Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

01 wra “She was a dangerous, dangerous girl. A plague. A Mountain of Adamant who tore the iron from ships, sinking them to their watery graves without a second thought. With a mere smile and a wrinkle of her nose.”

This is one of the most epic and beautiful stories I have ever read. The backdrop was so rich in details I felt like I was there. The romance was a slow burn that had my heart twisting. The story itself had me neglecting my family, just so I could read faster. I was completely drawn into the story so much, that I never wanted to put it down. The words…oh, sweet heaven, the words…so romantic.

SYNOPSIS
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

I’ll admit, at first, I never saw this turning into a romance, even though everyone said it was. I just couldn’t see how anyone could love a boy who had his wives murdered each night. I thought that there was no way he could ever be loved. I was so very wrong!

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

Shazi is a good wife. She will do her duties to the king, even though she is terrified. She has more determination to stay alive and find out why all of the wives are found dead each morning, and to not become one of them. She is different than Khalid’s past wives and he finds himself intrigued with her.

The more I read, I knew there was more going on with Khalid!! I just knew it! Heck, I even fell in love with him. This murdering boy-king stole my heart.

“This dangerous girl. This captivating beauty.
This destroyer of worlds and creator of wonder.”

I read this book back in December but I could never review it fully, due to the fact that my simple words could never convey exactly how much I love this story. Now as I prepare for my reread, in anticipation for The Rose and the Dagger, I felt I needed to try. I highly recommend this story to those who are in the mood for a rich romance set in the beautiful Arabian nights backdrop. Your heart will thank you. If you are unsure as to how much I loved this book, look at this picture and notice the amount of tabs I used. So many beautiful words. I wish I could use them all in my review.
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~Melpomene

Buy The Wrath and the Dawn

Be sure and check out the short story,The Moth and the Flame: A Wrath & the Dawn Short Story, which, even though it’s only a few pages, will make you fall in love with Khalid all over again and have you wanting more from his point of view.

Preorder The Rose and the Dagger before it release April 26th.

Review: The Promise by Robert Crais

22169495I loved this series when it first came out. However, I soon found I didn’t much care for Elvis Cole…Joe Pike? Now that’s a different story! So I was very excited to see this one listed as a Joe Pike book. If you’re the same, don’t be. This isn’t a Pike novel. He’s only mentioned a few times and really plays no vital parts…if those scenes were erased the book would have read the exact shame. It’s pretty shameful really for the publishers to present it as a Pike novel as well as a Cole novel….

The story was good. We also come in contact with another interesting character, Joe Stone. Will be very interesting to see him in follow-up books. My feelings of Cole remain the same though. He just doesn’t inspire much in me. It’s only because I’m above downgrading a book simply because I hate a character (EASE UP, PEOPLE….that was a joke!!!!!) that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I was hoping that after a long break from this series (I do still try to pick up the Pike novels) that I would fall in love all over again with Crais…sadly that didn’t happen. This is an enjoyable read, but to be fair, it won’t be one I give another thought to now that I have finished the last page, ask me in two weeks what the finer points are and I won’t be able to say…Maybe it’s just because I’m older now, but I try to look for more in a book these days…

Until next time…

Urania

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Promise by Robert Crais

Review: Sugar Scars by Travis Norwood

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Before your eyes glaze over at the word “apocalyptic” just wait.  It’s good. Really.  Yes, I know the genre has been way overdone the last several years. And I myself have strategically avoided many books described as such because I was just that burnt out on end of the world stories.  But this one caught my attention.

A virus has wiped out most of the population.  Only a handful (relatively speaking) of survivors remain, trying to forge their way in a new world.  But there’s no scavenging to be had in this story.  You see, humankind was wiped out so quickly that unlimited resources remain for the survivors.  Grocery stores are fully stocked, gas tanks are full, houses and cars are available for the taking.  But there’s one thing that isn’t as easy to come by…

“Sugar” is nineteen, without family, and a loner at heart.  So a world without people suits her just fine.  As a diabetic, however, a world without the insulin she needs to survive is a death sentence.  There’s enough for the immediate future, but what about after that?  So she sets out on a journey to save herself.  And she’ll need the help of others along the way.

Parts of this story, heck most of this story, were so unbelievable.  But isn’t that what fiction is?  If I’m being completely honest, the main character wasn’t even particularly likable due to her lack of emotion.  For some reason, though, I kept reading.  And at the end of the book I realized that it really was a pretty good story.

So go ahead, suspend your disbelief and your sense of rationality for the duration of this story.  It’s just different enough to be enjoyable.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Sugar Scars

Review: Never Never by Brianna Shrum

01 ner
I’ve been hooked on fairy tale retellings and books based on fairy tales. Since I’ve never read them, as a child, I think that’s why I like them now. So when I was gifted Never Never, I was super excited to start it. Now that ABF is over, I was finally able to do just that.

SYNOPSIS
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child – at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

Since I’ve never read the Peter Pan story, so I really have no idea how it goes. But when I finished this book, I had tears forming in my eyes. I have no idea what to do now. James Hook had my heart. I wanted him to be good. I really did. I wanted him to find peace and a home and to find love. But I never expected this. I’m a bit shocked, but yet, not really. He is a pirate after all. He does the usually pirate things, but I knew it was for a reason. There just had to be!!

One part of this story made my romantic heart very happy and, at the same time, broke it into a million pieces. I wanted such good things for James. He deserved it, after what Peter did to him. My heart really wanted the happily ever after. But sadly, life, or in this case, fairy tales don’t always work like that.

“I grew up for you.”

And that Peter Pan…..I was a bit mad at him. I don’t wanna talk about him. I understand he was a boy, but there’s a side to him that smashed the Disney version to pieces. SHATTERED.

If you like retellings, you will enjoy Never Never.

~Melpomene

Grab NEVER NEVER while it’s on sale!! Only $1.99!!!

Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

  
Detective Cormoran Strike’s assistant Robin receives a special delivery – of a severed leg. And that’s the impetus for following around dangerous and seedy characters from Strike’s past. 

This book is way more gory and psycho than the first two – and definitely too much so for my tastes. But it’s a beautifully written book with just enough clues to make you feel like you should have known who the culprit was all along. Personally, I liked the side stories of Robin’s fiancé and Cormoran’s superficial love life. I also liked traipsing around city and country alike, accompanying Robin in shadowy doorways and looking out for the bad guys. 

Excellent read. 

-calliope

Buy: Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike Book 3)

Review: American Sniper by Chris Kyle

11887020I could go all on about how America needs people like Chris Kyle. Yea, I reckon they do. Without people such as Kyle, the world wouldn’t go ’round. My little bit of experience with the military reinforces what I felt about this book. Certain individuals are born for military service and the military is quick to see who they are. They are also quick to *train* them further for their needs.

But, hey ho, I said I wasn’t going to go there….

Why did I hate this book? I, personally, didn’t believe a word Kyle said. Yes, I believe the stories. But I somehow doubt his genuine feelings for his family, his country, and most of all, his modesty. Every single time (okay, maybe only AFTER the first half-dozen times he stated it) he said it was luck and not skill that earned him the title, I felt like he was SCREAMING, “I have to say that, but we all know I’m the BEST.” I just found his entire attitude judgmental (whether or not it was about his wife, his fellow comrades, or the civilians he was sworn to help). I felt he thought his was the most important viewpoint and no one else’s was valid. Even when he spoke of past war combats, he stated that they really didn’t understand what it was like for him. This might be true…but nor does he understand what it was like for them. There could possibly be more than one way to win a war, and certainly more than one objective. Kyle was trained for one aspect of that, and trained well, and he did well at his job….However, that doesn’t mean he’s above those others that trained in different areas and did their absolute best to back him and to do their job, no matter how lacking the conditions might have proved to be for them…

I don’t think Kyle won the war all by himself, no matter how much he might think he did…

Again, sorry for those that loved the book…I might have felt different it was told by someone else…however, there just wasn’t room for any love for me in this one…his ego kept getting in the way…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now American Sniper by Chris Kyle

Review: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

26154406I stayed up until half past one in thee morning to finish this one. I read over 60% of it in one sitting. That never happens anymore. I can’t remember that happening in years. What an amazing read. I loved every word!!!!!!

This is a story that grabs you from the first page and just tightens its hold on you as every single page speeds by. The ending doesn’t disappoint either. The main character is a woman who goes on the run after she finds her husband dead. We soon figure out that this isn’t the first time she’s ran. As the story continues we start to see correspondence (emails) between her and a mysterious man from her past. It’s obvious that they love(ed) one another. It’s also obvious that they both have secrets. The emails they send back and forth made this a 5 star read for me. They were always short. They never gave much away. But man oh man, did they have your imagination racing out of control.

We might not know if the main character is innocent or not from the start of the tale, however, she soon finds herself in countless situations where she is far from innocent. I realise that these situations will put many off this book. I also sense that this is a love it or hate it book. If you live in a black and white world I don’t think you’ll enjoy this as much as I did. However, my moral compass has never been so clear. I don’t use the end result of a situation to determine the right or the wrong. Would this main character have resorted to some of the things she did if the circumstances were different? If she hadn’t resorted to them would she still be alive? Would others still be alive?

I hope I have you intrigued enough to give this book a try. It won’t take you long to figure out if it’s for you or not…

Also, please, Ms Lutz, can we have more of Blue? I can’t say I loved her. Hell, I don’t even know if I liked her. I was certainly a bit scared of her. I think her moral compass was navigated by completely different ways than the main characters, however, she did intrigue me and I would love to hear more of her story…

Until next time…

Urania

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

Review: How Many Letters Are In Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy

9780738747453I love stories told in alternate writing styles. When you read as much and for as many years as I have, you gotta mix things up from time to time! Sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes it does. In this case, it’s a bit of the first but much of the latter.

Rhea’s had a rough life by anyone’s standards. Her mom dies before she can hardly remember her, a tragic accident causes the loss of her arm, her dad drinks too much, she’s struggling with her sexual identity…the list goes on and on. When her dad dies and she’s sent to live with an aunt she hardly knows, it’s just too much. So she runs away, fleeing to New York City? Why New York? Because that’s where she feels closest to her mother, where she can immerse herself in her mom’s past as she tries to come to grips with her loss.

She copes by writing letters to her mom. Letters that she’ll never send, of course. Letters that she’s been writing since she was a little girl, way before her life went so far off course. She writes about her grief over her dad’s death. She writes about her confusion and pain over being gay. She writes about living on the streets and all that encompasses. And as she digs deeper into her mom’s past, she writes about buried secrets from long ago.

This is how the story is told. Each chapter is a letter in itself. It works for the most part. The story is easy to follow, and the narrative of Rhea’s letters are plausible and heart-tugging at the same time. The only fault I can find is that, towards the end, they seem to be a bit long-winded and drawn out more than is necessary. But still, a great story!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?

Musing: A go-to author disappoints

 Many of us have those go-to authors … writers we follow on social media so we know exactly when their latest book will hit the shelves AND when it’ll be available for preorder. I scour NetGalley for my faves because I’m too impatient to wait for the publication date! 

What happens when you finally get one of those yummy advance copies? Or you wait up for your preorder to appear on your kindle? You eat it up, right? Maybe stay up all night, or stick a virtual bookmark in whatever you’re currently reading so you can get to THIS ONE. The one you’ve been waiting for. 

Until it disappoints. That awesome writer did something different this time. And maybe some people like it, but you don’t. You can’t stand it but you keep reading because it’s GOT to get better, right? It’s by a wonderful author, after all! Aaaaaannnnnndddd it doesn’t get better. You muddle through, and then you hope it doesn’t happen with the next book by this writer. 

I don’t want to name names, but my latest disappointment included off-kilter character development and a weird/disjointed storyline. I thought the hero was just bizarre, and I was unsympathetic toward the heroine. What a downer after all those I loved by a favorite author. 

What’s your latest disappointment? 

-calliope

Review: The Secret History by Donna Tart

29044I really liked this story. This is a story of 6 friends. It is the telling of the events that lead up to the death of one of the friends, the death itself, and the aftermath of that death. There are layers and layers of nice, dark, deep, pathological juicy bits to go though. So much to keep you up late at night to think about. You’ll be thinking about this book all the time you read it…but you won’t stop thinking about it during the times you have to set it aside for the *real* world.

But let me be honest here….as much as I loved the story, and no matter how much I enjoyed these very…errr…unusual characters, I just don’t care for Ms. Tartt’s writing style. It’s tough for me. I absolutely loved “The Goldfinch”. Much more than I liked this one. However, I felt the exact same. I love books that go into great detail. I loved longer books. But having said that, the details I think Ms. Tartt goes into just aren’t the ones I need to know. I find bits of her stories very very very VERY repetitive. The bits I want more details to, I think she just skims over them or gives us just the barest of bit of knowledge she can to get on to the boring bits. I find myself just tapping tapping tapping my feet, waiting for her to get all those nonsense words out of her mouth and get back to the really relevant bits.

So many of these characters are so fascinating (or were to me). I can almost forgive the bits I felt dragged on for way long…almost….but not quite…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Secret History by Donna Tartt