ARC Review – Game of Spies by Pamela Mingle

Oh, hello hello. This is a first in my time back from my hiatus – a DNF review. Now, I want to say this up front – I love Entangled Publishing and I’ve loved most of the books I’ve read from them. Truly. But this one… well, you’ll see soon enough, but it wasn’t for me.


Game of Spies is about Isabel Tait and Gavin Cade, two very different people who are thrown together in a strange situation. Isabel is one of Mary, Queen of Scots’ new ladies in waiting, and Gavin is stationed in the castle to spy for Elizabeth, the Queen of England. (Right off the bat, this sounds awesome, right?) Isabel is the most sheltered of all the ladies, and Gavin is mourning the death and betrayal of his wife and newborn. Thrown together in such a situation, who couldn’t help falling in love, right?

game of spies

I DNF’ed at 37%.

Why I DNF’ed

Okay, so. I have two complaints about this book – pacing and writing.

  1. The pacing in this book was so… slow. When I DNF’ed at 37%, action had JUST started happening, but it just wasn’t enough. A lot of romances are character driven, and I think this was supposed to start that way? I’m not sure. But I felt nothing for the characters and nothing about the plot. When I was considering pulling the trigger and calling it quits, I was thinking about what all had happened. And it was a lot of nothing. Plus? NOT A SINGLE SEXY SCENE. You’ve got to give us SOMETHING here.
  2. Now. I haven’t read any other books by this author, but from this experience, all I can say is that they need some work. First of all, there was so much telling and hardly any showing. Second, I felt NOTHING for these characters at almost 40% through the book! How is that possible? And third, I didn’t care about what was going on because the dialogue was stilted and the plot wasn’t close enough to what I historically know about Mary, Queen of Scots (at least, what I think I know, I’m no expert. Just a history novice.). And I get taking some liberties to make the story work out. But this was supposed to be romantic suspense, and I didn’t care about any of them at all. That’s not a good sign.

Would I pick this up again?

You know, I might. I set the book aside at far enough in that I’m slightly curious about what’s going to happen. But I have a lot of other books to read and I’m trying not to waste my time with things that bore me. But yeah. I’m curious enough that maybe when there’s a lull in my reading life, I’ll finish it and update this review.

You never know!

What’s the last book you DNF’ed?

Thank you to Entangled and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Sorry if this was a little *too* honest.

Happy reading!

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