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Voyager by Carl Rackman #Bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog

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Voyager

This style of novel is not my usual choice of genre but it’s always good to try entering a new environment and adapt to a faster paced narrative. And I am really glad I chose Carl Rackman’s second book.

From the Prologue when Brad talks to his fiancé by phone as she tries to escape from the second tower on 9/11 to the culmination of this thriller on the day of the Inauguration of a new President in 2017, this fast-moving thriller keeps you guessing. There are a number of significant characters to meet, including Brad, a member of an FBI counter-terrorism unit, Dr Callie Woolf, Project Manager of the Voyager Interstellar Mission and Matt, a British pilot who freelances for MI5. Brad soon finds himself in disgrace, Callie fears her project will be cancelled and Matt may lose his freedom.

The plot is complex and offers “alternative facts” and there are acronyms and details of the workings of NASA and US Security staff to come to grips with. The characters gradually fill out into believable personalities and each of them becomes increasingly endangered. And then we meet Mirage, a mysterious superwoman. Is she good or evil? Is the world about to be invaded by creatures from another world, or is there a conspiracy? This tautly constructed suspense novel kept me turning the pages and hoping that Brad and Callie would solve the mystery and survive all attempts on their lives.

Voyager is available on Amazon UK or Amazon US

You can find my review of Carl Rackman’s first novel, Irex here

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve #BookReview

Mortal

This post-apocalyptic, steam-punk novel may be aimed at 11 to 16 year olds, but it appeals to all ages, male and female. This is the second time I have read “Mortal Engines” and I still relish every minute getting to know Hester Shaw, the girl disfigured by her parents’ killer and Tom Natsworthy, a loyal apprentice in the Guild of Historians who encounters Hester in alarming circumstances. We also meet heroic explorer Thaddeus Valentine and the frightening Shrike who has been brought back to life, an amalgam of flesh and metal. Yet both these characters have hidden depths.

 

Set in a world following the 60 minute war when major cities like London have to travel around the world on wheels preying on smaller towns and cities, their enemies belong to the Ant-Traction League who wish to stop this cruel, belligerent lifestyle.

 

Perhaps it is Philip Reeve’s previous occupation as an illustrator which makes his descriptions of transportation and multi-tiered cities so easy to visualise but I am looking forward to the promised filming of this novel and desperately hope it will meet my expectation.

 

Mortal Engines can be found on Amazon UK

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley #BookReview

new JA

On the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen I feel beholden to return to her timeless stories, but in Lucy Worsley’s book I have been given additional insight into Jane’ character and sensitivity. “Jane Austen at Home” is assiduously well documented, showing a depth of research and most importantly, a grasp of Jane’s spirit.

At first sight, the thick book of small text seems daunting, but as you begin to read you are invited in to Steventon Rectory and soon come to know Jane’s family; her loving father, unsympathetic mother, the legion of brothers and dear sister Cassandra. From Jane’s letters and many accounts by family members, Lucy has built up a clear picture of her everyday life and the way in which her homes are reflected in her books.

It is a delight to read Lucy’s own voice as she reveals her discoveries about Jane Austen,
in her letters – “her personality is there, bold as brass, bursting with life, buoyant or recalcitrant as each day required.”
Jane’s letters were “double-voiced,” giving an entertaining account to be read aloud, but with a subtext that her nearest and dearest would understand. Lucy Worsley also parallels Jane’s letters to the tweets of J K Rowling!

It is the first time I had fully appreciated that the demands of the long Napoleonic War, raising prices and causing shortages, made middling families, such as Jane’s, experience hardship but they also brought the military officers in their dashing uniforms, both aspects being the meat for Jane’s plots.

The retirement of Reverend Austen and the family’s move to Bath are described in intricate detail, underlining the dreadful effect on Jane and Cassandra. We read of the sale of all the family’s books and of Jane’s piano and her music. Leaving her home of 25 years, they move from one rented house to another among the “pea-soup fogs in Bath.” Her father’s death causing a large drop in their income shows how much she understood the importance of money to her heroines.

The frustration of Jane Austen’s life story is how poorly she was acknowledged as an author, during her lifetime and what a pittance she received when they were published. Despite the help of her father and her brother in finding publishers, novels and women writers were not yet considered worthy of great praise.

Reaching the chapter where Jane, Cassandra and Mrs Austen move back to Hampshire and settle into Chawton Cottage, I also felt as if I was coming home. I could see her sitting by her table in the cottage window, trying to write, while others moved about the compact house. The last few years of her life show Jane as a calm, determined woman with the same purpose and energy as her heroines.
This is a book for lovers of Jane Austen’s books who wish to know more about this quiet, enigmatic person. Did she have romances, were there regrets that she remained single and had no children? Did she achieve what she wished to accomplish? I suggest you read “Jane Austen at Home” to look for those answers.

Jane Austen at Home will be published on May 18th 2017 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon UK or Amazon US

(A review copy of this book was kindly provided by the publishers, Hodder & Stoughton)

Lucy Worsley

worsley

Dr Lucy Worsley is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace.

Her first paid employment after studying history at Oxford was at a minor stately home called Milton Manor, near Abingdon, where she fed the llamas. After that she became an Inspector of Ancient Monuments at English Heritage, doing historical research at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire: this led to her first book, ‘Cavalier’, about a dissolute Royalist duke. Her work as a curator at Kensington Palace led to ‘Courtiers’, which was followed by ‘If Walls Could Talk’, ‘A Very British Murder’, and her first historical novel for young readers, ‘Eliza Rose’, which is set at the Tudor court.

#FridayBookShare Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce

#FridayBookShare is a game created by Shelley Wilson to help search for an ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

Framed was a book I first bought for my school library many years ago but which I wanted to return to as a relief from all the angst in the UK currently.

First Line  My dad, right- ask anyone this, they’ll all say the same- my dad can fix anything; Toyota, Hyundai, Ford. Even Nice Tom’s Mam’s diddy Daihatsu which is about the size of a marshmallow so you need tweezers to fix it.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

The perfect crime – it’s a work of art, in Frank Cottrell Boyce’s ingenious story, Framed.

Dylan is the only boy living in the tiny Welsh town of Manod. His parents run the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel garage – and when he’s not trying to persuade his sisters to play football, Dylan is in charge of the petrol log. And that means he gets to keep track of everyone coming in and out of Manod – what car they drive, what they’re called, even their favourite flavour of crisps. But when a mysterious convoy of lorries trundles up the misty mountainside towards an old, disused mine, even Dylan is confounded. Who are these people – and what have they got to hide?

A story inspired by a press cutting describing how, during World War II, the treasured contents of London’s National Gallery were stored in Welsh slate mines. Once a month, a morale-boosting masterpiece would be unveiled in the village and then returned to London for viewing. This is a funny and touching exploration of how Art – its beauty and its value – touches the life of one little boy and his big family in a very small town.

Introduce the main character –  Eccentric boy thief

Delightful Design

 

new Frame

Audience appeal   Age 9 plus including me!  It might help if you can remember Teenage Mutant Ninja  Turtles.

Your favourite line/scene

The Misses Sellwood live on a farm halfway up Manod Mountain.  Miss Elsa can drive but she can’t see.  Miss Edna can see but she can’t drive.  So what they do is, every Wednesday Miss Elsa drives and Miss Edna steers.  It’s not so risky on the mountain road because no-one lives up there apart from them and Mr Morgan’s sheep, but when they hit the High Street, they are a Menace to Society.

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) in, so she can read what you have added, too.

#FridayBookShare The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

#FridayBookShare is a game created by Shelley Wilson to help search for an ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

I have finally started to read The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett’s last book.

First LineIt was born in the darkness of the Circle Sea; at first just a soft floating thing, washed back and forth by tide after tide.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

A SHIVERING OF WORLDS

Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.

This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.

As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land.

There will be a reckoning . . .

THE FINAL DISCWORLD NOVEL

Introduce the main character  –Listener, Midwife, Witch.

Delightful Design

Shepherd

Audience appeal  –Anyone with a good sense of humour and a love of the absurd.

Your favourite line/scene

“Dear sir, Mister Feegle,” said Mrs Earwig.  “This is a council of war, so we should be discussing strategies and tactics.”

“Ah weel, ye can if ye wish, but we are Feegles and we dinnae mess about wi’ things like that.  It’s all aboot usin’ yon claymore to best offence.  And if ye dinnae get that right, your last resort is to nut ’em.

Tiffany took in Mrs Earwig’s face and said cheerfully, “Could you do that, Mrs Earwig?”

She was given a Look, and Mrs Earwig said, “I will nut as I see fit.”  And to Tiffany’s surprise, the other witches applauded, and for once Mrs Earwig was wreathed in smiles.

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) in, so she can read what you have added, too.

#AtoZChallenge Survivor

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survivor-atoz [2016] v2

Links to all my posts for this challenge

Death at the Theatre by Celina Grace

Theatre

Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate

Death at the Theatre takes us into the world of a fashionable London home in the 1930s, but not to the salons above, rather down to the kitchen below where Joan Hart assists the cook to prepare meals for the household.  Her escape from drudgery, accompanied by her friend, lady’s maid Verity Hunter, is a visit to the theatre where Verity’s uncle, an actor, has given them tickets.  But they are plunged, once again into investigating a crime, when a murder occurs, almost in front of their eyes.

 

There are several likely culprits amongst the cast of the play, but most were on stage when the murder occurred up in the “gods”.  Joan and Verity become well acquainted with the actors and backstage staff and Joan’s wish to solve crime is reactivated when once more she meets Detective Inspector Marks, who treats her with kindness and respect.  Meanwhile Verity is embroiled in concerns about the behaviour of her Mistress, Dorothy, who seems bitterly unhappy.

 

There are several red herrings within the plot and the perpetrator is finally revealed only when Joan helps Inspector Marks by her private investigation.  This cosy mystery is very much part of the continuing story of Joan and Verity’s lives and their wish to leave a life of servitude, but it also keeps the reader guessing by an inventive plot.  The context of theatre land in the 1930s is well created and Joan especially is an empathetic character.

 

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