“When you cross the Piscataqua River Bridge from New Hampshire’s abbreviated, novelty coastline into Maine there is a sign at the border that says “MAINE,” and beneath that, “VACATIONLAND.” It also says “VACATIONLAND” on the license plates. This is either a cruel joke, or maybe simply an error. It may be that Maine is called Vacationland because when Maine was invented, we didn’t really know what a “vacation” was yet.
Think about a book full of facts that you neither care about nor gain much in the way of useful knowledge after having read it. Like a “bathroom reader” for folks who have an interest in history. Perhaps if you’re training for Jeopardy this book would help. The subjects are so scattered and so little time is spent on any subject, that I found the book unenjoyable except for a few excerpts:
Legion is the eighth in Russell Blake’s Day After Never post-apocalyptic dystopian thrillers. The earth has been ravaged by a killer virus and the lawless have taken over. These novels cover the happenings in the West and Midwest as rival gangs struggle to control the cowered populace. There are a few who stand against the cruelty.
“Sierra blinked back her tears and looked away. “I missed you, Lucas. I don’t want to spend my life missing you. Is that too much to ask?” Lucas squeezed her hand. “I missed you too, Sierra. And no. That’s reasonable,” he said, and it was his turn to look away, his face drawn and his expression fatigued. “Only we don’t live in a reasonable world. At least, not yet.”
Christopher McDougall is a masterful storyteller. His stories, however, are jammed full of research about the human body and our remarkable ability to do (endure) great things. Sherman is a rescue donkey that McDougall found near where he lives. Not expected to even live, Sherman proves that his is “The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero.” Soon after saving the donkey’s life, a plan is hatched to race Sherman in a grueling race in Colorado. Oh and he has around a year to train the critter.
Court Gentry is known as the Gray Man, a legend in the covert world in which he was employed to do the bidding of his country. Few have seen him and most who have are no longer alive to tell about it. When he outlives his usefulness to his handlers, he is forced to use his skill to kill and evade in order to survive. And he is a survivor!
“If she was telling the truth, Allison’s mind had turned toward dark thinking long before the newspaper story. She couldn’t blame the weather completely, but certainly the constant rain, the unrelenting overcast, had churned up inside of her mind its own kind of despair. How much easier would it be if she just gave in? Why go back to Elba and turn into some toothless, haggard old woman with eighteen kids to feed when she could just walk into the lake and for once take control of her destiny?”
In this the sixth book in the Saxon Tales saga, Alfred the Great is still dying with his dream of a greater Wessex (England) still unfulfilled. His heir, Edward, seems ill prepared for the throne, though seems to be better in many ways than his father. Uhtred, Wessex’s best sword is unwilling to swear an oath to the presumptive king thus condemning the kingdom to turmoil and failure. The threats to the kingdom are not just from the Danes, but from “relatives” in and around Wessex. The big question is who will Uhtred support or will he return to fulfill his long-desired quest to take back his father’s kingdom.
“I apologize in advance for that, and also for offending you, because you’re going to get halfway through this book and giggle at non sequiturs about Hitler and abortions and poverty, and you’ll feel superior to all the uptight, easily offended people who need to learn how to take a fucking joke, but then somewhere in here you’ll read one random thing that you’re sensitive about, and everyone else will think it’s hysterical, but you’ll think, “Oh, that is way over the line.” I apologize for that one thing. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Winter is upon the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne and though tourist season is over, the Little Beach Street Bakery finds itself still quite busy. The drama of the prior season over, now Polly owns and runs the bakery. When the town decides to have a Christmas celebration, Polly is tasked (gently persuaded) to provide baked goods to sell with the proceeds going to the town and not her business. A secret shared by a close friend and sworn to secrecy threatens her relationship with Buckle. Sounds very soap-operaish and the novel can be that, though more entertaining.
“You want Sierra and the kids to be safe. Ask yourself how that’ll be possible if the country’s invaded and run as a slave colony. Is that the future you want for them? For yourself?” “Wouldn’t be much different than how we’ve let it turn out, would it?” Ruby frowned. “Don’t give me that, Lucas. We both know you aren’t fine with any of this. You’re a good man, and you can’t stand idly by while evil triumphs. It’s one of the reasons I respect you, and why they want you to lead the men. You have honor. That’s a rare quality in this day and age.” “Damn, woman.”
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