I love and hate cliffhangers

Ranger’s Apprentice, The Royal Ranger, The Red Fox Clan by John Flanagan; 2018; $18.99; 346 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-1-5247-4138-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, North Portland; 1/21/19-1/23/19

Why did I read this?   Because I really enjoy reading the stories of John Flanagan.

This is the opposite end of the time spectrum from the last book I read.  In The Battle of Hackham Heath we were introduced to Will Treaty, now he is one of the senior Rangers in the Corp.  He is now training his own apprentice, Maddie.  What very people few know is that Maddie is actually the Princess Madelyn.  This gives the story an added layer as Maddie’s alter ego is able to gain intelligence as people think she is a typical spoiled Princess who is not very intelligent.  Their is a movement afoot who are trying to bring down the royal family.  Maddie is in an interesting predicament at the end of the story.  Her mother is trapped in a tower of her own castle while her father and most of the castle’s garrison are away and trapped in another fort in the far country. This story ends on a severe cliffhanger.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  I like cliffhangers because they make me very interested in reading the next book, but I hate them because they don’t bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion.  The sequel is already out in Australia but won’t be published in the United States until May. However it looks like I may be getting it via China  a few months early.

Halt finds Will

Ranger’s Apprentice, The Early Years, The Battle of Hackham Heath by John Flannagan; 2016; $18.99; 346 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-16362-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 1/18/19-1/21/19

Why did I read this? Because I have read most of the rest of the Ranger’s Apprentice series.  I missed two Ranger’s book and a Brotherband books, so I am catching up on the books.

The evil Baron has retreated to the mountains and enlisted some almost mindless man beasts to fight with him against King Duncan.  Halt goes up the mountain to find out what he can about the Baron’s plans and about the troops he is assembling.  Through an awesome battle and through some great reconnaissance Halt becomes the most respected Ranger in the kingdom.  This is another great story of the Kingdom of Araulen, Halt, Crowley and introduces us to Will Treaty.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  The main character in the main Ranger’s Apprentice series is Will Treaty, and we get introduced briefly to him at the conclusion of this story.

 

 

fun and nonsense

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente; 2011;$16.99; 247 pages; Feiwel and Friends, New York, NY; 978-0-312-64961-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 1/14/19-1/18/19

Why did I read this?  Because my good friend and fellow mega reader Amanda Banker recommended it.

One night as she is doing the dishes September accepts an invitation from the Green Wind to ride him to Fairyland.  She accepts and begins a series of adventures that she survives by her wits and ingenuity.  She is tasked with the dictatorial leader of Fairyland, The Marquess, to bring a sword back to her.  There are all kinds of challenges that September must conquer using her mind even more than her strength.  Her most important weapon is indeed her mind. The friends that September makes throughout the book are awesome, especially A through L, the Wyvern. It was fun but not something that made me want to read the rest of the series.

7/10

What is with the title of the review?  The story is full of fun elements and some of the fun is in the nonsensical storytelling.

two for the price of one is not always a good thing

Prarie Fires, The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls WIlder by Caroline Fraser; 2017; $35.00; 625 pages; Metropolitan Books, New York, NY; 978-1-62779-9; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale; 7/14/2018-1/14/2019

Why did I read this?  Because in 2016 I decided that I would read the 5 books that won Pultizer Prizes each year, Biography, Non Fiction, Poetry, Fiction and History.  This is the Biography winner for 2018.

This is the true story of a story that many of us of a certain age think we know either from reading the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder or watching Little House on the Prairie.  The books turn out to be somewhat fictionalized and the television show was more about Michael Landon’s ego than being faithful to the fictionalized stories.   Laura Wilder embellished much of her life and ignored other parts of her life.  She wrote what agreed with her personal and political philosophies.  Many of her story was rewritten in cooperation with her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was a friend of Ayn Rand.   Rose had no compunction about fictionalizing anything she wrote whether it was her own story or those of others.  She wrote several biographies of people who were famous at the time and made up incidents in their lives.  She was challenged by the subjects but often ignored them.  Unfortunately a book I wanted to read to learn about Laura Ingalls Wilder went too far afield.  I thought this was too convoluted and often off on tangents.

7/10

What is with the title of the review?  This turns out to be a biography of both Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, only one whom I wanted to learn about.

so quickly

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough; 2015; $30.00; 320 pages; Simon & Schuster, New York, NY; 978-1-4767-2874-2; purchased from the Friends of the Multnomah County Library; 12/18/18-12/27/18

Why did I read this?  This is the January selection of the Corner Reading Society which will be meeting at our house next Saturday for dinner, discussion and voting.

Two unassuming and humble brothers who were bicycle manufacturers  became the first men to fly in a motorized flying machine and started a revolution in transportation.  When they put their minds to something they made it happen, and they did not do it for glory or riches but to accomplish their goal  As much as this is the story of two brothers it is also the story of a supportive family, especially Oroville and Wilbur’s father and sister, Katherine. The brothers failed at several attempts but learned from each of those failures and built what they needed to be successful.  They even built a miniature wind tunnel to design the best shape for the wings of their plane.   This was a most impressive biography in that it was both concise and complete, not veering off on too many tangents, however it provides a good telling of the context of the times and circumstances surrounding the Wright Brothers.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  It has only been 116 years since the Wright Brothers made their first flight and in that time humans have flown around the world, accomplished all kinds of records, (unfortunately) militarized the airship, and even flown to the moon.

santini redux

The Guilty by David Baldacci; 2015; $28.00; 420 pages; Grand Central Publishing; New York, NY; 978-1-4555-8642-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Technical Services; 12/13/18-12/17/18

Why did I read this?  Because I really like David Baldacci as a storyteller and am trying to read as many of his books as I can.

Will Robie is a United States government sanctioned hit man, who is having trouble completing the tasks he is assigned after a assignment involves the accidental taking of an innocent live.  Robie mental stability is called into question, mainly by himself, so he decides to take some time off.  As he does he finds out that his father has been charged with murder and won’t defend himself.  Robie goes to a small town in Mississippi that he left 20 years ago and barely looked back at.  He finds himself locked in a fierce argument that began more that 20 years ago when he was a headstrong teenager.  As Robie investigates the  murder there are so many twists and turns that you will feel like you are on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride but it is pitch black and you can’t see what is coming.  The twists turn Robie upside down and inside out. but help he and his father work through their problems.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Will Robie’s father is a retired Marine, who is very similar to Pat Conroy’s Great Santini and like Santini changes later in his life.

State, City and Family Connections

The Wizard of Foz, Dick Fosbury’s One Man High Jump Revolution by Dick Fosbury with Bob Welch; 2018; $24.99; 262 pages; Skyhorse Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-5107-3619-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library,Central; 12/3/18-12/13/18

Why did I read this?  Because Dick Fosbury is from Oregon and he (and some lesser known folk) revolutionized one event in track and field.

One day at Medford High School (that is in Oregon) a teenager tried something different to get over the high jump bar.  He did it because he wanted to stay on the track team and wasn’t having much success with the traditional straddle method.  From 1965 to 1968 he went from barely being on his high school track to setting national, world and Olympic records.  He made the 1968 Olympic Team beating out more established high jumpers and won the Gold Medal in the High Jump at the Mexico City games.  Some of the events at the ’68 Olympics opened his eyes to racism and affected him when he returned to Oregon State University after the Olympics.  Now most , if not all, high jumpers go over the bar in the manner of Dick Fosbury, creator of the Fosbury Flop.  Dick Fosbury has not let this one event define his life as he has gone on to do so much more.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Fosbury is from Medford. Oregon which is where many of my relatives on both sides of my family are from.  I have several cousins who also attended Medford High School,  My Uncle Floyd and Aunt Jody taught Dick’s parents how to square dance.  Fosbury attended Oregon State University and I have a sister who has worked there for twenty years or more.  There were people and places in the book that I have met or been too.

 

down to three

The Three Secret Cities by Matthew Reilly; 2018; $26.99; 436 pages; Gallery Books, New York, NY; 978-1-5011-6719-5; checked out from Multmomah County Library, Midland; 12/7/18-12/9/18

Why did I read this?  Because it was the only thing that Matthew Reilly hadn’t read yet, plus he is a great storyteller, mixing the fantastical with reality.

Captain Jack West won the contest of champions in Four Legendary Kingdoms  and has upset some very powerful people from the past and present.  Jack and crew have to find three secret cities (guess that is where the title comes from) and perform specific tasks to prevent a global apocalypse while battling several different groups who want them dead for a variety of reasons.  Jack West would make a great movie, but each book is so complicated that you really couldn’t bring them to the screen.  Jack and his supporting characters are a great family of characters.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  This series started with a seven in the title and we are now down to three, so the next book will be two something.

still making me cry

Where the River Ends by Charles Martin; 2008; $19.95; 375 pages; Broadway Books; New York, NY; 978-0-7679-2698-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library; 12/3/18-12/7/18

Why did I read this?  Because I learn something each time I read a Charles Martin book.

An artist from the wrong side of the tracks, (maybe on the wrong side of a couple of sets of tracks), falls in love with a supermodel with an arrogant rich, powerful father.  They marry and fall in love and help each other learn about themselves and others.  The supermodel comes down with terminal cancer and she and her husband begin to fight in a way that makes absolutely no sense to her powerful senatorial father.  One of the items on her bucket list is to canoe down the St. Mary’s River with her husband.  As they canoe down the river, they reflect on their lives together as she get progressively closer and closer to entering the final chapter of her.  Meanwhile her overbearing father has accused his son in law of kidnapping and more.   It is a moving tribute to real love and how that can teach someone what real love is.  If you truly love someone what would you do for them?

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Every Charles Martin book that I have read has caused me to cry somewhere in the story.

there really is no there there

Past Tense by Lee Child; 2018; $28.99; 382 pages; Delacorte Press, New York, NY; 978-0-399-59351-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Kenton; 11/30/18-12/3/18

Why did I read this?  I am a big fan of Lee Child and his creation, Jack Reacher and try to read them all.

Reacher is trying to get warm and heads for San Diego from New England.  He is distracted by a road sign that is for the town his father grew up in.  As usual there is trouble wherever Reacher travels. The town where Reachers father grew up is gone, now private property and returned to nature.  There are trees growing through the buildings.  Meanwhile what is left of Reachers family in the area, has started a hunting refuge for the wealthy.  Have to keep it quiet though, they are hunting the poor.  People are lured in and then hunted, but Reacher is there to help them.  As if that  is not enough Reacher has pissed off a mob boss from Boston and he is sending people to take out Reacher.  Oh and it appears that Reachers father, whom he thought was dead, may have returned to life.  Wow and somehow it all works together, remember Reacher does not look like that little actor that portrayed him and is much tougher than Ethan Hunt.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Gertrude Stein once said of her hometown, “there is no there there”, because the town no longer existed.  As Reacher looks for the town his father grew  up in, it is no longer there, nature has taken it back.

 

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