The Masked Ball at Broxley Manor by Rhys Bowen

5545B696-EFA9-4B32-8B82-F3E4D0C21BEC 

The Masked Ball at Broxley Manor is a short prequel to the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. In this novella we are introduced to Lady Georgina who has just had an unsuccessful season out in society. She feels she will never be able to attract a suitable man but decides to accept an invitation to a masked ball anyway. At the ball there is an attack on a prince and Lady Georgina is kissed by a charming masked man. 

Though short I enjoyed getting to know Lady Georgina and I felt that the characters were developed. I look forward to reading more In the series.

Traitor by Jonathan de Shalit

1381C497-D4B9-42C1-983E-1EA2886B4A6C In Traitor by Jonathan de Shalit an Israeli man walks into an American embassy and offers to betray his country and become a spy. Many years later a top secret team is put together because there is a hint that there may be a spy in a high position of the Israeli government. 

I don’t want to give to much more of the premise away but I think it is an intriguing premise. However, I found the beginning a bit confusing and it took me awhile to figure out what was going on. There was also very little character development and I felt the story could have been more intriguing had I known more about the characters and understood them and why they did some of the things they did. 

I did enjoy reading about how spy’s work, some of the tricks they use, how they communicate with one another, etc. and I found that all very fascinating and it is probably what kept the story engaging for me. 

Saving Sophie by Ronald H. Balson

93EBD1E1-D1B7-49FE-A3E9-8F8C5583908A 

Saving Sophie by Ronald H. Balson is the second book in his Liam Taggart & Catherine Lockhart series. $88 million dollars has been embezzled and Liam is hired to find the money. He soon discovers this isn’t just a simple case of embezzlement but a case involving a kidnapping and a terrorist cell from Palestine. 

I thought the book was good. It moved at a good pace and kept me engaged. However, I did not feel as connected and drawn to the characters or the story as I did in Once We Brothers

Cape May by Chip Cheek

23CF1455-4CA4-4AF3-8623-B1AFDA02031B

I have thought a long time about whether or not to post a review about Cape May by Chip Cheek. It was the worst, most horrible book I have ever read and I have so many problems with it. I don’t want anyone to see it and without reading the review think I am encouraging anyone to read it. The cover of this book gives the feeling that this would be a great, relaxing summer read and so I decided I wanted to at least let people know that that is not the case and hope they read at least a bit of this review and not just look at the picture. 

In 1957 Henry and Effie go to Cape May for their honeymoon. The town is almost deserted and there is not much to do. The story starts with them getting it know one another in intimate ways and trying to find things to do in this town where not much is going on. They discover some people in a house where multiple people are coming and going and there is a huge party every night. They are soon caught up with these people and their parties. 

That may sound like a nice enough plot but really all that this book is about is sex. It really is just the story of a horny guywho has sex with more than one other woman on his honeymoon and thinks this is ok. He says he loves his wife but his actions show he really doesn’t. I felt like this book showed a false side to what love is. Love is not wanting to have sex with someone. I thought maybe this would be a coming of age story and that Henry would grow up and learn about love. But nope, Henry spends his life thinking it is not only okay but also perfectly normal to continually cheat on his wife. I also had a big problem with the idea that boys will be boys and all men cheat on their wives. This story was only about sex and it was very explicit in showing this. I also thought this was totally unnecessary. I got the idea that Henry was a jerk who was more concerned about having sex than about the feeling of others.  I didn’t also need to read in detail about the sexual experience. I skipped through those scenes and would skip through pages and pages before there was something else happening. Henry often talked about how the feeling to cheat would rise up and take over and control him. I also did not like this idea being promoted. This is a completely false idea. We do have control over our thoughts and we do not need to act on every impulse we have. The last thing that really bothered me was that there were absolutely no consequences to Henry’s actions. He goes on to have a good life in his view. I don’t like the idea of people reading that it is ok to do what you want be be completely selfish without it ever affecting you.

I have tried hard to figure out why this book is called literary fiction. I just can’t come up with any reason and I don’t think anyone should read it.

My copy of Cape May was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Temper by Layne Fargo

7F5E6582-F858-4ACF-8AFC-6AED331A599B Temper by Layne Fargo is a psychological thriller. Kira, an ambitious actress has finally landed a good role. She will be working for Malcom, a director who pushes his performers past their limits. Though Kira is warned she feels she can handle Malcom. She learns exactly what she is capable of in handling Malcom.

I found this to be a compelling story though I didn’t really like any of the characters. They were all so manipulative! I often felt like the sorry was like driving past a car wreck where you just can’t help but look. I found the plot to be an interesting idea with crazy enough characters to pull it off but there was just to much casual, thoughtless sex and bad language for me to really enjoy the story. 

My copy of Temper was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks

The Sheriffs of Savage Wells by Sarah M Eden

747D40B3-3C30-45BB-9CBC-C0661743FE58 In The Sheriffs of Savage Wells by Sarah M. Eden the town of Savage Wells is in need of a new sheriff. Paisley Bell knows she is the best person for the job. She knows the people in the town and understands them. She wants someone to watch out for them because they care for them. Cade O’Brien hears of the job opening and applies wanting a calmer job, a town with less violence. Paisley and Cade each try to prove that they are the perfect candidate for the job of sheriff in Savage Wells.

This was a fun, easy read. I grew up watching westerns with my dad and could very easily picture this book as a western. The town was well described and I loved the quirky characters. This town is full of them. There were a few things that were mentioned that I didn’t think matched with the knowledge of the time period but the quirky characters outshone those instances. This was the first in a series and I look forward to reading more about Savage Wells.

The Reckoning by John Grisham

E2C7901E-5112-4DCD-B696-1F564CDE434E The Reckoning by John Grisham grabbed me from the very beginning. One morning Pete Banning, a favorite in Clayton, Mississippi, walked in and shot his pastor and went home. When the sheriff came he calmly handed over his gun. As he was questioned by police, his family, a jury, his only remark was “I have nothing to say.” 

I had no idea where this story was going until the end. We come to learn of Peter and his story, of his time in the jungles of the Philippines during World War II, of his family relationships. We follow his sister and children as they try to come to grips to what Peter has done. I became invested in the characters and following their lives so at times this was an emotionally difficult read. 

I really enjoyed the look into the death penalty. The story also shows the lasting effects on many from just one choice of one person

1984 by George Orwell

A4589A54-4C4D-432B-B7DD-F5A12E43C934 Even though 1984 by George Orwell has been around for a long time this is the first time I have read the book. Having heard of different references many times I was excited to finally be reading it. 1984 is a futuristic look at a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and Winston’s attempt at individuality. 

I enjoyed the beginning of the book as Orwell sets up his world. I could very easily picture the world and the people in it. There is a point in the book where the Brotherhood Handbook is included. This is where things went downhill for me. I really struggled to get through the handbook. While earlier in the book I enjoyed learning about how this world operated I did not enjoy the in depth look. This could be because I was not interested in a nonfiction book and this is essentially what the handbook is. This part of the book dragged on and on and I did a lot of skimming. I found the ending to be depressing. I like books that show goodness and the selflessness of mankind and kept waiting for that to happen. I also don’t agree with the book and the warning that it is trying to make. I don’t think that the world will become the state of 1984 because there is to much love in the world. It may be difficult to find but it is there and I believe in the power of mankind

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson

688818CF-1758-491E-B3DD-4EEE1B65D367 Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson begins with Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, being unexpectedly attacked at a fundraiser by Ben Solomon.  Ben accuses Elliot of being a former Nazi SS officer. When Ben’s accusations are dismissed he turns to attorney Catherine Lockhart to sue Elliott. As the lawsuit proceeds and Catherine gathers the information she needs we learn about Ben and his past and how that past involved Elliot. 

The book is more about Ben’s story than about the lawsuit. I found his story gripping and it sucked me in. I loved the themes of love, greed, kindness and sacrifices for others even among terrible things, and power and the affects it has on people. I was reminded of the importance of remembering the Holocaust. 

Though Once We Were Brothers is the first book in the Liam Taggart & Catherine Lockhart series I felt more drawn into the story of Ben than Liam & Catherine. Catherine as a lawyer involves her friend Liam, a private detective, to help her. I loved the story of Ben and found his character much more fascinating than Liam and Catherine. I am looking forward to continuing the series though and having more character development with Liam and Catherine.

A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd

CB995363-C731-4A56-98A8-21C791AF6795 A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd is the story of the Hawaiian Islands In 1779. It is the story of James Cook and his crew in the Hawaiian Islands. It is the story of Maile, the second daughter of the local chief. It is the story of two very different cultures disagreeing, misinterpreting one another and also learning how to come together. 

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were intriguing and I got caught up in their story. I loved learning about the early Hawaiian Islands and found it so fascinating that I did some additional research and found everything the author portrayed accurate. I loved learning about the Hawaiian culture and customs and I thought the author did a great job in showing how important it is to understand other cultures and the beliefs of others and also how difficult it is to do. 

My favorite part of the book was probably the atmospheric writing. Especially the description of the sea. Some of the descriptions were absolutely beautiful. In many ways the sea becomes a character in the book and the author gives the sea as much development as the other characters. 

While I loved many things about this story I do wish that the climax of the story lasted a bit longer. I felt that so much was leading up to this final event and then it was over so quickly. 

When I read at the end that this story was based on the author’s fourth great grandparents I couldn’t help but think what a wonderfully family story it was and I could picture it being handed down from generation to generation. 

My copy of A Song for the Stars was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!