Tag Archives: 5 stars

Ryder: An Ayesha Ryder Novel – by Nicholas Pengelley


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

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Filed under Action, Adult Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

Brotherband Chronicles (#1-5) – John Flanagan


Remember how much I LOVED the Ranger’s Apprentice books? (Here is the link to my review of the first of that series) All 12 of them?

I was so psyched when I picked up the Brotherband Chronicles and I am very happy to report that I love them just as much! Continue reading

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Filed under Action, Adventure, Historical Fiction, Tween Fiction

The Stepsister’s Tale – Tracy Barrett

The Stepsister's Tale.jpg

The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett is the story of Cinderella from the perspective of the eldest stepsister and it is AMAZING! Continue reading

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Young Adult Books

Frostborn (Thrones & Bones #1)

Thrones and bones

Frostborn, the first of the Thrones & Bones series by Lou Anders, is a middle-grade fantasy adventure.  Trolls! Dragons! Wyverns! Frost Giants! Undead Draug! Board Games! The best! Continue reading


Filed under Adventure, Fantasy, Tween Fiction

Waistcoats and Weaponry

Waistcoats and Weaponry

I was so thrilled when Book #3 of the Finishing School Series came out!  Waistcoats & Weaponry follows in the excellent footsteps of Books #1 (Etiquette and Espionage) and #2 (Curtsies and Conspiracies) which I re-read right before reading this one.  I actually ALSO re-read the entire Parasol Protectorate Series (beginning with Soulless) to re-acquaint myself with that world (and okay, because I love those books).

Sophronia is now in her second year of Madame Geraldine’s unusual finishing school, learning the secret tricks of the trade, including wielding a bladed fan and developing her Seductive Looks.

When things go wrong at home for her classmate and friend Sidheag (Lady Maccon), Sophronia and her team (including Dimity, the sootie Soap, and Lord Felix Mersey) band together to help get Sidheag back to her pack.  On the way they uncover plots and face down with enemies – and Sophronia must decide where her loyalties lie.

With a little bit of romance, a lot of covert activity, and Sophronia’s creative style, this is a perfect companion to the other books in the series.  I highly enjoyed it!

Sophronia is growing up – but remains quirky and altogether too curious for polite society (although this makes her excellent as a covert recruit).

Dimity is still fluffy, but she’s showing more and more backbone, which I like.

Soap and Lord Mersey add plenty of opportunities for flirting and confused feelings, which is the only area where Sophronia is at a bit of a loss (though not a complete loss – flirting is a valuable skill after all).

If you haven’t tried out Gail Carriger yet, do!!  If you’re an adult, start here. If you’re looking for strictly YA, this series is for you!


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Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult Books

Deadly Games (Emperor’s Edge #3)

Deadly Games

My perusal of the Emperor’s Edge series continues with book #3, Deadly Games.  It’s been a slow process – I can’t really account for the delay between reading the second book, Dark Currents, and this one.  After the break, it was nice to get back into the characters, and I found the book went much faster and flowed well.  Maybe it’s just an improvement in her writing style, or maybe the focus on Basilard was more interesting to me than Books.

Amaranthe Lockdon is still trying to prove herself (and her team) are on the Emperor’s side.  Constantly looking for good deeds, their self-imposed holiday is interrupted when athletes begin disappearing from the Imperial Games.  Things are never as easy or as smooth as planned, of course, and members of Amaranthe’s team are secretly plotting against each other, a potential new ally tries to turn her in, and Sicarius disappears.  There’s also the ever-present avoidance of the Enforcers, which adds even more spice to the story.

Bonus for fun fight scenes! Amaranthe seems to be constantly butting heads with vicious creatures, and this time a Kraken comes between her and her goal.  Amaranthe just kicks butt.  I love how she’s a strong character, who believes she can talk her way out of numerous situations – but she knows how to fight when she needs to.

I just love the interactions between these characters, as their relationships grow and change and strengthen.  I also love that the story is not all about the developing feelings between Amaranthe and Sicarius – there’s a plot to focus on after all!

I love the slow slow thawing of Sicarius, and the slowly revealed back stories of each team member (Basilard in this one). I think I do like Basilard better than Books – I guess I have more patience for Basilard’s internal moral dilemmas than Books and his lack of confidence.

An action-packed steampunk adventure!  I think I even enjoyed it better than book #1, The Emperor’s Edge.


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Filed under Fantasy, Mystery, Science Fiction, Steampunk

The Will of the Empress

The will of the empress

Tamora Pierce is one of my go-to authors when I’m not feeling well or when I just want a good comfort read.  I often have trouble stopping at just one of her books and tend to jump around which series I pick.  This week I decided to re-read Battle Magic  which I have already reviewed here, and it prompted to me to re-read The Will of the Empress  because Briar is one of my favourite characters ever and I wanted more of him.

Full disclosure: I love this book and this is one of multiple re-reads.

Brief history (you can skip if you read my Battle Magic post, since I also review the order there and probably in more depth):

The Circle of Magic – Series featuring young ambient mages Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar.  Each book focuses on a different character, as they learn their own craft and become irreversibly bound together.

The Circle Opens – After earning their mage medallions, Tris, Daja and Briar head off in different directions to continue their learning and to gain some worldly travel experience.  Each of the four (including Sandry, who stays home) has a book outlining their experiences with taking their own students, as well as dealing with various troubles (e.g. an arson, murder, and grown-up life).

The Will of The Empress – Instead of four separate novels, this is a single book that takes place after Tris, Daja and Briar return home. Now adults, they are no longer the care-free children who had no qualms about romping through each others minds without caution.  No longer willing to unite in their magical bond, the four are at odds and the circle seems broken.  Sandry’s duties as an heiress bring her home to Namorn, with her “siblings” to accompany and protect her.

This is a beautifully written book.

  • Each character is dealing with their own difficulties – stubbornly alone – which reflect not just fiction but the real world (although not maybe the modern real world in all cases).
    • Sandry is butting heads with the expectations of being an heiress – she wants to be more than just “fit to be married” and is determined not to let her cousin the Empress trap her into a lifestyle she would detest.
    • Tris is afraid of professional jealousy, after mastering rare and extremely difficult magics.  After several negative reactions, she hopes to keep her new abilities to herself.
    • Daja wants to put the past behind her – including the events which occurred during her “Circle Opens” book (Cold Fire).  After a homecoming that felt all wrong, she is determined not to be alone and adrift, or depend on the charity of others.  This book also gives Daja her first experience with love – unexpected but very sweet.
    • Briar is still recovering from being in a war (see Battle Magic) and doesn’t want to share his experiences with his sisters – or seem weak because of how they haunt him.
  • There are also some lovely extra characters:
    • Berenene – the Empress – whose will is strong.  She likes surrounding herself with fiery and handsome young men, but she will not bow to marriage.  A strong, independent and crafty ruler, she wants to keep Sandry in Namorn.  You see enough sides of her to understand her even if you don’t exactly like or sympathize with her.
    • Zhegorz – a crazy man who Daja actually helped rescue in Cold Fire  and who shows up again in this one.
  • There is power and politics at play – wrapped up in subtle maneuvers.  It’s fun to watch the strong personalities butt heads.
  • Of course there is magic!  The four main characters (Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar) are ambient mages, meaning their magic comes from every-day things. Sandry is a thread mage, Tris is a weather mage, Daja is a smith mage, and Briar is a plant mage.  It’s a pleasure to watch them grow into their powers and to see what unique things they are able to do with their gifts.
  • At the heart of this book, it’s about friendship and growing up.

Of course this is a 5/5, and I guarantee it’s not the last time I’ll pick it up!

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I feel like its been a while since I’ve been able to read a series consecutively without other books in between.  Although there WAS a gap between Legend and Prodigy, I was able to pick up Champion to finish off the series right away.  What a difference – coming fresh off the high of a great book and straight into another!

Champion is the third (and final) Legend novel by Marie Lu and it was a fantastic ending to the series – in keeping with the suspense of the last book that’s for sure!

Day and June are back in the Republic and each doing their part to bolster the new Elector and the country.  June is working as Princeps-Elect, which keeps her busy, while Day accompanies his brother to San Francisco for their excellent doctors.

A peace treaty between the Colonies and the Republic looks promising – until an outbreak of the plague in the Colonies brings war back to the borders.  Day has already sacrificed so much, and the key to the cure may be one sacrifice Day is not willing to make.

Can the Republic find a cure in time – before the Colonies win the war, once and for all?

I really appreciate the shifting perspective in these books – one chapter will be of Day and the next of June.  I feel like you see them grow as people as they struggle with both the demons of their pasts and with their uncertain future.

June is one of those kick-ass strong female characters.  Sure, she’s got some flaws, and she has some very real feelings but I love that’s she’s smart, tough, and ultimately selfless.

Day is also a great character.  He’s dealing with so many conflicting emotions – fear, passion, love, anger.  Yes he’s a bit cocky, but you don’t grudge him for it. He’s noble and moral and maybe a little bit selfish in a totally understandable way.

I didn’t really expect the direction the book took, and although I was surprised that the ending turned out the way it did I was SO GLAD.

YES I am a fan of happy endings.  Even though it didn’t necessarily fit with the rest of the book, I loved it anyway!!!


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Filed under Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult Books

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

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!)

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller



From Goodreads:

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?


So good.

So much anxiety and action and unexpected twists.

So much emotion and character depth.

So excited to read the last one!!


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Filed under Dystopian, Young Adult Books