spies

As Death Draws Near

26177728As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber
Berkley: July 5, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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As Death Draws Near is the fifth outing in the Lady Darby historical mystery series. With this fifth book there is a bit of a change in the series now that Keira is married to inquiry agent Sebastian Gage. These two have come along way from the first book, when Gage suspected Keira of murder.

At the start of the book, Keira and Gage are enjoying an idyllic honeymoon (for details about their wedding, check out the novella, A Pressing Engagement). Unfortunately, Kiera and Gage’s well deserved vacation is interrupted when Gage’s father sends a request for  both of them to investigate the murder in an abbey in Ireland. Not wanting to risk the local investigators forming biases based on the existing religious tensions in Ireland, Kiera and Gage set sail for Ireland. With the investigation underway, Kiera and Gage delve into local politics and the tense atmosphere of the region, which is only exacerbated when a second nun is found murdered. (more…)

Intrigue, Mystery & Spies in “London Gambit”

29095138London Gambit: Tracy Grant
NYLA: May 5, 2016
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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London Gambit is Tracy Grant’s latest Suzanne and Malcolm Rannoch historical adventure. In this outing, Suzanne and Malcolm are investigating a number of things. First, Malcolm is called to the scene of the murder, only to discover that the man found dead is a former military man and found in a warehouse connected with a previous investigation. Second, Suzanne learns of potential plot to free Napoleon, which could put her and her family at risk, considering that she is a former French spy. And if that wasn’t enough, it seems that the murder just might hit closer to home than Malcolm originally thought when a personal friend seems to be keeping secrets. Luckily, Malcolm and Suzanne have their trusted (and unofficial) band of investigators to help them discover the truth. (more…)

On the Bandwagon with “The Winner’s Curse”

16069030The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Farrar Straus Girou: March 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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So, I’ve finally jumped on The Winner’s Curse bandwagon, only committing to read the first book in the trilogy now that I have both the second and third on hand (cliffhangers, I’m no friend of yours). For the most part, I think Winner’s Curse lives up to the hype that it has received. The writing is gorgeous, and that alone will have me picking up the second book.

For those that have been living in a cave and haven’t heard of this trilogy, let me summarize. Kestrel is a general’s daughter, and it was her father that conquered the Herrani on behalf of his emperor. Now, ten years after the war, Kestrel is living in the city of the fallen and the Herrani serve the Valorian as slaves. When Kestrel purchases a young man at an auction, she sets off a chain of events that leads to revolution. (more…)

“Love, Lies & Spies”: A Young Lady’s Debut

25320766Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
Swoon Reads: April 19, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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Miss Juliana Telford is on the verge of taking her debut in society. However, Juliana is no ordinary young lady. Rather than anticipating her debut, Juliana is heading off to London with an alternative purpose: publication. You see, Juliana is a budding scientist and along with her father has been researching the lady beetle. Now, Juliana wants to get her and her father’s research published, all under the guise of her societal debut. Therefore, its unfortunate that she becomes entangled with Mr. Spencer Northam.

Spencer, like Juliana, is not whom he appears to be. Rather than carousing with the other young men of his age and station, Spencer is investigating a smuggling operation as a spy for the War Office. When Spencer realizes that Juliana will be living with the family he is investigating during the Season, he cultivates a friendship with the young lady, which only becomes complicated when he develops real feelings for her. (more…)

Ghosts in the Manor House: “Lost Among the Living”

25329513Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James
NAL: April 5, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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I’ve been a long-time fan of Simone St. James and I longingly await each new book. I will admit that I struggled a bit with the first half of the book, but there is a turning point in Lost Among the Living and when I reached that there was no way I was putting the book down. If you read it, you will no exactly which event I am referring to.

Jo Manders is a young widow still mourning the loss of her husband, Alex, three years after his disappearance during the war. Due to the fact that Alex’s body was never recovered, Jo has been living in a state of limbo and strained finances, as she cannot receive her widow’s portion without petitioning the court. Instead of pursuing the legal channels, Jo accepts Alex’s aunt’s offer to become her companion. After traveling on the continent with Dottie it’s time to return home. Dottie’s son is returning from his stay at a hospital and Dottie wants to be home to greet him; Jo must also go as she has no other place to call home. (more…)

Spies at the Congress of Vienna in “Vienna Waltz”

9341394Vienna Waltz by Teresa Grant
Kensington: April 1, 2011
Genre: Historical Mystery
Review Source: Free from library.

Outstanding Adventure!
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Vienna Waltz is a historical mystery set at the Congress of Vienna in November 1814. Our principle investigators are married duo Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch. Malcolm is part of the British convoy of diplomats attending the Congress with Lord Castlereagh; he’s part attaché and part spy. Suzanne has her own skill set and proves to be a valuable asset when Princess Tatiana, a woman rumoured to be the mistress of some of the most powerful men at the Congress, is found murdered.

Teresa (a.k.a. Tracy) Grant has been on my radar for a long while; however, I’ve always been hesitant to pick up the series since it has a very strange publication order. Originally, the series began with Malcolm and Suzanne as Charles and Melanie Fraser. Later, the author changed publishers and the characters changed into their existing form. Basically what I was worried about is how exactly I should read these books. Luckily, the author has shared a handy guide on her website and gives readers a recommended reading order. It’s this reading order that I’ve decided to go with. (more…)

Court Intrigue and Subtle Romance in ‘Jeweled Fire’

21528313Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn
Ace: November 3, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Review source: Free from publisher

I’ll go there again!
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Sharon Shinn has long been one of my favorite authors. I love the futuristic technology mixed with religion in her Samaria series, and the hero/heroine pairings and adventures in the Twelve Houses series.

I remember loving the first book in this new series, Troubled Waters, and after finishing this third installment, I’m pretty desperate to get my hands on a copy of the second: Royal Airs.

In Jeweled Fire, young princess Corene is the narrator and heroine. Corene has lived in her elder sister Josette’s shadow for most of their lives, and so she decides to step out of it, to have adventures, to figure out what path she really wants her life to take. At first, she only admits to herself that she is hunting for a prince, and a crown – the things she has been raised to expect, and which she thinks will give her independence and success. (more…)

“The Irresistible Rogue”: Serving Your Country, Through Marriage?

23848336The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman
St. Martin’s: November 3, 2015
Genre: Historical Romance
Review Source: Free copy from publisher.

Beach Vacation
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I loved Bowman’s previous romance, The Unlikely Lady – it was funny, romantic and a little ridiculous (in a good way). So, when I cracked open my eReader to start The Irresistible Rogue I had high hopes. While I certainly liked The Irresistible Rogue, I have to admit that it fell a bit flat in comparison to The Unlikely Lady (which simply sparkled). The Irresistible Rogue was still everything that I’ve come to expect from this author – witty, charming, fun – but I wasn’t quite convinced by the whole spy angle.

At the end of The Unlikely Lady readers learn that Lady Daphne Swift has been married in secret to a spy, Captain Rafe Cavendish. What motivated their marriage of convenience was the necessity of Rafe bringing Daphne along to the docks during a mission where her linguistic skills were an asset. Daphne, you see, speaks Russian, and the men Rafe is tracking only speak Russian. However, the only way Daphne’s elder brother would agree to Daphne’s participation was for Rafe to marry her (in name only) and protect her with his life. Now, a year later, Daphne is ready to move with her life and is on the verge of engaging herself to another man, at least, as soon as her husband grants her an annulment. Complicating matters further is Rafe’s refusal to grant the annulment because he once again needs to call on Daphne’s Russian language capabilities. And he, like Daphne, feels this inconvenient attraction, which makes it quite hard to contemplate an annulment to the very person you’re attracted to. (more…)

In Which We Jointly Review “I Spy a Duke” – and find it falls short of expectations

I Spy a DukeI Spy a Duke by Erica Monroe
Quillfire Publishing: October 5th, 2015 (Historical Romance)

Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley

At long last, another joint review! Jaclyn and I compete for your attention in this post.

We had high hopes for this one, but this was a bit of a dud for both of us. Do you agree with us? Disagree? What did you think of I Spy a Duke?

If you were hoping for a duel, or a joint review in which we at least both liked the book, don’t despair! We’ll have another joint post coming up in which we review Juliet Marillier’s Tower of Thorns.

The Book…

In the first in an adventurous new series, USA Today Bestselling Author Erica Monroe introduces the Covert Heiresses: four women who by day are the talk of the ton, and by night England’s top spies.

She wants revenge…

When bluestocking Vivian Loren becomes the governess for the wealthy Spencer family, she’s searching for clues about the murder of her brother, not a husband. But Vivian didn’t count on James Spencer, the infuriatingly handsome Duke of Abermont.

He needs a wife…

As head of Britain’s elite intelligence agency, James has no time to woo a wife. When he discovers Vivian’s quest for answers has made her a pawn in a treacherous plot, James realizes they can help each other. She’ll become his duchess, and he’ll keep her safe from one of Napoleon’s deadliest spies.

What begins as a marriage of convenience quickly becomes anything but, as they find out love is the most dangerous mission of all.

(more…)

The Pink Carnation Gets Her Happy Ending in “The Lure of the Moonflower”

23398702The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig
NAL: August 4, 2015 (Historical Fiction; Historical Romance)

Outstanding Adventure!
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With The Lure of the Moonflower, Willig’s Pink Carnation series comes to a close, and what a satisfactory ending it was.

Jane Wooliston is the Pink Carnation. The spy the spears dread in the French forces. On her latest mission Jane finds herself in Portugal tracking down the mad Queen Maria before the French  can use her to their adventure. Aiding Jane is the Moonflower, Jack Reid, a spy of dubious loyalty. But, since Jane doesn’t speak Portuguese and Jack happens to be the estranged son of a family friend, Jane grudgingly accepts that she has to work with Jack and has no expectation that she’s going to like it. Of course, when the mission proves to be none too simple these two are forced to work together and are pleasantly surprised by the results. (more…)