6

Credit Where Credit’s Due

Obviously as a good blogger one must connect with and follow other blogs. To be honest i do find this challenging. As an introvert, i am quite happy to be by myself, drawing my energy from being alone. However even if i was happy having no one follow me, really the point of a blog is to connect, share etc. so as my personality also dictates, if i’m going to do something at all, by jingo i’m going to do it well! (And to be honest, much as it horrifies the introvert in me, i really am enjoying the connections that i have made so far)

Anyway, this post is meant to be about ** books that i have read about from a few of the blogs that i follow. From reading their perspective/reviews, i was interested in reading the different books, so i downloaded the preview for each book (if there was one) and i have to say that i am looking forward EVEN MORE to reading them!

They are:

~ Summers In Supino: Becoming Italian by Maria Coletta McLean

~ Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

~ Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias

~ Untangling the Knot by Deanne Wilsted

~ French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley by Linda Kovic-Skow

~ Sihpromatum – I Grew my Boobs in China by Savannah Grace

~ The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs

~ Rose Harbor In Bloom by Debbie Macomber

~ The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

~ Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison

~ The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon

~ Gone South – A Novel by Meg Moseley

~ One Day In Apple Grove by C H Admirand

~ The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

~ Splintered by A.G. Howard

~ Rewrite Redemption by J.H. Walker

~ Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

~ Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

~ Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving The Family Farm by Forrest Pritchard

~ Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnarvon

~ Terra by Gretchen Powell

~ Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

~ How To Be An American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

~ The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

~ Murder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

~ Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart

~ Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

There was also a book that a blogger mentioned that they want to read and it sounded so intriguing i want to read it now too!

~ London Under by Peter Ackroyd

Anyway i have placed all of these books on my various wishlists and so i have quite a supply of gift ideas for my family ;) I will be sure to review each book and it will be interesting if i share the same views of the blogger who posted about them!

Also in case you didn’t know (you would if you followed my other blog www.thechefandthewaitress.wordpress.com – yes a shameless self promotion!), Kel and i will be traveling to Europe and the UK via China for the next six weeks. Yep, that’s right. So i probably won’t be posting anything while we’re away due to limited WI-FI access plus I’m hoping that i will be too busy having too much fun!

1

Ranger’s Apprentice 6: The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 6: The Siege of Macindaw by John FlanaganBlurb

In this desolate northern fief, where can Will find the fighting men he needs to overcome the traitorous Sir Keren and his band of criminals? Across the border, the fierce Scotti tribesmen are waiting for the signal that Castle Macindaw is in friendly hands, and the way is clear to mount a full-scale attack.

Time is running out. Will’s courage and ingenuity – and the arrival of an old friend – may be the only things that stand in their way.

Will is determined to rescue Alyss – even if it means laying siege to an enemy castle!

My Perspective

Having been unable to rescue Alyss, Will has retreated back to the forest. Knowing that Sir Keren is a traitor and is summoning Araluen’s enemies to the north, the Scotti, to take Castle Macindaw, Will must come up with a plan to take the castle himself. However contacting the King to summon an army could take months in the snowy winter, by which time it will be too late. Will soon discovers that he has a few different friends, old and new, to help him. However will it be enough?

Book six carries on straight after book five and you are pretty much immediately thrown into the action. I really appreciated this as i was raring to get into the story.

I found Will’s character was tested quite a bit in this book. There were some points that i was a little upset in his reactions, which made his character slightly flawed – this actually being more realistic. I think i was coming to a point where i held him in too high esteem, that he could do no wrong. It took me back to reality and although i am a little sad i think it was for the best. He is still a great character and i still really like him, he’s just not perfect! Horace was his usual, steadfast self. Alyss proved again to be extremely intelligent, strong willed and independent. I really like her. The new characters were both extremely likeable and detestable and i am starting to think that the Skandians are becoming my favourite group of people!

The story was interesting and kept me turning the pages however i did feel that it fell a little flat in the middle. I’m not sure whether there was a little unnecessary text or what however the pacing was a little off.

The books are getting more and more mature and the deaths in this one were definitely so. Also as Will is now an adult, there are themes that a little mature say for a child.

I would definitely recommend this book, however not so much for children anymore, more young teenagers or preteens, and adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan (which i feel is suited for children).

2

Ranger’s Apprentice 5: The Sorcerer in the North by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 5: The Sorcerer in the North by John FlanaganBlurb

Five years have passed since the Skandians and the Araluans made their treaty, and Will has finally become a Ranger, with his own fief to look after. He soon learns that even sleepy little islands have problems to keep him on his toes.

Then he and his old friend Alyss are thrown into a terrifying new adventure, investigating the truth behind rumours of sorcery in a remote northern fief. As he stands in Grimsdell Wood, with the horrific, ghostly Night Warrior looming above him, Will must ask himself one question: is there a rational explanation . . . or does sorcery really exist?

On his first top-secret mission, can Will save a new ally from a terrible curse?

My Perspective

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a mini break from the Ranger’s Apprentice series – however not by choice! As soon as I finished Cairo Jim, I started The Sorcerer in the North and finished it that evening.

The Sorcerer in the North is set five years after the last book Oakleaf Bearers, and Will has finished his apprenticeship and been assigned his own fief. However not long after being assigned, he is sent on a mission up in the north because mysterious happenings have been taking place.

I was a little sad to have missed out on the journey of the rest of Will’s apprenticeship however the five year gap was transitioned well.

Will is still the same old Will. He’s just a little older and a little more mature. He still has a fierce heart and the character that makes him so loveable. I was glad that Halt and Horace were briefly in the book – I would have been quite sad if neither of them had made an appearance! Alyss is obviously more of a main character in this book and I like her a lot. I’m not sure whether I like her close relationship with Will however I think that’s just because I don’t think anyone will ever be good enough for him. Alyss is a really strong female character, which I liked. She’s smart, independent and can very much take care of herself. There are moments when she weakens however it makes her more realistic.

I liked how some of the different storylines in the book intertwined. I also appreciated that there were a few different paths that the author lead you down. When I look back at some of it, I feel like it should have been so obvious however I was so caught up in the story that I didn’t even realise until they were right on top of me.

I really enjoyed this book even though some of my favourite characters only appeared briefly. Also a warning that it leaves you on a cliffhanger!

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

1

Cairo Jim & Doris In Search Of Martenarten: A Tale Of Archaeology, Adventure & Astonishment by Geoffrey McSkimming

Cairo Jim & Doris In Search Of Martenarten: A Tale Of Archaeology, Adventure & Astonishment by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

Far away in Upper Egypt, in a place known as the Valley of the Kings, Cairo Jim (assisted by the hieroglyph-reading macaw Doris and Brenda the Wonder Camel) is searching for the lost tomb of Pharaoh Martenarten, Worshipper of the Moon and King of Ancient Egypt.

It is not an easy search. Plagued by uncertainty, the dauntless trio persevere in a harsh climate made all the more worse by dust, sand and petty skulduggery.

But these are the least of their troubles. Somebody of great deviousness, treachery and manicured evil wants what they are after. And he will stop at nothing to claim it for his own!

My Perspective

I’ve been ripping through the Ranger’s Apprentice series and when I finished Oakleaf Bearers, I had to wait over the weekend before I saw the customer who’s lending them to me to borrow the next two books in the series. I couldn’t wait that long to read a book but I didn’t want something too engrossing that would take me away from the Ranger’s Apprentice. So Cairo Jim it was.

Cairo Jim & Doris In Search Of Martenarten: A Tale Of Archaeology, Adventure & Astonishment is obviously about Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda searching for the lost tomb of Marenaratan. The only problem is that there is also someone else searching and they will stop at nothing to find the tomb and claim it for themselves.

The story is written in a silly albeit will written style very suited to children. I still greatly enjoyed it however if you don’t like a bit of obvious silliness then you may not enjoy this book.

The characters were brilliant. Cairo Jim is such a soft soul, you can’t help but like him. Doris and Brenda are fantastic “side kicks” with their funny perks and they really add to the story. And the villains were everything children’s villains should be. Gross and slimy with grandiose ideas. I also love that the villain is a recurring villain in the Cairo Jim Chronicles. There is just something about them that makes you love and hate them at the same time.

The actual story was interesting however not as gripping as the Cairo Jim On The Trail To Cha Cha Muchos. I would still recommend it for children and adults who like a silly adventure/mystery with a bit of history thrown in.

7

Ranger’s Apprentice 4: Oakleaf Bearers by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 4: Oakleaf Bearers by John FlanaganBlurb

Just as spring approaches and Will and Evanlyn can finally escape Skandia, Evanlyn is carried off by mysterious horsemen. Will sets out after them, but one boy against six fierce Temujai warriors is impossible odds – even for a Ranger’s apprentice. Halt and Horace arrive just in time. But the happiness of their reunion is cut short when Halt realises these Temujai are only the scouts for a massive invasion force. The four Araluans must work together with the Skandians to defeat the invaders – if the Oberjarl will accept their help.

My Perspective

I read this book under the name ‘Oakleaf Bearers’ however it was also published under the name, ‘The Battle for Skandia’.

The book begins as the thaw is starting. Will and Evanlyn must consider their trek back to Araluen however before they’ve had a chance, Evanlyn is captured by a strange horseman. Meanwhile Halt and Horace have made it to the Skandian border. However what greets them changes everything.

The books are just getting better and better. I am hoping this means that the author has found his groove and he will stick with it!

There was a maturity about this book that I liked. The content was a little more detailed and gave greater credit to the reader.

I just love Will. He is such a great character. You’d think he couldn’t keep getting better and better but he does. You can see his growth in each book and it’s remarkable to see how far he has come. He’s certainly not a kid anymore. Obviously Halt and Horace are as likeable as ever. I did find Evanlyn’s character interesting. I didn’t like her in the second book. By the end of the third book I did and throughout this book I wavered between both feelings, coming to an unknown conclusion. I do find it hard to reconcile her as both Evanlyn and Princess Cassandra. I really liked the Skandians in the story (except for Slagor). They are a rough, brutish bunch with good hearts.

Again the pace was steady and the book was riveting, keeping me turning the pages long after my bedtime.

One thing I will say is that I’m a little wary about the love triangle that seems to be surfacing. I guess I feel like no one is good enough for Will!

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

3

Ranger’s Apprentice 3: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 3: The Icebound Land by John FlanaganBlurb

Will and Evanlyn are bound for Skandia as the captives of the fearsome Skandian wolfship captain, Erak. Halt has sworn to rescue Will, and he will do anything to keep his promise – even defy his King. Expelled from the Rangers, Halt is joined by Horace as he travels through Gallica toward Skandia. On their way, they are constantly challenged by freelance knights – otherwise known as thieving thugs. Horace knows a thing or two about combat, though, and he soon begins to attract the attention of knights and warlords for miles around with his uncanny skill. But will they be in time to rescue Will from a life of slavery?

My Perspective

Book three in The Ranger’s Apprentice series follows Will and Evanlyn’s journey as captives to the Skandians. Meanwhile Halt, accompanied by Horace, leaves Araluen to fulfill his promise and find Will. However both parties face great challenges that may take their very lives.

This book really shows the improvement of the author’s writing skills. It was well written and not predictable like the previous two books. It was a lot darker though and suitable more for older children rather than younger. It makes me wonder if the author is writing the series taking into consideration that with each book his target audience is a little older than before, so therefore writing accordingly.

The characters were again such a strong point. Will was this little, fierce, determined fellow that you just feel so proud of. However what happens to him pretty much broke my heart. I was almost in tears. I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t say anything more. Again, I found Evanlyn slightly annoying however I was pleasantly surprised by her growth, and the strength and determination she showed. I actually really liked her by the end of the book. Halt and Horace were as likeable as ever and you just hope against hope that Halt will find Will.

The pace was steady however it’s not a book that you can easily put down. Again, you’ll probably want to have the next book handy!

I’m really enjoying the series and i would definitely say that i am ‘hooked’. I was glad to see that the writing has improved in this book and i’m hoping it’s not a fluke.

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

0

Ranger’s Apprentice 2: The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 2: The Burning Bridge by John FlanaganBlurb

As the Kingdom of Araluen prepares for war against Morgarath, Will and Horace accompany the Ranger Gilan on a mission to Celtica. But Celtica’s villages are silent. Only an exhausted and starving girl called Evanlyn can tell them why: Morgarath has sent his foul creatures to enslave the Celts. While Gilan rides swiftly back to report this news to the King, Will, Horace and Evanlyn discover the true purpose behind Morgarath’s actions. The Kingdom is sure to be defeated in a surprise three-sided attack – unless they can find a way to prevent it.

My Perspective

Book two in The Ranger’s Apprentice series sees Will off on an embassy convoy with Gilan and Horace. They have been chosen to visit King Swyddned of Celtica to acquire support for the upcoming war against Morgarath. However when they arrive in Celtica, there is no one to be seen.

Again I found the story to be interesting however predictable. I was a little flummoxed though because some of the plot lines were SO OBVIOUS it was almost ridiculous and then others were a complete mystery and had me guessing. I’m not sure what works better – having it predictable or ridiculously predictable at the same time as being mysterious. Maybe having it not predictable at all :) Anyway aside from that, it was still really interesting and enjoyable to read.

Again the characters really shone through. Will is extremely likeable and you just want to reach into the book and give him a big hug. The other characters were strong and well written and you just can’t help feeling like you’re one of them. I did find Evanlyn slightly annoying however I don’t know if that’s me rather than the book as I don’t tend to gravitate to a lot of female protagonists.

Also just a warning – the book does leave you on a cliffhanger so you might want to have the next book handy!

Again I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.