Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak

The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great (Catherine, #1)

Varvara reports about the Russian court to Empress Elizabeth. Ordered to spy on teenager Princess Sophie she finds Sophie, like Varvara, is a foreigner at the mercy of the powerful. They will endure cruelty and risk everything. Varvara will see Sophie become the woman remembered as Catherine the Great…

Varvara is loyal, ambitious, and ultimately forced to decide which quality is most important.

She watches Sophie transform from brokenhearted into capable of causing heartbreak. The Russian court is luxurious and dangerous. Varvara’s spying shows the rarity of secrets and true loyalty. Catherine’s rise is suspenseful as each challenge could break her and cause permanent exile. The Winter Palace offers an outsider’s look at court life, Catherine the Great, and historical fiction set in 18th century Russia.

Want more books like The Winter Palace?

Another fictional look at Catherine the Great’s rise to power is Imperial Highness by Evelyn Anthony. (The book can also be found under the title Rebel Princess.)

Xenia transforms from noblewoman in Empress Elizabeth’s court to saint in The Mirrored World by Debra Dean.

Stachniak used many sources in researching The Winter Palace. One of them was Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power by Virginia Rounding.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Moses Stone by James Becker

The Moses Stone (Chris Bronson, #2)

Morocco: two British tourists die after a mysterious tablet goes missing. Detective Chris Bronson, certain the events are linked, calls in his archeologist ex-wife Angela. The duo finds the tablet is part of a trail to the Ten Commandments. Will they find a priceless treasure or death?

Bronson’s police instincts work well with Angela’s scholastic intelligence. Their slow building trust adds depth and suspense- will they trust each other and live to enjoy that trust? There is plenty of violent peril mixed in with interesting biblical history. Morocco and Israel also pull the reader in with exotic and historic beauty. The Moses Stone offers a suspenseful religious thriller, quest for a historic treasure, and a husband and (ex-)wife team.

Want other books like The Moses Stone?

A photographer and an ex-M15 agent rush to find the Ark of the Covenant before a group which would misuse it in Ark of Fire by C.M. Pavlov.

The Fargos race against time and a ruthless enemy to find a lost treasure from Delphi in Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood.

Bronson and Angela delve into the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Ark of the Covenant in their search. Books such as The Lost Ark of the Covenant: The Remarkable Story of How the Fabled Ark was Found by Tudor Parfitt provide a look at the Ark of the Covenant. The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography by John J. Collins provides a look at the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

The Supreme Macaroni Company

Valentine Roncalli is expanding her family’s shoe making company and finally marrying. Life, however, never goes as planned. Marriage requires more partnership and business more work than she thought. How will self-reliant and assertive Valentine react to the challenges she faces?

Trigiani’s characters value family. They work to sustain it despite the flaws humans have. Valentine makes mistakes as she learns timeless lessons about family and life. Her exasperating but caring family, the creativity of shoemaking, and the beauty of Italy are vivid. The story is by turns humorous and serious. The Supreme Macaroni Company offers a story of family, an endearing Italian-American family, a protagonist in transition, and a look at a business.

Want more books like The Supreme Macaroni Company?

A wedding planner struggles to balance her Italian-American family, business, and upcoming wedding in It Had to be You by Janice Thompson.

Jo Cerbone is in transition as she dreams of a romance and a life different from working in her Italian-American family’s restaurant in Love and Meatballs by Susan Volland.

Jason Mirabella returns his Italian-American family and their business to figure out his future in Villa Mirabella by Peter Pezzelli.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fade Away by Harlan Coben

Fade Away (Myron Bolitar, #3)PI and sports agent Myron Bolitar swore his basketball days were done. When an old rival disappears, however, Myron can’t resist being pulled back in. Stakes increase when Myron’s investigation turns up a woman’s murder. What happened and how is it connected with Myron’s past?

Myron is sarcastic about everything including himself. He shares the story with interesting characters: his ‘psycho yuppie’ partner, his ex-wrestler secretary, and various suspects/information sources. Myron encounters the underbelly of himself and the sports world. The pieces of the story are like a Rubik’s Cube: they have to be rotated and examined in different ways but they fit together. Fade Away could be a good match for those looking for a sarcastic main character, a PI story, and/or a sports mystery.

Want more books like Fade Away?

A former basketball player’s attempt to help an ex might cost him his life in End Run by Steve Brewer.

PI Elvis Cole is thrust into Hollywood’s seamy underworld when a Hollywood director’s wife asks for his help in The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais.

A PI navigates the world of horse sports to investigate the hostile takeover of a racetrack in Odds Against by Dick Francis.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair, #1)

Evelina Cooper has her uncle Sherlock’s intelligence and curiosity. She is also set to begin her season in a Victorian England ruled by dangerous steam barons. When a friend’s servant is murdered Emma is determined to seek the truth. How will two handsome men, magic, and dangerous secrets affect her future?

The propriety of Victorian society combines with the cutthroat maneuvers of the steam barons to create an interesting alternate England. The story has romance and horror mixed in. Evelina is courageous, intelligent, and grows as she’s faced with murky realities. The two men who wish to be involved with her cause support and suspense over their choices. Sherlock Holmes is smart, stubborn, and subtly compassionate in his supporting role. Evelina and other characters’ perspectives build suspense as they struggle to attain their goals. A Study in Silks offers Steampunk, some Sherlock Holmes, magic in an alternate England, suspense, and a strong female heroine.

Want other books like A Study in Silks?

Dirigible pilot Eleanor Chance and a mysterious magician must prevent an evil plot in Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz.

Lady Helena Huntingdon encounters a mysterious spy and a magic related plot against London in Copperhead by Tina Connolly. (Click here to read my blog entry on Copperhead.)

Alexia Terabotti clashes with a handsome police captain and a mysterious political group after power in Soulless by Gail Carringer. (Click here to read a blog entry I wrote about Soulless.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized