Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Canadian”

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #10: The Blythes Are Quoted: Anne of Green Gables Series, Book 9 by L. M. Montgomery

The Blythes Are Quotes coverI was excited to finally get to this after having been a fan of the Anne of Green Gables series for as long as I can remember. The Foreword says, “The Blythes Are Quoted is the last work of fiction the world-famous author of Anne of Green Gables prepared for publication before her untimely death on April 24, 1942…. The typescript was delivered to Montgomery’s publisher on the day she died—by whom we do not know; Montgomery evidently intended it for publication, since it is amended in her hand-writing.” This is the first printing that includes Montgomery’s entire manuscript. It is speculated that earlier printings removed some things that were felt to be anti-war at a time when patriotism was heavily favoured.

I had read enough about this last book beforehand to know to expect something very different. That certainly was the case. Calling it “Book 9” in the series, is really only because of when it occurs chronologically and that the Blythe family is connected in some ways. However, if you expect a continuation of the stories in the vein of the rest of series, you will be disappointed.

Rather than a novel following the Blythes as they grow up, this book is a compilation of short stories and poems. Most of the short stories are about people unrelated to the Blythe family who gossip about the Blythes at some point to keep that connection to Anne. In true gossip fashion, some of it is true and some not, but if you know the rest of the series you will know which is which. Sometimes a family member is also a very minor character. The poems are scattered in the gaps between short stories and are mostly attributed to Anne in little scenes of discussion about the poem and family with Gilbert and the beloved family housekeeper, Susan. The others are attributed to Anne and Gilbert’s middle son, Walter.

Even though it is not a true continuation of the series, it makes the most sense to read this after the others in the series to know who the Blythe family is when they are mentioned and to understand the grief of the family that is mentioned when talking about a lot of the poems. You have to be paying close attention though to get the details about marriages and grandchildren that are scattered throughout.

Read the rest of the review at Loopy Ker’s Life

One of the things that I am enjoying most about this Cannonball Read IV challenge is how it lets me track my reading patterns. I tend to go in themes or off on tangents. My current thread of reading books about demons, demigods and other things that might go bump in the night reminded me of something in an older tale by Charles de Lint. I scurried down to my bookcases in the basement to reread this incredible tale of the supernatural and Gypsy culture penned by one of Canada’s best fantasy authors in the mid-eighties.

Mulengro is a tale of dark magic set in Canada’s capital city and into the Ontario countryside. A series of murders is baffling the police and haunting the Romany community. The police think that a serial killer is on the loose but the Gypsies know better. Something is stalking them and any who get in the way. Their name for this darkness is He Who Walks With Ghosts….Mulengro.

You can find the rest of my review and the ISBN number for this amazing book on my Book Hoarding Dragon blog.

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #23 Sunburst by Phyllis Gotlieb

My favourite book of all time was written the year before I was even born. My copy of Sunburst is yellow with age and bears the astonishing price of 40 cents on the cover.  Some of the pages are starting to rip, so I read it each time with the utmost reverence and the shiver of apprehension that someday the book will fall completely apart.

Perhaps the  lines from the first page drew me in… “She was still a very tall cranelike girl, rather sallow, with narrow torso in a navy sweatshirt and long bluejean legs like articulated stovepipes.”  It is Shandy Johnson’s thirteenth birthday at the beginning of the book.  I was the same age when I first opened the pages of Sunburst and 6’2” in my bare feet. I  fell head over heels into this adventure about a community outside Chicago that had been closed off from the rest of the world after a nuclear accident at their plant.  Years later, just as the danger seemed to be fading came the terrible and violent night that revealed the radiation had caused a deeper mutation in children of the plant workers.  Some of them had developed psi powers that allowed them to read minds, teleport, twist metal and more.  Their rage sweept through Sorrel Park, forming them into a pack of frustrated, delinquent teens who were stopped and ultimately placed in the only prison that will hold them… a place that became known as The Dump.

Sunburst opens 8 years later on the day of Shandy’s birthday when Jason Hemmer, the Dumper’s Peeper who patrols Sorrel Park looking for people with rogue psi powers, whistles at her because she has something even rarer… she is an Imper… impervious to having her mind read or even sometimes being noticed.  Shandy is brought in for observation unwillingly yet soon becomes embroiled in the lives of those trying to protect Sorrel Park.  She is swept along as she tries to figure out who she is becoming and how her own unique abilities will be able to help those she is beginning to care about.

Phyllis Gotlieb, Canadian science-fiction novelist and poet, passed away in 2009 at the age of 83.  Sunburst was her second novel and her Sunburst Award continues to recognize and honour one speculative fiction novel or book-length collection every year.

Sunburst is short by today’s book standards and yet it contains all of the key ingredients for a true classic: strong characters, a unique setting, captivating plot twists and a rich, satisfying ending that allows a reader to wander off imagining other possibilities.  Every time I read this book, I am ensnared by the tale. I remember the sensation of feeling different , like you don’t quite belong, that Shandy wrestles with and which Phyllis Gotlieb does such a wonderful job of expressing. That alone makes this story timeless and powerful for any teenager.

Paperback format, 160 pages, published in 1964 by Fawcett Publications

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #11 End of Days by Eric Walters

 End of Days by Eric Walters

I picked End of Days up at a Scholastic Book Fair late this fall and tucked it away as a Christmas gift for my girls. My daughter in Grade 7 told me that many of her friends had read it and raved about it.  That was enough to pique my curiosity, so I put on my warm jammies last night as the temperature plunged to -17 Celsius and curled up in bed to read it.  If not for the grumbles of my husband, I might have stayed up to finish the book because it was VERY hard to put it down.

Imagine that one of the space probes sent from Earth to explore the galaxy suddenly appears to be returning to earth.  Scientists deduce that it has been captured by the gravitational force of something very, VERY large that is now heading towards Earth on a collision course that will impact with our planet 24 years in the future.  Suddenly, important scientists appear to be dying, but in reality they are being whisked away to a secret location to work on a plan to stop the asteroid.  Throw in other groups with different agendas, a brilliant narrative where some chapters begin with T-Minus 17 years, T-Minus 1 year etc. and it is easy to see why I had to finish the book this morning.  Getting other work out of the way so that I could write this review actually took longer.

Canadian author Eric Walters knows how to tell a story from many points of view without every having the narrative feel choppy or disjointed.  The combination of apocalypse and conspiracy theory themes makes this book a perfect one to recommend for the Cannonball Read IV challenge and a great addition to any library.  Classified as YA fiction, this book has enough action and intrigue to satisfy any adult reader who “borrows” it from their teenagers bookcase.  If you live outside Canada, I highly recommend buying this book from Amazon if you can’t find it at your local bookstore!

Paperback format, 316 pages, 2011 by Doubleday Canada

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