite Kubo
180. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
181. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
182. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 19 by Hiroshi Shiibashi
183. Voice Over!: Seiyu Academy, Vol. 3 by Maki Minami
184. Dragon Ball Full Color: Saiyan Arc, Vol. 1 by Akira Toriyama
185. Justice League Unlimited: In the Dimming Light by Adam Beechen 
186. Justice League Unlimited: Darkseid's Inferno! by Adam Beechen
187. Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Bounty Hunter by Art Baltazar
188. Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Counterfeits by Art Baltazar
189. Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Trouble in the Arena by Art Baltazar
190. Superman Family Adventures: Monkey Metropolis! by Art Baltazar 
191. Superman Family Adventures: Enter Bizarro! by Art Baltazar
192. Superman Family Adventures: Attack of the Toyman! by Art Baltazar
193. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 4 by Shinobu Ohtaka
194. Tiger & Bunny, Vol. 4 by Mizuki Sakakibara
195. Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1 by Jinsei Kataoka
196. Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 07 by John Wagner & Alan Grant 
197. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon 
198. 9,000 Miles of Fatherhood: A True Story by Kirk Millson
199. Krypto the Super Dog: Here Comes Krypto by Jesse Leon McCann 
200. Krypto the Super Dog: Bad Moon Rising by Jesse Leon McCann 
201. Gangsta, Vol. 1 by Koshke
202. Whisper by Chris Struyk-Bonn
203. Evil in a Skirt!: #5 (Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade) by Landry Q. Walker
204. Off to Save the Day #6 (Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade) by Landry Q. Walker
205. Superman vs. Bizarro (DC Super Heroes) by John Sazaklis
206. Batman vs. Catwoman (DC Super Heroes) by J.E. Bright
207. D.Gray-man (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 3: Includes vols. 7, 8 & 9 by Katsura Hoshino
208. Tegami Bachi, Vol. 16 by Hiroyuki Asada
209. Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), vols. 10, 11 & 12 by Akira Toriyama
210. Guilt by Jussi Adler-Olsen
211. Torn Away by Jennifer Brown
212. Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman
213. Phantom Thief Jeanne, Vol. 1 by Arina Tanemura
214. DC Super-Pets Character Encyclopedia by Steve Korté
215. Defend Until Death!: Nickolas Flux and the Battle of the Alamo by Nel Yomtov
216. D-Day: June 6, 1944 by Agnieszka Biskup
217. The Chase by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
218. Ranma 1/2 (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 1 & 2 by Rumiko Takahashi
219. Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry
220. Paradise by Toni Morrison
221. UQ Holder Vol. 1 by Ken Akamatsu
222. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
223. Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier
224. Aphrodite: Goddess of Love by George O'Connor
225. The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff
226. Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi
227. Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown
228. The Tweedles Go Electric by Monica Kulling
229. Graphic Classics: H.G. Wells (3rd Ed.) by Tom Pomplun
230. A Story of Easter and All of Us by Roma Downey
231. The Seven Deadly Sins Vol. 1 by Nakaba Suzuki 
232. Banzai Battalion: Just Another Bug Hunt by John Wagner
233. Mr. Puzzle Super Collection! by Chris Eliopoulos
234. The Belief in Angels by J. Dylan Yates
235. Always Emily by Michaela MacColl 
236. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 5 by Shinobu Ohtaka
237. Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 2 by Jinsei Kataoka
238. 9,000 Miles of Fatherhood: A True Story by Kirk Millson
239. Middle School: Ultimate Showdown by James Patterson
240. The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi 
241. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami 
242. Library Wars, V11 by Kiiro Yumi
243. Sweet Rein, V2 by Sakura Tsukuba
244. Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach
245. The Confabulist by Steven Galloway
246. Sunny, Vol. 3 by Taiyo Matsumoto
247. Ro-Busters: The Disaster Squad of Distinction by Pat Mills
248. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 20: Kusozu by Hiroshi Shiibashi
Dragon Ball, Full Color Saiyan Arc Vol. 2 by Akira Toriyama
250. Monster Soul 1 by Hiro Mashima
251. Noggin by John Corey Whaley
252. Ghandi Before India by Ramachandra Guha
253. Bleach (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 22, 23 & 24 by Tite Kubo
254. Phantom Thief Jeanne, Vol. 2 by Arina Tanemura
255. The Son by Jo Nesbo
256. Gangsta, Vol. 2 by Koshke
257. Dragon Ball (3-in-1 Edition), vols. 13, 14, & 15 by Akira Toriyama
258. Dragon Ball, Full Color Saiyan Arc Vol. 3 by Akira Toriyama
259. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 21 by Hiroshi Shiibashi
260. Seraph of the End, Vol. 1: Vampire Reign by Takaya Kagami
261. Goat on a Boat by John Sazaklis
262. The Good, the Bad, and the Monkeys by Scott Sonneborn
263. Millennium Snow (2-in-1) , Vols. 1 & 2 by Bisco Hatori 
264. Millennium Snow, Vol. 3 by Bisco Hatori
265. Middle School: Save Rafe! by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts
266. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 6 by Shinobu Ohtaka
267. Judge Dredd: The XXX Files by John Wagner didn't want to read too sexy; donated
268. Batman Adventures: Masquerade in Red! by Dan Slott
269. Batman Adventures: Phantasm Strikes! by Dan Slott
270. The Seven Deadly Sins V3 by Nakaba Suzuki
271. UQ Holder V2 by Ken Akamatsu
272. How the World Was: A California Childhood by Emmanuel Guibert
273. Millhouse by Natale Ghent
274. Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
275. Batman Strikes! Jokers Wild! by Bill Matheny
276. Batman Strikes! In the Clutches of the Penguin! by Bill Matheny
277. Batman Strikes! Bane on the Rampage! by Bill Matheny
278. 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajama's by Marie-Helene Bertino
279. Graphic Classics: Canine/Feline Classics edited by Tom Pomplun
280. About That Night by Norah McClintock
281. Teen Titans Go! The Beast Who Cried Wolf by J. Torres
282. Teen Titans Go! Demo by J. Torres
283. Monster Soul 2 by Hiro Mashima
284. No Safe House by Linwood Barclay
285. Vinland Saga 4 by Makoto Yukimura
286. The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem by Ethan Gutmann
287. The Heroic Legend of Arslan 1 by Yoshiki Tanaka
288. Of All the Gin Joints by Mark Bailey
289. The Sixteen by Ali B. 
290. Noragami: Stray God 1 by Adachitoka
291. The Sandman by Lars Kepler
292. Iris Brave by Ali B.
293. Death at Chinatown by Frances McNamara
294. The Broken Hours by Jacqueline Baker
295. Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire
296. Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
297. The Seven Deadly Sins 4 by Nakaba Suzuki
298. Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
299. The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis
300. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
301. A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker
302. The Color of Courage: A Boy at War, The World War II Diary of Julian Kulski
303. Where I Belong: Small Town to Great Big Sea by Alan Doyle
304. Joy to the World: How Christ's Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does) by Scott Hahn
305. Vinland Saga, Book Five by Makoto Yukimura
306. The Heroic Legend of Arslan 2 by Yoshiki Tanaka
307. Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography by Fred Schruers
308. UQ Holder 3 by Ken Akamatsu
309. The Seven Deadly Sins by Nakaba Suzuki
310. So Anyway ... by John Cleese
311. Creatures of the Rock: A Veterinarian's Adventures in Newfoundland by Andrew Peacock
312. Clockwork Game: The Illustrious Career of A Chess-Playing Automaton by Jane Irwin
313. Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner
314. Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination by Dan Mishkin
315. Explorer: The Hidden Doors by Kazu Kibuishi
316. The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth by Ian Lendler
317. Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch by Eric Orchard
318. In the Shadows by Kiersten White
319. Bird & Squirrel On Ice by James Burks
320. Cast Away on the Letter A by Fred
321. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood
322. The Red Baron: The Graphic History of Richtofen's Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI by Wayne Vansant
323. The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944-1945 by Wayne Vansant
324. The Croc Ate My Homework: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan Pastis
325. Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek by Elizabeth Rusch
326. Shackleton's Journey by William Grill
327. The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke
328. The Job by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
329. Neurocomic by Dr. Hana Ros
330. The Isobel Journal: Just a Northern Girl from Where Nothing Really Happens by Isobel Harrop
331. Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob by Jenny Jaeckel
332. Norigami: Stray God 2 by Adachitoka
333. Motherless by Erin Healy
334. Starlette Universe, Book 2: Eva From E-Ville by Kathy Johnson
335. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
336. Bad Houses by Sara Ryan
337. Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang
338. Aw Yeah Comics! And... Action! by Art Baltazar & Franco
339. Satan's Prep: A Graphic Novel by Gabe Guarente
340. Ballad by Blexbolex
341. The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple
342. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow
343. Tune 2: Still Life by Derek Kirk Kim
344. Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics edited by Chris Duffy
345. The Rise of Aurora West (Battling Boy) by Paul Pope
346. The People Inside by Ray Fawkes
347. Bad Machinery Volume 2: The Case of the Good Boy by John Allison
348. Costume Quest: Invasion of the Candy Snatchers by Zac Gorman
349. The Sixth Gun Dlx Ed Volume 1 HC by Cullen Bunn
350. Megagogo Volume 001 by Wook Jin Clark
351. A Boy & a Girl by Jamie S. Rich
352. Mermin Volume 2: The Big Catch by Joey Weiser
353. Mermin Book Three: Deep Dive by Joey Weiser
354. Buzz! by Ananth Panagariya
355. Down. Set. Fight! by Chad Bowers
356. Meteor Men by Jeff Parker