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Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb

Set against the background of the youth-obsessed, drug-using fashion industry, this suspenseful tale sweeps from the glitzy to the seamy with all the flair and panache one has come to expect from Robb.

Title:Immortal in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #3
Publish Date: July 1, 1996
Genre: Fantasy suspense romance
Narrator: Susan Erickson
Publisher’s Description: When Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas investigates the murder of a top model, she is putting her career on the line, because the prime suspect is her best friend. Eve’s investigations lead her into the glamorous world of high fashion.

 

 



Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

Next on my re-read journey is Immortal in Death.

This book spotlights Mavis and hooks her with Leonardo.  Mavis is such a great person to be around.  Even though a grifter by trade, until meeting Dallas of course, she has the most up beat vision of life.  Eve loves her and is the first real friend Eve can count among her posse.

Mavis is accused of killing a bad tempered, vindictive and jealous model.  No possible way.  None.  Now, Mavis is scared out of her mind and Eve will prove her innocence come hell or high water.  This is also the book where Roarke meets Mavis and starts the long road to stardom for her.  What would we do without Roarke?

This is a good story, but it’s not as riveting as the ones before.  That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it’s salt, though.  I enjoyed it and it created the link between Roarke and Mavis.  All of Eve’s friends will someday be Roarke’s friends too.  All these people that Eve brings with her into her relationship with Roarke makes him a happier man because none of them are after his money.  They love him because they love Eve.  I am fascinated at how the links are created and a family is built.

Our reviews in this series…

 

 

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Glory in Death by J.D. Robb

It is 2058, New York City. In a world where technology can reveal the darkest of secrets, there’s only one place to hide a crime of passion-in the heart.

Title: Glory in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #2
Publish Date: December 28, 1995
Genre: Fantasy suspense romance
Narrator: Susan Erickson
Publisher’s Description: It is 2058, New York City. In a world where technology can reveal the darkest of secrets, there’s only one place to hide a crime of passion-in the heart.

Even in the mid-twenty-first century, during a time when genetic testing usually weeds out any violent hereditary traits before they can take over, murder still happens. The first victim is found lying on a sidewalk in the rain. The second is murdered in her own apartment building. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas has no problem finding connections between the two crimes. Both victims were beautiful and highly successful women. Their glamorous lives and loves were the talk of the city. And their intimate relations with men of great power and wealth provide Eve with a long list of suspects — including her own lover, Roarke.



Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

I’m still on my journey of re-reading or in my case, re-listening, to the In Death series by J. D. Robb.  Normally, my first choice is an Indie author, but J.D. Robb hooked me from the first mention of Roarke.

If you are familiar with Eve and Roarke, you know what I am talking about.  If you are not, please, for your own swoon worthy imagination, please partake.  Roarke charishes Eve like no other man I have every read about (and I am positive that no man living does).  This relationship is not perfect, but it’s one that makes me sigh.

Anyway, this story is incredible.  Again, these stories may be written in 1995, but they are still strong front runners even in comparison of books written now. I feel that after I finished reading the story, I would have thought the plot was fairly simple. While I was reading it, however, the plot was fed to me just as it would have been fed to Eve Dallas making it the puzzle.  The best part is that while reading the story, readers are treated to the inside day to day feelings and headaches Eve Dallas.  The reader is drawn in and becomes part of her family.

There is sex, swearing, murder, anxiety, flashbacks and adult situations involving the motivations of the murder.  These books are well written and will pull a reader in so far that it will be difficult to pause the book or put the book down.

One last warning: try really hard to remember prior stories because they will come back as references in current stories.  For instance, the folks in this story will be referenced in book #6. They aren’t integral in the story, but they are referenced and that is kind of cool.

Our reviews in this series…

 

 

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European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series by Theodora Goss has quickly become one of my favorites, particularly in audio. In fact, when I finished the second book, the third was still two months away from publication! But I wasn’t ready to leave Goss’s world, and I struggled to settle on another book. Eventually, I went back to the Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan because 1) it is also a Victorian-era tale about the power of women, and 2) it is also narrated by Kate Reading, who is a phenomenal voice performer. But as I write this review, I am counting the days until October 1 when the third book in the series, The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl, is available.

Title: European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman
Author: Theodora Goss
Series: Book 02, The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club
Publish Date: July 10, 2018, Simon & Schuester
Genre: Historical fantasy, historical mystery
Narrator: Kate Reading
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionMary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole.

But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing been doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine reach her in time?

Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested Ivana says…

In this second installment of adventures, we again see the ladies of the Athena Club come together to save a young woman from the mad “scientific” designs of her father. Only this time, they have to travel to distant lands to do it. Along the way, they put themselves at risk not only to save the girl but to make greater strides in preventing further abuse in the name of science.

The elements I appreciated about the first book in the series are still here—the way this family of women supports one another and the way they are sacrificing to protect others. As a fan of fantasy, literature, history, and culture, I adore all those elements that Goss brings into the story as well—riding the Orient Express, traveling with a Victorian circus, exploring foreign and exotic lands. I am particularly enamored of the coffeehouse in Budapest. I fear I would be as greedy as Diana in that environment, wanting to sample all its flavorful offerings.

The repetition of specific phrases or story elements persists, but I feel it happens less often. It doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Again, I struggle to find new ways to say how much I love this book. I’m already heavily invested in the characters and their world and am finding the wait for the next book, as I’m sure I will find the wait between books three and four, to be excruciating.

Books in this series

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Imagine the TV show Penny Dreadful, with all of the characters from classic sci-fi and mystery literature, including The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. However, instead of horror, picture it as a late-Victorian-era mystery series with a strong dose of girl power. What you get is the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series by Theodora Goss. Let me introduce you to the first book in the series.

Title: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
Author: Theodora Goss
Series: Book 01, The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club
Publish Date: June 20, 2017, Simon & Schuester
Genre: Historical fantasy, historical mystery
Narrator: Kate Reading
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ deaths, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested Ivana says…

I find it hardest to review those books I enjoy the most, and so I’m struggling to review this one. I simply love it. I love that all these women come together to form a family. I love that they each have a distinct personality and that they all are so accepting of one another without being too timid about calling one another out. I love how they are all working toward common goals, each in the way that bests uses their talents. I know some of this won’t make sense until you read the book, but the example this book sets for being part of a family, blood-related or not, is a big part of its charm.

Another part I love is how these women are trying to prevent anyone else from being subject to the abuses they have endured. Most of the women in the story have been somehow “created” by their scientifically-minded fathers or keepers. Their primary goal is to prevent other girls from being experimented on or created the way they were. This mirrors much of the activist work we see in women’s groups today, where victims of abuse speak out to prevent others from having to experience the same. I imagine it’s a comment by the author about one of the best qualities we see in women who support each other: We are strong, we survive, and we work hard to protect others.

Being a huge fan of audiobooks, I listened to this book. The narrator, Kate Reading, is amazing. She also narrated the Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan, which I adore. Reading has a large catalog of titles familiar to me, including books by Judy Blume, Jim Butcher, Patricia Cornwell, Sara Donati, Robert Jordan, Sophie Kinsella, Stephanie Meyer, Anne Rice, Brandon Sanderson, V.E. Schwab, and Lauren Willig. She has quickly become one of my favorite narrators, and I will be listening to more of her narration in the future for sure.

However, audiobook listeners may want to download a sample of the ebook or peek at a print book at the bookstore, because the book uses an unusual writing convention, and without the text cues, it may take a bit for the listener to catch on. Essentially, the protagonists of the book, the ladies of the Athena Club, are the ones actually writing the book about their adventures. A character named Catherine is the novelist, and the others insert commentary from time to time. As a result, the book uses both third-person limited and first-person POVs at different points in the story. While it breaks normal convention, it’s done well and is really fun, providing much of the humor in the book.

The only complaint I have, and it’s a minor one, is that bits of the story or even exact phrases are occasionally repeated. Either one of the characters will use the exact phrase they used a few lines ago, or a bit of story will be repeated a couple of times in different places, maybe in the novel text and then the “commentary” text, or maybe in two different places in the story. Those repetitions could be tightened up.

Despite that small complaint, I am in love with this series, particularly in audio. I can’t wait for more adventures with the ladies of the Athena Club.

The Witch Elm by Tana French

Tana French has done it again. Even though The Witch Elm isn’t part of the Dublin Murder Squad series, it’s just as good.

Title: The Witch Elm
Author: Tana French
Publish Date: October 9, 2018 by Penguin
Genre: Suspense
Source: Library

Publisher’s Description: Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent Annie says…

Tana French’s protagonist, Toby, experiences a severe beating and the resulting mental and physical anguish he goes through is so realistic, it seems as if the author has experienced something similar first hand. I also really enjoyed all the secondary characters, particularly Uncle Hugo. He is such a delight and really seemed to prevent Toby from derailing completely. Reading this book was like being part of Toby’s family and I felt as if I was participating in the complicated relationships.

As the characters are asked to remember their teen years, I found it absolutely believable that each of the three cousins remembered things very differently and that those very different memories were at the root of the mystery.

I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend everything Tana French has written.

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