Maximum Ride by James Patterson

Well, this is, for my husband and I, day 74 of following stay-at-home protocols. We’re doing fairly well. Still married. Hahaha. Still managing our daily lives, with grocery pickup and the occasional masked up visit to a store. We’ve had socially distanced visits with family in back yards, which has been a godsend. For me, the thing I miss most right now is hugs. My husband gives great hugs, but I would love to put my arms around my children, you know?

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This month’s reading challenge is: A children’s or young adult book. Since I read quite a bit of young adult, I thought I’d see if one of the books from my childhood would still be as beloved as they were then. So I went to the kids books we have here at home and found Heidi by Johanna Spyri. First published in 1881, I fell in love with this story as a child. I credit it for helping me fall in love with reading. So I opened the book and started to read. Alas, the edition I have apparently spent some time in the garage over the years because before long I was sneezing and watery-eyed from the musty smell. So I had to set it aside.

Then I chose a YA book to read. Thought I’d check out James Patterson’s Angel Experiment series. I grabbed the ebook for Maximum Ride, book 1.

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What It’s About:

Max soars above the world . . . but in James Patterson’s thrilling adventure, fantasy can come crashing down to reveal the nightmares of the Angel Experiment.
Maximum Ride and her “flock” — Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel — are just like ordinary kids, only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time.
Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the “School” where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of whack jobs. Her friends brave a journey to blazing hot Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare: fighting off the half-human, half-wolf “Erasers” in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives.
Along the way, Max discovers that her purpose is save the world. But can she?

My Thoughts:

The characters are very different from each other and the premise is intriguing and complicated in a way only James Patterson can do. I felt for the kids in the story. However, the chapters were very short, many only a page or so. I’ve not seen that in a lot of young adult books and it made it hard for me to fully embed myself in the pov character, since it changed from chapter to chapter quite a bit. I haven’t picked up book 2 yet. I’m still mulling it over, but I’m betting I’ll pick it up. I did like the plot and would like to get some answers from this continuing series. I’d recommend this book, really I would. Just be prepared for those short chapters. 🙂

Stay safe, everyone! And hang in there. This, too, shall pass.

Projects and Legends

Reblogging my post from Over The Backyard Fence. How long does it take to crochet an afghan?

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As this post, my husband and I are on day 56 of our stay-at-home time. We’re still married and are actually getting along pretty well, thank goodness. For me, an interesting happenstance has come out of this time. I’m finishing incomplete projects, like the art project I posted about last month.

And this:

So, there are urban legends and there are family legends. I’m about to tell the tale of one of our family legends. A crocheting one.

When my daughter found out she was pregnant with our first grandchild, I let my joy fill me with enthusiasm. I did what most budding grandparents, at least, grandmothers, do. I decided to make a baby blanket. I don’t quilt, though I admire those that do. I don’t knit. I have, on a rare occasion, crocheted, so that was what I opted for.IMG_1805

I finished the project this week. My grandson, our…

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Virgin River

Last night, I closed a book I was so into that I read it over the course of about 30 hours. It wasn’t just the book. It was the last unread book in a twenty book series.

Have you read any of Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series? Seen the new Netfix series? Because both are soooo worth the time. I love reading romance stories, and small town romances always leave me smiling at the end, so I tend to gravitate toward them.

Over the years, I’ve read several stories from this series, set in a small town in the redwoods of Northern California. I rarely read them in order, not that it mattered. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I made finishing this series one of my goals for our stay-at-home time. (Thank goodness for ebooks!)

And last night, I hugged my kindle after reading the end, sad to think that there were no new books to read in this world. My favorite characters are, of course, the bedrock of the series, Jack and Mel (book 1: Virgin River.)

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But I’ve been waiting for Nora’s story ever since she was introduced. Dumped in Virgin River with a baby and toddler by an unscrupulous ex, she had to work hard to survive and I wanted her to get her happy ending. Through Tom’s eyes, we get to see her amazing strength, her learning to trust again, and how much she sticks to her own principles.

I fell in love with Nora, with Tom and his grandmother, with Nora’s kids, with the apple orchard. But more than that, I got one final look at beloved characters and a world I’d been putting my reading glasses on for over the past several years.

I’m sad I’m done, but so happy to have spent the time in Virgin River. In fact, visiting the redwoods is now on my bucket list. This series is a high recommend from me.

And now the search is on to find a new series to read. Any recommendations?

Be safe, stay healthy. Survive! And, when life gets you down, I hope you are able to pick up a book and disappear for a while.

Spark, Feyguard, Book 1

Well, this is day 34 of staying home for us. So far, so good. In fact, I’m managing to finish some of those unfinished projects, like scrapping some birthday cards (enough for the rest of the year) and finishing a crochet project (closing in on that one.)

And reading. I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Best escape ever!

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For April’s read, which was supposed to be something from my shelf, I picked one of my favorite YA fantasies to re-read. Spark, a story set in Feyland by Anthea Sharp, is a vivid world where the Realm of Faerie meets gamer’s world. An immersive virtual game, Feyland, has a secret opening to the very real, very dangerous, fairie world, where the Dark Court is ruled by a sinister queen.

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Spark is a world-class gamer. Aran is a world-class hacker. And together, they must defeat the Dark queen.

What It’s About:

What if a high-tech computer game was a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie? 

Superstar gamer Spark Jaxley’s life might look easy, but she’s part of an elite few who guard a shocking secret; the Realm of Faerie exists, and its dark magic is desperate for a foothold in the mortal world.

Aran Cole hacks code and sells his gaming cheats on the black market. It’s barely a living, and one he’s not proud of. But when he turns his skills to unlocking the secrets behind Feyland–the most exciting and immersive game on the market–he discovers power and magic beyond his wildest dreams.

Spark’s mission is clear; pull Aran from the clutches of the fey folk and restore the balance between the worlds. But can she risk her life for someone who refuses to be rescued?

My Thoughts:

Honestly, I’ve read all the Feyland books so far. It’s on my series favorites list. The world is rich in detail and well-developed. The characters are different and believable. And the in-game/in-realm battle scenes are phenomenal, as is the rising tension. It’s a high recommend from me, even the second time around.

Stay safe, everyone!

East of the Mountains

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I first want to send my fervent prayers that everyone is staying safe and healthy. COVID-19 is scary, especially for folks, like me, who are in the susceptible age group. I wish you all healthy environments!

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The March reading challenge was a book with a nature word in it. For that, I dug through my to-be-read pile and found East of the Mountains, by David Guterson. This is the same author who wrote Snow Falling on Cedars. I realized I haven’t read that one, either. Or seen the movie. After reading this one, I may well pick Snow Falling on Cedars up.

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What It’s About:

When he discovers that he has terminal cancer, retired heart surgeon Ben Givens refuses to simply sit back and wait. Instead he takes his two beloved dogs and goes on a last hunt, determined to end his life on his own terms. But as the people he meets and the memories over which he lingers remind him of the mystery of life’s endurance, his trek into the American West becomes much more than a final journey.

My thoughts:

I read the jacket – this story is about a dying man’s final journey. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it, but I’m glad I did. First, it’s an intimate look at the thoughts of someone dealing with a difficult diagnosis. Recollections of his life, including picking apples in the orchards of Eastern Washington and his time overseas in the war. The joy of meeting his wife. The despair that loss brings.

But there was also hope in this story. People who help him on his journey, both with time and wise words. When it ended, I smiled.  It was poignant, at times starkly human, and, well, it is an in depth look at the resiliency of humans under duress.

So it’s a recommend from me, but it’s also not for the faint of heart. Still, a smile touches my face as I think of it, so take that as you will.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

The Time Traveler’s Wife

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Month two of this reading challenge was another good book for me. I’m enjoying this challenge a lot so far.

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What it’s about (though I suspect most people already know this since it was first published in 2003):

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals–steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

My thoughts:

I’m not sure why I hadn’t yet read this book, but I have now. I’ll be honest. I set it aside after the first page or two of chapter 1 (after the prologue.) The logical person inside my brain couldn’t understand how, if he is the time traveler, she is seeing him when he does not know her.

I’m glad I kept going. I got hooked. I had to stay focused, though. It’s not an easy story to keep straight, though the author does a great job of grounding the reader to time and place. I got involved. In Clare’s heart. In Henry’s head. It was well worth the time to read, though I felt the ending was a bit rushed. Still, I do like the image I was left with as I closed the book. So it’s a recommend from me. And now I need to watch the movie!

 

 

i’ll be your blue sky

Life has been pretty crazy lately. Between the holidays and other issues, it’s been difficult to find the motivation to write. So I’ve been taking some time off just to read and re-energize. Someone posted a reading challenge on Facebook, and for the life of me, I can’t remember who, but I’m grateful to them because I feel stuck in a rut. Here’s the  challenge:IMG_1143

I’ve decided to take this challenge, and for my January “color” book, I read:

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This story took a little getting used to, with third and first person. But I loved the two stories, Edith’s and Clare’s. And the way it all came together. I found it emotional and engaging. When Clare ends a relationship on the day of her wedding, her pain is real. Her metamorphosis moves along well, and the secondary characters made me smile. Well, most of them. After all, every story has to have an antagonist, right? Overall, a recommend from me.

One story down. Eleven to go…

I hope winter is playing nice with all of you! We’re rainy and gray in the Pacific Northwest. That bodes well for spring flowers. 🙂

Laurie Ryan