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Ranger’s Apprentice 11: The Lost Stories by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 11: The Lost Stories by John FlanaganBlurb

Everyone knows the legends of the Rangers of Araluen. But no one has heard the whole story – until now. Has Halt told Will the truth about how Will became an orphan? Did Gilan track down Morgarath’s lieutenant after the battle of Three Step Pass? Is there to be a royal wedding – or will tragedy strike first? Inspired by questions and letters sent by his loyal readers, John Flanagan answers all your burning questions about the world of the Rangers.

If you want to know what’s gone before and what comes next for Will, Halt, Horace, Alyss, Evanlyn and Gilan – not to mention a certain stubborn little pony – The Lost Stories is an unmissable read.

My Perspective

The customer who originally lent me the Ranger’s Apprentice series bought the last two books and is also lending them to me. I am very excited to complete the series although a little sad that it is coming to an end.

This book is simply a compilation of various stories that are set throughout the entire timeline of the whole series that help answer some questions about certain events.

All the stories apart from one, are in chronological order, which was helpful and the right way to do it rather than higgledy piggledy. The one story that isn’t in order, doesn’t really need to be.

Each story is well written and interesting and keeps in theme with the rest of the series. They are mainly written from Will’s point of view however a few are not and it was nice to revisit some of the other characters.

This book was a nice touch for the second last book of the series and definitely answered some of my questions. I must admit that i do have a few more questions now however really John Flanagan could go on writing forever about the world he has created and i was excited to learn that he has written a spin off series – Brotherband, which i am definitely looking forward to reading.

Overall this book was a pleasant and exciting read that had you captivated as well as at the same time being able to put it down because it was a book of short stories. I would definitely recommend this book for children, young adults and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

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Living On A Prayer by Sheila Quigley

Living On A Prayer by Sheila QuigleyBlurb

A week before Christmas Debbie Stansfield’s life falls apart. Her son – her funny, cheeky, kind Richard – has been found hanging from a tree at the Seven Sisters. The police think it’s suicide but Debbie won’t – can’t – accept it. Her son would never kill himself. Not her Richard. No way.

Richard’s four friends know something about his death. Detective Inspector Lorraine Hunt can feel it. The teenagers are clearly terrified about something – something that scares them more than the police. But they’re not about to tell…

As the days tick down to Christmas, Lorraine, increasingly overworked and under pressure, can’t ignore her suspicions that there’s more to Richard’s death than meets the eye. And when Richard’s friends start going missing, her worst fears are confirmed. Just who is preying on the young people in Houghton-le-Spring? And will Lorraine be able to stop them, before another vulnerable teenager is found dead?

My Perspective

This is the eighth book i chose to read from my post Third Lot – And It’s A Lot

DI Lorraine Hunt has been left in charge over Christmas while her boss, Clark, is away in Australia. Not only is she investigating a myriad of burglaries, there is also a suicide that she has to contend with of a teenage boy. However is it just a suicide? The more Lorraine investigates, the more suspicious she becomes and soon other incidents start cropping up that might just be related. Soon she realises that if it wasn’t a suicide, there’s a murderer on the loose who needs to be found before there’s another vicitim.

The beginning of this book was quite dark and depressing. However the mood lifted after about the first chapter and even though the content wasn’t rainbows and butterflies, it didn’t make me feel uneasy like the first chapter did.

There are a lot of characters in this book and although Lorraine would probably be considered the “main” character, she is only in maybe a third to half of the books chapters. I really liked Lorraine and most of the other supporting characters.

The book was fairly steady paced, however still a page turner. The ending was quite climatic and i was slightly disappointed that the ending was quite open too.

Overall i enjoyed reading this book. There were quite a few storylines all happening at once and it was interesting to see how they ended up all joining together. There was intrigue and mystery and i would definitely recommend it those who like crime fiction.

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Still Waters by Judith Cutler

Still Waters by Judith CutlerBlurb

Detective Chief Superintendent Fran Harman takes charge of the inquiry into the mysterious death of Alec Minton, whose body is found beneath his hotel window, but something doesn’t add up. If he jumped to his death, would he really have had a cup of tea just moments before? And if he was pushed out of the window, where are the signs of forced entry to his room? Harman must discover the truth even through her new boss seems determined to undermine her at every turn.

My Perspective

This is the seventh book i chose to read from my post Third Lot – And It’s A Lot

Still Waters follows DCS Fran Harman, as she investigates both a suicide that doesn’t make sense and a three year old murder case that’s up for review, the body having never been found and the two men sent to prison for the crime being possibly innocent all along. However her new boss, DCC Simon Gates has another agenda for her including possible retirement unless she does as he wants.

Still Waters was a steady paced, light crime novel that kept your interest yet was still nice and gentle.

Fran is extremely likeable as are many of the other characters however there are some extremely unlikeable characters as well that made my blood boil. It also annoyed me how weak Mark was went it came to his daughter.

The plot wasn’t predictable per se however I had a feeling where it was all headed. There were a few surprises throughout that I didn’t see coming and I soon realised that even some of the most trivial details were in fact essential parts to the plot.

The only major gripe I have with the book is that I felt that not a lot was actually resolved in the end. I get the very end scene however I’m more talking about the crimes that Fran was trying to solve. They weren’t really wrapped up and even though I understand some questions can’t be answered, it would have been nice to have the ones that could.

Overall the book was a light, enjoyable read that I would recommend to those like a steady paced mystery/crime fiction.

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At Risk by Stella Rimington

At Risk by Stella RimingtonBlurb

For MI5 Intelligence Officer Liz Carlyle the nagging complications of her private life are quickly forgotten at Monday’s Counter-Terrorist meeting. An invisible may have entered mainland Britain.

An ‘invisible’ – a terrorist who is an ethnic native of the target country, who can cross its borders unchecked and move about unnoticed – is the ultimate nightmare.

For Liz this signals the start of an operation that will test her to the limit. Who or what is the target? Where and who is the invisible? With each passing hour the danger increases. But as she desperately sifts the incoming intelligence and analyses the reports from her agents she finally realises that it is her ability to get inside her enemy’s head that is the only hope of averting disaster.

My Perspective

This is the sixth book i chose to read from my post Third Lot – And It’s A Lot

At Risk is about Liz, an MI5 Agent Runner who becomes involved in the investigation of a shooting in country England and feels it has a connection to the “invisible” MI6 thinks has crossed into the UK. However will Liz be able to connect all the dots in time to prevent a terrorist attack?

The story started off quite slowly and took awhile to really get going. It didn’t start to get super interesting until probably half way through. I think the slow build up of character development and background information was essential however a little bit of it could have been cut out. There were just some parts that just seemed to be irrelevant, especially looking back when you are able to see the picture as a whole. Overall the slow buildup was clever, like a jigsaw puzzle coming together. At first you have just a bunch of random clues and information however slowly they start to link together to create a bigger picture.

I liked Liz. She was strong, independent and smart. However also friendly and down to earth.

I really, really liked that there was no romance theme throughout the story. Sure, there were moments of sexual tension between characters however they were few and far between. It was refreshing to read a crime fiction novel without any of that angle in it.

I did find it a little confusing at the beginning when it switched between characters because there were so many in the book. I kept losing track of who was who. Eventually I found my way however I did reference back quite a bit to earlier chapters to get my bearings so to speak. Like I mentioned above, you definitely can’t rush the beginning of this book as there is a lot of background information to take in.

Overall I enjoyed the book and I would definitely recommend it those who like crime fiction however not so much if you like it super fast paced. This was slower however had a lot more meat to it so you are more rewarded at the end.

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How To Be An American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

How To Be An American Housewife by Margaret DillowayBlurb

A mother-daughter story about the strong pull of tradition, and the lure and cost of breaking free of it.

When Shoko decided to marry an American GI and leave Japan, she had her parents’ blessing, her brother’s scorn, and a gift from her husband-a book on how to be a proper American housewife.

As she crossed the ocean to America, Shoko also brought with her a secret she would need to keep her entire life…

Half a century later, Shoko’s plans to finally return to Japan and reconcile with her brother are derailed by illness. In her place, she sends her grown American daughter, Sue, a divorced single mother whose own life isn’t what she hoped for. As Sue takes in Japan, with all its beauty and contradictions, she discovers another side to her mother and returns to America unexpectedly changed and irrevocably touched.

My Perspective

This is the eighth book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due. I read about How To Be An American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway from Ionia at Readful Things Blog. You can read her thoughts on the book here.

How To Be An American Housewife is the intertwined stories of Shoko and her daughter Sue. Shoko, a native Japanese, marries Charlie, a medical officer in the navy, while he is stationed in Japan. Her story is not just about her childhood but also the state in which she leaves her family in Japan and how she tries to assimilate into American culture. Sue’s story is the result of the assimilation and how it affected her growing up and throughout the rest of her life.

This book was interesting and reads like a memoir. It almost felt like a non fiction at the beginning when it was just Shoko’s story compared to the last part of the book, which felt a little bit unbelievable.

I found it hard to connect with Shoko, more so as an adult than as a child. I still liked her though. I really liked Sue.

It was interesting to read about the two different cultures and how America seemed like such a step up from Japan (when really I don’t think it is).

Interspersed throughout are snippets of guidance, which come from the manual “How To Be An American Housewife”. This confused me as it’s the same title as the book. I assumed then that the snippets were from the original book, which was an actual guide, and this was a story of a Japanese woman who actually lived it out. However at the end I read that it was fictional and the author had made it up! Although i found it confusing at the beginning, it was quite a clever way to incorporate certain cultural information and differences.

Overall it was an interesting and informative read that gave insight into the two different cultures. It was steady paced and although it wasn’t gripping, kept you curious. A nice gentle read that I would recommend to those who like memoirs or historical fiction.

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Triangle of Deception by Haggai Carmon

Triangle of Deception by Haggai CarmonBlurb

How do you penetrate the world’s most secretive and tightly knit terrorist organization? Dan Gordon’s only option is deception. Working undercover in a joint CIA/Mossad mission, he’s on the hunt for the source of funding to Hezbollah. He has infiltrated a Lebanese network in Paraguay, only to realize the operation is far more wide-ranging than he’s been told.

And when Dan finds himself locked in a grim Romanian prison cell, he wonders if there’s still more that he hasn’t been told. Was it a security leak that got him arrested? Did the CIA make him a sacrificial lamb? Or has he stumbled on a much bigger plot, one with the potential to disrupt Al Qaeda’s operations in America?

My Perspective

This is the fifth book i chose to read from my post Third Lot – And It’s A Lot

Triangle of Deception follows Dan Gordon, an agent for the Office of International Asset Recovery and Money Laundering, and his involvement in Operation Pinocchio – an operation to infiltrate terrorist organisation Hezbollah and cause dissension in its members. However the world of espionage is never as it seems.

I found it hard to get into this book. Although the beginning was setting the plot and had a lot of character back story, there was a lot of technical information as well that I found hard to wrap my head around. The rest of the book was similar however as I understood what was going on, I founder it easier to get into.

Dan is an interesting character with a lot of experience in the field. Although I couldn’t relate to him in the slightest, I still connected with him and cared about his well being. I experienced his emotions right along with him.

The book is quite slow paced and there is a lot of information to digest however it is still very intriguing. It’s a heck of a lot more realistic than most crime novels. As there is so much to take on board, you don’t really have a clue where it’s all headed and who’s behind what.

Although it took a bit for me to get into, it was altogether an enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend it those who like a lot of intrigue compared to action in their espionage thriller novels.

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LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE: SLEEPER OF THE WILDWOOD FUGUE LIVE on Amazon Kindle!

LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE:
SLEEPER OF THE WILDWOOD FUGUE
LIVE on Amazon Kindle!

The final champion stirs and reaches out to any who can hear her voice. Yet all who heed her call will disappear into the misty fugue.

Awakening their new ally is only the beginning as Luke, Nyx, and their friends head south to the desert city of Bor’daruk. Hunting for another temple once used to seal Baron Kernaghan, they are unaware that the game of destiny has changed. Out for blood and pain, Stephen is determined to make Luke wish he’d never set out to become a hero.

By the time the sun sets on Bor’daruk, minds will be shattered and the champions’ lives will be changed forever.

Don’t forget to mark it as ‘To Read’ on Goodreads too!

Charles E. Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Read the Previous Volumes of Legends of Windemere!!!

BEGINNING OF A HERO

PRODIGY OF RAINBOW TOWER

ALLURE OF THE GYPSIES

FAMILY OF THE TRI-RUNE

THE COMPASS KEY

CURSE OF THE DARK WIND