Review: The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly

thewolfinwinterOkay….so I should probably start this review by confessing that although this is the twelfth book in the Charlie Parker series, it is actually my very first time reading John Connolly.

However, that doesn’t mean I felt lost….it doesn’t mean that I believe I could have liked this book any more…it was simply put…brilliant. I was torn between wanting to rush on and finish this one or slinging it aside and starting at book one….It’s a new series that I am EXCITED to read more of. This is at a time where I have been in a major book slump and nothing could hold my attention.

Here we have infamous Charlie Parker….a former NYC police officer turned private investigator. As with all great protagonist, Parker has personal tragedies that have shaped him into the man he is today. There are many people that love him….and many that would like to see him dead….but few are brave enough to try it themselves…He has a reputation that proceeds him and many that have battled against him do much to stay clear of him today….

This is borderline paranormal. No….maybe I shouldn’t say borderline. It is paranormal. But it doesn’t read like it. It seems very real. This book isn’t written to provide escapism into another universe….It’s made to have you question those things around you….to look closer at things around you….

What I especial liked about this book is that there is little doubt that there are many ongoing story-lines involved. Yes, I read this as a stand alone. No, I did not feel lost. Yes, the focus was on THIS storyline….however, you were surrounded by several other ongoing story-lines as well…there were hints and glimpses galore..and I am excited to go back and get started on this series and find out what they are all about!

I also loved what Connolly has done with the many characters. Again, it’s obvious that they have played major parts in previous novels. In this novel they might not be very dominant, but they are there to remind you that they exist. There are there to remind you that they will become more involved one day in a future story. They are much like an old friend (or disliked co-worker) that you meet on a crowded street….you’re in a hurry…you only have a moment to say hi….but you promise to meet up soon and really discuss life…..and you mean it!

So often, authors of longer series feel the need to start and end a storyline in every book….maybe dragging it out for a second book to wrap up…..so often they think that each character must play a dominate, visible part in each novel….or somehow just mysteriously be vacant in the novel…..Connolly didn’t do this….and it makes me excited to read the rest of these novels….

He is an author I have always wanted to read….I pictured for some reason a John Saul type of author….I’m not sure who to compare John Connolly to now….no….I take that back….there is no comparison. He is original. He is worthy of all the praise I’ve heard about him. He deserves to be a household name. You deserve to treat yourself to this series….

I’m feeling some serious author love right now….just saying….

Until next time….

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly

The Collectors’ Society, by Heather Lyons

01collectWOW!!! A swoon worthy, tear jerking, adventurous fairytale. I found myself wide awake at 1am, because I needed to know what was going to happen. There was no sleep happening for me. This book was so exciting to read. I found myself on the edge of my seat, with such curiosity and nerves.

Synopsis
After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?

The relationship between her and Finn was so romantic to watch. He’s this crazy sexy man, who has a hard time trusting people, but finds a way to trust Alice. I loved watching them grow closer. He was her partner and guide through this world and she finds herself learning to trust him, little by little.

“After all that I’ve gone through, after all I’ve lost, I’ve finally found my true north star.”

They set out to save her world, and in the process you find out why it was so hard for her to leave. Let me just say that the White King…..swoon…and I was practically crying throughout all of his scenes. The emotional level was rocketing and I was NOT expecting that.

We are introduced to so many fairy tale characters, I was in love. I have always had a fondness for them. And this is the adult version. It was perfect all the way around.
Seriously, no words are good enough for this review. I am so excited to get this on my shelf.

~Melpomene

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Review: Conversion by Katherine Howe

dd0188081c1c4d616421d117d5f437bbThe history nerd in me loves anything to do with the Salem witch trials. The book lover in me loves historical fiction combined with a bit of fantasy. This latest book by Katherine Howe fits the bill on both ends.

It’s the story of Colleen and her friends, seniors at a prestigious girls’ prep school. They’re already under immense pressure from AP courses, GPAs, and the college admission process. And then comes another level of stress as several of the girls become afflicted with some strange syndrome. Hair loss, twitching, rambling incohesive speech…it’s all there and nobody can seem to figure out what’s causing it. Is it environmental? Stress? Mental/emotional? Or is something more sinister at work?

Part of the appeal of this book for me was how the author shifted back and forth between the present day story and the early 1700s during the actual Salem witch trial period. We’re given a glimpse into the hysteria of that era and encouraged to make a connection to the current story. This is a good story that kept me guessing as to what was really happening. An afterword by the author provides some insight into what inspired her to write this book. Grab this one for a great read, just in time for Halloween!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Conversion

Review: Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

Random Book Muses:

I know Halloween hasn’t yet arrived, but there’s something about the cold New England weather that makes me think of Christmas … Here’s a festive re-release. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Random Book Muses:

20130919-205920.jpg You know what happens four days from today? Christmas on 4th Street is released, and all you Susan Mallery fans (and Christmas romance fans) become happy campers!

You know what will make you even happier? Diving in to Noelle and Gabriel’s story. (Nice Christmassy character names, Ms. Mallery.)

Noelle’s three best friends are planning a triple wedding during the Fool’s Gold Christmas festival. One best friend’s fiancé has a cute doctor brother that comes to town for the wedding. I’m sure you can see where this is going… Kissing, dinners, getting caught in a remote cabin during a snowstorm … the usual.

A few things struck me as unique in this romantic tale. First, Noelle was the most optimistic person I’ve ever met in a book. I wasn’t annoyed, I was reflective. If Noelle could traverse tragedy and come out of it smiling, I should be able to do the…

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Review: Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

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What FUN! 1930s England, vacationing at the shore, a rocky marriage, social climbers, and a MURDER!

This reminded me so much of Agatha Christie, but with a contemporary bent. The inclusion of romance and implied social commentary on marriage… brilliant.

I loved the travelling, Amory’s husband Milo’s gracious loyalty, Gil and Emmaline’s warm sibling relationship, and the obnoxiousness of some of those guests at the Brightwell. You can’t even make this stuff up. (Well, okay, Weaver DID make it up, but it seemed pretty real to me!)

Love, hate, selflessness, mayhem, sweet nothings … You get much more than a mystery with Murder at the Brightwell.

-Calliope

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Review: Trading Secrets by Melody Carlson

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I loved this sweet YA novel about two teenagers – Amish Zach and Englisch Micah. They start out as pen pals, have a big misunderstanding, and end up as friends (with a hint of maybe more).

This is a perfect, clean, appropriate relationship story for ages 11 and up. Carlson makes the dialogue come to life, and shows authentic teenage emotions and behavior. I was invested in Zach and Micah’s relationship. I wanted their friendship to work out. Carlson provided a wonderful balance of heartbreak, emotional baggage, family obstacles; and authoritative understanding, blessings, and reaping what you sow.

I especially enjoyed the contrast in the dynamics between Zach/his mom and Micah/her dad. Zach’s actions showed integrity and courage! And even despite teenage angst, mutual respect and a happily ever after won in the end.

Trading Secrets is a fun, smart, contemporary take on the Amish and their relationship to the Englisch world. Its characters are relatable and flawlessly written. It’s neither preachy nor smarmy. I certainly hope this is the beginning of a series so I can keep reading – and then place on the coffee table for my pre-teen daughters.

-Calliope
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Review: The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle

*1I have to think about this book a bit….but off the top of my head I really didn’t like it. It seemed to me that the characters started off perhaps being ignorant, but they weren’t racist….by the end of the novel it seemed that all sides had turned so racist. There was little hope for anyone….not from page one and certainly not on the last page either….I kept waiting for someone…ANYONE to do the right thing….but it never happened. Yes, one can say that bit at the end….but I disagree….I think it was reflex and something that happened without thinking….it seemed that anytime a character took the time to think about their circumstances that it never ended positive. Only America seemed to think things out and look for the positive….but life certainly wore that poor lady down, didn’t? If Candido had time to think at the end, I believe he would not have reacted as he did…that’s right….I think he simply reacted to the situation…

Now having said all of that, where does it leave us? It seems to me that the nature of how the media portray these things really is part of the problem. Sure…just about every one can agree that children are born colour blind. They don’t see other races, they only see other humans….but think about how the media has portrayed immigrants in the last ten years. Is there any positive reported? How long does someone listen to negative reports day in and day out about abuse before they see only that? How long before someone that is judged day in and day out actually become what others automatically judge them to be? It was obvious that many of the characters in this novel didn’t start out as they did….others influenced their actions and ultimately changed their minds about how they perceived someone simply by the colour of their skin….

How long before you and I stop taking every thing we are told by the media at face value and actually step outside and talk to our neighbors? How long before we cross the street, not to avoid someone, but to actually help that person of a different colour? Just as others can change our perception of someone wrongly….we also have the power to change, not only our own, but also someone else’s perception….

Don’t let the negative be the guiding force in your life….

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle