Review: You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell


Another fun yet substantial read by Jill Mansell! 

From a letter she reads on her 25th birthday, Lily finds out about some important people from her past. While she decides how much time and effort to spend finding them, she is supported by longtime friend Dan and his sister, as well as her foster mom who owns a vintage shop. Lily also gets to meet a famous star… fall into Like… and live a jet setting lifestyle for as long as. 

I enjoyed every character in this book, even the one villain – maybe because he wasn’t given too much space on the page. Haha! Lily was such a kindhearted soul that each personal relationship she had was meaningful and poignant. In our recent times of uncertainty and violence, I appreciated this book heavy on the niceness. 

My favorite part was the unrequited love moving along with perfect timing. More than one character found true love and a happily ever after… That’s my kind of book. 

– calliope 

Buy YOU AND ME, ALWAYS

Review: House Revenge by Mike Lawson 


This was a pretty entertaining read. Though it’s the eleventh in a series, I had no trouble keeping track of characters and their occupations, good guys vs bad guys, and the relationships among them all.

House Revenge takes the reader through Boston politics, from commercial land development to dirty congressmen to cops on the take to connections with Mexican drug cartels, all through the eyes of Joe DeMarco. Joe is a right hand man taking direction from politicians, but trouble arises when he doesn’t think through his approach.  

In House Revenge, at the request of those more powerful than he, Joe tries to help an old lady stay in her apartment. Her building is getting torn down to make way for bigger and better – and more profitable – enterprises. Joe doesn’t intend to get too involved, but we all know where the path of good intentions leads. By the middle of the book, Joe is halfway there. 

I liked the peek into DC and Boston politics, the interactions with Boston Police, and the local references. Though some of Joe’s “solutions” seemed pretty far-fetched, I’ve got to give him credit for getting as far as he did in a world where one hand washes the other, and quid pro quo is the status quo.

-calliope 

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Review: End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

13414676This is a really nice book. I can’t fault the writer at all. However, I have to say it was gut wrenching for me. Schwalbe and his mother had a very special bond. Hell, from what I grasp, she had a special bond with everyone she knew. She seemed like she was a truly amazing person.

The part that was really hard for me was the dedication Schwalbe had for his mum. No, it wasn’t a bad thing. It was an amazing thing. When my father died, I can’t lie, I was, perhaps more devastated by my lack of involvement in his final days. That is so very hard to write. To admit to. Sure, I can blame circumstances. Being in a different country, blah blah blah, but that doesn’t ease the guilt one feels. Then to read a book where Schwalbe went to such great lengths….well it was very hard. Yes, he was lucky. His mum was lucky. We can all say, well, he had a job that allowed him to be by his mother’s side so often. That’s all. He could afford to spend 5 hours a day with her when she was having treatments. He could call her a dozen times a day. Reality is more simple than that though. He made it happen. Amazing sacrifices he made to make sure his mother was surrounded by love in her final years…

I’m jealous of his dedication. Of his courage. His sacrifice. Of those hours, days, weeks, months, and years he had with his mum at the end. Reading this book made my gut clinch with my own guilt…I miss my dad…I wish I had been the kind of daughter to him that was like the son Schwalbe was to his mum…I wish I had that opportunity…

There’s nothing else to say really…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

Review: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

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What can I say about this latest novel from Megan Miranda other than it’s pure gold?  Truly, it’s along the lines of “Run and grab this one as fast as you can and be prepared to stay up way  past your bedtime to finish it.”

Nic dreads returning to her hometown.  But she can’t avoid it after being summoned by her brother.  He needs her help to make arrangements for their aging father.  Her plan is to get in and out as quickly as possible, get back to her life as she knows it.  History, however, has other ideas…

You see, there’s a reason she left in such a hurry all those years ago.  Was it the devastating disappearance of her best friend, Corinne?  Or was it something else?  Whatever the cause, it’s still there after all these years.  Dark secrets don’t stay hidden forever.  And once you start digging, well, it’s just a matter of time until everything is out in the open.  Or maybe not.

Megan Miranda has written an outstanding thriller, making me want to read all of her others.  Bonus points on originality for this one as the story is told in reverse.  I wasn’t sure how that was going to work at first, but by the end it all came together.  A must-read for fans of suspenseful, well-told stories!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  All the Missing Girls

 

Review: The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg


I am addicted to these Fox and O’Hare novels. Federal agent O’Hare and genius criminal/informant Fox work together to catch super bad guys across the globe. Working so closely together, they’ve managed to peek into each other’s personal lives… and even fall in Like. 

The Pursuit gives the reader a double whammy. The pair finish a case in the beginning chapters and quickly land a new case… One they can’t even put on the books. One that sends them to Belgium and the Paris underground. It’s a con. Maybe the biggest con they’ve ever pulled. And their lives depend on them making zero mistakes. 

Part comedy, part MacGyver, and part Ocean’s Eleven, The Pursuit is the perfect light read to get me laughing and holding tight to the edge of my seat in the same chapter. I’ll read them as fast as Goldberg and Evanovich can write them. 

-calliope 

Buy THE PURSUIT

Review ~ Before I Wake by C.L Taylor. 

C.L Taylor is perhaps better known in the U.K, but I believe she is going to be a popular author over this side of the pond as well. Befor I Wake, or The Accident, as it’s called in the U.K., focuses on a 17 year old girl who is in a coma after an apparent suicide attempt. Charlotte’s family are trying to come to terms with not only the medical issues, but also the fact that Charlotte felt the need to jump out in front of a bus.

However, it’s when Charlotte’s mum, Susan, finds her daughter’s diary with “I can’t keep this secret much longer” written down, that the real mystery begins. 

Was Charlotte’s accident an act of malice, or a tragic case of not having the will to live? 

This is an interesting read. It presents dual narratives and the characters are given a good amount of room to breathe and develop. 

A quick and simple read, this is great for those summer days sitting in your garden with a nice iced drink! 

Enjoy!

Pegasus. 

Buy Before I Wake

Waiting on Wednesday~The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

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TITLE:
The Highlander(Victorian Rebels)
AUTHOR:
Kerrigan Bryne
GENRE:
Romance, Historical romance
PAGES:
368 pages
PUBLISHER:
ST. Martins
RELEASE DATE:
August 2, 2016

SYNOPSIS:
They call him the Demon Highlander. The fearsome Lieutenant Colonel Liam MacKenzie is known for his superhuman strength, towering presence, and fiery passion in the heat of battle. As Laird to the MacKenzie clan, the undefeated Marquess has vanquished his foes with all rage and wrath of his barbaric Highland ancestors. But when an English governess arrives to care for his children, the master of war finds himself up against his greatest opponent. . . in the game of love.

Defying all expectations, Miss Philomena is no plain-faced spinster but a ravishing beauty with voluptuous curves and haughty full lips that rattle the Laird to his core. Unintimidated by her master’s raw masculinity and savage ways, the headstrong lass manages to tame not only his wild children but the beast in his soul. With each passing day, Liam grows fonder of Miss Mena–and more suspicious. What secret is she hiding behind those emerald eyes? What darkness brought her to his keep? And how can he conquer this magnificent woman’s heart . . . without surrendering his own?

Preorder HERE

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Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

6493208I really found this book interesting. It also brings up some questions. I mean I can see both sides. I can understand why the family was somewhat confused. At times angry with what was done with their mother’s cells. At the end of the day, I guess what happened wasn’t done intentionally.

I found the epilogue at the end the most interesting of all. That’s where all the real ethical questions come into play. If you read this book and decide it’s not for you part way though, well, I encourage you to just skip to that part and read it.

Here’s my thoughts…of course, it would only be in a perfect world that my thoughts could come to life…so there is that….

There’s no doubt that things like this should continue on. The things that have been accomplished because of Henrietta Lacks cells are just mind-blowing. I mean, honestly, it’s just amazing. Things like this have always went on, but the public just isn’t aware of it.

The scientists that used her cells did so with no intention of making a profit. At some point was profit made? Sure, you bet your arse it was. That’s where it needs to stop. It’s also noted that a few different researchers with different cells are not limiting any research and refusing to allow others to do their research. This is wrong. If a patient can’t control the rights or make profits off of their cells, why should a company or pharmaceutical company do so? I’m afraid that as time goes on, more pharmaceutical companies will control more of these things. They will not give samples, that cost them nothing, to further research. Instead they will control it and only let them out to the highest bidder…or not at all…simply to protect their own interests…and this is where the world will suffer.

If we expect the people who give these samples to receive no recognition or profit, then by damned, companies shouldn’t either. Companies should not be withholding samples to scientists for further research…..Once you allow them to control these samples you are allowing them to delay vital information that could provide cures for many diseases. Of course, cures means less profit for these companies, so it’s really in their best interest to regulate what is released. This, IMHO, is a recipe for disaster.

Bottom line, I really encourage you to read this book. Yes, the book is slanted towards Henrietta Lacks’ family. However, that doesn’t change the fact that many people have no idea of what happens when they give a sample of blood. Of that tumor cell that was removed from them during surgery. Of placentas that are delivered with their children. It’s just mind-boggling.

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Review: The Sister by Louise Jensen

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I hate it when I wait too long to review a book.  And I know I’m not alone in that sentiment.  It’s not that we completely forget what the story was about.  It’s just that we are such voracious readers that sometimes characters and storylines from various books mesh together into one big bookish blob.  But still, I would be neglecting my role as a reviewer of “books that must be read” if I didn’t mention this little gem.

When Grace loses her best friend, Charlie, her world comes to an end.  Connected from childhood, everything she knows involves Charlie.  She just can’t come to grips with her death, with secrets left behind and questions unanswered.  So she digs.  She looks for answers to just who Charlie was.  And in the process, she uncovers more than she expected in the form of Charlie’s unknown sister, Anna.  Here’s where things start to get weird.  Grace begins to forget things, to lose things.  She’s sure someone is following her.  And the people around her are acting very strange.  Is she going crazy?  Or is something more sinister at work?

This debut novel is a thriller in the truest sense.  It plays tricks with your mind and leaves you guessing all the way while at the same time making it seem as if you’ve figured it out.  And of course there’s a fantastic twist that you’ll never see coming!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Sister