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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All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony DoerrBlurb

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.

In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of
Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

My Perspective

This is the first book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due – Part 2. I read about All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr from Cely at Running Off The Reese’s. You can read her thoughts on the book here.

All The Light We Cannot See follows the stories of both Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a German orphan, from the beginning of WWII to the end, and where and how their paths meet in between.

I love novels like this, where there are two different people with their two different story lines and as their tales unfold you can feel those story lines growing ever closer, ever closer until they are bound to intertwine.

Marie-Laure was easy to like and really how could you not root for her? Even though she became blind, she didn’t let that stop her, still enjoying the fullness that life had to offer, constantly learning and exploring. I adored her Dad, the love and life he poured into her was beautiful. And Madame Manec and Uncle Etienne were equally likeable with their quirks, fierce love and loyalty. Werner was extremely likeable and again, you couldn’t help but root for him, this extremely clever orphan who was working so hard to look after those he cared about whilst still trying to stay true to himself. I admired his sister however I found her attitude hard because although I understood where she was coming from, life is not so black and white. Frau Elena, Frederick, and Volkheimer were all likeable characters that you wanted the best for.

This novel really takes you out of your comfort zone, and before you realise it, you’re torn because of the challenges that the characters face – that they are not necessarily solved by either being right or wrong. War is so conflicting and creates so many broken people. Really this story just dives under the surface of what war does however it’s enough to punch you in the gut and forever leave a mark.

The writing was intricate and creative, all five senses were immersed. It flowed well and was a steady pace.

Novels written in this style are becoming the vogue thing however I find a lot of them overdo it or aren’t very well written. This one isn’t like that at all, it’s what all those other novels are trying to be like.

Without spoiling the ending, I’ll just write this; Neville Chamberlain Quotes, “In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers.”

I would definitely recommend this book if you like historical fiction, especially if it’s centered around WWII. It’s not an easy, escapist read however it’s so well written and life-changing.

Credit Where Credit’s Due – Part 2

This post is the sequel to Credit Where Credit’s Due and is about the 4 books that i have read about from a few of the blogs that i follow. From reading their perspective/reviews, i was interested in reading the different books, so i downloaded the preview for each book (if there was one) and i have to say that i am looking forward EVEN MORE to reading them!

They are:

~ How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

~ All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

~ S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

~ Cry of the Sea by D.G. Driver

I haven’t actually finished reading all the books from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due, however i was cheeky and picked a book from this list to read so hence why i am posting it so i can post the review for said book 😀

Anyway i will be sure to review each book and it will be interesting if i share the same views of the blogger who posted about them!

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

Blurb

One summer night in 1930, Judge Joseph Crater steps into a New York City cab and is never heard from again. Behind this great man are three women, each with her own tale to tell: Stella, his fashionable wife, the picture of propriety; Maria, their steadfast maid, indebted to the judge; and Ritzi, his showgirl mistress, willing to seize any chance to break out of the chorus line.

As the twisted truth emerges, Ariel Lawhon’s wickedly entertaining debut mystery transports us into the smoky jazz clubs, the seedy backstage dressing rooms, and the shadowy streets beneath the Art Deco skyline.

My Perspective

This is the twenty-third book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due. I read about The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon from Ionia at Readful Things Blog. You can read her thoughts on the book here.

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a fictional story of what really happened to Judge Crater, who disappeared without a trace in 1930. It is from the point of view of the three women who would have known him the most; his wife, his maid and his mistress (as the title suggests).

I didn’t actually know that this story was based on true events, that Judge Crater was a real person who did disappear without a trace. I think I would have had a different mindset while reading it if I had known that.

The story was well written and interesting. It held my attention and the story unfolded at a steady pace.

The three women were all likeable and easy to root for. I did find Stella a bit aggravating at times though. Judge Crater and Owney Madden were extremely unlikeable characters.

I was a little bit disillusioned with the outcome of the story. I felt it fell a bit flat at the end and I was surprised at how obvious everything was both throughout the story as well as how it ended. I was expecting there to be more mystery and it to be a lot less predictable. It’s a bit of a shame because it would have been exceptional had this not let it down.

Overall it was an entertaining read that I would recommend to those who like murder mysteries, however it’s definitely not up there with the Agatha Christie novels.

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

Blurb

One letter will turn newly-married Grace Munroe’s life upside down: ‘Our firm is handling the estate of the deceased Mrs Eva D’Orsey and it is our duty to inform you that you are named as the chief beneficiary in her will.’ So begins a journey which leads Grace through the streets of Paris and into the seductive world of perfumers and their muses. An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank will lead her to unravel the heartbreaking story of her mysterious benefactor, an extraordinary woman who bewitched high society in 1920s New York and Paris.

My Perspective

This is the twenty-second book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due. I read about The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro from Ionia at Readful Things Blog. You can read her thoughts on the book here.

The Perfume Collector is about Grace, a young newlywed living in London, England in the 1950s and how she finds herself the sole beneficiary of a deceased Parisian woman’s estate of whom she’d never met. She decides to stay in Paris awhile to find out who this lady really was however the more she learns, the more she finds there is to untangle.

I love a good mystery and although this one was rather predictable, the telling of the tale with all its intricate details was highly enjoyable.

Grace was a fairly easy character to like. There were moments where I found her frustrating however considering the upheaval happening in her life, it would be unrealistic if she didn’t have moments of weakness and unwise decision making. I didn’t find it easy to like Eva however I found it hard not to admire her. She had it tough, her life was far from easy and she kept fighting all the way. Monsieur Tissot was a dream! Probably too unrealistic 😉

The story was rich in detail and description, with fascinating settings, delicious food and overall beauty and depth. It was hard not to be immersed.

There were some slight sexual references in the book (including rape) however as a said, it is very slight so enough to make me uncomfortable and to mention it however not enough to warrant me feeling the need to stop reading the book.

It was well written, interesting and kept you turning the pages. I would definitely recommend this book if you like historical fiction.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas Pere

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas PereBlurb

This swashbuckling epic of chivalry, honor, and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s, is richly populated with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers, and criminals in a whirl of adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, love, scandal, and suspense. Dumas transforms minor historical figures into larger- than-life characters: the Comte d’Artagnan, an impetuous young man in pursuit of glory; the beguilingly evil seductress “Milady”; the powerful and devious Cardinal Richelieu; the weak King Louis XIII and his unhappy queen—and, of course, the three musketeers themselves, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whose motto “all for one, one for all” has come to epitomize devoted friendship. With a plot that delivers stolen diamonds, masked balls, purloined letters, and, of course, great bouts of swordplay, The Three Musketeers is eternally entertaining.

My Perspective

The Three Musketeers follows d’Artagnan, a young Frenchman, as he journeys to Paris to join the King’s Musketeers. He soon becomes firm friends with three of the King’s Musketeers whilst entangling himself in the political war between the King, the Cardinal and the Queen.

I really enjoyed this book.

It was fairly slow to start off with and the language took a bit of getting used to however once d’Artagnan was in Paris, it started to flow a lot more smoothly.

Although young and a bit foolhardy, d’Artagnan is easy to like. His companions, Athos, Porthos and Aramis are extremely likeable and the more you read, the more you feel a part of their friendship group. They are both honourable and courageous as well as arrogant and pleasure seekers. I pitied the Queen, thought the King was spineless, and the Cardinal both cruel and intriguing. I absolutely loathed and abhorred Milady. I wondered what on earth happened to her to create such a monster of a person.

The story was long and fairly detailed and although it had a steady pace, most of the time it had me hardly able to put it down. It was quite complex due to its political nature and there were times that I got a bit lost however it was so interesting that I didn’t mind that at all. It had action, some romance, intrigue and drama – all what make a great novel.

I enjoyed the way in which it was written, it was fairly unique with the author’s tidbits throughout.

Overall I really enjoyed the story and I would definitely recommend it if you like historical fiction.

 

2017 In Review

Here is a book that i read in 2017 that i didn’t review. If you’re a fan of the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, it’s definitely worth reading. I found it super interesting and really enjoyed reading it!

The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle & Susie Conklin

The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle & Susie Conklin Blurb

The Making of Pride and Prejudice reveals in compelling detail how Jane Austen’s classic novel is transformed into a stunning television drama.

Filmed on location in Wiltshire and Derbyshire, Pride and Prejudice, with its lavish sets and distinguished cast, was scripted by award-winning dramatist Andrew Davies, who also adapted Middlemarch for BBC TV. Chronicling eighteen months of work – from the original concept to the first broadcast – The Making of Pride and Prejudice brings vividly to life the challenges and triumphs involved in every stage of production of this sumptuous television series.

Follow a typical day’s filming, including the wholesale transformation of Lacock village into the minutely detailed setting of Jane Austen’s Meryton.

Discover how Colin Firth approaches the part of Darcy, how actor’s costumes and wigs are designed, how authentic dances are rehearsed and how Carl Davis recreates the period music and composes an original score.

Piece together the roles of many behind-the-scenes contributors to the series, from casting directors and researchers to experts in period cookery and gardening.

Including many full-colour photographs, interviews, and lavish illustrations, The Making of Pride and Prejudice is an indispensable companion to the beautifully produced series and a fascinating insight into all aspects of a major television enterprise.