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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

I Owe You One
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Love, Hate & Other Filters
The Wartime Sisters
The Belles
The Gilded Wolves
Hey, Kiddo
Blackberry and Wild Rose
Queen of Air and Darkness
Firestarter
The Retribution of Mara Dyer
The Evolution of Mara Dyer


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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Audio ARC Review: The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40700317-the-secrets-we-kept?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=eCAKuQOKUL&rank=1
Please Note:  I received an advance audio copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice—inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.

At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak's magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world--using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally's tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.

The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story—the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago's heroine, Lara—with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak's country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C. to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature—told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.


Review:
Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres.  I love how people's lives are affected by world events.  The Secrets We Kept, by Lara Prescott, takes place during the Cold War among spies, paranoia in America, and the brutal suppression of dissent in the Soviet Union.  Add to that the backstory of the great literary classic, Doctor Zhivago, and you have the makings of an intensely riveting novel.

What I Liked:
Settings:
The book alternates between the lives of Poet Boris Pasternak in the Soviet Union, and CIA headquarters in Washington D.C.  Both places are full of intrigue.  In the USSR, even being associated with Pasternak gets people thrown in prison.  The brutality of the Communist government makes the point of how dangerous it is to challenge the system.  The novel details the great lengths to which the Soviet government went to suppress even the hint of dissent.

In Washington D.C., the end of WWII is a time of transition for those involved in espionage.  Women are "retired" to the typing pool, while the men get to continue their spy games.  But a few of the women are still used as couriers.  Even those low-level activities are filled with danger.  America in the 1950's comes alive with all the male chauvinism of the era.  It is infuriating to read what these women had to endure.

Characters:
Most of the action is told through the eyes of the women of the story.  In Washington, Irina (a Russian-American) joins the secretarial pool at the CIA.  Her beauty, and Russian language skills, are put to good use as she is recruited into being a spy.  I loved Irina and her fierce determination to lead a better life.

Sally is a more experienced spy who trains Irina.  As they become closer, it's clear that both Sally and Irina have other secrets that are just as dangerous as espionage.  Their affair is both lovely and heart-breaking.

In Russia, we follow Olga, Pasternak's fellow poet and mistress.  Olga pays a high price for her relationship with Boris when she is torn from her children and thrown in prison.  I liked Olga's determination to protect her children, but still support Boris.  But she was far from a love-struck woman.  As the years progress, Olga begins to notice how Boris has little regard for the danger he has put her in.  He chooses to be oblivious about how brutal Olga's prison experience was.  And this has an effect on her love for Boris.

In both worlds, women seem to pay a steeper price for their choices.

Narration:
The novel is performed by a full cast.  This makes for a very enjoyable and easy listening experience. 

Story: 
The story is based on actual events and people, following the creation and publication of Boris Pasternak's novel, Doctor Zhivago.  If not for a few brave people, the world may never have heard of this book, which sharply criticizes the Soviet revolution.  This was also a golden opportunity for the U.S. to broadcast the fact that not all Soviet citizens were enthusiastic about communism.  Not surprisingly, the Americans don't seem too concerned if Pasternak and his family are persecuted for the book.

In Washington D.C., we get a glimpse of female office workers who moonlight as spies.  While the women do get to lead dangerous and exciting lives, they are primarily used for their youth and beauty.  When those things fade, their usefulness evaporates and the women are thrown aside.  It's amazing (and sad) to read how oppressed these patriotic women were.

Rating: 




Release Date:  September 17th, 2019

Author:  Lara Prescott

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Audio Publisher:  Random House Audio

Audio Length:  10 Hours, 56 Minutes

Print Publisher:  Knopf

Page Length:  368 Pages 
 
Source:  Random House Audio

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  A compelling historical fiction filled with spies at the height of the Cold War.  Very enjoyable.
  
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

ARC Review: Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45899334-meg-and-jo?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=hREYQnEQ8l&rank=1
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.


Review:
With the upcoming release of another cinematic version of Little Women, it is fitting that a novel inspired by the Louisa May Alcott classic is coming out as well.  Meg & Jo, by Valerie Kantra is not a true retelling of Little Women.  But it does have many of the elements of the original.  I really enjoyed this book.  It was a very modern novel concerning four sisters and their hopes and dreams, and addressed one of the biggest problems with the original piece.  But be forewarned, this is not a YA novel.

What I Liked:
Setting:
I loved the North Carolina setting and the Jo's New York life.  In North Carolina, the family's lives are centered around their farm and small town. Even though several of the girls have moved away, they all are drawn back to their warm memories of their childhoods, and their strong mother, Abby. 

Characters:  
The personalities of the four sisters remain very similar to those in the original novel.  Beth is rather shy, but determined.  Amy is a young woman used to men admiring her.  Meg is the dutiful daughter.  Ever restless, Jo is reaching for the stars.  It was fun to see these characters in a modern setting.

I also really liked that the book delved into the relationship between the March parents.  I was always troubled that the father was not just out of the picture, but that the women had to fend for themselves.  In this story, the father enlists in the military after 9/11.  He is always prioritizing his service to others over his obligations to his family.  This was infuriating, but also really thought-provoking.

Story:
The story centers on how the girls handle the news that their mother, Abby, is having health issues.  Abby is used to being self-reliant, and has trouble accepting help from others.  The one who should be helping her is her husband, but he is (as usual) distant and unsupportive.  Each sister responds in their own unique way.

Another part of the story revolves around Jo and her attraction to an older man in New York.  This mirrors the original book but with more modern (and mature) situations and consequences.

Romance:
I enjoyed the romance in the book and appreciated that the love scenes were not explicit.  Even without a blow by blow of the action, the scenes were sexy and fun.

What I Was Mixed About:
Although I loved the characters, everyone was a little too amazingly talented.  Jo is a gifted writer, Meg's a super mom, Amy is a Paris designer, while Beth is a rising music star.  This was all too much, and made the story less believable.


Rating: 




Release Date:  December 3rd, 2019

Author:  Virginia Kantra

Publisher:  Berkley Press

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Page Length:  400 Pages

Source:  Netgalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  A fun, modern novel inspired by Little Women.  Very enjoyable.


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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Book Review: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43706466-10-minutes-38-seconds-in-this-strange-world?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=qegFF2Rz1j&rank=2

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
'In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila's consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore. Her brain cells, having run out of blood, were now completely deprived of oxygen. But they did not shut down. Not right away...'

For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life - friends who are now desperately trying to find her. . .


Review:
This year, I am actively trying to read more noted literature.  One of the ways I am finding books is by reading novels that were short-listed for the Booker Man prize.  So far, I have read:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41081373-girl-woman-other?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=m55hvzS3Mk&rank=1https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43811212-quichotte?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Dxq0piUQHi&rank=1


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42975172-the-testaments?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=G4JwmRM2mG&rank=1

Now, I have finished 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in This Strange World, by Elif Shafak.  It didn't win the Booker Man prize.  That honor went to both The Testaments, and Girl, Woman, Other.  But I think 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in This Strange World is my favorite, so far.

What I Liked:
Narrative Style:
The title of the book is in reference to the fact that our brains may still be active after death for 10 minutes, 38 seconds.  In that time, the main character, Leila, recollects on her difficult life.

We've all heard the saying that when we die our lives flash before our eyes.  This is the premise of the book.  Each section covers a portion of Leila's life and the friends she made along the way.  What makes this so powerful is that we know at the end, the character we have come to love, will die.

Setting:
I have never been to Istanbul, Turkey, and this book is certainly not a love letter to the city.  The setting is gritty, and at times terrifying.  Having said that, I'm sure that there are many wonderful parts of Istanbul, but like any large city, there is a parallel community of people on the edges of society.  

I liked the details of the neighborhoods, the food, and the scenery.  Amid poverty, political strife and despair, beauty can be found in even the darkest of circumstances.

Characters:
This story is about the friendships we make when our biological families let us down.  Leila has five really important friendships.  They develop over her life because Leila is such an open and non-judgemental person.  I loved each of her friends.  They each had incredible challenges and were not perfect people.  But their resilience was inspiring.

Trigger Warning for child abuse, self-harm, and sexual assault. 

Rating: 




Release Date:  June 6th, 2019

Author:  Elif Shafak

Publisher:  Viking

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Page Length:  312 Pages

Source:  Public Library

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  Gritty and tough to read, but the payoff is meeting characters that are unforgettable.  An excellent read.


 
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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Audio ARC Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42975172-the-testaments?ac=1&from_search=true

Please Note:  I received an advance audio copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her--freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

"Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in."


Review:
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, is one of my all-time favorite books.  I read it about 30 years ago as a young woman.  It is one of the few novels I have kept over the years and read again and again.  The Testaments (co-winner of the Booker Man Prize) is a very satisfying follow up of the classic.  It is a more in depth look at Gilead, as seen through the eyes of three very different women.  And it's themes continue to be relevant to today.

What I Liked:
Narration:
I was lucky enough to listen to the audiobook of The Testaments, and as it is performed by a full cast, it is a delight.  My favorite narrator is easily that of Ann Dowd, who portrays founding Aunt Lydia.  Her voice is rich with age and sarcasm.  We hear her weariness as she recounts the small (and giant) ways she compromised in order to survive.  I could listen to her all day long, she is so compelling.   

Characters:
The three main characters, Aunt Lydia, Agnes, and Daisy, show us various aspects of Gilead society.  Lydia is one of the founding "Aunts" who enforce strict female gender roles on women.  Her character shows us the origins of Gilead.

Agnes is the favored daughter of a Commander and is planning to become a Wife.  Her role in the book is to show how life is for young woman in the present.  Even though she is not a handmaid, her life is far from favored.  Every plan for her is meant to prepare her as a prize for a Commander.  After knowing her story, we can see that no woman has any real value in Gilead.

Daisy is an outside character living in Canada.  We don't know why she is part of the narrative at first.  She provides the outside perspective of how people living outside America must see Gilead.  This is really fascinating.  I was reminded of how this might be like how an Abolitionist in 1850's America might look at slavery in the South.

In-depth look into Gilead:
In The Handmaid's Tale, we only have a limited perspective of what Gilead is about.  The Testaments goes deep into the origins and process of how Gilead came into being.  It really is scary how the rights of women, for the most part taken for granted, are stripped away with most people barely objecting.  This is eerily similar to events in real life.  Does this occur out of apathy or fear?

Story:
The story follows Agnes as she grows up as a young woman in Gilead.  She is being groomed to lead the life of a Commander's wife.  She actually looks forward to it at first.  But a tragedy has left her motherless and now she is unsure of her future.

As Lydia narrates the past, she also is affecting the present time in the novel.  She will have her revenge on those who have hurt her.  Her plots take decades to mature, but when they do, they may blow up all of Gilead.

Daisy, at first, doesn't seem to fit in the story, but that quickly changes.  her role is really exciting to behold. 

Themes:
When I read The Handmaid's Tale, the idea that women might lose hard won rights seemed unimaginable.  But as we see reproductive rights being challenged in real life, the world of Gilead seems somewhat more possible than I am comfortable with.  And that is the point of the book.  When people are afraid, they will cede rights in order to feel more secure.  This can be exploited by those who have authoritarian tendencies to seize power.



Rating:




Release Date:  September 10th, 2019

Genre:  Speculative Fiction

Author:  Margaret Atwood

Print Publisher:  Nan A. Talese

Page Length: 422 pages

Audio Book Publisher:  Random House Audio

Narrators:  Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Mae Whitman, with Derek Jacoby, Tantoo Cardinal, and the author.

Audio Length:  13 Hrs, 19 Min.

Source:  Random House Audio

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  A stirring reminder that democracies can become authoritarian governments with just a little nudge.  A very satisfying novel. 
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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

ARc Review: Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43263472-twenty-one-truths-about-love?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=qLw9rxFKHF&rank=1
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
1. Daniel Mayrock loves his wife Jill…more than anything.
2. Dan quit his job and opened a bookshop.
3. Jill is ready to have a baby.
4. Dan is scared; the bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent.
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble. He’s ashamed.
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.

This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances—he wants to become someone.

1. Dan wants to do something special.
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary.
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure.
4. Of living in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.

Dan is also an obsessive list maker, and his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.


Review:
I have really mixed feelings about Twenty-one Truths about Love, by Matthew Dicks.  On the one hand, I was impressed that a story could be told reasonably well with only a series of lists.  On the other hand, the main character is hardly likable, and having an entire book written in lists quickly becomes an irritating gimmick.

What I Liked:
Story:
The lists, over time, reveal a man who is becoming desperate.  His bookstore is losing money, his wife wants to start a family, and he really has no friends.  His self-esteem continually takes a beating to the point where he is willing to doing anything to get money.  It's actually rather sad.

What I Was Mixed About:
The Lists:
While I was surprised that a series of lists could convey so much emotion, it became too much of a gimmick.  One of the reasons I didn't feel it completely work is that many of the lists are so random.  Why include lists of cars?    I like some lists in a book, but couldn't they be situated at the beginning of each chapter?

At times, I felt like I was reading more of an outline rather than a novel.  This made me wonder if anyone would be willing to pay nearly $25 for a book outline. It really seemed like a very unfinished work, rather than a full novel.

Characters:
Dan, the main character, has such low self-esteem that he:
1.  Is jealous of his wife's dead husband.
2.  Lies to his wife constantly.
3.  Is a poor businessman.  
4.  Makes many selfish decisions in an attempt to avoid facing the consequences of his actions.
5.  Is a jerk!

While I did sympathize with his plight, this did not excuse his incredibly stupid behavior.

I also liked the wife, Jill, and Dan's one friend, Bill.  However, I would have loved to know more about them.  Again, lists can only take the story so far.

As far as books go, I think if you want to read this, wait for it to come to your local library.  It did have some interesting moments, but I wouldn't want to pay money for a series of lists.  Give me a novel, and I'd consider it.

Rating: 




Release Date:  November 19th, 2019

Author:  Matthew Dicks

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

Genre:  General Fiction

Page Length:  352 pages

Source:  Netgalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  While it did have some interesting moments, I wouldn't want to pay full price for a series of lists. 

 
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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Audio ARC Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42265183-the-beautiful?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=VFBmMFOEKa&rank=1
Please Note:  I received an advance audio copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

Review:

I am a huge fan of author Renée Ahdieh.  She is a master of creating exotic atmostpheres and suspenseful situations.  The Beautiful, her latest Gothic novel, is set in New Orleans in the Gilded Age.  It is filled with shadowy characters, romance, and a series of grizzly murders.  I loved all of this plus the audiobook performance of narrator Lauren Ezzo.  She makes listening to this audiobook so much fun!

What I Liked:
Narration:
Lauren Ezzo performance is truly remarkable.  She completely embodies every character, from men to women, to vampires, to... others.  She has to use several different accents, which helps distinguish between who is speaking, and does each one believably.  She also was really was expressive when she read from the point of view of the killer!  So creepy!

Narrative Style:
Most of the book is written in the third person and follows the main character, Celine.  But this is interspersed with chapters from the killer's point of view.  It was so compelling to try to figure out who the killer could be, based on what those chapters say.

Setting:
New Orleans in the 1870's comes alive with all the decadence of the Gilded Age.  From the elaborate clothing to the multi-course feasts, the lucky few who are part of this rarefied world gluttonously gorge themselves on the efforts of others.  Considering this is a vampire story, this is fitting. 

Characters:
Celine is a tough survivor who is battling between her religious upbringing and her desires to live on her own terms.  She has to figure out she is not only her worst mistake.  People can make poor choices, but that doesn't mean they are terrible.  There are more shades to people than good and evil.

Bastian is the mysterious young man who Celine is drawn to.  She knows he is trouble but also that there is more to him than meets the eye.  Is he a murderer, or just a tormented orphan?  Why is he surrounded by a cadre of people with unusual abilities?  Slowly Celine learns the truth.

I also really like Celine's friend, Pippa.  She and Celine have both immigrated to New Orleans to begin a new life.  Pippa may be the "side kick", but she is no push over.  She is a realist who wants the security of being married.  But she is also a fiercely loyal friend who stands by Celine.

Mystery:
The plot revolves around finding out who is behind a series of gruesome murders.  Many of the deaths seem to be tied to Celine, but why?  The killer give us many clues so we do know why Celine is involved, but not how it will be resolved.  I enjoyed speculating on who the killer was.  This made the book very compelling. 

What I Was Mixed About:
The book focuses on the upper echelons of New Orleans society, so much so that you might wonder where all the Creole people are.  While several characters are mixed race, there are no major characters who are Creole or African-American.  That is unfortunate.    Since Creole culture is so entwined with New Orleans, it is a missed opportunity not to include more characters with these backgrounds.  This would have made for an even richer experience.


Rating: 

Release Date:  October 8th, 2019

Author:  Renée Ahdieh

Audio Publisher: Listening Library

Narrator:  Lauren Ezzo

Audio Length:  13 Hrs, 10 Min.

Print Publisher:  Penguin Random House

Page Length:  448 Pages

Genre:  Gothic Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Source:  Listening Library

Format:  Audiobook

Recommendation:  A very compelling listening experience, especially due to the talented narrator, Lauren Ezzo.  Highly entertaining. 


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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

ARC Review: The Glass Thief by Gigi Pandian

Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Edelweiss):
A locked-room mystery at a Paris mansion. A supposed ghost haunting a French family who looted treasure from Cambodia.A reclusive thriller author writing a novel in honor of historian Jaya Jones—is it a work of fiction or a devious device to lure Jaya into solving a chilling mystery?Three unsolved murders spanning seventy years have befallen the same French family, each taking place two nights before Christmas at their Paris mansion—and blamed on the family ghost. When Jaya realizes the truth hits closer to home than she realized, she must risk everything as she flees San Francisco for France and Cambodia to find a missing sculpture known as the Serpent King and stop a flesh and blood killer.
 
Review:
This is the third Jaya Jones Mystery I have read (along with a book of short stories), and I am really enjoying the series.  The newest installment, The Glass Thief, is an action-packed adventure.  I loved the settings, characters, and story.
 
What I Liked:
Settings:
The story takes place on three continent!  Beginning at Jaya's home base, San Francisco, Jaya races first to Paris and then to Cambodia.  I enjoyed all the details of each place. Each area comes alive with descriptions such as the foggy skylines of the San Franscisco Bay Area, the Christmas markets of Paris, and the rugged beauty of a Cambodian temple.

Food:
Something else I love about all of Pandian's books is all the mouth-watering descriptions of food!  One of Jaya's traits is that she loves spicy foods.  We read all about her adventures in eating spicy Indian curries in San Francisco and burning soups in Cambodia (check out her Accidental Alchemist series some amazing recipes!).  All of the author's characters have a deep appreciation of everything they eat.
 
Characters:
I like how Jaya has a community of interesting people in her life.  They are each fully formed characters that I want to know more about.  There is Sanjay, her magician friend, Brenna, a tough as nails librarian, and Lane, Jaya's boyfriend who has a dark past.

This book focuses more on Lane than any other in the series that I've read so far.  We come to see why Lane behaves the way he does.  And he is not perfect, at times rationalizing his actions to benefit himself.  This is one of the things that causes friction in his relationship with Jaya.  Can Jaya love all of Lane, even the morally ambiguous parts?

Story:
I liked all the action in the story.  Not only are there several puzzles to solve, but also a murders.  It's up to Jaya to figure out who is behind everything.  Hopefully not Lane!
 
As there are more than one mystery to solve, the plot does get rather complicated.  Some people aren't who they say they are, and we find people have connections to others that are uncovered.  But discovering all of this adds to the fun.
 
This was a very enjoyable book that was a real page-turner.  If you enjoy mysteries, you will love it!
 
Rating: 
 
 
 
 
Release Date:  November 12, 2019
 
Author:  Gigi Pandian
 
Publisher:  Henery Press
 
Genre:  Mystery
 
Page Length:  274 pages
 
Source:  Edelweiss Plus
 
Format:  E-Book
 
Recommendation: An action-packed mystery adventure filled with fun characters, delicious food, and exciting locations.  Very enjoyable.  

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2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.
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80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
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