Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book 26

The Siege at Macindaw by John Flanagan

This is book 6 in The Ranger's Apprentice series. This story continues where book 5 left off. Will is in Macindaw but has escaped into the forest with a very ill Orman. Horace arrives north in the first few chapters. And Will locates a ship-full of Skandians ready to help retake the castle. This story revolves around why Keren tried to kill Orman and his father and how Will and Horace and the Skandians retake the castle.

SPOILER warning: Again for those parents who need the warning, there is a battle scene and, unlike previous books, the injuries the combatants give each other are on the graphic side. "Trobar clutched at the sudden fierce pain, feeling his own hot blood course over his fingers. ... The point of the blade thrust into his massive forearm, sliding through muscle and flesh, jarring off the bone."

I do still recommend the books, with the warning above.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book 25

The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan

Book 5 in the Ranger's Apprentice series. This book deals with, can you guess, sorcery. Or at least what people think is sorcery. SPOILER alert: To give parents a true warning if needed, I'm going to have to let you know things that happen so you can make an accurate assessment for your child. Much of the sorcery is visual fakes - lights in the woods, a shadow projected on a mist. Some of it is herb based. The book also has characters who are deformed, handicapped. This book has a direct lead into the next one.Books 1 and 2 tell one story which leads to the story in Books 3 and 4. The story in this one is independent (except for character development) from the first 4. The story in this book finishes in book 6. So book 6 has the same deformed, handicapped characters. They are treated with the common fears people who aren't used to seeing them have but then they are seen as they truely are - real people.

Like the previous books, there are swear words - mostly starting with d and h. And now Will is also using them. He is by now in his early 20's.

The story basics - Will is now a full Ranger, no longer an apprentice. He goes to his fief and then is sent on a covert mission to Macindaw. We see Halt and Horace again. We are reacquainted with Will's childhood friend Alyss.

I enjoy these books. My girls enjoy these books. Soon and very soon, I hope to be able to say that my son enjoys these books!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Books 21-24

The Ruins of Gorlan
The Burning Bridge
The Icebound Land
The Battle for Skandia
all by John Flanagan

I'm rereading these books because Matthew wants to read them. I'm making sure they are entirely appropriate. For the most part, they are. I'm using the white out on the curse words, mostly those that start with "h" and "d". These are all books in a series called The Ranger's Apprentice. I had told a friend a few days ago that" they aren't Christian, but they aren't anti-Christian either." You don't hear about the beliefs of the kingdom of Araluen. But everyone else seems to be polytheistic. Halt respects the beliefs of the other countries but we never hear about his own.

The Ruins of Gorlan introduces Will, Halt and Horace. The timing of the books is hard to figure exactly. There are knights and fiefdoms and a definite lack of cars. But they also measure using the metric system. (Of course, that could be becuase the author is Australian and he's writing for the youth there.) Will and Horace are 15 at the start of the book and are sort of enemies. They both apprentrice to different craftsman. Horace apprentices to the Battle school to become a knight and Will becomes a ranger apprentice under Halt. The boys become friends. This book outlines Will's adventures in tracking and fighting some pretty weird beings.

The Burning Bridge continues the story of Will and Horace. Halt is there too, but not as much. Will and Horace are sent on a diplomatic mission to Celtica. They find things not quite right as well as a girl named Evelyn and adventure ensues. The enemy from book one is still around and trying to get in through Celtica. Will burns down a bridge and gets captured with Evelyn in the process.

The Icebound Land follows Will and Evelyn into captivity in Skandia. Horace and Halt try to rescue them and have adventures in the process. The story goes back and forth between Will and Evelyn and Halt and Horace. The book has and interesting scene if you are having your young person read it. Horace and Halt see girls in very short skirts. Horace asks why and Halt insinuates it's so the girls can run easier than you could in long skirts. Halt is actually puling Horace's leg. Horace believes Halt and Halt lets it go as "Horace has plenty of time to learn about the seamier side of life.... He could retain his innocence for a little while longer." So is your young person going to question this sequence or let it go?

The Battle for Skandia finds our foursome in Skandia finally together but unable to leave. The Skandians are about to be attacked by another kingdom. They help the Skandians and have trials and tribulations along the way.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Book 20

Better Together: What on Earth are we here for? by Rick Warren

We used this book in our church small groups. For the second year everyone was invited to do the same study and this was the study during Lent. It was a good book, definitely a group book, not something you'd want to do on your own. I liked the small group. I enjoyed most aspects of the book. I did disagree with one point the first week, but other than that I do recommend the book in a group setting.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book 19

The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James

Excellent book! I got it as a free Kindle book. I read it because it sounded interesting. I love it! I may need to host a women's Bible/book study on this book. I learned so much about the time of the Judges. I learned so much about being a woman in that time.

I had read the book of Ruth earlier this year. Upon finishing it, I thought "someone needs to make a movie of this!" After reading this book about Ruth, I really think someone should read both and make a movie out of the book of Ruth. Someone did Esther, someone should do Ruth!

Monday, April 11, 2011

book 18

Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Another free Kindle book. It was obvious from the description on Amazon that this was a romance. But what wasn't obvious was that it wasn't a Christian romance. The difference is large. Christian romances stop at kissing. Since I don't think we should "see" further than that, I'm happy with Christian romances. I should have stopped several times and just set it aside. Innuendo abounds. And then...

But the story was a sweet story of falling in love as a teen, going separate ways and then finding each other again at a summer on Willow Lake.

Would I recommend it - well it doesn't stop where I think it should, so no, not really.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book 17

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A Milne

This book was on Matthew's literature list for the year. Of course I do recommend it. I started it months ago, probably in September. I didn't finish it before Matthew needed it, so I stuck a book mark in it and gave it to him. Then some time after that, Katie picked it up and read it. I just saw it again on the shelf this morning and decided to finish it. It's a wonderful story of course!

Book 16

Birkenhead Drill by Douglas Phillips

Quick read. Yes, I recommend it. Some won't like that Doug Phillips of Vision Forum wrote it and that's ok. It's still a good book. If you ever wondered where the phrase "Women and children first", this is your answer. The Birkenhead was a ship that sank back in the 1800's off the coast of Africa. The story of how the men stayed on board to make sure the women and children survived is told by Phillips and then retold by survivor accounts. It's a quick read. It just came in the mail on Monday. I started it Tuesday and finished it Wednesday.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book 15

Hide in Plain Sight by Marta Perry

It's a Christian Romance. I needed light reading. I needed something quick. This fit the bill wonderfully. It's about an upwardly mobile woman who goes home to help her family when her sister gets hit by a car. Maybe by the "Plain Sight" in the title, you can tell it takes place in an Amish community. They are not Amish but live among them. It's all about the trials they go through trying to get a bed and breakfast open while her sister is in a wheelchair. Other things happen as well. :-)

Recommended - yes.