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review 2018-01-14 20:36
"Dead Lions - Slough House #2" by Mick Herron
Dead Lions - Mick Herron

"Dead Lions" is the second book in this series about members of MI5  judged to be subpar and cast into the outer darkness of Slough House to rot or resign. I enjoyed the first book in the series, "Slow Horses" but I found "Dead Lions" to be much more accomplished and certain of itself.

 

The tone of the writing modulates from whimsical through to darkly comic with a default setting of quiet desperation.

 

The plot is like a Swiss wristwatch: beautifully crafted to a complex but elegant design and assembled in dense layers that work together to drive you forward second by second.

 

The story starts with the assassination of the memorably named Dickie Bow, an ex-MI5 irregular, a veteran of Berlin during the cold war, by a man he believes to have been a Russian spy. His murder goes undetected until Jackson Lamb, mercurial head of Slough House, who served with Dickie Bow in Berlin, takes a closer look. The foul play he discovers turns out to be only one of several layers of the plot, that are nested inside one another like Matryoshka dolls. The discovery of each doll changed what I thought was going on so fast that I gave up trying to find the lady and just enjoyed the skill of the sleight of hand.

 

"Dead Lions" does a splendid job evoking the Cold War world-of-mirrors mindset and setting it in a thoroughly convincing frame of modern British Counter-Intelligence.

Slough House is populated with characters that are depressingly real yet capable of being believably surprising. The plot amplifies the characters but is not driven by them.

 

The pace is perfect, cutting between parallel plot lines in a way that cranks up the tension while demonstrating how deviously everything is connected to everything else.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

 

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text 2017-11-02 21:21
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 5 - Advent

Tasks for Advent: Post a pic of your advent calendar.

 

The cat wasn't in a festive mood (he thought it safer to watch my photo antics from under the living room table and wait 'till I was done), so a red background will have to do.

 

Anyway, the Lions' Club branch of a small town north of Cologne named Leichlingen publishes these calendars every year as part of a charity lottery: The featured picture is painted by a kid -- it's a different picture each year.

 

A former colleague of mine is a member of that branch of the Lions' Club and has been sharing these calendars for (at least) the past 10 years.  I got mine today, so it's a perfect fit for my first "16 Festive Tasks" post: square 5 -- Advent.

 

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review 2017-07-28 00:00
Silver And The White Lions
Silver And The White Lions - Jenny Vassa... Silver And The White Lions - Jenny Vassallo *I received a copy from the publisher for review. This review is my honest opinion.*

The first thing I noticed about this book was the beautiful cover! Also being a fan of the Warriors Saga by Erin Hunter, I had to give this one a try, as it sounded similar based on the blurb.

Starting out, it's pretty slow, and the writing style really didn't work for me. While I enjoyed the story, it the writing didn't grab my attention at all. The characters were good though, and the story and even the African culture were interesting.

My biggest issue is that this book was written for Middle-grade, or even grade school children, but deals with reincarnation, which I don't agree with, and don't think children of that age are ready for this type of lesson yet. Older middle-grade kids and up would be fine, as I was big into mythology in middle-school. While I knew it was about that, the writing style seemed specifically targeted for younger grades, and was difficult to read in some places because of this.

Overall it was a good story, I just wish it was written for a slightly older age group, more like 10-13 instead of the younger kids.
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review 2017-07-23 14:45
Lions At Lunchtime - Mary Pope Osborne

As with the other Magic Tree House books, I loved this one. Lots of adventure and cool ways to learn about Africa.

I love how Annie's inclusiveness and Jack's researching skills work together in the book. In this books, Jack and Annie work on their third riddle in order to become Master Librarians. I really like this plot and think it adds new depth to the series instead of just having Jack and Annie wander around in books.

I also love how Osborne uses fan suggestions in her writing. These books really feel like they are written for the reader.

A great quick read. I can't wait to continue Jack and Annie's adventures.

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text 2017-07-09 10:53
For the Love of the Game: "Lions vs. All Blacks - 2017 Series - Third Game"

 

Series tied 1-1 (third's test score: 15-15).

 

What a game, the Lions put on a defensive effort. I don't think any other country or countries could have withstood the All Black onslaughts, so good and heavy was the defense that I have never seen the All Blacks drop so much ball. At one stage the All Blacks had 78% possession and whilst the Lions never looked like scoring a try they continually repelled the All Blacks.

 

I don't think the All Blacks tight 5 have received enough praise, they virtually dominated the scrum and negated the Lions platform over the advantage line, something they could do in the 2nd test although with a man advantage. I was slightly perplexed with some of the penalties given in the latter stages of the game by Poite to the Lions that evened up the possession somewhat. Warburton was fantastic at breakdown and stole or slowed down so much ball, with Johnathon Davis a colossus in the mid field.

 

The question asked earlier in the tour who of the Lions players would make the All Blacks team, currently I would say Davis and Warburton, whilst Itoje is the flavour of the month in the press, I still don't believe he could oust Retallic and Whitlock. I was skeptical with Hansen calling in Laumape and Barrett for their first run on debuts however they were both fantastic, I am not saying Smith and Crotty could have done better however we will never know. It was also good to see the fridge running over people as is his want, with himself and B Barrett making incredible running metres along with the Lions Williams.

 

If you're into Rugby, read on.

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