BOOK REVIEW: A Spy With Scruples by Gary Dickson

This post is going to take a look at A Spy with Scruples written by Gary Dickson. It is the sequel to An Improbable Pairing, and was released in March 2020. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book picks up right where the last one left off. While the happy couple, Scott Stoddard, and the former Countess de Rovere are honeymooning, Scott receives word to report for testing that may revise his draft status for the Vietnam War. Apparently he did too well on the test and now the CIA wants him to work for them, and he has no choice. Work for them, or get drafted.

A Spy with Scruples focuses much more on what is going on with Scott, than DesirΓ©e. In the last book, I was impressed that a male author, writing about a romantic relationship would write about such a strong willed woman during the early 1960s, when she was brought up with a certain decorum of how she should act. This book back tracks all of that. She’s now the typical pregnant wife that takes the back seat. We see Scott starting to make decisions to get them back to their carefree lifestyle.

Readers watch as he manipulates the press in multiple countries, and even the CIA, in hopes of getting out of service, without ending up drafted or dead. The book was a decent read, but I was quite disappointed in the drastic change between the style of the first book and the second. I’d be interested to see how this relationship may change, if there were to be a third book now that their lives have returned to a calm state.

I’d be interested in hearing what any of you have thought about this book.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Serpent’s Shadow (the Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan; adapted by Orpheus Collar

This review will center on the third, and last graphic novel adaptation of The Serpent’s Shadow, the epic finale to Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles trilogy. The graphic novels were adapted by Orpheus Collar, and this book was released in 2017.

The Serpent’s Shadow is the darkest of the three books in both subject matter and art. The coloring reminds me of Jafar, with a lot of reds and blacks. In this book we find the Kane siblings attempting to turn Apophis’s shadow into a weapon against him. All of the side groups are divided against each other, and whether or not they support the Kanes’ mission in this story. And in all of this the stakes have never been greater, as Apophis is after the entire world, and wants to pitch it into darkness.

This was an excellent addition to the series, though I found Sadie a bit annoying in this one. Why does she have the be the annoying character that just wants one normal night, and not her brother? Why do we need to have a weird love triangle in her plot line, but not her brother? Her brother has his love interest, but he remains focused on the mission. I think I would have enjoyed this even more if Riordan hadn’t chosen to stick with gender stereotypes here of which genders come off as strong vs. weak.

I can’t wait to read the full length novels. I wonder if they will change my perception of the stories at all?

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan; adapted by Orpheus Collar.

This post will take a look at The Throne of Fire, the second book in the Kane Chronicles series written by Rick Riordan. I am taking a look at the graphic novel adaptation, that was adapted by Orpheus Collar, who adapted the first novel as well. It was published in 2015.

This second installment of the Kane Chronicles starts developing more of the characters and action. There is a lot more fighting in this book and we meet more of the gods. The main quest in this book is for the Kane siblings, and their trainees, to find the three pieces of the Book of Ra. In doing this they are going against the House of Life and the gods. Readers will be in the real world, and the world of the gods as they try to find the pieces and put the puzzle together. They need the Book of Ra to wake Ra from his coma-like-slumber.

I think this installment does a good job of balancing the serious fighting parts with comedic relief, like at the nursing home for the gods. It is a little difficult to slow down, as the entire book takes place at a roaring pace with non-stop action. This is probably my favorite of the three graphic novels in this series, though it is a close call between this and The Serpent’s Shadow.

I encourage you to pick this up for a fun read filled with action and Egyptian mythology.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Red Pyramid (The Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan; adapted by Orpheus Collar

This book review will focus on the graphic novel adaptation of The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. It was adapted by Orpheus Collar. It was published in 2012, and I borrowed this title from a friend.

In this first installment of the series, readers are introduced to the main characters, Sadie and Carter Kane. They are siblings that were not raised together. Sadie was raised by her grandparents and Carter travelled with their father. The two are tween to teenaged in these books. Carter has learned much about Egypt and the Egyptian gods during his travel with his father, but the two learn that the gods are real and waking in this graphic novel. The Egyptian god Set is the main villain in the book. This book is entirely introduction to the world where the siblings come to terms with their family’s destiny, learning magic, and starting their journey.

I found this graphic novel to be a great read for tweens and teens. It was still enjoyable for me, but I found myself wanting more detail, which I hope to find when I eventually read the novels for this series. The imagery does a really great job of pacing the story along. The colors used change the mood of the story too.

This was a fun read, and I hope you all enjoy it!

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron.

This review is going to take a look into the world of historical fiction and castles. The Painted Castle is the third and final novel in Kristy Cambron’s Lost Castle series. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was published October 15th and I highly recommend readers pick up a copy.

Kiera Foley had been working on a PhD in Art History when she was ostracized from the art world. She retreated back to Dublin and we find her working in the family pub when a dark and mysterious man shows up and makes her an offer. Little does she know, it’s an offer that she can’t refuse. She arrives in the English countryside and is delivered to a rundown manor housing a painting of Queen Victoria the she must study for authenticity.

This book tells the story of the manor and those that lived there in three different points in history. The life of the viscount and artists in the 1840s, the widow of the viscount and a base full of soldiers during World War II, and that of Keira in modern day, as they work to restore the honey cottage and beautiful library that was found bricked up on the premises.

Cambron does an outstanding job of using the three couples’ stories to create the big picture of one place throughout time. And although this book is categorized as Christian fiction, it is not as heavily based on the Christian faith as some. I think those that love to get lost in the English countryside and read about art would thoroughly enjoy this book. I will definitely be going back to read the first two books in the trilogy to learn more about Keira’s mysterious brothers.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: Unmanageable by Lavinia Kent

This review is going to focus on Unmanageable by Lavinia Kent. This is the second book in her Forbidden Cove series. I received an eARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The main character of this title is lawyer Veronica Andersen. She lives in Forbidden Cove and commutes daily to the city. Sometimes it’s hard for her to get back home with work events at night, which makes it hard for her to care for her dog she got from her brother after he passed away in a car accident. She’s hired a neighbor to walk her dog when she needs it.

But when she opens the door she doesn’t find the older woman she’s expecting. She finds the woman’s nephew, the sexy Brian Walsh. The two feel an immediate connection, and after an initial hook-up Veronica invites him to be her date to her sister’s wedding.

The two insist they don’t want anything serious, and Veronica doesn’t take the time to get to know Brian. She even judges him for his current lifestyle of being a dog walker and doing sunset yoga on the beach.

But what she doesn’t know is that he was a star goalie in the NHL until a recent injury ended his career. Eventually the two can’t be kept apart and they work on their differences and learn about each other.

This was a fun, interesting read, and I will definitely be picking up other titles in this series.

Happy reading πŸ™‚

BOOK REVIEW: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han.

This is the third book by Jenny Han in her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, and it’s titled Always and Forever, Lara Jean. This part of the story takes a look at LJ’s senior year and what her future in college may look like.

In this plot line we know that Peter won Lara Jean’s heart, and not John Ambrose at the end of the second book. It is now senior year and there are so many activities happening all at once. This includes a class trip to New York City (seriously?!), prom, Beach Week after graduation (again…seriously!?), and we can’t forget her father’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. On top of all of this though, is applying for college and of course, picking a school.

What could possibly go wrong!?

Well, for starters, Margot can’t stand Ms. Rothschild, and she’s pretty vocal about it. She got used to filling their mom’s shoes and taking care of everyone after their mom passed away, and even though she’s away at college, she doesn’t like the idea of another woman filling those roles.

Lara Jean being the anxious over thinker that she is doesn’t let her senior year with Peter go smoothly. Constantly trying to figure out how things could go wrong, they do, as she starts fights that don’t necessarily need to be there. I remember constantly thinking–USE YOUR WORDS and talk to each other instead of thinking about your side only.

The major drama occurring in this installment is that of what college to attend, and will she go to the same school as Peter? Peter has a full ride lacrosse scholarship to the University of Virginia (UVA). The original plan is that they will attend there together, but then Lara Jean receives word that she’s no longer on the wait list for the University of North Carolina (UNC), and has now been accepted.

Where will Lara Jean decide to go? And what will that mean for her relationship with Peter? Could it be something that one last contract would solve?

I enjoyed this book, and the entire trilogy very much. This story was a very fitting, and thoughtful ending to Lara Jean’s story. I hope you all enjoy it too!

Happy reading πŸ™‚