Review: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

20140209-163912.jpgA young single mother dies a violent death. Her two young children witness this horror. With no family members to take them in, they are at the mercy of the courts until an adoptive family is found. Not only is the family willing to adopt both young children, they are also extremely wealthy. And they all live happily ever after…or not.

Things start out well enough for Jamie and his sister Cate when they’re adopted by the Henry family. They fit right in and are soon enrolled in private school, horse-riding lessons, piano lessons, and everything else that being part of a well-off family entails. But as they enter their teenage years, Cate begins to spiral downward in a cycle of drug and alcohol abuse as well as signs of mental illness. Cate’s wild ways catch up with her when she’s sentenced to a juvenile detention facility for burning down a neighborhood horse barn. Jamie’s life without Cate settles into a predictable, safe rhythm. That is, until Cate is released. It starts with threatening phone calls and soon Jamie is seeing Cate everywhere he looks. She’s come back for him, and she’s still crazy. Or is she?

This second novel by Stephanie Kuehn had me flipping pages, or in my case pushing page turn buttons, faster than you can imagine. It’s an intense, on-the-edge of your seat novel that I finished in one day. I kinda thought I had it figured out towards the end but there was still enough suspense at the end to satisfy me. And a big plus for young adult readers is that it’s a fairly safe book with only the hint of sexual tension between teenagers. Grab this one and plan to set everything else aside until you finish it!

~Thalia

Buy it Now: Complicit

Review: Go With Me, by Elyssa Patrick

01 go I remember meeting Daphne in Stay With Me, and I had a feeling there more she was hiding from us. I was super excited when I found out this was coming. I sooo wanted to her her story.

Synopsis
I, Daphne Fox, have a few things to confess:

1. I hate Nick Brady. Loathe. Abhor. Can’t stand him 95% of the time.
2. That other 5%? I’m not talking about that at all.
3. People think I’m lucky for surviving the car crash. I disagree.
4. Nick is the only guy who makes my nightmares go away.
5. I won’t love him, though. Love is not worth the pain.

I, Nick Brady, have a few confessions of my own:

1. I don’t hate Daphne Fox. At all.
2. I find her scar sexy. Just like the rest of her.
3. I may be her older brother’s best friend, but that’s not going to stop me.
4. I love her.
5. And I’m going to do everything I can to have her.

Daphne broke my heart. I seriously felt bad for her. She is the survivor of a horrific crash and she is struggling with that. Why is she hear? Why did she live? Would someone love me covered is nasty scars? Am I allowed to be happy and in love? I wanted to reach in and hug her hard.

Nick was that guy that you think you hate, but you really don’t. You fight with him, but it’s really just foreplay, only you don’t notice till you’re in too deep. He has loved Daphne since before her accident, but he was too busy pissing her off to tell her. And when she almost died, he decided he has to do something about this feeling.

Their banter was so fun to watch. You could see the sparks flying from off the pages. I could see how all the guys are very protective of her, but Nick takes it further.

The only part I wasn’t super crazy about was how it was mentioned that he slept around a lot, but she never brings it up to him. They acted as though it was no big deal. I guess I’m not used to that. Most books at least have the couple talk about it. But it’s not a big deal.

I’m glad we still were able to see Caleb and Hailey make appearances in this book. They still played a large roll in the story. I like that.

But I am seriously excited for the next book!! I love Jamie and his jokes. But I know there is way more to him.

~Melpomene

Buy

Buy Stay With Me

Review – Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison

6314763To many readers, today’s review may seem like an awfully familiar title. Well, you would be right. This week I read the memoir that inspired the Netflix show, Orange is the New Black. The memoir, also titled the same, follows a period of just over a year in the life of Piper Kerman. Piper is, by her own account, a blonde, upper-middle class, private college educated female. However, when she was young and naïve, yearned for something a little more risky and exciting. This came in the form of Nora, her lover and fellow convict. Nora convinces Piper to smuggle drug money across international borders, and the crime eventually catches up with her… More than 5 years later. Imagine going about your day and suddenly, two FBI agents come to your front door, hand you a notice of indictment, and inform you that you are to appear in court on federal charges of money laundering and other drug related crimes. Well, that’s what happened to Piper and it would be a further 6 years before the trial took place. Being sentenced to 15 months, Piper was lucky. Very lucky. The real meat of the memoir begins when she surrenders at FCI Danbury, a federal prison complex in Danbury, CT. Again, this was pure luck, as the second nearest federal women’s prison is located in Virginia.
OITNB, explores the day to day interactions that Piper has at Danbury. We get to know a host of the various prisoners and the guards, and how each one impacts Piper and her experience. Fans of the Netflix show will be glad to hear that many of their favourite characters make an appearance in the memoir, albeit in different formats, and names. However, the reader gets a much more intimate glance at these characters than they do in the Netflix show. I don’t really want to go over any more of the narrative as it is not necessarily linear, and it wouldn’t make much sense out of context.
If you want a read that will make you laugh, think, despair, angry, sad and confused, then I highly recommend this offering from Piper Kerman.
Until next time,

Pegasus.
Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison

Review: The Same but Different by Serena Clarke

20140619-115113-42673974.jpg
The beautiful thing about book titles is that they seem to mean one thing at first, and then you finish the book and realize they could mean a whole bunch of other things.

Cady and Shelby are twins – the same but different, yeah? There’s a death in the family and they decide to travel from the UK to the US… and join a flash mob thingy called Flashpoint. While they’re there, they look for their biological dad, and run into two women also named Cady and Shelby -the same but different, again! And by the end of their US adventure, Cady and Shelby grow and develop and peel away layers until they themselves are different… yet the same.

I thought this book would be straight up romance or chick lit, but it was really much more. There was suspense, adventure, family drama, more family drama, and yep, some romance. It was refreshing to read such a well-rounded story, kind of along the lines of a Nora Roberts novel. I’m used to so much straightforward chick lit romance that I forget how satisfying a good, substantial story can be. A big Thank You to Serena Clarke for reminding me. 🙂

–Calliope

buy THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT

Review: Echo Boy by Matt Haig

echoboyWhat does it mean to be human? Is it merely to be made up of flesh and bone? Is it the structure of our DNA? Is having a soul what makes us human? Or is it more than that? Perhaps it is our actions? No matter how you answer, there is some way that one can dispute your answer. Isn’t an evil person human? Do they have the correct DNA? Aren’t they made up of flesh and bone? A stone cold killer can be classified as human, although their actions might say otherwise….

Here we have the future. A world where continents can be visited within seconds…even the moon within hours. Boundaries between places that we know now are smaller and less apparent. It is a world that is now made easier by the help of Echoes. More or less computers made of flesh and bone that are there to look like humans….perform as humans….teach humans….do the work of humans….look after the young of humans….protect the humans….but to never, ever, be human. They are highly intelligent. They excel at whatever they are programmed to do….but they will never have the emotional capacity that humans possess.

Or can they?

Here we can have a look at the path that we are currently heading down….One where we (the human race) are able to jump into a pod and be transported to our love ones in a blink of an eye. One where we communicate more by machines than by touch. One where we can learn everything we *need* to know without ever really leaving our homes. Ones that although the boundaries of the past seem nonexistent, they are in fact even greater….

You might wonder what I mean by that….but look at your grandparents. How hard would it had been for them to facetime with someone in another country? How many friends did they talk to daily from foreign countries?

Now stop and think….makes you think that we’ve come a long way, eh? But wait……those same grandparents….did they spend hours a day locked inside their houses? Glued to their phones? Worried about the latest technology? Or did they truly interact with others? Did they learn about life virtually or by reality? How are you and the younger generation learning such things today?

It really gives you something to think about, doesn’t it?

Now back to what makes us human…..

This novel will give you much to ponder here….

Some of the humans portrayed have no real value of other human life….They are not thoughtful of other humans…..some of them, really, have no idea how to even interact with other humans…..

So when we isolate ourself from other humans….at some point do we lose some of that which makes us human? At one point does this happen?

So if we have no value of other human lives, does that make us less human? Again, at what point does this happen?

Finally, is it possible for *something* not fully human….something made of flesh and bones….something with some DNA…..something supposedly *without* a soul….something made in a lab….programmed….but made with love and hope and devotion……a machine that cares about the value of human life…..a machine that does not seek to isolate itself……to become human? Again, at what point does this happen?

Matt Haig, might not have written the best literary work of all time here….but hey ho….how many people can? However, what he has done is given us much to think about……and much to be watchful of…..

This book was left with an ending that can no doubt be picked up and continued on with further novels….I hope we get at a least one more…..

I really enjoyed this novel, as I have Haig’s other works…..I’m sure you won’t be disappointed…go on then….go see what the future has in store for you and I……..buy the book…..

Until next time….

Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review….

Currently available to buy in the UK Echo Boy by Matt Haig

This happened.

chicago 023

This past weekend, was probably the highlight of my book life, so far. If it gets any better, I’m not sure how I’ll be able to handle it.

Saturday night was a book signing for my favorite author, Colleen Hoover, and combined with a concert with Griffin Peterson. For those who don’t know Griffin wrote the music for Colleen’s recent book, Maybe Someday.

To say I was excited was the understatement of the year. I mean seriously, I was driving my family crazy with how excited I was. I was so nervous that I was going to pass out at some point. I felt bad for my poor hubby. I apologized to him, in advance. Who know what was going to happen with me.

Hubby and I arrived Friday and spent the day sightseeing. Which I’m kinda glad we did, since I met up with some friends on Saturday and never saw him til almost midnight.

So let me tell you how this crazy day started out. I must warn you, it’s not my finest moment. But at least I didn’t scream, ok?

Hubs and I went downstairs, to get directions to a store we wanted, and I happen to turn my head and I see HER!!! Now any normal person would be cool. But I, however, am not normal. So what do I do?? I hit my hubby and whisper, “Dear!! Dear, it’s her!! It’s Colleen Hoover!!” Poor guy, just rolls his eyes and is like, “Ok?? She’s a person like you and me. Go say hello.” Duh!! That makes sense!!

So I tap on her shoulder and she turns, smile and says, “Hi, Jenn!” and HUGS ME!!!! She knew who I was!!! AND I didn’t scream or faint. I think I deserve a gold star for that. I knew she was busy, so I didn’t ask for a pic or anything. I didn’t wanna be one of those kind of people. I figured I’d see her in the evening.

A few hours later, after seeing her a few more times, I was chatting with some friends that I finally got to meet, and guess who walks out of the elevator?? You guessed it. And guess who finally got up the nerve to ask for a picture??

chicago 010

So my day is complete now. I can go home a happy girl. But it doesn’t end there. Oh no. I’m a part of many book groups, secret and not so secret. So when this signing/concert was scheduled, I was thrilled to be able to meet a few, that I’ve only chatted on FB with. It felt like going home. It was wild!! Going to dinner and joking around with them, felt like I’ve know them all my life, instead of only a few months. I’m the one in the front left.

chicago 035

THEN the concert. WOW!! Griffin and his band were awesome!! We were in the front row and I couldn’t sit still. I was too excited. I mean look at this face!!

chicago 078

Griffin had his dad there also. It was so cool to see him up on stage with his dad. They did a great job. This video isn’t the best, but what do you expect from me?? 🙂

Since I already have all of her books signed, I grabbed a few for friends and a couple shirts for me. And everything is signed by Colleen and the guys in the band, including Griffin’s dad!

10262163_766866290019841_2772794483984653112_n

Here are few more of the things that happened.

10296591_766620480044422_583516785510087798_n

Yeah, I did this too. I claim temporary insanity.
10420231_766870016686135_2583782430645194407_n

10441277_765654776807659_9030100511112262215_n

10419621_766872520019218_7003463777091973876_n

There were over 300 people there. It was wild to see so many fans of both of them. They all signed books and things and took the time to snap pictures with everyone. I was so much fun waiting in line, chatting with the other fans. What was even more amazing, was that even though we were last, and the signing lasted three hours, all of them were still smiling and very friendly. It was great to see that. We’re their fans and they wanted to make us happy. And believe me, we left very happy. 🙂

~Melpomene

Buy the book, Maybe Someday

Buy the album, Maybe Someday

Review: That Night by Chevy Stevens

20140319-213038.jpgWhere to start with this one? Let me begin by saying that all passionate readers have that select group of favorite authors whose newest release is an eagerly anticipated, must-read. Chevy Stevens is one of those authors for me. Anytime she puts out a new story, I just know it’s going to be a good one. This newest selection did not disappoint.

Our protagonist is Toni, a young woman who is being released from prison after a long stint served for the murder of her teenage sister. Everyone, even Toni’s parents, were eventually convinced that she and boyfriend Ryan did indeed murder Nicole. Now seventeen years later, Toni is trying to get her life back on track and find some sense of normalcy, albeit a completely different kind of normal from the one she knew before her incarceration. However, the past has other plans. Enemies and secrets from the past begin to show their ugly heads, threatening to send Toni back to prison. Her only chance to save herself is to find out who is really responsible for her sister’s death.

I enjoyed this story and as a result finished it in a matter of a couple of days. It’s a great honor to read and review this work before it hits the stands. Chevy Stevens has been a favorite author of mine since I discovered Still Missing a few years ago. I will say that this story lacked some of the intensity of her previous stories. It wasn’t as pulse-pounding and page-turning as her earlier works. But, you really can’t go wrong when you pick one of her books off the shelf. You can always rely on a good, compelling story with intriguing characters. Add this one to your list, especially if you’ve enjoyed her other stories!

~Thalia

Buy it Now: That Night