Ascent Into Asgard by Geoffrey McSkimming

Ascent Into Asgard by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

While stopping over in Norway, Joan Twilight buys a rusty old hammer for her friend, Jocelyn Osgood (the well-known Flight Attendant with Valkyrian Airways and ‘good friend’ of Cairo Jim), whom she knows has a minor lust for antiquities.

With advice from Cairo Jim, Jocelyn and Joan seek out Professor Kurt Snerdforst, an expert on things now forgotten. Jocelyn decides to return the hammer to an isolated location in Norway’s cold, northern regions.

Slowly, however, the shadows of an ancient world begin to creep across their journey, as the hammer fragment proves to be much more than just a worthless, dusty relic…

My Perspective

Ascent Into Asgard follows Jocelyn Osgood and Joan Twilight while on stopover in Norway. Joan purchases a fragment of ancient hammer from a market for Jocelyn and before they know it they are hiking north to bestow the antique to the Midnight Sun Museum of Legend, where it will be looked after and protected well. However little do they know that there are others who are after the very same hammer and the secrets it holds…

Like i mentioned in my review of Xylophones Above Zarundi: A Chaotic Tale of Melody, i love the Jocelyn Osgood novels even more than the Cairo Jim ones. This is probably my second favourite.

Jocelyn and Joan are such likable, funny characters that you can’t help but feel a part of their friendship. Harald was also really easy to like and a great addition to the duo in this story. The villains, in true Cairo Jim style, were terrible and silly. I often think that Geoffrey McSkimming must have great fun making up all his characters.

The story was really interesting and follows a famous mythical legend (Thor and his hammer) and although i had read it before so knew the mystery, still enjoyed it immensely.

Again, I would definitely recommend this book however it’s probably better to start with the first Jocelyn Osgood novel, After The Puce Empress, so you can read how Jocelyn and Joan first met.

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Xylophones Above Zarundi: A Chaotic Tale of Melody by Geoffrey McSkimming

Xylophones Above Zarundi: A Chaotic Tale of Melody by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

While on a stopover in the mysterious African country of Zarundi, Jocelyn Osgood – that well-known Valkyrian Airways Flight Attendant and ‘good friend’ of Cairo Jim – becomes unwittingly embroiled in the theft of a priceless royal tiara.

She and her companions find themselves thrown into a world of subtle chaos, which carries them across an intriguing and colourful landscape as they try desperately to locate the stolen regalia and two renegade Tropical Xylophonists…

My Perspective

Xylophones Above Zarundi: A Chaotic Tale of Melody follows Jocelyn Osgood and Joan Twilight as they become mixed up in the theft of the royal tiara while on stopover in Zarundi. In order to get it back, they find themselves on the trail of the two xylophonists who went missing at the same time as the tiara…

As much as I love the Cairo Jim novels, I LOVE the Jocelyn Osgood novels even more. I’m not sure why, there isn’t a specific thing that I can pinpoint, they are just a really great read.

In saying that, this story was probably my least favourite of the Jocelyn Osgood novels as I found the mystery and adventure of the other books far more fascinating because they had a lot more history involved. This was still good, it just lacked that extra oomph.

Jocelyn is extremely easy to like and is a fantastic female lead. She’s strong, capable, smart, and kind as well as still having real emotions and moments of self doubt. Joan is hilarious and one finds it hard not to like her despite her obvious “blonde” personality. They make a great team and bounce off one another well. The other characters were in usual Cairo Jim form – extremely quirky and unusual and slightly silly. The villain in this story was EXTREMELY unlikable.

The story was interesting, well written and held mystery for the reader. It had me guessing right up until the very end.

I would definitely recommend this book however it’s probably better to start with the first Jocelyn Osgood novel, After The Puce Empress, so you can read how Jocelyn and Joan first met.

Cairo Jim and the Tyrannical Bauble of Tiberius by Geoffrey McSkimming

Cairo Jim and the Tyrannical Bauble of Tiberius by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

Strange happenings are afoot in Rome, where a priceless and mysterious artefact – the imperishable Bauble of the ancient Emperor Tiberius – has gone missing.

Cairo Jim – that well-known archaeologist and little-known poet – and his friends, Doris the macaw and Brenda the Wonder Camel, are sent to Rome to try to get to the bottom of this act of felony. They soon discover that the Bauble has terrifying powers if it is held in the wrong hands…powers that could herald the end of civilisation as we know it!

My Perspective

Cairo Jim and the Tyrannical Bauble of Tiberius follows the trio as they head to Rome to investigate the mysterious time lapses that are occurring in the city every afternoon and to find out who stole the Bauble – two seemingly unrelated incidents that they believe are in fact linked. Will they be able to unlock the mystery before the thief discovers the power of the Bauble?

I quite enjoyed this Cairo Jim novel. I liked the fact that there was a different slant to the story and the dynamic of the usual adventures they have because Bone was in jail and therefore not their usual suspect. It added some more mystery and intrigue. I figured it all out quite early in the piece however for an older child it would probably not be as obvious.

As usual the trio were heartwarming characters and felt like your good friends. I enjoyed Pasqual, who was both charming and silly, and a great addition to the story. The villain was not very likable, especially considering their motives. There is a great “love to hate them” vibe with Bone and Desdemona, the usual villains of the story, however this person did not have that feel at all.

Again like all Cairo Jim novels, the story was funny, silly, mysterious and charming all at the same time.

I would definitely recommend this book to children of all ages however if you haven’t read any Cairo Jim novels then i probably wouldn’t start with this one as it is a later novel and there are a lot of references that would be better understood if earlier novels had been read.

Allure of the Gypsies (Legends of Windemere Book 3) by Charles E. Yallowitz

Cover by Jason PedersenBlurb

Reeling from broken trust and a battered spirit, Luke leads his surviving friends to the town of Haven where his past will catch up with him.

While Luke faces his family and the woman he abandoned at the altar, his enemies have recruited a deadly ally. Kalam the vampire marches on Haven with an army of undead that will leave a hero at death’s door. To revive the fallen warrior, Luke and Nyx must plunge into the mountain lair of Kalam and steal his spellbook. Exhausted and lost within enemy territory, the pair are going to need the help of a gypsy girl named Sari who may be more trouble than her new friends expected.

Against a strong and experienced adversary, what will Luke and Nyx need to claim victory on the charred battlefield?

My Perspective

Allure of the Gypsies follows Luke, Nyx and Aedyn as they make their way to Luke’s home town of Haven, which he left in disgrace a year earlier. However there is more waiting for him at home than he bargained for.

The story follows pretty much straight on from where it left off in Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.

Apart from old favourites Luke, Nyx and Aedyn, we are introduced to a new character, Sari. I honestly found it extremely hard to like Sari. I found her to be a bit of an idiot however I’m not sure if that’s just an act so we will see. I really enjoyed the Lich and Trinity in this book and the banter between them.

I enjoyed the adventure and storyline of this book immensely however i felt that it was a bit all over the place. It didn’t flow as well as the previous two and sort of rambled a bit towards the end before ending very abruptly. I also felt there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue that could have been scrapped to make the book tighter and more interesting. I also found that there wasn’t a lot of mystery or twists and turns. Even though i enjoyed reading the book, i didn’t really keep me guessing or on my toes.

I really enjoyed the action scenes and even wished there was a bit more action – there seemed to be less in this book than the other two.

Overall this book was an enjoyable read however i felt it fell a bit flat and almost felt like simply a filler book to tie up some loose ends, introduce a crucial new character and get to the beginning of the next book. If you’re interested in an enjoyable fantasy series then i would definitely recommend Legends of Windemere however you really need to start with the first book in the series, Beginning Of A Hero.

Cairo Jim and the Sunken Sarcophagus of Sekheret by Geoffrey McSkimming

Cairo Jim and the Sunken Sarcophagus of Sekheret by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

When the manicured evil genius, Captain Neptune F. Bone, disappears in the Red Sea while diving for a lost sarcophagus, that well-known archaeologist and little-known poet, Cairo Jim, is called in to try and help find him in the dark and watery depths.

But when Jim, Doris the macaw and Brenda the Wonder Camel take the plunge, little do they know that what they are about to find will become one of the most flabbergasting discoveries in the history of archaeology!

My Perspective

Cairo Jim and the Sunken Sarcophagus of Sekheret follows the trio as they embark on a rescue mission to find Captain Neptune Bone and solve the mystery of the message left in his fez. However what they unearth is far beyond their wildest expectations.

I really liked this story because it was a different setting to the usual – it was set underwater! The inventiveness of the author was really quite good and i loved the different creative ideas he put forward to explain all manner of things.

As usual Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda are your lovable trio. However there was quite a twist with ol’ Captain Neptune Bone and Desdemona. I think it worked quite well and there were moments where you couldn’t stand Bone (as usual) as well as other moments where you felt quite lovely when they all worked together for their common good.

Like the previous Cairo Jim novel that i reviewed, this one wasn’t as silly per se, however it was really interesting and had a bit of a depth so i quite liked it. It was still very much a funny Cairo Jim novel for children however it was slightly more mature.

Although the main premise of the story might be obvious to the more mature reader, all of the other smaller parts are not at all and keep you guessing.

Overall it was an enjoyable read and definitely one of the more interesting Cairo Jim novels.

Cairo Jim Amidst The Petticoats of Artemis by Geoffrey McSkimming

Cairo Jim Amidst The Petticoats of Artemis by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

A Turkish Tale of Treachery

In the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus, an astonishing relic has been unearthed!

What connection to the bygone goddess Artemis does this relic hold? What astonishing powers could be unleashed if it were to fall into the wrong, evil and manicured hands?

Cairo Jim-that well-known archaeologist and little-known poet-and his friends Doris the Macaw and Brenda the Wonder Camel find themselves faced with the greatest threat to nature itself!

My Perspective

Cairo Jim Amidst The Petticoats of Artemis follows the trio as they hunt down Neptune Bone and Desdemona, who have discovered the Petticoat of Artemis and are searching for the buckle and the belt. Once all three have been found, there is no telling what Bone will do with the power that it will give him.

I didn’t find this story as silly as the other Cairo Jim books that i have read. It was still silly, just not ridiculously so. It would still greatly appeal to children, it was just toned down a bit.

Again Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda are all lovable, as Neptune Bone and Desdemona are not. There was a new character added to the mix who i wasn’t sure i wanted to become a regular…they were a lovely person, it just created a possible angle that i would rather not have happen.

The story was interesting and funny however not as mysterious or cryptic. The outcome of the story was easily guessed.

Overall it was an enjoyable read however i felt it fell a bit flat compared to the other Cairo Jim novels.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

29485885Blurb

A mysterious seaman hides at a country inn; cut-throats raid a sleepy English village; suddenly, young Jim Hawkins becomes the owner of a map leading to a lost tropical island and a fortune in stolen gold. Three adventurers–Jim, Squire Trelawney, and Dr. Livesey–set out to find the treasure. — But they trust the one they should most fear, Long John Silver. Charming, brave, ruthless, murderous, Silver fills the squire’s ship with pirates. And on the desolate, fever-infested island, the quest for gold becomes a deadly war of hide and seek. Desperate defenders against merciless killers battling over a cursed treasure won with blood, buried with blood, sought with blood. Incredible wealth that Jim and his friends can only claim…

My Perspective

Treasure Island is the story of how Jim Hawkins came to be in possession of a treasure map and the journey and adventure he went on with Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney to acquire it.

I’m really in the mood for adventure stories at the moment so this is exactly what I felt like reading.

I really liked Jim. He was an easygoing young man, eager to please, hardworking, quick thinking and he had a lot of courage. Doctor Livesey was also an easy character to like whether Squire Trelawney I found a bit too freely spoken and over confident. John Silver was friendly and very easy to like, which of course made me suspicious. The rest of the crew were typical pirates, or “buccaneers”, self interested, not too smart, violent and drunk on rum all the time.

The story was very interesting and well paced, keeping you on your toes and turning the pages quickly. I did find some of the language hard to understand at times however it added to the feel of the story so I wouldn’t change it.

Overall it was a really enjoyable story, well written and full of adventure. I would definitely recommend it if you like classics, adventure stories or historical fiction.