Review: Liar’s Key by Carla Neggers

FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are at it again – solving international crimes even as they navigate their personal relationship with each other (wedding planning… yippeeeeee!!!!) and their friends in the art world. 

This time, con artist Oliver York is so good at secrets that sometimes not even he himself can figure out the whys and wherefores of his globe trotting. The shores of Maine bring York together with retired FBI agent Gordy Wheelock and some art collectors, each of whom hold secrets that rival York’s.  I was a little frustrated that Sharpe and Donovan couldn’t get Gordy to talk! But that’s part of the fun of this caper – loved being on the edge of my seat thinking about who holds the key… and who’s lying. 

-calliope

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Review: Every Dead Thing (Charlie Parker #1) by John Connolly

175242This was a really good book considering it’s was a debut novel. I don’t imagine it was meant to be an ongoing series…I say this because there was just so much going on in this book! It was over 400 pages long and it read more like 600. I’m not saying it was boring. It wasn’t. There was just really too much going on. It easily could have been made for two complete books with two great story lines. With a few twists and a minor changes I dare say it could have made for three. If Connolly had planned on making a series, I do believe he would have broken this up into multiple books….I dare say we would all have been the better if he had….

If you’re wondering what it was all about….in this novel we meet Charlie Parker for the first time. I read the last Charlie Parker, #12 in the series, earlier this year because I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the novel. It was fantastic (https://randombookmuses.com/2014/10/29/review-the-wolf-in-winter-by-john-connolly/). He’s a police detective. Parker’s family is killed right off in this book and we fast forward to months later. Now Parker has quit the force and is working for himself. He takes a job and in the midst of solving that case he is also solving his family’s murders.

There are a few bits that didn’t make sense with me as far as the time frame went. I’m not sure how Parker got from point A to B at times either. Perhaps I was just too distracted to understand, or perhaps it was just a matter of a debut novel and an author that was coming into his own. At any rate, it was a really good read, and having sampled his current writing style, I can vouch that it will indeed get better. This is a storyline and a cast of characters I truly look forward to getting to know. Parker is very complex. Connolly might be writing detective novels, but don’t let it fool you….he really has a way with words…and some of the depth that he lays out amongst the blood, guts and gunfire really give you a cause to stop and reflect. I’m going to leave this review and let Connolly’s own words convince you that you really need to be reading this series….

For a moment they still lived and I experienced their deaths as a fresh loss with each waking, so that I was unsure whether I was a man waking from a dream of death or a dreamer entering a world of loss, a man dreaming of unhappiness or a man waking to grief.

I believe in evil because I have touched it, and it has touched me.

He sat back in his chair. “But I let it go. In the end, you have to let things go. The things you regret are the things you hold on to.” “So is nothing worth holding on to?” asked Rachel. Angel looked at Louis for a while. “Some things are, yeah, but they ain’t made of gold.

I think I wanted to say more, to try to explain to her what it was like without alcohol, about how I was afraid that, without alcohol, each day would now leave me with nothing to look forward to. Each day would simply be another day without a drink. Sometimes, when I was at my lowest ebb, I wondered if my search for the Traveling Man was just a way to fill my days, a way to keep me from going off the rails.

I don’t believe in the next world, Bird. It’s just a void. This is Hell, Bird, and we are in it. All the pain, all the hurt, all the misery you could ever imagine, you can find it here. It’s a culture of death, the only religion worth following

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

Review: My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

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What a fun story! I’ve been a historical romance kick lately. When I saw the title of this I knew it was going to be cute. I was so right.

Gillian Dryden’s is not happy with the thought of changing herself to find a husband. In fact, she’s content with never having one. But for her mother and grandmother she has agreed to let the Duke of Leverton help her fit in better. But she’s not going to make it easy on him.

Charles has no time for this silly girl, who is quick tempered and outspoken, but once he’s around her, he is quite intrigued and very much drawn to her. Now most of the time they mix like oil and water, but that is where the fun lies. No one can predict that words that will leave her mouth, or the behavior she portrays. For that day in age, some were rather cringe worthy.

This book was by far the funniest historical romance I remember ever reading. The banter between the two main characters had me smiling almost non stop. It was a bit like enemies to lovers mixed in with friends to lovers. Banter all over the place. Two people, who are used to doing things their own, are now forced to work together for a common goal. Things are bound to get messy.

This is my first Vanessa Kelly, but I know it won’t be my last.

~Melpomene

Buy My Fair Princess HERE

Review: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

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Such an intriguing title, and such an ambiguous beginning.  Two girls, both blonde, in a hospital.  One’s in a bed, one is not.  The question is, just which girl is which?

Kate.  Rising up from the ashes, working to better herself, crafting a master plan from day one never to be dissuaded from it.  She’s had a hard life.  Orphaned in theory, dad in prison for killing her mom.  She’s become very good at taking care of herself.  The perfect image is everything, and Kate is very good at it.  When she enters a new school, she sets her eyes on the prize.  She knows exactly who to target.

Olivia.  Poor little rich girl, mom dead, dad loving but always working.  She’s harboring a secret, one that took her away from school for an entire year.  Now back, she’s determined to finish her senior year while at the same time keeping everyone from getting too close.  When she and Kate happen upon each other, they feel like two lost souls destined to become friends.

As the story progresses, we’re left to wonder just who is in charge?  And who is being played?  Sometimes I thought it was Kate, sometimes I thought it was Olivia.  And even after finishing the story I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t indeed both.

The story switches back and forth between Kate and Olivia, giving each girl her own stage from which to tell their perspective.  And some chapters blend the two combining their stories into one.  This isn’t a distraction and works well.  The author does an excellent job of giving us enough but not giving away too much until the very last pages.  Then it all comes together splendidly.  Still, I’m left wondering if the door remains ajar for a possible sequel?

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Beware That Girl

 

Review: Return to the Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard

The top of this book cover says “A feel good read to make you smile.” Well, it’s quite more than that. Yes, Emmy’s optimism and hard work make for a cheery read. Her support of guesthouse-owner Rupert will endear any reader to her, as will her deference and friendly respect for the very French guesthouse-keeper. Accountant Alain’s adoration of Emmy is the cutest thing ever. And the Thompson clan spending the week at the guesthouse brings all the joy and camaraderie you’d expect from a family celebration. 

So, yeah, it’s a feel good read. 

But here’s the “more” —

Return to the Little French Guesthouse is full of love. Real, deep, abiding love. Love for friends and family. Love for one’s country. Love for neighbors and those in need. Love for the cute gardener. Love for one’s spouse. Old love. New love. Without being syrupy or contrived, this book uplifts and fulfills the reader with an authentic look at relationships and the choices we make that weaken or strengthen them. 

I finished this book feeling full of hope for humanity, knowing it all starts with just a little love. 

-calliope

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Review: Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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I’ve had the Dark Hunters books, on my kindle, for a few years now. I bought them all at once. It was quite daunting looking at 23 books, and knowing that there were way more if you add in the all the side series. This summer I decided to enjoy the summer and read for me. Not for the blog, just me, which means I barely reviewed anything. Sorry, Muses and Pegasus! So I charged my kindle and set out to finish this series.

I’ve had lots of people talk about Styxx and “Oh my gosh, his book killed me!” Well, in order to get to this killing book, I needed to read the 21 books before it. So this is what I’ve been doing. And yesterday, I realized that everyone was right. I’m writing this review from beyond the grave, cuz this book killed me. Dead.

If you’ve read this series you’d know that Acheron’s book was not for the faint hearted, but this book surpassed that one. I’m not even kidding when I say that I spent the last 15% in constant tears. With the size of this book, that means I was crying off and on for about 4 hours. It takes great talent to read through tears. I believe I’ve mastered that now.

You get a glimpse of Styxx in Acheron’s book and the impression you get isn’t good. He seems like this snotty, unloving selfish brother, and to be honest, I didn’t care about him. I knew his book was a sad one, but I didn’t think I would really care, after the way we saw him treat his siblings. But, holy cannoli, there was so much more going on! The amount of devastation and abuse this boy was handed, I’m surprised he’s still sane. A lesser man would’ve broke.

I can’t really say what happens, but I will say this, I’m so glad that Acheron has someone for him. Someone who understands him and what he went through. Brothers need to stick together.The funny thing is though, now I feel like the rest of the books are going to pale in comparison to this one.

~Melpomene

Buy Styxx HERE

Review ~ The Price of Salt, or Carol, by Patricia Highsmith. 

When someone asks if you’ve read anything by Patricia Highsmith, you would usually think they were referring to her famous psychological crime novels, such as, The Talented Mr Ripley series, or Strangers on a Train. Well those are what Highsmith is most famous for, but she also wrote a little gem in 1952. This book is different as it was a complete move in genres – a romance. However, this was a forbidden (and actually illegal at the time) romance as it centered around two women. Now, obviously there was lesbian underground pulp fiction being produced at the time, but this novel broke a lot stereotypes of the time. Usually lesbian characters of the time were one dimensional; characters that needed psychological intervention to get them “over their phase”, or mentally ill, suicidal hysterical women. Highsmith broke against this convention and created characters that any one of us can relate to and understand. 

The novel focuses on Therese who is a 19 year old aspiring set designer  who is taking on a Christmas job at a department store, when she meets an older, confidant woman named Carol. They start talking, and they begin a romantic relationship. 

This is one of those novels that you’ll end up reading more than once and probably coming away with a different perspective. Set from the point of view of Therese, we only get to see her side, her view, of Carol. Both of these characters have their issues, but they are so complex due to several reasons, that we are constantly re-evaluating how we think of them and their actions. 

One of the aspects that I really love about this novel is that being gay really isn’t the issue for these women. It’s the age old issue of not really knowing who we are, or what we can do in order to achieve some kind of murky life goal.  This novel was written in the early 50’s, a time in which these kinds of complexities and truths weren’t always explored, especially with two female protagonists. 

I know this a book review, but I have to briefly mention the recent film adaptation. This is how I came to read the book, and I’m glad I read it before seeing the adaption. I have to admit though, the film version is very good, different in some respects, but very good. 

I know some people are adverse to shelling out money for older books, but I have some good news for you – the kindle version is currently only $0.99! So please take a chance, and give this wonderfully complex novel a read! 

‘Till next time, 

Pegasus 

The Price of Salt, or Carol