The Hobbit (The Lord of the Rings Prequel) ★★★★★

hobbit (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Hobbit
Series: The Lord of the Rings Prequel
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 235
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit. Who ends up with a wizard and 13 dwarves for dinner. And somehow gets finagled into going on an adventure to recover the dwarves lost treasure, that is guarded by the dragon Smaug.

Along the way Bilbo meets elves, runs away from goblins, plays a riddle game in the dark with Gollum for his life, finds a ring of invisibility, flies on eagles’ wings, fights giant spiders and is almost eaten by 3 trolls.

Eventually he and the dwarves reach the Lonely Mountain and Laketown. They rouse the dragon and Bard of Laketown kills Smaug and then elves, humans and dwarves prepare to fight over the treasure. Until a huge goblin army shows up and everybody fights them. The good guys win, the treasure is shared and Bilbo returns home a better, wiser and more eccentric hobbit than ever.

 

My Thoughts:

What a book. I’ve read this enough times that nothing is a surprise. And yet… I am still in awe at how Tolkien weaves such a children’s tale so as to keep me intrigued, for the umpteenth time.

What do I say? A simple tale of adventure that is the prequel to one of the worlds most renowned fantasy series? A tale of bravery, generosity and kindness overcoming perils, greed and hatred? A stout heart being greater than a dragon? I just don’t know what to say beyond the fact that I enjoyed the heck out of this just like I have all the previous times and I don’t have any issues with it.

Well, except maybe all the singing. I wouldn’t have minded if there hadn’t been any singing. In regards to the singing though, the only thing I can say positively about the horrific movie trilogy is that the song by the dwarves in Bilbo’s house is absolutely haunting and enchanting. Who knows how long this link will exist, but here’s a youtube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8ymgFyzbDo

If only the Silmarillion had been this interesting. Well, at least I’ve got the rest of the Trilogy to look forward too!

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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The Black Pearl ★★★★★

blackpearlbig (custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Black Pearl
Series: ———-
Author: Scott O’Dell
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: MG Historical Fiction
Pages: 96
Format: Paperback Edition

 

Synopsis:

A young man, Ramon Salazar, recently turned 16 is made a partner in his father’s pearl business. He learns to grade and buy and sell the pearls the small fleet his father owns brings in each trip. However, what he really wants is to go diving with the fleet. His father allows him to come out with the fleet but only as a handler, not a diver.

The best pearl diver in the fleet is jealous of the opportunities that Ramon has and constantly needles him about not being a diver. This “Sevillano” claims to come from Spain and spins stories of all the exploits he has done. Eventually, it gets to Ramon and when the fleet makes a week long trip, he heads out to an Indian diver and begs him to teach him. Ramon learns how to be a diver and is shown a cave where Manta Diablo supposedly lives. The Indian tells him to not dive in the cave, as Manta Diablo will come after anyone who takes something from him.

Ramon can’t resist the lure and gets a huge clam which gives up a huge perfect “black” pearl. The Indian warns him that he is now cursed by Manta Diablo. Ramon heads home and gives the pearl to his father to show that he is a great diver, and to get back at the Sevillano for all his jibes. The father haggles with the local merchants and in a fit of pique at their stinginess, gives the pearl to the local Roman Catholic Church.

The next week the fleet is destroyed by a huge storm and only the Sevillano survives. This convinces Ramon that the pearl is indeed cursed and he steals it back from the church to take back to Manta Diablo’s cave. The Sevillano catches him and forces him to go to Mexico City where they can sell it for a huge fortune.

On their way, they are overtaken by a huge manta ray. After several incidents, the Sevillano harpoons the manta and eventually jumps on it to knife it to death. A rope wraps around him and he and the manta plunge into the depths never to be seen again. Ramon rows back to his village, returns the pearl to the church and realizes that he has grown up.

 

My Thoughts:

I had read and bought this back in elementary school at a book fair I believe. I enjoyed it a lot as a kid so I was kind of hesitant to dive into again and potentially ruin it. Kind of like how I got fed up with Lucky Starr by the end of the series. Some childrens books just aren’t meant for adults. However, since it was only 96 pages I figured I could pitch on in and rip through it at lunch times. Which is what I did.

What a great book!

This is the kind of adventure story that can capture the imagination of a young boy. O’Dell knows how to write for a youthful audience without churning out simplistic slop. Ramon deals with some huge issues and O’Dell gently guides the reader along that journey and makes a youngster think about what might change in their life and how would they respond? I love, Love, LOVE the fact that at no point is Ramon an angst-ridden whiny baby. O’Dell doesn’t buy into the lie that young people have to be coddled and that anything “tough” will destroy them. He shows that THROUGH adversity is how a man is forged. Phrack, it is refreshing to see that in a middle grade book.

Keeping in mind the target audience, I loved this story. O’Dell writes a character that inspires the reader instead of pandering to them. It is no wonder that O’Dell won so many awards and honorable mentions back in his heyday.

First 5star review of the year. While probably not a real contender for best book of the year, I think that a 96 page story about a 16 year old young man that can inspire a 40 year old like this deserves some attention. Ramon’s quiet fortitude and steady action is what is needed in more books today.

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Alfred Hitchcock’s Haunted Houseful ★★★☆½

hauntedhouseful (custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Alfred Hitchcock’s Haunted Houseful
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 262
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories that purport to deal with haunted houses, things that go bump in the night and other such supernatural goings ons.

 

My Thoughts:

This was part of a “Young Readers” series put out with Hitchcock’s name on it. He wrote an introduction to each book but each consisted of short stories by other authors. I think I was introduced to these when I was 10 or 11 and I loved them. This particular one I re-read because I own it and needed a paper book to read while on lunch breaks. Kindles don’t deal well with sitting in a bookbag in sub-freezing weather for 8’ish hours.

Honestly, besides one story with a ghost and one story that involves a supposed haunted house, this book was more a collection of “boys adventure” stories than anything. Also, several of the stories are from other collections or novels. For example, one of the stories was the Sherlock Holmes “Mystery of the Red Headed League” and a long excerpt from “Tom Sawyer” that involved the story with Tom getting lost in the caves and finding treasure. Several of the other stories I am guessing were also parts of series that I simply wasn’t aware of.

That doesn’t mean they were bad stories, it’s just that the cover is extremely mis-leading. I did find the Sherlock Holmes story too long and the same for the Tom Sawyer excerpt. They weren’t nearly as short as the other short stories. I can easily see a 10 year old getting bored by them and putting the book down.

It helped lunch time pass tolerably well for a week or so, so I consider it to have succeeded at what I wanted it to do. I don’t have any desire to go search out any of the other “Alfred Hitchcock’s….” anthologies however.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn (Lucky Starr #6) ★★☆☆☆

ringsofsaturn (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn
Series: Lucky Starr #6
Author: Isaac Asimov
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 144
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Sirians have colonized a moon of Saturn and claim that under inter-galactic law they are quite within their bounds to do so. To dislodge them will start a war that will unite every spacer world against Earth.

A (space) UN meeting is called and due to Lucky’s forward thinking the Sirians are routed and told to get out of the Solar System.

The End of the Series

 

My Thoughts:

Well, first off, I have read the previous book, Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter, but never recorded it nor reviewed it. According to Librarything, I never even added it to my “Currently Reading” stack. Baloney. I blame LT for screwing me up. Totally their fault and my own absent mindedness in no way has anything to do with this miscarriage of justice.

Anyway.

I just wanted to get through this book. It is too middle grade for me and I just wanted it over. There is nothing any worse about this book than the previous ones, I had just reached my limit of what I could take. And I had had enough that I didn’t even care about recording the previous book that I had forgotten about. I think that says it all.

Now, I did enjoy the covers for each of these books. That 50’s, 60’s 70’s astro-puff look, it works for me.Probably the best part of the whole series.

Man, me and SF are just not hitting it off right this year! First Reynolds leaves me with forgettable writing and now Asimov makes me reach my limit? I need some exciting SF!!!

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

To Kill a Mockingbird ★★★★★

tokillamockingbird (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Series: ———-
Author: Harper Lee
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Jem and Scout Finch are growing up. Scout has to go to school and while she’s learned to argue with her lawyer father Atticus, some times Dad just puts his foot down. Scout makes friends with a boy her own age named Dill who comes to live with his aunt each summer. Dill wants to see Boo Radley, a mysterious recluse who lives next door to the Finch’s.

Atticus takes on a case where a black man is accused of raping a white woman. Atticus is afraid of how it is going to affect both Jem and Scout as gossip mongers in town are now calling Atticus a nigger lover and that attitude trickles down to the children. Atticus make hash of the prosecutors case but the jury isn’t swayed and convict the man to death. While in prison awaiting appeal he tries to escape (his right arm is withered and of no use) and is gunned down by the guards. The father of the woman making the accusations realizes how Atticus destroyed his story and vows revenge on him even though he won the case.

Jem and Scout are returning home one night from the Halloween party at school when they are attacked by an unknown assailant. Jem’s arm is broken and he’s knocked on the head. The assailant begins to try to choke Scout to death but due to her costume (a ham made from chicken wire and paper mache) is foiled. The assailant is in turn assailed by a mysterious rescuer and this person takes an unconscious Jem home. Turns out the assailant was the father who swore vengeance on Atticus. The rescuer? Boo Radley, a sickly albino.

The book ends with the Sheriff telling Atticus that the vengeance swearer fell on his own knife and that nobody, especially not Boo Radley, stabbed him to protect the children.

 

My Thoughts:

My goodness. What a great book. A story told by an adult remembering everything through the eyes of a 7-9 year old girl.

While everyone always focuses on the case with the black man and that Boo Radley is real and saves Scout, to Scout, who is telling the story, they aren’t any more important than the day at school when the teacher smacked her hand because she explained how some of the kids thought. This is a book about growing up and not realizing it until years later.

I don’t know exactly what to say here. I am glad that books like this are still read in schools. Maybe being older has given me an appreciation for just what Lee did here? I found the idea of “Scout” telling the story to be perfect. The occasional interjections by her as her older self simply brought out what she missed as a child. At the same time, I never felt hit over the head by Lee writing ham-handedly or TRYING to “make a point”. She makes her points very casually and lets it be up to the reader just how much they actually want to “get”.

I know I saw the movie several times during middleschool and highschool but I can’t remember if I ever actually read this before. I am glad I did read this now and I look forward to a re-read in 10’ish years.

This is a well written, engaging book that you can read for pure enjoyment if you so desire or you can read it as a classic tale of growing up in the South or you can read it as an activist and use it to bash people over the head with your SJW ideals. In this regards Lee is like a firearms manufacturer. She lets you, the user, decide just how to use this book.

As it should be.

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus (Lucky Starr #3) ★★★☆½

oceansofvenus (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus
Series: Lucky Starr #3
Author: Isaac Asimov
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 174
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Science Council has had a call for help from the domed Cities of Venus. They sent in a top operative but they received a letter of recall from the Head of the Science Council on Venus accusing the man of corruption. Lucky knows this man and doesn’t believe a word of it. He heads to Venus but receives a radio communique from said operative warning him away.

Lucky and Bigman barely make it to Venues, as their pilots mysteriously black out and almost crash their craft. Lucky begins his investigation and is shown a whole slew of incidents where rational people have performed very irrational acts and then had no memory of it. The Head of the Local Council is convinced it is a Syrian trick so as to steal the rare Venus yeast formulas.

Lucky thinks otherwise and after some hair raising adventures in the oceans, finds out that telepathic frogs are the culprit! But the mystery doesn’t stop there. It turns out one of the engineers on Venus has learned how to control the v-frogs (venus frogs. Get it? Pretty clever right?) and has been planning to become dictator of Venus.

Thanks to Lucky and Bigman, said Engineer is brought to Justice and the benevolent rule of the Science Council continues apace. Heil Scyenze! * salutes *

 

My Thoughts:

Maddalena pointed out in the comments of the previous book that this was written for middle graders. So when I went into this, I deliberately kept that in mind and you know what? It worked wonders for my expectations and how I read the book itself. I had a lot more fun this time around. I could see myself as a 5th grader eating this up with a spoon. I wish I had known about these way back then but oh well.

A good rousing adventure tale. It also shows unabashedly, or perhaps unknowingly(?), just how strong a belief in science as a force for good permeated the society of the 50’s. Science was going to solve every problem, only the best of men would be scientists and they would all get along because obviously, once you know something you have to act rationally and logically to that knowledge. Phraaaaack, what a naive outlook. Makes me wonder what Asimov was thinking at the end of his life, as he was a humanist and from what I understand didn’t believe in God or any sort of afterlife.

Anyway, with that aside out of the way, this book gave me some hope that I was sorely lacking from the previous. I am now looking forward to the next couple of volumes instead of dreading them. Ha!

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) ☆☆☆☆½ DNF@22%

ghostlyechoes (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Ghostly Echoes
Series: Jackaby #3
Author: William Ritter
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 353/DNF@22%
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

[Miss Rook] “Miss Lee was really a boy, wasn’t she? Underneath”

He slowed and then came to a stop and looked me square in the eyes, “That’s up to her to decide,”

~page 56

 

Yep, I’m done with this author now. Ritter’s going to push the SJW line about gender and cross dressing down my throat, forget it. As much as I enjoyed the previous 2 books, no amount of enjoyment is worth listening to lies for.

By the by, cross dressing is a moral deviancy that indicates some real brokenness inside. It isn’t normal and it shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s an indicator and Christian professional help should be sought. Just like you wouldn’t tell a man with a broken leg that he’s ok. Even if you can’t fix it, you can tell him to go to a doctors. But denying that there is anything wrong is the height of foolishness.

Man, this is NOT the way I wanted to start out a new month…

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)