Review: Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

PerdidoHard to rate this one. I loved the story. I hated the main character of Isaac. I found him flat, boring, and a coward. However, Garuda is the one that I spent the entire book wondering about. I so wish this story had been told through his eyes. Garuda is one of the most complex characters I have encountered in a book. His story begged to be told. His voice demanded to be heard. If only Isaac had been the one in the background instead of Garuda…my entire thoughts about the book would be completely changed. Even with the shocking ending, I still love Garuda. Now THERE is a character worthy of his own entire book. I found myself only reading the parts of the book to reach the end of a part to just hear Garuda’s thoughts. Every moment I spent bored by Isaac was triple rewarded when I reached a part that I could hear Garuda’s thoughts. If Mieville had written as he did when Garuda spoke it would have been an all time favourite book…as it was, I’m just glad it’s over…

The ending of the book, which some would say, should have changed my opinion of Garuda and of Isaac did nothing but make me 100% sure….Garuda is a deep, multi layered character….Isaac is a f*cking pillock….that is all……

After reading this book I have no doubt at all that Mieville deserves all the recognition he has received for being a brilliant writer that no one else can match…based both on his voice, storytelling skills and originality….however, after reading this book I also have no doubt that he is just as deserving to all the criticism he has received as well…I don’t think I have every read such a brilliant book that was also made up of so much rubbish….

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne

21445463Young adult novels are all the rage these days for readers of all ages. Almost every topic has been covered, from the inevitable end of the world to bullying to love gone wrong. This first novel by Mary Jennifer Payne is both similar but different enough from others to make it worth reading.

Just as fifteen-year-old Edie is beginning to settle into a somewhat “normal” life, she and her mom, Sydney, must leave their home once again. Almost everything gets left behind, even Edie’s beloved cat, Peaches. She understands the reason they must flee yet another home, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Still, she’s a strong girl who goes along with her mom’s new plans willingly. However, when Sydney doesn’t come home after working her first shift at a new job, Edie fears the worst. Has their past caught up with them? Should Edie trust the authorities to help find her mom or is she utterly, completely on her own?

This was a quick, engaging book that had me sitting down to finish it in one evening. The author pulls you in from the moment Edie and her mom go on the run and holds you captive until the very end. It’s easy enough to guess that they’ve been victims of domestic abuse, most likely at the hands of Edie’s father. But there’s still enough of the unknown to make it an intriguing story. The characters are both likable and entirely believable, which is not very common in young adult literature these days. It’s also a fairly safe read for teens with just the hint of past and future violence. Add this one to your list of debut releases from promising new authors!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Since You’ve Been Gone

Review: Here’s to Tomorrow by Teagan Hunter

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Wanna read a sweet story filled with real people? Wanna experience all the feels of a romance that’s slow and steady, and not insta love throw them on the bed right now? Well then, this is the story for you. 🙂

SYNOPSIS
Rae Kamden has no idea what she wants to do in life. She thinks leaving her small town is the way to go, but after running into car trouble (and the sexiest man she’s ever seen), she begins rethinking everything she thought she wanted out of life.

Hudson Tamell isn’t your typical twenty-four year old. The last seven years haven’t been a cake walk. But after finally getting his life just where he wants it, he meets Rae and her impossibly unfiltered mouth. She’s like no one he’s ever met before, totally throwing him off that carefully paved road. But can she handle his life and all the baggage that comes along with it?

Now the girl who doesn’t really fit into his world is the one person he wants in it…no matter what demons she has.

Rae is trying to find her place in this world. She’s not real sure what she’s going to do, but she thinks she has to leave to do it. She is a straightforward, speak her mind kinda girl. She says it like it is. No sugar coating whatsoever. And when she stumbles upon Hudson, leaving town doesn’t look all that promising anymore.

Hudson hasn’t the greatest past few years, but he’s worked his tail off to get to this point in his life where everything is just about perfect. And then he meets this little spitfire of a girl and she knocks him for a loop.

I loved the realness of this story. From the sweet talking to the honest to goodness struggles of each person made me feel like I was reading non-fiction. This was a nice surprise from a debut novel. I can’t wait to see what comes next for these characters!!

Well done, Teagan!!

~Melpomene

Buy Here’s to Tomorrow

Review: February Fever by Jess Lourey

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Holy Moly, Jess Lourey! Here I thought I was embarking on another cozy mystery, threaded with a teensy bit of romance and some humor. But no. Instead I got Murder on the Orient Express sends Valentine’s Day off its tracks, and Things Are Not What They Seem goes deeper than a good disguise.

I laughed a whole bunch at the beginning of Mira’s train ride with nutty Mrs. Berns. All the elements of a good mystery came into play, with Lourey’s usual wit causing me to chuckle. The writing rocks, too. My favorite line about being stuck in a snowstorm: “Overhead, snow fell heavy like dirt on a casket.” Foreshadowing at its finest.

After the halfway mark, however, things got serious. Murders needed to be solved, people’s safety was at risk, and any laughter was only from pure comic relief.

By the end of February Fever I was crying like a baby. Mira may have solved the mystery on the train, but she also brought full-circle some unresolved heartaches.

Writing a funny mystery that naturally turns serious takes talent. Ending same book with a funeral takes guts. And leaving me hanging about the next step for Johnny and Mira’s romance? Pretty clever. When can I read the next book?!

-calliope

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Review: A Dog’s Purpose by W Bruce Cameron

dog's purposeThis book was so much better than I expected. I’m not really sure *what* I really expected…but this wasn’t it. I won’t say much about what happens as it’s a simple plot that would be very easy to give away. I will say this, it is a book that is written in very simple prose. I imagine a tween would have no problem reading and following along. Having said that, it’s still a beautiful story. It’s not in the writing, it’s in the telling and of the actual story itself. Dogs might seem to lead a simple life….especially dogs that have a *home*. But just like people…dogs seek purpose too….and without that purpose they are nervous and whiny…much like people 🙂 Once your dog figures out what his purpose is, there is nothing they won’t do to live out that purpose. Loyalty in that purpose is immeasurable. Yes, this is a simple, easy read…however, it will enlarge your heart and make you not just look at the next dog you see differently…hopefully it will make you happier and more satisfied with what you have….and yes, I hope it makes you a better person…if you’re very lucky, it will make you more dog-like 🙂

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now A Dog’s Purpose by W Bruce Cameron

Review: The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith

20454635This was a fun book to read. I love the way that Seth Grahame-Smith writes and have enjoyed several of his books.

Although it’s described as the sequel to Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, it actually serves as a prequel as well. We get a good look at Henry Sturges in his pre-vampire era and find out how he came to be. There’s an excellent description of what happened after the conclusion of the previous story that was very satisfying to me as a reader. And, we find out that many of the major events, tragic ones especially, in our world’s history had the influence of vampires woven all within their thread.

A minor note on a personal level-this one was a bit harder for me to fall into and then to follow along with because it does bounce around a bit more than the earlier book. Still, the historical events are so accurately written about with Henry easily part of the story that it’s a book I would definitely recommend!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Last American Vampire

Review: Death of a Liar by M.C. Beaton

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This 31st book in the Hamish Macbeth series begins the way I like a mystery to begin: with a murder. This isn’t just any murder, though. It’s the first of many. Sergeant Macbeth thinks they’re all related, and he’s determined to solve the case.

While Hamish is busy investigating, we watch him navigate his sort of pitiful love life, his friendship with his sidekick Dick, and his relationships with his police superiors.

I liked seeing Hamish’s whole life and how he prioritized work, women, and friends. Beaton succeeds in making him a three-dimensional character that way. I was grateful, because this is the first Hamish Macbeth book I’ve read, and I understood the character in the first few chapters.

Beaton wrote some fun criminals, too. I laughed at their antics and raised my eyebrows quite a few times. The recurring secondary characters were a little flat, though. I didn’t feel like I knew Dick or Jimmy or Blair or any of the other police officers. As a matter of fact, they all got jumbled up for me. I kept going back to earlier chapters to sort them out in my mind. And that doesn’t make for fun reading.

The writing was good for the most part. Sentence structure was perfect, descriptions and word choice were on point. The Scottish bits were terrific! The dialogue was a little weak, though, with some stilted conversation. I also noticed quite a bit of telling-instead-of-showing. Combined, it made the book plod along for me.

And just a little subjectivity: what in the world was the point of Anka? She was sent to the forefront so often that I really thought she would end up with a bigger part than she had. Maybe it’s a tease for books to come?

So in the end, I liked the actual mystery, and I could appreciate the main character, but the rest of the book just didn’t do it for me. But if you’re a mystery buff and a fan of a largely male cast, you might enjoy Death of a Liar. Check it out.

-calliope

buy DEATH OF A LIAR

Review: The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell

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Confident Sophie photographs like a boss. She’s professional, punctual, talented, and fun. But she won’t turn the lens on herself, figuratively speaking. She buried deeply past hurts and fears, and she has no desire to revisit them.

Josh is a good-hearted, wealthy young man who traded a fast LA life for the slower paced business of helping his grandmother run her inn. He meets Sophie, and together they travel the road of I Like You But I Don’t Want To Like You.

I love that Sophie didn’t play with Josh’s feelings, even though she had a difficult time having a man in her life. And Josh was such a sweetheart, gently persisting in loving and caring ways.

Mansell also rocked the subplot of Tula and Riley. The reader gets the benefit of seeing Tula and Sophie’s friendship, plus Tula’s chance at romance.

I really really really had fun seeing Riley’s character develop. Mansell surprised me a little. Riley surprised me a lot. My admiration of Riley equalled that of Josh – and my reaction may have surprised me the most!

Every time I read something new by Jill Mansell, she impresses me with her original characters. How much chick lit and romance can this author write before I start seeing repeats? Innumerable, apparently, because I’ve read more than a dozen Mansell novels. Every one of them is told in a new way – always with humor, warmth and verve – with fresh settings and dialogue, and characters I love to love.

-calliope

buy THE UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE

The British cover (note the title difference):

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Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

engulfedMaybe it’s because I’ve heard him so often on BBC radio…but whatever the reason, Mr Sedaris is seriously growing on me. I loved this one! It’s the 3rd book I’ve read/listened to by him. Having him read the books so adds to the experience! I admit, after the first book (MTPOD) I wasn’t sure I was a fan….but after this one, I most definitely am! So funny and brutally honest! I would have to say, having DS as a close friend would be both exhausting and exhilarating! Did I mention how much I love this guy now?

I must warn you though, don’t read a DS book unless you are willing to hear random things that just pop into his head. They are not always appropriate. He dares to say what others only think….He makes no apologizes for who he is….and he doesn’t believe in political correctness when it comes to being an arse. If you are an arse he will not hesitate to tell you exactly that. If you are a such a complete moron, he will not hesitate to tell you and to ask you, LOUDLY, just how it is you manage to tie your shoes each morning…

If you can’t laugh at yourself, don’t bother picking up this book. If you’re offended easily, again, perhaps you should pass this one by…but if you understand sarcasm…and if you sometimes wish you had the courage to say exactly what everyone is thinking but too afraid to voice it aloud…well go on…pick it up….not only will DS be happy to voice it for you…he’ll do so in a very loud voice and have you laughing for more….He would be hard pressed to like, except for the fact that he is usually laughing at himself the most…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it nowWhen You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Review: The Raven by Sylvain Reynard

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“I am the darkness made visible.”

I gotta say, this book was quite intriguing. The Raven was the perfect combination of romance, mystery and fantasy. I stayed up way past my bedtime, just to read more. I fell hard for the Prince. I was pulled into the story and I’m not sure I ever want to leave.

I loved the Gabriel’s Inferno series so much, to the point of obsession, and was worried that this may not live up the expectations. Silly me, I worried for nothing. The romance was swoon worthy. The words spoken made me melt. The excitement gave me chills and the sexual tension was gripping.

SYNOPSIS
Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery restoring fine works of Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attacker’s screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her…

Cassita vulneratus.

When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. She returns to the Uffizi, but no one recognizes her and more disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of the events leading up to her disappearance, Raven also learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history – the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the baffled police force identifies her as its prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth about her disappearance. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets…

Raven was inspiring. She never let the past destroy her. Her life hasn’t been easy, by any stretch of the imagination, but she won’t let that stop her. She fights for what’s right, even at the risk of her own life. No matter what life throws at her, she takes a stand against the wrongdoers, and I love that about her. I was cheering her on the whole time.

The Prince is, by far, one of the most romantic characters I’ve ever read. I swear, over half of the book is filled with swoon worthy quotes from him.

“You are my greatest virtue and my deepest vice.”

The Prince is all about protecting his city. He has no time for love. But when he save Raven, part of him was drawn to her. He wants her, and he normally doesn’t want anyone. But he knows that she should go away and stay away, for her own safety, but she’s stubborn. So he finds himself keeping tabs on her and protecting her when the need arises.

They were the most improbable of lovers. Yet it was manifest to both they were indeed a perfect match.

This book had the same artistic feel that the Inferno series did. I find that I am googling these paintings just to see the beauty. I know it is nothing like it would be in person, but it gives me a glimpse into the world of the Prince. We’re visited by Gabriel and Julianne Emerson for bit. It was nice to see them, even if the Prince wants to make them suffer for something he feels that they did wrong. But I’m still hoping that he has a change of heart.

What a perfect beginning to another beautiful and artistic series. I can’t wait for the sequel!!

~Melpomene

Buy The Raven (Florentine series)