Review: The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh by Ros Clarke

Title: The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh

Author: Ros Clarke

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

His duty, her dreams, undone by their desire…

In the male-dominated oil industry, executive Olivia McInnes plays a careful game – she’s cold, uncompromising, and ambitious as hell. Once she seals the deal to drill in the clear waters of Saqat, she’ll finally prove herself worthy to take the reins of her father’s oil company. Her only obstacle is marine biologist – and Saqat’s royal heir – Sheikh Khaled Ibm Saqat al Mayim, who’s determined to protect both his people and his country from environmental devastation…

It’s not long before Olivia’s icy cool exterior is shattered by the intelligent and wickedly hot sheikh, and business is surpassed by sweet, stolen pleasures. But outside the bedroom, there’s reality to be faced. Soon Khaled must return to his obligations – and his betrothed – in Saqat.

Caught between duty and ambition, can an oil tycoon and a sexy sheikh find room for love… or will this business deal spell disaster for them both?

Review:

I wanted to read The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh because I was curious to see how the conflict between the characters would be portrayed.  Olivia is an executive at a successful oil company, and in order to ensure that she will take her father’s place  when he retires, she needs to land the contract to drill for oil in the waters off of Saqat.  Khaled is next in line to rule the country, but he is also a marine biologist.  He has studied the long term effects of oil spills on marine life, and what he has learned is discouraging.  It takes far longer than originally thought for the aquatic ecosystem to recover from the devastating consequences of a spill, and he is reluctant to allow any corporation to set up shop in his coastal waters.  He doesn’t believe that safety precautions go far enough, and he thinks that the cleanup efforts outlined in the contract are also lacking.  But tempering his reluctance to open up Saqat to oil investors is the need to alleviate the poverty of his  people.  The money from oil production would help bring education and improvements in medical care, and it is very difficult for him to turn that down.  I enjoyed this conflict between these two driven people.  Olivia is gung-ho to prove herself to the naysayers at her father’s company, and Khaled wants what’s best for both his country and his people.  This puts them at odds with each other, and it is a heavy weight on Khaled’s shoulders.  Does he allow these foreigners into the pristine waters, when there is a potential that they will bring ruin to the fragile ecosystem?

While I found the business negotiations interesting, I was not convinced about the romantic conflict between Khaled and Olivia.  They are instantly attracted to each other, but because Khaled is next in line to inherit the throne, he tries to put the brakes on their budding relationship.  It just can’t work out for them, because he has a duty to his people.  Their relationship can’t go anywhere, because he is expected to marry a quiet, respectable Muslim girl from Saqat, and Olivia just doesn’t fit into the mold he has imagined his future wife must fit  into.  I didn’t buy into this conflict because the only person who had a problem with them being a couple was Khaled.  Once Olivia arrived in his country, almost everyone was open and friendly with her.  Everyone seemed to accept her.  There was no opposition to her being in the palace, other than the opposition that Khaled brought into their relationship, so I didn’t feel that there was a sense of tension or suspense about their romance.  I was a little dismayed that it took Khaled so long to question his own concerns, because he is certainly smarter than that, and as a scientist, it should have been in his nature to re-evaluate his conclusions.

Despite that complaint,  I found The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh a quick, satisfying read.  I gobbled this one up, was annoyed by Olivia’s distant, clueless father, and cheered her on as she sought to find a purpose in life beyond the one she had envisioned for herself.  Olivia, like Khaled, put pressure on herself to be something that she thought other people expected of her.  She wanted to succeed in her father’s business so much because she sought his approval, something that she never felt he had given to her.  Until she meet Khaled and traveled to Saqat, she never questioned her life goals.  Once she met him, though, she was forced to admit that maybe the career path she was pursuing wasn’t really the one she wanted.  The final resolution ties up all of the loose ends, and finds happiness and a new purpose for both protagonists and the citizens of Saqat.

Grade: B-/C+

Review copy provided by publisher

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Review: Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

 

Title: Deadly

Author: Julie Chibbaro

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 978-0689857393

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Join the search for Typhoid Mary in this early twentieth-century CSI. Now in paperback!

Prudence Galewski doesn’t belong in Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls. She doesn’t want an “appropriate” job that makes use of refinement and charm. Instead, she is fascinated by how the human body works—and why it fails.

Prudence is lucky to land a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of a mysterious fever. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, Prudence explores every potential cause of the disease to no avail—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. But she’s never been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in solving one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century? 

Review:

When I first sat down with Deadly, I was just a bit apprehensive.  The first few pages didn’t exactly grab me, and I was afraid I was in for a slow, dull read.  My apprehension quickly disappeared.  This book is fantastic, and I quickly started looking at the world in a whole new way.  Bacteria?  What an interesting organism!  When Prudence was finally allowed a peek through a microscope, her enthusiasm was contagious.  What is this tiny, living thing that makes people so ill?  Just like Prudence, I longed to learn more about typhoid fever and how to stop its persistent spread through 1906 New York.

I love a book that does make me think, and Deadly is one of those books.  Prudence is such a smart young woman, curious about science and the human body, but because she is woman, her inquisitive nature is destined to go nowhere.  She is enrolled at a school to learn how to run a household and be a proper wife, which bores her to tears.  She wants to do something meaningful; she wants to help people, so nobody else has to watch a loved one die of illness. When she is hired to work at the Department of Health and Sanitation, she is given an outlet for her curiosity.  Hired because of her neat penmanship and ability to type, she is quickly challenged to use her mind, too.  Her supervisor’s current task is to find the cause of the typhoid fever outbreak and put an end to it before anyone else dies of the disease.

Deadly is a character driven book, and what characters it has!  I loved Prudence, despite her cool reserve.  She isn’t one to easily show her emotions, but she is constantly plagued by them.  Because she wants to make a good impression on her new coworkers, she won’t allow herself to appear weak or womanly before them.  Instead, she’s all business; she wants to prove that she is worthy of her new position, and she devotes herself to assisting Mr. Soper.  She is also still hurting from her brother’s death and the disappearance of her father, who is missing in action from the Spanish American War.  Because of these losses, she is reluctant to risk being hurt again, so she keeps a wall around her emotions.

As Mr. Soper and Prudence begin to suspect that an Irish immigrant is responsible for the outbreak of typhoid, Prudence is assailed with moral and ethical questions.  Is it right to forcibly isolate Mary for the public good?  Do the ends always justify the means?  These questions had me Googling so many issues brought up in the novel.  How could a healthy person spread a disease they never had? What happened to Mary after the events in the book?  How did the typhoid outbreak end?  The book left me with lots of questions that I wanted answers for.  The mere idea that installing toilets in separate rooms at boarding houses made me realize how far medical advances have come in just over 100 years.  Indoor plumbing cut down on the transmission of so many diseases, and yet there are still millions of people without the luxury of toilets!

If you are looking for an engrossing, intelligent read, look no further than Deadly.  Peopled with wonderful, intriguing characters, this book will make you think differently about science and medicine.  I could not put it down, and when I wasn’t reading it, I was telling other people about it, and discussing germs with them.  Much like the bacteria researched in the story, Deadly will get under your skin, without all of the yucky side effects of typhoid!

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by {teen} book scene

 

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