Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan

256 pages…a good, solid read!

Will, a member of the “orphanage” in Redmont fief, always dreams about being a knight enrolled in Battleschool. When Choosing Day comes, and he requests Battleschool, the battlemaster refuses and it looks like Will will be a farmer, the most boring job in the world. But there is hope! Will sees the ranger, Halt give the Baron of Redmont a note about him. And one way or another, Will finds out that he has been chosen as a ranger’s apprentice. What does a ranger do? Does he have weapons? Will Halt be nice? These are all questions floating around in Will’s head. Read Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan.

Read all of the Ranger’s Apprentice books, 10  in total!

MOVIE ALERT! This book is 50% go for a movie! Last I heard was that the director, Paul Haggis, was having trouble with the funds for the movie…but we can hope!

Buy this book from Amazon.com!

Here’s the Ranger’s Apprentice Site: www.rangersapprentice.com.

The Dreamer

TThe Dreamerhe Dreamer is the story of Pablo Neruda.  As the jacket flap says, “Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and sensorial, transporting illustrations, Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination.” A rare journey indeed…through words and sounds, colors and emotions, joy and agony.

The collector in me immediately connected with the shy, determined Neftali.  His shelves of feathers, rocks, shells and nests and his daily joy in looking at and seeing the wonders around him spoke to me. His days of dreaming and wondering are like quiet meditations.  Those calm languid feelings collide abruptly with the harsh anger and bitter barked commands as his father enters the story.  Neftali is never enough, never quite right, never important.  His moments of shame and humiliation are painful stinging slaps stinging showing another side of reality.  Never enough, until finally, Neftali Reyes in becoming Pablo Neruda found the way to follow his heart without shaming his family name.

The words, the pictures, the poems make this a strikingly beautiful book, but it is not for everyone – lovers of action and a tightly woven plot will likely find the pace tedious, but readers who savor the shimmer of well polished words like these when Neftali first sees the ocean…

“Neftali’s breath caught in his throat at the sight of the infinite colors and the gentle curve of the faraway horizon. He had never imagined the height of the white spray breaking against the rocks, the dark sand, or the air that whispered of fish and salt. He stood, captivated, feeling small and insignificant, and at the same time as if he belonged to something much grander.”

… will enjoy each and every moment.


Wildwood Wildwood (Wildwood Trilogy, #1)

by Colin Meloy

540 pages of wildness and wonder

When a book begins by having a baby brother carried off by crows, your curiosity is piqued.  Then when the older sister decides to keep the disappearance hidden from her parents in the hope that she can successfully retrieve him from the crows and the wood (the Impassable Wilderness) hopefully no worse for the wear, you are compelled to read on.  As you do you meet Curtis, then Richard, then talking coyote soldiers with weapons and attack strategies, The Dowager Governess, the Bandit King, the Crown Prince of the Avian Principality and you know need to find out how the good and evil will meet and how the magic of this fantasy will be revealed.

Full of strong characters and unusual twists and turns, the citizens of Wildwood will welcome you in.  When you turn the last page, you’ll be hoping for another tale… Why are their magical barriers?  How did the two worlds (ours and theirs) decide to separate?  Why does it seem that magic only thrives in some places?  It is in our world, and we are just too busy to pay attention?

I like books that leave me thinking.  This one did.  I am glad the subtitle is “Wildwood Chronicles – book 1.”   I am looking forward to going back to this place and understanding more of how our worlds might meet.

side note:  I loved that Prue cherished the Sibley Guide and just needed it one more week – even though it was overdue

The Potato Chip Puzzles

Are you a puzzle lover? Do you get so involved in puzzles that you don’t hear your own name? If you answered YES! to either of these questions, you will love this book. (Okay, a little infomercially.) Winston Breen is a puzzle lover and now he’s in yet another puzzle-solving fiasco.

When he is called to the principal’s to help solve the puzzle, he finds himself mixed up in a puzzle contest hosted by one of the most famous men in the world. The founder of the most famous snack company in this time, Dimitri Simon. What will it be like? Will there be a lot of people in the contest? What kinds of puzzles will they be like? It turns out that the competition is nothing like what Winston thought. Read The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin to find out what happens to Winston and this crazy puzzle fiasco.


Puzzles like these occur often throughout this book. Here is a sample puzzle for you to solve.


I am the beginning of everyone and everything, and I am the end of time and space. What am I?

Look for the answer in the next few posts.

Here is the website of Winston Breen: www.winstonbreen.com

Buy this book on Amazon.com!

Go to the original “The Puzzling World of Winston Breen” here.


“The Puzzler’s Mansion” Coming sometime in 2012!

Get em’ all!

The Door in the Wall

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli

A very short book; but LOTS of Old English and words like thy and nought. 6th grade is a good time to read it. Set in Medieval times.

Robin is 10 years old, stuck in a without the use of his legs, and his parents are away to serve the kingdom. Saved by Brother Luke, a very kind monk, he heads to St. Marks to be taught skills like woodworking. After some good times at St. Mark’s, Robin receives a letter from his father telling him that Robin will be moved to a different castle. But when that different castle, the Castle of Lindsay, gets partly invaded by a very strong army, Robin finds that he is the only one who can save the castle from total invasion by pretending to be someone he is not. Read The Door in the Wall by Marguerite deAngeli to find out what happens.

I read this book in a book group, and it was a good book for that because there are a lot of things that you will need to talk about, like vocabulary and plot/timeline. I recommend reading this in a book group or just with someone else so you can talk about it.

Read it? Did you like this book?

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Buy this book here from Amazon.com!


WinterlingWinterling (Winterling, #1)

by Sarah Prineas

245 pages of magical adventure – can you set evil magic right?

Since I finished reading Winterling last night it is growing on me.  I love books that keep coming back to make you wonder.  Fer lives with Grand Jane.  She is different and doesn’t fit in.  She is teased and taunted and nowhere feels right.  Being on the bus makes her feel sick.  Being in the woods feels glorious and there is so much to be curious about.  With kids her own age, she is always fighting.  In the woods she is always discovering and wondering.

It is during one of these escapes into the woods that she find a creature, a dog maybe, being attacked by wolves – something that doesn’t belong in her woods at all.  Of course she attempts to save the creature, there is no question about that – she fights the wolves back, discoveries an injured boy and thus binds his life to hers through the saving.  Through this one selfless act she discovers The Way, an opening to a world that makes Fer tingle with anticipation and excitement.  Somehow it feels right for her to be there – on the Other side.  All the things that made her so odd in our world help her in this.  The herb lore Grand Jane taught her, the talismans for safety and the art of questioning through the power of the glamorie work and help her here.  They help her help others, and though, she feels right she knows something is wrong.  Spring can’t or won’t come and, what’s worse, now that The Way has been opened the evil is spilling into Grand Jane’s world as well.  It’s up to Fer to make it right, and she doesn’t know how.

I appreciated the notion that caring and kindness wins the day.  I found the idea that there is a place for everyone that feel right comforting – I look for that place all the time.  I find the idea of glamories and glam intriguing and I want to learn out more.  I first came across that in Runemark by Joanne Harris, a story based in Norse legends.  Winterling has leanings in that direction too so I am curious.  What would you do in land that was forever waiting for spring?  Would you have the courage to question and the bravery to take action? Read Winterling to find out what Fer does and then let us know.