Review – LIFE The Day Kennedy Died: Fifty Years Later: LIFE Remembers the Man and the Moment by the editors of LIFE.

17333556I am a self-confessed conspiracy nut, and make no apologies for it.  Saying that however, I am an intelligent conspiracy nut – I like to review the evidence and make my own conclusions.  Now, we’ve all seen in the last few weeks a flurry of books being hastily released in order to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the day that President Kennedy was assassinated.   Most of these have no merit, and are purely released to garner some money and attention.   This is not to say that this book released by LIFE magazine isn’t making money – you still have to pay for it – but I would rather pay for another JFK book by a respected author/collaboration such as LIFE magazine.

Before we get into the review proper, I must warn you that this is a book with media – the original, unedited Zapruder film; it is only downloadable to tablets, Fires, etc… I’m not sure how the DTB edition deals with it.

This book covers events from the emigration of the Kennedy family from Ireland, right up until the horrible day in 1963.  We are treated with many previously unseen personal photos, some in colour, some black and white, with a running commentary.   As it is told in chronological order, there is a sense of a real narrative here, and it actually makes the read all the more shocking.  Like I said above, I am conspiracy/history buff, so I thought I had known pretty much all there was to know about JFK, but I was wrong!  LIFE magazine has a reputation for preserving history through photographs and articles, and I learnt a few new interesting things last night.

Due to the linear narrative, when it comes time to watch the Zapruder film, it really does pack quite the punch.  Even though I knew what was going to happen, I still audibly recoiled and felt a bit sick.   This was real life, with real people, and EVERYONE was affected somehow.  That is proved in the chapter that collects the “where I was on that day” stories from random people from reporters, to Barbara Streissand, to Bill O’Reily.   The Kennedy’s may have been economically out of touch with many Americans, but even when you have staunch republicans, and Russian leaders say that they were dismayed when died, you know that he was someone unique, and someone to look up to.

~ Pegasus.

Buy it here:  LIFE The Day Kennedy Died: Fifty Years Later: LIFE Remembers the Man and the Moment<

Sneak Peek Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

17233800 I have loved this series from the beginning – I gave the first book 5 stars, and the second 4 stars (as I wasn’t a big Beth fan). This is Isaiah’s story and he intrigued me from the first time we saw him in Pushing the Limits. I can’t help it, I like guys with tattoos. Guys with tattoos AND feelings? That’s not even playing fair in my opinion!

Isaiah has a crappy life, has been in foster care has a crappy Mom who was in prison but is now out. But he has a few things going for him and he knows it – Noah, his best friend being the most important. They’ve been through hell together and when Noah got out of the foster system he promised to take Isaiah with him and he hasn’t let him down yet. The other thing he has is his mechanical abilities – Isaiah knows he’s talented in that area and he uses it the best he can to make any money he can. He had a third thing – Beth his other best friend, but she disappeared into a better life.

Rachel, however, has a perfect life. She has wealthy parents and brothers who love and protect her…and no friends, crippling anxiety and too many secrets to count. The only thing that makes her happy is taking off in her Mustang. One night she ends up in a street race and when Isaiah saves her from Eric, a street thug who mean business, neither can figure out what just happened.

They have 6 weeks to get Eric the money he thinks they owe him or they are both completely screwed. Meanwhile, Rachel is drawn to Isaiah in ways she didn’t think she could be and Isaiah wonders what exactly she could see in him as messed up as he is.

What I love about Katie McGarry’s writing is that she really gets the details of every little thing. Every aspect of the book felt very fleshed out. From the minor background characters at the street races to the major characters like Rachel’s brothers. I really appreciated finding out in book 2 that Beth did not end up with Isaiah but what I appreciated even more in this book was that the romance did not falter at all. Obviously they had their ups and downs and big obstacles to overcome but there wasn’t hot and cold when it came to the emotions of the main characters. I felt that Rachel balanced Isaiah out much better than Beth ever could have.

I really, really disliked Rachel’s family and there is a scene in the book I all but stood up and cheered. Everyone but Isaiah took her for granted and no one appreciated her. It seemed like she was how many girls feel to the extreme.

Just a small taste of what I liked about the romance –

I don’t want to be without you. I like who I am with you, and I don’t want to go back to who I was before. I love you, Rachel. So this will work. No matter what or who stands in our way.

Overall this book had just about everything I could ask for in a young adult/new adult book: romance, action, family drama, guys with tattoos. OOH – also for fans of this series I just about died when I got to the end and found out that IT’S NOT DONE! She’s writing MORE! The next one will continue on with one of Rachel’s brothers. Who I really despise right now so I will hold out on judging it at the moment. But I love this author’s writing so YAY!

I received this ARC via the Publisher in return for an honest review from both NetGalley and Edelweiss.

5 Stars

Links for all 3 books below because all 3 are great!!

~Clio

Buy it Now (Book #3 ) Crash into You (Harlequin Teen)

Book #1 Pushing the Limits (Harlequin Teen)

Book #2 Dare You To

Review – King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci.

17333431I’ve been a fan of David Baldacci for about the last 10 years or so, so when I received this ARC to review, I jumped in reading straight away. As you can probably start to tell by now, my taste in genres is pretty varied. Baldacci is my go-to author for my ‘fluff’ reading; he is like James Patterson, only twice as good and actually writes his own books (allegedly!).

This book is the latest in the Sean King and Michelle Maxwell series – a buddy cop type series, but with two former Secret Service agents. I really like this series because these two characters have some genuine chemistry and seem half believable. It’s not too late to start this series as there are only 5 other books before this one.

The plot is your standard ‘two agents must save the day against juggernaut government factions that kill at will’ etc, etc… However, this plot has a contemporary edge to it, which makes it seem like it could potentially happen in today’s age. The pace of the writing is fast and exciting – before you know it, you’ve read ¾ of the book!

I won’t for one second say that this book will invoke any kind of emotional tidal wave, make you ponder the meaning of life and being, challenge your inner self, or anything like that. It will however, serve as an entertaining and quick read, one that doesn’t disappoint because you know what you are getting, and it doesn’t fail to deliver. I highly recommended this for fans of Baldacci’s King and Maxwell series.

Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

~ Pegasus.

Buy It Here: King and Maxwell (King & Maxwell)<

Review: Flash and Dazzle by Lou Aronica

20131118-215404.jpg Rich Flaster and Eric Dazman – otherwise known as Flash and Dazzle – are best friends. They work together at an ad agency and spend most of their free time together, too. Most of their male bonding time is over beer, takeout, video games, sports or movies, but that’s pretty normal for guy-time, right? And life would continue in that vein for Flash and Daz, except for a couple of bumps in the road. And one of them is big; insurmountable, even.

This book had a slow start and I couldn’t get into the first-person narration. Add to the fact that the protagonists are men and they live in NYC… I just couldn’t relate.

But almost halfway through, I realized I WAS into it. I cared about Flash and his career. I cared about Dazzle and his family issues. I cared about Eric and Rich’s friendship, and how it was going to play out.

The ending is wonderful (beware… the kindle edition ends before 90%) and the middle is pretty good too. Lou Aronica writes authentic dialogue and believable characters. And though the plot wasn’t what I was expecting at first, I appreciated Aronica’s approach to the themes of friendship, loss, grief, and love.

Three stars for solid writing, engaging dialogue and well developed main characters. Overall, I enjoyed it.

–Calliope

Buy it now Flash and Dazzle

Review: Perfume by Patrick Süskind

perfumeOkay, so I HAD to read this one….The book was written in 1987, so it’s not a new book. I had never heard of it….however….for some reason all of a sudden I heard it mentioned 3 or 4 times within a month…I was determined to read it at this point…it had to be a sign right? So I tracked down an old paperback copy since it is not available on e-readers.

Well, I wish someone had told me it was full of symbolism. I seriously did not like this book. Don’t get me wrong…it has very high reviews and every time I mentioned it to someone who would tell me how smashingly brilliant it was….

Did I ever mention that the one class I never had to study for in high school was literature? Need I go further and tell you that I always started out wanting to read the stories we were assigned but once symbolism was sprinkled upon the pages I tuned out? Let’s take it a step further and confess that I passed many many a test having never read the book because of symbolism. I mean, really….if the story has been told dozens of times, why must we rehash it again and just substitute one object for another. I don’t think I’m so genius when it comes to symbolism. I just seemed to have a knack for knowing exactly what the author was trying to tell me without having to bother myself to read the book….this book was no different for me….once the main character
was caught, I knew at that second what was to happen…..how it was to end….

So what is the actually book about? I won’t tell you the symbolism…just in case you happen to like that sort of thing and wish to figure it out for yourself….This is a novel about Jean-Baptiste Grenouille born in the slums of France in the 18th century. Grenouille has an uncanny ability to remember every smell he encounters. He is able to peel the layers of odors apart and knows what they encompass. However, he has not “smell” of his own….He teaches himself the trade of perfumer. Along with no smell, he also possesses no real physical needs (other than the basic food and water needed in order to live). He doesn’t emphasize with people. He doesn’t love. He doesn’t feel a need to be accepted. He doesn’t socialize. He survives. Then it happens…In a single moment of time, Grenouille smells a scent he has never encountered before and seeks it out….a young, pure, innocent girl. He takes her life with no thought of all, just so he can relish in the smell of her. He then sets out to learn his trade in hopes that he can find some way to capture this scent as his own….

Read the novel if you want to know what happens at the end…and what does his lack of scent mean? And what is it he is actually seeking in his *special* perfume….

but this novel (and the reason chose to review it) did bring up a very interesting question in my mind. One that I had to put the book down and ponder it for quite a while. Where does our sense of smell come from? Why is it that certain scents warm our hearts? Make us drool (oh come on….am I the only one that drools over fresh-baked cookies?????) What makes some scents so unpleasant to us? Sure, we all know that if you work at a paper mill, the scent of those chemicals will make most people retch, but for that worker that collects his pay from the mill….well, it turns into a pleasant scent. We all also know that if we open a container of play doh that it doesn’t *really* smell good, but it does bring forth our fond memories of childhood. Don’t even get me started on what happens to me when I walk into a coffee shop! We all have smells that do that. Memories and scents are so closely connected…..however…..what about new scents? what about going into a new restaurant or a foreign country for the very first time? How does our sense of scent determine the new smells that we love and those that turn our stomach?

So although I didn’t care for the symbolism and all that, I can really appreciate a book that can make me stop and think….so there you go….

until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now Perfume

New Releases for November 19, 2013

Yet another week I’m thankful for my birthday GCs. I’ll be snagging a few of these.

17831619Beautiful Beginning This is number 3.5 in the Beautiful Bastard series.

17894256The Curse Keepers (Curse Keepers series) This is sitting on my Kindle just waiting to be read. I’m hoping during Thanksgiving week.

17908462Takedown Twenty: A Stephanie Plum Novel I LOVE me some Stephanie Plum!! I can’t wait to start this one!!

18086963Holiday Games (A Play-By-Play Novella) Can we just stand here and stare at this for a while?? Thank you. 🙂 Must grab the print version of this one!

18695377Holidays with the Walker Brothers (Alluring Indulgence) Christmas novella and hot cowboys, what more could a girl want?? In my opinion, nothing. Merry Christmas. 🙂

Happy Reading!!!

~Melpomene

Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

20131116-183654.jpgIt should come as no surprise if we were to find out that beings from other planets look down on humans with immeasurable disdain. After all, we’ve managed to destroy species of life, make a mess of our planet, are controlled purely by our emotions, and can’t seem to stop fighting amongst ourselves.

This is the exact reason “Alien” from Vonnadoria has been sent to Earth. Otherworldly beings see Earth as a planet characterized by violence and greed. Professor Andrew Martin has made a discovery that may finally cause the downfall of mankind. Alien’s mission is simple: take over the body of Professor Martin, destroy any evidence of his discovery, and eliminate any humans with knowledge of this discovery. An easy enough mission considering that Alien is disgusted by everything about humans-their looks, their need to wear clothing, even what they eat. But as he lives in Martin’s skin, he begins to reconsidered his original views. For what is life without pain as well as joy? He begins to see that a Utopian society leaves much to be desired. He develops a special fondness for Martin’s son, Gulliver. As Alien grows increasingly attached to life on Earth, he finally comes to the realization that it is, indeed, a beautiful planet. Maybe even the most beautiful planet of all. However, there are consequences to his change of heart and the story concludes in dramatic, thrilling fashion.

This was an amazingly well written story that had me eagerly reading it to the end. It’s very different from everything else I’ve read lately, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s filled with humor and all too real descriptions of life on Earth. My favorite part of the book is when Haig describes Gulliver as belonging to a subcategory of humans known as a teenager: characteristics being a weakened resistance to gravity, a vocabulary of grunts, a lack of spatial awareness, copious amounts of masturbation, and an unending appetite for cereal. How much more accurate could that be? I couldn’t decide if I was pulling for Andrew Martin to survive his “bodily takeover” or if I wanted Alien to live happily ever after on Earth. Matt Haig truly has a gift for words and has given us unique, engaging story in The Humans.

~Thalia

Buy it Now: The Humans: A Novel

Review: Miracle Road by Emily March

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Spanning autumn and ending at Christmas (into the New Year if you count the epilogue), Miracle Road is traveled by Hope and Lucca, each trying to overcome grief and depression. They lift each other up with family and community help. In the end they find a way to love themselves and each other.

I’ll be honest, my favorite part of this book was tall, dark, hot, hunky, lean, brawny Lucca Romano. Somehow his broody self was so very appealing (i.e. sexy). Lucca’s brothers were just as awesome, though they took a back seat in the plot.

Hope is just as appealing a heroine. She’s a kindergarten teacher, a stand-in hoops coach, and a volunteer in the community. She’s headstrong and maybe somewhat of an introvert. I totally related to her and loved her character.

Lucca aside, my other favorite part of Miracle Road was a full-on cry fest at the single most romantic thing Lucca could have done for Hope. I read happily-ever-after romances all the time, and I didn’t even see this coming. Grab some tissues, and prepare to be impressed. It’s brilliant, in more ways than one. 😉

Miracle Road illustrates how a strong sense of family can help someone overcome a personal life challenge. The book has other romantic subplots, as well as friendships and mentor-ships that bring people together and uplift them. Emily March’s writing is good, her character development strong, and her ability to create a strong, sensitive, swoon-worthy hero… beyond excellent!

Miracle Road is #7 in the Eternity Springs series, but it can definitely be read standing alone.

–Calliope

Buy it now Miracle Road

Review: Infinite Possibilities, by Lisa Renee Jones

18166194

“You are infinitely mine.”

OK. So if you haven’t read Escaping Reality, stop right here and go read it first. I’ll wait…..

Done? Good. This book starts off right where ER left us. Amy just left Liam and is on the run trying to figure out what happened to her family. She doesn’t fully trust him, even though she’s be alone for so long and was hoping she could trust, but that’s not what happens.

So she tries to hide and keep moving so Liam, and whoever else, can’t find her. But he is one determined man and will do anything to find her.

“Run to me, not from me.”

He finds her eventually, only to lose her after a major twist in the story. I honestly never saw this coming. But Liam won’t give up. He is out to prove to her that she is everything to him and that he needs her just as much as she needs him.

She starts to have more and more flashbacks, which give a glimpse on some of the people from her past. She learns that the answers to many of her questions, were right in front of her, but her brain blocked them. But as she learns more about her family, she finds more unanswered questions.

But as the puzzle pieces started to be put back together and her life may actually start over, she still faces guilt over the deaths of her family, even though it wasn’t her fault. That is the reason she can’t move on. She knows there’s more to them and she doesn’t want Liam involved. It could lead to his death and she’s had enough death in her life. She can’t survive anymore. But that man is stubborn and shows her that she is his and he will always be there for her.

“When our eyes met in that airport, I saw another lost soul. And baby, you will never be alone again.”

I was so hoping that this would wrap up Amy’s story, but it didn’t. I understand why it can’t. The next book will be about the twist. And what a twist it was. And I’ll say it again. Never.saw.it.coming!! And that leads to the craziest epilogue. I want the next book NOW!!!

~Melpomene

Buy it now Infinite Possibilities (Contemporary New Adult) (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen)

Review: Otter Bay series by Julie Carobini

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I just finished a few books in the Otter Bay series. Set in a small town on the northwest coast, Otter Bay offers a tiny Main Street with the necessities: a coffee shop, a diner, a church. A little further out of town are the Pines, some cottages, and some winding mountain roads.

All this beauty provides the backdrop for new beginnings. Whether it’s Diner owner Peg’s niece Holly looking for her family, or Gage and Callie starting a life together, or Suz learning to be a single mother — and (gasp) start dating, the water in Otter Bay has heart-and-soul-cleansing properties.

Heartfelt family dynamics, strong but sweet heroes, and heroines searching for something – or someone – recur in the Otter Bay novels. This series is similar to Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series, but with a slightly (non-preachy, yet inspired) Christian slant.

Julie’s novels uplift me, give me hope, and give me a case of Happily-Ever-After sighs. If you’re in the mood for inspirational and sweet stories with romance in the plot, read Julie Carobini!

–Calliope

Only 99¢-$2.99!
Buy them now:
A Shore Thing
Fade to Blue
Sweet Waters