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The Chessmen by Peter May.

Series: Lewis Trilogy

Hardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Quercus;(February 3, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1623656044

 

 

Amazon Review

Now, with The Chessmen, Peter May gives us a dramatic conclusion to his award-winning Lewis trilogy. Living again of the Isle of Lewis, the ex-Detective Inspector Fin McLeod is working as a security officer for a local landowner. While investigating illegal activity on the estate Fin encounters the elusive poacher and former childhood friend Whistler Macaskill.

But while Fin catches up with Whistler, the two witness a freak natural phenomenon–a ‘Bog Burst’–which spontaneously drains a loch of its water, revealing a mud-encased light aircraft with a sickeningly familiar moniker on its side.

Both men immediately know that they will find inside: the body of Roddy Mackenzie, a friend whose flight disappeared more than seventeen years before. But when Whistler’s face appears to register something other than shock, an icy chill of apprehension overtakes Fin. What secret has Whistler been hiding from him, and everyone else on the island? Fin is unprepared for how the truth about the past will alter the course of the future.

What a really good trilogy!  Love our protagonist, Fin, and all the characters we meet along the way.  Even by the end of book one you feel you know Fin, but learn more about him with each book.

The atmosphere is phenomenal!  In the first two books you feel you’ve stepped back in time.  The Chessmen I had a little more feeling of "more recent".  But no matter what Peter May writes a great story!

As in the other books there has to be a death or a body.. or both! 

This time I had some moments where I felt it was being stretched out a bit… but he sure makes up for it in the last 80 pages!!

I certainly learn things when he writes also… never heard of a "bog burst"!  But then again until my second life here in Florida I had not known of sink holes!  So there ya go lol.

I think I tried to read the Chessmen a little slower because I didn’t want it to be the last I’d read with these characters. To sum it up I would say that anyone who likes mysteries and plenty of atmosphere will not be disappointed in this trilogy!

Firedrake

(Book 4, for OUaT)

Legends of the Dragonrealm: Firedrake by Richard A Knaak.

Series: Dragonrealm

Paperback: 704 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (September 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1439107009
Book 1 contains 3 books: the first being: Firedrake: 234 pgs.

 

Amazon Review

Firedrake• : In the ultimate war between humans and fiery shape-shifting beings, Duke Toma has unleashed every conceivable evil upon the world of the Dragon Kings. Only one dares to challenge him: Cabe Bedlam, a youth with a magical sword that promises its bearer total mastery over man and beast alike.

A 700 page book holding 3 books in one.

Firedrake wasn’t the greatest for me.  It seems any time someone writes about Dragons that can shape-shift and that hate humans I just can’t really enjoy the story. In general they all seem to have the same basis.

This book did have a few side characters that I did liked,  and a number of  "odd" creatures not usually used, and so I had no trouble reading the story.  Also, the humans that had magic were written well.

I find myself wondering if I might have liked this better had I not come off of a book I had enjoyed a lot .  Sometimes the next book never lives up to the one I just finished.

The world building was good, but I am not sure that I will go on to read the next book called The Ice Dragon.

The Lewis Man

The Lewis Man by Peter May.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Quercus;(September 2, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1623658195

 

 

In The Lewis Man, the second book of the trilogy, Fin Macleod has returned to the Isle of Lewis, the storm-tossed, wind-scoured outer Hebridean island where he was born and raised. Having left behind his adult life in Edinburgh–including his wife and his career in the police force–the former Detective Inspector is intent on repairing past relationships and restoring his parents’ derelict cottage. His plans are interrupted when an unidentified corpse is recovered from a Lewis peat bog. The only clue to its identity is a DNA match to a local farmer, the now-senile Tormod Macdonald–the father of Fin’s childhood sweetheart, Marsaili–a man who has claimed throughout his life to be an only child, practically an orphan. Reluctantly drawn into the investigation, Fin uncovers deep family secrets even as he draws closer to the killer who wishes to keep them hidden.

 

I read Peter Mays first book of this trilogy in October of 2013.   I loved the book.  I really liked the main character, Fin, and the authors descriptions of the Isle of Lewis and surroundings made you feel like you stepped into a third world and put you smack dab in the middle.

Due to rising prices of hardback books I thought I would go no farther.  It seemed his second book, The Lewis Man was more then I have come to spend on a single book anymore.  In order to stretch finances I buy mostly used books and find that many people take excellent care and they are like new.

Anyway… along comes my birthday and my girlfriend Michelle sends me two books.  New books!  And one of them is: The Lewis Man!

My first thoughts were, utoh… it’s been a looooong time since I read the Blackhouse I wonder if I can read this without rereading The Blackhouse?   Peter May put me at ease quickly.  He put just enough small reminders that I didn’t feel like it was that long ago that I read book one.  I was right back there on the Isle of Lewis with Fin!  In this book there is a "cold case", a mystery, and a budding romance of the past.

Peter May puts very original twists on his mysteries.  He’s so descriptive that you have no doubt you can "see" what is happening and the sights around you.   I had no choice but to send for the last book!

Since I always include the Amazon review I don’t like to say much more other than saying.. they are a compelling set of books that I am more then happy I have read. (can’t wait for delivery of book 3!)

The Forgotten Girl

The Forgotten Girl by David Bell.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: NAL (October 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0451417526

 

Amazon Review:

The past has arrived uninvited at Jason Danvers’s door…
…and it’s his younger sister, Hayden, a former addict who severed all contact with her family as her life spiraled out of control. Now she’s clean and sober but in need of a desperate favor—she asks Jason and his wife to take care of her teenage daughter for forty-eight hours while she handles some business in town.
But Hayden never returns.
And her disappearance brings up more unresolved problems from Jason’s past, including the abrupt departure of his best friend on their high school graduation night twenty-seven years earlier. When a body is discovered in the woods, the mysteries of his sister’s life—and possible death—deepen. And one by one these events will shatter every expectation Jason has ever had about families, about the awful truths that bind them and the secrets that should be taken to the grave.

I have read a number of books by David Bell, including:  Never come Back, Cemetery Girl, The Hiding Place and now, The Forgotten Girl.  He is a very good story teller! I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read by him and even waiting for July for yet another book to come out.

This particular book I wasn’t really sure of, because it was a more modern then most I like to read, but I should have known better.  Once the characters grab you and you can tell there are "secrets" to be revealed, it becomes  a page turner. And as any good story teller he leaves a few surprises for near the end of the book. 

I’m looking forward to his next book .. and glad each story is different from the others.

What She Left Behind

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kensington;(December 31, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0758278454

Ten years ago, Izzy Stone’s mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother’s apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at the local museum, have enlisted Izzy’s help in cataloging items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades-old journal, and a window into her own past.
Clara Cartwright, eighteen years old in 1929, is caught between her overbearing parents and her love for an Italian immigrant. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, Clara’s father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash, he can no longer afford her care–and Clara is committed to the public asylum.
Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara’s story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother’s violent act? Piecing together Clara’s fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices–with shocking and unexpected results.
Illuminating and provocative, What She Left Behind is a masterful novel about the yearning to belong–and the mysteries that can belie even the most ordinary life.

Oh-M-G !!! This book took me by surprise!!  I knew it was about a young girl wrongly put into an asylum, and I thought this would be something different to read for a change.

Hello! I couldn’t put this book down longer then it took for my blurry eyes to clear up enough to pick it up again! 

As the Amazon review says, it is about two young girls, years apart.  A long time ago it was about Clara being put into the asylum and the "now" part was about Izzy who’s mother killed her father when she was very young and her mother was in prison for the crime and Izzy was put into the Fostering system.

This book reminds me of The Thirteenth Tale, in that no matter how horrendous things were I couldn’t stop reading.  I needed to find out how it all turns out!  Both stories were compelling.  Both had horrendous things happening.  And I needed to know the endings for both of the females!!!

This author did a lot of research to find out what asylums were like back then in order to write Clara’s part of the story, and boy did she do her homework!  This scared me more then any murder mystery!  Yet I couldn’t stop reading!

This book is surely going to stay on my "OMG this was a great book" list!

The Alchemyst

(Book 3 for Once Upon a Time)

 The Alchemyst by Michael Scott.

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (May 22, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0385733577

    From the book: Born in 1330 Nicholas Flamel was one of the most famous alchemists of his day. Alchemy is a peculiar combination of chemistry, botany, medicine, astronomy and astrology. It has a long and distinguished history and was studied in ancient Greece and China, and there is an argument that it forms the basis for modern chemistry. One day he bought a very special book: the Book of Abraham. It, too, really existed, and Nicholas Flamel left us with a very detailed description of the copper-bound book, which was written on what looked like bark.

    No one knows what happened to Nicholas Flamel. What is authenticated is that when he returned to Paris in the late fourteenth century, he was extraordinarily wealthy. The rumor quickly went around that he had discovered the two great secrets of alchemy in the Book of Abraham: how to create a philosopher’s stone, which changed ordinary metal into gold, and how to achieve immortality. Neither Nicholas nor Perenelle (his wife) would ever confirm how they had become so rich.

    At a later date Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel’s tomb was broken into.. and that was when it was discovered that the tomb was empty. Had they been buried in secret graves, or had they never died in the first place?

    (below: the home of the Nicolas Flamel on Rue du Montmorency, Paris)

     

    From Publishers Weekly

    Twin 15-year-old siblings Sophie and Josh Newman take summer jobs in San Francisco across the street from one another: she at a coffee shop, he at a bookstore owned by Nick and Perry Fleming. In the vey first chapter, armed goons garbed in black with "dead-looking skin and… marble eyes" (actually Golems) storm the bookshop, take Perry hostage and swipe a rare Book (but not before Josh snatches its two most important pages). The stolen volume is the Codex, an ancient text of magical wisdom. Nick Fleming is really Nicholas Flamel, the 14th-century alchemist who could turn base metal into gold, and make a potion that ensures immortality. Sophie and Josh learn that they are mentioned in the Codex’s prophecies: "The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world." Mayhem ensues, as Irish author Scott draws on a wide knowledge of world mythology to stage a battle between the Dark Elders and their hired gun—Dr. John Dee—against the forces of good, led by Flamel and the twins (Sophie’s powers are "awakened" by the goddess Hekate, who’d been living in an elaborate treehouse north of San Francisco). Not only do they need the Codex back to stop Dee and company, but the immortality potion must be brewed afresh every month. Time is running out, literally, for the Flamels. Proceeding at a breakneck pace, and populated by the likes of werewolves and vampires, the novel ends on a precipice, presumably to be picked up in volume two. Ages 12-up. (May)
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc

    This is a story of twin 15 year old teenagers, Josh and Sophie, who because of circumstances get to meet and be friends with a man and his wife who run a book store and a coffee shop. Due to other circumstances waaaaay beyond their control, they both learn that their friend is not who they thought he was, Nick Fleming was really Nicholas Flamel!

    A man named Dr John Dee (also a real person in history) strolled into the store one day with a group of Golems and proceeded to destroy the store, steal Perenelle (Nicholas’s wife) and the Book of Abraham the Mage… minus the last two pages which Josh managed to tear out as the books was ripped from his hand…. And what does Josh   learn from this? He learns magic has a smell. Nicholas (the good guy) smells of Peppermint… and Dee (the bad guy) smells of rotten eggs. (somehow that figures!)

    A small background worth a good chuckle:  The twins parents are Archaeologists which discovered a new species of small hominids that are now called Hobbits in Indonesia. (heh.. Hobbits eh?! lol)

    This whole series of books is compiled of Historical people, mythical beings and Michael Scotts own characters.

    Thus begins the story of unbelief to belief. Of what was, and what is. Of danger and intrigue… and the possibility of the destruction of the world.

    This series of YA books by Michael Scott are really good reads.. ALL of them!  There are 6 books in the series: The Alchemyst, The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock and The Enchantress.  Every book and every character has been so well written about that you feel you know them all! I can’t imagine the amount of research that went into these books

    I "met" Michael Scott quite a number or years ago when he commented on a review I did.  From that time, as I awaited each new book each year I would email him and always say:  "Nicholas isn’t going to die is he?"   Michael would never tell me the answer.  We graduated to emails now and then as I awaited the new books.   Now, years later, Paramount Pictures has bought the rights to The Alchemyst for a movie.  Before anyone says "hooray".. I will say that Paramount can be slower then molasses in winter getting started.  I am hoping it happens soon though as my age refuses to slow down!

    I just want to say that if you enjoy YA books now and then, this is a really action packed, character oriented group of books that anyone would enjoy!   

    If you’d like to know more about Michael Scott (very Irish! )  here’s a link for you to discover a really super author:  Michael Scott.

     

  • March Books….

    Generally, I don’t post "monthly" reads, but this year so far (for some reason even I don’t understand) I’ve done really well (for me).  So I will list the books I read in March….  Eight books! (but one is so small it shouldn’t be counted).. still more then great for me!!

    #17

    Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson.

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    San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies.  But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder.  In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man’s guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries–memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo’s wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched.  Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense– one that leaves us shaken and changed.

    #18

    The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley.

    clip_image002[4] An Ancient Castle, a Tragic Love, and a Web of Secrets Begins to Unravel…

    Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary own of Chinon, and promptly disappears—well, that’s Harry for you.

    As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a "treasure of great price." And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry.

    As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself.

    #19

    Never Come Back by David Bell.

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    Elizabeth Hampton is consumed by grief when her mother dies unexpectedly. Leslie Hampton cared for Elizabeth’s troubled brother Ronnie’s special needs, assuming Elizabeth would take him in when the time came. But Leslie’s sudden death propels Elizabeth into a world of danger and double lives that undoes everything she thought she knew….
    When police discover that Leslie was strangled, they immediately suspect that one of Ronnie’s outbursts took a tragic turn. Elizabeth can’t believe that her brother is capable of murder, but who else could have had a motive to kill their quiet, retired mother? 
    More questions arise when a stranger is named in Leslie’s will: a woman also named Elizabeth. As the family’s secrets unravel, a man from Leslie’s past who claims to have all the answers shows up, but those answers might put Elizabeth and those she loves the most in mortal danger.

    #20

    The QPB Companion to the Lord of the Rings edited by Brandon Geist.

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    This handy volume is more than just a footrest to the snug club chair that is THE LORD OF THE RINGS; it is a friend who drops by to share choice gossip about one of your favorite subjects. The storied reality behind the classic fantasy – curious creator, the sword-crossing critics, the "deplorable cultus" … will not capative Tolkien enthusiasts but amuse those who "just don’t get it". The book first introduces us to the author, whom The New York Times described as "the tweedist and most persnickety of Oxford philologists; a man who said of himself, ‘I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size).’ We then hear from a host of other critics…..

    #21

    Lewis Carroll: A Biography by Morton N Cohen.

    clip_image002[10] From Library Journal

    In his time, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was known to the world as an outstanding pioneer photographer of children, particularly of female children, as well as for being the author Lewis Carroll. One of Dodgson’s "child-friends," Alice Lidell, served as the inspiration for his literary Alice. These child-friend associations subjected Dodgson to public scrutiny, gossip, and suspicion concerning his emotional and sexual proclivities, suppressed though they may have been. Dodgson chose to "let them talk." Biographer Cohen (Lewis Carroll: Interviews and Recollections, Univ. of Iowa Pr., 1988) uses previously unavailable family and personal documents, diaries, and letters to show that the shy bachelor Dodgson, Oxford mathematics don and lecturer, held himself to the strictest of moral codes. While Lewis Carroll has been probed and analyzed by countless writers (see, for instance, John Pudney’s Lewis Carroll and His World, 1976), this book is about the intimate and complex life of the man behind all those who lived on the other side of the looking glass

    #22

    Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley.

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    From the author of the #1 international bestseller The Orchid House, the mesmerizing story of two Irish families entangled by a tragic past that seems destined to repeat itself
    To escape a recent heartbreak in New York, Grania Ryan returns to her family home on the rugged, wind-swept coast of Ireland. Here, on the cliff edge in the middle of a storm, she meets a young girl, Aurora Lisle, who will profoundly change her life.
    Despite the warnings Grania receives from her mother to be wary of the Lisle family, Aurora and Grania forge a close friendship. Through a trove of old family letters dating from 1914, Grania begins to learn just how deeply their families’ histories are entwined. The horrors of World War I, the fate of a beautiful foundling child, and the irresistible lure of the ballet give rise to a legacy of heartache that leaves its imprint on each new generation. Ultimately, it will be Aurora whose intuition and spirit may be able to unlock the chains of the past.
    Sweeping from Edwardian England to present-day New York, from the majestic Irish coast to the crumbling splendor of a legendary London town house, The Girl on the Cliff introduces two remarkable women whose quest to understand their past sends them toward a future where love can triumph over loss.

    #23

    The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.

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    A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.
    In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

    #24

    Grimpow : The Invisible Road by Rafael Abalos.

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    When a 14th-century peasant boy stumbles onto a mysterious corpse, his life is inexorably altered. From the hand of the dead knight, Grimpow extracts a talisman that turns out to be no less than the famed philosopher’s stone over which kings and popes have tortured and killed in order to gain its possession and its powers. Hiding from the Inquisition in a local abbey, Grimpow discovers that the stone enables him to read and learn at a remarkable pace, but he is filled with the sense that he must fulfill a quest begun by the mysterious knight. Setting out as squire to a dashing young noble, Grimpow must not only solve riddles posed by the stone, but also survive brutal battles to keep it. This attempt at high fantasy leans heavily on the current fascination for tales of the Knights Templar, enigmatic quests, and young boys with special powers. However, a plodding story line that weaves in too many threads (the Inquisition, Copernican and Galilean theories of astronomy and alchemy, among others) without explanation will leave readers baffled and struggling to make sense of all the drama. Add an abrupt and unsatisfying ending and this becomes, at best, an additional purchase.—Sharon Grover

    Snow Falling from Cedars and Never Come Back were the two best read for this month… I am reading yet another book for OUaT right now then I think I will read something different and then go back to OUaT.

     

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