Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review--The Nightingale

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a selection of my book club, and I was glad they picked it. Immensely enjoyable, well researched, movingly written. Much of the history was familiar to me, but I could see how it would resonate with an audience who didn't grow up with tales of the Holocaust and living with WWII veterans and survivors.

The two ordinary--yet extraordinary--French sisters at the heart of the story encapsulate the people who lived through the war, and illustrate why we call them The Greatest Generation. I highly recommend this engrossing tale, but have your tissues handy, you will need them.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review--Orphan X (Evan Smoak, #1)

Orphan X (Evan Smoak, #1)Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Non-stop adventure for fans of Jack Reacher, Jason Bourne, Jane Whitefield, Bob Lee Swagger, Finch & Reese and other protagonists with "certain skill sets".

Evan Smoak is The Nowhere Man, the last hope for desperate people. He started as Orphan X, part of a covert government assassin training program. When the program is shuttered, Evan makes it his mission to avoid detection and sets up his secret life as a gun for hire. Now he's in LA, and things get dicey after his most recent task.

What I loved most was the intersection of the mundane part of Evan's life with his secret identity. He not only takes out the bad guys with extreme prejudice, he has to attend condo HOA meetings, assist the single mother a few floors down with her hyperactive son, and water his plants.

It was a true page turner from start to finish, and I can't wait to read more about Mr. Smoak and the other hidden Orphans.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Review--Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #1)

Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #1)Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes you don't want huge drama in romance, but instead want an entertaining read about nice people figuring out they were meant for each other. The drama comes from their navigating through the process, and their internal conflicts more than the external.

It takes a talented author to navigate the simple without losing the reader, and Julia Quinn's a pro. Billy is an unusual miss, more interested in running her family's estate than making her come-out. George is the eldest son of the family next door, and also happens to be heir to an earldom. He doesn't have career options as his brother do. He can't fight for king and country, he needs to stay home and prepare for the role he'll take on someday. These two were meant for each other, but it takes them forever to figure it out.

It's a sweet story, and that's a high compliment. I found myself smiling at certain scenes because they were so delightful, and it was a perfect read for a relaxing weekend.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Review--Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4)

Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4)Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been enjoying this series more with each new book. The worldbuilding is fascinating. I love the idea of an earth where humans are not only not the dominant species, but where the dominant species views them as "crunchy, and good with ketchup" (the Sharkgard call ships "meat in a can".)

Despite that, humans being humans, there's an attempt to conquer and take over more territory through the Humans First League. The non-humans and their allies and friends are resisting this, especially the indigent human residents of the North American analogue. The tension is building and something's got to give, and it's most likely to be frail human flesh.

I recommend The Others to paranormal fans looking for something a little different.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Review--Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark, #16)

Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark, #16)Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another interesting entry in the Immortals After Dark series. I was enjoying it in a middling fashion up until the end, when the black moment and the subsequent activities really drew me in. The resolution of conflict to achieve the HEA was engrossing, and I look forward to the next novel in this series.

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Saturday, April 09, 2016

Review--The Immortals (Olympus Bound, #1)

The Immortals (Olympus Bound, #1)The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting, different, and while not a romance, it has strong romantic elements. The Immortals wonders what happens if ancient Greek gods are no longer living on Olympus, but instead are in NYC, fading away for lack of worshippers. Some of them, anyway. Dionysus always is a fan favorite, Hades is god of wealth so he has worshippers, but Artemis? Goddess of the hunt and of virgins? Not so much.

But Artemis is also the protector of young women, so when a believer invokes her assistance, Selene DiSilva hears her cry and responds, starting a cycle of events that involve cult worship, human sacrifice, and maybe, a romance for the virgin goddess.

This is a debut novel and the beginning of what could be an interesting series. When I was a youngster I devoured D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. I coveted it for myself, kept checking it out of the school library, and it was one of the first non-textbook hardcovers I bought as an adult. Like the characters in The Immortals, it makes me happy to see those myths brought to life, and I look forward to more.

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Review--The Passenger

The PassengerThe Passenger by Lisa Lutz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish I could give this book 4.5 stars because I not only really enjoyed it, but it was encouraging to see Ms. Lutz back in fine form.

The Passenger is a mystery that unfolds in layers, revealing more with each section peeled away from Tanya...or Jo...or Debra...or whatever alias the protagonist is using that day. We know she's a woman on the run, but we don't know what she's running from. Along the way she meets a helpful sociopath, a few not-so-helpful people (some of whom try to kill her), a romantic interest and a classroom full of third graders. Our protagonist isn't the most sympathetic character in the world, but she captures your interest and keeps it from page one.

I'd almost given up after falling in love with the first Spellman Files novels, but after two DNFs it was lovely to see Ms. Lutz back on my "must read" list. I'd recommend this novel for readers who like strong female protagonists in stories of mystery and suspense.

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Saturday, April 02, 2016

Review--The Dutch Girl (Renegades of the American Revolution #4)

The Dutch Girl (Renegades of the American Revolution)The Dutch Girl by Donna Thorland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another excellent, well researched offering from Ms. Thorland about the ordinary (yet not so ordinary) women and men who fought the American revolution. I knew little about the Dutch communities of upstate NY, and most of that came from reading Dragonwyk by Anya Seton decades ago. Even then the idea of feudalism at that level in the early American republic stunned me, and Thorland does an outstanding job of explaining how these feudal lords (in all but name) came to own people's lives, property and futures in NY.

Fans of American history and well written, well researched romance will want to check out the Renegades of the American Revolution series for some quality reading.

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