Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Heir and the SpareThe Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Heir and the Spare fits into one of my newfound favorite subgenres, romance with royals. I am by no means a royal watcher but, I do love these modern royal romance stories. I received a copy of The Heir and the Spare through Edelweiss and loved it. It is the story of Evie who is accepted at Oxford not only following in both her parents' footsteps but also following one of her mom's requests. Evie's mother gave her some really poignant and heartfelt letters that include some hints from her time in Oxford and also about her life. Evie does not know much about her mom's family and neither does her father so he is not able to answer many questions. As Evie follows what amounts to a quest to learn more about her mom's past she learns more about herself. Along the way she meets an amazing man, that turns out to be the youngest prince of England. This appears to be loosely based upon the real royal family so it allows the author some liberty that allows the author to give the story the kind of ending that we all love. Of course, Evie meets some great friends at Oxford, all colorful and well-developed. There has to be at least one love-interest that wants a prince all to herself so there is some contention. But, this woman is willing to fight dirty and causes Evie no small amount of pain as things are exposed that she was still trying to learn about her family and herself.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Golem of ParisThe Golem of Paris by Jonathan Kellerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Golem of Paris is the second installment in the Jacob Lev books by Jonathon Kellerman along with is son Jesse Kellerman. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. I read The Golem of Paris on the first leg of a flight overseas which are flights that I typically cannot sleep despite their length. In this book, Jacob is in his new assignment where it appears he is being punished for failure to follow orders of his new team lead in the special ops team he was moved to in the first book. Despite being reassigned to the traffic division, the members of his special ops team are still keeping an eye on him because they expect Mai, the person they are trying to catch to reach out to Jacob again. They are not sure of Jacob's loyalty and whether he is willing to divulge any communication he has had with Mai.

Jacob is moved back to the special operations team where he is given another task that appears to be just busy work, but he comes across a case that was intentionally left for him as he scanned old cases onto the network. It is a cold case where a mother and her young son were murdered and left out in the open. Jacob begins investigating on his own time and eventually convinces the team leader that it is a case that should be investigated officially. While he investigates he is also spending time with his mother at the nursing facility. He tries different tactics to reach her and finally seems to reach her when she accidentally sees the details of the case he is investigating. It eventually leads him to a current like crime that just occurred in Paris, France. He travels to Paris with one of the team members to watch over him. Jacob finds that the case involves a Russian oligarch that is going to be hard to reach.

As the reader is given a deeper glimpse into Jacob's relationship with his mother the story delves into his mother's history. We meet her as a teen still living at home with her parents who are both very damaged by their history as Jews in Eastern Europe. As a result, Bina was never raised as Jewish though she is aware that it is her family's history. We see how Jacob's parents met and learn about how his mother was damaged mentally. What Jacob finds in his current investigation eventually dovetails with his mother's history and we learn some shocking things about Bina. Jacob also learns things that allow him to give his relationship with his father a second look. The Golem of Paris has a great mystery and also contains some urban fantasy aspects that touch on Jewish mythology. The story is action-packed and does contain some violent aspects that almost have a horror aspect. I look forward to reading more in this series.
Fatal Exchange (Christy, #3)Fatal Exchange by Cindy M. Hogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fatal Exchange was one of the books I chose to take with me to read during a long flight overseas. It was a great choice because not only did it keep me entertained but it also made the flight seem much shorter than the 8 hours it took. I received a free copy of Fatal Exchange in exchange for an honest review. It is the third installment in the Christy series about a teenage undercover agent. In Fatal Exchange, she is stationed in Paris where she is working with her team to retrieve a flash drive from a very reluctant French informant who says he has information that puts the entire nation of France in danger. Christy is wearing one of her disguises and moves in to retrieve the drive when things go terribly wrong. Christy's team is supportive of her and believe in her ability to turn things around with the information she was able to retrieve. But, her current director disagrees and suspends her from active duty pending the arrival of her handler who has been MIA for four months. Christy believes that she knows how to turn things around and goes undercover without any active backup in the field where she infiltrates an underground pickpocketing group that turns out to be more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. When she turns up information that she cannot act on alone she goes back to her director and convinces her that the agency should be officially involved to follow-through with the work Christy began. Information is uncovered that makes the mission even more dangerous for not just Christy but also for an organization that reaches the highest levels of the French government.

Fatal Exchange has some really interesting characters. Christy, of course, is a bit of a loose cannon, but she is extremely gifted. The other team members only have cursory descriptions that are more related to their work personalities and duties so we do not know much about them yet other than that they work well together and have good chemistry. Her handler is someone she has deep feelings for and it is a relationship that cannot go beyond co-workers because it is against policy and could cause them to lose their jobs. There is a new addition to the team that comes from Christy's past and their relationship is so volatile that it is not quite clear whether Summer will have her back when things get really bad or if she will leave Christy hanging when it really counts. Fatal Exchange is a great addition to this series and it is full of action and it contains a great story. I had one thread I was not quite sure was answered but, it was not enough to change how much I loved the story.

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