Bestselling author Jocelyn Green sweeps you away in a dazzling novel of secrets, betrayal, and romance within one of New York City's most esteemed museums.
For years her explorer father promised Dr. Lauren Westlake she'd accompany him on one of his Egyptian expeditions. But as the empty promises mounted, Lauren determined to earn her own way. Now the assistant curator of Egyptology for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lauren receives two unexpected invitations.
The first is her repentant father's offer to finally bring her to Egypt as his colleague on a new expedition. The second is a chance to enter the world of New York's wealthiest patrons who have been victims of art fraud.
With Egyptomania sweeping the city after the discovery of King Tut's tomb, Detective Joe Caravello is on the hunt for a notorious forger preying on the open wallets of New York's high society. Dr. Westlake is just the expert he needs to help him track the criminal. Together they search for the truth, and the closer Lauren and Joe get to discovering the forger's identity, the more entangled they become in a web of deception and crime.
I’ve got a new addition to the favorite books stack.
This book is everything I love—a smart, down-to-earth heroine who defies all the odds and the people who tell her she can’t. A compelling mystery laced with suspense. A unique angle of history. And, of course, a side character that I inexplicably love and fear for his life. (Points to Jocelyn Green for keeping him alive!)
I loved the angle of how (name) tackled sexism—not in a “I’m better than you, and I can do whatever I want” sense. But in the sense of recognizing the passion that God gave her, and that this particular passion was not limited to gender. In her overcoming and proving wrong all the many, many naysayers. She is a powerful example to readers. And plus, how many heroines are into Egyptology?
Joe was great as well. She did a wonderful job giving me two well-developed characters to root for. The romance in this book was also unique in that they had met and fallen in love before! The second-chance aspect of this book was very sweet and different.
This book pulls no punches when it comes to neglect and emotional abuse. Against my will, she got me to the point where I was rooting for the abuser to change, so Lauren wouldn’t have to go through this pain anymore. But the truth is, often abusers don’t change, or not as quickly as we’d like. I can’t say much more without spoiling the ending, but this story will come alongside abuse victims in a very personal way.
And that mystery! I could not quit reading, I had to know how it all worked out. I had so many theories, and none of them were right. Blew my mind.
The Metropolitan Affair is one of my new favorite books. This book is everything I love—a smart, down-to-earth heroine who defies all the odds and the people who tell her she can’t. A compelling mystery laced with suspense. A unique angle of history. Tackling tough topics like emotional abuse and sexism. And, of course, a side character that I inexplicably love and fear for his life. (Thanks for keeping him alive.)
What if women unraveled the evils of patriarchy?
With men safely "gentled" in a worldwide Liberation, the matriarchy of Nedé has risen from the ashes. Seventeen-year-old Reina Pierce has never given a thought to the Brutes of old. Itching to escape her mother's finca--and desperate to keep her training and forbidden friendship a secret--her greatest worry is which Destiny she'll choose on her next birthday. But when she's selected as a candidate for the Succession instead, competing to become Nedé's ninth Matriarch, she discovers their Eden has come at a cost she's not sure she's willing to pay.
Jess Corban's debut novel presents a new twist to the dystopian genre, delivering heart-pounding action, thought-provoking revelations, and a setting as lush as the jungles of Central America.
I’m not sure how I feel about these books. And that’s why I admire it.
This book tackles ideas of gender, women’s rights, femininity, and sexism in a unique and fresh way. Using a compelling plot and high stakes, it kept me turning pages. Her characters had to make hard decisions—decisions that made my stomach sink at times. And in them making those hard decisions, I was forced to think through some as well.
I’m not sure I agree with everything in this allegory. Sometimes I’d nod my head. Sometimes I’d say no. A lot of the time I’d think hard.
In some ways, it didn’t feel quite sensitive enough to women who have been horrifically abused, even though it’s clear Jess Corban put a lot of effort into it. The allegory can tip towards the preachy side at times, as well. I would have liked to see it tackled with more sensitivity and subtlety; I believe that would have made it a more powerful read.
These books won’t be for everyone, but I would still recommend giving them a read. Even if you disagree, it may help you think through your own beliefs and identity in a new way.
Also, points for the Central American representation! It was a fresh new take on a dystopian setting.
As mentioned above, these books won’t be for everyone, but I would hope they wouldn’t dismiss or shame them just because of a difference in perspective.
Nede Rising isn’t for everyone. Some will agree, some will disagree. I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum myself. But that’s why these books are important, because they force us to think and make the hard decisions. While some sensitivity may be lacking, it’s clear the author worked hard and cared enough to touch the hard things of being a woman. And that’s worth celebrating.
At the height of the Nazi occupation of Rome, an unlikely band of heroes comes together to save innocent lives in this breathtaking World War II novel based on real historical events.
Rome, 1943. With the fall of Italy’s Fascist government and the Nazi regime occupying the streets of Rome, British ballerina Julia Bradbury is stranded and forced to take refuge at a hospital on Tiber Island. But when she learns of a deadly sickness sweeping through the quarantine wards—a fake disease known only as Syndrome K—she is drawn into one of the greatest cons in history. Alongside hospital staff, friars of the adjoining church, and two Allied medics, Julia risks everything to rescue Jewish Italians from the deadly clutches of the Holocaust. Soon a little girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina arrives at their door, and Julia is determined to reunite the young dancer with her family—if only she would reveal one crucial secret: her name.
Present Day. Delaney Coleman recently lost her grandfather—a beloved small-town doctor and World War II veteran, so she returns home to help her aging parents. When a mysterious Italian woman reaches out claiming to own one of the family’s precious heirlooms, Delaney is compelled to travel to Italy and uncover the truth of her grandfather’s hidden past. With the help of the woman’s skeptical but charming grandson, Delaney learns of a Roman hospital that saved hundreds of Jewish people during the war. Soon, everything Delaney thought she knew about her grandfather comes into question.
Based on true accounts of the invented Syndrome K sickness, The Italian Ballerina journeys from the Allied storming of the beaches at Salerno to the London ballet stage and the war-torn streets of World War II Rome, exploring the sometimes heart-wrenching choices we must make to find faith and forgiveness, and how saving a single life can impact countless others.
All hail a master of time slip! Kristy Cambron’s The Paris Dressmaker is one of my favorite books, and her use of time slip stuck with me and made it impossible to put down. She has used it masterfully once more, although the story itself is very different.
That first chapter with Court grabbed me right off the bat. Everything I love to see in a chapter—action, questions, and a glimpse inside the character’s head.
The ending of this book broke my heart in all the best ways. I did not see it coming at all. Honestly, the beginning was similar to books I’ve seen before—the girlfriend’s surprise pregnancy, the guy heading off to war after finding out the news.
But the ending, and the story that led to it, was something different. It was unmistakably true, good even amidst the pain, and a departure from the tradition happy endings we see all the time. Turning the tropes on their head helped the themes hit my heart in a meaningful new way.
I also admired Matteo and Delaney’s avoidance of the misunderstanding trope that honestly I would be happy to never see in romance again. When a piece of Matteo’s past came up, Delaney worked through in both a kind and sensible manner. Cheers all around.
Also, a cool nod to Indiana in there!
The Italian Ballerina steps onto a stage occupied by many others—many other WWII novels, many other time-slip novels, many other tropes. But it distinguishes itself from the start. Its finale will not be forgotten, along with the meaningful questions it raises.
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.
With high-stakes action and a smart, resourceful heroine, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling that is at once classic and strikingly original.
I was skeptical about this book. I had read her book Heartless and adored it, but that was more of a straight fantasy. I’m not much of a sci-fi gal, and I knew this story would be a gamble. Luckily, I got it for a couple bucks at a bookstore due to a damaged cover. And it made it into the bag when I needed a book for a dogsitting trip.
I’m so glad it did.
The worldbuilding blows my mind. I haven’t read many books steeped in Asian culture, so this one was both a breath of fresh air and a lovely bit of representation. The twists on the old Cinderella tale are so clever, sometimes I didn’t even quite realize it until it had passed. I gathered up every little detail I could, trying to predict the path ahead, only for Marissa Meyer to turn it on its head in the most glorious way.
Cinder herself was not at all what I expected, but deeply relatable. She tries to be tough and brusque on the outside to hide a girl who desperately wants someone, anyone to love and notice her. The themes in this book, speaking to the question “am I worthy?” are heartachingly beautiful.
This was one of those books that wouldn't let me forget why I love reading. I was so absorbed in the story.
There are three easily censored pieces of language in this book. Please note that while this is not a Christian book, it is a clean wholesome book.
Cinder gathers up the greasy mismatched parts of the old Cinderella tale, dumps them on a table, and begins to build. Manufacturing a few pieces of clever Eastern representation and heartaching questions of worth, it builds something no one has ever seen before—and in the process, creates an immersive story, the old-fashioned kind that pulls you in till pages’ end.
When a baby is discovered floating in a basket along the quiet canals of Venice, a guild of artisans takes him in and raises him as a son, skilled in each of their trades. Although the boy, Sebastien Trovato, has wrestled with questions of his origins, it isn't until a woman washes ashore on his lagoon island that answers begin to emerge. In hunting down his story, Sebastien must make a choice that could alter not just his own future, but also that of the beloved floating city.
Daniel Goodman is given a fresh start in life as the century turns. Hoping to redeem a past laden with regrets, he is sent on an assignment from California to Venice to procure and translate a rare book. There, he discovers a city of colliding hope and decay, much like his own life, and a mystery wrapped in the pages of that filigree-covered volume. With the help of Vittoria, a bookshop keeper, Daniel finds himself in a web of shadows, secrets, and discoveries carefully kept within the stones and canals of the ancient city . . . and in the mystery of the man whose story the book does not finish: Sebastien Trovato.
When I first saw this book and its synopsis via bookstagram, I was afraid it would be too slow for me. But I couldn’t resist the beauty of the story and that gorgeous front cover. I could not have been more surprised.
True, this book is slower-paced than some others I could name on my shelf. But it is one of the most compelling books I’ve read in a while. I couldn’t put it down. I cared so much about each of the characters, but especially Daniel. I couldn’t wait to put all the Ventian-glass pieces together, past and present, to discover what it had been shaping all along.
Amanda Dykes’ writing is amazing. She writes truly beautiful stories and does so using truly beautiful prose. It’s a unique talent that made this book a treat to read.
All the Lost Places is a book rocks with the gentle pace of a gondola. But not the sort of rocking that puts you to sleep—the kind that wakes you up and makes you turn another page to discover more of the beauty and the mystery in your lost places.
Hi there! Rachel again. Check out this section for book reviews and cover reveals of some of my favorites!