thornton37814's Canadian adventures

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thornton37814's Canadian adventures

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Ago 18, 2009, 2:35pm

I will have to read something by Louise Penny--she is spoken so highly of here.

Ago 18, 2009, 5:55pm

I had read the first two before this year. When the Louise Penny appeared as an early reviewers option, I "caught up" just in case I won a copy. I didn't, but I'm caught up now until the library copy arrives!

Sep 14, 2009, 3:20pm

I updated my list to include my Alberta selection, Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. The majority of the book is set in the town of Grouard in the northern part of Alberta. This is one of the better books that I've read this year. You'll need a few tissues to make it through the book!

Sep 14, 2009, 10:48pm

#4 I loved that book growing up. I totally didn't make the connection that it was set in Canada - even though I know that she was married to a Mountie. Duh. I guess that was back before I used an atlas (or Google maps) as a reading companion!

Oct 18, 2009, 12:18pm

I just completed The Suspect by L. R. Wright for British Columbia. This one is a little different from other mysteries because we know who did it from the beginning. The author seems to combine the cozy, police procedural, and psychological novel to come up with this work. It is set along the "Sunshine Coast" in the town of Sechelt.

Oct 18, 2009, 2:44pm

I'm puzzling why you used scare quotes around Sunshine Coast . . . was it always raining in the book?

Oct 18, 2009, 6:40pm

No particular reason. I guess I was just in a quote-type of mood.

Ene 4, 2010, 10:03pm

I'm still stuck in Quebec. I just finished reading Louise Penny's The Brutal Telling.

Mayo 27, 2010, 6:51am

I read a non-fiction title for Prince Edward Island, Douglas Baldwin's Land of the Red Soil. I wanted to read a title by someone other than L. M. Montgomery for the challenge. I was not all that impressed with the book. My review is here:

Mayo 27, 2010, 10:32am

That's the thing with PEI, isn't it? Lucy Maud Montgomery dominates in our imaginations and it's such a tiny province, without the grand landscape that draws people to write about it.

Mayo 27, 2010, 2:56pm

>11 RidgewayGirl: I've discovered that one of Eric Wright's mysteries is set on PEI, so I hope to read it sometime as well. It's called A Body Surrounded by Water.

Ago 14, 2010, 9:07am

Another Quebec book: Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny. I'm not going to include my full review of the book in this thread because it includes a spoiler if you have not already read The Brutal Telling. I'm just going to say that the author does a marvelous job weaving three story lines into one. I literally stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this novel. Louise Penny has become one of my favorite authors, and this may very well be her best novel to date. If you have not read The Brutal Telling, you need to read it before moving on to this one. My full review is here: I gave it 5 stars.

Editado: Ago 28, 2010, 4:02pm

> 12, 13: Eric Wright's mystery A Body Surrounded by Water is the next book on my tbr pile. I've always enjoyed his books. On the other hand, I've only read Dead Cold by Louise Penny and I didn't care for it much. Maybe I'll try the two you mention here.

Ago 28, 2010, 11:49am

I picked up a copy of Still Life last year, with a great deal of excitement, and ended up giving up after struggling through the first 75 pages. Penny's books are hugely popular, but are not my cup of tea.

Ago 28, 2010, 4:01pm

Thanks RidgewayGirl, it seemed to me that I was the only person who wasn't enthralled with Louise Penny. I'm glad to find out that I'm not. Apart from the detective, I didn't care for any of the characters in Dead Cold and found the plot to be overly complicated. As far as I remember I just rushed through the last few pages to get it over with. I've changed my mind about trying others.

Ago 29, 2010, 12:20pm

15/16 - Yes, thank you! I tried to read one years ago (no idea which one) and hated it. Everyone seems to rave about them but I thought it was horrid. Strange how that happens eh?

Editado: Ago 29, 2010, 2:23pm

Dead Cold reminded me of L.R. Wright mysteries, dark and cold - paradoxically set on the Sunshine Coast, B.C.

ETA: thornton, what did you think of The Suspect by Wright? I see at the top of this thread that it was your choice for B.C.

Ago 30, 2010, 7:50am

>18 VivienneR: It wasn't my favorite book because we knew all along who did it; however, the characters were well-drawn. Here is the link to my full review of The Suspect: I liked Penny's book far better.

Sep 14, 2010, 8:41pm

I read Death of a Sunday Writer by Eric Wright for Ontario. Lucy Brenner runs a bed and breakfast in Longborough and works part-time at the local library. She inherits a distant relative's private detective business in Toronto and decides that she wants to keep it running since she's always enjoyed mystery and detective fiction. She's convinced that her relative was murdered so she sets out to investigate. She discovers her relative was into horse racing and was writing a novel set in that world. The mystery is not strong. Racing is not my thing. I didn't like the main character very much. This book was just not a good fit for me. I gave it what I considered a very generous 2 stars.

Sep 14, 2010, 9:53pm

#20 - Doh! You had me until the last quarter of your review. It sounded like a good premise.

Sep 14, 2010, 10:10pm

>21 Nickelini: You might want to read some other reviews of it elsewhere. I'm sure someone really loved it, but it just was not my type of book, and I can't say too much about the "non-mystery" without giving too much away. It was probably intended as humor, but it didn't strike me as funny and wasn't my type of book.

Ene 3, 2011, 2:50pm

It's been far too long since I read a Canadian book for the challenge, so I wanted to remedy this in the New Year. Part of the problem was that I had not had broad enough categories for my 1010 Challenge and finding books which fit the Canada Challenge and my 1010 Challenge was difficult. I've remedied the situation for the 11 in 11 Challenge so I'm having no difficulty at all fitting it in. My 2nd read of the year was a Canadian book, and I've got my Nunavut read lined up for this month as well.

Nova Scotia: My Famous Evening by Howard Norman. Howard Norman discovered Nova Scotia in the late 1960s while a graduate student working on a folklore project at Indiana University. He's been returning ever since because of his attachment to it. He shares stories with us that he has learned from the locals as well as from his own personal encounters. There is a small thread which each seemingly unrelated story to the other. While I enjoyed Norman's writing, I wasn't particularly drawn into his style of writing. My favorite story was the first which was largely a collection of previously unpublished letters shared with him by the letter writer's sister. Persons with an interest in Joseph Conrad, Elizabeth Bishop, or birding may enjoy the stories featuring each. 3 stars.

Ene 8, 2011, 10:48am

After reading Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy, I want to see this cold frozen land of Victory Point, King William Island, Nunavut; however, I don't think I'm willing to endure the cold to make an actual visit. I think a DVD would be just fine!

Sgt. Kennison, a Mountie, has been sent to Yellowknife, NWT, because of the threat he poses his superiors. When the body of Dr. Kneisser, a scientist researching the Franklin Expedition, and another person turn up dead in Victory Point, King William Island, Nunavut, he is sent to investigate. Meanwhile, Ruby Cruz has been sent by Kneisser's sponsors to fetch him back to the Washington, DC area along with a journal he's discovered. For such a cold and dark destination, there's a surprising amount of action and adventure packed into these pages. I'd love to revisit the characters, but the author's death after completing this book makes that an impossibility. I'll just have to imagine what might have happened. 4 stars.

Feb 14, 2011, 9:09pm

Marking off Newfoundland with The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston. This is a novelized account of Newfoundland's first premier Joseph "Joey" Smallwood. It's a "rags to riches" story with a lot of disappointments for Joe along the way. He made his name in journalism and organized labor unions over the years. I really can't say that I liked Joe's character or his politics, but I do admire his drive. In fact, I'm not sure that I really admired any character in the book. The book is a little long, and the author does lose a little steam as the novel progresses. It's as though more care was taken in the first half to two-thirds of the book, and the author was rushing to meet deadlines and took less care later. Still it's an interesting story of how Newfoundland came to be a Canadian province. 4 stars.

Feb 20, 2011, 8:05am

25: Great review, thanks! I will have to look out for that book.

Feb 20, 2011, 11:13pm

I had been wondering about Darkness at the Stroke of Noon, I think I will have to add it to my ever growing wishlist. Thanks!

Feb 24, 2011, 10:00pm

Marking off Manitoba with I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby. Mary-Ann Kirkby tells about her childhood growing up on a Hutterite colony in Manitoba. Then she tells of her family's removal from the colony, and their gradual progress in integrating with the "English" in the community in which they lived. Because the Hutterites practiced communal living, leaving the colony was a very difficult decision for the family, but one which her parents knew was correct. They lived in poverty. As she described the meals they ate as a family after striking out on their own, my stomach churned just thinking about it. Fortunately things did improve for their large family within a few years. This was an interesting look at a religious group about which I knew very little. 4 stars.

Feb 27, 2011, 10:48am

I took a little revisit to British Columbia with an ARC that I got through NetGalley.

Among the Departed by Vicki Delany - When RCMP officer Adam Tocek along with his girlfriend Constable Molly Smith of the Trafalgar police locate a boy who wandered from his campsite in the nearby provincial park, they happen across some human bones. The first person that pops into Molly's mind is the father of one of her childhood friends who went missing about 15 years earlier. Can the bones be identified? Was foul play involved? If so, who committed the deed and why? It will be up to Molly's colleagues to find out. I loved the characters of Adam and Molly and of most of the people in the town. They were quite fun and pleasant. This novel, however, did have a few problems. The one that nagged at me from early in the book is an error which showed poor research on the part of the author. They were discussing the find of the bones and how identification could be made through DNA. One of the characters made the statement that mitochondrial DNA could be collected for comparison. Then they went to the son of the person to whom they believed the bones belonged to attempt to collect a sample. Mitochondrial DNA is passed along by the mother instead of the father, so the son would not have been a match had he agreed to give a sample. Instead, they should have been collecting a sample from a sibling of the person. Fortunately, the son refused to give a sample, and they ended up making identification through dental records, so I didn't have to congratulate them upon finding their mother's brother. There were a few proofreading errors that would not have been caught by spell check that were present. I'm also pretty sure that the dish one of the characters enjoyed while dining was huevos rancheros instead of huveros rancheros as the book stated. In spite of the problems, the characters make this an enjoyable read. This review is based on an Advanced Readers Copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 3 stars.

Feb 27, 2011, 4:45pm

Thanks for those reviews! I had no idea NetGalley even existed, I am going to have to investigate further. What did you think of it?

Feb 27, 2011, 5:37pm

I enjoyed the Delany book, but I could never quite get past that factual DNA error. It made me look for other things to question. I hope they correct it before it is published in May. If they had just left it at DNA -- with no reference to mtDNA, I would have never questioned their comparing the bone sample to the son's. However, with the reference to mtDNA, I knew they were trying to collect a sample from the wrong person. Since the only sibling of the man mentioned lives across the country in Toronto, it's going to be difficult for them to change it because he has no reason to refuse the sample. I really enjoyed the mystery otherwise. I wasn't too thrilled with some of the "crime themes" in the book, but they were handled well. I actually hope to read some of the earlier installments in the series.

As far as NetGalley, this one was downloadable on my Kindle since it was a drm-free PDF from Poisoned Pen Press. I much preferred the font size on the first and last pages of each chapter because I had it set on "fit to screen" so that I wouldn't have to do a lot of scrolling. The font was a little smaller than I would have liked on the internal pages, but it was manageable. Fortunately, the Kindle button is supposed to be back next month for most NetGalley books, I think. I have read a couple of NetGalley books on my iPhone with the Bluefire app. It's not bad, but I prefer my Kindle.

Feb 27, 2011, 5:47pm

I also have a Kindle so that is useful information thank you! Are the books handled in a similar manner to Librarything?

Editado: Feb 27, 2011, 6:48pm

No - you request the books you wish to review. Different publishers have different guidelines. Some allow anyone to download. Generally they are review copies for librarians, and they expect you to publish to a blog, LibraryThing, etc. and want a link to where you will publish. I scheduled the blog post for the above book for May 1 since the book doesn't come out until May 11. I told them when I had it scheduled to run. By the way, I've been approved for all the books I've requested, so don't get too "trigger-happy." I have heard of people not being approved, but it's rare.

Feb 27, 2011, 10:19pm

Hmmmm I don't have a book blog, I just review on librarything. Will still check it out. Thanks!

Mar 3, 2011, 7:41pm

>31 thornton37814: I too have enjoyed a couple of Delany's books. My problem is that I live in the area where the Mollie Smith stories are set and I just can't relate the stories with the locale. I expect this happens no matter where the setting might be - the locals will never see their own town. And I realize that a fictionalized town is necessarily different, but it grates somehow.

Sad that she made the factual error you describe. Something like that can discourage me from ever again picking up a book by the author.

Mar 3, 2011, 10:38pm

I have only my imagination and a couple of friends' stories with which to compare the locale. I will have to admit though that I'm very critical of stories set in places I've lived or lived near as well though, so I can understand your thoughts on locales not always ringing true.

Editado: Mar 3, 2011, 10:53pm

I must I must update my Canadian journey too. Thanks Thornton

Wouldn't the mother's brother and the mother have identical mtDNA? My brother and I share the same mtDNA passed down the maternal side from my mother. I've passed my mtDNA along to my sons, but the passage stops there, only a daughter can pass mtDNA along further. Anyway I've read two books in the Molly Smith series and plan to read the others so I'll see for myself if there is indeed a factual error in the story. I haven't noticed any blatant errors in her stories before this.

I just finished reading 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs, which is set in Montreal btw, and which also uses mtDNA to make an identification from an old skeleton. Sometimes mtDNA is the only DNA that is collectable in older bone specimens.

Mar 4, 2011, 6:12pm

Yes. The mother's brother and mother would have identifical mtDNA. mtDNA is passed on by the female -- so you are looking at mother's mother's mother's mother . . .

The problem with the Delany book is that the person being tested was the son of a male victim. He would have been a Y-DNA match (and shown similarities in autosomal DNA), but the chances of the deceased having the same mtDNA as his wife is very remote (although not impossible if the right cousins intermarried at the right time).

Jun 8, 2011, 9:57am

Marking off Yukon with Journey by James Michener. Lord Luton and his party leave England headed for the gold fields in Dawson in the Yukon. They are determined to stick to a route which will take them only through Canada. It's an interesting account of how his determination to stick to this route against advice he receives of those more familiar with the territory imperils the members of his party and leads to the death of some. Toward the end of the book, poetry from Palgrave's Golden Treasury is included in the book. This was a book that one of the members of the party had brought along with them. As a book lover, I really appreciated that he asked each member of the party to purchase two books to bring along on the expedition. These would help them pass the time in the long winter and stimulate their minds. Although we learn what some of these books were, I would have loved to know what the others were. Michener has never been my favorite author, but this is one of his better stories. 3.5 stars.

Jun 19, 2011, 4:04pm

This book in buried in mount TBR so I thank you for the review! I agree, I would really love to know what the books were. If you like books that discuss books you would enjoy that aspect of Late Nights on Air.

Jun 19, 2011, 4:40pm

I'll have to add that one to my wish list!

Jul 17, 2011, 7:45am

Northwest Territories: Far North by Will Hobbs - 10th grader Gabe Rogers heads to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories to be nearer his father who is drilling for diamonds in a remote region. After his mother's death nine years earlier, he's lived primarily with his grandparents in Texas. He wants to see the north about which his dad talks. At his boarding school, his roommate is a boy from one of the Dene villages. Gabe's father arranges for Gabe to fly with a bush pilot one weekend. The flight just happens to be when his roommate Raymond decides to return to his village along with Johnny Raven, an older man from the village who had been in the hospital in Yellowknife. The pilot makes some unwise decisions and suddenly only Gabe, Raymond, and Johnny are left to survive in the extreme cold. It's a great story of survival for middle age readers, especially boys. The story kept me captivated. I stayed up later than I had intended just to finish the story in one sitting. 4.5 stars.

Ago 6, 2011, 9:20pm

That book sounds like fun! It is on my to read list and is at my local library.. may have to pick up a copy this winter :)

Ago 6, 2011, 10:13pm

Hope you enjoy it!

Ago 28, 2011, 8:50pm

Filling in Saskatchewan: Who Has Seen the Wind by W. O. Mitchell - This is the story of Brian O'Connal's childhood in a small town on the Saskatchewan prairie. It's full of memorable characters and even some amusing scenes in the life of a small town. I especially enjoyed Brian's first visit to the farm when he lived with his uncle for a time. The dialect sometimes made it difficult to read, but it's a book that would make a terrific read aloud for elementary aged children. The physical dimensions of the book I borrowed through interlibrary loan made it somewhat uncomfortable to read, but the illustrations made up for it. 3.5 stars.

Sep 27, 2011, 10:34am

Based on some comments made in this challenge, I had expected Windflower by Gabrielle Roy to be set in Labrador. As I looked at the mentions of the setting in Fort Chimo and along the Koksoak River, I discovered it was actually set in Quebec's Nunavik region. However, this book is so strong that I wanted to mention it and include my review here (even if I do have to find another book set in Labrador).

Windflower by Gabrielle Roy - This is the story of an Eskimo woman living in northern Quebec's Nunavit region, specifically in Fort Chimo along the Koksoak River, who becomes pregnant by an American serviceman. She did not know the soldier's name because it was a difficult name for her. She refused to name the soldier, even though she recognized him, because she realized he would be disciplined for his conduct. The story is also about her son Jimmy's growth and coming of age. This is a beautiful story with rich language that paints a picture of the harsh life in the Arctic regions of Quebec. The attitudes of the people in that area along with the clashes in cultures between the white man and the natives is also depicted. The novel does a good job of showing the role of religion and the clergy in the area. This is a book that deserves a much wider audience. 4.5 stars.

Sep 27, 2011, 11:32am

Thanks for your comments on Windflower--I'm adding it to my wishlist. I read her Garden in the Wind (similar title!), and so I have an idea on how this story would sound. She's a fabulous writer.

Sep 27, 2011, 2:28pm

>46 thornton37814: Thanks for that information. I've moved Windflower to my Quebec list. That leaves my Labrador list with only one book So few on earth : a Labrador Métis woman remembers by Josie Penny which I enjoyed very much.

Sep 27, 2011, 6:32pm

Joyce - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I have another of her books on my wish list, and I think it's just been promoted to a higher priority!

Vivienne - I decided to download a free title for my Kindle to fill the Labrador category. I downloaded four, but I know which one is my first choice. I'm a little hesitant when the books are older titles. Some are more readable than others. I figured that at least one of these four would hold my attention.

Sep 29, 2011, 8:18pm

Labrador: The Moravians in Labrador by an anonymous author - This book, written by an unknown person and published in the mid 1830s, details the missionary efforts of the Moravian Church among the Esquimaux (aka Eskimo) people of Labrador. The work details what like was like among the natives and missionaries. Food was sometimes difficult to come by. After the Moravian missionaries had been there a few years, they finally got to the point that a ship arrived from England once a year. The hardships were incredible, but the Moravians did appear to have a great deal of success in evangelizing the Eskimos. There seemed to be quite a bit of repetition in the book, and there was a lot of what I would call "padding" or "fluff" in the text by including conversations, particularly those of a spiritual nature, which probably were not exactly as they are written. I would have preferred a more concisely written historical account. It's difficult to provide a rating to a book that was written in another time and probably for another purpose other than that which I read it. In the end, I chose to rate it by today's standards. While the book contains glimpses into the culture and into the evangelization efforts, there is little here that would compel an individual to read this account. A journal article or book essay containing the essence of the historical and cultural nuggets and written in a style more engaging for late 20th or early 21st century readers would be much more engaging. 2.5 stars.

Oct 14, 2011, 2:09pm

New Brunswick - The Midnight Tunnel by Angie Frazier - Suzanna "Zanna" Snow lives in Loch Harbor, New Brunswick where her parents manage a hotel where wealthy New Englanders come to vacation annually for the entire summer. Her uncle is a famous detective in Boston, and Suzanna desires to be like him. She reads detective novels and keeps a notebook to record her observations. It's about the best she can hope for since nothing exciting ever happens where she lives. Then, one of the hotel guests goes missing. Suzanna begins her investigation even before her famous uncle arrives to conduct the official investigation. He arrives with an apprentice, about her age. Suzanna continues her investigation, partnering with the young apprentice. This is a novel that fourth and fifth graders will probably enjoy. I disliked the use of Tarot in the story line and wished that the author had not used this, because it is not a book that I, as a Christian, can recommend. Otherwise, it is a great read for those who enjoy Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew type books. 2.5 stars.

Oct 14, 2011, 2:10pm

I got a little "quick" on the draw and forgot to add: This completes my Canadian challenge.

Oct 18, 2011, 6:54am

Congratulations! I enjoyed following your progress and reading your reviews. What's next in your plans?

Oct 18, 2011, 8:55am

I have one book left in my 50 states challenge (which I'm currently reading). I have tons of books left in the Europe Endless Challenge, so my goal next year is to make significant progress on that one. I'll be participating in the 12-12 challenge and in the 75 books group next year as well.

Oct 22, 2011, 2:47am

Congratulations on completing the challenge. I appreciated your reviews and your suggestions. I took your advice and downloaded a couple of Gutenberg books for Labrador. Although I completed the challenge I'm hooked now and always on the lookout for more material.

Oct 22, 2011, 8:28am

I will definitely continue to read Canadian authors. I'd already discovered Louise Penny before I started this challenge, but I've discovered authors like Gabrielle Roy that I want to continue to read. I also want to read Bachelor Brothers Bed and Breakfast soon. It's sitting out, and I hope to get to it next month.

Feb 12, 2012, 4:19pm

Just catching up.. congratulations! I am glad that you enjoyed Windflower, it is still one of my favourite Canadian reads.