Tag Archives: 3 Stars

The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell

A young mapmaker, Esteban de Sandoval, joins Captain Mendoza on his quest to find gold in the 1500s in the New World. With the gold hidden where no one will ever find it and Captain Mendoza dead, Esteban finds himself on trial for murder, which he denies, and for not giving the king his fifth of the gold, which he admits.

I guess I am just not a Scott O’Dell fan. This is the second book I have read by him and I didn’t care for either of them. The parts of The King’s Fifth that describe the courtroom and the trial are quite interesting, but everything else, which is most of the book, is rather boring. Even a description of a battle with an Indian tribe drags. I kind of wanted the conquistadors to die right then so the book would be over. I liked the premise and how the book went back and forth between what happened finding the gold and what happened in the courtroom. It was just the storytelling that I didn’t enjoy. If there is nothing else available, this book is good enough, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 78
Pages Read in 2018: 18,545
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is really, really strange for the first half. The second half is also strange, but a little less so. My 10-year-old son liked it. I don’t think it’s especially worth taking the time to read, though.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 68
Pages Read in 2018: 16,465
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Afghanistan by Donkey: A Year in a War Zone by Anna Badkhen

A journalist embedded with NATO troops in Afghanistan in 2011, Anna Badkhen spent most of her time getting to know the regular people of Afghanistan. Their fears, their concerns, how they lived their lives, what they thought about the Taliban, what they knew about Bin Laden and 9/11, and how the seemingly never-ending wars were affecting them. What she found is often heartbreaking and sometimes surprising. Most of her account is fascinating. I suspect she meant each chapter to be a standalone article, however, because she constantly repeated information that had been in previous chapters. This got quite tiresome. I recommend reading this book to anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the everyday life of Afghans under the shadow of war.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 61
Pages Read in 2018: 15,236
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Ringworld by Larry Niven

Louis Wu, Teela Brown, Speaker-to-Animals, and Nessus embark on a trip to Ringworld, a place three million times the area of Earth. What they find there is not what they expected at all.

Ringworld is strange and sometimes enjoyable. The worlds and aliens can be quite confusing at first to keep straight. Louis and Teela’s relationship is downright bizarre and a little creepy since he’s 10 times older than she is and had a relationship with her great-great-grandmother. For people who like sci-fi, it’s probably a great pick.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 58
Pages Read in 2018: 14,067
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Reason: Mind Voyages, Science Fiction

The Mystery of Hollow Inn by Tara Ellis

Visiting her aunt and uncle, Sam and her friend Ally discover a legend about missing gold and set out to find it.

The Mystery Of Hollow Inn is very predictable and written rather awkwardly in the present tense. It is, however, a cute story with a good amount of tension and mystery for a book aimed at kids. The bad guy, though, was kind of thrown in from left field which was a little strange. It’s a good enough book that can be handed to a kid to read, but there are better out there.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 51
Pages Read in 2018: 12,462
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Filed under Children, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

The Case of the Mysterious Mr. Jekyll by Daniel Kenney and Emily Boever

A group of sixth graders are asked by the police to solve their second case. They love math and use it to help in their detective work. When suspicion turns on them, it is a race against time to clear their names.

My 9-year-old enjoyed The Case of the Mysterious Mr. Jekyll. The kids in the book call themselves the Math Inpectors, but very little math was used in solving the crimes. The police were rather ridiculous in their reasons for suspecting them and there was no innocent until proven guilty for the kids with the school board. It’s an okay book, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 49
Pages Read in 2018: 11,954
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Children, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Columbus: Lies of a New World by Alexander Kennedy

Columbus: Lies of a New World tells the story of Christopher Columbus, both the good and the bad. It is pretty fair in its assessment of both. It’s pretty short and to the point so it reads fast. As far as content, it’s a solid 4. However, it is in very bad need of an editor. Random words that don’t belong are scattered throughout and that is very distracting. The formatting could use some work. The eighth chapter repeats quite a bit of what was said previously. For the content, though, I still recommend reading it.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 37
Pages Read in 2018: 8688
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under History, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron