Review – The Hit by David Baldacci.

15791154Hi guys and girls! I’ve been AWOL for a while due to an online course that I was taking, but I have now finished it, so normal business shall resume! So, after my exhausting 2 months, I wanted to read something that did not require too much thinking or attention.
This meant fluff. Fluff for me is political thriller type book. So, who better to read than David Baldacci? I decided to read ‘The Hit’ as it was one that I haven’t read, and the premise sounded interesting. ‘The Hit’ follows Jessica Reel, an apparent rouge sharp shooter/CIA superhero/Black Op agent who goes on a killing spree of some of the highest players in Washington. Tasked to stop Jessica, is Will Robie, an equally ruthless and competent killer.
As with most other books by Baldacci, The Hit doesn’t miss a beat in terms of pace (as should all good political thrillers). The characters are believable in terms of their emotions, actions and interactions and the dialogue isn’t too convoluted or trite. You know, there really isn’t that much more to say. You know with Baldacci that you are going to get an exciting, easy and reliable read, and he doesn’t disappoint here. I believe this may be part of a new series as it is technically the second book featuring Will Robie. You can start with the first one – The Innocent (Will Robie Series) but I think these are good as stand- alone books.
Until next time,

The Hit (Will Robie)

Review: Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

20140728-154355-56635463.jpg There’s nothing quite like having a sister to help you through life. In Lucky Us, the expectation is that Iris will take care of her little sister Eva after their loved ones abandon them. But it is Eva who holds together the relationship, with dim hope and quiet strength. The sisters embark on an adventure like no other, opening their eyes and their lives to worldliness and shallow sophistication. They try – but fail – to piece together a family. They try again. And again.

Lucky Us is about losing a family and finding a family. It’s about the damage that a mother and father can do and undo. It’s about making a life out of nothing but the kindness of strangers, and then recognizing that kindness as the only love you’ll ever know.

This book is historical fiction, set during the 1940s, referencing the war and its horrors, and illustrating the stunning commonalities among Jews, Germans, and Japanese. I don’t even like historical fiction, but I was taken in by the human facet of the decade. It read so much like contemporary fiction that I forgot what decade I was in. The crafting of this book is exceptional, the format perfect for the story, and the writing is tight, with every substantial paragraph meaning more than you think.

Lucky Us is hopeful. Eva shows how a young woman can endure much – maybe not with joy but with grace – and find acceptance for the life she has.

I found Eva so impressive, gracious, and strong. The grand finale in Eva’s life is the return of two loved ones. Adding them to the one who never left is Eva’s happily-ever-after finally coming to fruition. Lucky, indeed.


Note: Amy Bloom will give a free talk about LUCKY US on Friday, August 1, at 7p.m. at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut.


Review: Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

beautifulI wasn’t going to review this one, even though I so enjoyed it. However….after my decision, I read the first few reviews listed on Goodreads….and I felt a bit irritated! So here I am….So many of the 2 star reviews were from people who have read Elin Hilderbrand in the past and just didn’t think this one was as good as the some others….several said, “good characters, good story, good writing, but I liked x or y better”…..So this kind of validates Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee’s decision to never write a second book, eh? Ha Ha! I jest! I jest! Of course this isn’t a masterpiece. I’m not trying to imply that! I’m sure Hilderbrand didn’t mean for this to measure up to a renowned classic….My point is that, not all books are the same….not even the ones written by the same author! How boring would that be? Now, I confess….there are tons of books/authors just like that. I for one, usually grow tired of these very quickly. I guess some don’t….not only do they not grow bored, they almost expect it. Again, this is my first Hilderbrand novel…but if this is her worst….hey ho! I am so excited to read the others!

The second group of people who rated the book low were those that said the story was boring. That the characters were not likable….HELLO!!!!????? That’s exactly why I liked it. I confess (this is not the first time I’ve confessed this) I am not the biggest HEA fan. Life is NOT always a HEA ending wrapped up in huge pretty bow. Life is full of people just like those you will find in this novel. In real life, we often find ourselves out of sorts with those we love the most. To me, THAT is HEA!!!! When we can see something not pleasant about those around us….yet, at the end of the day….no matter how upset we are… matter how much something seemed so wrong….no matter how unattractive we found a trait in someone we love….well…at the end of the day, we still love them….we are still committed to them…..a place where we face our mistakes….and we pick up and we move on….NO ONE IS PERFECT!!!!! How frustrating would that be? I mean seriously….if my spouse (I love you, J.) were perfect, I can’t even begin to tell you how annoying that would be! There’s only room for one of us to be perfect! bwhahahhahaha…I jest I jest! Seriously though, isn’t it when we are at our maddest….our most annoyed….where we are looking at someone and wondering WTH did this person come from? and then something happens and we laugh….well….that is the times when we know it’s all worth it, isn’t it?

This is a story that takes place during the last few days before the wedding of a youngest daughter….The story is mostly told in the oldest daughter’s voice….but we also have many others that pick up the story as well….including a notebook left behind by a mother that passed away several years earlier….

There isn’t a person in this novel that I loved completely…..but they weren’t my family…..This novel shows us what *real* life is like….how special events bring together all sorts….You have extended families….you have broken families….you have personalities of all sorts…and for a few days….or a few hours….you throw them all together and then you are forced to sit back and pray for everything to go smoothly… very often does not! Here, Hilderbrand presents all of these personalities….often giving them a voice at some point….current spouses, past spouses, children, step children, absent parents, adulterers and innocent bystanders!

I loved this story simply because it didn’t have a clean HEA ending wrapped up in a clean bow. All of the story lines weren’t finished in the end….but we all know that some people live for drama and as their stories started long before the wedding, it’s only fair that they continue on indefinitely as well….I suppose that’s why I don’t care for so many HEA books…. I realise that some people need them in their life…they need everything to be settled and happy at the end…but my life has never been that way….I need to believe in a story a bit (yes, even the fantasy stuff I read from time to time)…..I believed in this one…..

okay….my rant is over…..I think you should give Hilderbrand a try….I know I shall be trying more of her books…..

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

Review and Giveaway: Lead, by Kylie Scott


“Break something bad enough. there’s no point trying to fix it.”

Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy………. This man was lost. He was so used to his stupid mom treating him and his brother like crap, as he grew up. He felt no love. He made my heart hurt. Growing up with no one to care for him, he turned to drugs and women to escape life. But too much of something takes it’s toll and he lands himself in rehab. But afterwards, he is determined to put himself back together. So he hired Lena to be his assistant and to keep him on the straight and narrow. He doesn’t want her there, but he needs her there.

Lena had no idea what she was getting herself into, with the megastar. She doesn’t take his crap and gives it just as good as she gets. Pretty soon all that arguing and banter starts creating feelings that she has no where to put them. No matter what they do, they seem to spark whenever they’re close.

Jimmy has no idea how to deal with that. He is used to one night stands and wants nothing to do with relationships. But there’s something about Lena that he needs, but he would never tell her that.

They grow closer, the more time they spend with each other. Soon you see them hanging out and doing little things for each other, and with each other. But he refuses to look at it as more than a casual friendship. Poor Lena looks at it as a growing relationship, but knows that could never be.

After some very explosive scenes, Jimmy pushed her away, instead of dealing with what’s happening between them. But soon he realizes that love is quite possible for him, no matter what he was told as a child.

Jimmy has no idea how to love and be loved. He needs Lena to help him, even if he doesn’t realize it.

“Lena, you seen my old black Led Zep shirt?”
“You sure?” His brows became one dark cranky line. The scratches on his face were healing well, thank goodness. Though it didn’t reduce my desire to throttle his mother on a daily basis.
“Yes. I haven’t seen it.”
Can’t find it anywhere…”
“And this is a surprise, how?” I slipped my hands into my back jean’s pockets. “Jimmy, you own more clothing than Cher, Brittney, and Elvis, put together. Things are bound to go missing.”
“Sure you haven’t seen it?”
“For goodness sake, what do you think, Jimmy? That I stole it to sleep in or something?” I laughed bitterly. Sure as hell, the truth deserved a good mocking. I’d sunk so despicably low.
I hadn’t even meant to steal the stupid thing, but the shirt had been mixed up with my laundry a few days ago. It’d been the first top I laid my hand on after stepping out of the shower, ready to go to bed. Without thought, I’d put it on and it’d been so soft, the scent of him lingering beneath the laundry detergent. Every night since, I’d found myself in it come bedtime. My shame knew no limits. And no, I still hadn’t quit. The words still hadn’t come even close to leaving my mouth.
He frowned. “No.”
“That I have some deep secret longing to feel close to you resulting in my stealing your shirt like some creepy perv?”
“Course I don’t fucking think that,” he replied crankily, reaching up to grip the top of the doorframe. All of his bulging muscles stretched the arms of his white T-shirt in the nicest way. It was all I could do not to start drooling, my heart beat taking up residence somewhere down between my thighs. And who could blame it? Not me. Maybe if I got laid, this would go away and things would return to normal. It’d seemed safer to avoid rubbing up against any men just in case I got carried away and started dating again. This new situation, however, changed everything.
“Well, of course not! That would be crazy.” And wasn’t that the god’s honest truth? Cray-zeee. Lock me up and throw away the key because it wasn’t like I didn’t know better.
“Just can’t figure out where the hell it could be.”
Angels couldn’t have smiled as innocently. They might have tried, but they would have failed, the dirty-mouthed, winged, little liars. “Jimmy, I don’t know where it is. But I’ll look around for it later, okay?”
“Yeah,” he said, and then added as an afterthought, “and stop looking at me weird.”
“I’m not!”

This is the 3rd book in the Stage Dive series. I like the fact that they can be standalone, but to fully enjoy all the characters, you must start from the beginning. You MUST!!


**** a Rafflecopter giveaway****

Lick (A Stage Dive Novel)
Play (A Stage Dive Novel)
Lead: A Stage Dive Novel
Pre-order Ben’s book, Deep (A Stage Dive Novel)

Review: Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

15251769_201403042048I love Karin Slaughter. She’s one of those authors whose new releases I always look forward to. Her Grant County series and Will Trent series exemplify crime writing at its finest. So it was with great anticipation that I began her latest novel, Cop Town.

The year is 1974. The place, Atlanta. The story revolves around two female police officers. There’s Maggie Lawson who’s been on the force for a few years and comes from a family of officers. Then there’s Kate Murphy, a rookie fresh out of training. Kate’s not prepared for the outright hostility aimed at females on the force, while Maggie has grown used to it. There’s unrest from every imaginable angle. Racism, sexism, religious bigotry are all at work. The “good ole boy” network is alive and well in Atlanta. Amidst all this turmoil a new danger lurks. Someone is killing Atlanta’s finest, execution style. When Maggie’s brother, Jimmy, almost becomes a victim, the danger hits too close to home.

Although the mystery/crime part of this book was good, it’s the character development and attention to detail that really carried the story for me. The author creates such a vivid, bleak picture of Atlanta during this time period, an era when civil rights and women’s rights were still freshly recognized. It’s hard for us to believe that these conditions ever existed but rationally we know it to be true. The characters are complex and go much deeper than first impressions imply. With the hand of an outstanding author, even some of the most unlikeable characters somehow redeem themselves by the end of the story.

Was this as good as Slaughter’s other books for me? No, but Will Trent and the gang set the bar exceptionally high. Still, it’s a good solid story with enough suspense to pull you in from the first couple of pages. I would love to see this one become the first in a new series.


Buy It Now: Cop Town: A Novel

Review: Fast Track by Julie Garwood

When you’re already laughing and crying in the first quarter of a book, you know it’s a good one. Once I got through my tears, Garwood had me on the edge of my seat. Fast Track was fast-moving through to the end, I’ll tell ya.

The complex plot included terrific friendships, happy couples, an impending romance, secret agents (well, two special agents and one guy who couldn’t be pigeonholed) and a family driven so deeply by greed that it colored black the relationships with their own blood! I loved every minute of the suspense.

The friendship among the women was good – they were real with each other. The guys related to each other pretty realistically, too. I didn’t love the hero… he had some personality quirks that just weren’t for me… but in the end his redeeming qualities shone through. The heroine was a strong woman who became a bit submissive when interacting with the love of her life – an annoying but understandable part of the story.

I struggled a bit with a few rambly parts … wordy pages here and there and some lengthy descriptions that I glossed over. I also noticed quite a bit of telling instead of showing. Besides that, the beautifully thought-out plot overwhelmed any shortcomings in the writing.



Review: Return to Homecoming Ranch (Pine River #2) by Julia London

Sigh. I wanted to love this book. I liked some of it, like the romance, the realistic struggles of Libby and Sam, and the changes happening at the ranch.

But Libby’s relationship with her mom and sisters needed more development. I would have preferred more of that subplot than about Libby’s ex-boyfriend and her stalker-ish behavior. Reading about Libby’s obsession and Ryan’s pathological lies was just depressing. I wanted to skip the downhearted ramblings. I know depression is real, as is alcoholism and PTSD… I just didn’t expect them all to be subplots in a romance novel!

If you loved Pine River #1, and you’re okay with real life struggles making up a big part of a romance novel, you really will enjoy Return to Homecoming Ranch. As for me, I like my happily ever afters preceded by predictable solutions to the small problems in life. 🙂


BUY Return to Homecoming Ranch (Pine River Book 2)

Confessions of a Book Hoarder

IMG_8494Okay, it’s time to get honest here. So many of you think you know the real me….many of you haven’t a clue about anything other than I go by Urania as you read a weekly review….So it’s time I come clean…..this is so hard to do…..

First…..have you ever watched that show, “Hoarders”? I’m not sure how many of these shows now exist in the USA, but in the UK there are a few different ones. But they are all about the same….I’m sure at some point you’ve thought they were dramatized to a certain degree so that it makes people feel better about themselves. You know….well, sure….I have too many shoes….maybe a few more purses than I *really* need, but that lady on the telly is insane! There’s no way I could get that out of control. At some point the person on the telly breaks down and everyone gives them a hug and tells them it will be okay….they will help them…..The person in need of help WANTS to change….they want their life back.

Now back to me….this is ABOUT ME after all!!!!!! Pssssfffttttttt……

I’ve reached that point. No, seriously…I need a hug…I usually spend a chunk of my time checking libraries every day….or book blogs (hey! if you’re looking for a really good book blog, you should sooo check out ….seriously, they are the best!!!)…..I add books to my wish list all the time….I manage my wish list weekly (yes, I really do! I try to locate the book from somewhere….netgalley, library, where ever I can to save a penny or pence now!)…I keep track of them on Goodreads (hallelujah, this site was made just for people like me!)….I follow friend’s reviews and keep track of what they are reading and adding to their lists (NO I AM NOT A STALKER….I do this out of love!)….I follow authors on there….I find a book I like and then I not only look at that book, I check out all the other books that the author has written….I go to amazon and look at the new releases that are due to come out soon….I go to factfiction and check out their release calendar as well….I also use Pinterest to track books…If I am in town I try to casually glance at any charity shops I might pass to see what books I might need….

Then at some point it happens…..

It’s time to pick my next read…

At this point I just loose it….I feel like bursting into tears….I mean, are you freaking kidding me? I look at my kindle (I am firm in my decision to only limit my kindle to around 300 titles)….I search my netgallery collection…I search my gifted books collection….I search my theSHORTlist collection….I turn off the kindle and look at the stacks of physical books I want to read in my home…Then I go to Goodreads and I look at these same items there….plus the other numerous bookshelves I have there….Then I turn on Calibre and check out my books there as well….just in case I’ve somehow skipped or overlooked one somehow….I mean, regardless of the thousands of books listed, what if that one perfect book is overlooked somehow? I MUST double check…

There is just too many….I am completely overwhelmed. I know this is my turning point….I know I need to face the fact that I have a problem…..

But seriously….I still want more…..I no longer think that the ‘hoarders’ on the telly are dramatized……THIS IS REAL….And I am one of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But honestly, I don’t want to change…..I am happy in life….I am not putting my trust in inanimate objects….I’m not even overspending (not any longer, but that’s a whole different story! bwhahahahaha)…I probably spend less on that 3 quid a month on books….

But I confess, I am just so overwhelmed….I sometimes spend more time trying to pick out a book than I do reading that book….and I’m petrified that I made the wrong choice….that I should be reading something else instead….I am afraid that I will not live long enough to read all of the books I *really* want to read….yes, this thought REALLY does enters my head!

Okay….I’ve confessed….it’s okay….if you think I am a nutter, you can go on and just say it….if you have a suggestion, again, please don’t be afraid that I’ll be upset if you just come out with it… me….I am much more afraid of being suffocated under a massive pile of unread books…..sobs….

Until next time….

Urania xx

Review: I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

20140707-124504-45904477.jpgI could not put this book down. Because it’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. And she’s amazing.

This is the story of Sam and Emily. From the moment they meet, they realize they’re destined to be together. But there are problems. Sam and Emily don’t just come from different backgrounds. They come from entirely different worlds.

Sam and his little brother, Riddle, have been on the run with their thieving, murdering father since they were little. They haven’t seen their mom since the day they were loaded into the car and basically abducted by dear old dad. Traveling from town to town, they only stay long enough to exhaust the supply of people to victimize. Sam’s guarded and shy, and his only goal in life is to look out for Riddle who has been stuck in his own little world since he was a baby.

And then there’s Emily. She’s lovely beyond belief in both body and spirit. She comes from a good family, has plenty of friends, and doesn’t lack for male admirers. She has a happy, if somewhat uneventful, life. All that changes when fate intervenes and she sees Sam sitting in the back of the church as she sings one Sunday morning. And then everything changes. He becomes her everything, her reason for being. And he begins to live for someone other than his little brother.

But of course love is never easy, and in this story it’s downright dangerous. Sam keeps his family secrets close to his heart, although he finds it harder to do so as Emily’s family embraces both Sam and Riddle. They feed them, love them, and provide that emotional support that’s been missing in their lives. Just when we think that everyone might actually get their happily ever after, dear old dad decides they’ve been in one place for long enough. With nary a glance behind him, he once again uproots the boys and hits the road.

So this is is far as I’m going to go. To find out how the story ends, you’ll have to read the book. And read it you should. These are characters that you’ll find yourself pulling for, laughing with, and weeping inside over. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read the sequel…


Buy It Now: I’ll Be There

Review: Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch


I absolutely loved this book. I love dystopian/apocalyptic stories and went through a phase when that’s all I would read. I’ve read almost every angle that’s been covered. Cyborgs, utopian societies, altered life forms, walled-off cities, rampant viruses, mutant beings, total environmental destruction…I’ve sampled them all. And then along comes this little gem that doesn’t fall into any of those categories and really isn’t very dystopian at all.

Meet Ella, or so she’s been named by her new owners. She’s one of a new breed, humans genetically engineered to be pets. These are the new status symbols for the rich and famous. And Ella comes from the best of the best, Greenwich Kennels, where young girls are taught how to walk, talk, smile, and perform on command for their wealthy owners. When Ella is purchased by Congressman Kimball and his family, she encounters a world she didn’t know existed. The family is both rich and powerful, and Ella is brought home to live in the lap of luxury. All she has to do is entertain young Ruby Kimball and smile prettily for the Congressman and his friends.

But her training didn’t teach her how to deal with her more human emotions. Emotions like sadness when hearing beautiful music, amazement when tasting candy for the first time, and passion when she falls for the Congressman’s son, Penn. She knows she’s been given a good life and lives in fear of being sent back to the kennel for doing something wrong. But beneath all the glamour lies an undercurrent of trouble. What happened to the family’s last pet and why was she returned to the kennel? And then there’s the Congressman’s creepy hands becoming ever more familiar day by day.

The correlations between human pets and animal pets are eerily accurate. Ella has her own special diet and isn’t allowed to eat with her owners. She’s told what to wear, what to do, and where to go. She has a “collar” with her name and address engraved on it. She’s even been microchipped in case she gets lost. And when she misbehaves, she’s put on a chain. She’s not expected to have an opinion, just to please the family.

This was one of those can’t-put-down books for me. Once I started it, I just had to find out what happens to Ella. She’s such a likable character, an innocent at the hands of people who just want a pretty plaything to show off. I loved her innocence and amazement at experiencing things for the first time-a banana split, a butterscotch candy, a midnight swim, a first kiss. Kate Jarvik Burch has crafted an amazingly engaging story that had me from the first page, the first line even. Grab this one, and be prepared for a marathon reading session!


Buy It Now: Perfected (Entangled Teen)