October 31, 2015

The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie

T I T L E: The Sisters of Versailles
S E R I E S: The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy (Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Sally Christie
P U B L I S H E R: Atria Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 1, 2015
I S B N: 9781501102967
Historical Fiction, Woman’s Fiction
A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.
Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.
Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters—Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne—four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.
Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot—and women—forward. The King’s scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters—sweet, naïve Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne—will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.
In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie’s stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood—of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough.




     I must confess that I do not read many books on the French Court because I prefer the history of Ireland, Scotland, and England. However, I do love court politics. I find it quite fascinating that people got away with some of the things they did just to gain favor from the ruling monarch, even family members. So, when I read this description I was intrigued even though it was about the French court. I didn’t know that the Nesle sisters even existed, but then to find that they were real and that four of the five were mistresses of King Louis XV was pretty interesting. Just goes to show that sometimes life can really be stranger than fiction or, in this case, a bit of both.
     The book held my interest from beginning to end for the simple fact that these characters were based on real women in 18th century France. They were well researched and I felt the author did a great job of developing them to be believable. She brought the French court and all of its dealings to life. However, what I didn’t like was the fact that it kept changing points of view. It is told in first person, but each chapter is told by a different sister and kept alternating between them. It had me thinking it would have been interesting for each sister to have her own book. Though, I didn’t care for the changing points of view, I still felt it was well written and I did like the story very much. I found it quite entertaining from beginning to end. I would recommend this story to those that like historical fiction but are looking for characters that have not been written about in the past.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


October 20, 2015

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

T I T L E: Playing with Fire
A U T H O R: Tess Gerritsen
P U B L I S H E R: Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 27, 2015
I S B N: 9781101884348
Mystery, Thriller
In a shadowy antiques shop in Rome, Julia Ansdell happens upon a curious piece of music—the Incendio waltz—and is immediately entranced by its unusual composition. The mournful minor key and complex feverish arpeggios appear to dance with a strange life of their own. Back in Boston, when Julia plays the notes for the first time, the music has a terrifying and unexplainable effect on her young daughter, who seems violently transformed. Determined to track down the music score's origins, Julia travels to Venice—and uncovers a dark secret that not only dates back to the Second World War, but also directly involves a dangerously powerful family who will stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.



     Though this book was a bit on the dark and creepy side, it was extremely enjoyable, even if it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I haven’t read this author’s other works so I came into this without any preconceived notions. After reading this book, I believe I will be reading her other novels as well.
     The story flashes back and forth between Julia in the present day and Lorenzo in World War II, it is easy to keep up with and very well done. Some authors are not able to pull that off but with Tess Gerritsen that is certainly not an issue. Both past and present eventually come together in a manner that makes sense, even if the ending seemed just a bit rushed.
     All the characters were believable and sparked emotion. This was a quick fast pace read coming in at around 300 pages. I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it, though I’m not sure that it would everyone’s cup of tea.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

October 18, 2015

Helldiver by Chris Allen

T I T L E: Helldiver
S E R I E S: Intrepid (Nº 4)
A U T H O R: Chris Allen
P U B L I S H E R: Momentum/Pan MacMillan
P U B L I S H--D A T E: November 26, 2015
I S B N: 9781760300616
Thriller, Action
Alex Morgan – policeman, soldier and spy for INTREPID – commits to the toughest mission of his career, and his chances of survival are slimmer than ever.
Sent deep into the shadows of Europe's criminal underbelly, Morgan's mission is to overthrow an oligarch and bring a spy in from the cold. But his target is closer than he knows.
As old friends re-emerge, it becomes clear that the very heart of Morgan's black ops division INTREPID faces destruction, and trust, it seems, is little more than a commodity to be bought and sold.
With INTREPID agent Elizabeth Reigns by his side once again, Morgan must stare fear in the face as his loyalty is tested to its limits.
Helldiver sees INTERPOL's ultra secret black ops division INTREPID brought to its knees, and it's up to Morgan and Reigns to wrest their agency back from the brink.



     I choose the music I listen to by the mood that I am in at the time. I am much the same when it comes to the books I read, especially when it comes to a genre that has no supernatural elements in it whatsoever. I was in the mood for an action thriller and that is exactly what I got. But, not just action, there were good guys, bad guys, a touch of romance, international crime and intrigue with shades of James Bond.
     Alex Morgan is a fantastic character. He has depth, he’s smart, charismatic and pretty bad ass. All the things I like in male lead roles. In fact, all the characters in this story had dimension. Zolner and his wife Kristina were very well written.
     The plot was gripping and I was never bored. There were some scenes where my stomach did flip flops because I wasn’t sure what would happen next. All in all this was a fantastic book. If you like international spy thrillers then you really should read this book.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


October 14, 2015

The Monstrous

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★

     Another home run anthology on my “read it, loved it” list. (Actually, this list doesn’t exist, but it will.) This collection of Dark fantasy/Thriller/Horror short stories was as enticing to read as the title of collection. Some of these stories lingered in the back of my mind, even days after I was done with the book. Most of them made me question my own perception of monstrous. All of them were good, well-written, dark literature published within the last twenty years.



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Monstrous
A U T H O R S: Jeffery Ford, Peter Straub, Dale Bailey, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Gemma Files, Livia Llewellyn, Adam-Roy Castro, Kim Newman, Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, Carole Johnstone, Brian Hodge, Stephen Graham Jones, Adam L.G. Nevill, Sofia Samatar, Terry Dowling, Glen Hirshberg, A.C. Wise, Steve Rasnic Tem, Christopher Fowler, John Langan,
Edited by Ellen Datlow
P U B L I S H E R: Tachyon Publications
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 27, 2015
I S B N: 9781616962067
Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Horror
The horror genre’s most acclaimed editor reveals twenty modern stories of evil more terrifying than monsters: The Monstrous.
Collected here are unnerving creations from the masters of fear, including Peter Straub’s vengeful kindergarten teacher, Kim Newman’s exhausted witch hunters, and Caitlín R. Kiernan’s obsessive devotee of swans. Creatures of darkness struggle to adapt to modern living and ordinary people are horrifyingly transformed in these inexplicable, deadly reflections of our day-to-day lives. From one seemingly harmless elderly man to a family reunion bent on unspeakable evil, the monstrous are far closer than they appear.


AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY 


*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

October 13, 2015

A Land Divided by K.M. Ashman

T I T L E: A Land Divided
S E R I E S: The Blood of Kings (Nº 1)
A U T H O R: K.M. Ashman
P U B L I S H E R: Thomas & Mercer
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 1, 2015
I S B N: 9781503945241
Historical Fiction
1081. William’s bloody conquest is over and Britain is under Norman rule. But one bastion of resistance remains: Wales. A divided land where brother fights brother and kings battle for power. The English use this to further their own ends, and while one king is tempted by an offer he cannot resist, the others wage war over long-forgotten feuds. Gruffydd ap Cynan, true heir to the kingdom of Gwynedd, is in exile across the sea. When he hears of the betrayal of the Welsh people by the imposter in his throne, Gruffydd unites with Tewdwr, a monarch deposed by the traitors, and they forge an army from the ashes of their kingdoms. But Tewdwr’s wife and daughter—the source of much of the allies’ strength—are a weakness their enemies will exploit. Betrayal, treachery and war await, but both men know they must fight to the bitter end, when the sundered lands of Wales are drenched...in the blood of kings.


     There aren't a lot of novels out there that are written about medieval Wales, whether fiction or nonfiction. That is one of the reasons that I was interested in reading this particular story. Anyone who knows me knows that I am fascinated with anything that has to do with the medieval time period. As far as my knowledge on medieval Wales goes, I would say it is limited. I do know that the country had its struggles with England just as Ireland and Scotland did. Another reason for my desire to read this particular book.
     The story was interesting and it was evident that the research had been done. I have no complaints about the writing. It was done well. The battle scenes were excellent and the intrigue did have me on the edge of my seat. I've always found intrigue and the dynamics of court, along with medieval alliances in that time period very compelling.
     Unfortunately, I thought the characters could have had a bit more development. It was hard for me to feel anything for any of them. And at times they were a bit stale. If they would have had a bit more dimension I think I would have enjoyed this book a bit more.
     I did like this story and did enjoy it to some extent. However, I didn't love it and, therefore, can only give it three stars instead of four.

3 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


October 3, 2015

Boundary Lines by Melissa F. Olson

T I T L E: Boundary Lines
S E R I E S: Boundary Magic (Nº 2)
A U T H O R: Melissa F. Olson
P U B L I S H E R: Skyscape/47 North
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 12, 2015
I S B N: 9781503947061
Urban Fantasy
Fitting into the Old World isn’t going very well for Boulder boundary witch Allison “Lex” Luther: she may have earned a place in a vampire’s service, but now it seems as if every supernatural creature in town has found a reason to hate her. And when Lex and her partner are assigned to investigate the suspicious disappearance of two vampires during the night of the full moon, they find themselves with more questions than answers.
Was it murder…or mutiny?
The crusade for answers will lead Lex all over the Colorado Old World, from a prison cell for a broken werewolf to a haunted Denver brothel. And when Lex determines the responsible party, the hunt is just beginning: something has been awakened in Boulder, something as old and powerful as it is terrifying. Only the woman with death in her blood can stop what’s coming.


      I opened this book on my kindle, started reading and didn't put it down until I finished the entire thing. Yes, that's right, done in one night. And now, I'm looking forward to the next one.
     The thing I liked about Lex is that she is not wimpy in any way. The males in the book know that as well. While they may care for her, they don't coddle her and get over protective. I appreciate that in a story. But, the fact that she is tough and can kick ass with the best of them is not the only reason I like her. She is very believable and not one dimensional.
     The supporting characters are just developed as Lex and you can't help but like most of them. Except for Lily and Simon's older sisters, but then that is the way it is meant to be.
     Just enough action with unexpected twists and turns to keep the pages turning. This was a fun and exciting read. I recommend this book to all those urban fantasy fans out there. Pick this one up, you won't be disappointed.
     I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

October 2, 2015

Malus Domestica by S.A. Hunt

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★★

     I seriously feel like I should be ripping petals from a flower while professing my love for this novel. As with most of my five star reviews, I'm at a loss for the right words. I'm not sure why this happens to me. Maybe it's because I have so much I want to say, I can't possibly get it all out.
     Let's start at the opening of the book . . .
     Not only did it suck me in, but it also knocked my socks off. So much so, I had to do a social media status update to tell the world what just happened. That was the best introduction to a story I have read in a long, long time. Bravo.
     This novel also reminded me that some time has past since I've read such an array of unique characters. There are several, and vary greatly in ages, yet, I loved every damn one of them. Even the witches in their most grotesque forms. They all make strides - good and bad - during the story. And honestly, I feel like if you removed any one of them, it would change everything about the overall feel to the story.
     From the beginning to the end, I was entertained with story and action. I cannot tell you how many times I Oh shit'd, and really, I'm censoring there. I did a lot more shouting of far worse words than that. There were some days I was busy, and could not get to the book; those days, all I did was think about this story.
     It is that kick-ass.
     Books like this that make me wish I had all the money in the world. This way, I could buy every single book S.A. Hunt has written.
     I have a gazillion other things I could say, but really, I think the five stars says it all, because I only give these stars to epic-fucking-stories.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: Malus Domestica
A U T H O R: S.A. Hunt
P U B L I S H E R: S.A. Hunt
P U B L I S H--D A T E: July 20, 2015
I S B N: 9781515157861
Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy, Horror

Robin Martine has come a long way.
She's not your usual college-age girl. More often than not, Robin's washing a load of gory clothes at the laundromat, or down at the lake throwing hatchets at pumpkins. She lives in an old van, collects swords, and dyes her mohawk blue.
Also, she kills witches for a living on YouTube.
You see, Robin's life was turned upside down by those hideous banshees from Hell. She spent high-school in a psych ward, drugged out of her head for telling the cops her mother Annie was murdered with magic. Magic from a witch named Marilyn Cutty.
After a 3-year warpath across America, she's come home to end Cutty for good.
But she'll have to battle hog-monsters, a city full of raving maniacs, and a killer henchman called the "Serpent" if she wants to end the coven's reign over the town of Blackfield once and for all.


AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS


*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*