Review: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

*1***Spoilers without spoilers***

yea…you read that right…..

So I won’t go into the whole entire picking the novel apart bit by bit….there’s really no need for that….it’s been done waaaay too many times…..This book is studied in schools, banned in schools, made into an opera, a film and is on so many book lists it’s just insane….is it deserving of all of that hype? yea…I reckon it is….I read a quote funny enough whilst reading this book….A story came out in The Guardian and it went like this…

“Some books haunt the reader. Others haunt the writer. The Handmaid’s Tale has done both.”

Yea….I reckon I can see that too….it certainly has haunted me and I can see how Atwood would feel haunted as well….

So I am gonna skip all of that and just tell you….read the book. If you love it…well, you’ll be glad you did….but this is one you can hate and still be glad you read as well….there is so much to ponder here…I can’t see how you would regret not trying this one out….

I would just like to briefly touch on the ending…

Here is the spoiler not spoiler bit I mentioned at the start…..

So many people hated how it ended….I for one loved it….but I often do love those types of ending….

but further than that…..why did it end like that?

This is what I have pondered the most about….obviously Atwood wrote all of her musings AFTER the fact…so why did she stop…..we know that she must have survived at least for a bit after the novel ends, right? She cared enough to write what she did….why? Did she have hope? For Luke? The child? Mankind? Women? Herself???? Was she offering hope? Was she trying to tell everyone that there wasn’t hope? Why…why…why…..more importantly….why did she stop writing?

I wonder if she stopped because she lost all hope…..if without the slim light that her hope offered…well…if it all just extinguished for her…her writing…her hope….even her life….

or was that hope realised and she just chose to walk away from the memories of the past….

I’m pretty sure it’s one of the other….I don’t think in my mind there is any other way….I don’t believe she died in the midst of her writing…I don’t believe she lost the book….

I believe she walked either into that light…or away…

So it leaves me ponder….is there life if there is no hope?

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Review, Falling For Jillian, by Kristen Proby

01fallI am seriously LOVING this series!!!

SYNOPSIS
Jillian thought she was a city girl through and through; the fast cars, high fashion, and glamour—she loves it all. But when her ex tells her he’s having a baby with his new wife (after Jillian struggled for years to get pregnant), she hightails it back to Montana to cry on the shoulder of her best friend, Cara.

But in truth, Jillian would rather be comforted by someone else…specifically Zach, Cara’s brother-in-law. Zach is a veteran of the Iraq War who came back to the family ranch to raise his preteen son after the boy’s mother took off. He’s struggling to re-establish a relationship with his son, and warding off the demons of PTSD, which still haunt him. The last thing he needs is bold, brassy Jillian…but why can’t he keep his hands off her?

This series is the perfect combination of sweet and saucy. You wanna be the girl’s friends just so you can hang out with everyone. But at the same time, you wanna rip the guys from off their arms. These guys are the best. They are strong and very protective of their women.

Jillian is home, after a disastrous and emotional divorce, and is trying to move on. She is also trying not to bring up a very heated experience she had with Zach, her best friend’s brother-in-law. But as she’s trying not to dwell on it, he can’t seem to think of anything else.

I know the synopsis says PTSD, but it really isn’t mentioned. It really isn’t talked about, nor is it the focus of the story.

The focus is Zach trying to remind Jill that they’re so very good together, while trying to keep the friendship they’ve already established. And that she is good for his son and she just may be the perfect piece in this puzzle called life.


I smile as I take her in: those small, strong hands clenching the quilt, her slender form hidden beneath about six inches of fabric from neck to feet.

Yet, she’s the prettiest thing God ever put on this earth.

Personally, I think the theme should be good things, no great things, come to those who wait. It truly does.

~Melpomene

Pre-order Falling for Jillian (Love Under the Big Sky Book 3)

While this can be read as a standalone, I think you should read the first two books, to really get the experience.
Loving Cara (Love Under the Big Sky Book 1)
Seducing Lauren (Love Under the Big Sky Book 2)

Review: Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman

17155735Never one to shy away from reading about difficult topics, it was with great anticipation that I began this book by Alyssa Brugman. And let me just say that “difficult” is putting it mildly. But in this case, that’s not a bad thing.

The story centers around 15 year old Alex Stringfellow as she tries to reconcile who she is with what her family wants her to be. You see, she’s been raised as a boy. Dressed like a boy, enrolled in school as a boy, even given hormones to help the process along. But Alex has always felt in her heart that’s she’s a girl. So begins her journey to claim both her independence and her identity.

This is a story about many things. It’s about gender identity, sexual preference, family conflict, and fitting in. It wasn’t an easy read, but life isn’t easy. It’s an important story to hear as the author’s words takes us deep into Alex’s world as she struggles to find her place in the world. A great read about a contemporary subject handled with love and care by a skilled author!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Alex As Well

Review – Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami.

19288239I’ve just finished Murakami’s latest offering and I’m torn between really liking it, or feeling shortchanged. Out of all the Murakami novels that I have read, this one is perhaps his “simplest”. Why do I use air quotes, you ask? Well, even though the plot is basic in terms of narrative, the reader is still treated to the lexicon, syntax, emotional complexity, and philosophical internal turmoil that are all trademark Murakami.

The plot centers around Tsukuru Tazaki who was once a member of a tight knit group of friends before he seeks out new adventures at college in Tokyo. Upon returning to his hometown on a break, he discovers that his friends no longer want anything to do with him, and will not give him an explanation as to why. What ensues is Tsukuru going about his life wondering what he has done. Throughout the story, Tsukuru goes on a journey to discover what is the true essence of friendship, love and the choice we make in order to live our lives.

The plot has been hashed out a million times before, however, fans of Murakami will know that he is able to add a new passion to this, some argue, overused trope of “finding yourself”. This novel won’t necessarily appeal to the masses; Murakami, although becoming evermore popular, still has a niche fan base. However, I do think that it could well be a great beginners novel if you have never read any Murakami but are curious to see what his writing is like. Being only around 375 pages, it is just right to get a taste.

My only gripe with this novel was that it seemed to offer more than what it could deliver. I can’t go into details as it would spoil plot points, but even though I’m not looking for a nice little bow tie wrapped ending, I do feel as though it could have been 100 pages longer. But I suppose that is me just being greedy!

Give this one a go. You might love it and discover a new favourite author, or you may hate it and therefore not have to add to your TBR pile. You can’t really lose!

Until next time,

Pegasus.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel

Review: The Prince by Sylvain Reynard

01prince Well now. That was a quick little glimpse into a new series, and I think I’m gonna like it. I think I’m gonna like it a lot.

SYNOPSIS
The unveiling of a set of priceless illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy at the Uffizi Gallery exposes the unsuspecting Professor Gabriel Emerson and his beloved wife, Julianne, to a mysterious and dangerous enemy.

Unbeknownst to the Professor, the illustrations he secretly acquired years ago were stolen a century earlier from the ruler of Florence’s underworld. Now one of the most dangerous beings in Italy is determined to reclaim his prized artwork and exact revenge on the Emersons, but not before he uncovers something disturbing about Julianne …

Set in the city of Florence, “The Prince” is a prequel novella to “The Raven,” which is the first book in the new Florentine Series Trilogy by Sylvain Reynard.

“The Prince” can be read as a standalone but readers of The Gabriel Series may be curious about the connection between The Professor’s world and the dark, secret underworld of “The Prince.”

I remember seeing this character in Gabriel’s Redemption and he seemed “otherworldly” to me. So when this new series was announced, and it was said to be a sort of spin off, I knew EXACTLY who it was going to be about. Now, you don’t need to read the Gabriel’s Inferno series, to read this. But, personally, to get the full experience, I highly recommend that you do. You can thank me later.

I was mesmerized by how this Prince was intrigued with the Emersons. Well, mostly he wanted to kill the professor. But seeing a few scenes, from his eyes, made me fall for the Professor all over again, even if he’s a jerk sometimes. We see quite a few scenes with the Emersons, as he watches them and plans their demise.

But right when the Prince is ready to follow through with his plan, a new threat creeps into his city and now he must deal with this first.

I am so excited to read The Raven and find out what happens next. Part of me wants more of the professor, but then to see him means that the Prince is out to harm him. So maybe, I’m not in a rush to see him quite yet.

~Melpomene

EXCERPT
In the distance, the Prince could hear voices and muffled sounds.

He approached silently, almost floating across the floor.

Desperate groans and the rustling of fabric filled his ears, along with the twin sounds of rapidly beating hearts. He could smell their scents, the aromas heightened due to their sexual arousal.

He growled in reaction.

The corridor was shrouded in darkness but the Prince could see that the professor had his wife up against a window between two statues, her legs wrapped around his waist.

Her voice was breathy as she spoke, but the Prince tuned out her words, moving closer so he could catch a glimpse of her lovely face.

At the sight of it, flushed with passion, his old heart quickened and he felt the stirrings of arousal.

It was not his custom to observe rather than participate. But on this occasion, he decided to make an exception. Careful to remain in the darkness, he moved to the wall opposite the couple.

The woman squirmed in her lover’s arms, her high heels catching on his tuxedo jacket. Her fingers flew to his neck, undoing his bow tie and tossing it carelessly to the floor.

She unbuttoned his shirt, and her mouth moved to his chest, as murmurs of pleasure escaped his lips.

The Prince felt more than desire as he watched the woman’s eager movements. He caught a glimpse of her exquisite mouth and the toss of her long hair that would no doubt feel like silk between his fingers.

She lifted her head to smile at the man who held her close and he could see love in her eyes.

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Pre-order The Prince
Release date 1-20-15
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
iTunes
BN

Pre-order The Raven-Book 1 in The Florentine Series
Release date 2-3-15
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
iTunes
BN

Review: The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

*1Although I’m far from an expert in regards to Anne Rice, this did not feel like an Ann Rice book to me. It seemed….errrrr….well….it just wasn’t complicated enough…The characters didn’t seem complex enough….and finally….errrr…and….it was boring….

I really enjoyed the first part of the novel…perhaps even the first two-thirds of the novel. It was entertaining and full of possibilities. I loved the take of the Wereman superhero aspect. The downfall in this novel for me was when the hero met the other weremen. As in real life it seems that if you put a group of old men together they just start rambling and telling stories…talking over themselves, each vying to be heard. It seemed to become repetitive and rambling. I lost complete interest in it at this point and just wanted it to end…I might have even nodded off a time or two…it was just so awful…it was so bad that I actually resented Rice a bit…She almost had me hooked and then, wham…she ended it with that and I regretted spending my money and my time on the entire novel….I’m 98.3% sure I won’t continue on with the series…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

Review: Etched on Me by Jenn Crowell

18143763Sixteen year old Lesley has had a tough upbringing, to put it mildly. After suffering years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, she finally found the courage to escape after pleading with her mom for help, to no avail. She’s able to scrap by on her own for a bit, but with the help of a carefully constructed network of concerned adults she is able to eventually make something of herself.

The path to her success is not an even one, however. Dabbling in drugs and alcohol, cutting herself, a suicide attempt, time spent in mental health facilities…these are all obstacles she’s had to overcome. Things are looking bright for Lesley, however, even when she finds herself in the unexpected position of becoming a single mother. She’s confident that she’ll be able to handle it, with the help of the new family she has around her. But her luck takes a turn for the worse when she finds her ability to be a good mother being questioned by those in charge. The battle to retain custody of her unborn child will be her hardest ever.

This one’s a tough read, so tread lightly if you’re adding it to your list. But by no means should you avoid it, because the message within the author’s finely crafted words is just that powerful. She writes with such a wonderful expertise balanced with an attuned sense of storytelling. Add this one to your list!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:Etched on Me: A Novel

Review: Echo Lake by Carla Neggers

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I love the descriptions of the setting in this most recent Neggers’ Swift River Valley novel. Snowy paths, an icy lake, views of the woods from the old farmhouse. I felt like I was there! Wine by the fire, cheese from the local dairy… I live for this stuff. Neggers does such a great job making it authentic – and I live in New England so I can vouch for that!

The plot was interesting too – long lost daughter meets long lost father, successful diplomat retires to backwoods town, hometown troublemaker makes something of himself and returns to town to the surprise of many, sole sister of five brothers wades through their protectiveness to prove herself. And there’s a romance that ends in a happily ever after. 🙂

The problem with so many good plots is that the story as a whole seems unfocused. I prefer one main plot and one or two subplots… Echo Lake had five plots fighting each other for the spotlight. It was disconcerting.

So the characters….
The alpha hero is the silent-est strong, silent type I’ve ever read, and his love interest is okay with that. The retiring diplomat is a little sappy. The house-sitter’s character isn’t quite clear to me! The five brothers are mostly in the background but well-written.

The main character, Heather, is a strong young woman, can rock sequins as well as sweatshirts, and stands up to her family when needed.

All in all I liked Echo Lake and will read the next in the series, but I’m hoping subsequent books are a bit more focused.

-calliope
buy ECHO LAKE

Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

01neverHow odd to be made of flesh, balanced on bone, and filled with a soul you’ve never met.

OH.MY.GOSH. What did I just read??? My mind is still reeling from this experience. Colleen and Tarryn are officially the dynamic duo.

Synopsis
Best friends since they could walk.
In love since the age of fourteen.
Complete strangers since this morning.
He’ll do anything to remember.
She’ll do anything to forget.

Charlie and Silas can’t remember themselves or the people around them. They have no idea what’s going on. But as the days progress they are finding glimpses into their lives that show them that they may not be what they thought they were. They make choices that they hope will soon bring some clarity to their situation, but in the end I was still yelling. I needed them to figure this out.

I may not remember anything about her, but I would bet her smile was my favorite part of her.”

This book was one twisted roller coaster ride, with the emphasis on twisted. I have never yelled so much while reading a book. But I loved it. I had so many ideas, on where this story was going, but I was way off. And when I finished I just sat back and thought, “Holy crap!! What? Where? How? Who?”

When I first heard that Colleen and Tarryn were writing a book together, I was curious. Colleen is know for her HEA with a hefty dose of angst and Tarryn for her twisted and emotional, makes-you-wanna-throw-your-kindle-against-the-wall kinda books. So when you put them together, hold on to your butts. If I were to read this story, without knowing who wrote it, I never never would’ve guessed it was written by them. But after reading this, I can totally see glimpses of both of them in it. Well done, girls. Now I am waiting on pins and needles, for the next book.

What it really comes down to is: Buy it. Read it. Love it.

~Melpomene

Buy Never Never right NOW!!!

My Consequences Timeline

01 cons OK. This book. I have no idea what I felt about this book. What I do know is that I HATE TONY. I do. Wholeheartedly despise this man. I know my friends told that this a normal reaction and I should embrace it, but how can I think of hugs, when all I want to do is murder him??

SYNOPSIS
Anthony Rawlings had a plan—to teach Claire Nichols to behave.
Claire Nichols had a plan—to survive!

In an unfamiliar bedroom within a luxurious mansion, Claire Nichols wakes to memories of a brutal abduction. All of her recollections have one common denominator, the man she just met—Anthony Rawlings. Unbeknownst to Claire, Anthony has had her in his sights for a long time. Every action has consequences—and his actions resulted in their chance meeting.
Facing incomprehensible circumstances, Claire must learn to survive as she comes to terms with her new reality—every aspect of her livelihood is now dependent upon the tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed tycoon. Anthony may appear to the world as a prosperous, benevolent, kind businessman, but in reality Claire learns he is also a menacing, controlling captor with very strict rules: do as your told, public failure is not an option, and don’t divulge private information. Failure to follow these rules and more, are met with serious consequences.

In an effort to earn her freedom, Claire learns her lessons well and before long, she unknowingly captivates her captor. Anthony/ Tony reluctantly becomes enthralled with Claire’s beauty, resilience and determination. Their interaction instigates strong emotions, including—fear, anger, love, and lust—as their journey flows into uncharted waters of intrigue and passion.
From the opening criminal abduction, through the twists and turns, to the unlikely romantic thrills, the suspense climaxes as Aleatha Romig utilizes vivid detail, allowing this novel to unfold like a movie.

Can you put the pieces of the puzzle together? Claire Nichols abduction wasn’t a random act—did she learn her lessons well enough? Will these unlikely lovers remain true—or will she learn the truth before it’s too late?

My girls told me to read this. They said I could do it. They encouraged me and said I would be okay.

This is what happened:
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Well, that about sums it up.

~Melpomene

If you’d like to be tortured also, grab Consequences: Book 1 of the Consequences Series for your very own.

The boxed set is on sale for 99 cents!! So if you’d like to be tortured, just like I was, grab the set HERE.