Fourteen Down for Ja No Read Mo 2017

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6314618Well it was tight, but I did it, and I am super happy that I was able to get through 14 books this Ja No Read Mo.  Last time I read 14 books was in 2014 I think?  And then I think I only made it cuz I read some graphic novels in there, which still count!  But this…kinda counts more?

Anywhoodle…

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown is yet another example of how books are more often than not, better than the movie.  I watched the DaVinci code movie shortly after it was released to DVD, and I enjoyed it so I was like ‘hmm. Lets try Dan Brown books.’

I started DaVinci Code shortly after, but found myself distracted by remembering the scenes from the movie, which was rather odd for me and I couldn’t finish it the first time round.  So I set it aside and moved on to Angels and Demons which I really liked, but it’s taken me almost 10 years to come back round to it, and I’m glad I did.

I found myself still remembering the movie, but more in comparison to the book.  How did it differ?  What was missing?  So I was able to continue on reading it.

I believe it has a well earned reputation as a classic, or at least it should if it doesn’t already.  And it did interest me enough that I am considering moving on to the rest of Dan Brown/Robert Langdon books such as The Lost Symbol and Inferno, but DaVinci Code didn’t really grab at me kinda like I was expecting it to.  Maybe because I already knew the story?  Or maybe because I had such trepidations going into it that my entire outlook was skewed?

I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I do know that I enjoyed it and do not regret finally reading the DaVinci Code after almost a decade of trying.

And that’s all for Ja No Read Mo folks!  Stay tuned for my Final Update and we’ll see ya here again for Ja No Read Mo 2018!

Thirteen Down for Ja No Read Mo 2017

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23847996I DUDDITS!  Reached my goal of 13 books for Ja No Read Mo 2017!  Now let’s hope I can reach my goal of 70 books for the year.

Here we have An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War, the tenth book in the Irish Country series, and I swear I am loving this series more with every book.

It’s a little bit hard to explain everything that happens in this one as the time is split between two very different eras.  First it’s between the ‘current’ time in Ballybucklebo where we finally see our miss Kinky Kinkaid remarry and move out of Number One Main street, leaving her old rooms open for Barry coming back to the practise.  Young doctor Jenny is running a women’s clinic, Mr. and Mrs. O’Reilly are fast approaching their one year anniversary and Kitty has a heartbreaking secret for Fingal, Sue is still with Barry and is trying to make a positive different in the lives of the children of Ballybucklebo.

The other side of it is Fingal O’Reilly’s time in the war, or at least parts of it.  This side of the story begins just as he asks a woman named Dierdre Mawhinney to marry him and she agrees.  Then he is called out of naval reserve status and assigned to the battleship Warspite for the first few years of the war, learning much about doctoring and surgery, and too much about the cost of war.  It doesn’t take us all the way to the end of the war and Fingal returning to Ballybucklebo after the death of Dierdre, but I feel that’s coming in the next one.

But that will have to wait for a bit, as I am going to try and squeeze one more out of Ja No Read Mo 2017.  I honestly don’t think I will be able to make it, but there’s no harm in trying is there?  Either way you slice it, we’ll be (FINALLY!) looking at Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code next, but will it be the 14th book for Ja No Read Mo 2017?  Stay tuned….

6314618An ingenious code hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. A desperate race through the cathedrals and castles of Europe. An astonishing truth concealed for centuries . . . unveiled at last.

While in Paris, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is awakened by a phone call in the dead of the night. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, his body covered in baffling symbols. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci—clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Even more startling, the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—a secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci—and he guarded a breathtaking historical secret. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle—while avoiding the faceless adversary who shadows their every move—the explosive, ancient truth will be lost forever.

Twelve Down for Ja No read Mo 2017

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2769328So close…to…goal!

I was actually really disappointed in this book.  I had actually purchased the second book, Tyrant Storm of Arrows from a clearance bin years ago because it interested me.  And I finally got around recently to getting the first book because as we all know you can’t very well read book 2 without reading book 1 first.

The storyline when you look at it as a whole was very meh.  The begining and middle engaged me as the characters were actually doing things, but I would up skimming the entire last third of the book because it was just that boring to me.  Not sure I’ll be reading the second one after this…

Anywhoodle, this is the story of an Athenian calvary officer who is turned mercenary after being dismissed from the army of Alexander the Great and is hired by the tyrant of a small city to train their calvary force and all along the way the main character Kineas has to fight an uphill battel against politics, noblemen who dislike and distrust him, as well as new recruits who think they’re too good to serve in the calvary.

Now as I said in the beginning the first two thirds were interesting.  It was all about Kineas’ past in the army, gathering his mercenary group together, riding forth to the town, training the troops, and finally girding for war when it comes to them.  But then that final third…war is engaged and for the most part nothing happens.  At least nothing that keeps me interested in reading word for word.

There was a bit of a love story in there, but they made the female character so standoffish and their whole courtship so convoluted and complex I just didn’t see the point of it in the end.

Ah well.  Maybe I will read the second one someday, and maybe it will be better.

But now, that moment you have all been waiting for.  The final (?) book for Ja No Read Mo 2017! Ladies an gentlemen may I introduce the 13th book for this month and this year: An Irish Doctor in Love and At Sea by Patrick Taylor.

23847996Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plan to marry sweetheart. Deirdre Mawhinney, and settle down. But those dreams are complicated by the Second World War and the call of duty. Assigned to the HMS Warspite, a formidable thirty-thousand-ton battleship, Surgeon Lieutenant O’Reilly soon finds himself face-to-face with the horrors of war, tending to the dreadnought’s crew of twelve hundred as well as the many casualties brought aboard. Also a struggle: remaining true to his beloved Deirdre despite temptations abroad…

Over two decades later, life in Ballybucklebo is far cry from the strife of war, but O’Reilly and young colleagues still have plenty of challenges on their hands, from an outbreak of German measles, the odd tropical disease, a hard-fought pie-baking contest, and a local father whose muleheaded adherence to tradition is standing in the way of his son’s future. Now older and wiser, O’Reilly has prescriptions of whatever ails … until a secret from the past threatens to unravel his own peace of mind.

Shifting deftly between two very different eras, Patrick Taylor’s latest Irish Country novel reveals more about O’Reilly’s tumultuous past, even as Ballybucklebo faces the future in its own singular fashion.

Eleven Down for Ja No Read Mo 2017

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17910148The Wiley O’Reilly is the ninth book in the Irish Country series, and it’s something I did not expect in the beginning.

Apparently Patrick Taylor began this series as short stories in the local paper and has collected those original short stories here, 9 books later.

Honestly, when I realized what it was, I was concerned I would not like it, as short story collections tend to go either way with me.  I either love it or I hate it.  But damn if this book isn’t funny as all hell.

Not to say that there weren’t a few issues.  I found a lot of the stories to be very wordy.  Almost needlessly so.  Some of them were very funny I wound up laughing out loud, but I am a beleiver in efficient writing.  Use as many words as you need to in order to convey what you want when you write, but don’t go overboard.  Don’t use twenty words when ten would do kinds of thing. And since a lot of the stories were really blown up language wise, it made reading them a bit difficult.

But the end game here is that I loved this book despite all that.  Especially the end story about O’Reilly coming home from the war.

And moving right along, I’m so close to my 2017 Ja No Read Mo goal of 13 books I can almost taste it!  Book 12 is next, Tyrant by Christian Cameron.

2769328Glory. Death. Well-born Athenian cavalry officer, Kineas, fought shoulder to shoulder with Alexander in his epic battles against the Persian hordes. But on his return from the east to his native city, he finds not glory but shame – and exile.

With nothing to his name but his military skills, Kineas agrees to lead a band of veterans to the city of Olbia, where the Tyrant is offering good money to train the city’s elite cavalry. But soon Kineas and his men find they have stumbled into a deadly maze of intrigue and conspiracy as the Tyrant plots to use them as pawns in the increasingly complex power games between his own citizens, and the dread military might of Macedon.

Caught between his duty to the Tyrant, his loyalty to his men and a forbidden love affair with a charismatic Scythian noblewoman, Kineas must call on all his Athenian guile, his flair on the battlefield, and even – he is convinced – the intervention of the gods, to survive.

Ten Down for Ja No Read Mo 2017

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30166717Sixth in the Egypt series by Wilbur Smith, I was really looking forward to reading Pharaoh and for the most part I was not disappointed.

We rejoin Taita at least a decade after the events of River God.  Pharaoh Tamose is making one last mighty push to free Egypt at last from the Hyskos who invaded decades ago.  Alas, he does not live long enough to see his armies to victory, so it lies to Taita and an old friend in a new guise to win the day.

We see the return of the young princesses from River God, now grown, married, with children of their own and rulers along with their husbands of a new kingdom.  A kingdom which Taita and Ramses (the first I think?) must take refuse in when Tamose’ eldest son proves to be madder than a hatter and tries to have them both killed.

So Taita and Ramses flee to this new kingdom before being forced to return when the mad god king kidnaps Ramses’ betrothed and sparks a war between the two nations.  Of course Taita and Ramses win the day and Ramses becomes pharaoh along with this new queen, Cleopatra.

Dun dun DUUUUUUUUN!!

Wonder what the seventh book will be about.

However, I did notice a few things.  Like has Taita always been this bloody arrogant?  He is rich, brilliant, attracive, and favored by many and he knows it.  It seems like he has no humility but acts humble as a way to manipulate people.  And for an Egyptian books, where the main characters are all Egyptian born and bred, but they focus a lot on the Greek gods.  Granted most of the book doesn’t take place in Egypt, but you would think two of her native sons who still call it home would refer to her gods more than the gods of a foreign nation.

Other than that, I enjoyed Pharaoh, and despite of that it was a good book.

Onwards fearless readers!  Moving on to yet another of the Irish Country books by Patrick Taylor: The Wiley O’Reilly.

17910148Long before Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly made most readers’ acquaintance in Patrick Taylor’s bestselling novel An Irish Country Doctor, he appeared in a series of humorous columns originally published in Stitches: The Journal of Medical Humour. These warm and wryly amusing vignettes provide an early glimpse at the redoubtable Dr. O’Reilly as he tends to the colourful and eccentric residents of Ballybucklebo, a cozy Ulster village nestled in the bygone years of the early sixties.

Those seminal columns have been collected in The Wily O’Reilly: Irish Country Stories. In this convenient volume, Patrick Taylor’s legions of devoted fans can savor the enchanting origins of the Irish Country series . . . and newcomers to Ballybucklebo can meet O’Reilly for the very first time.
An ex-Navy boxing champion, classical scholar, crypto-philanthropist, widower, and hard-working general practitioner, Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly is crafty and cantankerous in these charming slices of rural Irish life. Whether he’s educating a naive man of the cloth in the facts of life, dealing with chronic hypochondriacs and malingerers, clashing with pigheaded colleagues, or raising a pint in the neighborhood pub, the wily O’Reilly knows a doctor’s work is never done, even if some of his “cures” can’t be found in any medical text!

Nine Down For Ja No Read Mo 2017

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17332281See?  Told you I wouldn’t stay away so long.

Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Doctor is the 8th book in the Irish Country series.  It’s been three weeks since the events of Irish Country Wedding, and Dr. O’Reilly and the new Mrs. O’Reilly have returned home from their honeymoon to some new changes.

Mrs Kinky Kinkaid, at the end of the previous book, finally decided to let the ghost of her long drowned husband rest and start her love life over again with a local man.  And it seems that there might be another Irish country wedding in the near future.  Also, with Barry leaving to try his hand at specialization in gynecology (also at the end of the previous book) O’Reilly had to find a replacement, even if it was only temporary.  So he hired on a lovely young lady doctor Laura I think?  To fill Barry’s shoes for a wee bit until Barry decides if he wants to come back or not. 

And while the arrangement works splendidly for the household at Number One Main, it doesn’t go over so well at first with some of the residents, most notably the ratty councilor Bertie Bishops, who develops heart issues and put his own life at risk with his refusal to allow a female doctor to attend him.

The story of this installment is actually split between O’Reilly’s past and the events of his present.  As he goes about with these new changes in his life, he remembers back to when he was just starting his career as a general practitioner out in Belfast, and how he first courted and lost Kitty 30 years ago.

Believe it or not, I was actually more interested in the past than the present.  Like, I know everything will work out for the characters, they always do.  But what I was really craving was how all the characters came to be.  We already know Barry’s story as the first few books seemed to focus more on him than O’Reilly, and we know the basics of O’Reilly’s past, but this fleshes out his tale and his character more, and I just loved it.

The next and 9th in this series is The Wiley O’Reilly, and I cannot wait to see what that one has in store.  But before we move on to book 9 if the Irish Country series, let’s move on to book 9 of Ja No Read Mo 2017! Pharaoh by Wilbur Smith is next.

30166717EGYPT IS UNDER ATTACK.
Pharaoh Tamose lies mortally wounded. The ancient city of Luxor is surrounded, All seems lost.

Taita, advisor to the Pharaoh, prepares for the enemy’s final, fatal push. The ex-slave, now general of Tamose’s armies, is never more ingenious than when all hope is dashed. And this is Egypt’s most desperate hour.

With the timely arrival of an old ally, the tide is turned and the Egyptian army feasts upon its retreating foe. But upon his victorious return to Luxor, Taita is seized and branded a traitor. Tamose is dead and a poisonous new era has begun. The new Pharaoh has risen — and he must be stopped…

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Eight Down for Ja No Read Mo 2017

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4912857The Angels Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is not the kind of book that can easily be put into words once you read it.

Set in Barcelona Italy in the early 1900s, we follow our lead character David Martin as he tries to make a living for himself writing, first as a journalist, then as an author of penny dreadful crime stories.

Orphaned at a young age when his abusive father was shot to death in front of him, trapped in a contract writing things he hates, with a tumor in his brain that is slowly killing him, in love with a woman he can never have who winds up marrying his best friend, residing in a mansion who’s dark history is slowly seeping into his life like a poison, David’s life is not the easiest one to live.

But then one day a local bookseller, whom Martin has known all his life and has looked up to as the father figure he never had, takes him to a vast library nestled in a forgotten necropolis Called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where he finds a mad man’s bible.  Shortly thereafter, he is contacted by a mysterious publisher who asks him to create a masterpiece of religion.  David accepts, and takes the first step on his journey of madness and immortality.

I cannot begin to describe to you more than that because so much happens in this book I’m not even sure I caught all of it.  In the end though, we know that David has lost everything that he has ever loved, but is both blessed and cursed with the chance to start over in at least one thing.

And the true identity of the publisher is never fully revealed.  Is he an angel as the book’s name suggests?  The devil himself?  Is he an aspect of David Martin that acts independently of the whole? Or is he a figment of David’s imagination?  Is anything that he experienced within the pages of the Angels Game real or was it all machinations of a broken mind?

The Angels game is a fantastic, dark, gruesome read. It intrigued me and unsettled me and got me thinking in so many different directions.  I absolutely loved it.

Moving on to book 9 of Ja No Read Mo 2017: Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Doctor by Patrick Taylor.

17332281Fans of Taylor’s bestselling Irish Country novels know Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly as the irascible senior partner of a general practice in the colorful Irish village of Ballybucklebo. Newly married to his once long-lost sweetheart, he’s ready to settle into domestic bliss, but there’s always something requiring his attention, be it a riding accident, a difficult patient with a worrisome heart condition, a spot of grouse-hunting, or even some tricky shenanigans at the local dog races.

The everyday complications of village life are very different from the challenges Fingal faced nearly thirty years earlier, when fresh out of medical school, the young Dr. O’Reilly accepts a post at the Aungier Street Dispensary, tending to the impoverished denizens of Dublin’s tenement slums. Yet even as he tries to make a difference, Fingal’s tireless devotion to his patients may cost him his own true love….

Shifting back and forth between the present and the past, Patrick Taylor’s captivating Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Doctor, brings to life both the green young man O’Reilly once was and the canny village doctor readers have come to know and admire.

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