Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Hitched by Carol Higgins Clark

Five brides are about to be married when their dresses disappear or are slashed to shreds.
One of these brides is Regan Reilly a PI who is to be married to her sweetheart Jack Reilly of the NYPD Major Case Squad. She is not about to sit back and let someone else find her dress.
What follows is an investigation that 'unveils' each bride and or groom.
I found this a really quick read. Amusing but with several plot twists that I hadn't considered. Always good when the author can keep me guessing. Ms Higgins Clark is the author of several books and has co-written a few with her mother Mary Higgins Clark.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Hot and Sweaty Rex by Eric Garcia

This was funny. Let me repeat, funny.
Life gets kinda hectic the week before any holiday and December is no exception. For that reason I wanted something light and distracting to read. This book fit the bill.
I am still trying to picture Vincent Rubio, a Private Investigator who happens to be a Dinosaur in human disguise. Not only that, but 2 Dino Mafia families who are in the midst of a feud. Now throw in a trip to the Florida Everglades and an approaching hurricane. I really can't say more without giving away plot but I think you get the idea. There's a lot more happening in this book than just Dinos in an unbelievable situation. There is a terrific cast of characters including childhood friend Jack who is head of one of the Dino families, Noreen an old flame once jilted and Glenda his best friend to name just a few.
I loved the story and am still trying to figure how the Dino tails fit into the disguises. If you can suspend those moments of disbelief, you will totally enojoy this offering by Eric Garcia.
There are 2 previous stories in this series, but you can easily read this one without having read the others.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Perfect read for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Not a thick book at 122 pages.
The 1951 movie version with Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge is very true to the book. Couldn't stop the visual images of him coming to mind as I read.
I had not read this book before and was glad that I did.
Will keep this short and sweet so I can get back to my family.

Read what Petty Witter had to say about her reading of this story.

Friday, 19 December 2008

The Jury by Steve Martini

A good lawyer mystery.
Lawyer Paul Madriana and his partner Harry Hinds are defending their client scientist Dr. David Crone against the charge of murder of his co-worker Dr. Kalista Jordan.
This story went through a series of twists and turns that kept me from guessing 'who done it'. There were sufficient red herrings offered along the way that I was totally side tracked by them.
I would definitely read another book by Steve Martini should it find it way to me. This book was found at a Bookcrossing meeting.

The Oath by Lindsay Chase

An historical romance novel set in New York City in 1889.

Catherine has trained as a medical doctor at a time when female doctors are still a novelty and not always taken seriously.

Along with her friend and fellow female doctor Sybilla, she opens her practice specializing in women's health. She is befriended by a male doctor, Kim Flanders, who wisely realizes that some of the wives of his patients are unwilling to be seen by a male doctor.

At this period in time many women still die during child birth and these three doctors do their best to provide life saving care, including the very risky cesarean section.

It seems to be that this book does a good job of presenting the challenges and risks that these doctors faced on a daily basis.

This book was passed along to me my a Bookcrossing member, and I will be passing it along to another Bookcrossing friend.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The Curse of the Shaman: A Marble Island Story by Michael Kusugak

Love it!!! Only put it down once as my family demanded feeding.
This is the story of Qavvik (Wolverine) and his father Qabluittug(the man with no eyebrows). They live in the far North of Hudson Bay in an area near Rankin Inlet, the author's home. When he is three days old, Qavvik is cursed by the Shaman such that when he becomes a man old enough to marry he will never set foot on that land again.
For the next 15 years we follow Qavvik and his family along their yearly migrations. It was interesting to learn about their lifestyle as it is so different from the city life that many of us lead. Not only the hunting and fishing, but the frequent making of their snow houses and gatherings with other travelling families, particularly their meetings with the Shaman and his family.
I was most impressed with how Qabluittug dealt with the curse. He managed to keep those words spoken in anger separate from his everyday dealing with Paaliaq who is also the Shaman.
The story also explores the power of the growing love between Qavvik and Breath (the Shaman's daughter). A third important theme is that of compassion, which is shown by Qavvik toward an injured snowy owl.
While this book is marketed as a youth novel, it certainly has enough depth to keep the interest of adult readers. Be sure to read the Preface and the after notes as they contain wonderful information.
If you chose to read this book, I suggest you immediately turn to the inside back cover. There you will find the most amazing portrait of the author Michael Kusugak.
My daughter was privileged to meet Mr. Kusugak when he visited her school last year to share some of his stories.
This is my 6th book for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

First novel by Toronto, Ontario author Lesley Livingston.

Kelley had originally been cast as the understudy to Titania in a New York City production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". When the actress cast in the role breaks her ankle, Kelley is forced onto the stage. While practising her lines in Central Park, She meets Sonny, the changeling son of the Fairy King Auberon. This is a mutual and immediate attraction between the two.

This is a great way to start a teen novel. Fairies, magic and the promise of blossoming love.

As in a high school romance, we meet Kelley's friends at the theatre and we meet Sonny's fellow Janus, changeling guards assigned to Central Park. There are confidences shared as well as advice given and ignored. Rings very true to life.

I like the character of Kelley. For a seventeen year old, she knows what she wants in life and is going after it. She is a strong role model. Her only weakness I noticed is when she allows Sonny to take her to 'the Green' for protection. However, if he didn't take her there, it might have been hard to introduce the character of Herne, who had previously led the Wild Ride.

This was a fun read. A few un-expected twists and turns in the plot kept me guessing what would happen next.

Even though this is by a Canadian author, I won't be counting it towards my books for the Canadian Book Challenge, those I am limiting to books by First Nations Authors.

I look forward to passing this along to my niece.

Review at Reader Rabbit

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Buried in Quilts by Sara Hoskinson Frommer

First off, I have to admit to a weakness for quilting novels, meaning I've read a fair number of them and have more on Mount To Be Read. This ranks as one of the better ones. Ms. Hoskinson Frommer has managed to incorporate quilts and quilting throughout the novel, not just limiting it to a cover photo and a passing mention like some I have read.
Her main character, Joan Spencer, is the manager of the Oliver, Indiana Civic Symphony which is scheduled to perform at the local quilt show. During the dress rehearsal, a body is found under a quilt. Somehow Joan is drawn into the investigation just like she was in the previous book in this series.
I found that the characters in this book are very realistic. They may have been in the same orchestra, or working on the quilt show together, but that didn't automatically make them best buddies or even friends. Lots of possible suspects and motives.
Quilters will enjoy the accuracy with regard to the quilts and the running of the quilt show, though I do question the high values assigned to some of the items (might be the difference between Canadian and American valuations).
I didn't guess the outcome until it was revealed. I did enjoy the development of the renewed relationship between Joan and her daughter Rebecca (also a quilter).
The series continues with a few more books , though none are of a quilting nature.
I will be passing this along to another member of my quilting 'bee'.

Friday, 5 December 2008

The Man Who Ran Faster than Everyone: The Story of Tom Longboat by Jack Batten

A very inspiring read.

Being a runner, I had heard of Tom Longboat and of him winning the Boston Marathon, but I didn't really know anything else about him. Fortunately Jack Batten has changed all that.

Tom, an Onondoga Indian, was raised on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario (1/2 hour from where I live). He started out as a lacrosse player, but at the age of 17 he was challenged to a race by a teammate, which he easily won. Shortly after that he began to take his running more seriously.

Jack tells us that for Tom, running brought him pleasure. Like many runners I know, he liked the way that running emptied his mind of worries.

In 1906 he entered his first major race, the Around the Bay race in Hamilton, Ontario, a distance of 19 miles 168 yards. He won over the favoured runners by almost 3 minutes. This race is still run in March with a distance of 30 km.

His next major race which brought him world wide recognition was the Boston Marathon , April 19, 1907. He won this by an unprecedented 3/4 of a mile lead.

The book goes on to detail many of Tom's races and his competitors. What I am most impressed by, is for Tom to have been winning so many races against such esteemed competitors he must have had a comprehensive training program which no one seems to have known about. Here was a young man, without the advantage of wealth to pay for his training, nor the modern shoe technologies and food supplements, yet he was running times that would please many a runner today. Wow.

Mr. Batten has written an easy to read book that clearly conveys the thrill of the race. He brought this runner to life for me. Tom Longboat has also been remembered by the establishment of the Longboat Runners of Toronto, Ontario, who host a race in his honour each September.

This book will count toward my total for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge. It isn't written by a First Nations Author, but it is about a First Nations and a Canadian Hero.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge

I found this book while browsing the website of The Bookworm. Being that it's by a Canadian Author I hadn't heard of, I ordered it right away, and then went into their shop the next day to pick it up. A dangerous feature but oh so handy.
Turned out to be a good choice. Pauline has written a whole series of books about ancient Egypt. This one deals with Hatshepsut, a woman Pharaoh who had a long and very successful reign. We also met Senemut, her chief Architect. The book proposes that Hatshepsut and Senemut carried on an affair for a number of years during her reign.
I rather enjoyed this book. It mixes enough fact in with the fiction that it makes you feel as though you are learning something at the same time as you are enjoying yourself.
At this point I am not counting this book toward my total for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge as I am trying to read books by First Nations Authors, but should I read 13 of those, then I'll submit this title.