Review: Love, Lies & Spies by Cindy Anstey

01 love A sweet romance filled with intrigue and early 19th century charm.

I was completely taken in by the cover. It looked like something I would enjoy and I was right. So cute!!

SYNOPSIS
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

From the very first chapter title and sentence, I was hooked. In fact, I read the first page to my kids, while they were eating lunch, and my daughter said she wants to read it. THAT right there is a good sign.

I was totally taken in by Juliana’s quirks. She seemed to get into trouble, without even trying. All she wants to do is stay out of the limelight and avoid any suitors, but the more she tries to be invisible the more she’s noticed, and sometimes not by the best people.

Spencer has a mission to do, and it doesn’t include falling in love. Actually, that’s the farthest thing from his mind. That is until he sets his eyes on a bewitching young lady with a talent for trouble.

There’s something to be said for the friends to lovers stories. Those are the some of the best. The heart wants what the heart wants and even if you, or anyone else, try and stop it, it always wins in the end.

“There are not enough superlatives in the English language to capture even a tenth of my emotions.”

~Melpomene

Release date: April 19th
Preorder Love, Lies and Spies

Review: Girl Missing by Tess Gerritsen

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Tess Gerritsen doesn’t write a bad story. From her Rizzoli & Isles series to her countless stand alones, she’s a master at her craft. This older thriller is no exception.

When bodies start showing up in Boston, it doesn’t cause too much of a ripple. Boston is a large city, after all. And some of the dead did lead questionable lifestyles. Medical examiner Kat Novak thinks there’s more to it than just random murders, however. She fears that a serial killer is at large. Convincing the higher authorities is difficult. The mayor isn’t interested in hearing her theories, especially ones that cast a bad light on the city.

While this doesn’t rank as one of her best for me, it’s nonetheless very good. The author is able to create characters who take control of the story, pulling you along with it. Her stories all fall into the “just one more chapter I can’t put it down” category, and this one is no exception.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Girl Missing

Review: Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher 

  

I loved Rosamunde Pilcher’s Shell Seekers so much that I wanted another Pilcher novel ASAP. So I put Winter Solstice on my TBR list, and here we are. 

Winter Solstice has the same depth and character development and saga feel as Shell Seekers, but it’s a little more lighthearted, fun and romantic. 

Pilcher speaks my language when she writes parallel relationships and symmetrical settings. I liked comparing Carrie to her cousin Elfrida, or Lucy to her Aunt Carrie. The men who enter their lives aren’t necessarily similar, but they all share a tender heart for the right woman. Carrie, Lucy and Elfrida treasure their independence, but appreciate being cared for and treasured as well. 

Death, divorce, and family secrets move this plot along. Property changes hands, mothers shirk their duties, love is lost in a variety of ways. But rising above the bleak Scotland winter as well as the winter season of life are the warm hearts and hands of three generations celebrating love. 

-calliope 

Buy Winter Solstice

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

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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!!!