Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Throwback Thursday and more fun stuff!

Along with the usual review for Throwback Thursday I will also be doing a post for Toddler, Tots and Teens.  I was hoping to do it for today but have been busier than I thought (and still need my reading time, lol).

Poetry will be postponed!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Freedom to Read: Day 15-30: Banned Books Week

Later this week Banned Book Week will end but today is the last post in my Freedom to Read month. (it is a topic I will continue to discuss but not as detailed as this month's posts).  I also picked September because that is when school starts - bringing to an end of  Summer Reading and making way for school reading.  I always find it sad that schools restrict so many brilliant books because the subject matter is deemed "inappropriate" - instead of educating students on why the subject matter is thought of as inappropriate, and how does the author bring this to light.  I will stop preaching no, promise!  I am just so passionate about everyone having the freedom to read.  I hope that you in someone were able to celebrate this privilege that is not yet a right for all.
Oscar Wilde

I am currently listening to Go Set a Watchman by controversial author Harper Lee and also reading O'Pioneers by Willa Cather  - which was also has been banned.  I have not finished them yet so will not say anything other than I am enjoying the writing of both books.

The list of the 10 most challenged young adult novels from 2014-15 follows.

1. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," Sherman Alexie
2. "Persepolis," Marjane Satrapi
3. "The Bluest Eye," Toni Morrison
4. "The Kite Runner," Khaled Hosseini
5. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," Stephen Chbosky
6. "Drama," Raina Telgemeier
7. "Chinese Handcuffs," Chris Crutcher
8. "The Giver," Lois Lowry
9. "The House on Mango Street," Sandra Cisneros
10. "Looking for Alaska," John Green

k (My Novelesque Life)

Quickie Review: Little Men by Abbott

(BiblioMysteries Series)
Written by Megan Abbott
2015; 45 Pages
Genre: mystery, novella, historical

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.) 

Rating: ★★1/2

"In 1953, Penny is just another washed-up, wannabe Hollywood actress who is past her prime. She has settled in to a quiet lifestyle, and when she finds a low-rent bungalow in Canyon Arms, it’s a dream come true; Penny takes to the place instantly. But the dream cottage with its French doors and tiled courtyard may not be as perfect as it seems. Penny’s new neighbors start filling her head with stories about past tenants, whispering voices, and a suicide that may not have been a suicide at all. Soon enough, Penny starts hearing strange noises and she can’t help but wonder about the true fate of the bookseller who died in her home a dozen years earlier. Her suspicions are only fueled by the ominous inscription that she discovers in a book that’s closely guarded by her landlord. . . ." (From Amazon)

A very creepy tale! I usually read BiblioMysteries of authors I have already read but the synopsis of Abbott's story sounded fun.  I am not sure what mystery genre she writes in but I will definitely have to read more by her.  My only downside to this story was that it wasn't longer. 

k (My Novelesque Life) 

Mystery Monday Extra on Wednesday:

(Miss Silver Mysteries: #3)
Written by Patricia Wentworth 
 1939; 213 Pages
Genre: mystery, detective

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

After a few close call accidents Rachel Treherne starts to believe her life may be in jeopardy and the killer may be one of her own family members or a close friend. She looks to governess turned private detective, Miss Silver to help unravel the mystery by staying in the Treherne mansion.

Rachel's father has left his fortune to her and her desperate family members want more than their share and cannot wait till her natural death. Then there is her maid who has an unnatural obsession with her and new neighbour who shows his interest in her. Each day Rachel's suspicions get the better of her and hopes Miss. Silver can help her.

Rachel's father has left his fortune to her and her desperate family members want more than their share and cannot wait till her natural death. Then there is her maid who has an unnatural obsession with her and new neighbour who shows his interest in her. Each day Rachel's suspicions get the better of her and hopes Miss. Silver can help her.

The thought of living with people who may be plotting your death is handled brilliantly by Wentworth. This one had me guessing at first and then I sat back to see if my guess was correct.

k (My Novelesque Life) 

Mystery Monday on Wednesday!

Written by David J. Bell
2015; 432 Pages
Genre: suspense, thriller, mystery, fiction

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)
Rating: ★★1/2
On a trip to the grocery store Nick spots a young girl who looks like and has the same mannerisms as his college girlfriend.  But his girlfriend died in a house fire back in college almost 20 years ago so who is this stranger? Nick obsessively in love with Marissa has to know if she is related to her but when he goes up to her she runs off.  While thinking about Marissa and her look-alike the police call him to the station - not for trying to see his stepson and bothering his ex-wife as he expects.  The young girl was found murdered with Nick's phone number in her pocket.  Nick cannot let go of Marissa and what this girl and her death means so he inserts himself in solving the mystery.

I loved the synopsis of this novel and was excited to read this standalone suspense thriller.  Unfortunately, I had to give this novel  rating as I found Nick very annoying.  He has an obsessive personality and really can't let go of anything.  He is still pining for ex-girlfriend from college.  Yes, she died in a fire but has broken up with him prior to all this. You kind of get to a point like the other characters in the novel where you want to roll your eyes when he mentions Marissa.  There are points in the plot where it seems forced so that it can explain the ending.  I do think there is potential and will try him again just not so soon.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Monday, 28 September 2015

Posts Postponed

I am feeling a bit under the weather with a migraine and allergies.  Mystery Monday and Toddler, Tots and Teens Tuesday will be featured on Wednesday along with posts on Banned Books and poetry.  I am sorry for any inconvenience and will see you soon!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

TBT Review: The Last Time I Saw You

Written by Elizabeth Berg
2010, 241 Pages
Genre: contemporary fiction

Rating: ★★★★1/2

Divorced and defeated Dorothy cannot wait wait for the 40th high school reunion as she longs to finally sleep with Pete Decker. If she can get the most popular guy maybe her life won't be so sad. Her ex-husband has already found someone new and her grown daughter is getting married with no input from Dorothy. Mary Alice is still single and back living in her childhood home and helping her senior neighbour, Einer and his caretaker. She longs to go back and show them how far she has come - not that she was ever really bothered being herself - she may even try and seduce Pete Decker. Einer demands to be her escort in case any of them try anything. The still handsome Pete Decker has just slept with his wife, Nora (separated) cheating on his mistress. This has cleared his brain and he now knows he wants his childhood sweetheart Nora back - but she has moved on. The reunion becomes his obsession in that he hopes it will remind Nora of the good times and bring her back to him. Lester the once nerdy student is now a vet in the next town over and a widower of many years. He is bullied
Drop Everything And Read -- Now!
into going to his reunion by his receptionist who insists he needs a woman ASAP. Finally there is Candy Sullivan - beauty queen, the object of lust for men and envy of women. She has gotten bad news about her health and realized that she missed out on having kids for the sake of her husband who isn't even really there. She feels alone and lonely and realizes that it has always been like that. One night will rock these 5 characters life and for once seen beyond their 17 year old eyes.

I listened to this novel on audio - read by the author and LOVED IT!!! Berg is a great reader as well as author. She has a great depth of emotion and humour. I loved the characters even when I strong disliked them as people - that is what makes them so realistic - they are flawed and no one is better than another. I'm in my 30s and I could totally understand the characters' emotions whether male or female. I still love berg's writing.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Toddler, Tots and Teens Tuesday: Review for The Escape

Written by Hannah Jayne
2015; 256 Pages
Genre: young adult, suspense, mystery

Rating: ★★

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

When I first got my eReader (Kobo Touch) I was crazy with the $.99 deals on book sites, and the first book from Hannah Jayne's paranormal/urban fantasy was one I bought but have yet to read (I am trying to start too many series without finishing a few first).  When I saw Jayne's name on the cover of a book on NetGalley I had to read the synopsis.  I was intrigued that this novel written by Jayne was for young adults and also suspense (without any paranormal aspects).  Once I was approved I downloaded on to eReader and sat back for the ride.

Two young teens, Adam and Fletcher, go for an afternoon hike and when they don't return a search party is sent out to find them.  Avery, our narrator and daughter of the detective in charge, is the one who finds Fletcher battered and bloody.  As Fletcher starts to come to he discovers that his friend Adam did not survive and has no memory of what happened. As Fletcher, the odd kid with the broken family, finds himself in the spotlight of his small town, he also wonders of he is still in danger.  Avery, who was a good friend of Adam finds herself in the middle of the case and determine to find the truth.  As Avery and Fletcher try to discover what really happened out there that day they might be getting to close to the killer.

While I understand this is a young adult novel and it needs to be appropriate for the age group, I still found this read way too predictable.  You pretty much know who the killer is from the first few chapters.  Yet, I have read predictable mysteries that still keep me reading because I want to see how it all unfolds and the characters are worth getting to know.  I did not find this in this novel.  The killer is A and...nothing suspense-y happens.  I grew up reading Lois Duncan, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, etc which were young adult novels (and most predictable) but the characters were interesting and the seeing the story unfold had me gripping the paperback.  This is not Jayne's first young adult suspense so I will probably definitely give her another try.

Next week is another Young Adult review but with a historical/paranormal twist!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Mystery Monday Extra: The Case is Closed

(Miss Silver Mysteries: #2)
 Written by Patricia Wentworth
1937; 253 Pages
Genre: mystery, detective

Rating: ★★★★

Geoffrey Grey has been convicted of his uncle's murder but his wife and wife's cousin think he is innocent. Just before his murder Geoffrey's uncle, James changes his will to a nephew he has always disliked. Upon telling Geoffrey that he no longer his heir the older man is found dead in a locked room with the knife in Geoffrey's hand.

Hilary, Marion Grey's cousin is heartbroken over the conviction and what it is doing to her cousin. When on a train she is confronted with James's cook she begins to think there is more to the story than what was presented in court. As the young girl gets deeper into solving the murder she also becomes a target. Her ex-fiance hires Miss. Silver a P.I. who steps in to help.

This is the second novel in the Miss. Silver and I am hooked. Unlike other novels from the era the knitting P.I. has a smaller role in the books, She is often called on the case halfway through the novel. The book focuses on the character involved in the novel. If you like cozy mysteries, noir, old time radio programs this might be the novel for you.

k (My Novelesque Life)

P.S. Tomorrow in our Toddlers, Tots and Teens will be a Young Adult Mystery!

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Golden Age Mystery Monday Review

Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God?

Last week I introduced Patricia Wentworth's series, Miss Silver Mysteries which were written from late 1920s to the early 1960s. This time period has been called "The Golden Age of Murder".  The era where the mystery genre really gets it's identity and popularity.  It is in this time that a group of mystery writers formed a society called the Detection Club.  This club was meant for mystery writers to converse with others from the same genre.  The Honoury President was Arthur Conan Doyle with G.K. Chesterton as President and members such as Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and Anthony Berkley.  This group of authors are often given the term of cozy mysteries as many people perceive them to be cute little mystery stories.  Yet, Martin Edwards, and I agree, puts forth that it was these authors that actually formed what a"mystery novel" is and also brought forth the popularity of mystery.

Written by Martin Edwards
2015; 528 Pages
Genre: nonfiction, mystery, biography, literary

Rating: ★★★★1/2

Many detectives in books today have roots from this time.  Yes, the characters and the science have evolved along with twists and gore, but the core of the story is still the same.  No matter how you dress up a book a mystery fan will like it for the mystery component.  Edwards is a member of the Detection Club and has always wondered about the history of the writers themselves. He treats them like a mystery to be solved.  I don't want to give too much away as I do want you to read this book and not have my "spoilers" swimming in your head. Christie, Berkley and Sayers were interesting characters on their own and each seemed to not just bring a style of writing but a background that intrigues you as much as their fiction.

1932 Dinner
I am a great fan of books from this time but also movies and old time radio programs.  This Golden Age of Murder is one of my favorite types of mystery.  Other than the books and individual biographies I have not seen a book that examines this important time with such passion.  It is a big book and I was able to read it quickly.  It is well-written but also very interesting - for book lovers,
Drop Everything And Read!
mystery fans but also those who appreciate history.  There was so much going on in the world at this time so it is very interesting to see how it affects each writer and their works. Many of the authors were influenced by true cases and you can see that in the writing as Edwards point out.  I have never actually read a mystery novel by Edwards but he is definitely going on the epic tbr list.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

I Heart Canadian Books! Sisters in the Wilderness Reviewed!

I am openly a fan of Canadian books - authors, poetry, plays, fiction and nonfiction - and try to support this quiet but powerful "genre".  My first loves have been Robert Munsch and L.M. Montgomery, of course.  My next foray into Canadian fiction was short stories written by Alice Monroe. After reading her prose I find it very hard to read other short stories now as I compare them all to her standard. As I grew with my reading I began to try Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findlay, Carol Shield, Michael Ondaatje, David Adams Richards, Elizabeth Hay, Lynn Coady - just to name a few.  I only started to fall more in love with the writing of Canadian authors.  They have this voice that is quite distinct and different from other fiction.  Canadiana is known for dark bleak beautiful lyrical novels.  Recent I discovered Lauren B. Davis and a few years back, Margaret Laurence.  Both are not known for cheery books, but what I take away from their writing is the "happy and joy" I get from those books.  I will be elaborating more on this topic as I review more Canadian books...but on to my actual review...

Written by Charlotte Gray
2000, 400 Pages
Genres: canadian, history, biography

Rating: ★★★

If you have attended a Canadian school you would have heard of Susanna Moodie, even if you don't remember now.  You may not know much about Moodie but Roughing it in the Bush is probably a title you have at least heard of.  I remember both book and author mentioned in a few of my History and English courses.  It is supposed to be a Canadian classic so of course it is now on my tbr list.  Other than what I have gleaned from the title I don't know when or where in Canada this book takes place. Then, recently on my library's "new" book list I saw that Charlotte Gray (also Canadian) had written a biography of Moodie and her sister, Catharine Parr Traill, so I figured this might be the best place to start.  Roughing it in the Bush is a memoir, but how much of the author we get in the book can sometimes be iffy so I wanted to know a little something before delving in.

This book, Sisters in the Wilderness:The Lives of  Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill, was way better than I had thought it would be when I picked it up.  I figured I would skim through the book, and just get the gist of the two women's life and then could read their memoirs.  After the first chapter I was totally flying through the book.  Gray's writing, in my opinion, reads like a novel.  She is able to take facts and put them in a more entertaining format.  My other books were put to the side as I devoured all I could from this historical biography.  I didn't realize that Susanna Moodie was actually born and raised in Britain or that her family was so literary (4 out of her 5 sisters have written books, as well as one brother).  Catharine Parr, older than Susanna was her confidant and at times her only relative in Canada.

While Catharine Parr was the peacemaker of the family, Susanna was more of the prickly one.  Catharine Parr was looking for stability while Susanna wanted love if she was giving up her literary life full-time.  These two women would marry and move to Upper Canada - separately.  Each would have their own experiences that differed so much from their British Country home.  Childbirth was their first sort of major culture shock that affected them personally as women.  They would go on to write memoirs of their life in "the bush" and how living in Canada differed from Britain.  These sort of portrayals were important as many British folks were looking at opportunities somewhere out in one of the Colonies.  Agnes Strickland, "spinster"and older sister of the pair was also a writer but wrote more about the elite and Monarchs that she hobnobbed with.  Susanna had dedicated her book to Agnes, who was appalled to have her name associated with this "inappropriate" book.  Agnes felt that Susanna described things that should never be talked about in front of company.  Agnes would go so far as getting her brother Sam, who also lived in Canada, to write his own memoirs that contradicted the "roughness" of Susanna's book.  Susanna would only write more books in her own style.

Drop Everything And Read!
I loved how Gray gave each sister their own personality and you got to know them versus just facts about them. The story from when they were young to their death was perfectly paced.  She gave you enough information that was needed at each point of their lives.  This made the book flow and not lag with too much detail or descriptions.  I highly recommend this book to those that love history, biographies, women's studies, Canadian life, or those that love a good story like I do.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Calling All Lovers of Poetry!

In May (of this year) I set forth a challenge to at least 5 poems from poets I have not read yet.  My go to people...Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Millay, Sylvia
Plath, Anne Sexton, e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, William Words Worth, William Shakespeare, Lorna Crozier, Michael Ondaatje...are fabulous but I haven't branched out much since University.  In the coming months I will be discussing more about this challenge, my love of poetry and maybe a verse or two of my own.  I just wanted to update you that something new is in the works and should be on Wednesdays.

k (My Novelesque Life)
By Robert Frost

TBT: Pamela Callow's Kate Lange Trilogy

I totally picked up Pamela Callow's novel, Damaged because of it's cover - it told me it was a suspense novel and book one in a series to come - sold!

(Kate Lange: #1)
Written by Pamela Callow
2010; 453 Pages
Genre: canadiana, law, suspense, thriller, romance 

Rating: ★★★★

Damaged is Callow's debut suspense novel but don't try to label it as just a medical or legal thriller because you will miss out on SO much.  Kate Lange, a new lawyer in Nova Scotia, is being haunted by her past (her sister's death and the break up of her engagement) so obviously throws herself into a new case.  Her legal advice to her new client appears to have led to her granddaughter's death.  As Kate tries to clear her reputation she is thrown  in the path of a serial killer!

Here begins a new favourite character and author for me! Kate is a strong realistic female character.  She does get herself into stupid situations but never to the point that you have to roll your eyes.  And, who would not enjoy the mysterious brooding Randall! I cannot wait to get my hands on the second Kate Lange book. I also really like the fact that it is set in Nova Scotia, Canada versus Vancouver or Toronto - something different for me.

(Kate Lange: #2)
Written by Pamela Callow
2010; 502 Pages
Genre: canadiana, law, suspense, thriller, romance

Rating: ★★★

A great sequel to the first book Damaged. Randall Barrett is looking forward to spending time with his children this summer but things go wrong right from the beginning.  First his son decides to go camping instead of sailing with him, and then his ex-wife reveals a devastating secret in the heat of an argument.  The next morning his ex-wife is found dead from a fall of the balcony and he is the main suspect.  Kate Lange is an associate at his law firm and just a few months ago they had sparks fly that are still burning hot.  Will Kate be able to help Randall when everyone else has left him to drown.
I love that these novels are set in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) versus the usual Vancouver or Toronto setting.  It's nice to see something different.  Callow being a lawyer and hailing from Halifax she is able to bring out the realism in the novel.  It is a quick pace thriller that has you flipping pages till the end!

(Kate Lange: #3)
Written by Pamela Callow
2012, 416 Pages
Genre: canadiana, law, suspense, thriller, romance

Rating: ★★1/2

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Kate Lange's past is coming front and center starting with France Sloan. Frances has ALS and wants Kate to lobby for assisted suicide on her behalf. Frances is the mother of Kenzie Sloan who was once friends with Imogen (Kate's sister). It was Kenzie's house party that Kate dragged Imogen from and ultimately led to the car accident and Imogen's death. The memories flood back as Kenzie, now a tattoo artist, is coming to visit with her mother in her final days. Kenzie's former boy friend, McNally, has also been recently released from prison and has his sight on both Kenzie and Kate. With Randall in New York, Kate is unsure where there relationship stands and if she should wait for him. Ethan Drake her former fiancee has decided he wants to try again and will do anything for her. In the next few days things from the past will bubble to the present and only some will make it through.

I love Kate Lange and this series. I remember the Sue Roderiguez (a case involving a woman who would like to have assisted suicide) case and how it affected everyone involved. I liked the plot of this book but it some how felt impersonal.  Every sub-plot seemed a bit rushed but this is in comparison to rest of the series.  Funny, it is the novel that involves Kate's sister that seems the least personal.  I still liked this novel and would recommend this series.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Todders, Tots and Teens Tuesday: Picture Book for the Tots

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Today we are reviewing a picture book for the little tots.  When you start school you start to realize in what ways you differ from the other kids, and also start to learn about family and where you come from.  This can be a heavy topic to discuss with the kiddies.  It is a question of figuring out how to start the discussion...well, Dusan Petricic's picture book, My Family Tree and Me is one way to start. He both writes and illustrates this book.

We learn that Petricic is of European background on his father's side - starting with his great-great-grandfather meeting his great-great-grandmother all the way to his parents and his extended family. Then you flip the book and you get Patricic's Asian background on his mother's side - starting with his great-great-grandfather meeting his great-great-grandmother all the way to his parents and his extended family.  We see the different cultures that his aunts and uncles have married to make up his family.

I enjoyed the simplistic story and really loved the illustrations that made the book unique.  I am not sure about this book in eBook format as it is a bit to flip the book.  You have to use the contents page to go to the back cover and then swipe the other way.  While my boyfriend and I are both Canadians and from big extended families that are close we are from different ancestry - he is Italian-Polish on his paternal side and Italian-First Nations on his maternal side, and I am Indian (Punjabi) on both side.  If/when we had/have kids this is a good book to introduce differences and similarities of a child's family tree.  Any thoughts?

Next week I will looking at YA (Young Adult) books - one a historical/paranormal fiction and the other a suspense novel.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Mystery Monday: EXTRA!

What there's more? 

Yes, there is.  I would love to feature a series I am currently in the middle of reading...Miss. Silver Mysteries by Patricia Wentworth.  They are mysteries set pre-to-post WWII in Britain - where a former Governess has decided to become a private investigator.  One of her former charges is now working in homicide and looks to Miss. Silver on guidance.  They are charming "cozy" mysteries that take you to another time and place with plenty of family drama and passion and of course suspense.  This is a series of for fans of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Alexander McCall Smith and Jacquelyn Winspear.  Along with a new review for a mystery novel I will also feature a review (in numerical order) for Miss. Silver.  I will start with book one so it will seem a bit like Throwback Thursday, lol.  Please enjoy and let me know what you think. Here is review for book one....

(Miss Silver Mysteries: #1)
Written by Patrica Wentworth
1928, 256 Pages
Genre: mystery, detective,

Rating: ★★★★

(I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Margot Standing finds out her father has died and not provided for her future as his lawyer claims there is no will.  As Margot has no proof her parents were ever married her claim over her father's estate is now in the hands of her Egbert.  Egbert was not liked by father or daughter seems cavalier over his uncle's death and fortune.  Overhearing a conversation between her cousin and a strange man Margot discovers her life is in jeopardy. They wish to have her removed so there is no obstacle to the Standing fortune. 

Meanwhile Charles Moray has returned home to take over this family estate. After his finacee, Margaret breaks off their engagement he travels to the East to rid his mind of her.  Upon his late night visit to his family home he walks upon strangers conspiring the death of a young heiress.  Charles is all ready to call the police when he spies Margaret among them and soon finds himself hiring a woman detective.  As Margaret, Charles and Margot try to figure out the mystery, Miss Maude Silver has it all figured out.

A fun novel from the late 1920s.  If you like the old classic black and white mysteries, old time radio shows or novels like Agatha Christie you are in for a treat.  Wentworth writes an engaging mystery but I wish we knew more about Miss. Silver.  Like Miss. Marple she is not the story but around the mystery.  I cannot wait to see where this series goes.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Freedom to Read: Day 14

100 Most Frequently Challenged Books: 1990–1990 

(as per the American Librarian Association website)

  1. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy’s Roommate, by Michael Willhoite
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou**
  4. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  6. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck**
  7. Forever, by Judy Blume* 
  8. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
  9. Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman
  10. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger*
  11. The Giver, by Lois Lowry**
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
  14. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor*
  15. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine*
  16. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
  17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker*
  18. Sex, by Madonna
  19. Earth’s Children (series), by Jean M. Auel**
  20. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
  21. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
  22. The Witches, by Roald Dahl*
  23. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle**
  24. The New Joy of Gay Sex, by Charles Silverstein
  25. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous*
  26. The Goats, by Brock Cole
  27. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
  28. Anastasia Krupnik (series), by Lois Lowry*
  29. Final Exit, by Derek Humphry
  30. Blubber, by Judy Blume*
  31. Halloween ABC, by Eve Merriam
  32. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
  33. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
  34. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison*
  35. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters, by Lynda Madaras
  36. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
  37. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood*
  38. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton*
  39. The Pigman, by Paul Zindel*
  40. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee*
  41. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
  42. Deenie, by Judy Blume*
  43. Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
  44. Annie on My Mind, by Nancy Garden
  45. Beloved, by Toni Morrison*
  46. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar*
  47. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat, by Alvin Schwartz
  48. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling*
  49. Cujo, by Stephen King
  50. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl*
  51. A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein*
  52. Ordinary People, by Judith Guest*
  53. American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
  54. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley**
  55. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  56. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
  57. Asking About Sex and Growing Up, by Joanna Cole
  58. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons, by Lynda Madaras
  59. The Anarchist Cookbook, by William Powell
  60. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume*
  61. Boys and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
  62. Crazy Lady, by Jane Conly
  63. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
  64. Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan*
  65. Fade, by Robert Cormier
  66. Guess What?, by Mem Fox
  67. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut**
  68. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding*
  69. Native Son, by Richard Wright**
  70. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies, by Nancy Friday
  71. Curses, Hexes and Spells, by Daniel Cohen
  72. On My Honor, by Marion Dane Bauer
  73. The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende*
  74. Jack, by A.M. Homes
  75. Arizona Kid, by Ron Koertge
  76. Family Secrets, by Norma Klein
  77. Mommy Laid an Egg, by Babette Cole
  78. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  79. Where Did I Come From?, by Peter Mayle
  80. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline Cooney*
  81. Carrie, by Stephen King*
  82. The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
  83. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  84. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison**
  85. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
  86. Private Parts, by Howard Stern
  87. Where’s Waldo?, by Martin Hanford*
  88. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
  89. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume*
  90. Little Black Sambo, by Helen Bannerman
  91. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett**
  92. Running Loose, by Chris Crutcher
  93. Sex Education, by Jenny Davis
  94. Jumper, by Steven Gould
  95. Christine, by Stephen King**
  96. The Drowning of Stephen Jones, by Bette Greene
  97. That Was Then, This is Now, by S.E. Hinton
  98. Girls and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
  99. The Wish Giver, by Bill Brittain
  100. Jump Ship to Freedom, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

 Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

(as per the American Librarian Association website)

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling*
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor*
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck**
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou**
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman**
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison*
16. Forever, by Judy Blume*
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker*
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous*
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger*
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee*
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar* (Book 1 only)
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry**
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan*
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison*
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney*
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson*
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison*
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley**
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume*
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut**
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey*
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini*
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham*
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury**
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park*
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison**
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold*
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry*
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving*
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright**
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume*
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood*
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger*
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle**
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar*
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine*
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende*
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume*
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank


* -I have READ

**-I want to READ

How many have you read? Or want to read?

k (My Novelesque Life)

Mystery Monday Review: Broken Promise!

The Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay.
(Promise Falls: #1)
2015, 484 Pages
Genre: mystery, suspense

 Let me first preface this review with the disclaimer that "I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review"; and also, that this book is actually the first in a new series by Barclay (a novella in this series will be out in the new year, Final Assignment).  Barclay has written another series called Zack Walker, which was his debut book - Bad Move. He has also written a novella that he later extended into a full-length novel and two books that also connected - No Time For Goodbye and No Safe Houses. I have read 5 novels and one novella by Barclay and am a fan of his suspense thrillers.
Ah, it is that lovely time of the week where we discuss mysteries!  Today's review is of a suspense thriller,

I enjoy the fast action and the intense suspense of his mysteries. He writes a story of an "every day person" who finds themselves in a bad situation with even worse options to try and get out of it.  It is a throwback to the mysteries of 30s and 40s  (think James M, Cain novels) but with more suspense chills.  I would put him in the same category as my go to suspense/thriller/mystery master, Harlan Coben as they have a similar writing style. 

I was very excited to be approved for an ARC of this newest suspense novel.  It is a longer book with almost 500 pages so I knew I would need a good chunk of time before I started it.  (I am not sure if this length is usual for Barclay but I really noticed how many pages there were in this one).  Barclay is usually a guaranteed "stay-up-till-the-end" kind of author so I was surprised at how long it took me to finish this novel.  The signature suspense, plot and talent are definitely still evident, but oh my gosh, does this book drag with over descriptions.  There were points I wanted to skim past some stuff and found myself shouting "what is going on now" and just doing other things than reading.  Here's the thing...Barclay is going into this series knowing that it is a trilogy and while there are three different "cases" there will also be one overall story arc.  Not that there is anything wrong with that approach, but I felt like he was trying to get too much into this book, to explain everything and anything, that the actual story gets lost sometimes and that is what makes the story drag.

David Harwood (Yikes, I already forgot his name and had to look it up) has lost his wife and his job as a journalist and is now living with his young son at his parents home.  While searching for work he does his mother a favour and delivers some food to his cousin, Marla (I remembered her name!).  When he enters her home he finds her with a baby boy that is not hers...she lost her own daughter in childbirth and has already tried to kidnap another infant. To solve the situation he takes her to the home where the baby belongs, but finds the mother deceased, the nanny missing and his cousin, charged with murder.  Out of guilt and because his mother asked, David now uses his journalist experience to uncover the truth.  Okay so that is the main story in the book...but there are other shifty things happening with almost everyone introduced in this book.  To list them would probably drag this blog.

HOWEVER, I am trusting Mr. Barclay with my time and patience and will be continuing the series.  I have already invested a lot in book one to just abandon ship, and am honestly curious enough to want to know where this is all going.  After reading reviews for Bad Move this just might be his way of starting series - looooooong descriptions with too much going on but not fast enough.  I am taking one for the team- rest of the team being you all- and will keep you posted with this series.  I am hoping that book 2 will have a higher rating than this one.

In the meantime I recommend his standalone novels:
k (My Novelesque Life)

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Freedom to Read: Day 11-13

I am very excited to announce that my book club's next read is O'Pioneers (Book 1) Willa Cather.  I have always wanted to read Willa Cather and found that O'Pioneers was the first novel in the Great Plains trilogy.  This novel is also a banned book (#83 on the frequently banned list on ALA's site)!  A great way to celebrate the freedom to read, tick one more classic book off my list and it also fits the theme for one of my Goodreads group read (American West).

 The synopsis:
O Pioneers! tells the story of the Bergsons, a family of Swedish immigrants in the farm country near the fictional town of Hanover, Nebraska, at the turn of the 20th century. The main character, Alexandra Bergson, inherits the family farmland when her father dies, and she devotes her life to making the farm a viable enterprise at a time when other immigrant families are giving up and leaving the prairie. The novel is also concerned with two romantic relationships, one between Alexandra and family friend Carl Linstrum and another between Alexandra's brother Emil and the married Marie Shabata. - from Wikipedia

I am hoping to finish this novel by the end of the month and will come back to review but also let you know why this book was banned.

 k (My Novelesque Life)