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ARCHIVE > ELIZABETH S - 50 BOOKS READ IN 2011

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message 1: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 01:57PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments JANUARY

1. The Mystery of the Dead Man's Riddle The Mystery of the Dead Man's Riddle (Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators, #22) by William Arden by William Arden
Finish date: 4 January 2011
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: B+

I continue to read my way through the Three Investigators series. I loved these mysteries when I was a kid. To feed my nostalgia, my husband found an almost complete set of them to give me. This is one of the better mysteries.


message 2: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 01:58PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 2. To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson To the Rescue The Biography of Thomas S. Monson by Heidi S. Swinton by Heidi S. Swinton
Finish date: 4 January 2011
Genre: non-fiction biography
Rating: A

A well-done, very readable biography. Swinton does a great job organizing chapters by topic, and yet still largely chronological. I enjoyed recognizing stories I had heard before as well as reading new stories. A good book about a man who truly "goes about doing good."


message 3: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 01:58PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 3. Fire and Ice Fire and Ice (Warriors, #2) by Erin Hunter by Erin Hunter Erin Hunter
Finish date: 7 January 2011
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: B

I continue to work my way through this young adult series. Not as much interesting plot in this one verses the first book, but still well done. A creative concept for the entire series.


message 4: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 01:58PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 4. The Case of the Fabulous Fake The Case of the Fabulous Fake (Perry Mason Mysteries (Fawcett Books)) by Erle Stanley Gardner by Erle Stanley Gardner Erle Stanley Gardner
Finish date: 7 January 2011
Genre: mystery
Rating: B-

I continue to work my way through all the Perry Masons that my local library has. A good read, as are all the Perry Masons, but not the best or most interesting.


message 5: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 01:59PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 5. The Tiger Rising The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo by Kate DiCamillo Kate DiCamillo
Finish date: 9 January 2011
Genre: children's
Rating: B

As always, DiCamillo writes a great book filled with soul and sorrow. Simply told and heart wrenching with a positive look at the end.


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Great start Elizabeth.


message 7: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 01:59PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 6. Flying Colours Flying Colours by C.S. Forester by C.S. Forester C.S. Forester
Finish date: 12 January 2011
Genre: sea adventure
Rating: B

A good book, but not my favorite Hornblower. This one deals less with sea battles and more with land issues.


message 8: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 01:59PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 7. The Mystery of the Invisible Dog The Mystery of the Invisible Dog (Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators, #23) by M.V. Carey by M.V. Carey
Finish date: 13 January 2011
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: B

Some clever tricks and detecting done by the villains and the boys.


message 9: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 02:00PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 8. A Crazy Day With Cobras A Crazy Day with Cobras (Magic Tree House #45) by Mary Pope Osborne by Mary Pope Osborne Mary Pope Osborne
Finish date: 21 January 2011
Genre: children's fantasy, historical
Rating B-

I'm taking a break while mid-way through a 900-page book to read several shorter, easier books. This is the new Magic Treehouse book that just came out this month. A solid contribution to the series. In this one, Jack & Amy are taken back in time to see the Taj Mahal and the Mughal emperor who built it.


message 10: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 02:00PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 9. The Mystery of Death Trap Mine The Mystery of Death Trap Mine (Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators, #24) by M.V. Carey by M.V. Carey
Finish date: 22 January 2011
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: B+

This one actually has a dead body in it! But it isn't any more scary than the other books in the series. Some nice twists in the mystery, and good adventure. We see Allie again (from The Mystery of the Singing Serpent) and she isn't quite as annoying.
The Mystery of the Singing Serpent (Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators, #17) by M.V. Carey by M.V. Carey


message 11: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 02:00PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 10. Forest of Secrets Forest of Secrets (Warriors, #3) by Erin Hunter by Erin Hunter Erin Hunter
Finish date: 23 January 2011
Genre: Young Adult fantasy
Rating: B

Book three in the series. Another solid entry. I'm getting more and more curious how certain plot elements will be resolved.

One of the funny things about this author is that "Erin Hunter" is actually 3 different people who write the series together. I'm curious, who is in the author picture? Hmmm.


message 12: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 06, 2011 02:02PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 11. Christmas Stalkings Christmas Stalkings by Charlotte MacLeod by Charlotte MacLeod et al.
Finish date: 26 January 2011
Genre: mystery short story
Rating: B-

This book consists of a bunch of short stories by a variety of mystery authors. Each story was written specifically for this collection, and each story connects somehow with Christmas. I very much enjoy the clever book title.

I have read most of the books written by three authors, but nothing by any of the others. Some stories were good, some were really good, and some were hard to appreciate. Perhaps the stories in the last category were there because I didn't already know (and/or understand) characters in other books by that author. Or maybe couldn't adjust to the writing style. Overall, an interesting selection of stories with a variety of resolutions.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Added to my Wish List. I like mysteries short stories and a themed collection is especially intriguing.


message 14: by Elizabeth S (last edited Jan 26, 2011 10:47AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments If you like mystery short stories, you may want to try
It Was an Awful Shame and Other Stories (Five Star First Edition Mystery Series) by Charlotte MacLeod by Charlotte MacLeod
All the stories in that one were written by Charlotte MacLeod, and overall I liked them better. Only 2-3 of the stories used characters from her series.

She also has another Christmas-themed mystery short story collection that includes a variety of authors:
Mistletoe Mysteries by Charlotte MacLeod by Charlotte MacLeod
although I haven't been able to track that one down, so I can't say how it compares. Good luck!


Elizabeth (Alaska) I added the first to my ever-growing list. The one good thing I can say about that list is that it is growing faster than my waist line. ;-)


message 16: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Well said!


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Elizabeth S, everything looks great with the format and you are off to a terrific start as usual.


message 18: by Elizabeth S (last edited Jan 28, 2011 09:37AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 12. The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill by Dorothy Wall by Dorothy Wall
Finish date: 28 January 2011
Genre: children's tale, Australian
Rating: B+

I enjoyed these children's tales of a little koala bear. It was fun to see a little community of Australian animals, versus the British, European, or North American animals we usually see. It reminds me of how Kipling's tales bring the animals of India closer.

This book is a compilation of three books, "Blinky Bill," "Blinky Bill Grows Up," and "Blinky Bill and Nutsy." The last was my favorite, because Nutsy was my favorite character. She nicely balances and tempers the impulsive, mischievous Blinky.

WARNING: Some children may be distressed by the deaths of a few characters, both good guys and bad guys. These deaths are handled in a very matter-of-fact way, as fits with the culture of the time (1939) and place. Modern children may be shocked without the emotional preparation and recap that we see around deaths that may occur in today's children's literature.

Rudyard Kipling Rudyard Kipling


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 28, 2011 01:44PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Terrific - thanks.


message 20: by Michael (last edited Jan 29, 2011 09:03AM) (new)

Michael Flanagan (loboz) Im glad you enjoyed The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill by Dorothy Wall by Dorothy Wall a great Australian Classic, brings back good childhood memories. You may be interested in another Aussie classic The Complete Adventures Of Snugglepot And Cuddlepie (Australian Children's Classics) by May Gibbs by May Gibbs


message 21: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Thanks for the recommendation, it looks good!


message 22: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 13. Intrigues Intrigues (The Collegium Chronicles, #2) by Mercedes Lackey by Mercedes Lackey Mercedes Lackey
Finish date: 30 January 2011
Genre: fantasy
Rating: A-

Nearly as good as the first of this Valdemar subseries. Again, I like the characters and the journey of discovery. There are some underlying mysteries to the series, and we get another piece in this book. I will certainly watch for the next in the series.


message 23: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 14. The Mystery of the Magic Circle The Mystery of the Magic Circle (Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators, #27) by M.V. Carey by M.V. Carey
Finish date: 30 January 2011
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: B-

A good addition to the series. A few parts of the mystery are a little less plausible than usual, but otherwise the book lives up to the normal standards.


message 24: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Yea, took me a few minutes to look into it. I think I fixed it now.


message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 30, 2011 02:21PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thanks a bunch as always...and thanks for doing the tweaking.


message 26: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments FEBRUARY

15. Peter the Great: His Life and World Peter the Great His Life and World by Robert K. Massie by Robert K. Massie
Finish date: 2 February 2011
Genre: nonfiction, Russian history, biography
Rating: A

Although long, this biography of Peter the Great was very readable. It was written at exactly the right level for me. I am interested in history, but I didn't know much about Russia before the twentieth century. Massie gives incredible detail, interspersed with appropriate anecdotes, and still the book does not drag.

I very much appreciated, and enjoyed, the brief histories given of the various countries/states/empires that came into play during the book. Massie meant it when he put "and World" into the title. Unless you are an expert in European history during the late 17th / early 18th centuries, these brief histories will be helpful to you as well.

In other reviews some people have disliked the amount of time spent on wars and battles, or on the navy, or the the building of St. Petersburg, but I enjoyed it all.


message 27: by Mckris10 (new)

Mckris10 | 20 comments Hi, Elizabeth! I always enjoy reading your reviews, and it seems you read very interesting books. I have a recommendation for you since you like Massie's book about Peter the Great. If you read it let me know what you think! :o)

Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie Robert K. Massie No author photo available.


message 28: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Thanks, that does look good. Another one for the to-read mountain!


message 29: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 16. The Mystery of the Sinister Scarecrow The Mystery of the Sinister Scarecrow (Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators, #29) by M.V. Carey by M.V. Carey
Finish date: 3 February 2011
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: B+

This is another book in a series that I thoroughly enjoyed when I was a kid. I read every copy I could find in whatever libraries I had access to. My husband found a nearly-complete set, used, and bought them for me and now I'm reading ones I never read as a kid.

The funny part is that it occurred to me while reading this book that in many ways this series is historical fiction for my children's generation. The "technology" in the books was a little old-fashioned even when I was a kid. Now, even more has changed. If a modern kid read about a kid detective being locked in a trunk and trying to figure a clever way to let someone know he was there, the modern kid would say, "Duh, why not use your cell phone?" And what modern kid would be impressed by a kid detective who figures a way to hook his phone into a speaker so everyone in the room can hear the conversation? Heavens, almost all phones have speaker-phone capacity now, big deal. For modern kids, reading these books would be reading about a whole different Time, i.e. reading historical fiction.


message 30: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 17. The Black Book of Buried Secrets The Black Book of Buried Secrets (39 Clues) by Mallory Kass by Mallory Kass
Finish date: 5 February 2011
Genre: children's adventure
Rating: B+

For fans of the 39 Clues series, this fills in a lot of interesting background information and prepares you for the new 39 Clues series coming in April. I enjoyed the additional insight into the original Cahill family, plus the background information given about most of the characters from the books.

I believe the book (and the other books in the series) are intended to help kids learn history and learn about other places. However, the authors do such a good job of interspersing the fictional story into the lives of real historical figures that I wonder if the kids can separate fact from fiction. Overall, a good ripping story, but not to replace history class.


message 31: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 18. Rising Storm Rising Storm (Warriors, #4) by Erin Hunter by Erin Hunter Erin Hunter
Finish date: 6 February 2011
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: B

Wow, the plot is really heating up. There is more of a cliffhanger at the end of this one than in the previous books.


message 32: by Elizabeth S (last edited Feb 12, 2011 07:59AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 19. Honest Money and Other Short Novels Honest Money and Other Short Novels by Erle Stanley Gardner by Erle Stanley Gardner Erle Stanley Gardner
Finish date: 8 February 2011
Genre: action, mystery, short story
Rating: B-

This book contains all 6 short stories that Gardner wrote about attorney Ken Corning. Unlike Perry Mason, Corning does not regularly hire a detective to help him. He basically does it himself, with a little help from his secretary. The Corning stories don't involve the courtroom either. They are set in the fictional town of York, a corrupt city where people are framed for murder by police and politicians. Corning bucks the trend, fights for the little guy and wins. The stories are exciting and quick.


message 33: by Elizabeth S (last edited Feb 12, 2011 08:16AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 20. Commodore Hornblower Commodore Hornblower (Horatio Hornblower, #4) by C.S. Forester by C.S. Forester C.S. Forester
Finish date: 12 February 2011
Genre: historical fiction, Napoleon era sea adventure
Rating: A

Hornblower is made a commodore (obviously) and sent to cruise the Baltic in 1812. Politics are tricky as Sweden and Russia (who usually fight each other) are both on the fence about war with Napoleon. Hornblower must tread (sail) carefully to avoid alienating these powers in the hopes that they will both side with England against France.

I very much enjoyed the sea battles, the clever strategy, the intertwining of real historical events and figures with the fictional Hornblower. A book both exciting and intellectually stimulating.

By good fortune for me, I recently read Peter the Great: His Life and World. Even though Peter the Great takes place about 100 years before Commodore Hornblower, it still gave me valuable insight into Russian and Swedish history, Russian culture, St. Petersburg, and other Baltic issues.

Peter the Great His Life and World by Robert K. Massie by Robert K. Massie


message 34: by Elizabeth S (last edited Feb 13, 2011 07:08AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 21. The Case of the Irate Witness and Other Stories The Case of the Irate Witness by Erle Stanley Gardner by Erle Stanley Gardner Erle Stanley Gardner
Finish date: 13 February 2011
Genre: mystery, short story
Rating: A-

Even though I liked the Perry Mason novels, I enjoyed these short stories a lot more. I guess Gardner's short story writing style fits my tastes better.

Published posthumously, this is a collection of four of Gardner's short stories. The first, The Case of the Irate Witness, is a Perry Mason gem. Short, quick, and clever.

Next we have The Jeweled Butterfly. It is longer, more of a novella, and features an amateur female detective, Peggy Castle. "What," you say? "A female detective?" Yes, you heard me right. I was surprised as well. While there are still a lot of male/female stereotypes typical of the era, overall it was a fun story.

Third is Something Like a Pelican. I love how the title of this story relates to the plot (read it and find out). This one features amateur detective Lester Leith, who dabbles in detection for the pure fun of it. I love the interplay with the police, who are always one step behind.

Last is A Man Is Missing, set in the wild west of Idaho. Moral of the story: the talents and abilities that make a great detective in the city don't always come up with the right solution in the country. Sheriff Bill Catlin solves this one, thanks to the information Hank Lucas collects in the field. The wrap-up to this one is priceless. The city detective gives his solution, then Catlin puts it right.


message 35: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 22. The Serpent's Shadow The Serpent's Shadow (Elemental Masters, #2) by Mercedes Lackey by Mercedes Lackey Mercedes Lackey
Finish date: 15 February 2011
Genre: alternative history, fantasy
Rating: B+

I'm trying out some of Lackey's non-Valdemar stories now. I liked this one overall. It had good characters and interesting magic. The story is very lightly based on Snow White, so lightly that you might miss it. But if you pick it up, it is fun to watch for the subtle connections.

The down-side for me was the moralizing about woman's suffrage and the terrible medical conditions in early 20th century England. Some chapters seemed to go on and on about it. While I do think it is important for people to be aware of such issues, I guess I've read too many alternative history fantasy or mysteries set in these times that spend too much time on it.


message 36: by Elizabeth S (last edited Feb 15, 2011 02:20PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 23. The Magician's Nephew The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) by C.S. Lewis by C.S. Lewis C.S. Lewis
Finish date: 15 February 2011
Genre: children's fantasy
Rating: A

I've read this whole series so many times, and I love the books even more each time. This time I was reading it out loud to my 9-year-old (and sometimes my 4-year-old). Since this one is a prequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which he's read before, it was fun to see him figure out who and what various people and things were going to be in the other book. Some things he guessed correctly, and some things he had no idea about.

One of the things I like about these books is how they are fun, simple, children's stories. But you can also read them as deep, philosophical or religious works.


message 37: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 11, 2011 04:29AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 24. The Mystery of the Scar-Faced Beggar The Mystery of the Scar-Faced Beggar (The Three Investigators, #31) by M.V. Carey by M.V. Carey
Finish date: 15 February 2011
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: A-

In this one, the three boys do more "real" detective work than we usually see them do. In my opinion, Carey's earlier contributions to the series were quite weak. However, her writing and her portrayal of the boys has improved to the point that I think this is one of the best of the whole series.

The interesting part of this book is the introduction of Hector Sebastian. Originally the series used Alfred Hitchcock as a character who introduced the write-up of the boys' adventures. After Hitchcock's death in 1980, the fictional Sebastian was introduced to replace Hitchcock. For a number of reasons, the series was later rewritten without Hitchcock's name. All of Hitchcock's appearances were replaced by Hector Sebastian. I don't know if this book was also rewritten in later editions, but at least the edition I have shows that Sebastian character was originally not intended to be written over the previous stories.


message 38: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 25. North and South North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell by Elizabeth Gaskell Elizabeth Gaskell
Finish date: 21 February 2011
Genre: classic literature, social commentary
Rating: A

This has got to be the best book that I never would have read if it wasn't handed to me by a friend who has never failed me in a book recommendation. I'd never heard of this book or Elizabeth Gaskell (I wonder if that reveals a deficiency in my literary education), and I'm sure I never would have had any interest in reading it just based on the general descriptions.

There were several points while reading that the book felt very Jane Austeny, but that doesn't mean the book is a Jane Austen clone. Rather it is the same flavor and literary style that Jane Austen used, although it addresses social issues from a later decade. The pros and cons of rural life versus city/manufacturing life, male versus female roles, union versus master, etc. are all discussed. And yet the story is still deep and meaningful. It doesn't feel like a book written just to forward a political agenda. The characters were interesting and well drawn. I very much enjoy a book like this where the characters have faults and difficulties that they grow and learn from.

Jane Austen Jane Austen


message 39: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 26. Belly Up Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs by Stuart Gibbs
Finish date: 22 February 2011
Genre: kids mystery/adventure
Rating: A-

What a fun book. A murder mystery for kids! (Not young kids. I think 3-4th grade and up.) And it works, because the murder victim is a hippopotamus. The characters are fun and entertaining. There is a lot of running around kid-style, meaning kids will enjoy it. And the mystery is actually worth puzzling through for an adult.

It was refreshing to have a book where the kid's parents are a happily married couple. So many books today feature kids with single parents or divorced parents (somewhat replacing kids-with-no-parents that were written about a lot 100 years ago) that you wonder if it is even allowed to give a kid parents who have a solid marriage.


message 40: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 27. The Mystery of the Blazing Cliffs The Mystery of the Blazing Cliffs (The Three Investigators, #32) by M.V. Carey by M.V. Carey
Finish date: 22 February 2011
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: B+

The boys investigate a UFO scam in this one. A millionaire who is prepared to be self-sufficient in his valley is instead ripe for a group of scam artists.


message 41: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 28. A Dangerous Path A Dangerous Path (Warriors, #5) by Erin Hunter by Erin Hunter Erin Hunter
Finish date: 24 February 2011
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: B-

The series plot took a darker tone in this book. The main character seemed to grow as a leader and tried harder to look at the good/positive side of events and others. Which was both good and bad. I'll have to see how the last book pans out before deciding if I want to continue reading into the sequel series.


message 42: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 01, 2011 06:48AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 29. Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor (Jane Austen Mysteries, #1) by Stephanie Barron by Stephanie Barron
Finish date: 27 February 2011
Genre: mystery, historical
Rating: B+

A fun mystery featuring Jane Austen as the principle detective. The author writes in first person, as if Jane were telling the story herself, and so attempts to imitate Jane Austen's style. I wouldn't say the imitation was perfectly done, but close enough to be fun.

In many ways this is also a historical fiction book. I'm sure there are many areas where a character's word choice was not quite what a real person from the time would have said, and other such nuances. However, the general feel fits the times, but perhaps with a lighter touch than fans of Austen would see in her books. Throughout the book there are numerous footnotes with historical information about the times. For example, after someone talks with an Earl, there is a footnote explaining the proper way to address an Earl. I was already aware of the information imparted in many of these footnotes, which gives me more confidence that the other footnotes are as well researched. If you want to learn about the early 1800s, just reading the footnotes would be educational.

Jane Austen Jane Austen


message 43: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments MARCH

30. Lord Hornblower Lord Hornblower by C.S. Forester by C.S. Forester C.S. Forester
Finish date: 3 March 2011
Genre: historical fiction, Napoleonic wars, sea battles
Rating: B

I've never struggled so much with wanting to put spoilers all over a review! I think it is because this book is basically 3 parts. I really liked one part, another part was okay, and another part was not my favorite. But any discussion of the parts that come second and third in the book is somewhat spoilerish for the first part.

So I'll just say that this is a lovely addition to the Hornblower series. If I start using the spoiler tag I'll write too much and never get to sleep tonight. Yawn.


message 44: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 31. The Fire Rose The Fire Rose (Elemental Masters, #1) by Mercedes Lackey by Mercedes Lackey Mercedes Lackey
Finish date: 6 March 2011
Genre: fantasy, alternative history
Rating: A-

This tale of magic and danger is lightly based on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale. I really liked it. I liked the main characters and seeing both their strengths and weaknesses. Nice romantic tension and good resolution.

Only downside (minor) was the bad-guy viewpoints. While his thoughts and actions were not graphically described, you still kinda know what he is doing and it is rather sickening. Thankfully there were not that many of his viewpoints.


message 45: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 32. The Mystery of the Purple Pirate The Mystery of the Purple Pirate (The Three Investigators, #33) by William Arden by William Arden
Finish date: 7 March 2011
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: B

Not bad, but not the best three investigators mystery. The major plot of the first half of the book was basically straight out of a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story ("The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" found in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes). As I've read Conan Doyle's story many times, it wasn't much of a mystery for me.

The second half keeps you jumping and is a little confusing as things are wrapped up, then not wrapped up, then switch over... etc. Overall, still a fun juvenile mystery.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Oxford World's Classics) by Arthur Conan Doyle by Arthur Conan Doyle Arthur Conan Doyle


message 46: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 09, 2011 07:23AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 33. The Illustrated Longitude The Illustrated Longitude by Dava Sobel by Dava Sobel Dava Sobel
Finish date: 9 March 2011
Genre: nonfiction, history, science
Rating: B+

I really enjoy reading books that bring to life the history of science. Especially books like this that tell the story of someone who is not a household name, but still contributed something significant to the world. I thought the writing was well done. There was some appropriate humor in the pages, which helps keep nonfiction books from running dry. The story is clearly told. The author also honestly acknowledges where there are gaps or historical uncertainties in the record. The science is explained, but not in overwhelming detail (which is a plus or a minus depending on who you are).

The illustrated edition has some big pros and some small cons. Pictures of the described clocks, maps, locations, and portraits all added significantly to the story. In addition, the captions for each picture, written by William Andrewes, often added interesting facts and details not found in the main text. The downside is that the captions sometimes repeat information in the text, and sometimes give the information ahead of time. This caused me some minor confusion in chronology while reading for the first time. But overall, being able to see what was described is well worth it.


message 47: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 10, 2011 09:01PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 34. George's Secret Key to the Universe George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy Hawking by Lucy Hawking and Stephen W. Hawking Stephen W. Hawking
Finish date: 10 March 2011
Genre: science fiction, juvenile
Rating: B

This book is a fun ride through the universe. The intended audience is definitely the young. The plot is black-and-white simple and the science is explained at about the 10-12 year old level. Consequently, there are a few over simplifications that a typical arm-chair physicist will balk at. For example, electrons are said to "orbit" around the nucleus of an atom, which is not technically true, but perhaps close enough for the intended audience.

The other science abnormalities come under the "fiction" part of "science fiction." For example, there is a computer that thinks and can send people out in space and speed up time. I would think that adults, and most kids, can easily see the difference between the "fiction" and the "science." Some kids might have one or two questions.


message 48: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 35. The Mystery of the Wandering Caveman The Mystery of the Wandering Caveman (The Three Investigators, #34) by M.V. Carey by M.V. Carey
Finish date: 10 March 2011
Genre: children's mystery
Rating: B

Another solid three investigators mystery. This time the boys don't have an official client, but investigate to satisfy curiosity. For some reason, the three investigators books by Carey often have unstable females in them. In other books there was a bossy, demanding, illogical girl. In this book we have a young woman who seems to burst into tears at every possible moment. I've been told that Carey is a female writer, so perhaps the intention is to introduce female characters into a the series. But, please, if you are going to have females as characters, don't make them so annoying.

The part of this book that I enjoyed the most was an historical moment that occurred when the boys reported to Hector Sebastian at the end. Sebastian had just gotten this weird computer thing that had a never-before-seen word processor on it. And then, what magic!, you can make the box next to the computer come to life and make noises and then you have a print-out of what you typed! It was so amazing to read such a description of a computer and printer from the early 1980s.


message 49: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 12, 2011 08:42AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 36. The Darkest Hour The Darkest Hour (Warriors, #6) by Erin Hunter by Erin Hunter (no photo for this author anymore)
Finish date: 12 March 2011
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: B

Fully as dark as the fifth book, and yet a very satisfying ending to the series. I enjoyed watching the main character take further steps towards being a great leader. Throughout the series, Firestar's growth and learning curve was well done. I also enjoyed the little nuggets about faith and belief.


message 50: by Elizabeth S (last edited Mar 15, 2011 08:08PM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments 37. Lieutenant Hornblower Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester by C.S. Forester C.S. Forester
Finish date: 15 March 2011
Genre: historical fiction, Napoleonic wars, sea battles
Rating: A-

One of my favorite Hornblowers so far. (I've read 7 now.) For the first time the majority of the book is written from someone else's perspective. It was really interesting to look at Hornblower through Bush's eyes. And for many of the events in the book, the suspense and drama are heightened that way. One of the complaints I've seen others offering for Hornblower books is spending too much time listening to Hornblower's insecurities. If that bothers you, turn to this one.


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