Books I Want to Read – Digest from around the Web

I haven’t been getting anything done on my own reading because there is so little time. If I can read for 10 minutes, that’s like a vacation. I’m into 4 books right now, so that’s 5-10 minutes in one of those per day.

But I sometimes get a few minutes to read a review, so I thought I’d post a snippet or two of some that interested me. And, I won’t always be so insanely busy. Each of these books is going on my reading/buying list after seeing these reviews.


The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Reviewed by Margaret Smith at the, this is the story of recovering vampires. With the help of Father Ramon, these vampires are struggling to end their blood-sucking ways. Then they find one of their members murdered.

And so a murder mystery unfolds, drawing the others together, threatening to tear them apart (literally – there is a werewolf in the picture, among other hazards) and perhaps making their condition more bearable – if they survive a staking, that is.

Witty and fast-paced, with morbid wit that evokes the spirit of Agatha Christie, “The Reformed Vampire Support Group,” by Australian author Catherine Jinks, is among the more original of the crimson wave of vampire novels for youths and teens in the wake of the “Twilight” series.

But, rather than going the romantic or melodramatic route, the book takes the less-than-serious approach. The vampires are able to regard their state with a sense of humor about pretty much everything, including stereotypes about Dracula and velvet capes.

house of dark shadows

House of Dark Shadows: Dreamhouse Kings Book I

by by Robert Liparulo.
This intriguing review is from the one and only Library Lounge Lizard, whose blog I’ve not visited before today. I liked this review, and it made me want to really get my hands on this book. Here’s a bit of what the Library Lounge Lizard has to say about House of Shadows: Dreamhouse Kings Book I:

What we have here is an intense and gripping novel for teens. There were times in the book that I found myself reading so fast to find out what happens that I ended up having to re-read parts because I knew I probably missed something, I had to make myself slow down a little! The house itself is an absorbing setting, rich with details that definitely add to the overall creepiness factor. But the heart of this story is the King family themselves. Wonderful character development had me caring and concerned about what happened to each and every one of them.

So if you haven’t guessed yet, yes I loved this book, Mr. Liparulo is a great writer! It is well paced enough to keep you turning the pages and there are some genuine surprises here! There is just enough gore and violence to keep it PG-13 but enough to make you grimace a time or two. With the well rounded plot this book has wide appeal but is a sure hit with middle school boys who are often a difficult audience to please!

The Secret Shortcut

by Mark Teague.
Here we have a review by Laurie Mayhew from She selected this on the pretense that it makes a good book to help our young’uns to set their minds back to school. There are no such books! But there are fun books that concern school. Here’s one. This is some of what secret_shortcutLaurie has to say:

This is a hilarious tale about Wendel and Floyd who always show up late for school. With aliens and pirates to circumvent, it is no wonder they are late. But their teacher, Mrs. Gernsblatt, has had it with their crazy excuses. They need to be on time . . . OR ELSE!
They start out early with the best intentions and decide to take the secret shortcut to be certain to get there on time. Jungles and crocodiles and rope bridges stand in their way, but they are determined to make it on time.
Will they make it? The hilarious result is squishy but satisfying.

Mark Teague is a big favorite at our house. And since Back-to-School shopping is the rage with Mom and the girls, I can slip this in. Laurie gave me the excellent, albeit false, excuse that this will prepare them for returning to drudgery. I can bet, too, that if it weren’t about 4 miles to their school, they’d like to walk there after reading this book, if the cover of The Secret Shortcut is any clue.

This last book has a boat on the cover, therefore it meets all criteria for being a good book. But there’s more. The review is written by the author’s daughter, so you know the reviewer loves, I mean reeeaaaally loves this book. Unfortunately, the review is reeeaaaally short, too. I would like to know more, but the cover, reeeaaaally is enough for me. I’m sure your reeeaaaally tired of this so here is the info:

Pirate’s Passage

by William Gilkerson

Pirates_passageReviewer Anna Gilkerson says nice things about her dad’s book. But don’t rely just on Anna. Pirate’s Passage won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature in 2006. That makes it one of those Canadian books. Anna says:

The old bias goes: pirates were the bad boys who robbed and pillaged the innocent. In William Gilkerson’s beautifully illustrated page turner, “Pirate’s Passage,” the story follows young Jim and his mysterious mentor Captain Johnson in 1950’s Nova Scotia. A rich education coated in adventure—ideal for children or adults who find themselves in need of some sea-worthy fun-yet-educational-yet-fun reading.

She also tells us, that this book was made into a 10-part animated feature with Donald Sutherland as the voice of the Captain, who is the one telling the tale. I’m salivating over the cover of this book. I’m itching to find a copy of this film. This is going onto the top of my wishlist/gotta read list. You can tell, I’m like Ratty. Nothing beats messing around in boats.

And go here to Gilkerson’s website to read some more about this book, as well as some of his others.

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