26.12.14

THE ACCIDENTAL APPRENTICE, by Vikas Swarup

From the author of Slumdog Millionaire, another immersion in Indian daily life, this time a lively first-person account by Sapna Sinha, salesgirl (top producer, however) of electronics in a chaotic store in downtown Delhi. After her usual visit to the temple of Hanuman, Sapna is accosted by a man claiming to be the CEO of a ten billion dollar empire. And he wants Sapna to be its new CEO. Click below for more...

20.12.14

SCANDALOUS, by Jenna Petersen

Regency romance junkies will find this hot, nicely-plotted novel very satisfying. As Katherine Fleming and her betrothed Colden Mallory celebrate their forthcoming nuptuals, Cole's long-estranged brother shows up. Dominic Mallory has a past, and secrets, but Katherine finds the handsome black sheep compelling in a way her low-key fiance is not. Before the evening ends, Katherine discovers her presumed "safe" husband-to-be already has a wife, presumed dead but soon to reappear. And Dominic Mallory, never intending to open himself up to care for a woman, finds himself with a bride he finds nearly irresistible. Both, to avoid a devastating scandal that will damage the Mallory clan and ruin Katherine's chances for an acceptable marriage, reluctantly agree to the match. The deep-seated reservations each has about the other produces a compelling and fascinating tale, complicated by the devil's bargain Dominic has made. A 4. Petersen is adept at smokin hot seduction scenes; sex is a 3.
Find the prolific, multi-named author at www.jessmichaels.com
Find lots more book reviews in all genres at www.nuts4books.com

DELICIOUS!, by Ruth Reichl

The legendary New York Times food critic has penned her first fiction, and any foodie will find it a completely satisfying read. Food references are everywhere, foodie lore abounds, and Reichl has created a very sympathetic heroine. Starring Billie Breslin, a taste-talented young California chef traumatized by a family tragedy, who goes to work at a long-lived New York food magazine, Delicious! When a friend finds a hidden room behind the magazine's library, Billie is hooked by a series of letters between a young girl in Akron and the legendary James Beard. If I start giving plot details, they'll spoil your experience. This is the perfect holiday gift for a food-oriented person. It's a 4...and a perfectly delicious read.
Find the author at www.ruthreichl.com
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16.12.14

THE TEMPTATION OF THE NIGHT JASMINE, by Lauren Willig

5/series. Another delightful Napoleonic-era historical romance/suspense in the Pink Carnation series, this one starring Robert, Lord Dovedale, who returns from twelve years soldiering in India to avenge his murdered mentor. Immediately he bumps into his young cousin Charlotte, who has fond memories of Robert’s long-ago kindness as her father lay dying. Her old admiration is now tinged with something more adult. Not that Robert notices. Click below for more...

14.12.14

FUNNY MONEY, by James Swain

2/series. Tony Valentine's one hot retiree. Living post-retirement in bucolic Palm Harbor, Florida, the former Atlantic City cop gets a call from his former partner of twenty years. While they're talking, his partner is murdered with a car bomb. Flying up for the funeral, Tony's sucked into the investigation and soon he's back in his old haunts, the casinos of Atlantic City. In short order the plot becomes a snarl of competing thugs and motives, not least of which is Tony's only son, a master of bad judgment (with Tony's total squareness, it's a real wonder how this happened). Click below for more...

10.12.14

DUST, by Martha Grimes

21/series. I think British copper Richard Jury is a George Clooney on paper. Or a Colin Firth. Who knows what the man Jury is supposed to look like? Tall, probably devastatingly handsome, intelligent, with a good sense of humor and - from time to time - a way with women; a cop, a man of morals, a kind man in spite of his calling, a lonely man. Dust is one of author Grimes' later novels, and if you haven't read them all you are in for months of fine reading (or, like me, many sleepless nights of fine reading). Jury is a series character surrounded by quirky individuals who mostly hang out in a pub in the bucolic town of Long Piddleton, and although the books can stand alone do read them in order.  Click below for more...

3.12.14

BUCKING THE SUN, by Ivan Doig

Tracing the building of a dam on the upper Missouri river (so upper it's in Montana), the contentious and highly visible Duff family leaves behind their Depression's bare-bones subsistence farming for the federally-ordered dam. It's an earthen monster a mile across, which has a personality of its own in this marvelous book. Owen Duff is the fillmaster, responsible for the ultimate building of the earthen structure. Massive as it is, one miscalculation could cause a fatal slippage and all would be lost, including the hundreds of workers on the project.  Click below for more...

29.11.14

THE HUNT CLUB, by John Lescroart

I haven't read anything by this talented and prolific author that I didn't thoroughly enjoy, and The Hunt Club - a spin-off from the Dismas Hardy series, somewhere between the 7th and 9th book - is no exception. Wyatt Hunt's life is turned around when he looses his job in Child Protective Services. He's drawn in to the Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitsky orbit (Lescroat has many books featuring this great duo) when a federal judge and his mistress are found murdered in the Judge's home. Click below for more...

27.11.14

VICTORY OF EAGLES, by Naomi Novik

5/series. After months of forced separation after Lawrence’s treason conviction, Temeraire organizes the breeding ground dragons to resist Napoleon’s invasion of England. Lawrence, shunned by service and society, is reunited with his dragon and the battle for England is on. General Wellesley extracts every ounce of flesh from Lawrence, who follows orders he despises for a country that now despises him. Click below for more...

23.11.14

CRUCIBLE OF GOLD, by Naomi Novik

7/series. Leaving wild Australia and its dangers behind, Temeraire and his captain William Lawrence, along with several other British dragons, are being transported to South America, in the hopes of foiling Napoleon’s courting of the Inca empress. Half way across the Pacific, a five-day typhoon batters the ship and, except for the dragons and their crews, all is lost. A quirk of fate puts them in the hands of Napoleon’s agent. Want to know more? Read the book, but read them in order. This is, so far, the most fanciful of the series (Napoleon and an Incan Empress?), but for fans of revised historical adventures, with beautifully-drawn dragons as the icing on the cake, this is a solid 4.
Find the author at www.naominovik.com
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19.11.14

TONGUES OF SERPENTS, by Naomi Novik



6/series. Temeraire and William Lawrence, transported to the penal colony of New South Wales, find themselves embroiled in yet another upheaval as William Bligh (yes, that one) has been ousted from his position as Governor of the colony, and seeks the aid of Lawrence and his dragon. Unwilling to aid the irascible governor, they decide to flee. Click below for more...

15.11.14

A WICKED GENTLEMAN, by Jane Feather

The prolific and entertaining Jane Feather brings yet another Regency romance with substance, flair and entrancing characters. Immured in a quiet English village, three friends - two widows and a spinster - decide to break loose and go to London, where one of them has inherited a crumbling mansion in one of the best squares. But a mysterious Viscount Bonham wants to buy the property and has offered a ridiculous price. When Lady Cornelia - dressed for housecleaning - answers the door and is treated by the arrogant Bonham as a mere scullery maid, she decides to play a prank on him. Click below for more...

12.11.14

THRONE OF JADE, by Naomi Novik



2/series. Temeraire and his captain Will Lawrence, already having seen action over the English Channel to thwart Bonaparte's plans, are cornered by the Admiralty in the form of an irascible officer who wants the dragon returned to his place of origin. Temeraire is a Celestial, a rare Chinese breed. The Asian superpower (even in Napoleonic times) sends a royal envoy, demanding the dragon be returned to his rightful place: the far-off Chinese court. Click for more about this marvelous series...

11.11.14

THE RAKE, by Susan Enoch

1/series. This is the first book in the Lessons in Love series. Six years before, the dashing and thoughtless Lord Dare had broken young Lady Georgiana Halley's heart in a particularly unpleasant and public way. Now Georgie has planned an exquisite revenge that will teach him how it feels when a heart is broken. Crafting an intricate campaign of seduction, she inserts herself into the Dare household as companion to an ailing (or perhaps not) auntie. As she works her wiles on Dare, however, all does not go as planned. Click below to read more...

8.11.14

THE SECRET DIARIES OF MISS MIRANDA CHEEVER, by Julia Quinn

1/series. This delightful novel begins the Bevelstoke series. Remember when you were ten years old and felt like the ugliest duckling in the world? Meet Miranda Cheever, without a doubt one of us. This Regency-era misfit grows up knowing she will never make a match, and that men do not find her attractive. When handsome, dashing Nigel Bevelstoke kisses her hand and promises that one day she will grow into herself, she falls irrevocably in love. Heady stuff for a ten year old. Nigel then swans off into his adult world and complete disaster. Click below for more...

6.11.14

BLACK POWDER WAR, by Naomi Novik



3/series. Escaping China by a handy subterfuge, the Celestial dragon Temeraire and his captain Will Lawrence are ordered to Istanbul to pick up several valuable dragon eggs. A dangerous journey takes them over the Gobi desert, following the ancient Silk Road. In the mountains they encounter a band of feral dragons, barely led by the frenetic, posturing Arkady. When the band of out-of-control ferals decides to follow them, chaos comes along. Click below for more...

5.11.14

ROMANCING MISTER BRIDGERTON, by Julia Quinn

4/series. Part of the Bridgerton series. For a solid Regency romance with a delightful plot, look no further than Julia Quinn, a New York Times Bestselling author. In this quickly-paced book, Penelope Featherington - well on her way to becoming an official spinster - has long loved handsome, popular, charming (insert other adjectives here) Colin Bridgerton, one of the fabled eight Bridgerton siblings. Colin's well used to plain Penelope underfoot as she is his sister's best friend. Click below for more...

3.11.14

A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF, by Lawrence Block



8?/series. Few authors have the chops of Lawrence Block: winner of multiple awards (some multiple wins as well), a lifetime of crafting police procedurals, mysteries of all sorts, with an occasional dip into near-porn when writing under another name. I know when I open one of his books, I’m in for an entertaining time. While the books can be read as stand-alones, I think you'll enjoy them more as a delicious way to spend some time in Matthew Scudder's gritty world. Click below for more...

2.11.14

SIZZLE & BURN, by Jayne Ann Krentz

3/series. Part of the Arcane Society paranormal series, which deals with psychically-superior people. The series sweeps from Victoria England to present day America, this particular tale takes place in Oregon and Washington State and stars Raine Tallentyre, who hears voices. Inheriting an old mansion from her beloved aunt (who also heard voices), she at once senses evil has been in the house. In the basement, a closet with a new lock reveals the bound body of a young woman. Click below for more...

30.10.14

THE DEEPEST WATER, by Kate Wilhelm



One of the rewards of prowling through the library stacks is finding an author you never knew. The prolific and acclaimed Kate Wilhelm is a recent find. The author writes in several genres, so there's lots to pick from. This psychological mystery that unravels in multiple strands, leading the reader on and on. Set in the Cascade Mountains, Abby Connor's author father Jud dies at his remote cabin in what appears to be a drug robbery gone bad. Click below for more...

28.10.14

BEASTLY THINGS, by Donna Leon

20/series. While this book could stand alone, why deny yourself the pleasure of reading the whole Venice-based series starring the marvelous Guido Brunetti and his scholar wife Paola, and two delightful kids (and their delightful meals)? For a series of this length, it's amazing there's been not very many sags. And now that there's such a marvelous body of work, you can spend a month or two immersing yourself in La Serenissima as tourists rarely see it. In this grisly issue, a man's body is found in a canal; he has no identification. Click below for more no-spoiler review...

25.10.14

BONES OF CORAL, by James W. Hall

Mayhem, mutilation and madness, as the back blurb says. A Florida-based murder mystery that brings an unusually weird group of people into play, this non-stop Key West-centered marathon will keep you in its grip right through to the horrific finale. Shaw Chandler, Miami paramedic answers a call to a suicide and recognizes the victim. And knows it wasn't suicide. When the victim's wife dies that night and the house burns, he must return home to the Conch Republic to find out why. Click below for more...

23.10.14

THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY, by Lauren Willig

6/series. Penelope Devereaux’s outrageous behavior finally caught up with her, and she has gone (she really had nowhere else to go, given her what society thinks of her transgressions) to India with her new husband, the completely indifferent and dissolute rotter Freddy Staines. Perhaps, in a decade or two when the furor has died down, she can return home... Click below for more of this no-spoiler review.

20.10.14

CAVENDON HALL, by Barbara Taylor Bradford

2/series. A deliciously-layered Edwardian novel by one of the genre's masters. Set at Yorkshire's stately Cavendon Hall where the myth of stiff-upper-lip is both upheld and exploded by the aristocratic Inhgams and their servants, among them the Swann family. Family passions run deep, tragedies abound, but the ancient bond between these closely-linked families remains unbroken. The novel focuses largely on the second daughter, Lady Daphne, the most beautiful of the "Four Dees". Click below for more...

19.10.14

THE HEIST, by Daniel Silva

17/series. Gabriel Allon, art restorer and Israeli intelligence agent, is working on an Italian master's church altar painting when he learns that an old friend has been arrested for murder. Leaving his wife Chiara in Venice and going to Lake Como, where Julian Isherwood is incarcerated, Gabriel's pressured into a complicated and exotic plot involving stolen masterpieces, vicious murders, and a beleaguered nation's looted treasure. Click below for more...

18.10.14

THE LONG WAY HOME, by Louise Penny

11/series, starring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, now happily retired to the village of Three Pines, scene of many of his griefs and his triumphs. Clara Morrow, after a long work-up of courage, confesses to Gamache that her estranged husband, Peter, has failed to keep a reunion. They'd been separated for a year, and Peter had agreed to return on that day to see what would come next. Clara is sure something has happened to her husband. What follows is as much Penny's fascinating enquiry into the nature of creativity and artistry as a mystery involving a missing painter. Click below for more...

17.10.14

UP IN HONEY'S ROOM, by Elmore Leonard

Set during World War Two, when Detroit was a center of war production and a hotbed of German spies, both domestic and imported. Meet Ukranian faux-Countess Vera Mezwa  and head of a German spy ring, and her faux-gay sidekick, the Romanian cross-dresser Bohdan. Enter the Hot Kid, U. S. Marshall Carl Webster, whose aim rarely fails, whose nerves are of steel, and whose publicity never stops. Tulsa-based Webster, whose father owns a thousand of acres of pecan trees harvested by prisoners from the nearby German POW camp, comes to know Jurgen, a charming German Afrika Corps tank officer. Click below for more no-spoiler review...

10.10.14

BY ITS COVER, by Donna Leon

23/series (plus cookbook). Venetian police Isspetore Guido Brunetti once again follows the clues in this convoluted tale of rare books and the thieves who prey on them. When a prestigious private library realizes some of its works have been vandalized, the police investigate and find a visitor with impeccable American credentials has handled all the ancient, priceless volumes. Pages have been cut out, and some full volumes are missing.  The American scholar, of course, has forged documents. Click below for more...

BAIT AND SWITCH, by Larry Brooks

Wolfgang Schmitt: with a name like that, he's not what you might think. This one's a 6'3" hottie, an ad agency accounts manager with cynical, smartass attitude to spare. Tall, dark, handsome, and, post breakup with the woman he was almost ready to commit to, tired of all of it. When he's offered a million bucks for making the estranged wife of a multi-billionaire fall in love with him, his inner good-guy says no. Then his why-not guy says yes. Click below for more no-spoiler review...

7.10.14

FILM STRIP, by Nancy Bartholomew

2/series. When visiting stripper Venus Lovemotion is murdered, the shot ricochets and hits Sierra Lavotini smack in the butt. Our heroine, headliner and exotic dancer par excellence, is at it again, this time trying to save another dancer at the Tiffany Club from a murder charge. And take it all off with stitches in her ass. Our feisty amateur sleuth manages to knock em dead, including a handsome, sexy stranger who Sierra suspects is a hit man. She's always had a soft spot for the bad guys. Click below for more...

28.9.14

THE NEW COUNTESS, by Fay Weldon

3 (final)/series. England, 1903. When Robert, Lord Dilberne, casually invites the King Edward VII for a fall shoot on his estate, he really doesn't expect the monarch to accept. But he does, and throws Lady Isobel into a complete panic. The stately forty-bedroom pile is dilapidated and must be brought up to the standards of the king's long-time mistress, Mrs. Keppel. The Dilberne bank account is a little shaky, but one never shows that one is slowly sliding down the drain, so Isobel flings herself into the high-end world of stately home renewal.  Click below for more. . .

HABITS OF THE HOUSE, by Fay Weldon

1/series. A delightful Edwardian-era tale from the creator of the original Upstairs/Downstairs script. Immerse yourself in the elegant world of the Dibernes, whose reigning Earl - handsome, urbane, middle-aged Robert - has managed to gamble himself into insolvency while gadding about with King Edward VII. Catastrophe comes when his Jewish financial advisor, Baum, arrives to say the gold mines he'd sunk all his money into had been overrun by the Boers. Facing ruin, what does an Earl and his Countess do? Click below for the answer...

LONG LIVE THE KING, by Fay Weldon

2/series. Further adventures of the Dilberne family, post-crash when the family fortune was thought lost. Now Sir Richard is a confidant of the new king and of the senior men in government including Arthur Balfour and Lord Salisbury (as well as that bumptious noisemaker Winston Churchill), and his investments are solid. Lady Isobel is a leader of society, although bedeviled by her fears that the Duchess of Marlboro - born the incomparable Consuelo Vanderbilt - has her eye on handsome Lord Dilberne. Click below for more...

NATURAL BORN CHARMER, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

7/series. Seeking the answers to why his fabulous life has lost its charm, Dean Robillard, NFL superstar and billboard hunk (underwear), is tooling along a deserted stretch of Colorado highway when he spots the five foot tall beaver waddling along the verge. Inside the moldy-smelling costume is enough trouble to make any red-blooded male swear off women forever: Blue Bailey, abandoned by every male in her life but still in there swinging. Particularly if her weasel of an ex-boyfriend is within arm's reach. Click below for more...

THE MIRACLE STRIP, by Nancy Bartholomew

1/series. Sierra Lavotini is not only the star of this new series, but the star exotic dancer at The Tiffany Gentlemen's Club in Panama City, Florida. Think Gypsy Rose Lee meets Philip Marlowe, to use a dated reference. Sierra is all about Queen of Passion as she takes it off and flashes her 38DD's. Feisty, quick-tempered and fiercely able to take care of herself, Sierra still has a close connection with co-worker Denise, the bartender, and her ever-present sidekick, the mutt Arlo. Click below for more...

23.9.14

BEGUILED, by Alice Borchardt

First, I wish to make it clear that I have no beef with the late Alice Borchardt, and I am not looking for one. I know that her sister, Anne (Rice) sometimes takes criticism very personally, and this could be one of those going postal situations. To be honest, despite its many good qualities (which I'll get to shortly, so hang in there), I could not force myself to finish this grueling historic-fantasy book. The book deals with a power struggle - a war - between invading-to-colonize Vikings and the indigenous population of coastal France. Magic abounds, powerful women pit themselves against each other (nice touch), as do powerful, bloodthirsty men. Click below for more...

A POISONED SEASON, by Tasha Alexander

2/series. This is the sort of book you can read more than once: beautifully written, beautifully plotted, a cast of fascinating characters. Of course, they reflect an age (early 1900's) when women were mere chattels and men ran the whole show, an age of lifelong servitude in immensely wealthy homes, of loyal servants giving up their own lives to serve "their betters". Okay, I wouldn't want to live those times, but Tasha Alexander has done a smashing job of recreation, and her primary characters - Lady Emile Ashton and Colin Hargreaves - are one hot couple.Click below for more (but no spoiler)...

THE TAPESTRIES, by Kien Nguyen



We rarely get to read about Viet Nam prior to what is called in that country The American War. For that reason alone, this novel was a pleasure to read. Set in 1916, when the French were solidifying their control of Indo-China, in and around the ancient imperial capital of Hue, the story opens as the unlovely Ven is married – by contract to an unknown male – only to discover her husband is seven years old. She is now merely his nanny, an unpaid drudge to the wealthy family who tricked her. Click below for more...

THE LOVELIEST CHOCOLATE SHOP IN PARIS, by Jennie Colgan

A delightful, heart-tweaking romance for the dedicated chocoholic. In truth, I found the beginning a bit dragged out, could've skipped all that hospital business, but once our girl arrives in Paris things really start to move. Anna Trent, having lost body parts in an industrial accident at a commercial chocolate plant, goes to Paris at the urging of her old high school French teacher. The teacher, Claire, has old connections, and she sends aimless Anna to Thierry, flamboyant owner of France's best chocolate shop on the Ile St-Louis. Click for a bit more, but no spoilers...

17.9.14

BEHIND THE SHATTERED GLASS, by Tasha Alexander

8/series. This charming late-Victorian series starring the unruly Lady Emily will sweep you right in and hold you until the last page. Beautifully plotted, with characters ranging from almost-too-noble to nasty, and a marvelous stately-home setting. Lady Emily's husband, Colin Hargreaves' Tudor pile of Anglemore Park is almost a character itself. The depiction of the classes and attitudes and prejudices that ruled society are almost too real at times, especially concerning young women - servants - who had to rely on the good will of the ruling classes for sometimes-precarious survival. Click below for more...

15.9.14

THE MASQUE OF THE BLACK TULIP, by Lauren Willig

2/ Pink Carnation series. Delightful derring-do with romance in Napoleonic-era France and England, discovered as modern-day historian Eloise Kelly researches old documents in a stately home, with the reluctant permission of owner, handsome but uncooperative Colin Selwick. On the historical side, as Eloise finds, the Black Tulip is a ruthless French spy sent to assassinate a pesky and highly successful English spy known as the Pink Carnation. Click below for more review...

THE DEVIL IN MUSIC, by Kate Ross

3/series. Filled with musical references, this elegant book may not appeal as much as others in this too-short series. But it does take place on Lake Como, so there are compensations. Set in 1820's in a northern-Italy historic villa, the four year old murder of an imperious Italian nobleman has just come to light. Under the tight control of the Austrian Empire, insurgent unrest had prompted the military to keep the murder quiet. Now, the enraged family wants the perpetrator found. They already know who he is: a young English tenor named Orfeo, who was being groomed for stardom by the nobleman. But nobody has ever seen Orfeo. Click below to read on...

INDIA BLACK & THE SHADOW OF ANARCHY, by Carol K. Carr

3/series. This fast-paced Victoria mystery series stars the gorgeous, seductive India Black, abbess of Lotus house, an upscale brothel in Victoria London. If feisty, tell-it-like-it-is heroines who run whorehouses don't appeal, don't bother reading these, and let me tell you India Black wouldn't give a damn. This time the anarchists fleeing Russia and mainland Europe are settling in London, bringing their penchant for social change via violence to the Empire's corridors of power. To read more: click below...

INDIA BLACK & THE GENTLEMAN THIEF, by Carol K. Carr

4/series. Once again our increasingly professional spy India Black, abbess of one of London's up-and-coming brothels (although by the end of the book it isn't clear in which direction the business is actually heading), pulls the empire's chestnuts from the fire. A letter, delivered to India by a sometimes-client, proves to be a bill of lading for tools to India. But India manufactures its own tools, so what's in the boxes. Shortly uncovering the unpalatable truth, India, the dashing, too-proper French, and the never-washed street Arab Vincent are propelled into a hide-and-seek game finish the sentence on the next page...

CHRISTOPHER’S GHOSTS, by Charles McCarry.

10/series. Nazi Berlin, 1930’s: Young Paul Christopher watches uncomprehendingly as his mother is swept into the orbit of the psychopathic Heydrich. At the same time, he is befriended by a girl he comes to love, who turns out to be just enough Jewish to be pressured by Heydrich’s thugs. McCarry’s descriptions of interrogations by the SS officer Franz Stutzel are chillingly real. The hopeful escape of the two young people across the Baltic is pure tragedy. And the grand finale will keep you pinned to this book until the last words. A must-read 5 for lovers of carefully-crafted international thrillers, and all the better if you read the entire compelling series.
The author appears, amazingly, to have no website.
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11.9.14

REV IT UP, by Julie Ann Walker

3/series. The cover says it all. Part of the Black Knight Inc series, this fast-moving plot brings old adversaries and old lovers - and their Harleys - together in a page-turner you can't put down. Jake Sommers - AKA The Snake, his SEAL moniker - returns to his old haunts determined to make a second chance work with the girl he left behind. But Michelle Carter has moved on, and has the adorable baggage to prove it. She's also got a long memory and isn't about to be humiliated a second time by the handsome Jake. Click below for more (but no spoiler)...

INDIA BLACK AND THE WIDOW OF WINDSOR, by Carol K Carr

2/series. Another fun-filled Victorian-era caper starring the abbess of Lotus House, one of London's more upscale brothels. Read these in order if you can, because they do build upon the previous. And, to my mind, they're well worth the reading. India is feisty, sometimes world-weary (as any madam is entitled to be), but indominable. French is handsome, urbane, well-connected (he's the Prime Minister's go-to man when it comes to trouble) risk-taking, loyal...and he may actually like India. Once again, our feisty madam is roped into espionage as Queen Victoria's life is threatened by Scottish separatists (some things never change). Click below for more no-spoiler review...

INDIA BLACK, by Carol K Carr

1/series. You will love India Black. Finally, a Victorian heroine who's never at a loss for either words or action! If you've felt stifled by the propriety thrust upon women (particularly in accurately-depicted historical fiction), India Black's going to be your new favorite fictional character. The abbess (madam) of an upscale brothel in London, India's rarely at a loss for a quip or a solution to a problem. When a client nicknamed Bowser (a senior War Office functionary) keels over dead while dressed as Queen Victoria (rouge and all), India's trusty sidekick Vincent, a never-washed street urchin, helps her dispose of the body. Click below for more no-spoiler review...

8.9.14

THE SECRET LOVERS, by Charles McCarry



3/series. Set in the 60’s at the height of the Cold War, this is another chillingly realistic Paul Christopher novel which sweeps you from Paris to Rome to Madrid as Christopher tries to unravel the story behind a novel smuggled from Russia. A fellow agent Otto Rothchild, now an invalid, wants to run the operation to publish – and embarrass the Soviet Union – the novel, a tour de force by a man he once knew in 30’s war-torn Spain.Click below for more...

TAKEN, by Robert Crais


Part of a series. AP calls Crais one of America's best crime writers; the Huffington Post agrees. Can't argue with that, can you? Well, I certainly won't, I love the rough, tough, totally human world created by the author. A Joe Pike novel, this one pits the unflappable Pike against ruthless gangs of coyotes and bajadores (human smugglers, and those who prey on the smuggled) as his friend Elvis Cole (“World’s Greatest Detective”) tries to rescue a young couple swept into a bajadores’ net. Click below for more on this gripping novel...

THE LADY IN QUESTION, by Victoria Alexander

Twins: one calm and self-possessed, the other raging against the restrictions of Regency society. Miss Delia Effington, the mischevious one, makes a grave mistake and must retire from society. Immured in her own home, independently wealthy due to the untimely death of her husband of less than a week, Delia has assembled a haphazard staff of servants, including the enigmatic and not quite up-to-par butler Gordon. Bored beyond belief by mourning a man she had never loved, click below for more...