Monday, March 19, 2018

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The 13th Reality, the Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner, a book review

The 13th Reality, the Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner is the beginning of an interesting science fiction series. In it, we learn some real scientific terms that, perhaps, some are not familiar with pertaining to quantum physics. My eldest daughter, at 12, knows that I am fascinated by all things QP and recommended this book to me. I did enjoy it, but not as much as I expected based on her report. For me, the story was not very compelling until near the end. It took me a few days to read it. I do look forward to the next book in the series because of the end of this on.

In this story, Atticus Higginbottom becomes involved with attempting to solve a series of clues. At first, he tries to do it alone. Eventually, that changes. I do like that Tick chooses to trust and involve an important adult in his life. I also really like the realities premise of the story. I think most middle age readers would really enjoy it, as did my twelve year old. I would be happy to allow any of my children to read it.

Have you read The 13th Reality, the Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner? What did you think of it?

Monday, March 12, 2018

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The Appeal by John Grisham, a book review

The Appeal by John Grisham is a book I may never have chosen to buy or borrow. Since it was given to us in a pile of other assorted books and one of my daughters wanted to read it, I took it up. The verbiage is reasonable for a lay-person, especially considering this story is all about legal matters. Grisham did a good job making the subject of litigation more interesting than most people (including me) might consider it.

Jeannette Baker's case is a representative case for a county which became known as Cancer County after illegal dumping by an unethical corporation. Her representation has sacrificed everything to bring her justice. The corporation's lawyers feel completely confident that the jury will side with them. The jury's decision is a surprise. The case is brought to the state's Supreme Court.

The main action and tension of the story is what leads up to the ruling of the appeal and the impacts that fall upon those whose lives were most invested in the case.

I disliked that I felt like the author was leading to a particular conclusion, but then switched at the last minute. As a reader, bait and switch isn't my favorite writing technique, for sure. I do like that Grisham presented a deep and abiding truth in the last line of the novel. One that, if we are wise, we will take to heart by way of stories like this or others' lives.

This book is not good material for younger readers. My daughters will not read it until they are significantly older. Perhaps 16, at the youngest.

Have you read The Appeal by John Grisham? What did you think of it?

Monday, March 5, 2018

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The Navigator by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos, a book review

The Navigator by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos was among the books in a trove my husband was given. We love books around here, so we were all excited to go through the score. My second daughter found The Navigator and wanted to read it. There are some adult books I will let my children read, but not most of them. So, I told her I would check it out and let her know.

She will not be reading it until she is much older. There are enough adult scenes and situations to give this Mama pause. However, it is a good story and the adult scenes are tastefully done. Therefore, I can recommend it to those who enjoy adventure.

I think this may be my first step into adult adventure reading. It took a long time for me to get into this book. I felt like it would be much more interesting to most guys and any gals who enjoy stories that involve good descriptions of boats, cars, guns, and a few fight scenes. They were good as far as that goes, for the most part, I just tend to choose other genres before adventure.

This book is one in a series (though not necessarily a read 1 to whatever number sort of series) that involves Kurt Austin and a few other characters that work together regularly to figure stuff out and have adventures together. In this particular episode of their adventures, Kurt saves a woman in distress (a couple times), figures out a mystery, and ends up relaxing where we found him at his boat house.

Part of what I disliked about this book is how very polarized the characters are. The good guys are good at everything and all knowledgeable, while the bad guys are hellhounds, basically. Not terribly real-to life. Another thing I dislikes is how very unreal to most lives Kurt Austin's experience is. I'm sure lots of people read and loved the book because of who the main author is, but I wonder if they would read it if a lesser-known author's name was on the cover in Cussler's place.

Have you read The Navigator by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos? What did you think of it?

Monday, February 26, 2018

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The Rainy Season by James P. Blaylock, a book review

The Rainy Season by James P. Blaylock is an interesting story with a really interesting premise. Could stones, glass, or other small items hold memories? What about a soul? Blaylock presents almost this sort of situation as not only a possibility, but a reality in a really interesting story that spans generations and includes time travel!

Phil Ainsworth is the main character and his home is almost a character in the story, right along with the weather and the surrounding land. It's interesting that water is the transportation medium. It's also interesting that the reader isn't sure who has traveled into the future until we again meet the travelers.

The pieces of stuff that hold either a memory or a soul are sort of like a horcrux from Harry Potter, in some ways. The items comes into being by way of the memory or soul. I find this idea fascinating.

I liked the way the author included family history, in a way, because I've become a bit of a geneology lover. It's amazing to find out about our ancestors!

My daughters will read this book when they are significantly older. It is adult reading with some adult scenes. I'm relatively certain they will enjoy it very much. I simply choose to shelter them when it's within my power to do so.

I do recommend this book to any older youth and any adult.

Have you read The Rainy Season by James P. Blaylock? What did you think of it?

Monday, February 12, 2018

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On The Run, Chasing The Falconers by Gordon Korman, a book review

On the Run, Chasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman is a good quick read. It's written for youth and mostly appropriate for young mature readers. My ten and twelve year olds read it and enjoyed it very much.

The children who are the main characters are stuck in a home for juvenile delinquents. They have been put their for protection because of the high profile nature of their parents' trial. The brother and sister believe their parents are innocent, but how to prove it? They come to realize they cannot do it from where they are.

Circumstances arise that make it possible for the duo to escape their confinement and the majority of this book is about that process. My daughters and I look forward to reading the continuation of their story because we want to find out if (or how) the brother and sister prove their parents' innocence.

Korman does a good job of hooking the reader, keeping attention through action scenes, while also endearing the characters (and not just the main ones) to the reader.

Have you read On the Run, Chasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman? What did you think of it?

Monday, February 5, 2018

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Singing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell, a book review

Singing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell, who is also the author of Island of the Blue Dolphins, is a Newberry Honor Book. Because it was initially published before I was born and probably won that honor shortly thereafter, I think the Newberry Honor is more a sign of good books for youth than, perhaps, it is now.

This is book relates an historical fiction about a Navaho Indian girl. She watched her mother's sheep, was taken as a slave, returned home against many odds, endured The Long Walk, and escaped imprisonment to live free on the land with her family. She endures loss and pain along the way, but seems to have an indomitable spirit. I feel like she is a good example of coming into adulthood – not just in an Indian culture.

While I was reading, my eldest daughters asked if I would let them read it. I had only read to the point of first capture and was concerned that there might be inappropriate goings on, so I told them I probably would NOT allow them to read it. Imagine their pleasure and surprise when they learned the next day that I'd altered my decision.

Once given permission, my eldest daughter read the book in a few hours and then the next oldest read it, though taking a little longer. They both enjoyed it a great deal.

We all enjoyed Singing Down the Moon, though none of us could quite figure out what the title has to do with anything. We've discussed it and have no ideas. If you could fill us in, that would be super! I do recommend this story for children from 9 or 10 years old and older. It is a good way to learn a bit about the way Indians were treated in our country's past. Specifically, it is a good illustration of some of the treatment of the Navaho at the time of The Long Walk.

Have you read Singing Down the Moon by Scott O' Dell? What did you think of it?

Monday, January 29, 2018

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Michael Vey, Fall of Hades by Richard Paul Evans, a book review

Michael Vey, Fall of Hades by Richard Paul Evans is the sixth installment in the Michael Vey series that started with Prisoner of Cell 25. The seventh (and final?) part of the series will be available Fall 2017. My Mom, daughters, and I feel the same way: it can't come fast enough (at least for the book)!

My review of the first book in this series can be found HERE.

In this installment, Michael Vey and his team of electric youth and nonels are going after the Elgen in a big way… the way that will hurt most: stealing their money. Along the way they are going to attempt to save a fugitive and some prisoners. It's a fast paced, easy read. It is a good bit of fluffy reading with a few deeper thoughts folded in lightly.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint myself, I particularly enjoyed the rib/joke someone made to Welch about being Mormon because he didn't drink alcohol. There were a couple other spots during which I smiled and one during which I laughed (one of the conversations about the youth as they traveled).

My twelve and ten year old daughters are allowed to read this part of Michael Vey's story. They love this series and enjoy it thoroughly. We recommend it highly!

Have you read Michael Vey, Fall of Hades by Richard Paul Evans? What did you think of it?

Monday, January 22, 2018

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Michael Vey, Storm of Lightening by Richard Paul Evans, a book review

Michael Vey, Storm of Lightening by Richard Paul Evans is the fifth installment in Vey's saga, which began with Michael Vey, Prisoner of Cell 25.

Most of the electroclan's families end up missing in process of this step in the story. The resistance, headed by The Voice, has been compromised. The Voice has gone into hiding so the electroclan doesn't have definitive leadership. Equally as damaging, the electroclan doesn't have access to the reliable information to which they had grown accustomed.

So the question is, will Michael Vey be able to lead them to resolve the problems facing them and defeat the Elgen? Is that even possible? Or will the world descend into a dictatorship with Hatch as the all powerful emperor?

My daughters and I enjoyed this installment in the series. My girls recommend it heartily for any reader. I still have reservations about young readers indulging in this book and series. However, I think mature children 10 years old and older would be able to understand and enjoy it without nightmares.

Have you read Michael Vey, Storm of Lightening by Richard Paul Evans? What did you think of it?

Monday, January 15, 2018

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Michael Vey, Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans, a book review

Michael Vey, Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans continues the story begun in Michael Vey, Prisoner of Cell 25. This is the fourth installment of the series, which is forecast to end with the seventh book. (Out this past Fall 2017.)

Michael Vey is an electric human. His genes were messed with, along with a few others his age, when he was a baby. He is the most powerful of all the electric kids. Additionally, he has the widest array of abilities and new ones seem to appear regularly.

In this installment of Michael Vey's story, he and the electroclan (the other electric kids that work with Vey against Hatch and the electric kids who work for Hatch) are set to save a severely autistic child who may have information Hatch, Michael's primary nemesis, wants. Hatch captures the child early, so the electroclan must enter the den of the beast once again.

My girls and I really enjoyed this next step in the Michael Vey saga. My girls recommend it to anyone. I recommend it to any mature 10 year old and older to adult.

Have you read Michael Vey, Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans? What did you think about it?

Monday, January 8, 2018

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Michael Vey, Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans, a book review

Michael Vey, Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans continues Michael's story begun in Prisoner of Cell 25 and continued in Rise of the Elgen. In this, the third installment of Vey's story, all of his friends end up awaiting trial for their supposed terrorist activities which resulted as they succeeded in freeing Vey's mom.

Michael is sheltered by natives and hunted by the Elgen who have convinced the Peruvian army that he is a vile terrorist and has done the damage to their electric grid, which resulted in loss of life and electricity to many.

He must free his friends and somehow manage to stop Hatch, who has gained control of the Ampere, the ship that acts as the headquarters for the Elgen.

This book does a good job of keeping the reader in a state of tension, excitedly reading to find out how things are going to turn out for Michael. We were not disappointed. Unless, of course, wishing the story didn't end where it did is disappointed….

My daughters and I really enjoyed this book. We recommend it highly to any mature reader who is 10 years old and older.

Have you read Michael Vey, Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans? What did you think of it?