The entire catalog of Rod’s book reviews and blog over the years has been turned into a downloadable pdf document. The document is 1,535 pages and over 85 MB. Downloading may take some time depending on the speed of your internet connection.
This site will no longer be available as of July 28th, 2019
End Game by David Baldacci; 2017; $29.00; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-4555-8660-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 2/8/19-2/12/19
Why did I read this? Because David Baldacci and his characters engage me in such a way that I am interested in constantly reading more of their adventures.
Will Robie and Jessica Reel have been become fond of their boss, known as Blue Man. When Blue Man goes missing in a small Colorado town the head of their agency details them to go and find him. When they get to Blue Man’s hometown they begin to discover much they didn’t know about their boss. They encounter preppers, white supremacists, and people who just want to be left alone among others. People turn out not to be who they seem to be and their are shifting alliances. Reel and Robie put their particular skills to use to investigate and rescue Blue Man along with a whole host of others. Feelings between Robie and Reel come to the forefront and make their status with the agency unknown.
What is with the title of the review? Reel and Robie’s relationship with each has progressed to a point that I am unsure of how the series will continue. It will be interesting where their creator takes them next.
the next person you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom; 2018; $23.99; 213 pages; Harper, New York, NY; 978-0-229944-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, North Portland; 1/28/19-1/28/19
Why did I read this? It is a sequel and a tie in to Mitch Albom’s previous book The Five People you Meet in Heaven.
A character who was central to the events of The Five People You Meet in Heaven the main character here as they enter heaven. Here they get to meet people who directly and indirectly affected their life. Well written it shows how what we do can affect others that we may not even realize. No one is an island we are all interconnected.
What is with the title of the review? It got me to wondering who affected my life that I haven’t realized and whose life have I affected.
Crucible by James Rollins; 2019; $29.99; 461 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-238178-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 2/5/19-2/8/19
Why did I read this? I really like the characters in the Sigma Force books and Rollins tells great stories that mesh history with current events.
On Christmas Eve Grey arrives home to find his pregnant girlfriend missing and Monk’s wife Kat unconscious. Also missing are Monk and Kat’s two young daughters. An old nemesis of Sigma Force has kidnapped them all to help locate a historical artifact. Other groups are also after the artifact and want use it to hasten the end of the world as we know it. (do I have to credit R.E.M. here). There is at first no indication who is behind the kidnapping and the only person who might be able to help is unconscious and approaching comatosity. A brilliant thinks she might be able to tap into Kat’s brain and see what she knows. James Rollins does a great job meshing the past, present and future into an exciting thriller.
What is with the title of the review? There are people who would like to end the world for a variety of reasons and the group at the heart of this story is another example of that.
Out of the Dark, An Orphan X Novel by Gregg Hurwitz; 2019; $27.99; 388 pages; Minotaur Books, New York, NY; 978-1-250-12042-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 1/31/19-2/5/19
Why did I read this? Because Gregg Hurwitz is one of the most exciting writers out there and the Orphan X novels are amazing.
Evan Smoak has discovered whom is trying to kill him and the other members of the Orphan project. A highly placed administration official who headed up the project has decided that the fallout would be too costly if it was discovered that he was responsible for some of the things the orphans did. He has loosed a psychopathic orphan on the others so that no knowledge of earlier covert operations do not become public knowledge. While Evan juggles an everyday life, a Nowhere Man call and trying to keep from being killed he has to devise a way to take out the threat to he and all the other orphans.
What is with the title of the review? It seems that Evan has terminated the problem that has targeted he and the other orphans since the series began, so what is next?
Brotherband, The Caldera by John Flanagan; 2017; $18.99; 414 pages; Philomel Books; New York, NY; 978-0-399-16358-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Fairview; 12/28/19-12/31/19
Why did I read this? Because I have really enjoyed this series and realized that I had missed some books by John Flanagan.
This was an exciting book that has an unexpected twist at the very beginning. Stig, a member of the brotherband and first mate of the Heron, has his father return. He had abandoned his wife and son many years ago and stolen from the community. He has returned to ask the help of the brotherband to retrieve a kidnapped child. As they fight pirates and make plans to rescue the child it seems that Stig’s father has changed and may be a new man.
What is with the title of the review? Stig’s father abandoned his family when Stig was very young and now that Stig has reached manhood his father comes back into his life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.