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review 2018-10-23 11:00
BLOG TOUR REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: 'The Assassin's Guide to Love & Treason' by Virginia Boecker
An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason - Virginia Boecker

 

This book is OUT TODAY, everyone!!!! I am so excited to be posting about it and reviewing it TODAY. This is absolutely going to go down as one of my favorite reads of the year. I read all over the map (as in sci-if, horror, thrillers, you name it), but this was a truly fun read for me, with only a little bloodshed between the pages. So loosen your bodices and get comfy, and get ready for trip back home to London, England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First; it’s 1601.

 

 

*Thank you (again) to the amazing peeps at Rockstar Book Tours for including me on this blog tour!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, VIRGINIA BOECKER

 

Virginia Boecker is the author of The Witch Hunter series and An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason. A graduate of the University of Texas, she had a decade-long career in technology before quitting to become a full-time writer. When she isn't writing, Virginia likes running, reading, traveling, and trying new things (most recently: learning to drive a boat). She has lived all over the world but currently resides in beautiful Lake Oswego, Oregon with her husband, children, a dog called George and a cat named Thomas.

You can visit Virginia online at virginiaboecker.com or on Instagram @virgboecker  

 

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Title: AN ASSASSINS GUIDE TO LOVE AND TREASON

Author: Virginia Boecker

Pub. Date: October 23, 2018

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 384

 

SYNOPSIS:

When Lady Katherine's father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn't the only secret he's been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father's mission, and to take it one step further--kill the queen herself.

Katherine's opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare's newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn't know is that the play is not just a play--it's a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.

The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play's leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.

 

MY REVIEW:

 

Did you know that Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was written to capture the would-be assassin of Queen Elizabeth I?!
And what do you get when you combine a cross-dressing Catholic called Katherine Arundell, out to avenge the death of her father, and put her slap-dab in the middle of merry old London?

 

‘An Assassin’s Guide to Love & Treason’, of course, and it’s quite scrumptious.

This romp through 1601 will have you questioning any history you may think you’ve learned about Elizabethan London, about the dalliances of Shakespearean players, and about the tension between the Protestants and Catholics at that time.

 

Being from England myself, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a bit of ‘history’ from home to indulge in. I delighted in this witty, clever tale about young Lady Katherine Arundell from Cornwall, who witnesses her father’s execution for being a practicing Catholic. This was because England is now Protestant under Queen Elizabeth I, and to avenge her father’s death, she then goes to London and plans to assassinate Queenie herself. Tall order perhaps.


Katherine constructs a plan, along with her merry band of Catholic conspirators; this means she must infiltrate the upcoming production of ‘Twelfth Night’, and create a new male identity for herself, Kit.

 

This is really at the crux of how clever Virginia Boecker is being with ‘Assassin’s Guide’ (and I know she knows this, because of her most brilliant Author’s Note in the back; only I do hope everyone reads it!). As many of you may know, women weren’t players in Shakespeare’s plays, men were, and they played all the women’s parts too. In order for Katherine to disguise herself in London, she must become Kit (this was a name short for Christopher back then), as well as to be a player on the stage.


She then gets the part as Viola, who (if you haven’t read ‘Twelfth Night’) dresses up as a man in the play. It all becomes quite complicated when Kit becomes drawn to Toby, who is another lead player, and writer, and unbeknownst to Kit, a spy for Elizabeth Regina; he’s trying to deduce which of the Twelfth Night players is the treasonous one. Yet he’s falling for Kit, just as he did previously for the late Kit Marlowe (that’s Christopher Marlowe to you).


Katherine’s own confidence as a ‘man’ mirrors Viola’s growing confidence in the play, particularly as Toby and ‘Kit’ rehearse together, and the themes of bisexuality and questions about societal gender norms play like their own characters in the book. Just like the very irony we see in having men play the parts of women (who play men), this is a double irony, if you will, forces the characters to constantly question their identities, as well as their loyalties. At a time when many only had loyalty to the Crown or to God, questioning your identity was frowned against and was highly confusing, and naturally left you open to being cast out by all sorts of weaknesses such as witchcraft and going back to the Old Religion (Catholicism). You certainly didn’t admit to liking the same sex, even if you did put on a dress for all to see in the Globe Theatre.

 

The ‘supporting cast’ of William Shakespeare, the Wright Brothers, and even the Queen, lend so much color to the tapestry that Boecker has woven for this ‘Guide’, and readers will love it when familiar names and places appear in the story. I’d also say there’s a little bit of everything here to make this an all-round great read: we start off with a murder, and then we have action, romance, and a lot of wit and charm. Shakespeare would approve of all of that.


Virginia has actually taken great pains to do her research and in her Author’s Note points out where she has meddled with the history and where she has kept to the facts. I absolutely loved this small part of the book, as well as the long bibliography she has listed.
While you may not come out with a proper Elizabethan history lesson, or an actual assassin’s guide, you will be thoroughly entertained, and may (like myself) be inclined to read up on your English history and to even re-read some Shakespeare!
This was a solid 5 star read for me.
Jolly good show.

 

**I played Maria in my high school performance of ‘Twelfth Night’.

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

For a chance to win one of 3 copies (US only, sorry) of this amazing book click on this ASSASSIN’S GUIDE GIVEAWAY LINK!

 

And next...links to BUY THE BOOK!

 

On AmazonBook Depository, B&N and iBooks - and add it to Goodreads

 

And now to follow the rest of the blog tour, here’s the FULL SCHEDULE LINK!

 

 

I hope you have been totally inspired and pick up a copy of the book, and GOOD LUCK with the giveaway too! 

x ~ K

 

“If music be the food of love, play on...”

 

 

*Guess how much this is worth?

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/37678396-an-assassin-s-guide-to-love-and-treason?ac=1&from_search=true
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review 2018-09-25 12:46
The spies uncover further secrets in the second book of the series!
Palace of Treason - Jason Matthews

The Palace of Treason is the second book in a series of three that the author has written about espionage, the type of espionage that could very well be taking place today, in the real world, since the United States and Russia are actively engaged in spying on each other all of the time. 

Dominika Egorova has risen up the ranks in the Russian Intelligence Service. Her life and limb have often been threatened, but even as others are gravely injured and die, she seems miraculously to survive each time. She rises to fight for what she believes in for another day. Trained as a Sparrow, she uses her feminine wiles to get information from susceptible dupes. 

Her handler and sometimes lover is Nate Nash who works for the American Intelligence Service known as the CIA. The agents in the service are dedicated to keeping Captain Egorova alive, for Diva is a double agent, also working for the CIA. Even as she rose to the rank of Captain, in Russia, obtaining her own division to run, and becoming a valuable asset to Putin, she continued to pass information in and out of Russia. The CIA is determined to protect her, as they protect the life of each agent they use in their efforts to keep America safe. The agent’s life is sacrosanct to them.

Dominika uncovers information that is extremely valuable to the security of the United States. Using a system that enables the safe transfer of secrets in and out of Russia, she is able to warn them of upcoming dangers. She learns that Iran, with Russia’s help, is secretly planning to develop weapons grade uranium in a facility hidden from the UN watchdogs.  Using the skills she learned in Sparrow school, she develops a relationship with Yevgeny, the man who is the right hand of her archenemy, Zugurov, her irrational and vicious boss who is bent on eliminating her from the picture since she presents a severe danger to his dreams of success. She keeps besting him at his own game, and thus, she has caught the eye of Putin. Zugurov's right hand man, Yevgeny, whispers secrets to her during their lovemaking sessions, secrets that Zugurov keeps from her to prevent her from achieving further success in the spy game. Through Yevgeny, she learns that there is a mole in the CIA, a mole named Triton, a traitor who intends to reveal her identity along with other valuable government documents. 

There is a great deal of action and intrigue as the story travels through parts of the United States, Russia and Europe. There are spies everywhere, but the Russian spies, in particular, seem to be particularly brutal, defying age old unwritten rules that were supposed to keep them from deliberately harming diplomats. They engage in extremely violent methods to root out information from the foreign agents, methods of torture that sicken those that have to witness and/or carry them out for the monsters that order them to do so. 

The first book was a bit better than this one. It seemed to proceed more smoothly. Additionally, it didn’t contain as many unnecessary prurient references, even with the chapters about the training at Sparrow school. The recipes continue and they break up the tension that the story creates. The narrator does an admirable job interpreting each character and they are easily discernible throughout the novel.

 

 

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review 2018-04-26 13:55
Palace of Treason (Red Sparrow Trilogy #2) More realistic spies this episode
Palace of Treason - Jason Matthews

Palace of Treason made me happy. It was the spy novel closest to the ones I love - international intrigue, CIA officers who crack wise with each other, bungling upper managers who couldn't carry a mission in a bucket, stupid puns, great characters on all sides, honor, loyalty, danger, intrigue... That this second novel in the series was so good surprised me, given I thought the first book was just OK. I am headed off to bed with the final part of the trilogy having just grabbed it from the library today. That worked out very well (though I will admit I'm ignoring a few book club books to read these first.)

 

Nate and Domi (now settled in to her place at the SVR and her code name DIVA) are joined by a larger cast, though the main players are still around. There's levity whenever the CIA team gets together because they are good at their jobs and good at digging each other. Their banter offers space for a breath in a very suspenseful plot.

 

Basically it's another mole-hunt extravaganza, but this time there's a mole that could expose DIVA's real name. She has a terrifically talented new handler in Moscow, and Dominika doesn't make it easy for anyone to handle her, so she does daring things, putting herself in terrible danger more often than anyone would like. She's never stupid though, and her reasons for putting herself in danger make sense.

 

Beyond that, Nate and Domi are still together (though usually apart) and they're much more careful in this book. That made my reading less exasperating and my life less terrifying. Please real spies - keep your pants on! Their affair is constantly a point of contention within the CIA and frequently gets Nate in trouble (also he gets called the Dumbassador of StupidLand by his boss, which is cute. The team that handles DIVA from the CIA side are a great trio of characters, with Nate being the least interesting of the three.)

 

Dominika is gaining ground in the SVG, partying with Putin and the oligarchs and working her way up in Moscow while reporting back to Washington (or wherever the guys are currently stationed - Athens mostly in this book.) One can only imagine what might happen in the final installment. Domi was barely alive when this one ended, so I need to go read that final book of the trilogy now.

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review 2018-01-26 06:19
The Lion of the South - Book Review

If you loved the Scarlet Pimpernel, then you are going to love this book.

Julia Dandridge is back to visit friends in the state of Virginia. Around them, the Civil War is raging, and many families have been torn apart by the ravages of war. As she attempts to fit back into the mold of familiar surroundings, she is struck by the coldness of her once dear friend Landon Graham. Instead of welcoming her back to the home she lived in as a child, he seems angry that she is even there. Living with the weight of the death of his brother, Landon cannot seem to rejoin the world that he once so enjoyed. Instead he drinks heavily and hides himself away in his room.
With Julia there, small snippets of the past seem to slip through, only to be replaced with the cold contempt that has become his norm.
But the war is not one where women sit silent. Many women are involved in listening to the conversations around them and gain valuable information that can be used for military intelligence. Julia has been told that her brother is being held in prison, and that he will be hanged as a traitor if she does not help figure out who the Lion of the South is.
The Lion of the South has been raiding behind the enemy lines, making off with prisoners and officers alike. No one knows where he will strike, and he seems to come and go like a ghost. Julia is offered her brothers life in exchange for the Lion of the South. As she prepares to give the information, she finds that someone she is extremely close to may be involved, and may cause her to not only lose a brother, but the love of her life as well.

I enjoyed reading this book, but from the middle of the book on, it read just like the Scarlet Pimpernel in a different setting.

 

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review 2017-11-26 07:32
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Fire War 11: Treason - Michael T. Murray

This one was better but a quicker read. I really felt bad for Mr. Jackson and what he went through in this book. The President was even worse in this book then the first one. A lot of things happened in this book for the length of this one compared to the first one.

I really enjoyed the two children of Mr. Jackson, and what happened at the end of the last book, to one of them was just sad. But also what made Mr. Jackson finally open up his eyes on exactly who the President is. As well as what the President is trying to do to are country. So the ending was full of action and gives us the readers, some answers that we might have had. I would definitely recommend this series to my family and friends.

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