Japan, 1703. On a snowy night, 47 warriors murder the man at the center of the scandal that turned them from samurai into masterless ronin two years before. Clearly this was an act of revenge–but why did they wait so long? And is there any reason they should not immediately be ordered to commit ritual suicide? Sano Ichiro, demoted from Chamberlain to his old post as Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People, has mere days to solve the greatest mystery of samurai legend–while his own fortunes hang in the balance. (from Goodreads)
I’m still a loyal reader of Sano Ichiro novels. I love them. I love the mystery, the political intrigue and how Sano is always dangling by the thread but manages to save the day but there’s always something looming around the corner where he’ll be dangling by a thread again.
This one was good, loyal readers will enjoy this and new readers will also like this. Background information on the 47 ronin helps a bit but not necessary. The title is a bit misleading, the Mistress is mentioned, but she doesn’t really play such a huge role in the book nevertheless. The plot was pretty good. Lots of twists and turns, and when you get towards the ending that’s where everything is so skillfully packed in you’ll feel like rereading it again just in case you missed something important. It’s always the last third of the book that gets you in the gut!
The only gripe I have, and I’ve been ranting about this for the past few novels now is the mystical Hirata issue. Please stop. It’s getting ridiculous and I’m finding when Hirata is featured, I’m starting to dread it. He used to be a personal favorite. Now he’s become this annoying mystical pest and I don’t care if he can feel auras of other people and can meditate in pretzel format (no, he doesn’t do this, but you know what I mean). He’s starting to become something I don’t want to read about. Please stop before you go further. This series DOES NOT need anything supernatural. Keep it real. Please.
Loyal fans will like this, newbies will too. A great historical read (and not many features in medieval Japan!) give it a go!
I give it an 8 out of 10
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life (from goodreads)
I really enjoyed this read. Well almost. For the most part, I really enjoyed how the Tezacs and Sarah’s family are intertwined from past to present. The writing in the book is excellent and the plot itself is compelling enough to keep you engaged and reading until you finish. It may not be a very well known particular incident in Holocaust history and definitely worth looking into for more information – I myself didn’t know much about it until I read the book.
The perspective switches from Sarah to Julia. Naturally, Sarah’s story is much more interesting and compelling. You feel for her situation and her poor brother and can only think of the worst possible scenarios for her. I admired her for her determination and strength for a girl her age. It was such a great story to read and I loved it when I reached the sections featuring Sarah.
I wish I could say the same for Julia though. I didn’t care too much except for when it linked her family with Sarah’s. However the parts with Julia’s marital issues with her family? not my sort of thing and wasn’t much to my liking. I mean, okay good for her for standing up to her decisions and whatnot, but it wasn’t as interesting. Plus, towards the ending, Julia became whiny and her story just dragged too much. I was rather hoping for more about Sarah and what she did in greater detail after the war.
Overall, worth a try. I didn’t try the movie and don’t think I want to. I think once of Julia is enough for me.
I give it a 7/10
Epidemics, floods, droughts–for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she’s rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can’t continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There’s something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her. (From Goodreads)
One of the many dystopias that’s on the shelves, one that I decided to pick up because the plot itself looked and sounded interesting. For the most part it was. Albeit, the pace itself of the story was a bit slow. The setting itself isn’t so bad, Lucy herself is a survivor and knows how to live on her own – something I liked in her because sometimes the mopey heroines just don’t quite cut it in this type of setting.
What I found amusing was despite how the world was, with everything totally upside down, teenagers will always act like teenagers. The petty bickering between Lucy, Del, and Aidan was out of place, but it also shows they’re still normal teenagers despite the circumstances. That was interesting to see, because it gives them a more ‘human’ feel instead of just standard characters on paper.
There were a couple of things with the book that didn’t sit well with me. There were just so many unanswered questions! and I’m not sure there’s even going to be sequel? (if there is correct me if I’m wrong). You’re left with a “now what?” feeling at the end of the book.
Besides the list of unanswered questions, the chemistry between Lucy and Aidan was just not there. I didn’t seem to really get a feel for both of them and they didn’t seem to go along well together. Some couples just…don’t mix well.
It’s not the best read out there, but certainly worth a look see. I’d say take it or leave it. There’s much better, but there’s also a lot worse.
I give it a 7 out of 10
January 1069. Less than three years have passed since Hastings and the death of the usurper, Harold Godwineson. In the depths of winter, two thousand Normans march to subdue the troublesome province of Northumbria. Tancred a Dinant, an ambitious and oath-sworn knight and a proud leader of men, is among them, hungry for battle, for silver and for land. But at Durham the Normans are ambushed in the streets by English rebels. In the battle that ensues, their army is slaughtered almost to a man. Badly wounded, Tancred barely escapes with his life. His lord is among those slain. Soon the enemy are on the march, led by the dispossessed prince Eadgar, the last of the ancient Saxon line, who is determined to seize the realm he believes is his. Yet even as Tancred seeks vengeance for his lord’s murder, he finds himself caught up in secret dealings between a powerful Norman magnate and a shadow from the past. As the Norman and English armies prepare to clash, Tancred begins to uncover a plot which harks back to the day of Hastings itself. A plot which, if allowed to succeed, threatens to undermine the entire Conquest. The fate of the Kingdom hangs in the balance. (From Goodreads)
This certainly was an interesting novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it was really well written. The historical aspect is nice and very well detailed. It’s so well descriptive you can see, smell and feel everything that Tancred goes through.
The plot itself was interesting and filled with bits of mystery and intrigue, and the historical accuracy is perfect it was a bit slow paced in my opinion, but the twists and turns do make up for it. There’s plenty of fighting and battle sequences that are engaging to read and easy to picture. The characters are also well done and almost life like due to their descriptions and personality. The author’s note in the end is also helpful, as this particular part in history isn’t written all frequently – although it should. So many potentially good stories can be written during this time period!
The only criticism I can think of with this book is, although the descriptions are good and very well done, it can be a little too much and that’s why I mentioned the pace of the book got slow. It just seemed sometimes too much description was done and it just made the pace of the book much slower than it should.
Definitely recommend this for historical fiction fans, well worth the read!
I give it a 7 out of 10.
Thank you sourcebooks for the review copy!
Miss Arabella Beckett has one driving passion: to help the downtrodden women of America. Naturally, she supports the women’s suffrage movement and eagerly attends rallies and lectures across the country. On her travels, she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need that goes sadly awry and lands both ladies in more trouble than they can manage. An independent sort, Arabella is loath to admit she needs help and certainly doesn’t need help from an arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor. Mr. Theodore Wilder, private investigator extraordinaire, is on a mission. A mission that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. By the time he finally tracks down Hamilton’s sister, Arabella, he is in a less than pleasant mood. When the lady turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he soon finds himself at his wit’s end. When they return home to New York, circumstances force their paths to continue to cross, but the most peculiar feelings growing between them certainly can’t be love. When the trouble Arabella had accidentally stirred up seems to have followed her to New York and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love. (From Amazon.ca)
Starting to really enjoy these inspirational romances. Not only do they give me my little romance fix that I crave once in awhile but they turn out to be real entertaining and fun to read!
So, I didn’t know this was the second book in the series. It can be read perfectly as a stand alone. But! because I enjoyed reading this one so much I will be getting the first book. The plot itself is well written and provided a good mix of romance, comedy, and a bit of action moments. The romance and comedy do make up the bulk of the story but nevertheless it’s still a fun and entertaining read.
Arabella and Theodore make such an excellent couple. Their banter was fun to read and the way they just drive each other insane was absolutely hilarious. Although Arabella was first seen as a typical ‘bluestocking’ fighting for women’s rights and not being your typical stay at home and be pretty woman, she’s really just a girly girl! her chemistry with Theodore was definitely there and although he was unbearable at first, he does grow on the reader and on Arabella. Eventually.
Although I liked Arabella, I liked Katherine as well. There’s one particular scene where she just irritates Theodore and almost makes him see red which was one of my most favorite scenes. I guess it’s because you could just see her do the action and it suits her personality and character. I liked her character throughout the book. She went from unhappy wife to someone who suddenly did not become afraid of speaking of her mind and standing up to her husband when she was unhappy and voiced her opinion on it.
The action part of the book was good. Definitely enjoyed the last bit of the book although I wish there was just more background information on the women disappearing. I understand perhaps, not much should be said, as then the book would take a darker turn than the light read it should be. But it was just as if criminal was just dumped on in the plot in the last 20 pages and I was hoping there would be more to that than just those last few pages.
Otherwise, I really enjoyed the book. The characters were excellently written and make the book a great read. Definitely recommended.
I give it a 9.5 out of 10.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the grey empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to re-establish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, and the green temples of Malaya. It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming. Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick-witted as well as with sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to a man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans. (From Amazon.ca)
I was very skeptical of this one. I wasn’t sure what to think of it. It’s got fantasy. With history and a bit of steampunk added. Which is a great combination, but it really all boils down to the story and its’ characters. It’s certainly got a nice blend of fantasy/history as well and I liked that. I was really expecting something cheesy with a romance in it that’ll make my stomach turn. Thankfully I was wrong!
I enjoyed this novel until the very last page. The action was well done, the world building was really good and well established, and the characters memorable. The blending of different genres also is nice you have a bit of steampunk, alternate history, fantasy, paranormal, and just a little bit of romance. It’s perfect.
Of course what adds to this awesome book is Gareth (one of the main characters) has a castle full of cats. No seriously. That is AWESOME. I reacted the same way I did when I saw Hellboy with his room full with cats. (I squeed and squeed until I couldn’t no more) so for me, that was a major added bonus. The chemistry between Adele and Gareth was good as well. Their characters seemed perfect for eachother I really enjoyed how they got along.
I haven’t gotten around to reading the second book yet, but I’m hoping it will be just as good as this one! I definitely recommend this book to fantasy lovers out there. It’s definitely worth a read through.
I give it 9/10
North Korea defiantly launches a nuclear-tipped missile over Japan, exploding it in a mushroom-cloud firestorm offshore. A nuclear Iran, through its allies in Lebanon, is mercilessly lobbing missiles into Israel. A powerful China launches a killer satellite and destroys half of America’s spy satellites. Will one man’s love for a woman save the world, or destroy it? A fast read with an ending you don’t expect. The technology is cutting edge.
It took me a while to get into this book. It starts off interesting though, as it looks like something hit the fan and the world is going to doom. Although readers may tend to wonder what this all has to do with a Japanese police officer who has a terrible OCD issue, well you just have to read along to connect the dots. To simplify it, Haruto (the police officer) attempts to solve a case, but finds out it leads to a much bigger and badder fish that are out to cause a lot more chaos and havok than usual in the world.
It’s not easy to figure out. There’s lots of scientific terminology in the book and I did find it a bit hard to understand. (There are helpful illustrations though!) The concept of these robots being used as terrifying super soldiers is interesting, although the bloodbath they would create is naturally, horrible. There are a few subplots involved in this book, some that are related to the big storyline, a few aren’t. The plot might not entirely feel solid but the reading is tolerable and can be understood once everything is put into place and perspective.
Haruto as a character, is interesting, yet quirky because of his obsessive compulsive behavior, but his sense of honor and the strict adherence to the “rules” also show a side of naivete. He’s almost like an overgrown child in some sense. His OCD issue does get in the way of a lot of things, and it’s mentioned a lot throughout the book. It can get annoying – at least it did to me.
What I expected from this book, was more robots! there is only one scene where the robot talks to Haruto, but after that, there’s nothing else. I thought there was going to be more interaction between humans and robots besides just using them as soldiers.
There are quite a few characters in the novel, and although it’s easy to tell which ones are the main characters and which ones are supporting ones, some just seem to arrive at certain points of the novel, and then fall out of existence. It would have been nice to figure out what happens them in the long run. The ending of the book was alright, although a little cliche, but it was an alright book overall.
People look at the title, and think of the movie, it’s not about that at all, there is an author’s note about that as well. I’d rather wish he didn’t name it that title as the robots aren’t really what you think (as it was, in the movie for example). However, it was a good read overall, I’d say take it or leave it. The scientific lingo might scare some readers away, or bore them, but the action isn’t too bad.
I give it a 6/10