Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

Want to know what Louisa does after she loses Will in ME BEFORE YOU? I did too. I fell in love with Lou (CLARK!!!!) and I couldn’t let her go. 

AFTER YOU shows us Lou’s grief, her attempt at supporting the Traynors, her meandering spirit as she tries to find her way back in life, and her maternal side. 

I liked the meandering the best. I mean, when we lose someone, we don’t just jump back into reality. We look for supports and crutches and strongholds… And we are picky, because we don’t want to choose one that will cause more loss. 

Thanks Jojo Moyes for giving us more Louisa. It was enough that we lost Will. 



Review: Forty One by Lesia Daria

This might be a novel about being a housewife, or being Eastern European and feeling misplaced living in England, or coming to terms with depression, or allowing your emotions to catch up to everything that’s happened in your past. 

And maybe this book is a mirror, reflecting the failures and sins of the reader. The thing is, I don’t quite enjoy my flaws staring back at me. And I don’t like all the gloom and doom of Forty One. The WHOLE THING is gloomy with tiny bits of shimmer thrown in, every piece of which Eva manages to dull with her depression. I also didn’t appreciate the betrayals to marriage.  If you’re depressed, think long and hard whether this book will make you feel better (understood and validated) or worse (dragging you deeper) before deciding to read it. 

I prefer a bit of happy escapism in my daily reading.  But some people (ahem, Urania) think it’s totally awesome when a book makes the reader uncomfortable, pushes the reader to reexamine her values, brings to light that which is usually hidden. So I admit to my negative and egotistical nature… And heretofore I’m moving on to a more uplifting read! 

Technically, the writing was long-winded. I skipped entire pages of droning and description, and still the book took forever to read (over 8000 locations, felt like maybe 8 hours). 

Know what I loved, though? When Eva is in Poland, her family traditions around meals and holidays were very similar to my family traditions when I was a little girl. I thank the author for bringing me a piece of my childhood, eating pierogies and golombki before Christmas midnight mass, and sharing the opłatek with my relatives. 



Review: Saturn Run by John Sandford

24611668I can’t say I expected this to be the best Sandford book I’ve read…and trust me, I’ve read them all (even the art one he did way back when), but I certainly didn’t expect it to the worst. I was wrong. The thing I love most about Sandford (and he is the ONLY author I’ve read every single year for the last 20 plus years) is his dialogue between characters. I absolutely love the relationships he builds between people via dialogue….it doesn’t matter if they are life long friends, or complete strangers. He has a gift for dialogue that I’ve never seen matched.

This book had none of that. Sandford presented us with some characters that could have been phenomenal. There were there. However, the building up of their characters and the thrill of discovering what makes them tick just wasn’t. There actions made them seem flat and uncaring, simply because we weren’t allowed to have insight to them. Sandford simply dropped tantalizing bread crumbs, and we found ourselves excited to finally get to the tasty cake at the end….to reach the end of trail and be met with only an empty package.

The book was bogged down with endless details of things the reader didn’t need to know….yes, we needed to know how grave the situation was at times…and how smart the characters were to overcome any obstacles…but I think Sandford could have spent less time in those details and more with the details of the relationships of the main characters.

I will say that I can see this playing out 50 years from now. I will also say that this novel and how politics played into it gave me very little faith or hope for the human race. The value placed on human life was non existent. As was the care for the tax payers money and the lies and deceit that played into hiding this information from the general public. Yes, that might sound political. It probably is. However, this novel was chock-a-block of politics….

On a side note, and completely unrelated, Sandford has now done a couple of books outside his normal crime thriller genre. I sincerely hope he isn’t bored with it all. As a writer he is completely free to write whatever he chooses. However, I would be totally gutted if he gave up that genre. I can honestly say I find his Pey books better with each new release. He is the ONLY and I stress ONLY writer that has ever managed to keep me so engaged with a character for any amount of time….let alone 20 plus years….

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now Saturn Run by John Sandford

Review and Giveaway: Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh

01 rock I like reading friends to lovers and second chance romances. In fact, they’re some of my favorite sub genres. So when I first started reading this book, I realized that I was getting both of these, and I was super excited!

Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John. Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness…until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart.

Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he’d rather she hate him than learn his darkest secret. All he has left is his music. It’s his saving grace, but it doesn’t silence the voices that keep him up at night. Chasing oblivion through endless one-night-stands, he earns a few hours’ sleep and his bad boy reputation.

When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new “it” couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave. Wanting—needing—to give Kit this, even if he can’t give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend. Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful…and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.

This book was a slow burn. There was no real angst or emotional craziness. There was heartache and sweet romance. I thought there would be a bit more sauciness, but these two characters wouldn’t get with the program. Too many hurt feelings were flying around, to let that happen.

I really enjoyed seeing all the past couples involved in their story. Seeing how well they turned out, gave me hope for these two. Plus we get an idea of who the next book could be about. I am hoping we get to see a little more of Kit and Noah later on. I feel that their story isn’t quite done yet.

Kit groaned at the sound of her phone. Reaching out blindly toward the nightstand, she hurled mental curses upon herself for forgetting to turn it off so she could catch some uninterrupted sleep before her four-a.m. makeup call.
It’d be fun and great for her career, her agent had said when recommending Kit take the superhero flick. Coming off two serious and emotionally wrenching projects, Kit had taken Harper’s advice and jumped on board the high-budget, high-octane venture. Unfortunately, Harper had forgotten to mention the four hours it would take to put her into the head-to-toe makeup required for the role. Daily.
“What?” she snarled into the phone without checking to see who it was.
“Hey, Katie.”
Every cell in her body snapped wide awake. Lifting her eyelids, she just stared at the ceiling through gritty eyes. Her heart thumped, her throat moving convulsively as she swallowed. She hated that he could still do this to her, hated it, but her visceral response to Noah wasn’t something she could stop. She knew because she’d tried for the past two years and three months.
“Noah,” she said flatly. “Do you know what time it is?”
“Two fifteen,” he answered.
Kit should’ve hung up. God, he’d hurt her. So much. But there was something in his voice that had her sitting up. “Are you drunk?” One thing she knew about Noah: no matter his bad-boy rep, he was never wasted. He might give a good indication of it, but look closely and those dark gray eyes were always sober.
“Probably.” A silence, followed by, “I just wanted to hear your voice. Sorry for waking you.”
“Wait,” she said when he would’ve hung up. “Where are you?”
“Some dive.” He took a deep breath, released it in a harsh exhale. “I’m sorry for being an asshole. I wanted to tell you that. I don’t want to go without saying that.”
“Noah,” she said, a horrible feeling in her stomach. “Where exactly are you?”
“The Blue Flamingo Inn off Hollywood Boulevard. Far, far, far off.” He laughed, and it held no humor. “It has a neon sign of a blue—surprise!—flamingo that’s flashing right through my window. Looks like someone stole the curtains.”
Having already grabbed her laptop, which she’d left beside the bed after answering some e-mails before sleep claimed her, she found the Blue Flamingo Inn. But Noah was already gone, having said, “I love your voice, Kit,” in an oddly raw tone before hanging up.
He didn’t pick up when she called back.
“Damn it! Damn it!” She shoved aside the blanket under which she’d been buried, having turned the AC to ice-cold as she usually did at night. Shivering, she tugged on a pair of jeans and an old sweatshirt over the panties and tank top in which she’d gone to sleep.
Pulling her black hair into a rough ponytail to keep it out of her eyes, she ran through the house, phone in one pocket, credit card and driver’s license in the other. In the kitchen, she grabbed her keys off the counter and shoved her feet into the tennis shoes by the door that led to the garage.
She was in her car and on the way to the motel three minutes after Noah had hung up, mouth dry and an ugliness in her gut. “Please be okay, please be okay, please be okay,” she kept saying, the mantra doing nothing to calm her down, but at least it kept her mind focused.
She wanted to call Molly and Fox, or the others in the band, but no one was currently in the city. Schoolboy Choir had completed the final show in the band’s hugely successful tour just over two weeks earlier. Day after that, they’d all gone their separate ways to recharge and regroup.
“Much as I love these guys,” David had said with a grin that reached the dark gold of his eyes, “I’ve been looking at their ugly mugs daily for months. We need to go blow off some steam separately before we start snarling at each other.”
At the time, Kit had nodded in understanding, having had that same experience while working on location for long periods. Tonight, however, she wished the others were all here, not scattered across the country, because something was very wrong with Noah.
“Noah doesn’t do drugs,” she told herself as she drove as fast as she dared, not wanting to risk getting pulled over and further delayed. “He isn’t the kind to—” She couldn’t say it, couldn’t even think of Noah ending his life. “No,” she said firmly, her hands white-knuckled on the steering wheel. “Noah isn’t like that.”

If you’d like to read the rest of this chapter, as well as the next, click this link:


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Buy Rock Redemption (Rock Kiss Book 3)

Get caught up with the rest of the gang:
Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss Book 1)
Rock Courtship: A Rock Kiss Novella
Rock Hard (Rock Kiss Book 2)

Review: Gathering Deep by Lisa Maxwell

Gathering Deep final

As an avid reader, there’s nothing more rewarding than waiting, squirming with anticipation for a book to be released. You’ve read the first one, you know a sequel is in the works, now just to get your hands on it. And then you get that book. And you tear through it. But you go back and reread parts, slow down and savor it a bit. And the very best part comes at the end, when it’s just as good as you’d hoped. So what comes next? Spreading the love to other readers, of course!

This story picks up where Sweet Unrest left off. This time, however, the focus is on Chloe and her connection to her mother, Thisbe. While one series of killings is apparently over, the danger from dark and mysterious forces is not. Chloe and her friends must seek the help of Mama Legbe, a well-known voodoo queen, as well as the help of darker entities. Is Chloe destined to follow the wicked path of her mother? Or can her true spirit prevail as she fights to do the right thing? And there’s a love story, of course. Because after all, love is the root of all things good and bad. But unlike many other young adult stories, it’s a supporting character in this one. The real story lies in the mystery and suspense as well as the outstanding character development.

Along the way readers are given a mesmerizing description of the city that care forgot, a city that will weave its way into your very heart and soul. Lisa Maxwell’s debut novel, Sweet Unrest, stole my heart with its spot-on descriptions of a beautiful city. This follow-up does no less. She writes with a love for New Orleans that shows with every paragraph.

“Like a worn out madam who still has enough sparkle to keep the fellows knocking on her door, there’s something beautiful about the way this part of the city has stood, steadfast and sure, over the centuries.”

Her knowledge of local culture and folklore is apparent throughout the story, and every last word is entirely believable. Yes, that goes for even the supernatural aspects. And once again, she’s written a young adult book that truly is safe for young adults. Just scary enough to enthrall but not overly gruesome or mature. And yes, this cover is just as beautiful as the last one. Can we possibly hope for a third part in this story?!?


Buy It Now: Gathering Deep

Review: The Runaway Bridesmaid by Daisy James

British rom com here… Rosie runs off to Aunt Bernice’s cottage in the English countryside after catching her New York City boss/boyfriend kissing her sister/spoiled brat. There, Rosie finds a run-down thatched roof home with an overgrown garden, a handsome attorney, a quirky and charming neighbor, an old friend, and late Aunt Bernice’s journals full of recipes and life lessons. 

I love the British-ness of this book, even though it was odd to see some of the American dialogue containing British vocabulary. And I REALLY loved Charlie. Great character, Ms. James. Charlie has brains, brawn, sincerity, and a puppy dog affection for Rosie. James wrote their interactions in such an authentic and fresh way that I would have enjoyed even more scenes with the two. 

On the other side of the coin: Rosie’s sister Freya was so annoying I could spit… it takes some great writing to create a character you can’t stand but you are still invested in! 

Of course you can expect a happily ever after … But you’ll have to read the book to find out where, and how, and with whom. :) 



Review: Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery 

This is another fantastic installation in Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series. 

Madeleine Krug climbs outside her comfort zone to plan a wedding for the sister of famed Jonny Blaze. Jonny is happy to meet her – and spend time with someone who doesn’t glom onto him for his star status. 

As they work together, their relationship changes and deepens. Madeleine and Jonny together develop from platonic to romantic … in a nice, gradual, believable way.  

Besides the love story, Mallery shows us the overwhelming Christmas spirit Fool’s Gold offers. I celebrated right along with the sidewalk strollers and cocoa sippers, listening to carols and looking at the sparkling lights. 

From the sense of community and close friendships to the welcoming embrace given to newcomers, the people of Fool’s Gold are the perfect backdrop for Madeleine and Jonny to grow as individuals and a couple. And as usual, Mayor Marsha is the one to make things happen – for the good of the town, and for the good of romance! 



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