Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bearstone and Far North by Will Hobbs

In Bearstone, Cloyd is a troubled teenager.  He has been sent by his tribe to a group home. Cloyd is then sent to live with Walter, an old man who lives on the mountain by himself.  Cloyd likes Walter, but when a group of hunters visits Walter, Cloyd decides that the hunters are Walter's real friends and that all of the men are laughing at him.

Cloyd strikes out to hurt Walter in the worst way possible, and when it is too late, Cloyd learns that Walter is his real friend.

This is not the kind of book that I typically enjoy.  I have trouble relating to a protagonist who is so full of anger and takes revenge upon someone who does not deserve it by doing the most appalling act possible.  Aside from that, the story is good and teaches a lesson.

In Far North, Gabe starts boarding school in the Northwest Territories of Canada.  His roommate is Raymond, an Indian from Nahanni Butte. Gabe gets an opportunity to ride on a bush plane one weekend, and to his shock, Raymond will be flying on the plane to return home.  He is dropping out of school.  Also taking the flight is Johnny, Raymond's great-uncle.

The pilot, Clint, takes the boys to an unscheduled stop on the Nahanni River to see the waterfall.  The plane's radio quits working, but Clint is unconcerned, even though no one knows where the plane is.  Upon landing on the river, the engine fails, stranding the passengers. Thus begins a terrifying struggle for survival that lasts for most of the harsh, northern Canadian winter.

This is an outstanding book.  The author does not get bogged down on extreme detail, and the story flows well in a very interesting fashion.  The story is quite moving, and as I read the final chapter, tears came to my eyes.  That doesn't happen often.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sebastian Island and Flooded Museum by Margaret Goff Clark

In Mystery of Sebastian Island, Dena Foster is on her way home from boarding school to Sebastian Island.  During the trip, Dena meets Guy, who is also on his way to the island. Guy's bag looks just like another man's bag, and Dena sees the other man take Guy's bag. Guy refuses to believe Dena, even though Dena knows that the wrong bag was taken. Dena little suspects that the bag mix-up is a clue to a dangerous mystery.

This book is a good mystery.  I kept wondering about certain characters and whether they were in with the villains or not.

The story becomes very suspenseful towards end.  This is a very good book.

A quote from page 80 is amusing.  Dena looks over the books in her room to see if she can find one for Mrs. Kaufman, who doesn't have enough reading material.  Dena reflects, "It was a sure thing that Mrs. Kaufman would be long past Nancy Drew."  I don't know about that.  It seems that many of us are still stuck on Nancy Drew.

In Mystery in the Flooded Museum, Susan begins volunteering for the summer at Fort Pitt Museum.  A valuable wampum that has just been placed on exhibit is stolen.  Susan is shocked to discover that she is a suspect, since one of her belongings was found near the exhibit.  Susan hunts for clues while the employees remove all of the exhibits due to a flood warning.

I did not like this book.  Nothing about it interested me.  This is my least favorite book by Margaret Goff Clark.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Dan Perry Series by Kent Sagendorph

The Dan Perry Series consists of three books written by Kent Sagendorph and published by Cupples and Leon.

1.  Radium Island, 1938
2.  Beyond the Amazon, 1938
3.  Sin-Kiang Castle, 1938

In Radium Island, Dan Perry's father is abducted by a Russian, Varkofsky.  Dan and his friend, Shorty, follow Varkofsky in their plane and manage to rescue Anson Perry. The boys learn that Varkofsky has jumped Mr. Perry's claim on the pitchblende mine on Radium Island in Great Bear Lake, Canada. Dan and Shorty fly to the lake to capture Varkofsky, but instead, the boys are captured! They are forced to labor in the mine for months.  Can they ever escape?

Anson Perry becomes paralyzed at the beginning of the first book.  Unlike in most series books, Mr. Perry does not recover.  He is still paralyzed at the end of the third book. Since Mr. Perry is paralyzed, Dan takes over running Mr. Perry's affairs for him.

In Beyond the Amazon, another of Anson Perry's claims has been jumped, this time in Brazil in the middle of the rain forest.  The claim is a diamond mine, and Dan and his companions fight to get it back.

This book is poorly edited.  For instance, on page 56, the sun is shining, and on page 60, it is said to be pitch black outside.  I was rather confused, especially since little time had passed.

The entire book is full of lots of fighting, which often doesn't make sense.  In one scene, I couldn't figure out which direction some of the natives were going.

I had to skim a lot of the book.

In Sin-Kiang Castle, Shorty's father is missing in China.  Dan and Shorty travel to China to search for him.

This book is also confusing at times, especially when the information presented is obviously false.  We learn that in China it is noon of the day before.  No, China is ahead of United States time, not behind.

I did not care much for this book and skimmed a lot of it.

The first book is the strongest of the three. The second and third books would have been better if they had been edited better.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the second and third books were not edited at all.  They read like rough drafts.

For a more detailed review, read "Dan Perry: An Unusual Series."

Friday, August 11, 2017

Mystery Horse and Death at Their Heels by Margaret Goff Clark

In Mystery Horse, Jennie Longboat lives on the Tuscarora Reservation.  Miranda Young is staying with Jennie, and Miranda frequently disappears.  Tonight, Miranda has disappeared again, and Jennie heads up the road looking for her.  After a time, Miranda appears, her face flushed and hair tangled. Miranda claims to have been asleep on the porch.  Jennie knows something is up, but Miranda isn't talking.

The girls hear a horse that night, and Miranda claims that the horse is a ghost horse.  Jennie is certain that the horse was real, but Miranda insists that she saw a ghost horse in the sky. Miranda's story causes problems, because the women of the tribe decide that Miranda's vision is a bad omen and that they will have to appoint another man as chief.  Jennie tries to get proof that the horse was real.

This book opens at night, which creates a suspenseful atmosphere.  I was surprised at the reveal of the culprit.

I read this book very quickly.  It is excellent and very engaging.

In Death at Their Heels, Rick receives a phone call that sets him on edge.  He asks his stepbrother, Denny, to go with him on a camping trip.  Rick insists that they leave that night and that they tell nobody.  Unknown to Rick, Denny leaves a note in the kitchen telling Aunt Wilma their destination.

Once the boys arrive in Algonquin Park in Canada, Denny learns that Rick is running from a young man who is trying to kill him. Rick learns about the note and is furious. Soon, it becomes apparent that Rick's enemy has learned the boys' destination, putting them on the run once again.

Rick makes extremely stupid decisions.  He is stricken by fear, so this is why, but I still had a problem with it.  After Rick realizes that his enemy knows they are in the park, he should have left the park with Denny.  But no!  The boys stay in the park so that they can be found.  Of course, there wouldn't have been a story if Rick had behaved logically.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Vicki Loring #1 A Career for Vicky and #2 Golden Buttons

The Vicky Loring series was published by Golden Press and consists of just two books.

1.  A Career for Vicky, 1962
2.  Golden Buttons, 1963

In A Career for Vicky, teenager Vicky Loring wants to follow in her father's footsteps. Kenneth Loring is a famous television anchor, and Vicky has recently gotten an entry-level job at his network.  Vicky is soon plunged into mystery when her friend, Julia Clevenger, disappears at her debutante debut.  Meanwhile, Mr. Loring works with Julia's father, Senator Clevenger, on a dam project that has run into a problem.  The ownership of the land that Senator Clevenger needs for the dam is in question.

The two separate plots converge towards the end of the book, which can always be expected in this kind of book.

This is a fast-paced, excellent story.

In Golden Buttons, Vicky is now her father's assistant at the network.  Mr. Loring and Vicky arrive in Zourab in the Middle East. Mr. Loring is being secretive about a message he has received, which puts Vicky on edge. Vicky finds an ornate golden button on the ground in a local market, and soon after, Vicky notices that someone is following her. In time, Vicky realizes that the golden button holds the secret to something and that she is in grave danger so long as she has the button in her possession.

I overall enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book.  The last one-third of the book bored me.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Adirondack Mountain Mystery and Missing Stamps by Margaret Goff Clark

In Adirondack Mountain Mystery, Andy visits his cousins in the Adirondacks.  Andy's vacation is at risk of being spoiled due to a recent bank robbery.  The robbers were last seen in the Adirondacks, so Andy's cousin Midge orders the children to stay at the house and not explore the nearby countryside.  Andy spots evidence of someone prowling around in the immediate area, so he hopes to help get the robbers captured so that he can enjoy the rest of his vacation.

This book is good, but it is also one of Margaret Goff Clark's books that I do not like as much as the rest of her books.  I do not find it that compelling.

In Mystery of the Missing Stamps, Mark Baxter, his mother, and his stepfather have just moved to the resort that his stepfather manages.  Mark is having trouble adjusting to his new life, but he has made one friend, Ben. A tourist's valuable stamps are stolen, and Ben becomes the primary suspect.  All clues point to Ben, and it is not until much later that Mark realizes that someone is framing Ben for the theft.

On pages 10 and 11, the 1856 British Guiana one-cent stamp is mentioned and said to be worth $100,000.  I always like to check on the current value of valuable items so see how much the value has increased.  That stamp is now worth $9.5 million.

This is an excellent book.  It's a great mystery that keeps the reader guessing about the identity of the culprit.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pirate Oak, Apple Orchard, and Lost Letter by Helen Fuller Orton

I tried three books written by Helen Fuller Orton.

Mystery in the Apple Orchard is too young for me.  It reads like a book for very young children. It's cute and would be fun to read to a child.  It's not so good when read by an adult.

Mystery in the Pirate Oak is better.  The story is still pretty simple, but the book is interesting.

The Mystery of the Lost Letter is the best of these three books.  The story includes a search through a library full of books and a secret passage that leads to a nearby hillside.  The story is quite interesting.

This book was published in 1946, right after World War II.  Miss Wayne has the library full of books.  Everyone considers Miss Wayne selfish for not loaning out her books.  I can see that viewpoint, especially for the time period in which the book is set. However, no matter what a person possesses, it is their decision whether to loan out the items. They shouldn't be considered selfish for keeping their belongings for their own use.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Marble Zoo and Star Lake by Margaret Goff Clark

In Mystery of the Marble Zoo, Jill and her sister, Carol, arrive at the Chapman place at night to spend the weekend sorting through Uncle Leon's belongings in preparation for selling them.  Jill wishes that the family could keep Uncle Leon's house, but they can't afford it.  Just before Uncle Leon died, he told Jill that he has a treasure, but he was unable to give her any details.  As Jill begins her search for clues, she notices that the contents of a drawer disappear.  Someone is prowling in the house, and Jill realizes that someone else is searching for the treasure.

My copy of this book was signed by Margaret Goff Clark.  It appears that she commonly signed books so it is not too unusual to find inscribed books.  Even so, having one is quite special.

This is such an excellent book.  By opening the book at night with a prowler on the Chapman property, Clark sets the stage for a highly suspenseful story.  I was enthralled from start to finish.

In Mystery at Star Lake, Jeff joins his brother, Hal, at the family's cabin in the Canadian woods.  Hal plans to build an addition to the cabin, and Jeff plans to help.  Hal initially changes his mind about Jeff staying at the cabin after a stone is thrown into the cabin with a warning note attached.  The note reads, "Get out!"

Jeff convinces Hal to let him stay.  The brothers receive another warning, and someone tries to blow up the cabin!  Can Jeff find the culprit before someone gets hurt?

For whatever reason, this book did not grab me.  I enjoyed it, but it is in the group of books by Margaret Goff Clark that I enjoyed less than her other books.