Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book Review #43: A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail is a non-fiction book written by Bill Bryson about his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail along with his boyhood friend, Stephen Katz. Prior to this Bryson was known for his books on hiking and travel in the United Kingdom and Europe. Hiking the Appalachian trail was a lot different than his previous hike. He tells about his adventures in his own humorous way.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail used to be a dream of mine, but with my health problems, I know that it will never happen. I have read people’s trail journals on the Internet telling of their hikes along the Appalachian Trail and picture in my mind doing it. I used to be a hiking merit badge counselor for Boy Scouts, so I already knew a lot of the terminology and requirements for hiking, so I had no problem following along with their hike in this book. My only complaint is that the author would start talking about stuff that happened in the areas they were hiking in the past, some of it not really related to hiking which started making it slow reading for me.

There is a saying in the hiking community, “Hike your own hike.” It means that there is no set rules that you have to hike by (most of the time), but do it your own way. Bill Bryson and Stephen Katz definitely did hike their own hike.

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Tim’s Rating: ****
(Four out of five stars)

I’m off to read another book. Check periodically for more book reviews.




Book Review #42: The Blue Fairy Book

The Blue Fairy Book is the first of twelve compilations of fairy tales that were compiled and Edited by Andrew Lang between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Each one is named after a different color. This compilation contains 37 fairy tales from all over the world including some well known ones such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Rumplestiltzkin and The Forty Thieves among others.

There are some of the fairy tales that I like and others that I didn’t care for in this book. Some of them are more morbid than I remember my teachers reading to us in the earlier grades in elementary school back in the sixties. I think this could be a good series for fans of fantasy to read. It contains a lot of magic and battles with ogres, giants and witches among others. I had trouble reading the last two fairy tales in the book because they are Scottish fairy tales and the English in those two is different from what I’m used to here in the United States.

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Tim’s Rating: ***
(Three out of five stars)


I’m off to read another book. Check back periodically for more book reviews.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Book Review #41: Without Remorse

Without Remorse is the seventh novel written by Tom Clancy, the first in the Jack Ryan Universe. John Clark is a hero that appeared in several Jack Ryan novels beginning with The Cardinal of the Kremlin. He instantly became a loved hero along with Jack Ryan. This book takes place well before Jack Ryan foiled the terrorist attack in London (see http://tims-reviews.blogspot.com/2017/03/book-review-33-patriot-games.html) during the Vietnam war had details how a former Navy Seal starts working for the CIA. It includes a dangerous and unlawful side of him that was taken care of by the CIA once he became a regular employee of theirs.

This is a book that I first read when it came out and finally reread. It is 750 pages of action in the way that only Tom Clancy could have written. If you can’t imagine, it is among my favorite books.

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Tim’s Rating: *****
(Five out of five stars)


I’m Of to read another book. Check back periodically for more book reviews.

Book Review #40: Nevada Rose

Nevada Rose by Jerome Preisler is the tenth novel in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation series baased on the popular television show. In this book Catherine Willows and Warrick Brown are investigating the death of “Nevada” Rose Demille, an attractive woman known for pursuing and entering reltionsips with well known athletes. In the meantime, Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders and Sara Sidle are working on the case that was discovered in the artificial lake at a golf course. It turns out the that body was of a miner who along with his brother had discovered a gem that is the biggest of it’s kind that they named Nevada Rose and was worth big money.

This novel is full of twists in the plots that keeps the reader trying to figure out who killed each of them. This is the second CSI book that I’ve read and like the other, I enjoyed reading. I’ll pick up other books in this series whenever I come across them in stores.

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Tim’s Rating: ****
(Four out of Five stars)

I’m off to read another book. Check back periodically for more book reviews.


Book Review #39: One of Ours

One of Ours is the fifth novel by Willa Cather. It is about Claude Wheeler, the son of a wealthy farmer in rural Nebraska in the early twentieth century. After attending college in Lincoln for a couple years, Claude’s father decides to purchase a ranch in Colorado which will be ran by Claude’s brother, Ralph, and Claude will run the farm in Nebraska so his father can go between the two. Claude starts feeling he has no meaning in life, especially after a marriage gone bad. When World War I starts in Europe, Claude and his mother are caught up in reading whatever they can about it in the newspapers. Shortly after the United States enters the war, Claude decides to enlist in the Army before the draft starts. He is given a commission and is made an instructor to get men trained and ready for going to Europe. Claude is finally sent a year later and finally feels that he has meaning in his life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is my first book read by this author and with the way it is written, I know it won’t be the last. The way she describes the Nebraska farmland and in France during the war makes you feel that you are there with Claude. I recently started gaining more of an interest in World War I and plan on reading more books about it.

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Tim’s Rating: ****
(Four out of five stars)

I’m off to read another book. Check back Periodically for more book reviews.


Book Review #38: The Electronic Mind Reader

The Electronic Mind Reader is the twelfth book in the Rick Brant Series by John Blaine (Harold L. Goodwin). In this book, two scientists working on a top secret government project all of a sudden start talking gibberish and go crazy. The government in wanting to move the rest of the scientists to a location to where they can have better control of who comes and goes in the area enlist the scientists of the Spindrift Foundation to join in on the project and moves the scientists to Spindrift Island. Rick and Scotty start following some suspicious new people in the area suspecting they might be behind it.

Even though this is a children’s book, I enjoy it just like the other Rick Brant books that I’ve read. It is full of action and adventure in sky, land and sea. I will keep reading a Rick Brant series until I’ve read all that I can get hold of. Then I’ll starting reading other children’s books/series that are in the Public Domain, one each month. They are quick reads and a lot contain plenty adventures.

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Tim’s Rating: ****
(Four out of five stars)

I’m off to read another book. Check back periodically for more book reviews.



Book Review #37: Hill of Secrets

Hill of Secrets: An Israeli Jewish Novel is the second novel written by Michal Hartstein. Michal is a female Israeli author. The book is about a recently divorced female Israeli lawyer turned police officer who is given her first case as a lead investigator investigating an apparent murder/suicide of a religious family. After th investigation gets going, the police department’s IT specialist discovers a threat letter that appears the the husband that was suspected killing his family before turning the gun on himself was blackmailing somebody. It makes them start to wonder if it was a murder/suicide or a straigh out multiple homicide.

This story had some good and interesting parts to it and many Israeli towns are mentioned. The author also mentions several Jewish words and gives an explanation of them to her readers that are not Jewish. The problem that I have with it is that she does several interrogations, each comprising a chapter, where each person she questions gives pretty much the same answers. It’s not until over half way into the book before she starts finding out some different and more interesting information. I feel that she wastes a lot of space a words, just different people saying the same thing.

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Tim’s Rating: ***
(Three out of five stars)

I’m off to read another book. Check back periodically for more book reviews.