Season of Storms by Susanna Kearlsey

Season of StormsSeason of Storms by Susanna Kearsley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars (8/10)

I’ve neglected Susanna Kearsley’s books for a while, and I find myself very glad to have got back to them. They are very much my kind of books – a modern story, an historical link with a touch of the paranormal, a light romance and a bit of a mystery to solve. They are also very, very reminiscent of Mary Stewart’s books, although those are lacking the mild supernatural/paranormal facet Kearsley tends to include.

For some reason I haven’t quite identified, this one felt even more “Mary Stewart” to me that others. I bit of that was the smoking – at least two characters here smoked regularly and that included a major plot point – which always surprises me in Stewart books where the characters tend to smoke like chimneys and I always have to remind myself they were written when that was not only acceptable but “cool”.

Season of Storms was published in 2001, but it still feels a bit more historical than that, despite the inclusion of email. The main characters still heads to a call box to make a crackly international phone call through an operator for example. I wasted a bit of time trying to figure out if the modern section was supposed to be set before it was written but eventually just went with the flow and enjoyed the story.

The paranormal here is quite light compared to some of Kearsley’s other books and it is up to the reader to decide if it is actually real or in the characters’ imaginations.

After a day’s reflection, I find I have a few issues with how things were or were not resolved (view spoiler on Goodreads), but they are authorial choices and not something to spoil the story for me.

This isn’t my favourite book by Susanna Kearsley, but it is still one I very much enjoyed.

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The Children of the Company by Kage Baker

The Children of the Company (The Company, #6)The Children of the Company by Kage Baker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars (9/10)

REREAD #1: 9 April 2018 – 14 April 2018 (9/10)

I was going to write something new and hopefully interesting here, but when I reread what I wrote in my review last time, I realised that I’ve said it already. So I’m going to be lazy and, if you’re here to discover my thoughts, I’ll just ask you to scroll down and read what I wrote last time.

ORIGINAL READ: 10 July 2007 – 11 July 2007 (9/10)

Take a ride through time with the devil. In this book of the Company series, we meet Executive Facilitator General Labienus. He’s used his immortal centuries to plot a complete takeover of the world since he was a young god-figure in Sumeria. In a meditative mood, he reviews his interesting career. He muses on his subversion of the Company black project ADONAI. He considers also Aegeus, his despised rival for power, who has discovered and captured a useful race of mortals known as Homo sapiens umbratilis. Their unique talents may enable him to seize ultimate power.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this entry in Kage Baker’s brilliant series. I was expecting it to be a story told with Labienus as the protagonist (I certainly wouldn’t call him a hero) and since he’s not exactly a nice guy, or doing nice things, I didn’t have any particular need to climb inside his head.

Instead, Labienus and his machinations are the thread that holds the book together, but it is really closer to a collection of short stories that let us in on the “other side” of mysteries and events we’ve already encountered in the earlier books in the series. As such, it is totally unsuitable to be read as a book on its own, but for anyone following the tales of Dr Zeus Inc. it’s actually a brilliant addition.

Among other things, we find out what really happened to Lewis in Ireland, how Victor defeated Budu in San Franciso as the earthquake began to rumble under the ground and get another glimpse into the “childhood” of Latif. I also understand Edward a lot better than I did before. I still don’t like him, but I understand him better.

The story that caught my heart most was the one that told us what actually happened to Kalugin, who until this was missing and presumed (by the reader at least) to be the victim of foul play. Both proved to be true in a clever, sad little story. I hope Kalugin gets rescued by the end of the series, and I rather suspect he was never cut out to be an immortal. But as Mendoza’s fate has shown us, making an inappropriate person immortal is a mistake that can’t be undone.

The saddest tale is that of Hendrick Karremans, the Recombinant mentioned briefly by Joseph in The Graveyard Game, and his short life and death. It was beautifully written, narrated by Victor, who I think may prove to be more of a loose cannon than anyone suspected.

Baker has done it again, exactly when I didn’t expect her to. She writes in styles that really shouldn’t work and pulls it off. I remain entranced.

The Children of the Company
Kage Baker

[Copied from LibraryThing.]

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The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

Voyage of the Basilisk (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #3)Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars (9/10)

I’m slowly working my way through this series and enjoying myself as I do so. I’ve bought them in paper copies for the pretty covers and inside illustrations and it’s also a nice change to read a paper book – although with my sore and tired arms, reading on my Kindle is easier, so I do have to ration them.

I don’t know that I’d consider this series of books to be blow-me-away kind of stuff, but they are solid, reliably and enjoyable and I look forward to a slow reveal of the mysteries about dragons that have been building up.

This one was a little more choppy than the first two, simply because it was covering a much longer stretch of time and it still had to be fitted into approximately the same number of pages. When the action focussed closely on a certain adventure, most especially the time in Keogna (I think that’s the name without looking it up – the Pacific island analogue), it smoothed out and told and exciting tale.

I’m always a sucker for an archeological/historical mystery for the current time protagonists to solve, so that part of the story, as Isabella slowly learns more (or as it stands now, discovers more questions) about dragons and the Draconeans, gets my ears perked right up. I admit I don’t know when I’ll get to the next book, but I’m looking forward to getting closer to the solution of the mystery.

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My cover for Madam, Will You Talk?

Madam, Will You Talk?

The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper

The FitzOsbornes at War (The Montmaray Journals, #3)The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars (10/10)
Read: 16 June 2017 to 22 June 2016

This was really, really excellent. In fact, as I write this, I’m bumping it up from a 9/10 to a 10/10.

It was charming, grimm, lovely and devastating all at different times. Sophie remains a wonderful protagonist and her life through the war years feels very realistic as far as this reader, born so much later on the other side of the world, can tell.

Michelle Cooper has woven together real people and real history with her created places and characters expertly and she provides an afterword that explains who was real and lists a number of her sources for the historical detail.

A highly recommended book and series.

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Fallen for You by Jules Dee

Fallen for YouFallen for You by Jules Dee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars (8/10)
Read: 5 June 2017 – 13 June 2017

I admit that I bought and started this one because it was written by a friend. So full disclosure there.

I ended up enjoying it very much, although I wasn’t certain at first. We get to meet the protagonists in dire trouble right at the beginning and things proceed to get complicated from there.

This is not a “falling in love” book, but instead a book where the characters end up in a place where they have to admit to each other that they “fell” a while ago. That makes the title a good and appropriate one, being “fallen” in the past tense. It’s about acknowledging it, making themselves vulnerable enough to say it out loud, and learning what happens next.

That was lovely.

I wasn’t so sold on the paranormal legal consequences and trial part of the book, just because the laws being followed seemed a bit arbitrary and ridiculous and the solution a bit over the top. That said, I really loved how that solution played out between Casey and Martin, I just found the dealing with the council section of the book less to my taste.

After that, it also became a mystery story (combined with dealing with all those consequences) and I really loved that too. I’d be perfectly happy with a series of mundane mysteries being solved by our heroes.

Right at the end, we went back to the council. I was a bit concerned about that, but instead of harping about in the past, we were thrown a whole bunch of hints about the future and more paranormal surprises to come. And I found I loved that too. Now I want more books, so author, please keep right on writing.

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Bad Therapy by Matthew Jones

Doctor Who: Bad TherapyDoctor Who: Bad Therapy by Matthew Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars (8/10)
Read: 10 June 2017 – 13 June 2017

I must have read this before when the books came out because I can remember the one before (I liked it) and I can remember the one after (I didn’t like it), but I don’t remember reading this one.

I was kind of surprised at how much I liked it. It was a very good, solid story as the Doctor and Chris try not to deal with the consequences of the last book and end up having to do so. The mystery was good, the surprise arrival worked within the course of the story and it all held together very well.

I’m a bit sad we’re nearly at the end of the series and I haven’t decided if I read the next one in conjunction with the podcast (did I mention I didn’t like that one), but the rereads have been fun. I may go back to the beginning and do some selective rereading.

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