Life's hard.

It's even harder when you're stupid.

John Wayne

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan ★★★☆☆

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1)A few quality issues
 10 and up  5 and up
249 pages
Ranger's Apprentice #1
Literary awards: Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award Nominee (2008)

When 15-year-old Will is picked as a Ranger’s apprentice he is disappointed, but with the menace of the Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night readying for battle he quickly learns that Rangers are the greatest protectors the kingdom can have.

The book world is very authentic, with great multi-dimensional characters and rich detail.  The writing was rhythmic and a have very few complaints other than at times it was a bit amateurish.  The book was easy to get through and kept me wanting to know what would happen next.  The prologue creates a great platform for the rest of the story to be set on.   The focus of this book swings back and forth between Ranger’s apprentice Will and Battle School apprentice Horace, two very different characters.

Okay, now the other side.  I may have been betrayed by my own expectations, but I anticipated a whole lot more suspense and excitement.  The story was fairly slow moving and not big into subtlety.  Also, I have to say Horace not showing up in the climax seemed really weird and I was disappointed not to see him.  My investment of him just didn’t give the payoff that was expected, particularly since he was such a focus in the book.

Now, while I might seem a bit negative I have to say I really do see the potential of this series and have purchased the next two in the series already.  I haven’t given up on it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sacrifice at Sea by Susan Wingate ★★★☆☆

Fiction - Mystery
240 pages
Bobby's Diner Series #3

I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for a fair review.

Georgette Carlisle, finally can get a little of regular life and sort out her relationship with her new man, Willard Cleary, while relaxing during her Caribbean cruise.  Just as she thinks she is finally on even footing a murder on the ship causes their vacation to turn into a life and death situation.

Sacrifice at Sea (Bobby's Diner, #3)While I am new to this series I found it fairly easy to get acquainted with.  This book was a quick and effortless read; rich in descriptions, observations and a mostly realistic tone.  Though, I have to say the dialogue, not exactly thrilling.  The characters were superbly crafted and the story was well developed.  This is not the typical action packed mystery so be open in your interpretation of what mystery can mean.  A majority of the action and story line is focused on Georgette’s inner life and her trying to adapt to a new relationship with Will.  I also applaud Ms. Wingate for having heroine outside of the 20-30 year range.  A lot life happens beyond early adulthood and I think it should be celebrated. The cruise ship was a great setting and I felt that Ms. Wingate used it to its best potential, exploring how a new place and situations can bring out different aspects of the characters’ personalities.  I will only say one thing about the climax and then leave it at that, shocking.

I debated long and hard on how to approach this one.  I guess I just never realized how hard it is to know the author a real person.  Me being me, I constantly reevaluated my opinions to make sure they were accurate.  While I stand by the 3 stars I gave Sacrifice at Sea, I do want to add something.  In the end, even though it had almost everything going for it and I appreciated a lot of things about it, I found myself still not enjoying the story or the writing style.  I didn’t hate it or have any strong feelings connected to it and frankly, I am chalking this up to a matter of preference.  It just wasn’t for me.  On the other hand I can understand how it would appeal to other people and why they might be willing to invest time into reading the series.