Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Sunday, January 21, 2018

"The Lewis Man", by Peter May

Book #2, in The Lewis Trilogy

This second episode takes place sometime after the end of “The Blackhouse”. Finn MacLeod has returned to his emotional home on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and plans to restore his parents’ derelict house but before getting to the task, he finds himself embroiled in a murder case. The body of a man buried in a peat bog since the late 1950s….George Gunn, a constable on the island who worked with him before, hope to identify the victim and solve the case.

DNA shows the victim to be related to Tormond MacDonald but the poor man has dementia questioning him proof to be a challenge but he is the clue to solving the mystery. The author depicts Tormond movingly, in which past and present is very confused. But questioning him triggers memories back to his childhood and recounting his youth is the heart of this wonderful yet heartbreaking story.

Back and forth the narrative alternates between the old man memories and the present day where Finn is searching for the identity of the dead man as well as re-establishing old relationships. The story is very well told, with great sense of atmosphere and place but take your map out Finn travels up and down the islands and his journey crosses beautiful scenery: beaches, wild cliffs and unforgiving weather.

Once again Mr. May weaves his wonderful magic as the story unfolds in vivid details. The story is completely absorbing, I was immersed in this drama from the get-go and I soon felt like a hidden spectator witnessing events as they unfolded, so into it I felt. The characterization is outstanding.

This is a gripping story told by a master storyteller and one of my new found authors I will read more of.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"The Shadow District", by Arnaldur Indridason

Book #1 in the Reykjavik Wartime Mysteries series

In the first book of a new crime series Mr Indridason introduces us to new players while providing a great window into Icelandic culture and exploring at the same time his signature themes of greed and abuse of power once more.

This story covers a fascinating period. Here we have two policemen, one Icelandic working in Reykjavik and the other is a Canadian and a member of the armed forced, he is of Icelandic heritage and speaks Icelandic. Stephan and Flovent are the wartime players on the case. As the story moves back and forth in time, Konrad a retired policeman working in our time becomes interested in the case from the war years and here we go back in time……this is very well done.

As the narrative switches between two investigations and two timelines, Mr. Indridason precise prose keeps the details of the separate timeline clear without any embellishment. With minimalist words and gentle dialogue the author has skillfully weaves two classic whodunit cases.

Mr. Indridason has definitely did a lot of research to find the right atmosphere for the time and give us an enlightening storyline filled with aspects surrounding the relationship between the Icelandic women and the troops “The Situation” as it was known. The social and historical climate and the police procedural are all deftly orchestrated to make a captivating and emotional charged drama.

This is a gripping and a very captivating read.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Map of Shadows", by J.F. Penn

Book # 1 in the Mapwalkers series

This new series is a dark fantasy and a pretty weird story, not to mention gory to no end. A map of skin etched in blood and a world under threat…..

Those of us fans of this author already knows how creative she is and how richly and cleverly written her stories are. Well no exception here. Vividly said Bath comes to life with creepy characters and supernatural happenings. This intriguing story based on maps and cartographers propels us into a fantasy world where a mysterious agency maintains the borders between this word and the Uncharted. Spooky, indeed

On the surface Bath is a genteel place but Ms. Penn imagination show us that there is a darker side to the city. Beneath the charming streets lies a weird city, a place haunted by mysterious power. Here, local legends play a good part. Sienna Farren is the main character and is aided by colourful secondary players that have magical abilities and terrifying shadows to scare us to death…

Although this book as many good qualities I honestly cant’ say it drew me in, too weird for my taste but I must say parts reflect our real world where countries are ravaged by war, famine, poverty, terrorism and many other afflictions leaving their people to suffer the consequences…totally abandoned.

I received this ARC from the author for my thoughts. It may not have been my preferred book but it is definitely not one to pass over…..give it a go.

Friday, January 5, 2018

"Night of the Assassin", by Russell Blake

Book# 0.5 in the Assassin series

This prequel to “King of Swords” is a raw and unflinching thriller introducing El Rey, one of Russell Blake’s most brutal characters.

The book opens with the deadly El Rey as he carries out his latest job- the assassination of a drug cartel boss. Then the story switched to his childhood where we find out how he was groomed to become the most notorious and deadliest assassin known to date. The story is framed against the backdrop of Mexico drug trafficking and in the midst of a bloody war of power.

The world of Drug cartels depicted in this book is very scary but fortunately the author spares us the many gory details. As the story keeps moving it tells us how El Rey setups his hits and how he manages to get away. No doubt, the plot is fast-paced, one that kept me on the edge waiting for his next move. It is definitely an action filled thriller that grabs attention from the first page and holds it all through. Although violent, I loved this cold blooded killer; El Rey is all what I expected from this kind of character. Mr. Blake excels in moving his plot between characters and scenes and pulling us into the environment of a deadly killer.

The story is well-written, moves along without getting bogged down and is an easy and captivating read.

Monday, January 1, 2018

"Determined", by A. Avraham Perlmutter

With incredible visual additions such as genuine photographs and documentation from the wartime and beyond, Mr. Perlmutter has crafted a no-hold account of his life during WW11 and after.

His memoirs does not emphasizes on the gruesome atrocities committed by the Nazis but rather focuses on the survival of one young man and how he made a successful life for himself in Israel and in the United States after the war. His account touches on some of the people who orchestrated his various escape or hid him from the Nazis. It is an important story that tells how determined even at a young age the need to survive by taking risks and keep pushing the limits in order to succeed.

The first part of the book focusses on the kindness and generosity he experienced during the war and the multiple miracles that allowed him to survive. The rest of the book concentrates on what happened after the war.

This moving story is unique both in content and in tone. His personal journey with detailed descriptions gives us a glimpse of his adventurous life filled with danger and risks and evokes the feeling of compassion as you walk in the shoes of a brilliant young man determined to survive.

Although the book is a quick read it is also one difficult to follow. The narrative has a plethora of people to keep track of with names hard to remember. The timeline is inconsistent and all over the place for most part till it found a better rhythm then the words flowed at a steady and even pace. It is a bit of a choppy account but having said this, I nevertheless say that Mr. Perlmutter has an amazing memory to have given so many details while providing many photos and documents to support his words.