Summary: What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?
Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover theleaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.
After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.
Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?
I picked this ebook up on a whim on Overdrive late last night.I had just finished devouring a different thriller, The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger (review to come soon) and was looking for something with similar pacing and deft writing. I proceeded to fly through the first 20% of Need to Know before succumbing to the need for sleep on my couch.
I’ve found mystery/suspense/thrillers provide great distractions and escape during these bizarre and depressing times of whiplash-fast change. And my local library has been a great source of backlist titles that I never got around to reading when they first came out.
This travel/adventure memoir returned to the library in Libby before I could renew it, and I don’t feel the need to continue reading it at the moment. With that said, I will probably eventually return to it, as it’s well-written and fascinating.
The fact that I dnf’d this book last week doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, or even that I didn’t like it. As a mood reader, I don’t make myself finish reading a book that I’m not interested in. Life’s too short. Reading historical romance in ebook or paper format isn’t my cup of tea right now.
Alexandra Mountbatten makes her living setting clocks when she finds herself having to accept a post as governess to two unruly orphans. Their guardian is Chase Reynaud, the heir to a dukedom and the man Alex refers to as the “Bookshop Rake,” after they literally run into each other at a book shop called Hatchard’s.
I adored this book. The Governess Game is delightful and funny, with a touch of angst and a cast of wonderfully drawn and wonderfully endearing characters. One or two scenes made me laugh aloud–a rare occurrence when I’m reading.
Alex is one of my favorite heroines that I’ve read so far this year. She’s intelligent, independent, ambitious, determined, and refuses to put up with disrespect from Chase. Her goal is to turn her love of astronomy into her profession, and she shows herself to possess savvy in how to go about it.
The witty banter between Alex and Chase is always on point. The two of them make for a very ahem interesting dynamic on page. The tension between them is fire, and the sexy scenes are steamy and so well rendered.
I also enjoyed how much Chase’s two wards Rosamund and Daisy brought to the story. They are precocious, but in a believable way, due to what they went through prior to landing with Chase. Their scenes with Chase and Alex are the ones that made me laugh aloud. And, without Rosamund and Daisy, the book’s overarching theme of found family wouldn’t resonate as well as it does.
I gave the book 4.5 stars on Goodreads. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because the pacing felt a little off to me, particularly in the latter half of the novel. Part of it was Chase’s sometimes immature and self-sabotaging behavior. (Thankfully, he eventually pulls his head out of his own rear end.)
I listened to most of the audiobook–narrated by the fantastic voice actor Mary Jane Wells–in one night and then stayed up late the next night to finish it. It was exactly what I needed to readearlier this week, considering all of the upsetting headlines coming out daily.
With The Governess Game, Tessa Dare has become a go-to author for me, and I plan to check out the rest of her backlist ASAP.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
I hope you’re staying safe. Until next time, friends.
Lady’s maid Molly Wilkins is done with thieving—and cheating and stabbing and all the rest of it. She’s determined to keep her hands to herself, so she really shouldn’t be tempted to seduce her employer’s prim and proper companion, Alice. But how can she resist when Alice can’t seem to keep her eyes off Molly?
I just started reading this novella by one of my favorite historical authors. Cat Sebastian’s The Lawrence Browne Affair is one of the best historical romances I’ve ever read.
Hi. It’s been a while since my last post, I know. Life has been…interesting, huh?
Here’s a wrap up of my March, including some mini reviews.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve felt low key anxiety/worry with a bit of boredom thrown in as you self-isolate wherever you are in the world.
My March began with a post-elopement party for family and friends at our home; it was a lot of fun, and I was really glad when it was over. After that, the husband and I recovered, binged the new season of Altered Carbon on Netflix (more on that below), and kept up with the news as things quickly escalated re: the epidemic that became a pandemic.
Once the husband and our housemate had to switch to working from home and doing school from home, respectively, I had to rearrange furniture and relinquish my home office. Now my work space is downstairs in an open area. (It would be cool to have a door I can close again, but at least we have enough room that I could make this space for myself.)
Restlessness and boredom haven’t left us untouched, as you might expect, but we’ve been lucky. Although my husband’s job has laid off some employees and implemented shorter work weeks with a pay reduction, I consider us privileged, and I’m really grateful for what we have.
Speaking of gratitude, I have so much for friends right now. Two of them, after hearing about the difficulties the husband is going through at his job, dropped off a few beers at our door this morning and invited us to join them in their Minecraft Realm tonight.
Their Realm has an inn with a bar in it. It’s the next closest thing to going out to eat and drink together. I’m looking forward to virtually hanging out with them tonight!
TV and Games I Enjoyed
Season 2 of Netflix’s Altered Carbon: Such a great season, possibly even better than the first.
Netflix’s The Stranger: A twisty turny suspenseful crime series based on a book by Harlan Coben. It kept me watching late into the night.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Do I need to say anything to hype this Nintendo Switch game? I haven’t played every single day since it came out, unlike many, so I feel a bit behind. It’s a game you can really jump into at any time though, kind of like Stardew Valley.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: My first time playing an Assassin’s Creed game! Boy did it suck me in, despite how grindy it can be. I couldn’t get enough of the gorgeous graphics, and the ancient Greek setting fascinates the history nerd in me.
Books I Read
I wish I could say I gave this 4 stars, but, alas, I would be lying. It was, at best, a 3 star read for me. The reason? The discriminatory manner in which the main character Kay Scarpetta treats a trans character is never questioned or later undermined at any point in the book. In fact, at least one other character who appears regularly in the series uses offensive language about the trans character–who, by the way, is brutally murdered.
I’m all for separating the artist from the art; however, in an effort to give the Kay Scarpetta series and its author the benefit of the doubt, I continued to the next book in the series and again was disappointed when Kay expresses racist and sexist views about a person who works for her within the first 50 pages. At that point, I put the book down and haven’t picked it up again.
Dust was published in 2013 and its follow up in 2014. They don’t have the flimsy excuse of oldey times to justify their transphobia, sexism, and racism.
Dust was a compelling read that kept me wanting to know what would happen next–and whodunnit–even through the scenes that involve the use of scientific jargon that can tend to bog down a narrative. That’s why I’m giving the book a generous 3 stars.
Will I read more in the series? Probably not. Too many books exist in the world.
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld was a fun, somewhat distracting, and quirky read. I’d give it 3.5 stars.
It’s a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice that involves a Bachelor-like reality TV series, a crumbling mansion, and a cast of perpetually self-centered characters. The pace lost a bit of steam for me in the latter half, which is why the 3.5 stars.
It’s got everything one could want in a compelling thriller, yet it’s nonfiction. Carreyrou tells the story that well.
Now that the book’s been out for a while, there are podcasts and at least one documentary that delves into what happened and the person(s) behind the fraud, but I highly recommend adding this to your TBR anyway. You can’t go wrong with it.
Aaand finally, the end of this update!
What have you been reading, watching, and/or playing?
How are you holding up during this difficult time? Letting yourself feel whatever it is you need to feel and utilize whatever (healthy) distractions you have access to when you need, I hope.
Hello and happy Tuesday, lovely people! It’s been awhile since I posted. Life’s been busy, and I took a break from reading for a bit there.
When my time has been free from planning for next month’s wedding celebration, I’ve been watching streamers/broadcasters on Twitch. My favorite streamers play The Sims 4, and their streams are often cozy and welcoming. I can have a channel going on my laptop while I play The Sims 4 on my Playstation 4 or my husband’s PC.
It’s provided a much needed change of pace.
What I’m Reading and Planning
Currently, I’ve got a small stack of books from the library to read, including this month’s pick for my IRL book club:
It’s a YA historical with fantasy elements. I’ll share a review as soon as I finish reading it.
I’m also planning on expanding my blogging to encompass more nerdy media in addition to books. I’ll review video games I’m playing and share thoughts about upcoming releases and gaming in general as well as continue to share my thoughts on books I read and bookish topics.
Have you read Sky in the Deep or anything else by Adrienne Young?
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?
Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.
As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…
The Suspect is listed as the third in the Kate Waters series but can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel, which is how I read it.
The narrative involves alternating points of view–we hear from DI Bob Sparkes, the mother of one of the girls, one of the girls herself, and Kate–and the author interweaves each character’s story togetherexpertly over the course of the story.
I’ll admit, I go into suspense, thrillers, and crime novels expecting the plot to take center stage the entire time I read so I was impressed by the characterizations. The author is really good at creating relatable characters quickly, with merely a glimpse into a character’s mind.
Although the novel begins with a gradual build up of tension as the author introduces characters and sets up the story, the initially slower pace is worth the wait for the suspense it builds up to andthe pay off.
The audiobook. It’s narrated by four different voice actors, each of them skillful in helping to bring the twisty story–and its flawed characters–to life in sound. I was immersed from the start.
Barton raises questions I was still thinking about for days after I finished reading.
The handling of some problematic stuff:
In the audiobook, the voice actor(s) give the Thai characters–particularly one character who has a significant amount of dialogue–accents that are, at best, unbelievable.
The depiction of a young woman sleeping with whomever she wants as somehow saying something about her character/morality. (Can you tell I’m really tired of slut shaming?)
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Entertaining, missing persons psychological suspense that could’ve been ripped from the headlines.
Relatable and believable characters.
Thought-provoking, immersive story.
Asks serious questions like:
How does the media sensationalize events involving crime and shape them into a narrative that they can sell? How do victims of crime and their families cope with this phenomenon?
Where is the boundary between a parent protecting their child and a parent shielding their child from the consequences of their child’s actions?
How do we mold the truth in our telling and retelling of our experiences?
Have you read this book or any of the other novels by Fiona Barton? If so, what did you think?
Escape to Matchmaker Bay in this hilarious and heartwarming second chance romance from the USA Today bestselling “master of witty banter” (Entertainment Weekly).
Eve Abbott has a problem-actually, make that a lot of problems. And they’re all going to get worse the moment her toes hit the sand in Matchmaker Bay. Once a blissful summer escape, now the tiny town just reminds Eve of loss. Inheriting her aunt’s beloved Mermaid Inn is the only reason Eve is coming back. She’s definitely not ready to handle nosy neighbors, extensive renovations, or the discovery that a certain heartbreaker still lives down the street…
Police Chief Sawyer Collins always does the right thing, even when it costs him everything. Like Evie. He’s spent the past ten years trying to forget her–to forget how right she felt in his arms, to forget the pain in her eyes the day she left. The last thing he expects is to see her back in town or to find that the spark between them is as strong as ever. Sawyer knows this is his only chance to prove that his feelings have always been real… before Eve turns tail and leaves for good.
Why I’m reading it:
I received this ARC from Forever, the publisher, through NetGalley after hearing good things about it.
In the land of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, if you can’t carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale…
Elena Klovis was supposed to be her kingdom’s Cinderella–until fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! So she set out to make a new life for herself. But breaking with “The Tradition” was no easy matter–until she got a little help from her own fairy godmother. Who promptly offered Elena a most unexpected job…
Now, instead of sleeping in the chimney, she has to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who keep trying to rise above their place in the tale. And there’s one in particular who needs to be dealt with…
Sometimes a fairy godmother’s work is never done…
Why I’m reading it:
This is the January read for my IRL sci-fi and fantasy book club for nerdy women!
Chef Evan Stanford has climbed the New York City culinary ladder one proper rung at a time, earning himself the Rising Star James Beard award and an executive chef position at one of New York City’s favored restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen. But in his quest to build his reputation, he’s forgotten what got him there; the lessons on food—and life—from a loving neighbor back home in Illinois.
Patrick Sullivan lives a contented life in Brooklyn cooking at Johnny’s diner, keeping the memory of his grandmother and her Irish cooking alive even in the foods she never taught him to prepare. When Chef Stanford comes into his diner requesting and enjoying one of his grandmother’s specialties, he’s swept up by Evan’s drive, his passion, forcing himself to reconsider if a contented life is a fulfilled one.
With much in common, the two men—and Evan’s particularly spoiled pug Dini—begin a journey through their culinary histories falling into an easy friendship. Even with the joys of their newfound love, and the guidance and support of friends old and new, can they tap into that secret recipe of great love, great food and transcendent joy?
Why I’m reading it:
Picked this book up on a whim this morning when I couldn’t sleep. I stumbled across the interesting cover on Hoopla. How I love my local library.
What are you guys reading on this first day of a new decade? Anything good?
Christmas day was chill. I didn’t get a lot of reading done–thanks to trouble concentrating–but I did manage to turn a skein of acrylic yarn into a tangle of yarn and then into smaller balls (lol). I just started learning how to crochet a few months ago, and some of the gifts I received for the holiday were a bag of yarn, a pack of crochet hooks of varying sizes, and a pattern book.
The books I received:
Media I Enjoyed
This past week, I watched a lot of TV and played a few hours of one of my favorite video games:
For the past several days, I’ve been trying to decide what reading plans/goals I want to set for 2020. One thing I knew for sure was that I want to challenge myself to read outside my usual go-to genres (romance, fantasy, YA).
you can set your own goals or do the minimum of reading twelve classics during the year
As of today, my plan is to read twelve classics by female authors over the course of 2020. Over the next few days, I’ll be compiling a list of authors and their novels, with preference given to the books I haven’t read yet.
I’m excited to challenge myself next year!
What about you? Do you have any specific reading goals for 2020? Are you participating in any reading challenges?