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review 2017-05-19 17:56
The violinist from Bulgaria
The Shadow Land - Elizabeth Kostova

Because I loved The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, it really wasn't a difficult decision to pick up her newest novel, The Shadow Land. This book takes place in Bulgaria which is a land I am not at all familiar with beyond Viktor Krum and his Quidditch teammates. (I hope you know what that references because if you don't...let me know so I can review them for you.) You couldn't get further from witches and wizards with this book. The main character, Alexandra, is an American who travels to Bulgaria with emotional baggage (which I honestly could have cared less about) and an intent to teach English. Instead she stumbles into a mystery and a lot of dramatic intrigue. The cast of characters includes but is not limited to a wily taxi driver, an elderly artist, a menacing statesmen with flowing locks, and an intelligent street dog. I was expecting a lot from this novel and I have to admit that I came away disappointed. The characters weren't nearly as compelling or detailed as those in The Historian. **Possible spoilers ahead** The entire backstory of the main character turned out to be pointless. I had thought that there would be some kind of twist at the end but that did not turn out to be the case. For the most part, it was pretty predictable. **No spoilers beyond this point** Kostova still remains impressive when it comes to describing setting and events but as mentioned above the characters felt flat and one-dimensional. However, if you're a fan of historical fiction that is chock full of detailed descriptions then you're probably going to be a fan of Kostova's writing and if you're particularly interested in Bulgaria then you couldn't go amiss with this one. For me, I'm sorry to say, it's a 5/10.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-05-07 21:19
The Lie of the Land - Amanda Craig

The publisher has requested that reviews be held back until 2 weeks before publication.

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review 2017-05-02 08:00
The Lay Of The Land
The Lay of the Land - Seanan McGuire

Somehow I missed this short story in the InCryptid series until now. As you may or may not know, almost all short stories can be downloaded for free from the author's website and they fill in the gaps about the family and are a great addition to the main books of the series.

Alice's story is somewhat underlighted still, but it was nice to have a new story. I never was too big a fan of Thomas, but he's starting to become more and more interesting. I hope to see more of them in other shorts, I think there is a lot left to tell.

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review 2017-04-30 13:04
Lots of thrills on the Isle of Orkney
Crash Land - Doug Johnstone

A rollicking tale of high adventure in the beautiful windswept isle of Orkney. Finn Sullivan is heading for the mainland of Scotland on a somewhat foggy and miserable day ( something Orcadians are probably rather used to!) Sitting in the departure lounge his eyes set upon the beautiful and mysterious Maddie who is being annoyed by a group of departing oil workers. She seeks the company of our lone hero and soon the drinks are flowing, Finn's libido is in overdrive, and thoughts of his girlfriend Amy long forgotten. As the flight departs, amidst increasing bad weather, the small Loganair twin engined turbo-prop, struggles to maintain height. A fight ensues in the cabin between Finn and one of the oil workers, Maddie becomes hysterical when it is apparent that the plane is returning to Kirkwall airport, she enters the flight deck and soon after the plane is forced to crash land. Finn and Maddie are amongst the few survivors, the police have many questions they  need answered, and it would appear that the beautiful, femme fatale, has disappeared.

 

There are two great elements that I really enjoyed in this book. I loved the way that Finn was immediately spellbound by the beautiful and openly suggestive Maddie, to the point that he was prepared to become her partner in crime, if that is what was needed to retain her interest. Would any full blooded male not have done the same? Would you not be tempted?....of course you would! The second and possibly the most important element was the ruggedness and beauty of the Isle of Orkney itself and the way the author uses this to great effect to showcase his story....."High on this southern headland, they could see for miles over the Pentland Firth to Muckle Skerry, its lighthouse a thin needle against the horizon, then west to Stroma and the Scottish mainland...."....."It felt like the roof of the world up here, the air thinner and purer, the land stronger, the elements more brutal. Like you were connected to the land in a way you couldn't be further south, as if the stuff of your bones was one with the earth, only separated by a fragile layer of skin...."

 

Not wishing to disclose secrets it is suffice to say that Maddie Pierce is not quite the innocent she would have Finn believe, and has her reasons for wanting to leave Orkney as fast as possible. With the body count rising and the whereabouts of a large sum of money unknown time is fast running out for a perplexed Finn as he seeks to find the "love of his libido" and perhaps the answers to some burning questions. Yes this story is more "boys own" than real life events and there are those reviewers who declare the whole experience is somewhat unbelievable. However I think good story telling sometimes needs a fun element, it need not always be believable to be enjoyable. I liked the author's style, this stripped down thriller full of action and thrills against a harsh and unforgiving landscape. Many thanks to the good people at edelweiss for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.

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review 2017-04-28 07:19
Die meisten hatten sich das Sterben aber nicht gestattet und blieben heimwehkranke Wanderer ihr Leben lang.
Altes Land: Roman - Dörte Hansen

"Altes Land" von Dörte Hansen, Seite 112

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