India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy by Carol K. Carr

reviews 2 Comments 25th September, 2014

carrIndia Black and the Shadows of Anarchy (Madam of Espionage Mysteries 3)
by Carol K. Carr

In Victorian London, India Black has all the attributes a high-class madam needs to run a successful brothel–wit, beauty, and an ability to lie with a smile. Luckily for Her Majesty’s Government, all these talents also make her a first-rate spy…

India Black, full-time madam and occasional secret agent, is feeling restless, when one of Disraeli’s men calls on her to meet the prime minister–alone. Even though all her previous meetings have been organized by the rakishly handsome spy French, it’s been decided this is a mission India must attempt on her own.

Revolt has spread across Europe and reached the shores of England–anarchists have begun assassinating lords and earls, one by one. Now India must infiltrate the ranks of the underground group responsible for those attacks, the sinister Dark Legion. To stop their dread plot, India will go from the murkiest slums of London to the highest levels of society, uncovering secrets that threaten her very existence… (back cover)

India finally gets a chance to show how she can deal on her own on a mission. She needs to get into a group of anarchist who has been playing with gunpowder. India must get one of the bints, who has connections with the anarchist, working in a lesser class brothel to start working for her. The Madam of the other brothel however doesn’t take this without a fight.

What an evil way to finish the book! We almost learn more about India’s past but then we don’t because the book ends. Evil!

India is very excited that she can finally show that she can handle mission on her own but of course she crosses path with French during the mission. There’s bunch of anarchists crying for freedom and are willing to kill people for it while India and French are trying to stay alive in the middle of it.

And we finally learn little bit of French’s past. I want to learn more but at least that was the start. I’m still waiting to learn more about India and we were oh so close!

4/5

Published: Berkley (2013)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Source: my own

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

reviews 2 Comments 13th September, 2014

Richelle MeadLast Sacrifice (Vampire Academy 6) by Richelle Mead

MURDER, LOVE, JEALOUSY. AND THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE.

The Queen is dead and the Moroi world will never be the same.

Rose Hathaway is awaiting wrongful execution and there exists only one man who can stall this terrible fate.

Rose must look to both Dimitri and Adrian, the two great loves of her life, to find him.

With her best friend, Lissa, in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and questioning those they thought they could trust … (back cover)

Rose is accused of killing Queen Tatiana but she escapes imprisonment with the help of her friends. Rose, Dimitri and Sydney tries to find Lissa’s half-sibling while Lissa, Adrian and Christian try to find Tatiana’s killer. If they can find the lost Dragomir, then Lissa has a real chance to become the next Queen.

I’m surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I started it simply because I wanted to finish this series but this was the most enjoyable book in the series. Go figure… I didn’t even want to slap Rose, not even once! I wanted to shake few times but that’s all.

Lissa seemed to finally find her backbone when she was alone and had to manage without Rose.
Rose finally chooses between Adrian and Dimitri but really, it’s been quite obvious from the start how she will choose. And I think that the one left will find someone way better…

I guess I’m happy that I finished this series since the last book happened to be the best one.

3,5/5

Published: Penguin (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 592
Source: library

India Black and the Widow of Windsor by Carol K. Carr

reviews 1 Comment 21st August, 2014

india blackIndia Black and the Widow of Windsor (Madam of Espionage Mysteries 2) by Carol K. Carr

When Queen Victoria attends a séance, the spirit of her departed husband, Prince Albert, insists she spend Christmas at their Scottish home in Balmoral, a deviation from her usual practice. The prime minister suspects Scottish nationalists are planning to assassinate the Queen-and sends the ever resourceful India and the handsome British spy French to the Scottish highlands undercover.

French will take the high road, looking for a traitor among the guests-and India will take the low road, disguised as a servant in case an assassin is hiding among the household staff. For her part, India doesn’t need a medium to predict that someone at Balmoral is determined that this Christmas will be Her Majesty’s last… (back cover)

When Queen Victoria suddenly decides to spend her Christmas in Scotland, the prime minister gets worried that nationalists try to assassinate the queen. He enlists the help of India and French to prevent that from happening. India will play the part of housemaid to an old marchioness who spends most of her waking hours snuffing anything possible.

Finally I got to read the second book! And it didn’t disappoint me! Can’t believe it took me so long.

It was fun seeing India trying play the servant part. She’s surely no servant material. The old marchioness was so much fun! I loved the interaction between India and the marchioness.

We see more flirting between India and French which started in the previous book. I’m curious to see how this will turn out but I hope we get to see them together at some point. I also want to know more about their past. There was some hints but I hope we will learn more at some point.

I think this was little tamer book than the first one and less snarky but not too much. But we don’t see India as a madam here so that may explain the tamer aspect.

4/5

Published: Berkley (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 309
Source: my own

Mailbox Monday (18.8)

meme 7 Comments 18th August, 2014

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

All the books were bought from my shopping trip to Helsinki.

books

The Queen Of Four Kingdoms by Michael of Kent
The Path of Anger by Antoine Rouaud
The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen by Susan Bordo
Fatal Rivalry, Flodden 1513: Henry VIII, James IV and the battle for Renaissance Britain by George Goodwin
13 by Kelley Armstrong

Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle

reviews 2 Comments 15th August, 2014

sisters of treason

Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle

Early in Mary Tudor’s turbulent reign, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary Grey are reeling after the brutal execution of their elder seventeen-year-old sister, Lady Jane Grey, and the succession is by no means stable. In Sisters of Treason, Elizabeth Freemantle brings these young women to life in a spellbinding Tudor tale of love and politics.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous life at court. Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved. Her sister, clever Lady Mary, has a crooked spine and a tiny stature in an age when physical perfection equates to goodness—and both girls have inherited the Tudor blood that is more curse than blessing. For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act. It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante, but when the Queen’s sister, the hot-headed Elizabeth, inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the surviving Grey sisters. Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she will go to defy her Queen, risk her life, and find the safety and love she longs for. (publisher)

Jane Grey is executed after reigning only for nine days and her family is left behind tainted as traitors. The remaining Grey sisters grew up in the court under the suspicious eyes of the queen(s) but their mother’s confidante, Levina, looks after them.

The story is told by 3 people: Katherine Grey, Mary Grey and court painter Levina Teerlinc and it worked well for this book.

My favourite was definitely Mary and I really wished it could have ended happily for her. Being crook backed definitely didn’t make things easy for her and people can be so cruel. And yet she remained kind and gentle despite everything. Her sister’s death had deep impact on her and taught how dangerous it can be to have royal blood in your veins.

Katherine was the type that thinks with her heart and not with her head, and it can be dangerous when you’re so close to the throne. She was little shallow and empty headed and I wished she would have listened Mary’s warnings. Her chapters were my least favourite and I think the weakest link in the book.

I really liked how the sisters’ mother Frances Grey was portrayed. She was shown as caring and loving mother who deeply mourned her daughter and it was nice to see her friendship with Levina who was “just” a court painter and not noble born.

This was truly enjoyable book and I look forward reading The Queen’s Gambit which I already own.

4/5

Published: Simon & Schuster (2014)
Format: ebook
Source: netgalley

Mailbox Monday (11.8)

meme 6 Comments 11th August, 2014

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

These are new books I’ve got in the past month or so. I can’t remember the last time I’ve bought a crime book! But it sounds so good I had to buy it.

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (bookmooch)
Blood Loss by Alex Barclay (purchased)
The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Murder that Changed the World by Greg King, Sue Woolmans (purchased)
Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton (purchased)
Legacy by Susan Kay (bookmooch)

Missing from the photo:

The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick (bought)
The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager (bookmooch)

A Triple Knot by Emma Campion

reviews 2 Comments 31st July, 2014

A Triple Knot

A Triple Knot by Emma Campion

Joan of Kent, renowned beauty and cousin to King Edward III, is destined for a politically strategic marriage. As the king begins a long dynastic struggle to claim the crown of France, plunging England into the Hundred Years’ War, he negotiates her betrothal to a potential ally and heir of a powerful lordship.

But Joan, haunted by nightmares of her father’s execution at the hands of her treacherous royal kin, fears the king’s selection and is not resigned to her fate. She secretly pledges herself to one of the king’s own knights, one who has become a trusted friend and protector. Now she must defend her vow as the king—furious at Joan’s defiance—prepares to marry her off to another man.

In A Triple Knot, Emma Campion brings Joan, the “Fair Maid of Kent” to glorious life, deftly weaving details of King Edward III’s extravagant court into a rich and emotionally resonant tale of intrigue, love, and betrayal. (publisher)

I have to say that I read pretty much anything about Edward III or the Black Prince and I really want to read more about them but I only barely could finish this.

Even if Ned, The Black Prince or Queen Philippa wasn’t portrayed like I’ve thought them to be, I could have liked this. Even The Black Prince throwing tantrums at every possible moment wasn’t enough but I just couldn’t like Joan. What a naïve, little idiot. Over half of the book she spent pining for Holland and the other half she was scared of Ned. She moved very quickly from being scared of Ned to lusting after Holland was dead. Just saying…

Joan and Holland were honestly surprised about how much their marriage was being objected. Like Holland said at some point “I didn’t know the King cared that much” or something like that. Umm, you marry the king’s cousin without permission and you think he won’t mind? Idiots.

The book would have been much more interesting told from Queen Philippa’s POV and to see why she did the things she did. Joan just wasn’t interesting enough to carry the book.

1/5

Published: Broadway Books (2014)
Format: ebook
Source: netgalley

The Bone Church by Victoria Dougherty

Uncategorized 4 Comments 24th July, 2014

02_The Bone Church

The Bone Church by Victoria Dougherty

In the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, fugitive lovers Felix Andel and Magdalena Ruza make some dubious alliances – with a mysterious Roman Catholic cardinal, a reckless sculptor intent on making a big political statement, and a gypsy with a risky sex life. As one by one their chances for fleeing the country collapse, the two join a plot to assassinate Hitler’s nefarious Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Josef Goebbels.

But the assassination attempt goes wildly wrong, propelling the lovers in separate directions.

Felix’s destiny is sealed at the Bone Church, a mystical pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Prague, while Magdalena is thrust even deeper into the bowels of a city that betrayed her and a homeland soon to be swallowed by the Soviets. As they emerge from the shadowy fog of World War II, and stagger into the foul haze of the Cold War, Felix and Magdalena must confront the past, and a dangerous, uncertain future.

The book follows two timelines where Felix tries to rescue Magdalena from Czechoslovakia, first during WWII in 1943-1944 and then in 1956. Felix is a hockey player star who played for the national team and during the war he gets involved with an attempt to assassinate Joseph Goebbels and years after he goes back to Czechoslovakia looking for Magdalena and her son who were partially Jewish.

I really enjoyed reading this book and there was never a dull moment. There’s assassination attempts, gunshots and lot of other stuff going on. We get to see in what conditions people lived and hide during the war and under the Soviets.

Chapters jump between the years and at times it was really confusing and some of the religion stuff went over my head. The whole The Infant of Prague and some of the more religious things went over my head but good thing that there wasn’t that much about that. Also I hate when books end like this! It hints what happens to the characters but doesn’t really tell anything. I want to know how it will end!

But this was really enjoyable read that read very fast wanting to know what happens next.

4/5

Published: Pier’s Court Press (2014)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

 

The Bone Church_BlogTour Banner FINAL copy

You can check the tour schedule here.

About the author

Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For more information, please visit Victoria Dougherty’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Pinterest.

Mailbox Monday (30.6)

meme 6 Comments 30th June, 2014

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

I haven’t done mailbox monday for some time so these are books that I’ve got past month or so.

IMG_1662

The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B by Sandra Gulland
The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217 by Richard Brooks
My Lady Viper by E. Knight
Disa Hannuntytär by Kristiina Vuori
Näkijän tytär by Kristiina Vuori
Sunneva by Kaari Utrio
A Brief History Of The Vikings by Jonathan Clements
Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson
Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence