December 25th, 2016

Me

Book Critique 2016 – 08/22/2016: Falcon's Lair (Once Upon A Castle #3)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here
For review of all books in this series: Go here

Stars:  3 / 5
Recommendation: Easy and simple reads that take you to a fantasy world far, far away or may be right next to you but unseen. Except for the fact that the ghost can do more than expected.

Once Upon A Castle is a collection of four novellas by famed romantic authors - Nora Roberts, Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan and Marianne Willman - published in March of 1998. The third novella is titled Falcon's Lair and written by Ruth Ryan Langan. I had been reading a few non-fiction and lengthy fictions past few weeks so I wanted to pick an easy book this time. Hence this novella. Here's the review on the third story in the collection.



The plot opens with a brief conversation from years ago, precisely in 1870 England, a plotting being made to eliminate a certain American. Then it moves to a time little later than the incident into the life of one Felicity Andrews, who had now reached England from America by way of water at the summons of her father's oldest and dearest friend Oliver - Lord Falcon. A letter describing about something mysterious, dark and too painful. However her father had died before he could respond to Lord Falcon, hence Felicity was on her way to visit him in her father's stead. As she travelled in her coach towards Lord Falcon's castle aptly titled Falcon's Lair, she glimpses a cloaked-rider almost coming on to their path and disappears at the last moment. Although the rider's face gets etched into Felicity's memory, she wondered who that rider was and where had he disappeared to.

Weary and tired she reaches Falcon's Lair finally. Only to be received chilly by Maud Atherton, the housekeeper, who puts her in a small cramped room for the night at least. Later in the night she sees the same rider in her room who had entered without sound or sight. Who amuses himself by scaring her at first and then proclaiming himself to be Lord of the manor and then finally disappears again. Only a Falcon perches on her window and flies away just like before. Who is he? Why could she feel his body heat or see him while others couldn’t? She finds out next day that the stranger who visited her last night was Gareth the First Lord of Falcon's Lair. And what did he mean that she was the Key? Upon meeting the Lord Falcon - who most of the times rested in is bed - she comes to know of a family curse that the Falcon men have been enduring generation after generation. What is the curse? What is the need Lord Falcon had of Felicity's father Robert? Why was someone trying to hurt her? What is it that Lord Falcon wanted her father to help him with?

Thus takes us through the plot set a long-time ago since now when Felicity struggles to get Lord Falcon some answers and at the same time bargain her heart with Gareth - one who lives and doesn’t live. It's certainly an easy read and a good plot except for the part that the ghost makes love - actually it is outright creepy. I believe there are spirits and ghosts, but beyond that if someone says they can touch, feel or do things, it gives me shivers.

All in all a refreshing and smooth plot for those fast readers and readers who have less time at their hands.
Me

Book Critique 2016 – 08/23/2016: DragonSpell (Once Upon A Castle #4)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here
For review of all books in this series: Go here

Stars:  4 / 5
Recommendation: Easy and simple reads that take you to a fantasy world far, far away or may be right next to you but unseen.

Once Upon A Castle is a collection of four novellas by famed romantic authors - Nora Roberts, Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan and Marianne Willman - published in March of 1998. The fourth novella is titled DragonSpell and written by Marianne Willman. I had been reading a few non-fiction and lengthy fictions past few weeks so I wanted to pick an easy book this time. Hence this novella. Here's the review on the fourth story in the collection.



In Kingdom of Amelonia, Princess Tressalara - daughter of King Varro - is being groomed by her lady-in-waiting to become as best a princess she can be, shedding her tomboy life. Tired at that exercise the princess runs to her room to change into a peasant boy's garb. With her hair braided a tucked under the cap she was hardly recognizable. Perhaps that's what saved her from Lord Lector. When Lord Lector - the King's chief advisor - had attacked the palace and taken over it by killing the King. It was also rumored that he had been responsible for the bloody raids into their neighbors but blamed on outlawed Lord Cador of Kildore. But Tressalara was caught by Lector's me when she went back to check on her father and now she was to wed Lector - the one who had killed her father. And her father had entrusted her to safe keep the Andun Stone - the place of secret that she has no knowledge of. How will she save herself let alone the stone from the clutches of Lector? And eventually she concocts a plan with her maid-in-waiting Elani and escapes the castle through secret passages transformed as a boy named Trev.

All these happenings were being watched by an apprentice sorceress - Niniane - an apprentice wizard - Illusius who regret about the wrong-spell that had been cast upon their master - Myrriden - who is now encased in a glittering sheet of Spell-Ice. What has these three to do with what happened in Kingdomof Amelonia? Illusius and Niniane together push the paths of Lord Cador and Tressalara to meet. As designed by them, Tressalara "Trev" meets Cador and his rebel men at the Crown and Acorn inn, gets a job with his group as a groomsman for their horses. Knowing the history of Cador, will Tressalara reach out to him for help? Is Cador as cruel as Lector had made him to be? What is the history between Lector and Cador? Has Cador realized that Trev is indeed Princess Tressalara? What is Tressalara going to do about all the feelings sprouting inside her since she meets Cador? To what extent will Lector go to acquire the Princess as well as the Stone? What is the hidden sectet of the Andun Stone?

An interesting tale again involving castles, warriors, traitors, rebels, love and battles. This plot sang to the adventurer in me, touched the romantic in me, marveled the mystic in me and seized the warrior in me. A refreshing and smooth plot for those fast readers and readers who have less time at their hands.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) The plot charmed me so much that I might look for this author's books for future reads. When I looked about her on Google, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot written about her and her last book was in 2002. I do hope she has retired or is just not in public facing anymore. I dread to think of the third alternative.