Review – House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure.

25062147Wow, another great read coming from Charles Belfoure! If you haven’t already, you should give this new (to the world of fiction at least) author a read! I loved his first novel, The Paris Architect (reviewed here), and I was so excited to learn he had published a another story! Now, these two books are not related in any way, plot wise, so you can easily read in any order.

In House of Thieves, we are sucked into 1886, New York City. Post Civil War, pre Statue of Liberty, Belfoure provides a look at the emerging players of the city. We have John Cross, who is distantly related to none other than the Astor family. Living a comfortable life as an architect, with the comfort of knowing that he can fall back on his familial ties to the “old money” of New York, John never thinks that his world can become the polar opposite to his current life.

I’m no historian, but the historical references in this novel are absolutely fascinating; Belfoure seems to have really done his research and that pays off tenfold. We are presented with a vivid glimpse of New York City in a time when the entire country was still recovering from the Civil War, and money and reputations were rife. I really learnt a lot, and now I really want to find more stories set within this time period.

Like I found when reading The Paris Architect, Belfoure really knows how to flesh out his characters. We have an interesting concoction gangsters, privileged debutantes, and everyday people. Even though their class structures were vastly separated, that doesn’t stop Belfoure from seamlessly intertwining them, and, as a result, producing a fascinating and thrilling read.

If you’ve read The Paris Architect, you’ll want to give this one a read! If you’ve not read either of them, you can get them here: The Paris Architect: A Novel and here: House of Thieves: A Novel


Until next time ~


Commemorative Post

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.”


When you hear William Shakespeare being mentioned, you may conjure up horrid memories of forced Romeo and Juliet readings in school, or the random Lawrence Olivier production that you caught on TV one time.   However, we need to should give Mr S. some props; I cannot think (and this is obviously purely opinion) of any writer that has left such a legacy that could match or surpass that of Shakespeare’s.  You, of course, may disagree, and I love differing opinions, so please let me know!

Today is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.   In his time he wrote 36 plays – spanning many different genres, around 154 sonnets, may poems, and performed for 2 different monarchs!

Shakespeare was the chameleon of writers; 16th and 17th century England wasn’t exactly known for its liberal stance on censorship.  Shakespeare had to perform a delicate balancing act of observing the status quo, both politically and legally, and actually writing what he wanted to write.  Much like many of us I imagine, Shakespeare rather preferred to keep his head!

Even though Shakespeare wrote many wonderful plays, my personal favorite has to be King Lear.   This, to me, is his most “human play”.   It focuses on family, what it means to be a family, and indeed the consequences of flouting the strict societal and legal rules of the time.    There is commentary on old age, primogeniture, parent-child relationships, misogyny, class, justice, nature and human cost.    This play runs the whole gauntlet and it is perhaps his most contemporary of plays.

To help celebrate this anniversary, we are giving away a copy of this beautiful book 

In order to be in a chance of winning, simply leave a comment describing your favorite play by Shakespeare.   Alternatively, you can also comment with your least favorite!   The person that gives the most passionate plead (either for or against a play) will win.  As I may be biased, I will ask one of my muses to pick.

Good luck, and happy reading!


Quick early morning poll

Since it is approaching the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we thought it’d be interesting to get an idea of your favorite plays!    Tomorrow will feature a commemorative post, where you will get a chance to win a beautifully illustrated book of Shakespeare plays by E.B Nesbit!     For now though, please let us know what is your favorite play, and if it isn’t listed, leave a comment!


Waiting on Wednesday: Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories
Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Veronica Roth
400 pages
St. Martin’s Griffin
May 17, 2016

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom.

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Preorder HERE

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Review – The Lost Codex (OPSIG Team Black Series), by Alan Jacobson

I don’t often read books that are part of a series, especially a book right in the middle of a series. However, the premise of this one caught my attention and so I thought I’d give it a go. Sometimes it pays to listen to your gut feelings!

Meet Karen Vail, a member of the FBI’s Behavior Analysis Unit (BAU – think Criminal Minds). Enjoying a coffee with her partner, Karen is suddenly caught up in a massive explosion and is thrust into a top secret investigation that concerns terrorism, diplomatic issues at the highest level, and a religious time-bomb that is just waiting to explode.

What initially attracted me to the plot was the religious aspect of the “lost codex”. Now, I’m not a religious person, however, it fascinates me that religion has the power to topple governments, and change the discourse for the future. Also, it helps that this missing codex, is actually a real document that is currently still M.I.A.

This book is a great, intelligent thriller, and a quick read. The characters are complex, believable and fun! This is only a short review, but if you want kill a couple of days reading a fascinating adventure, then pick this book up and immerse yourself!


The Lost Codex (OPSIG Team Black)

One Day Only!

Hi guys and girls!   Has anyone read The Paris Architect, by Charles Belfoure? Well, if you did, and loved it as much as I did, you’ll be pleased to know that his newest book, House of Thieves, is on sale – today only – for $1.99 (Kindle version)!     If you haven’t read The Paris Architect, here is my review.    

Watch this space for my review of House of Thieves!

Until then,


House of Thieves: A Novel

Review – A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby.

10073People say that brain surgery is hard, and I agree, it probably is, but I also imagine that writing a story about suicide, and making it into a dark comedy, is also very hard!   Nick Hornby has achieved this major feat in his novel, A Long Way Down.   Now, this book came out 10 years ago, but it is the first Hornby novel that I have read.   I’d always been interested in picking up one of his novels (Hornby is perhaps most famously known for his novel, About a Boy), but it was a case of never pulling the trigger, so to speak.    Well, I’m certainly glad that I did!

The novel explores the lives and interactions of four characters that incidentally meet on the top of a building on New Years Eve; all have the intent of jumping off said building.    Hmmm…. Sounds pretty grim, huh?   Well, let me give you an example of what drew me in:

Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of  tower block?  Of course I can explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block.  I’m not a bloody idiot.  I can explain it because it wasn’t inexplicable: It wasn’t a logical decision, the product of proper thought.  It wasn’t even very serious thought, either.

The first few lines of the book are full of dark humor, philosophy (actual, realistic philosophical thinking) and candor.   Hornby’s use of the first person narrative really draws you in and entices you into each character’s experiences and story.   Talking of which, the characters are a huge reason this novel works so well; each character is real.  They all have their flaws, and you will spend a considerable amount of time disliking them, wanting to slap them silly, but at the same time, wanting to give them a hug and talk things out with them.   I think when you’re story circles around such a profound and personal theme of wondering how your life has ended up the way it has and not seeing any way forward, the characters need to be real; they need to be human – someone we can relate to.

Hornby is British, so his humor is very dark, discrete and dry.  I personally loved it, but I can see how a lot of people may miss it, or simply not find it amusing.   However, I think this novel will have something for everyone, as it offers hope, perspective and a good old fashioned kick up the rear end.    It’s not all doom and gloom, but it also doesn’t offer a glossy shine on life.  Oh, and there is a film version of this book, on Netflix, and while it isn’t a bad  film, it doesn’t offer nearly the same amount as the book does (and in my opinion, the casting person for that movie should have read the book a little more carefully!), so steer clear until you have finished the book!

Until next time,


A Long Way Down