Review: Torn by Carian Cole

torn OH MY GOSH!! This book almost didn’t get read. Not that it was bad, but it was very taboo. Hang with me here. Last week I saw this picture on Facebook. It was a sponsored ad. I’ve never heard of this author. Heck, I didn’t even know what the book was about, but I thought the picture was just lovely. I posted it in one of my book clubs and then I found out what it was about. And I gotta be honest, I wasn’t going to read it after that. That was a little too taboo for me. I have certain things I won’t read about, while this wasn’t on my list, it was just something a bit too different for me.

Well, two of my friends decided to give it a shot and they loved it. They know what I like and they both told me to try it. They said it was tastefully done and quite romantic. *sigh* I love romance, and I’m a follower not a leader, so I did what they said. I bought it and read it. And let me tell you, I was sucked in from the very beginning. Here’s the picture I saw. Isn’t it beautiful? There’s something about boots and little shoes that’s just so sweet.
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This book was exactly like they said. It was beautiful. It was romantic. And it was written in a way they wasn’t creepy or gross. Even in the synopsis, it even says no underage sex. Once you read the synopsis, you’ll see why THAT was my biggest fear. I like my sexy scenes with people who are old enough to vote, thankyouverymuch.

I fell in love with all of these characters. Family was the main theme and everyone was so different, but in the end, it was all about love. The love of two people who were there for each other, all their lives. It was beautiful. And it was right.

So if you’re in the mood to try something new and different, read Torn.

~Melpomene

Buy Torn HERE

Review ~ Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Phewf! Well, that was an intense week of listening! I’m going to hold my hands up shamefully admit that I’d held off from reading anything by the super popular author Liane Moriarty, simply because her fiction was so often labeled as chic lit. I conjured up aspersions of a bodice ripper type novel, empty angst or some other unfair generalization. Well, if this novel is classed as chic lit, then sign me the hell up! 

Big Little Lies follows a group of parents in a seaside Australian town. They have their rituals, meet at the school drop-offs, and have their cliques and issues. A new parent moves to town and soon makes fast friends, and indeed enemies. 

The novel starts off in an interview type manner, and we soon learn that something has happened at a school PTA quiz night. As we hear witness accounts of may or may not have happened that night, we are taken back to when Jane first arrives on the scene. 

What makes Moriarty’s novel such a hit, is not the plot; the plot, while good, is not one so unique that you wouldn’t ever see in a novel. No. Where Moriarty excels, is in her characters and their interaction. There is such razor sharp authenticity in how these parents and friends talk and act, that you really feel like you know them, and are there living with them. 

This is a brilliant novel that will keep you glued until the very end. If you’ve yet to start reading Moriarty, then Big Little Lies is a great place to start. 

~ Pegasus 

Big Little Lies

Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

26114135I haven’t added a book to “my-best-reads-ever” in over 2 years…This book deserves to be there. I still don’t know what to think about it. I just know I couldn’t stop feeling whilst reading this book. My heart broke over and over again. The parts that I had trouble with coming to terms with morally are the very same parts I am most thankful for. For without those parts this would have been a very different story. It would have been a story of a young girl and her brother with no hope at all in a very violent world. It would have been a story that had no stars to guide Wavy in the darkest hours to find a better life.

Greenwood has done an amazing job of simply telling a story. She doesn’t try to make the reader take a moral high road. Nor does she warn us to stay off a path of despair. Instead, the reader is left to find their own way and to struggle with the road signs that we can easily read, but which are so difficult to understand.

Don’t read this book looking for some sappy love story….this novel will punch you over and over again in your guts. It is brutal. It will take your breath away…yet, once you finish the last page, you’ll marvel at the wonder that can be found in the world. It is both an ugly world….but more importantly, it is a wonderful world…There are so many wrongs in this novel and yet somehow, at the end, Greenwood has made it all right…

Wow…I’m so feeling this book…really….so thankful to have read this novel…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy your copy now All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Byrn Greenwood

Remembering a Friend….Musings of a Muse

fullsizerenderSome people come into your life and you don’t even realise it. You see them around day after day and suddenly realise that you can’t remember a time that they weren’t around. You can’t even remember why they are there every time you turn around. You even take them for granted perhaps.

Of course, no one wants to admit that. That you can take a giving and caring person for granted…but there you have it…

I do want to confess that to anyone that is reading this. I never expected Rich to leave so soon. He always made time for everyone…and I perhaps should have let him know a bit more often what his candor and his posts meant to me…

I just figured that as long as there was a WWW that my mate, Rich would be around to harass me. By harass, I mean that Rich ALWAYS had a moment to comment on your latest FB picture or status. You were sure to always wake up to one of his posts that was either going to make you laugh out loud, be outraged, or just piss you off. Rich took no prisoners when it came to anything he saw as an injustice.

Hell, I can’t go into all he has meant to so many people…there’s just no way…but that is it…right there…Rich made everyone he cared about feel special. He made everyone take him for granted. If there is anything all of his mates are sharing right now besides grief, it is disbelief. No one can believe that such a life force is gone. No one expected someone so full of life to pass away so suddenly…

He will so be missed. By me…and others…I am outraged that the small and the large injustices of the world have lost a superhero that was always ready and willing to fight for their causes…

There now resides a massive black hole in the cybersphere…as there is now also in my heart…

Amazing how people you’ve never met outside of cyberspace can change how you view the world…and how you can start to expect better from those that you actually do know in the *real world*…

RIP Mr Meyer…my heart goes out to your wife and to your furbabies…

I hope Raptor Jesus is there to great you with open arms full of comic books and b movies…

you are so very missed my friend…xx

Until we meet again,
Urania xx

Review: Just Friends by Monica Murphy

just-friends-amazon Have you ever read a book so crazy insane with angst that you wanna set it down and walk away, but you JUST CAN’T DO IT? Well, that is how I felt read Just Friends. My word… Teenage drama to the nth degree. Seriously.

Just Friends is about…well, friends. Friends and enemies. Frenemies really. The characters were so insane with teenage drama and feelings, I thought my head was going to explode. At one point I hated every single character. None of them were making good choices. They only cared about hooking up, which is true for most teenagers, but my word… Selfish, emotional and so over the top wishy washy. He likes her, but she doesn’t know if she likes him. But the he hooks up with someone else. But he really likes her, even though she doesn’t know if she can be with him. All of that and more. Teenage drama.

Now I say all of that, but in reality, I was sucked in from the very first chapter. I couldn’t take my eyes off the page. I needed to know what happens and who “really” like who, and why is she acting this way. GAH!!!!

If you stepped into your local high school, you would probably hear lots of the same conversations that were in the book. Ms. Murphy nailed the inner feelings and actions of teenage girls. Supremely. Not to mention that the boys were realistically stupid as always. Sex and sports.

I haven’t read an angst filled NA book in quite some time, so I wasn’t sure what my reactions were going to be. But it’s safe to say, there was a lot of yelling and “What are thinking?’ being shouted.Again, teenage drama. I know the characters are in high school, but they are doing lots of grown up things that I can’t label YA. This book will get your heart racing and tugging. Your heart will hurt and twist at the same time. So much fun.

And that ending? I need more NOW.

~Melpomene
Buy Just Friends HERE

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Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

empire Well, now…where to begin…I have so many feelings all jumbled up in my head. But, here goes.

This is the first book that I actually read with my children. My daughter read the first five books, including the prequels, last year, and my son was sucked into them after we went on vacation and we listened to the first one on our trip. So it was kinda fun reading along. It was crazy to be able to scream and yell and vent together.

Being that this is the 5th book in a series, you should be all ready to handle the amount of emotions that Sarah’s books will pull out of you. But this one was different. This book seemed more epic, if that’s even possible. So many storylines were going on at the same time, it was stressful. I kept waiting for the massive explosion from when they all crashed together. And let me tell you, explosion was exactly what we got. There were alliances made. Deals drawn. And that ending…my heart was messed up. My kids were NOT happy with that ending. They were yelling at me. I was laughing at them. I’m used to this kinds of devastation, but they are not.

While I was enjoying myself, this book seemed to take a turn for the NA world. Just a heads up there. This series, up til now, was pretty YA and the sexy scenes were fade to black. Not so with this one. It was quite descriptive and I had to block off a few spots for my teens. Now don’t get all huffy. I’m not about censorship, but I will do that for my kids. I like the sexy parts, but not for my kids. I won’t go into more about that, but I will say this, those scenes are the reason I gave this a 4 instead of a 5.

Besides all that, I will recommend this series if you like fantasy. Sarah creates worlds that are so unbelievable and yet they sound so real. I haven’t heard the audible for this one, but I did use it for my reread/relisten and the stories are even better when you hear them.

~Melpomene

Buy Empire of Storms HERE

Review: The Memory of Things by Gail Polisner

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For people over a certain age, it’s hard to remember a time when September 11 wasn’t part of our shared history. We’ll never forget where we were that fateful Tuesday morning fifteen years ago. But for younger people, it’s been relegated to an event found in history books. That’s why books like this one are so important.

When that first plane hit, Kyle was sitting in class just like any normal teenager. It soon become clear, however, that this was more than just an accident. Released from school, making his way home across the Brooklyn Bridge, he comes across something. At first glance, a bird. But upon closer inspection, a girl covered in ash and wearing a pair of feathery wings. And was she trying to jump off the bridge? Nevertheless, he saves her from herself, from the crowd of people walking across the bridge, from the chaos that ensued in those first days.

When he gets home, he realizes that she has no idea who she is and no memory of what happened. So this becomes his focus while at the same time trying to manage in such a time of tragedy. His mom and sister are stuck on the west coast. He doesn’t know where his police officer dad is or if he’s even still alive. And his Uncle Matt needs constant care after a tragic accident months ago. All this falls on Kyle’s young shoulders.

This is such a beautifully written story. Kyle’s story is our main one, with the girl’s voice told in poetic bits and pieces interspersed throughout. There’s a lot going on-fear of the unknown, a confusing teen romance, family dynamics, and just pure resilience. An excellent pick for both young and old!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Memory of Things

Review ~ June: A Novel, by Miranda Beverly-Whitemore

This is one of those books that I picked up without really knowing anything about, and in a way, I’m glad I did. Some of you may have enjoyed Beverly-Whitemore’s previous novel, Bittersweet, and I had heard a lot of good things about it, so I guess that influenced my decision in picking up this book. 

The plot centers around 25 year old Cassie who has inherited an old mansion in decay, in the middle of Ohio. Stuck with this crumbling house, Cassie is even more shocked when a man turns up claiming that she is also inheriting millions of dollars from a famous actor who has just died, and who claims that Cassie is his granddaughter. With this insane piece of news, Cassie is left wondering how, when, why her grandmother would meet, fall in love, and have a child with a famous Hollywood actor. Could it really be true? 

The story is split into two time periods: one in present day with Cassie and others investigating her grandmother’s life, and then we are transported to the 1950’s to meet the grandmother as a young woman. 

This novel kind of reminded me of the style found in novels such as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Except this one lacked the humor. However, it is an easy read, with elements that make you want to continue and find out how it all pans out. Towards the end, it does get a little too convenient and “nice”, but overall this is not a bad read at all.

~ Pegasus 

June: A Novel 

Review: Salem’s Cipher by Jess Lourey

From San Francisco to Salem, Massachusetts, childhood friends Bel and Salem find themselves running away from psychopaths and toward hiding places for clues to a mystery they don’t even understand. In their quest to save their mothers, the presidential candidate, and the world, the women pick up more clues than they bargained for… and they find themselves. 

I’ve long admired Jess Lourey for her cozy mysteries (Murder by Month series, similar to Stephanie Plum books). So when Lourey came out with a gritty, suspenseful thriller I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m a happily-ever-after girl and I cover my eyes when a bad guy appears on the page! I took a chance and WOW am I glad I did. Salem’s Cipher is rich with art, history, geography, secret societies, conspiracy theories, federal agents, and cracking codes. I enjoyed the authentic friendship between the women, their mad MacGyver skills, and the sweet Mercy child. 

Even if this isn’t your usual genre, I urge you to take a few trips cross-country with this crew. It’s a little scary, a little bloody, and a lot fun!

-calliope 

Buy SALEM’S CIPHER

Review: The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

22609358I loved this novel. It was such a pleasant surprise. I’m not even sure what I loved the most about it…the layers of mysteries….the hints of things to come…the love story…the other love story…the past…the present…or the future…there are so many different things to love that it is hard to choose one…so I shall just say I loved them all..

Yes, this will be a long series…one that still has a long way to go…but regardless of the fact, each book proves to be a solid read all on their own merits…and I don’t believe it will prove to be complicated series that you’ll struggle to remember and catch up when you start a new book, trying to remember the last book…

Although the romance is very essence of this novel…it certainly isn’t a romance novel to me…I think the writing and the atmosphere and the places around the world are very bit a part of that essence as are any of the characters….I dare say that romance haters (is there such a thing) will love this series every bit as much as those that consider themselves romance lovers (which I would not classify myself as).

Yes, I have only read the first book…but it doesn’t matter…I have no doubt that they shall all be just as wonderful in their own way…that’s just how much I loved this novel…

Until next time…
Urania

Review copy provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy your copy now The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley