Review: Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

When was the last time you finished a book and immediately sat down and wrote out a list of people who MUST read this book? When I finished this, that’s exactly what I did. The first, my kids, then my homeschool co-op teens, then some moms of those teens, then a few scattered friends who I know would get a kick out of this. And then I pretty much went on IG and FB and shouted it from the rooftops there. THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING!!! Thought provoking and exciting and I can’t wait for everyone to read this.

When I first got Pacifica, I almost skipped the author’s note and went right to the story. I’m so glad I didn’t. The author’s note is where the magic begins. It’s where the background story comes from. It’s the first time your heart is squeezed. And it’s definitely not the last.

When you read dystopians, part of you thinks, “This could never happen. We won’t let it happen.” But when I was reading this book, I kept thinking, “Crap. This could totally happen. And that would be horrific.” Basically climate change and the affects it has on our planet. But that’s not the hardest part of this story. The people, and what’s happening right under their noses, that’s the hardest part. They thought the government knew what was best for them and they just went along with it. But when the story is uncovered, they realize it’s far from anything they’ve ever heard of.

I think the best part of this book was the friendships. I was cheering everyone on. Marin, who was a pirate’s daughter and Ross, the president’s son, set out to rescue Ross’ friend, Adam, the vice president’s son, and it is non stop action. Like stomach twisting action. I couldn’t stop reading, for fear of something happening and I miss it. 🙂 Silly, I know, but I was so invested in these characters, I wouldn’t stop until they found their way back to safety. Now there is a little bit of love brewing on the high seas, but can you blame them? People who’ve gone through traumatic experiences tend to react that way. But it’s teen friendly, so no worries.

I have never read a Kristen Simmons book, but if they’re anything like this one, she’s found a new fan and I’ve found a new autobuy author. This story is now added to my ever growing “You need to read these YA books!” list. And all those people who are on my list above, better act surprised when they all get copies for Christmas.


Buy Pacifica


Review: In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

Books about teens with mental illness are hit or miss for me. Usually not very good and full of cliches, but every now and then a true keeper comes along. This latest tale from Gae Polisner is definitely one of the latter.

Klee’s had a lot to deal with in his young life. Not only did his dad kill himself, but Klee was the one to find him afterwards. His mom, hoping for a fresh start, uproots them from his beloved New York City. He doesn’t really fit in at his new school and basically resigns himself to just getting by until he graduates and can begin a new life.

But then he meets Sarah. And everything changes. She becomes his reason for being. She’s his polar opposite. And he can’t imagine his life without her. Sarah, however, isn’t as commital. Eventually it all becomes too much for Klee and he makes a desperate attempt to end the pain he’s feeling.

This author does an outstanding job of taking us inside Klee’s head, imagining what he must be thinking and feeling. So much trauma at such a young age…leading up to the incident and his recovery period afterwards.

A word of warning: Although this one is classified as young adult, I’d suggest it for the older end of the spectrum. The message is important but it’s pretty sexually descriptive. An insightful story!


Buy It Now: In Sight of Stars

Review: The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

I’ve got to say, this wasn’t the Eternity Springs I was expecting! I thought I’d be reading light and sweet but what I read was dark and heavy.

While I liked the present day Josh character very much, his past was pretty dark, and that cast a shadow over much of the plot. His moodiness was understandable but just a little depressing for Eternity Springs.

I expected Caitlin to be the predictable small town girl/breath of fresh air, yet her character development was a little uneven: she’s still a young woman without a family of her own, yet she leaves her big city job to become a day care worker. She wants to be out of her parents’ clutches, yet she is just as judgmental as they are.

This book was well written and had cameos of characters from prior books. I loved Celeste’s hand in making sure everyone lives out their best life. Despite being thrown off by these two particular characters, I did — as usual — enjoy all the magic Eternity Springs offers.

If you’ve been reading the Eternity Springs series and wishing the next book would be more serious, a little gritty, and spicier than the previous books – Emily March has written this one for you. 🙂



Review: Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden

Oh, my sweets, this book was so lovely!! Positively lovely.

Evangeline lived a life of luxury, but after the death of her parents and brothers, her younger sister and her are at the mercy of relatives. They make all the decisions for them and they must adhere to it. Women don’t have a lot of choices. If she wants to have access to her small inheritance she must do everything she is ordered to do, and do it perfectly. So she is separated from her sister and forced to be a teacher, even though she has zero experience. She is alone and sad but is determined to do a good job, to get in the good graces of her grandfather, so she can be reunited with her sister. I can’t even imagine how strong she must’ve been.

The part I love most about this was Dermot and Ronan. Dermot was this outsider, trying to make a living so he can care for his boy. Ronan was special. Autistic really. And I loved him. I loved the way he changed little by little under the care and love from Evangeline. She was learning right along with her students and she learned what he needed and how he needed it. I got chocked up at how those changes manifested themselves. Back in those days they didn’t know what autism was and I can only imagine what those poor children went through.

While she still struggled daily, her relationship with Dermot helped ease the loneliness. What started out as neighborly, turned into friendship, which then turned into more. And I loved it!! They had their moments of distress but that’s nothing compared to the love that shown through. He helped her grow and was with her as she got stronger and more independent, took control of her life, and that of her sister’s. They were so sweet to watch. We get both of their points of view, so it was lovely to see his thoughts about her. He wasn’t looking for a woman, but life likes to throw us curve balls every now and then.

As I’ve said before, I love these Proper Romance books. I love the sweetness and romance of it all. They tend to stay with me long after I’m done reading them. And Ashes on the Moor is no exception.


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Review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Sylvie and Dan try to spice up their marriage when it hits them that they have decades more of life together. In the midst of Dan working longer hours, Sylvie trying to save her employer from closing shop, and Sylvie still grieving for her late father, spicing up a marriage seems to be a tall order.

Kinsella brings to the forefront quirky characters (and I didn’t always understand their motivations until a scene was laid out for me, truth be told), family secrets, and the myriad ways people love each other. Cute, fun rom-com that was light on character development but full of charm.



Reviewed Again: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Sometimes I love a book so much I feel compelled to read it over again. When this happens I oftentimes feel a bit let down and get upset with myself. That I ruined a great book with a reread.
For me, very few books are as good the second time around. Having said that I have a few I read over and over again (TKaM, TNotW, TWMF and PiL). Each time I read them I love them. Never did I love them more the second time around…I loved them as much…or nearly as much…but never more…

Despite having books I love during a reread, I can’t ever recall a feeling like I’ve had reading this novel for the second time. When I first read this book I knew instantly that it was a 5 star read for me and that I loved it. With the second book coming out soon I wanted to refresh the story in my mind…So I once again went deep into the Rus’ forest at winter…

Once I started it again…well…magic happened. The first time I loved the story. The second time, I knew the story and I fell in love with the storytelling. I honestly loved it more than I did the first time. I must be getting old (hell, I AM getting old!!!!) but at times I just wanted to cry…for no other reason than I loved what I was reading.

It’s like looking over at your spouse sitting on the couch, and feeling a tug at the heartstrings and an overwhelming feeling of love…suddenly the emotions well up and you have a huge lump in your throat…that’s what happened to me whilst reading this book.

The only issue I have is that…well….I have wanted to start the second book for months now…I opened the cover (I received an ARC months before it’s release) but I was worried I wouldn’t love it as much…I’ve had friends read it and tell me it’s just as fantastic…I can’t explain it, but I am really scared to read it! I thought rereading this one would fix that problem…but now I am terrified…

Until next time…
Urania xx

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Review: In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira

Within the first few pages of this book, I knew it was going to be a keeper. And then a bit deeper in, I knew that it was going to break my heart.

The story opens with Angie at age 17. She’s thinking of her dad. All she has to hold on to are a few old pictures. No memories because he died before she was born. Or at least that’s what she’s been told by her mom, Marilyn. So Angie is off to find out the truth, whatever that may be.

Marilyn, 18 years earlier…also age 17. She and HER mom are at a crossroads of sorts. Marilyn’s going to be the next big thing in Hollywood, according to her mom. So what if they have to struggle for a bit? And at the moment, that struggle includes moving in with not-so-dear Uncle Woody. The only thing that saves Marilyn is their new neighbor, James. Neither of them is looking for a serious relationship, but what they want doesn’t really matter.

These two perspectives are fleshed out over the remainder of the story until they finally converge at the very end in a dramatic conclusion that you maybe saw coming but not exactly. Both are lost souls searching for something. Both find what they’re looking for in very different yet similar ways.

Ava Dellaira writes one heck of a story. She makes you care about the characters, and her words stay in your soul long after you turn the last pages of the book. Another outstanding tale!


Buy It Now: In Search Of