Review: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

 

So maybe you’re hanging in on a Friday night (like me), wondering what to read next (like me). Or maybe it’s Saturday and you’d like a book to help you procrastinate, because really, who wants to clean the bathroom right now?  Look no further. Barbara Kingsolver is a five star author. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be reading her instead of doing anything else. 

The first novel I read by Kingsolver was The Bean Trees. Loved it. So clever. I reviewed it on this blog. Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior – even more clever. See, Barbara Kingsolver writes in layers, so I can effortlessly enjoy the superficial layer: Dellarobia and her family living in Appalachia; the beauty of butterflies and the wonder of their migration. 

And then I can look underneath… at the marriage struggles, and the secrets, and the desires to stop the cycle of poverty and ignorance. I can understand the socioeconomic and ecological divisiveness that microcosms create. 

And as I keep reading, the deepest layer peeks out: the hows and whys of nature gone wrong; the right way to be honest with the ones you love; the flight of survival, even when it takes you away from the comfortable, predictable place you’ve always called home. 

There’s even more, of course. Love, religion, education, science,  living off the land… Kingsolver addresses myriad facets of life and polishes them from underneath. She keeps putting pieces together… And when you see the result you’ll be amazed. 

This is a five-star read. 

-calliope

Buy FLIGHT BEHAVIOR

Review: Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

01 badEver read a book that’s seems more real than real life? Well, this is that book. Everything flowed perfectly. There was enough banter, but not over the top annoying. There was enough romance, but not not to where I wanted to skim over “yet another sex scene.” There was the perfect amount of sexual tension to curl my toes and keep me on the edge of my seat.

SYNOPSIS
When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan’s romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.

Cast as romantic leads once again, they’re forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they’ll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks.

The chemistry between Cassie and Ethan was thick. They fought, and loved, fiercely. My heart broke for the hurt they both endured, but I know things will work themselves out. These two people, while they’re far from perfect, are perfect for each other.

I laughed so much in this book. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the comedy worked. I know actors tend to be over the top and sometimes annoying, but Cassie and Ethan never seemed like that. This was real. This is exactly how I would talk to my friends.

Now I’m waiting at the edge of my seat for the next book. Can they move on from the past hurts? Can they have a happily ever after? I really hope so.

~Melpomene

Buy Bad Romeo

Review: The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

keeperHow many times to you keep seeing a title of a book and remind yourself weekly that you *really* should get around to reading it? Well, “The Keeper of Lost Causes” is a book I’ve been meaning to read for years. For one reason or another it just kept getting pushed to the back burner.

Now that I’ve finally finished it I feel that I need to give myself a swift kick up the arse for being a total idget and not reading it sooner! This is a detective novel for sure…there’s plenty of mystery and suspense to go around. The storyline and the suspense is truly enough to satisfy anyone that loves Thrillers. However, what is even more remarkable with this novel are the characters. Not the main character. Granted, once again, the head of Department Q is plenty enough to satisfy anyone…there is so much to his inner workings that you can’t wait to spend more time with him….however, the secondary characters are truly outstanding. There isn’t a single one that you don’t long to know more of. There are many that you can easily hate (but in an, “I LOVE to hate you” kind of way) but there are also a few that you will absolutely fall in love with. You will want to rush out and finish the rest of the series just so you can see where Adler-Olsen takes them. You will long to hear their background history…You will thirst to know what happens next. I simply can’t wait to revisit them all soon and to see what is happening with them.

Adler-Olsen has done a brilliant job in laying the foundation in a series that will have you wishing the characters were not only real people….but also part of your intimate circle of friends.

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Review: Master of Freedom by Cherise Sinclair

01 master I am fascinated with BDSM and all things Cherise. She has a way of writing BDSM books that feel real. It’s almost as if I’m in the room watching and feeling everything they are. I know this is a novella, but it totally didn’t fell like one! This felt like a full length novel, with all the emotions and excitement.

SYNOPSIS
Detective Atticus Ware gave up his beloved Idaho to start again in the mountains of California, close to his imprisoned brother. He has a rewarding job and friends, but the experienced Dominant wants more than the Do-Me submissives who flock around him. He needs a woman who will give her heart as well as her body.

Virginia, “Gin,” is damn good at her challenging career as a prison psychologist. However, one problem inmate is mired in misery and unable to overcome his guilt at causing a friend’s death.
To clear her mind, she joins a friend’s kinky backpacking excursion, planning to hide in her tent during the evening BDSM pursuits. But Atticus lures her into the activities. She’s read about BDSM, but submission under the hands of a powerful Dom is beyond anything she’d imagined. She doesn’t trust men, doesn’t want a relationship, and yet…wants more from him.

Finally, Atticus has found the woman he wants in his life. In his bed. In his cuffs. But she’s not only his brother’s therapist, but also works in a prison. How can he tolerate his woman walking into danger every single blasted day?

Gin knows she has no future with Atticus Ware, but still, hope is rising in her heart.

I loved these two together!! They were made for each other. They balanced each other and helped each other with their pasts. Their chemistry was off the charts HOT!! Even the plain ol’ kissing was hot. Actually, with Atticus, there is no plain ol’ kissing. But as they grow closer, parts of their pasts creep up and threaten to break these two apart.

Virginia, I’ll always come after you. I keep what’s mine.”

~Melpomene

Buy Master of Freedom: A Mountain Masters Novella (Mountain Masters & Dark Haven Book 5)

Review: The One I Was by Eliza Graham

25059957I’m a sucker for epic stories, pieces of historical fiction that not only provide factual information but also spin a marvelous tale. Some of my very favorite books ever read fall under this category. This book by Eliza Graham did not disappoint.

The time is the late 1930s, the place is England. Young Benny has come to England to escape Nazi Germany. He’s part of a group of young boys taken in by a well-to-do family. They have a chance at a new beginning, a new life away from the horrors back at home.

Fast forward to modern times. Rosamund has taken on a nursing job with ulterior motives, a chance to return to her childhood home and confront her past. Benny is now on his deathbed and requires round the clock care. He doesn’t know Rosamund, and he doesn’t know anything about her past. But he did know her grandmother, for she was the one who took him in as a young child. As Benny and Rosamund become closer, they begin to confide in each other. Turns out, Rosamund isn’t the only one hiding secrets.

This is a very well told story. The author seamlessly transitions between past and present as she writes. The storyline is well-thought-out, and the characters are described fully. It’s historically accurate as far as the culture and attitudes of that time period. The mystery and suspense aspect is drawn-out enough to keep you guessing until almost the very end. As far as historical fiction goes, it’s one of the better books I’ve read from that genre.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The One I Was

Review: The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell

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Random Book Muses

IMG_2739
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…

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Review: The Inn at Ocean’s Edge by Colleen Coble

  The wonderful thing about blogging is being able to share my love of reading, and hopefully inspire someone to pick up a book (or add one to an existing collection). 

And sometimes my job is to be real about the fact that some books didn’t end up quite as good as they could have been. 

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge has a terrific Maine setting and lovely characters – even impressive parallelism with the orca’s matriline discussions and the mystery surrounding Claire’s family. I adored the friendships, the hotel family, the budding romance, and the grandmother. 

But the suspense part was poorly executed. An attacker clandestinely beating up the same woman over and over without any witnesses or clues… The sheriff’s office refusal to investigate… I just don’t think that would happen to a high profile, wealthy family.  No one recognizing the painting of her attacker? Not even the police of the town where he lived?! Totally unbelievable. 

So. Loved the family. Loved the saga. Hated the execution of the mystery. 

I’ll consider reading Book 2 because this series is set in New England (fave!) and it’s Christian, and I’m a sucker for romance (I really want to find out which couples will have HEAs). But Ms. Coble, please ask your editor to help you tighten up the suspense aspect! 

-calliope

Buy THE INN AT OCEAN’S EDGE

Review: Hold Me by Susan Mallery

 

Talk about character development! You’ve got Kipling Gilmore as a secondary character in previous Fool’s Gold books, and though he was always okay, I never felt the need to know him better. In Hold Me, Mallery highlights Kipling’s intuitiveness, protectiveness and good will toward his community. 

Destiny Mills’ character drives forward the plot as she changes from living a superficial life with defensive walls up, to a woman who embraces and rejoices in the challenges and blessings that befall her. Destiny gets in touch with her inner musician, and subsequently thrives. 🙂

I loved Destiny’s relationship with her sister and the other women of Fool’s Gold. But I also had a lot of fun reading the male bonding scenes. Mallery put an authentic voice to husbands and brothers who want to appear macho while staying out of the proverbial doghouse. 

Well done, as always, and I can’t wait for the next book. 

-calliope

Buy HOLD ME

Review: The Killing Season (Carter Blake #1) by Mason Cross

killing seasonReading the bio of Mason Cross I take it that “The Killing Season” is his first full length novel. Wowzers…what a way to start off! I will definitely be looking forward to many more books in this series. Cross has presented us with a multi-layered character in “Carter Blake”.

This was a fast paced novel that had me hooked from start to finish. Here we meet Carter Blake. There are tons of hints to let us know that there is much to be uncovered in Blake’s history. Blake is someone who finds people who do not wish to be found. How he got his start in this profession hasn’t been reveled, but it is soon obvious that he is very good at his job. What is not so obvious is how he has many contacts on both sides of the law and even a few in-between. In this novel he is hired by the FBI to track down an escaped serial killer.

Thrillers used to be my favourite genre. After many years of reading them they all started to become repetitive. I had to read a dozen predictable books to find just one that stood out for me. If all thrillers were like this one I wouldn’t have had any problems sticking to thrillers only. Cross isn’t a writer that thinks he has to whitewash everything to keep it pristine and clean for the Pollyannas of the world. He also isn’t a writer that relies on shock factor to engage a reader. He’s a writer that isn’t afraid to dip his toes in politics (but doesn’t get bogged down in it).

If I had to point out any fault in this novel it’s that it left me wanting a little more depth to the main characters. Of course, I have no doubt that we will learn more about Blake in subsequent novels. However, the main FBI character felt flat. By flat I mean that there was plenty of background to this character and why she acted like she did, however it seemed like we were only giving the top layers of her and, although it was easy enough to do, left to draw our own conclusions. I guess after reading what I just wrote, I have to admit that Cross gave us enough to know, but I just wanted more to satisfy my curiosity about her. I really enjoyed her and could have spent many more pages getting to know her…

Bottom line, this is a book I highly recommend if you’re looking for a fresh new voice in the thriller/mystery genre….I look forward to reading and reviewing the second book in the series….and I hope the author continues to give up Blake’s history one puzzle piece at a time….

Until next time…
Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review…

Buy it now The Killing Season by Mason Cross

Review: The Traveling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones

 

Here’s the premise: Ex-pat Laurie takes British pastry chef Pamela on a food tour of New England. On a red London double decker. Driven by Pamela’s mom… and then later by Pamela’s true love… who has a really good-looking and nice son about Laurie’s age. Sigh.  

Oh sorry I got carried away with the romance part. 

Most of the book brings you to bakeries in the New England states. You read about gorgeous kitchens and quality ingredients, talented chefs and scrumptious treats. And then you get back on the bus with Laurie et al, check the itinerary, and go on to the next one. And maybe you watch some people fall a little bit in love. 

I loved the food, the traveling, the allusions to quirky state stereotypes, the Newport, R.I. scenery, and the cathartic hotel stays.  The Traveling Tea Shop gives you a cozy, family feeling, like you’re home on holiday, eating cakes and baking for friends. If I were going to take a road-trip with some friends, this very well might be our guidebook. 

-calliope

Buy THE TRAVELING TEA SHOP