Playing Truant

Playing Truant has five members of a mortgage foreclosure team attending a conference when one of them decides he doesn’t want to go into the meeting. It’s his hometown and three other members of the team join him in visiting some old haunts, whilst the team leader remains. The team finally return and the reaction is not what they expected.

The book takes place over a short period of time. It aims to focus on a real life situation and achieves this, not relying on over the top action or exaggerated situations. Whilst a strength of the book, it also leaves you wanting something else to happen.

Rating (out of 5): ***

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The War of the Roses

The War of the Roses charts the history of the struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster. The book keeps events moving, but provides all the important information for the key events. The biggest battles receive their own chapters, whilst events between them look at the politics of the time. An interesting book (I’ve read relatively little about the War of the Roses), but Edgar’s writing style is different to usual conventions; for example, instead of Henry V being written like that, he would be referred to as the fifth Henry. A minor quibble for a very good overview of an important era for English history.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Foggy’s Blog

Morton Astley Fogarty (Foggy) is blogging about his life. He lives at home, works in an insurance call centre and is involved in an amateur dramatic production of Grease. However, in all aspects, he’s out of his depth. Despite being out of his depth, he’s blissfully unaware and looks for the best in everyone and everything. This results in plenty of mis-understandings, the highlight being when Foggy is called in for a disciplinary meeting at work. Foggy is a lovable character and it’s a short, amusing book.

Rating (out of 5): *****

The Pirates! In an adventure with Moby Dick

The Pirate Captain decides that their ship has seen better days (with the mast constantly collapsing, he’s probably right). The Pirates buy a new ship from Cutlass Liz. She’s famed for dealing with non-payers brutally. Which could be a major problem as the Pirates don’t have the 6000 doubloons the new ship costs. The Pirate Captain has a number of ideas to raise the necessary money, but they don’t work out and keep on bumping into a character called Ahab, who lost his leg to a whale and wants revenge. The reward to anyone who catches the whale? 6000 doubloons. The Pirates look to find the whale, claim the reward and pay for their ship.

An easy read and fun story. The pirates are named according to distinguishing features that they possess and the Pirate Captain is a lovable character, but often seems out of his depth. I recommend this to everyone.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review – Utter Folly

Olly invites his friend James to his house in the country. But then Olly gets arrested and can’t make the weekend, although he does ask James to pick up a package for him. James could never have been prepared for what he encounters, with Olly’s family best described as being eccentric. James could also not have been prepared for the situations he finds himself in and is also unaware of what’s in the package he’s asked to collect.

Utter Folly is a comedy set in the English countryside. James is pretty hapless, but a lovable character who is well out of his comfort zone and little match for the formidable characters he encounters. An easy read and funny throughout.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: Get Lenin

Get Lenin is set in World War II. Eva Molenaar is working for the British Secret Services, with the book detailing how she was recruited for them. It is learned that the German hierarchy are planning to steal the corpse of Lenin from the Russians to force them out of the war. Molenaar finds herself in with key German plotters and looks to prevent the corpse being stolen.

The first half of the book focuses on Molenaar’s history and how she was recruited for the British Secret Services. It also gives an overview of some of her earlier missions. The second half focuses on the German plot and Molenaar’s attempts to stop the theft. The pace quickens as the German plot develops and there is well-described action as the Germans look to succeed, whilst the Russian and British look to prevent a successful theft.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: Blood on Red Dirt

Blood on red dirt is a personal account of the Vietnam War by Gary Cowart. The book covers Cowart’s enlistment, training and experiences in Vietnam with the artillery.

Cowart provides a personal experience of the war. He does not look at the politics of the conflict or the wider war, focusing on what he experiences in his theatre of combat. An interesting insight into the Vietnam War.

Rating (out of 5): ****