Tanya Dubois finds her husband, Frank, dead at the bottom of the stairs. Afraid she’ll be accused of helping him to his untimely demise, she goes on tTanya Dubois finds her husband, Frank, dead at the bottom of the stairs. Afraid she’ll be accused of helping him to his untimely demise, she goes on the run. For Tanya this isn’t paranoia, but survival. We soon learn she’s been on the run for the past decade.
Assuming multiple identities as she begs, borrows, and steals (among other things) her way across country, Tanya and her many identities grapple not only with survival but with how to embrace the future while outrunning the past.
Interesting characters and a fast moving plot, this is fun, quick, light read worth suspending disbelief. Yes, some of the protagonist’s ruses stretch credibility, and the final twist is telegraphed too early in the story, but that doesn’t take away from this pure, unadulterated pleasure read.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this title. ...more
This is a spunky heroine/star-crossed lovers tale set in late 19th century NYC. Jo is rich and beautiful. Her heart’s desire, a reporter she meets whiThis is a spunky heroine/star-crossed lovers tale set in late 19th century NYC. Jo is rich and beautiful. Her heart’s desire, a reporter she meets while investigating her father’s death, is poor and handsome. Jo is torn between her feelings for the wrong man and what society and family expect of her. The story is chock-full of romance tropes, mystery cliches, and skin-deep feminism. While competently written, the book is too long, and there are no surprises here. The story is predictable from the “bad guy,” to the mystery, to the inevitable ending. Most annoying is the main character, who is supposed to be courageous and determined but comes off as immature, credulous, and self-involved. Having read Donnelly’s beautifully written and elegant Revolution, perhaps I was expecting too much, but this hackneyed, uninspired tale was a disappointment. Three stars for readability and no major historical gaffs.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Delacorte for the opportunity to read and review this title. ...more
I’ve long been a fan of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s St. Germain novels. Haunting Investigation is something different for Yarbro. Set in 1924 Philadelphia,I’ve long been a fan of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s St. Germain novels. Haunting Investigation is something different for Yarbro. Set in 1924 Philadelphia, the story introduces us to well-heeled fledgling reporter Poppy Thornton. Not content to cover book clubs and fashion, Poppy is ripe and ready to buck the status quo. She wants to be a CRIME reporter. When an acquaintance’s suicide turns out to be murder, Poppy gets her shot. Aiding her investigation is ghost Chesterton Holte, a revenant back to make amends.
Haunting Investigation falls directly under the traditional mystery umbrella: Amateur sleuth, no profanity, no violence, no sex, no surprises. As one would expect from Yarbro, the history is solid. She writes in the language of the 1920s, including a healthy sprinkling of fun contemporaneous expressions like, “But if Red Grange can have a miracle, so can I.” Or, “What in the name of Black Jack Pershing happened?” The immersion is fun.
The mystery here is low-stakes and low-tension, and despite engaging characters and the virtues listed above, I didn’t much care whodunnit. This turned out to be a good thing as Yarbro offers little in the way of resolution. The real question is whether the story left me vested enough to read book two. Unfortunately, the answer is no, but for fans of traditional mystery or historical cozies, the answer very well might be yes.
Thanks to NetGalley and Cleveland Writers Press Smoke & Shadow Books for the opportunity to read and review this title. ...more
This collection of ghost stories assembled and introduced by Audrey Niffenegger is a delight. Tales run the gamut from Poe’s macabre masterpiece, “TheThis collection of ghost stories assembled and introduced by Audrey Niffenegger is a delight. Tales run the gamut from Poe’s macabre masterpiece, “The Black Cat,” to Amy Giacalone’s laugh-out-loud, “Tiny Ghosts” and PG Wodehouse’s, “Honeysuckle Cottage.” A seemingly disproportionate number of the stories have protagonists who happen to be writers. Difficult to say if this was intentional on Niffenegger’s part. Perhaps writers are more likely to be haunted? Reader beware: Ghostly is more a survey of fine ghost tales than an anthology of scary stories. Still, there is plenty here to lift the hairs on the back of the reader’s neck. Given modern technology and today’s political climate, Ray Bradbury’s post-apocalyptic, “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains,” made my blood run cold.
Thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for the opportunity to read and review this title. ...more
Despite an interest in WWII France, I should have trusted my instincts and left this one on the shelf. I've read Kristin Hannah in the past and relegaDespite an interest in WWII France, I should have trusted my instincts and left this one on the shelf. I've read Kristin Hannah in the past and relegated her to the chick-lit category. That’s not a snub. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying books for and about women, but stories of tragic romance and selfless motherhood rarely hold my attention. In Hannah’s books, men are little more than shadow figures, and The Nightingale is no exception.
While the history is solid—there are anachronisms but no gaping holes—melodrama replaces reality, making for an overwrought and sentimental tale. The Harlequin-worthy romances further weaken the story, or more accurately weaken the two protagonists. Both women, sisters, are beautiful (of course). One brave and reckless, the other cowardly but via her heart of gold checks her fears. I felt no connection to either, and my interest waned frequently. I found the only compelling character to be Captain Beck. My tough luck, he being a male and all.
If you’re a fan of historical romance, and you want to read something set in Nazi occupied France, The Nightingale may be exactly what you’re looking for. If, on the other hand, you want to read exquisitely written historical fiction set during the period, pick up Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. ...more
In 16th century Spain at the height of the Inquisition, the heir apparent, Don Rolon, pays for the sins of his father via a curse uttered while RolonIn 16th century Spain at the height of the Inquisition, the heir apparent, Don Rolon, pays for the sins of his father via a curse uttered while Rolon was still in his mother's womb. At the height of each full moon, Rolon, despite his devotion to Church and country, secretly suffers the beast within. With his treacherous half-brother, estranged father/king, and the Inquisition all looming, the risk of discovery threatens not only Rolon but those who fight to protect him and his right to accession.
The most compelling characters are Lugantes—a jester, and Rolon's converso valet Ciro Eje. Rolon himself is fleshed out little beyond a single internal conflict. Yes, I was on his side, but only because he had the support of more fully realized players close to him.
The Godforsaken is the first Chelsea Quinn Yarbro standalone I’ve read, though I’ve long been a fan of her Saint-Germain series. The story starts off slow and a bit muddled, in part due to the multiple names employed for several of the characters. There are abrupt point of view shifts and scene transitions throughout, and I occasionally had to backtrack to make sure I didn't miss something. Overall, the first two-thirds of the the book is a solid read, but it is the final third where the tension ratchets up and the story soars.
While the characters are fictional, the Spanish setting and terror of the Inquisition are not. Don't expect your typical shapeshifter tale. The core of the story lies not with Don Rolon's internal struggle, but with the recounting of the Inquisition, and the danger of handing power to men so blinded by faith, they are unable to see their own hypocrisy. An important lesson, particularly in the world we live in today.
This was a 3+ star read for me. It is certainly a cut above average, but because of the issues mentioned above, not a 4.
Recommended for fans of Yarbro's unique blend of supernatural and historical fiction as well as for readers who appreciate political intrigue, detailed historical settings, and don't mind a twist of the paranormal.
Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for the opportunity to read and review this title....more