Sunday, March 18, 2018

Review of "The Walking Dead: Volume 21 All Out War," by Robert Kirkman et. al.

Review of
The Walking Dead: Volume 21 All Out War, by Robert Kirkman et. al. ISBN 9781632150301

Five out of five stars
 The number of undead continues to outnumber those that still live, and the number of people considered alive continues to decline. Some of this is due to natural causes, some succumb to the clutches of the zombies, but the greatest problem is war between groups of the people still considered human.
 Rick’s band is under heavy attack by the group led by the sadistic Negan, a man that rules by terror, he will have one side of the face of a person disfigured by heat to punish what he considers transgressions.
 The story opens with Rick’s band forced to leave their now compromised compound and moving to share quarters with another group. Negan orders an attack and before the attack he has his soldiers smear their weapons with the flesh of the undead. That way, even the slightest scratch will cause the “fatal” infection.
 Yet, there is serious dissension within the ranks of Negan’s men, not all are as loyal as he believes, leading to a confrontation that is completely unexpected. Throughout the story, Rick demonstrates once again that he has significant leadership qualities, keeping his band alive against enormous odds.
 While there are casualties on both sides that neither one can afford, there is a victory of sorts, with optimism once again emerging from the slime of defeat.

Review of "Alaska & The Yukon: The Last Frontier," by Barbara Paulding Thrasher

Review of
Alaska & The Yukon: The Last Frontier, by Barbara Paulding Thrasher ISBN 0681299339

Five out of five stars
 This is essentially a picture book, containing photos of locations in Alaska and the Yukon. The majority are in Alaska and all illustrate a land of incredible beauty. Green and colorful in the short summer and white, cold and harsh in the winter.
 Alaska is split into four regions, largely based on the climactic differences. Those regions are: southeast, southwest and southcentral, interior and arctic. This separation generally matches what we were taught in geography class in elementary school, the southern regions warmed by ocean currents, the middle region and then the northern region of extreme cold, no sunlight in the winter and perpetual daylight in the summer.
 The images are stunning and exert a powerful urge in the reader to see the sights for themselves. With summer wildflowers and a history based on the native Aleuts and Russian ownership that still lives, Alaska is the largest state in the union and has a climate just as large and overpowering.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Review of "Two-Way Pitcher," by M. G. Bonner

Review of
Two-Way Pitcher, by M. G. Bonner

Four out of five stars
 This is a story about boys out of school for the summer, playing in a summer baseball league and doing other things that boys do for fun. They also swim, hike and eat ice cream. They love baseball and the lead character is Manny Hull, known by all as Fireball for his prowess at throwing a baseball at a high rate of speed. However, Fireball has a problem, he is a superb relief pitcher but always has problems when he is the starter. Coming into a game with it on the line, Fireball has no nerves, but when he starts he always manages to let his feelings overpower him.
 The story covers the season of Fireball’s team, known as the Turtles, as they pursue the league championship. Most of the boys in the league are supportive of each other and put the team first, yet there is one boy, another dynamic pitcher named Jim. He derides his teammates on the Pines when they make errors and blames others when he loses games. No one in the league likes him, his teammates tolerate him only because he is such a good player.
 The best word for this book of adolescent sports fiction is wholesome, the boys work hard doing things like shoveling snow in order to buy their equipment and except for Jim, all of the rivalries are good-natured and friendly. They play hard to win and verbally ride the opposition, but there is no malice within. As expected, there is one big game at the end with Fireball on the mound for the Turtles. It is an easy read with no great tension or dynamic moments.