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)