Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North

Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North

Notes from the Burning Age takes place in a time after the world burned. The kakuy, spirits of earth, sky, water, became so enraged at our destruction of the environment that they burned and drowned us. Those who survived became more careful of how they use resources and honor and fear the kakuy. Some people, like Ven, study ancient texts, learning from them but also labeling violent and earth-damaging knowledge as heretical. But a war is coming, when some would use the secrets of the past for their own gain. Yes, this is speculative fiction, but at heart it's a spy thriller, a tightly plotted novel with memorable characters and plenty of twists and harrowing situations. The information is being gathered from the past, leading to translation issues, research espionage, and a situation where knowledge is power, and the war rests on who can control the most knowledge and use it most effectively. The relationships in the book are believable...
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Red Widow by Alma Katsu

Red Widow by Alma Katsu

I'm not sure that Red Widow is a spy thriller; it's a spy novel, definitely, but it doesn't have the excitement or suspense you expect from a thriller. It's a smart book, but it's more about reading reports, sifting through computer records, getting access to files than it is about chasing around the globe carrying a gun. I enjoyed it. It's a game of cat and mouse and seeing through others' deceptions. It's also about loyalty, ethics, and the lengths people will go to save the ones they love. We've got two intelligent women as our main characters. They are both strong and determined, but I was disappointed by how each woman's life still revolved around men, whether that man be lover, boss, or husband. The plot is engrossing. Lyndsay has to find her way through a tangle of lies and misdirections. The author does a good job at providing enough detail to make it feel real, but I think...
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The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry

The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry

The 22 Murders of Madison May has a great concept. A lone killer is stalking one woman through multiple words, killing her every time she doesn't live up to his idea of the perfect Madison. A group of other individuals, including the mysterious Hugo, is also moving across worlds, kind of in search of the perfect world, maybe. The group's motives weren't quite clear to me, but it was obvious that the killer is messing up their plans too. Felicity Staples is a newspaper reporter in New York when she discovers that multiverses exist and that Madison May is a murder target in every one of them. Felicity and Hugo move from world to world to stop the killer. Madison May, depending on which world, is an actress, a real estate agent, a weather girl, a student, etc, but she always ends up dead. And the same man always kills her. But the differences, similarities, and twists in the worlds keep...
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Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

We know the facts in Anatomy of a Murder from early in the book. The defendant's wife, Laura, was raped by the local innkeeper and the defendant, army lieutenant Frederic Manion, took a gun, went to the bar, and shot and killed the rapist. He reported that he had done so and was taken into custody. It becomes Biegler's duty to try to get him off. The defense? Irresistable impulse, a type of temporary insanity. The story was broken into two parts: the investigation and the trial. The investigation is not a whodunnit , obviously, it was looking at all the players in the story, finding out all the ins and outs, who knew what when, what the people involved were like. The trial was fascinating. The back and forth between the lawyers, the interjections from the judge, the witnesses' statements, and jury reactions all kept me involved in the story. Our defense attorney and the narrator of the story,...
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The Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton

The Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton

I thoroughly enjoyed The Bounty. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a good book, but for me, it was a lot of fun. Yes, it's over the top. No, it's not realistic. Don't expect character growth or believable scenes. There's non-stop action, decent chemistry between Nick and Kate, practically unstoppable bad guys, and a whirlwind tour of Europe. I will say the blurb is misleading in a couple of things. First, Quentin did not teach Nick everything he knows, Nick wasn't actually aware of much of what his dad was up to. They are very similar though. Second, Kate and Jake get along just fine. They recognize each other's skills and stubbornness and work well together. The story's a treasure hunt, with iconic places and dangerous obstacles. Even though it's not a scam, Nick's talents definitely have their uses. The bad guys are off course always right on Kate and Nick's trail and, for various reasons, Kate can't count on any official...
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The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village is trying to be both a ghost story and a mystery, and it left me a disappointed overall. Sixty years ago everyone in the village of Silvertjarn disappeared, leaving behind only a newborn baby and the body of a woman who was stoned to death in the square. Alice grew up with the story, her grandmother's parents and sister disappeared that day. Alice is determined to make a documentary based on the events in the town, hoping to find some answers in the process. Alice is not very likable- I'm not sure any of the characters are actually- well maybe one, mostly because we know the least about him. Things go badly for Alice and her friends/crew pretty quickly. We've got creepy abandoned houses, strange noises, "accidents." The Lost Village really does provide great atmosphere. Something out there is scary, but we can't see it clearly. Alice and her crew catch glimpses, but maybe it's just imagination, maybe the...
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