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review 2017-07-28 16:58
I continue to be drawn in by beautiful cover art
The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle - Janet Fox

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox is another prime example of an eye-catching cover which I couldn't resist. It evokes a certain gothic mysteriousness which I'm happy to say was delivered. From the very beginning,  the reader is launched into a tale of magic, wickedness, desperation, and all-consuming power. The story follows a family of children who are sent to stay at an estate in the country during the Blitz of WWII. However, all is not what it seems at this country school as the oldest daughter, Kate, quickly realizes after meeting the lady of the house. Much of the drama is tied to a chatelaine (a chain decorated with different items used around a house and usually worn by the woman in charge of the household affairs) worn by this woman. There are a lot of different threads to follow in this narrative which made it a little challenging to follow at times. The reader is sent back in time to follow this woman's history and then suddenly we're back with Kate in the present. That was a bit jarring but easily overcome. I'd say that the book's biggest strength was its originality in using magical artifacts of an unusual sort (I don't want to give it away entirely). If you are a fan of boarding school mysteries with a healthy heaping of dark magic then you'll most likely enjoy this book. It's a 6/10 for me but it would have been higher if the narrative thread had been a bit tighter.

 

I mean how could I have turned down this cover?!

 

Source: Amazon

 

What's Up Next: Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-07-26 00:47
The Fallen Angel
The Fallen Angel - Daniel Silva

The Fallen Angel is a mid-series entry (#12) in Daniel Silva’s long-running series about Israeli spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon. At the beginning of The Fallen Angel, Gabriel is retired from the intrigue business and at the Vatican to restore a painting by Caravaggio. He is drawn into an investigation of the death of a female curator who was investigating malfeasance in the Vatican collection by his friend and occasional ally, private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII, Monsignor Luigi Donati. Of course, Donati knows more than he initially reveals and soon Gabriel is off to the Italian countryside followed by St. Moritz to investigate. It being a Gabriel Allon story, there can’t be just one villain, just one plot, and soon enough the story circles back to events in Israel and the clock is ticking as Gabriel races to save the world in the nick of time.

 

Read by iconic narrator George Guidall, The Fallen Angel, like many thrillers made an excellent audiobook. While The Fallen Angel can stand alone, I would have benefitted from a more recent memory of the previous volume in the series (which I somehow appear to have missed). Gabriel has been aging in real time and would be in his late 50s at the time of The Fallen Angel. He is still, barely, young enough for the high jinx to be plausible. While Daniel Silva continues to turn out one well researched Gabriel story a year (#17 was published earlier in July 2017), the stories since The Fallen Angel just haven’t been quite as compelling.

 

Read for  Fantasyland 6: Read a book set in a Western European Country or with a wintry scene on the cover

 

 

  

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text 2017-07-23 03:54
Reading progress update: I've read 253 out of 419 pages.
Night Heron - Adam Brookes

Granny Poon (GODDESS 1) has a weird feeling, thinks something unseen and unaccounted for is lurking just at the fringes of what seems to be a smooth-running, if highly improvised, Op. even Hopko has told Patterson she thinks things are about to get very "unpredictable". and me? I have this horrible suspicion it's all about to go wrong. my wildest notion is that Peanut actually has a totally hidden agenda fueled by revenge, or an unexpected plan to betray.

 

I'll finish this one tomorrow; I only have to get to page 400, and then the Extra content is Chapter 1 of another book...and I just ignore that kind of thing. all this means I'm on target to start the Dalglish book on Monday, for my highly-anticipated buddy read with, I forget who, someone--a Group has been created over this, so all I have to do is click on that, and it'll all come back to me. I'm just kidding, Spurts; looking forward to A Dance Of Blades!

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text 2017-07-22 15:06
Reading progress update: I've read 193 out of 419 pages.
Night Heron - Adam Brookes

and so, Mangan reluctantly becomes the conduit to a source in China, acquiring top-secret documents and funnelling them to British Intelligence. which means he's a Spy active in China, which means if he's caught, his life is over. one thing: he's going to have to master his constant fear...

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text 2017-07-22 02:06
Reading progress update: I've read 171 out of 419 pages.
Night Heron - Adam Brookes

I love this Spy novel. it reminds me of my favorite writer in the genre, Craig Thomas. I guess, technically, the very first Spy fiction I ever read was called Secret Agent on Flight 101, a Hardy Boys book. but that wasn't enough to get me hooked on Espionage Thrillers. a few years later, I read something on a complete whim, feeling completely intimidated, and half-convinced I was going to be bored, or out of my depth as a 13-14 year old: Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett; that was an eye-opener. I remember feeling that I had suddenly gone beyond James Bond films--my only real take on the Spy stuff up till that point--and that there was a whole other side to a genre that suddenly no longer intimidated me. but, for some reason, I did not go on and read a lot of Spy novels after that...but some Agatha Christies were similar, and sometimes just as exciting. nevertheless, the genres that I loved already still hogged most of my attention.

 

around 1990, a huge local bookstore--ahead of its time in terms of space and selection--had a displayer tucked up at the start of some General Fiction shelves; it was for a novel called The Last Raven, by Craig Thomas, many copies tucked in little niches, multiple facings up and down, left and right, top of displayer with probably a big blurb and some ravenesque artwork on the cardboard attachment on top. I love ravens--the bird--but the book was thick, and in the Spy genre...which I had all but drifted away from. I had no real reason to buy it. I expected to hate it or be confused by complex plot-lines involving world politics, but then I remembered what had happened with the Follett book, and it happened again, only more so! this time, one Craig Thomas book was enough to get me to commit to a lot of Craig Thomas novels. I loved his style, the tension, the action sequences, the heroes and villains, the stakes, learning about the world (plus fictional pyrotechnics attached). and yeah, cool that my fave Spy writer was Welsh. Cold War Era stuff--if one considers the long string of books coming before Last Raven--and so, sadly, not likely to come back into print, or to ensnare you as easily as it did me, then.  Firefox got filmed, and I call it one of the most underrated Spy films ever, because of course it got promoted as a "cool airplane Thriller" when in fact there are about an hour and ten minutes of classic spy-jinks before Clint Eastwood steals the plane (even the airplane cat-and-mouse section is like a spy dance, in the air).

 

Night Heron just suddenly reminded me of Craig Thomas' style and energy, which of course finally guaranteed that I would be reading a lot of Espionage fiction; I don't know that I've read anything that has taken me so effectively back to my days reading Mr. Favorite, the way that this has!

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