June 9th, 2012

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Buzzing around yesterday, things went quickly. During lunch, I finished reading Osprey Campaign #160: Battle of the Boyne 1690: The Irish Campaign for the English Crown, which I didn't find all that interesting...a campaign to try to install an English king laying waste to Ireland? It would probably incense my wife...

Also, somewhere in the time period over the last two days, I read Osprey Men-at-Arms #471: Armies of the Adowa Campaign 1896. This one details the embarrassing colonial war of the Italians trying to subdue the Ethiopians a few decades after the Italian Peninsula finally became a single nation. Considering what the rest of the world viewed as their advantages, they still managed to blow it; this book talks about why.
Lottie

book 18



The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
adult fiction, mature
2/5      - nothing special

Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found. Will she pay any price to keep it?


<<<>>>

Spoilers.
I didn't really like this, apparently I'm the only one.

It could have been better. Going into the details of the boat and everything that happened would have been good. Instead we only got a glimpse into their survival and focused on the murder.

A little detail on the other people rescued would have been nice. We only got names here and there, there was zero character development for anyone.

As for Grace, the main character, I hated her. I don't know if we were supposed to hate her or not; maybe, like the jury, we were supposed to make up our own minds. Grace was a mean, manipulative, cruel person. She murdered a man without question because someone else wanted her to. She manipulated her husband, the other survivors, her doctors, her lawyers, and the court to make them believe that she was a good, decent person. She deserved to be found guilty.


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beach reader

Books 71-72: Sanctus by Simon Toyne and Legacy by Murray Smith

Book 71: Sanctus (Sancti Trilogy #1).
Author: Simon Toyne, 2011
Genre: Conspiracy Thriller. Religion.
Other Details: Paperback. 494 pages.

A robed man ascends a cliff face in the oldest inhabited place on earth, a mountain known as the Citadel, a Vatican-like city-state that towers above the city of Ruin in modern-day Turkey. What happens next is shocking and thanks to the media, is witnessed by the entire world. For Kathryn Mann and a handful of others, this act serves as a signal that the revolution they have been waiting for is at hand. For the Sancti, the secretive monks living within the Citadel, it could mean the end of everything and they will stop at nothing to protect their secret. American reporter Liv Adamsen is drawn into this conspiracy and finds that she has to come to terms with her past and identity.

I was in the mood for a fast-paced religious conspiracy thriller and this first novel by Toyne certainly fit the bill. It is the first in a trilogy and so I feel that I have to see how the plot develops to comment on that aspect. Its conclusion did surprise and intrigue me and so I've ordered the next book from my library. While I understood why Toyne chose to create a fictional city and building rather than draw on any real life location, I would have appreciated an author's note in the book about this. I have no real reference as to whether modern day Turkey was accurately portrayed but I did feel that there was little sense of local culture or history aside from the created history of the Citadel.

Book 72: Legacy.
Author: Murray Smith, 1998.
Genre: Family Drama. Thriller.
Other Details: Paperback. 464 pages.

After the death of millionaire Sir Jack Fitzrowan in a sailing accident, his heirs gather in a Dublin law office for the reading of the will. His daughters and son are shocked when the last codicil is read and they find that their father has left the bulk of his considerable fortune to a secret illegitimate son whose whereabouts since birth are unknown. They are all pretty upset about this revelation and losing most of their expected inheritance.

In addition, they are collectively given the task of finding him, with a reward if successful. If this long-lost son is discovered to be no longer alive then the legacy would be equally distributed between the others. Machinations abound! Detective Tom Hanrahan of the Boston Police Department is married to one of Jack's daughters and begins to question whether Jack's death was an accident after all.

This proved quite a quick, easy read though felt very 'busy' with all kinds of seemingly unconnected plot lines and characters thrown into the mix. Still, despite this plus plenty of twists and turns, it did all come together at the end. The novel actually felt quite dated in terms of style and is out of print.

I was surprised when this novel was voted in as the June selection for one of my reading groups as it seemed an unlikely choice. As a result there wasn't much to discuss though being a rare hot sultry evening we were not really up to much. No one really loved or hated it and all of us felt it was the kind of novel suited for reading on the beach.