Review: Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich



I enjoy this mystery/caper/comedy series very much. Book 21 is no exception.  It’s well written with consistent characters and excellent dialogue. Personal interactions seem real, even when they’re over the top.  Evanovich knows her characters and keeps them true to themselves in each and every book.  

Want to know how good it is? A recurring-in-the-series secondary character who I just can’t stand plays a big role in Top Secret Twenty-One. I cringe at his name. In previous books I’ve even skipped over paragraphs that concern him. I couldn’t do that in this book because the plot depended on him. And I STILL LOVED THE BOOK. Despite Randy Briggs annoying the heck out of me, I was able to enjoy every word and joke and hug and criminal confrontation. 

As usual, Stephanie Plum cracked me up. Lula and Grandma made me laugh even harder. And Morelli and Ranger … Well, see for yourself. :)

-calliope

Buy TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

martianWhat a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be! Okay, come on now….admit it….many of you are like me….you hear “Sci-fi” and you automatically tune out of the conversation or turn the page and ignore all together….

I’m one of those annoying people who *say* they will read just about anything….however, even I draw the line at self-help books and Sci-Fi…….this book reminds me how much I am limiting myself by doing these silly things….If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a 1,000 times (WAIT!!!! DID MY MOTHER JUST INVADE MY BODY???? Who besides my mother says such silly things….”if I’ve said once….” Are you kidding me????) But really….I’ve said it many times….a book doesn’t matter what genre it resides in….if its a good book it can appeal to any type of reader. This is a good book!

I’ve seen it on countless Goodreads’ Lists….and when I saw it being offered for review at Edelweiss, I went ahead and applied….then when I was approved and I thought, “oh no…now what?”

Well, I finished a wonderful book and thought I would dive right into this one….it should be different and it’s rated so highly! Pretty much from page one it was a read that reached out and grabbed me. See here’s the thing about really good books…..they aren’t just about space, or romance or horror….or whatever else genre you wish to categorize them into….they are about PEOPLE….and every day struggles…okay…perhaps being stranded in space isn’t a struggle you’ll ever find yourself in….but you will find yourself in some sort of struggle at some point…and when the s**t hits the fan and it all looks like a hopeless mess, you’ll (hopefully) eventually say, “okay, let’s step back and tackle this bit by bit”…..but surly, if you look at the whole big, huge, all-encompassing problem you won’t ever find the strength to even start tackling it…..sometimes you have to just focus on one screw up at a time……

Yes, at times, I though the main character was just too darn smart….I mean he’s like Johnny Appleseed/Macgyver/Neil Armstrong/Gregory House/Chuck Noland/Truman Burbank all rolled into one…..and what person can NOT fall in love with a man like that?

At times the descriptions do get a big long….but I think the author needed to do that to make it easily understandable for us simple folk :-) Hahaha…..really, there’s some complicated stuff going on at times, but the author does a great job using layman’s terms so anyone can understand what’s happening…

This is a suspenseful read that will grab you right from the start….it will have you holding your breath and cheering….it will have you yelling, “Oh no!!” on numerous occasions…..and it will have you rooting for the hero and for a happy ending……

Until next time…
Urania xx

Review Copy provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now The Martian by Andy Weir

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

01confess “Are you here to save me?”

Perfection. Utter perfection. In fact, I think she may have been channeling her inner Tarryn Fisher with all the twists and turns this story was filled with. This book is definitely unlike anything Colleen’s ever written before. I loved every gut wrenching part. My nerves are officially spent. But I couldn’t stop reading. I have never stayed up til 2:30 reading a book before. I felt happy, then devastated, hopeful and then shocked. And then happy all over. Full circle.

SYNOPSIS
Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

OMG!!! This story was filled with so many emotions. I had no idea what to expect. Colleen made me cry from the very beginning. I was totally caught off guard. Then throughout the story I was tearing up all over the place. Then there this underlying tension, that I couldn’t shake off. But then it was like BAM!! Then it all made sense. And let’s not discuss the ending. I swear she brought me full circle and I was bawling in the end.

I don’t feel lost in him at all, because it’s the first time I’ve ever felt like someone truly found me.

When Colleen said that she was going to combine art with her story, I thought, “Cool! If she can incorporate music, why not art?” But I was no where prepared for the hauntingly beautiful paintings that were going to be portrayed. They invoked so many emotions, and I only saw them in black and white. I bet seeing them in color will make me break down. But what makes this story even more emotional, is that these confessions are real. They were written by readers. My heart was twisted as I was reading them. There is so much hurt in this world, I just can’t fathom that.

Besides confessions, this story is about love. It’s about what you will do for those you love. How you will turn your life upside down, for those you love. How you will make the hardest decisions you’ve ever made, even if they’re the wrong ones, just to make your loved ones happy.

“I’m afraid if I listen to my heart once, I’ll never figure out how to ignore it again.”

“If only I could be so lucky.”

Colleen paints a picture of hope, forgiveness and taking a stand for what’s right, in the most beautiful way. But I’m wrecked now, so someone hold me, please.

Buy it. Read it. Love it.

~Melpomene

Release Date: March 10, 2015
Buy Confess: A Novel

Review: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

burying-water-9781476774183_hrDisclaimer: An earlier review of this book was previously posted to the blog. However, in light of the second part of the story being released tomorrow, I felt that another look at this wonderful story was needed!

Almost 2 am. That’s what time I stayed awake until in order to finish this book. And at my age, that doesn’t happen very often.

When “Jane” wakes up in a hospital, she has absolutely no memory of how she got there or even of who she is. With the help of the sheriff who found her on the side of the road and his surgeon wife who saved her life, Jane begins to build a new life. But there’s something about the sheriff’ son, Jesse, that niggles at her lost memory. There’s definitely an attraction but something tells her it goes deeper than that. Told from alternating perspectives, the story also switches from past to present. We hear Jane’s present-day story as she struggles to find herself. And then there’s Jesse’s story leading us up to Jane’s brutal attack.

Although I’ve seen this book described as a romance, I’d say it falls more into the suspense/thriller genre. The romance is there, most definitely. But that’s not what kept me awake reading to find out what was going to happen next! It’s also been mentioned as the first in a new series which interests me immensely as I’d love to see where the author goes next with these intriguing characters. This is the first book that I’ve read by KA Tucker, but it definitely won’t be the last!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Burying Water: A Novel (The Burying Water Series)

Review: The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery 

 

Three women in an L.A. suburb find themselves in the middle of some changes. Big changes. Marriage, divorce, pregnancy, death, grief, friendship, and new beginnings all play a part in this new series by one of my favorite authors. 

The writing is excellent, from the fleshed out characters to the descriptions of the coastal setting. Technically, everything is on point as Mallery invites us into the lives of three women of different ages, their families and friends, their businesses.

But there’s something missing for me. Excitement, maybe. And I get it that lack of excitement is one of the relationship issues in the book, but the reader should still somehow be pulled into the book… And I just wasn’t. For one thing, there was a lot of “telling instead of showing” (like when one character sat across from her friend and next to her other friend and put her purse on the free chair). I liked the book enough, but I wasn’t totally invested in it. It didn’t thrill me. 

On the other hand, Mallery successfully shows the reader real emotions. For example, one character is mourning a loss. Brava for getting to the nitty gritty of being beside oneself with grief. The scene at Goodwill – I can picture that kind of thing because I have seen people just UNDONE like that. I’m thinking WOW as I remember reading Mallery’s take on it.  And the spa scene with the possible future stepchild – realistic and full of tension. 

Although this particular plot was a bit of a downer for me, I enjoyed Mischief Bay and its inhabitants. I’ll be on the lookout for book number two. 

-calliope 

buy THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY

Review: Becoming Rain by K.A.Tucker

01 become

“Guilt and happiness go to war inside of me as I fall. I wonder which one will win.”

Holy tension, Batman!!! I swear to God, I was nervous the entire time I was reading. I was not expecting that!! I was cringing and closing my eyes at some parts, and hoping for the best. Every time I turned a page, I had this overwhelming feeling of dread and angst, but I loved it!!

Synopsis
Luke Boone doesn’t know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it-the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he’s finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set-one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it’s not exactly legal, Luke’s never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game-at only twenty-six years old, she’s one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she’s just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast’s most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she’ll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she’ll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she’ll even want to.

After reading Burying Water, I was a bit smitten with Luke. I knew he was tempted to follow his uncle into some not-so-legal activities, but I was holding out hope that he would make the right decision though.

I didn’t envy Clara one little bit. I understand her need to get the job done and do it well. But being close to Luke and not falling for him, is more difficult that working for the FBI. Slowly she realizes that she has no control over her heart and is dancing on the line of professionalism.

“I’ve been in this deceitful place before. And yet this time, it feels completely new and different. And somehow more dangerous.”

It was nice to revisit characters from the previous book, Burying Water, and see how they are doing. I missed them.

K.A.Tucker has created some of the most believable and perfectly flawed characters I have ever read. The torment is real. I love is real. The heartache is real. I feel like I could reach in and grab on to them and never let go. And this story is no exception. I felt like I was living this story and my heart almost couldn’t take it. But I held on to the very end and my heart is happy.

~Melpomene

Release day-March 3, 2015
Buy Becoming Rain: A Novel (The Burying Water Series)

Review: The Hidden Library by Heather Lyons

01 hidden “True love does not have limits or restrictions. True love allows a person to love deeply and unconditionally. True love does not ask you to let go of life. True love encourages you to live.”

Oh my word. I have missed these characters so very much. I was ready to dive in as soon as this book hit my kindle. From the very beginning I realized this book was going to be filled with more action and adventure than the first book. I was right. The Hidden Library was filled to the brim with romance and adventure, and mysteries and secrets. A twisted tale of love and loss, mixed with hope and friendship and sprinkled with heroes and villains.

SYNOPSIS
Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.

On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.

Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths.

Holy adventure, Batman!!! This book was one adventure after another. And as they discover one secret, another pops up. Soon you’re so caught up and making presumptions that are totally wrong. Just when we thought we knew the story, we get slapped with secrets we never saw coming.

I love the timelines. I was never a reader, so to get a little glimpse of the classics, makes me so happy. It makes me wanna curl up with a copy of Alice or Finn’s books.

In the midst of trying to find the destroyer of the legacies, Finn and Alice discover that their feelings are stronger than they ever thought they would be, but they keep it secret til it was almost too late. I seriously love Finn. But I gotta admit, I still have a soft spot for the White King. I am torn between the two. They both are good for Alice, but there can be only one.

“Courting is meant to endear lovers to one another. I am already hopelessly attached to you, Finn Brunt.”

From one chapter to the next, you will get pulled in the legacies themselves. I felt like I was living in them. It was the perfect continuation. PLUS, you get dual points of view. We get to see what Finn and thinking and feeling, which makes some parts of the story more heartbreaking, and therefore more exciting to me. And that ending?!?! I hope Ms. Lyons can write fast, because I’m not sure how long I can hold out. My heart can only take so much.

~Melpomene

Buy The Hidden Library (The Collectors’ Society Book 2)

To get the full experience, grab The Collectors’ Society