The Falcon Flies Alone by Gabrielle Mathieu

When a book starts with a naked woman on a roof wondering how she got there and more pressingly how on earth she’s going to get down, you might think that the plot of this book would have you in it’s grip. Instead I found that the plot, though smooth, was almost too flat and it was the force of the characters that kept me reading. From the not super likable heroine to the villain who’s image was drawn with such depth he gave me nightmares, the characters were easily the stars of the novel.  

Would I recommend it? The story line could have used less substance abuse, and more substance.  Although to be fair it was mostly substance abuse in the name of science. Creepy experiment on people science but science… well, with a little witch doctor voodoo thrown in for good measure. Fortunately the characters saved the book. This is Mathieu’s first novel and I look forward to seeing what she writes next.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

The first half of this book was a slog.

Ostensibly in English the book is sprinkled with so much Latin, French, Spanish, Old English (“..And as the chekker schawis us yis forne…”) and 16th century Scottish colloquialisms (“I never saw so many weel-kent faces all in the one place; the most of them chowed off and in no state to give the sort of snash you get from half of them when they’re upright.”) that I started to wonder if I was fluent in any language, particularly English. It took awhile, a long while, before I caught the rhythm of the language enough that I didn’t have to re-read it, learned to skim the other languages for words I knew, and just keep moving through it.  By the time I had the language in hand I had pretty much learned all of the names of the important characters (everyone seems to have at least two) and their titles so I knew who was who and then…

And then the second half of the book flew by in a whirl of spying, dying and lying mixed with jokes (I thoroughly enjoyed the ones in English) and general sixteenth century drama.  And I didn’t want to put it down.

Would I recommend it? It is not a book for the faint of heart, a week ago I would have told you maybe not.  But now that I’ve made it through I’m thinking about getting the next one in the series… or re-reading the first half again.. or both.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I know there are a lot of WWII books around but this is the one you really need to read:

 

Would I recommend it? Technically a middle grade book I’ve been recommending this to everyone from my 10 year old daughter to my 92 year old granny.  So, yes, you should read it too. (And you should really have the sequel The War I Finally Won on hand to follow it up with!)

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Sometimes you read just the right book (or books) at just the right time and you will love them beyond reason.

Would I recommend them? Yes! They are close enough to a typical fantasy story line to be a bit fluffy and easy to read but just different and gritty enough to be page turning and wonderful. Now I just need someone to read them so we can talk about them together. But beware, I read these at just the right time when they were just what I needed and I love them beyond reason!

Whiskey Women by Fred Minnick

I like whiskey.

I am a woman.

Would I recommend it? I think that you have to really like whiskey and history to really get into this one. This book takes you from ancient civilizations when women were the first brewers, through the witch hunts when women distillers were tried as witches, in and out of two World Wars,  prohibition and bootlegging, right through advertising campaigns and up to modern day practices.

Women have played a far more prominent role in whiskey’s history than one would guess and as the book follows the history of women and whiskey, it also shows women’s role in society through the ages.

It was all interesting.

It was not captivatingly told, but it was interesting anyway.

Probably the best thing you could do is get a friend to read this book and then have them tell you all the highlights. Unless you really like whiskey and history, then you should read this book too, our friends may need us to tell them the highlights!

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

John read the first few pages and told me that he thought I would like it because it was like Francis Hamerstrom but with dragons.  He wasn’t wrong exactly… except that not even fiction can do Francis Hamerstrom justice. (In the event that (unlike me) you did not have the good fortune grow up with her as a household name, reading books like Is She Coming Too and Strictly for the Chickens and then eventually got to work with her grumpy, old, great-horned owl, I recommend you find yourself a book of hers and become acquainted!)

But, to John’s point, the main character is a woman set out to study wildlife in an era when women don’t do such things, and she does have some unorthodox ways of solving problems. So it is a bit reminiscent, it’s just that instead of prairie chickens, the wildlife she chooses to study is dragons. This puts dragons in a light that most books don’t. Not as evil treasure hording monsters (think Smaug) or amazing magical beings (think Saphira) but as fascinating and poorly understood, bits of wildlife. Alibeit one that sometimes eats people and has breath with interesting properties, as well as being a severe nuisance to the shepherds.

Would I recommend it? Would I recommend a book with a female character pushing the boundaries, dragons, a mystery and a bit of natural science? In a heartbeat!

 

The Two Lines That Sparked Parallel Lies by Georgia Rose (Guest Post and Book Review!)

I was just two pages into Georgia Rose’s new thriller romance and she had me hooked. I knew her main character was living some sort of lie. But what was it? And when did I get to find out? And what was going on?  From that point on it was hard to put down but, I have this life that does exist outside the written word, so I put it down. And then spent much of the time until I could pick it back up again pondering all the lies and foreshadowing the love and sneakiness the twists and turns the story had taken. I thought long about the supporting characters- I loved the supporting characters. They could each have a book, in fact I’d bet that with the amount of secret backstory they must all have to be so substantial that there are already a book’s worth of material floating around for each of them. I marveled at the complexity of it all and wondered how she came up with such a thing…

And then, lo and behold, look what I found in my inbox. A guest post from Georgia herself answering that very question! Read and enjoy!


Where do your ideas come from? Is a question I have often been asked. Again, it wasn’t until I took up the pen (overly poetic, I know, but indulge me) and started talking to non-writing people (there should be a name for them, don’t you think?) that I found out that non-writing people do not have this crazy imagination stuff going on in their head all the time. Which is weird.
I can’t speak for everyone but my ideas come from many things, something I read, watched, a random thought, an overheard phrase, some wild fantasy that passed through my mind when I was relaxed and daydreaming… ahem… moving on…
Sometimes those tiny thoughts don’t let me go and sometimes they want to be more.

This is what happened with Parallel Lies. I had a thought, an imagining, years ago. Well before the Grayson Trilogy ever popped into my mind. A place, a person, a situation and it stuck with me. This…

‘I hear it, behind me, and to the left. The snap of a twig underfoot and a sharp intake of breath at the indiscretion.’

… was all I had and it was the first line I wrote. I was going to start the book with it and do some sort of time jump back and forward thing. But changed my mind. It’s now where it should be in the natural course of time progression and, so that you’re not just left with that, here is the rest of that paragraph.

‘I hear it, behind me, and to the left. The snap of a twig underfoot and a sharp intake of breath at the indiscretion. He’s here, just as I knew he would be, but I allow myself a small smile of satisfaction knowing he’ll be cursing his mistake. I have no intention of making this easy for him so leave him to come and find me. I still, and although my heart is pounding, blood pumping in my ears until I’m sure he’ll be able to hear it too, I concentrate on making myself small and silent. I am one step ahead of him and plan on keeping it that way.’

The possibilities captured my imagination when I first had that thought, but I did nothing with them for years. Two lines expanded to become a 95K novel (which wasn’t as easy as I just made that sound) and

if it is in anyway intriguing to you the rest of those words are available for you to download right now.

Pre-order Parallel Lies by Clicking Here
But wait! There’s also a Giveaway for you to enter, should you wish!

So where do your ideas come from? I’d love to hear from any writing people (or non-writing, I’d hate to be discriminatory) who come this way with what has made their creative juices flow.

Thank you for inviting me on Behind the Willows, Jessie, it has been a pleasure to visit you and get to chat to your readers.


Thanks for guest posting, Georgia! I don’t know about anyone else but I have my own little narrator who likes to comment on my life as I go through my day, occasionally she makes up a story as well. Sometimes when the narrator is particularly fond of a story she repeats it over and over until I consent and sit down at the keyboard- and suddenly I’ve been blogging for seven years!

P.S. Would I recommend this book? This is the sort of book that I doubt John really wants to read. Bit heavy on the romance, not exactly his jam, but I liked it so much I told him about the whole thing anyway. If you are any kind of romance reader, or like a light thriller with a bit of drama and a bunch of suspense, you’ve got to get your hands on this book!


Georgia Rose is a writer and the author of the romantic and suspenseful Grayson Trilogy books: A Single Step, Before the Dawn and Thicker than Water. A short story, The Joker, based on a favorite character from the series followed and is free to download from Amazon.
Her fourth novel, Parallel Lies, a standalone to be released on 12 September 2017, encompasses crime along with Georgia’s usual blending of genre.
Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her overactive imagination!
Awards have never been showered upon Georgia but she is the proud holder of a silver medal gained in swimming at the tender age of ten and won Miss Rally Young Farmer (with a sash and everything!) more years ago than she cares to remember.
Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire in the UK where she lives with her much neglected husband and dog. Their son, currently at university, comes and goes and their daughter, having delighted them all for long enough, has eventually moved out, got married, and is discovering the joys of being all grown up and having a mortgage!