Review: Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe

  
Frankie’s fiancé died just weeks before their wedding. Overcome with grief, she escapes to Alex’s primitive family cabin in the woods, where she can be alone. 

But she isn’t alone. Her estranged sister, the cabin’s caretaker, and Alex’s brother all try to rescue Frankie from herself. Italian aunties, Vinnie the party machine, and an earthy, motherly neighbor round out her nurturers. 

The author did a nice job making me feel Frankie’s heavy sadness and nature’s solace. Relatives provided comic relief, and fellow cabin dwellers were a blanket of comfort for Frankie. 

You never know what will help heal you when you’re devastated by the death of a loved one. Tunnicliffe’s take rang authentic, and I recognized Frankie’s emotional journey as one many of us have taken in real life. 

This was a nice, relaxing read, not melodramatic but with plenty of opportunities for laughter and tears. Now I’m just waiting for GoodReads to tell me when there’s another book available by Hannah Tunnicliffe! 

-calliope

Buy SEASON OF SALT AND HONEY

Review: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

23160039What can I say? I absolutely loved this book I adored it! Enjoyed every word of it. I hated for it to end. I hope this is a long series. Please! Pretty please. Let this be a long series!

Okay, the dirty bits out of the way first….I imagine there will be more than a few people who claim the heroine, Veronica Stillwater is annoying. That she’s too arrogant, or silly, or doesn’t know half of what she *thinks* she does. All of that is true. But dangnabbit, I loved her anyway! Besides, if everyone has different personalities, why can’t someone have one exactly like Miss Stillwater? Independent, promiscuous, and outspoken…all of that in a time where ladies were better known to be quiet and subservient. I find it refreshing for an author to show us a heroine that is strong and independent. At no time does Miss Stillwater give up her independence. At no time does she succumb to being a victim. At no time does she play coy. At no time is she anything other than what she proclaims to be…. #yougogirl

The other bit that readers might object to….the mystery bit solved. I realise that many people will say it’s unbelievable. That it just wasn’t feasible. All I can say is, HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? Have you actually read any history books? Have you not seen what depths that people will go to for power? What lengths they will go to in order to obtain power? Sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction…and although this is indeed fiction, the outrageousness of the entire scenario makes it very believable for me.

Now let’s get to the good bits….oh wait….those WERE good bits! hahahahaha…..seriously, those bits DID in fact bother me at the start….but then I realised that they were only bothering me because I KNEW people would find fault with them….then towards the end, I decided to say screw it…I LOVE THIS BOOK….if you don’t….well you’re the nutter…not me!

And finally…let’s discuss Stoker….OH MY GOSH….I think I’m in love. Thank you thank you thank you, Deanna Raybourn for not making Stoker into someone who just gives into his desires. Thank you for not making he take over and save the day. Thank you for building up such a strong attraction and tension between the two wonderful lead characters and for not spoiling it by having one or the other *change* who they are in an instant just to satisfy some lusty readers (no offense to any lusty readers out there).

I seriously wish I could pick up the next book right this second and start it. I already miss Veronica and Stoker. I am already suffering from withdraw.

Yep, you can bet your bottom dollar I shall be waiting for the next installment of this series….

PS Would you just look at this lush cover? Oh my my my….It’s stunning, innit?

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley and Edelweiss for an honest review (and I HONESTLY LOVED this book)

Buy it now A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Review: The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott

01 hurI completely enjoyed this book. The one part that sticks out to me is the fact that these are regular people, in the sense that they’re not rich. They’re actually far from it. Love is simpler that way. It’s the little things they do, instead of the grand gestures.

When Cormac “The Hurricane” O’Connell first caught site of sweet timid Emily, he was hooked. In his mind she was his and he would do everything in his power to protect her. Little did he know the scary past that haunts her daily. She needed someone to protect her and defend her. She’s never had that before.

When she starts to work in the gym he fights at, she is nervous being around all these huge and intimidating guys, but they slowly break down her barriers and weasel their way into her heart. But it’s O’Connell who latches on fiercely and doesn’t let go. She is taken with him, even though he scares her, but given her past, she’s still nervous to pursue anything more than friendship.

The more time she spends with O’Connell she comes to realize that she’s his. Watching her deny that there was anything between them, was funny. She wanted to hold him at arms length, but you can’t hold a guy like that back.

I loved the sense of loyalty and protectiveness all these characters had. They defended each other, stood by each other, and loved each other. Most definitely not your traditional family, of blood, but of the heart. Those are the best kind of families. I can’t wait til book 2 to continue reading their story. But I’m hoping to see Kieran get a book as well. I think it’s going to take someone super special to tame that boy.

~Melpomene

Buy The Hurricane

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

EverythingEverythingCoverCan I just tell you to read this book immediately? Seriously, if that was all the advice that I gave you and you followed it, you wouldn’t be disappointed. But since most readers want just a bit more before committing…

Madeleine is a typical seventeen-year-old girl with one exception. She can’t leave her house. In fact, she hasn’t been outside since she was a very small child. She’s allergic to basically everything, and basically everything could potentially end her life. So she’s stuck inside the bubble of her house. And if asked, she’d probably tell you that she’s pretty happy with her life as it is. After all, she’s never known anything different.

But then it happens. New neighbors move in next door. And as Madeleine watches from her upstairs window, her heart skips a beat when she sees Olly for the first time. His life is so different from hers, but he has his own set of troubles. Of course they fall for each other, at first from behind the safety of a computer screen. When that’s not enough, Madeleine realizes that her life wasn’t as happy and complete as she thought it was. All rewards, however, come with a certain amount of risk. And the risks for Madeleine could be her very life.

I’ve never read anything quite like this book. You could call it your typical teenage romance story. Girl finds boy, boy finds girl, they fall for each other, life interferes, and they live either happily ever after or NOT happily ever after. But the author does such an amazing job with this debut novel. It’s familiar and different at the same time. The characters are so real, and they evoke such emotion. Oh, and I won’t even mention the huge twist at the end of this story that I never for the life of me saw coming. This one will easily go down as one of my all-time favorites.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Everything, Everything

Review: Keeper’s Reach (Sharpe & Donovan) by Carla Neggers

  
Emma and Colin are at it again – solving crimes and saving lives – but this time they’re not really doing it together. Emma is supposed to be visiting the sisters at her old convent to get some closure before her wedding. But she gets drawn in to a dangerous situation when Colin’s brother Mike has some ex military contacts visiting. Colin vacillates between rushing in to save the day and keeping his emotions in check and doing a deliberate investigation first. 

I miss the banter Emma and Colin had in book 4 of this series (Read the review here), but I did like their display of trust and protectiveness for each other. Just like in book 4, I was a little confused with the numerous characters. They didn’t all come clear to me until the end, and by that time I think I missed something. 

I always enjoy a good FBI story, and Keeper’s Reach gets extra points for being set in New England and the Cotswalds. I also loved that Neggers continued the stories of art thief Oliver York and secondary character Father Finian. A possible rekindled romance for Mike and Naomi held my interest, too.  

I wish Neggers focused more on action — while maintaining the awesome descriptions of locale that she does so well — instead of describing characters. I get that the ex military pals were supposed to be central, but it’s hard to develop a bunch of new characters for one mystery in one book. 

I hope to see more Sharpe & Donovan capers in the future!

-calliope

Buy KEEPER’S REACH

Review: Restless Waters(Left Drowning #2) by Jessica Park

01 rest My heart has been squeezed and shredded, and glued and mended. Restless Waters is filled with enough emotion to sweep you out to sea, unless you’re holding tight to someone.

“Breathe. Just breathe.”

“There’s no air, Blythe.”

“Reach for me. I won’t let you drown. I’m right here.”

He rubs my back some more and then laughs lightly. “You’re already taken.”

“I have two hands, Sabin. Grab one.”

I have loved Sabin from the very first moment we met him, in Left Drowning. I knew there was more going on inside his head than he let on. I KNEW that his story, however it was told, was going to make me feel. I was so right.

SYNOPSIS
A storm is coming, and with storms come restless waters.

Pulled from the depths of catastrophe and depression, Blythe McGuire has learned to escape from her past while embracing the future. A future now entwined with the Shepherd siblings.

With Chris, she shares a staggering romance that kicks heartbreak’s ass.

With Sabin, she shares an intense friendship, one that’s becoming more complicated than either had expected. A friendship now being put to the test because Sabin’s brutal past still haunts him. Because trauma is the gift that keeps on giving without mercy.

Now Sabin is the one left drowning and struggling to breathe, and his turmoil threatens to send all three into dark currents they cannot escape. Even after going through her own hell, saving Sabin will take much more than Blythe had anticipated. Their connection and their love could help, but getting him to reach for her hand could be Blythe’s biggest challenge ever.

Blythe has found a way to breathe, with the love of Chris and Sabin. Sabin is her best friend. In fact, everyone would count themselves lucky to have a friend like Sabin. He is charismatic and loving, and loyal to a fault. He wants his loved ones to feel no pain. But as they grow closer, she notices that Sabin is falling apart. He wants to be free, but at the same time, he can’t stand being alone. If Blythe isn’t strong enough to save him, she’s going to drown right along with him.

My heart was breaking this entire time. True to the Left Drowning feel, I had to step away from everyone, as I couldn’t contain the sobs that overcame me, at one scene. I was completely caught off guard and my heart squeezed so tight.

I wanted Sabin to be happy. But no matter how loud and crazy he was, there was undercurrent within him, that you felt through the pages. Restless waters is the perfect description of him. He was all over the place. Never settled. He was hurting and helpless. After growing up the crazy household they did, there are bound to be scars that remain below the surface. Healing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of fierce love and compassion to prevent someone from drowning in sadness and pain.

So hold on. Grab a box of tissues and get cozy. You won’t want to get up until you’ve finished.

~Melpomene

Buy Restless Waters: A Left Drowning Novel (Left Drowning Series Book 2)

Read Left Drowning (Left Drowning Series Book 1) first, to fully understand where Sabin is coming from. This book is in my top 10 of all times. I have much love for this series.

Review – The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara


16126596After two books, Hanya Yanagihara has now been put onto my “blind buy” author list. This is my list of authors that I will gladly buy their new book without knowing anything about it. You may remember my previous review A Little Life and how much I gushed over it.  Well, The People in the Trees is Yanagihara’s first book, and for a debut novel, it is absolutely brilliant!

Now, being a debut novel, you can see where the author is learning their craft, and in Yanagihara’s second novel, she most definitely expands upon that craft.   However, Yanagihara’s themes, and how these themes are presented, is a skill that the author seems to naturally possess.

The best thing about this books are the characters.  The main character, Norton, is complex, certainly not likable, intelligent, egotistical, and most of all… human…  We are not going to resonate with him on a superficial level, but really, we all share very similar qualities, and that’s what drew me in to these characters and their stories.   Human nature, and the perception of human nature, really interests me, and it is explored with finesse in this book.   If one person is evil, can they still be a genuine?  If a person is honest, can they still be a liar? What do you consider reliable vs unreliable?  The dichotomy of labels that we put on people based upon their actions, or indeed, what actions we choose to support or vilify, is a fascinating subject.  When you have a situation of intentions vs consequences, which one ultimately “wins”?   All these garbled and incoherent questions/ramblings are the result of reading this intense piece of fiction.   But you know what?  I bloody love it!

If you want a book that will make you question things you originally had a different opinion on, reinforce some ideas of yours, but maybe make you consider them from a different angle, then pick this book up.  It is not an easy book at all.  You will need to read fluff afterwards, but these type of books don’t come along often, so take a chance.

Pegasus.

The People in the Trees