Awesome female protagonist! Love love love! History! Fiction! Action!
Ayesha Ryder bears the scars of strife in the Middle East. Now her past is catching up with her as she races to unravel a mystery that spans centuries–and threatens to change the course of history.
As Israeli and Palestinian leaders prepare to make a joint announcement at the Tower of London, an influential scholar is tortured and murdered at his home in St. John’s Wood. Academic researcher Ayesha Ryder believes it is no coincidence. Sir Evelyn Montagu had unearthed shocking revelations about T. E. Lawrence, the famed Lawrence of Arabia. Could he have been targeted because of his discoveries?
Ryder’s search for answers takes her back to her old life in the Middle East and into a lion’s den of killers and traitors. As she draws the attention of agents on both sides of the conflict–including detectives from Scotland Yard and operatives from MI5–Ryder finds herself stumbling across Lawrence’s secrets, an astounding case of royal blackmail, and even the search for the Bible’s Ark of the Covenant.
Every step of the way, the endgame grows more terrifying. When an attack rocks London, the real players show their hand–and Ayesha Ryder is left holding the final piece of the puzzle. Goodreads description
The third book by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, The Job continues the tales of con-man Nicholas Fox and FBI agent Kate O’Hare as they take on the world’s most-wanted and untouchable felons. Continue reading
The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen is admittedly another re-read for me. I own a copy, and it’s been sitting collecting dust on my shelf for a while. I decided I felt like another go, so here we are!
Olivia Keene, forced to flee her home unexpectedly, ends up in a predicament she could never have imagined. Having inadvertently overheard a very important secret, Lord Bradley is determined to keep an eye on her. Since the revelation of his secret would cause him to lose everything, Lord Bradley bullies Olivia into taking a post at his home.
With little choice, Miss Keene takes on her role in the Nursery at Brightwell Court, and she soon discovers that her young charges are delightful and that life there is not so bad after all – even if she is temporarily mute.
This is an agreeable historical fiction. It is by no means dramatic and the plot is not overly complicated and mostly relies on revealing everyone’s secrets oh so slowly. Of course things are more and less simple than they seem.
Olivia is playing the price for her over-active curiosity. She is stubborn, a bit independent, and has a temper – but none of these measures in the extreme. She is also kind and not immune to the charms of the children in the nursery.
Lord Bradley is conflicted, broody and suspicious, but not without moments of happiness (mostly when interacting with his young cousins).
The story is sprinkled liberally with religion, and as much as I’m not normally one to enjoy Christian fiction, it does fit with the era I suppose.
Overall, this is an enjoyable, not overly complicated book that fits my desire for a relatively light historical fiction (19th-century) with a bit of romance. (There is only a BIT of romance – I wouldn’t say it is the main focus, even though it’s sort of trying to be).
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is waaaaaay off the path of my usual reading material. A thriller – what??
But it was so good! And gripping! And twisty! And unexpected!
I feel like I can in no way describe what this book is about, so I will quote the cover:
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
This book takes you through a chilling and frighteningly realistic portrayal of psychopathy and a love story gone wrong. The story is stunningly well written, and the characters deep and developed. It leaves you on the edge of your seat – asking both What happened? and How did we go from here to there? I got so into it and anxious about the story that I had to put down the book a few times. And – I admit it – I peeked ahead at the ending. It was the only way I could finish the book, knowing what direction it was going to take. I’m weird like that. (Yes I enjoy knowing the ending – it decreases my anxiety about what is coming).
If you’re in the mood for a suspense / mystery / thriller then I would highly recommend this one!
5/5 (for it’s genre!)
Following The Heist, this is the second book about con-artist Nicolas Fox and FBI agent Kate O’Hare by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg. Although I like Janet Evanovich, I have to say that this book is refreshing and I credit that all to Lee Goldberg. Evanovich doesn’t vary much from her set themes in other books, or her stereotypical characters (like the funny old lady, the thirty-something feisty heroine, and the yummy-but-somehow-problematic love interest. This book felt like it broke out of that mold a bit – thought not completely.
Kate is secretly working with master felon, Nicolas Fox, to bring down bigger names than he – the world’s most wanted but trickiest criminals. This time, Carter Grove, ex-chief of staff at the White House and heartless leader of a private security agency, is their target. Carter has in his possession a stolen and very rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, and one that needs to be recovered ASAP, to save relations between the U.S. and China.
Nick and Kate put together another random crew, including a few members of their previous con, and a few fresh faces including a Geek Squad techie and buddies of Kate’s dad. Together they must pull off multiple scams, switches, heists, and robberies in order to nail Carter Grove.
My initial thoughts:
- Fast, exciting, suspenseful. It left me thinking “how are they going to pull this off??” several times, so of course it’s a bit unrealistic.
- Kate is the epitome of a strong character.
- Nick is charming and cunning. He clearly has a lot up his sleeve.
- Jake (Kate’s Dad) is mysterious and awesome. He clearly is bored with retirement.
- Just enough humour to get over the stereotypes. I will admit that I love bad jokes and puns, so I probably fit the target audience. Someone less tolerant might find the jokes inane.
- Exactly what you’d expect – a clichéd action-packed good-guys-working-with-questionably-bad-guys-for-the-greater-good type of novel. This is not a thinking book, it’s chick-lit mixed with action (but mostly a chick-lit).
I’d give it a 4/5 for being exactly what I was looking for in that kind of book.
The Grand Sophy by Gorgette Heyer is not my usual Young Adult fiction read. I had a hankering for a humorous historical recency romance and that is exactly what I got!
When her father, Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy, travels to Brazil, Sophy invades her aunt’s house at Berkeley Square. Fresh from the Continent and an unusual upbringing, Miss Sophy seems cheerfully determined to set the somber Omsersley household – and the secret power behind it, Charles Rivenhall (the heir) – on it’s head.
The Ombersley family is in desperate need of Sophy’s intervention. Lord Ombersley is useless, Charles is becoming tyrannical and is engaged to a grim and uptight fiancee, Cecelia is smitten with an unsuitable poet, and Hubert is stuck in dire financial straights. Who better to help than their dear cousin?
Sophy proves to have her father’s hand for diplomacy, a vibrant and cheerful disposition, and a knack for match-making and scheming. Unconventional and blunt, Sophy is determined to set things right in the house in a manner only she is capable of. Socially savvy and smart, Sophy is a witty, charming heroine and I couldn’t help but cheer at her exploits and adventures.
This story fulfills my desires for a fun, clever female lead who knows how to tweak convention in the best ways. I had two complaints. One was an awful stereotypical description of a filthy criminal Jewish moneylender. (I got over that by pretending omitting the Jewish part in my head). Two was the fact the cousin thing. (I got over that by accepting that inbreeding was a thing back then, as gross as that is). Aside from that, I loved Sophy – she is so fun, lively, and full of mischief! I love how she unabashedly takes the house by storm.
I also LOVE happy, feel-good endings. Plus, the book is funny! I would very much recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a witty historical tale, vaguely reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice (maybe just in era alone, as this has MUCH more fun and fluff and less social commentary).
Finally!!! Something NOT cookie-cutter from Janet Evanovich. I think that’s probably due to a co-author.
The husband list is a perfect historical romance, featuring a feisty American heiress whose mother I determined to see her wed. Unfortunately for Caroline, Lord Bremerton isn’t quite her type – or all that he seems. Fortunately, there may be an Irish-American bachelor who can add some excitement to her life.
New York City in 1894 is hopping!
If you’re looking for a light historical fiction / romance, this was a fun book. I found it refreshing and witty – and not at all serious.
4 / 5
Size 12 and Ready to Rock is book #4 in the Heather Wells series. I read the first three ages ago (and own them all in fact) and only recently got around to reading the fourth installment. This is a chick lit / mystery novel, featuring a former teen pop-star turned assistant residence hall director in what is now nicknamed “death dorm”. Heather has a tendency to find herself in the middle of a murder mystery.
This time things revolve around pop sensation Tania Trace, who happens to be Heather’s ex-boyfriend Jordan Cartwright’s pregnant new wife. Someone is trying to kill Tania. Unfortunately, the first victim is the producer of the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp. Which happens to be hosted by New York College, meaning Heather has a residence hall filled with Teen pop-star-wannabees, along with her summer staff and the basketball team.
Cooper Cartwright, Jordan’s brother and the black sheep of the Cartwright family, is hired as a bodyguard to Tania. Oh, and Cooper is of course Heather’s new (and secret) fiancé! How could Heather NOT get involved?
Tania – Someone is out to get her. Yes, Heather broke up with Jordan after finding him and Tania in a compromising position. Previously, Tania has just been this empty-headed skinny/beautiful pop star, but throughout the book you get to know her a bit and realize that she’s had a tough life. You understand her choices, and you do end up liking her. And also hoping that she isn’t killed!
Jordan – Still annoying, though he seems to actually care about Tania in this one.
Cooper – Strong, sexy, perfect counterpart to Heather.
Heather – kick-ass, vulnerable in a realistic way, and a protective mama-bear to those she perceives as under her care.
I liked that the book dealt also with some real issues – abuse, infertility, and obviously murder. Good one!
4 / 5
I love a good action story – and historical fiction to boot! Clive Cussler and Justin Scott again tell a thrilling turn-of-the-century tale featuring intrepid Isaac Bell, a Van Dorn Detective on yet another case. The Race is just as good as the previous four Isaac Bell novels – full of action and full of descriptions of machines. This time, it focuses on airplanes!
The Van Dorn Detective Agency has been called in by Preston Whiteway to help protect his candidate in a cross-country airplane race. Josephine Frost, a farm-girl turned aviator – and America’s Sweetheart of the Air, is pursued by her violent and mean-tempered husband, Harry Frost. Harry, a large and angry man with a criminal past, is determined to kill Josephine, after she witnesses him shoot her airplane mechanic/inventor/lover. The race is on – not only between the contestants in Whiteway’s race, but between Bell and Frost.
If you’re looking for an adventure book, I would highly recommend this one! Be warned: there are lots of descriptions of engines (which I sort of gloss over). There’s lots of criminal sabotage, shooting, and bad guys doing bad things. There’s also lots of intrepid investigators trying hard to defeat the bad guys along every step of the way. I find Isaac a moral, likeable character. I love Marian Morgan! If Isaac’s derring-do is a little less than realistic, who cares? It’s an adventure novel!
5/5 for it’s class!
(Incidentally, I really enjoyed The Chase, The Wrecker, and The Spy , which are the preceding Isaac Bell novels. I listened to them in audiobook format, and loved the narration! Well worth the audiobooks! I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in this series. I found that his Dirk Pitt Adventures were getting a bit stale, but between Isaac Bell and the Fargo Adventures, I’m still hooked on Clive Cussler. I tip my hat to my Dad, who got me hooked!)
The last of the Parasol Protectorate series, Timeless was just as excellent as the rest! (See #1 here, #2 here, #3 here and #4 here for the others) I am sad that it’s the last, but heartened that apparently there will be a follow-up series (The Parasol Protectorate Abroad, starting with Prudence) according to Gail Carriger’s website.
In Timeless, all the favourite characters are back again, and I feel like the story focuses more on Alexia/Maccon/Prudence (in Egypt) and Lyall/Biffy (keeping the fort in London) than Madame Lefoux (who accompanies the former to Egypt). I delighted in certain newfound romantic relationships (which I was rooting for ever since Blameless). I also have to say that I really like Biffy and am super happy that he had a more starring role in this book!
In Timeless , Alexia is summoned to Egypt, to attend an infamous Vampire Queen. The journey proves, as always, an interesting one, and finally Alexia may discover more truths about her notorious father, as well as the origins of the God Breaker Curse.
It’s not only her father’s secrets that are revealed … and werewolf secrets sometimes come with challenging consequences.
Another round of action, steampunk, strong female characters, and the supernatural in a tidy, funny, engaging package. Yes, please!
5 / 5.
I am definitely a fan of Gail Carriger!