Ranger’s Apprentice~ series review

image

Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

I love this series. It’s the kind of love that makes any of them a comfort read. I’ll grab any of the series to read when I’m kind of at a loss for what to read. That’s a comfort read for me. 🙂 The series follows Will, a young orphan from the Kingdom of Arulen, as he becomes a Ranger’s apprentice and grows up. I’m really not sure I can do this amazing adventure of a series justice with my small words, but I want to, since it makes me happy.

For me, what makes a good series or story are the characters. They can make or break the story. If they don’t have depth or connectability, I don’t love them. However, I love Will. His optimism and joy for life stays with him through good times and bad. He is so likable and so human. Despite being a Ranger, (kind of like a secret agent slash Special Ops slash archer slash a couple other things), he stays grounded with a twinkle and a snappy comeback. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that the series is set in a medieval  precursor of Europe.

Will’s teacher, Halt, is…I’m not even sure how to describe him. He’s like Obi-Wan Kenobi, but sharper, more sarcastic, WAYYY more sarcastic, funnier, and with the driest sense of humor ever. He and Will have the best relationship, with Halt kind of adopting the younger man. Almost every time Halt says something, I want to howl with laughter. He’s just so great. Of course, there are other characters in the series. Horace is another of my most favorites. He and Will are best friends who really have each other’s backs and look out for each other, no matter what.

There are girls, of course. Because what kind of story would this be without a little romantic angst? Emphasis on little. It’s really more of an action-adventure, brotherhood and bonding, with a bunch of danger, bad guys, fighting, and snarky quips tossed in there for good measure, shaken, and served up. And I love it. It’s kind of like an Errol Flynn movie, come to think of it. Like, Errol Flynn playing Robin Hood. Ahh…. Ahem! Sorry!

The series has twelve books and let’s see if I can list them in order off the top of my head. 😉 Here goes:

The Ruins of Gorlan
The Burning Bridge 

The Icebound Land
The Battle for Skandia
The Sorcerer of the North
The Siege of Macindaw
Erak’s Ransom
The Kings of Clonmel
Halt’s Peril
The Emperor of Nihon-Ja
The Lost Stories (kind of a filler, since book 10 was supposed to be the last one, I think)
The Royal Ranger

Yes! I rock! 😉 Anywho, I love them all, except The Royal Ranger. No, nein, non. We doesn’t like it, Precious. It kind of lost the feel of the rest of the whole darn series. I won’t get into why, but yeah. Me no like.

Strange but true; I now mentally associate The Kings of Clonmel and Halt’s Peril with the song Hello Seattle (remix) by Owl City. Listening to the song makes me think of the books and reading the books makes me hear the song playing in my head. The only way I can explain this strange phenomenon is that I listened to Hello Seattle on repeat the whole time I read the two books for the first time. So yeah. Good stuff, y’all. 🙂 Read them…you will love them…

rainbow spines

DSC_0337

When you look at books, the first thing you see is the spine of the book. Sometimes the spines are very pretty. Sometimes they’re really ugly. I searched through my favorite books to find ones with pretty, rainbow spines. Here they are in order. I hope this cheers up your dreary day!

DSC_0346

Red

Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll~ I just had to include this book. My blog is named Alice In Bookland, after all! And the book itself is stunningly pretty. I love the vintage spine. And the White Rabbit on the front? Darling!

DSC_0340

Orange

Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham~ The third of the Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer books by John Grisham. The spine looks more red than orange, but whatever. This is a really good book, great for boys. And girls!

DSC_0341

Yellow

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne~ I think this book was printed in the 1930s or so. It is gorgeous!

 DSC_0342

Green

Tiger’s Destiny by Colleen Houck~ Number four in the Tiger’s Curse series.

DSC_0343

Blue

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall~ Can I say how much I love the Penderwicks? The sisterly love between them is wonderful. The story is sweet. Skye trying to be the OAP (oldest available Penderwick) is hilarious. This is the third in the Penderwick series.

 DSC_0344

Indigo

Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery~ My favorite of all the Anne books. I like it because Anne is older (but not too old), and it has romance. And Gilbert! Oh, I have such a literary crush on Gilbert…

 DSC_0345

Violet

The Quiet Light- A Novel about Saint Thomas Aquinas by Louis de Wohl~ Louis de Wohl is one of my favorite authors ever in the history of authorship. His books are so well written, so detailed, and the subjects are wonderful. This one, about Saint Thomas Aquinas, is one of my favorites. And it’s one of the only books I have that has a purple spine!

Care to share your favorite rainbow spine books? Comment below!

An Old-Fashioned Girl~review

DSC_0331

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

An Old-Fashioned Girl is the story of Polly Milton, a country girl who goes to the city to visit her sophisticated cousins. The story begins with Polly coming for a visit when she is fourteen, quite the country mouse, and ends six years later, with Polly a grown, independent woman. Polly has lived simply and struggles to enjoy the city but not let it change her. Her simple spirit and joy slowly starts to change the lives of her spoiled, unhappy cousins, Fanny, Tom, and Maud Shaw. Mocked for her old-fashioned ways at first, such as dressing simply and being kind to older people, it is her ways that help the Shaws when tragedy strikes. Polly becomes an essential part of their family in more ways than one.

An Old-Fashioned Girl is a well written, engaging book. The story moves quickly, the characters are well-rounded, and the descriptions are detailed enough without taking over the story. I can relate to Polly and her old-fashioned ways. She stands out because she is different, but never compromises on what truly matters to her. There is one line that has always stood out to me as being so true, even now. “You…haven’t yet learned that modesty has gone out of fashion.” Sometimes, the author can seem a bit preachy, but it isn’t too bad. There is romance, but it is sweet, old-fashioned romance, including a bit of comedy-of-errors. At times, you don’t know where the story is going to go, but the ending is satisfactory.

Polly is a sweet character, human through and through. Fanny starts out a spoiled brat, but circumstances gradually begin to change her for the better. Tom is an incorrigible character, always tormenting Polly. And Maud is just plain funny. Trix is one of the worst characters I’ve ever had the displeasure to read about. I love An Old-Fashioned Girl; it is one of my favorite books ever. I’m not sure how many times I’ve read it, but the number is pretty high. If you’re looking for a good classic, I highly recommend An Old-Fashioned Girl.