15808321Ah Kate Quinn.  One of my go-to authors when I want and need a dose of good old fashioned medieval fiction.  And The Serpant and the Pearl…unfortunately disappointed.

For the most part I was engrossed in the story.  A beautiful, young Italian bride, married off to an equally handsome young Italian husband, only to find that she had been sold in marriage as a concubine to the most notorious pope in history, Alexander Borgia.

At first Giulia Farnese is outraged and affronted at her fate, but in time comes to accept it and takes solace in the company of a plucky, sharp tongue female cook and a sarcastic, razor witted dwarven bodyguard.

Sex, lust, love, murder, mystery.  All the hallmarks of a wonderful book, and again, it delivers.  Until the end.  The end makes no sense.  It is such a cliffhanger it leaves you completely in the dark and wanting to know more about what happens to the characters, because none of their stories have truly ended.

Giulia Farnese and her entourage are taken captive by the French, and it is strongly implied that the French general and possibly some of his commanders will ‘make use’ of her while she is in their ‘care’.  The biggest mystery of the book is finally solved, and it’s implied that one of our favorite characters is murdered by the other.  There’s just too many implications and open endings to make sense.  It feels like the story is still going, it’s just the book that ended.

Hopefully the next one turns out a bit better.  Frozen Heat, third in the Nikki Heat series by Richard Castle.

13482355NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat arrives at her latest crime scene to find an unidentified woman stabbed to death and stuffed inside a suitcase left on a Manhattan street. Nikki is in for a big shock when this new homicide connects to the unsolved murder of her own mother. Paired once again with her romantic and investigative partner, top journalist Jameson Rook, Heat works to solve the mystery of the body in the suitcase while she is forced to confront unexplored areas of her mother’s background.

Facing relentless danger as someone targets her for the next kill, Nikki’s search will unearth painful family truths, expose a startling hidden life, and cause Nikki to reexamine her own past. Heat’s passionate quest takes her and Rook from the back alleys of Manhattan to the avenues of Paris, trying to catch a ruthless killer. The question is, now that her mother’s cold case has unexpectedly thawed, will Nikki Heat finally be able to solve the dark mystery that has been her demon for ten years?