Book Review: Day of the Vikings by J.F. Penn

Day of the Vikings by J. F. PennDay of the Vikings: What it is about

From goodreads: “A ritual murder on a remote island under the shifting skies of the aurora borealis.
A staff of power that can summon Ragnarok, the Viking apocalypse.

When Neo-Viking terrorists invade the British Museum in London to reclaim the staff of Skara Brae, ARKANE agent Dr. Morgan Sierra is trapped in the building along with hostages under mortal threat.

As the slaughter begins, Morgan works alongside psychic Blake Daniel to discern the past of the staff, dating back to islands invaded by the Vikings generations ago.

Can Morgan and Blake uncover the truth before Ragnarok is unleashed, consuming all in its wake?

Day of the Vikings is a fast-paced, action adventure thriller set in the British Museum, the British Library and the islands of Orkney, Lindisfarne and Iona. Set in the present day, it resonates with the history and myth of the Vikings.

Day of the Vikings features Dr. Morgan Sierra from the ARKANE thrillers, and Blake Daniel from the London Mysteries, but it is also a stand-alone novella that can be read and enjoyed separately.”

Day of the Vikings: What I thought

This is a (long) short story, part of a series of thrillers. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the other books; it didn’t feel as if I was missing something.  The story was a cross between Dan Brown’s modern people looking into the history of some secret sect and the Canadian TV series The Vikings. I actually know the horific  Blood Eagle procedure from that series, so I could imagine it all too lively.

A fast-paced and fun read, although one particular ritual was repeated three times. That was a little too much. One of the characters could actually go back in time, in his mind. Now, I would love to do that, it so appeals to me!

I’m not a keen reader of short stories and think I would love this book better as a full-blown novel. The main characters are great people to spend some time with and I love stories about Nordic countries in general. This story actually played in the UK, partially in the British Museum and partially in the Orkneys (two of those must-visit places).

If the topic interests you, this is worth a read. It’s well-written, too!


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 77

First published: 2014

I got this: for review from the author

Genre: historical fiction,

 

Book Review: Inamorata by Megan Chance

Inamorata by Megan ChanceInamorata: What it is about

From the publishers: “American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.

But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.

As Joseph falls under the courtesan’s spell, Sophie joins forces with Nicholas Dane, the one man who knows Odilé’s dark secret, and her sworn enemy. When the seductive muse offers Joseph the path to eternal fame, the twins must decide who to believe—and just how much they are willing to sacrifice for fame.”

Inamorata: What I thought

It’s always so d*mn annoying when one of my careful selected prejudices gets shattered. I hadn’t asked for this book, I just got it sent for review. I’m absolutely sure about that, because I never, ever want to read books that take place in Venice. Yuck-y-de-yuck. I just don’t like that fake-mysterious atmosphere, the rich people, the poor people, the masks, the dirty, stinking water. I’ve never been to Venice, but my unwillingness to visit it equals my unwillingness to visit Las Vegas. No, thank you!

Okay, short story: this book was great! I enjoyed it so much. The setting didn’t bother me. In fact, the traveling about in gondolas was fun! As were the large, old-fashioned houses.

The story was interesting, too. It was told from several perspectives and I especially liked Nicholas Dane, who is on a kind of witch hunt, with varied success. Will he be at the right place at the right time when his help is required? The twins Sophie and Joseph seem so innocent when they get to Venice, although they have just one goal: get someone to finance them, whatever it takes. But I wondered if they had a darker side.

There were a few dead bodies, which added to the mystery. The writing was very fluent and compelling.

So, this novel of Venice was great fun. Of course, I will not revoke my prejudice against all other novels that feature Venice, obviously.

 


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 412

First published: 2014

I got this: for review from Lake Union Publishing

Genre: historical fiction, supernatural

 

Book Review: Blackbird by Tom Wright

Blackbird by Tom WrightBlackbird: What it is about

From amazon: “‘Dr. Deborah Serach Gold died on the cross sometime during a night of freezing rain in late October of my last year at Three. It probably wasn’t the worst thing that happened to her that day, but it had been over two decades in the making . . .’

The day after a terrible storm, electricity still crackling in the air, a woman is found dead on the outskirts of a Texan town. She has been brutally attacked and nailed to a cross.

The victim is Dr Deborah Gold, a psychologist who has taken a lot of people’s secrets to her grave.

Which means a lot of suspects for Detective Jim Beaudry Bonham to investigate. And lately he could use some psychological help himself . . .”

Blackbird: What I thought

The beginning of the description sounded very intriguing. However, the ending of it should have warned me: I’m done with thrillers in which the lead investigator is a flawed character.

I found this man totally uninteresting and didn’t give a *%$@$ about his past and current struggles. The investigation into the murder of Dr Gold was exciting, but the Detective got into the way a bit too much.

I did read to the end, but didn’t really pay good attention from page 100 onwards, when I started to wonder whether I should finish the book.

I think that if you like thrillers, there is no reason not to like this one. It’s pretty clever and intriguing.

It’s not the book, it’s me. Since The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, a good two years ago, I should know not to pick up a thriller featuring yet another detective with yet more personal problems. I guess it’s partially the genre that demands a flawed character solving impossible problems, but I’m so done with it! :-)


Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (almost OK)

Number of pages: 356

First published: 2014

I got this: won this from Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Genre: mystery, thriller

 

Book review: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

The Goodluck of Right Now by Matthew QuickThe Good Luck of Right Now: What it is about

From the publishers: “For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday mass, and the library learn how to fly?

 

Bartholomew thinks he’s found a clue when he discovers a “Free Tibet” letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother’s underwear drawer. In her final days, mom called him Richard—there must be a cosmic connection. Believing that the actor is meant to help him, Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate letters. Jung and the Dalai Lama, philosophy and faith, alien abduction and cat telepathy, the Catholic Church and the mystery of women are all explored in his soul-baring epistles. But mostly the letters reveal one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.”

The Good Luck of Right Now: What I thought

This book is a series of letters by the protagonist to Richard Gere, the movie star. That was really off-putting. :-) Do I care about movie stars? Sorry, not a lot. 

But Bartholomew does, because his mother was RG’s biggest fan. And so, when his mother is terminal, he pretends to be RG to please her. He realizes that he’s much braver when he thinks about what RG would do in particular situations. His first goal in life, after his mother dies, is to have a drink in a bar with a guy. Just like other guys. His therapist suggested it but he has no idea how to achieve this. 

He meets a number of strange people (the therapist isn’t quite who she claims to be, either). It’s fun to read about them, but I was worried for Bartholomew: they were likely to take advantage of him. However, bit by bit, he explores his new life and the people in it, and comes to accept a life without his mother.

This was a fun read, especially because of the characters that make an appearance. Bartholomew is odd but I did start to like him after a while. He’s so innocent for an almost-40-year old! 

I never warmed to the letters themselves, but luckily, Bartholomew doesn’t address RG all the time. He spends a lot of the time just explaining what happened that day. He had a mystery in his life to which I guessed the answer quite soon, but the way it was revealed was still a surprise.

An easy read and a fun book.

 


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 304

First published: 2014

I got this: won from Adorable Books

Genre: fiction

 

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