Review: Faithful by Alice Hoffman 

Faithful is a good YA novel with some realistic grit and an excellent rendering of teenage emotion. Hoffman perfectly describes adolescent/young adult self-centeredness — being egocentric without knowing it — the feeling that no one understands you and you’re the only one going through so much pain. 

Hoffman has a terrific way of harnessing the overwhelming despair Shelby feels without making the book contrived or too angsty. I believed in Shelby as she looked for ways to save herself – some destroyed her further, but some were steps toward healing. Hoffman beautifully illustrated a realistic message of HOPE – there’s a way out and something better waiting, but it’s up to you to grab a hold of the ladder rungs. In Faithful, Shelby achieved more than she ever bargained for: she found her savior, and became one to someone else. 

*This novel is not appropriate for teens under age 15 due to brief and infrequent but graphic and vulgar descriptions of sex.* 

-calliope

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Review: The Return of Norah Wells by Virginia Macgregor

3112057424997133(Titled The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells in the UK) ** spoiler alert ** I have to say that I read this book quickly. I really felt compelled to finish it to the end. I had to see how it ended.

Having said that, well….that’s all I can really say…I found the writing style not only distracting, but also confusing. I found many parts of the novel repetitive. I found the children to be the only mature characters in the novel. I understood their confusion. I understood their emotions and feelings going back and forth. The adults however…I just couldn’t relate to. Their constant going back and forth. Their seeming ability to let 6 years go by and every one of them thinking things could/would go back to how it was before.

How does one expect us to feel sorry for the one that left, when she only came back for the reasons she did…I might not agree with her leaving…or why she left…but I could try to relate and understand it somehow…but let’s face it, if she wasn’t facing a life changing situation, she would still be off doing whatever it is that she did the previous 6 years…

The father…don’t even get me started on him. I understand not being perfect. I understand being confused…but he just took it to another level, didn’t he?

The “otherworldliness” stuff…again…I just don’t get it…sure, I understand that the author might have felt she was adding to the story and trying to stick in clever bits of symbolism, but seriously? It just added to the confusion and the not connecting to the story…as did all the strange “prominent but not prominent” twitter cast.

Finally, the different POVs….I don’t mind stories told in different POVs…but when the character in the chapter refers to themselves in 3rd person…it just does my head in…I’ve never before read anything like that…it’s almost like the characters decided to play both character and a narrator and that they couldn’t even keep their roles straight and kept getting confused and that’s why they slipped into 3rd person narratives from time to time…

Honestly, I’m not trying to rip this book to shreds. It was an interesting storyline. People do walk out of their lives. Sometimes they decide to come back. Often for the exact reasons described in this novel. However, I just don’t think many of them come back and expect to pick up exactly where they left off…they come back hoping to mend fences and make amends….not to step right back into the life they walked away from..as if nothing happened….as if they hadn’t been heard from in 6 years…as if time froze and did not move one once they left…and certainly, not one, but several adults expecting that to happen for various different reasons…

When it’s all said and done, am I glad I read this book? Yes. Was I in a hurry to finish so I could see what happened? Yes. Did I SOOOOO wish it was written differently? Hell yes…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Return of Norah Wells by Virginia Macgregor

Review: The Lost Codex by Heather Lyons

codex I can’t believe this series is over. I just can’t. I’ve enjoyed watching these characters for so long and it’s very bittersweet to realize there’s no more to come. I may wallow in the depths of despair for a while.

There will be no spoilers in this review, so don’t worry. But make sure you’ve read the first three books before you read this.

The Lost Codex takes place immediately after The Forgotten Mountain. And we all remember how that one ended, right? It ended with lots of screaming and gasping and yelling. Or maybe that was just me. Well, anyways, I was anxious to start this book. My heart was racing and I could barely sit still. I needed Alice’s world put back the way it was. But in order to do that, she needed to take control and decide what’s best for her.

Without saying spoilers, all I will tell you is that this book caused tears, tears and more tears. I actually had to read a few scenes over and over again just to make myself comprehend what I just read. I couldn’t believe what happened. If I was Wonderlandian, my shirt would’ve been stained red from my broken heart.

The Collectors’ Society is in the battle of its life. This is what they’ve trained for. This final battle will ask more from them than ever before. Some lives will be lost while others will be changed forever.

Can Alice and Finn’s love hold them together? Will there ever be peace? Who is that blasted Librarian? So many questions will be answered, even if not in the way we want, they will be answered.

~Melpomene

Buy The Lost Codex HERE.

Purchase previous books in this series:
The Collectors’ Society
The Hidden Library
The Forgotten Mountian

Review: Rhythm & Clues by Sue Ann Jaffarian 

These Odelia Grey mysteries satisfy me so. Jaffarian includes much more than just the crime and sleuth aspect; some of the books focus on Odelia and her attorney boss Mike Steele. Others give us strong subplots involving Odelia’s friends on the police force. This latest in the series includes rock stars, bodyguards, and the delicate relationship between a strong daughter and her strong mother. 

While rock legends don’t do it for me (and so I was a little bored with that part of the plot), Odelia unraveled murders with her signature stubbornness and throwing caution to the wind. I loved the middle-of-the-night meddling, the saving grace of Odelia’s formerly criminal friends, and the comic relief that reminds me of Stephanie Plum. Much to my delight, Jaffarian also surprised me in Rhythm & Clues with my most favorite part of any book ever: the hint of a romantic happily ever after.

 *Vroom vroom*

Can’t wait for the next one. 

-calliope

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Review: A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde

25613372Oh dear…I hate to give a review for a book I didn’t like much by an author that everyone seems to love. Especially if it’s a genre that I’ve made clear isn’t my favourite.

As I’ve wanted to read more books from this genre lately I have been asking myself more and more why it’s not a genre that I absolutely love.

This book is why! I’ve read some exceptional books that were classified “chick lit”. I’ve read some that make my heart swell…some that have made me laugh out loud…and some that have given me so many “feels” that I can’t help but to always seek out that next one that makes me feel all those emotions.

This book wasn’t awful. But I just had issues with the characters.

Why was the main character so stressed out from a job that she proclaimed meant so much to her, that she was so passionate about, but then was willing to just walk away for several months. I understand stress…I do! I understand needing a break…I do! However, this just seemed like it was over dramatic, especially since a few weeks later it was once again the best job in the universe with no issues at all…what was the real story going on there?

Second, I can’t stand where a character just falls for someone they don’t know…I mean, she didn’t even seem to find him that attractive when she first saw him…then suddenly after talking to her mate, she couldn’t stop thinking of him…then after one day she’s willing to do all sorts of things with him…

TBH, when we first heard of the *love interest* in this novel the description was so non-descriptive I didn’t have a clue what he was like…I pictured him as older man who didn’t speak much and might not even speak the same language…

Again, I’m not trying to be horrible here…the book REALLY was okay…

I just need some type of foundation to build a HEA on and I don’t feel like I received that in this novel. Little Kate was wonderful…the teddy was wonderful…the elderly Maisie was equally wonderful…

But that’s it…the rest just weren’t…and there were bits that really bothered me…How in an interview and discussing a new job the main character kept referring to the elderly as “old people”. Here she is in an interview and they ask her if she’s ever worked with senior citizens and she goes on about “one old lady in particular”. I’m not really one for strict PC, but I just found it a bit off-putting for me. It bothered me. Two days later it STILL bothers me…That “old woman” was meant to be her friend…and there you have it…I just found Emily shallow and fickle. I found Alasdair stern, controlling and unforgiving…and I didn’t seem them as an item at all…

I certainly didn’t hate the book, but I can’t reconcile myself a fantastic, deep felt relationship between two people who I never saw any evidence of…so this book was a pass for me…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy your copy here A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde

Review: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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I’ve heard it said that the entire young adult genre is one big cliche.  Story after story of young people depressed, suicidal, on drugs, bullied or bullying, and so on.  Admittedly, I’ve even thought the same thing myself a time or two.  But books such as this one remind us that there’s a reason these stories continue to be written.

Charlie is a cutter.  Not just your run-of-the-mill-make-a-few-scratches cutter.  She cuts so deeply and so often that little of her skin remains pristine.  And the last time sent her to an inpatient facility for treatment.  Now she’s being released.  Not because she’s been cured, but because there’s no money left to pay for treatment.  If only she could depend on her mom for help, but no.  So she finds herself back out on the streets.  And she’d likely find herself in the same dangerous situation as before if not for the help of one friend who gives her the promise of a fresh start in a fresh place.

If only things were that simple.  Her new life is filled with obstacles she has no idea how to handle.  She doesn’t know how to live on her own, unless it’s on the streets.  She’s never been very good at making and keeping new friends.   And her coping mechanisms leave something to be desired.  When she thinks she finds love, it’s not a good thing.  Because two damaged souls together are destined for trouble.

This book was oh so very good for so very many reasons.  It doesn’t feel preachy or condescending, but instead reads like a true to life tale.  The story alternates in traditional verse and an almost poetic style of writing.  Charlie is so sad and has lived such a hard life. You want her to succeed.  If only you could climb into the pages of the book and hold her hand. One of the best stories I’ve read in a very long time!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Girl in Pieces

Review: Love Literary Style by Karin Gillespie


Even though I REALLY enjoy books about books, I cringe a little whenever I start a new one. I half expect camp and contrivance, as much as I hope it gives me a protagonist who loves reading and writing as much as I do. 

I had nothing to fear with Love Literary Style. Gillespie wrote a perfectly entertaining and thought-provoking account of Laurie Lee, novice romance novelist, and her meet-cutie Aaron Mite, fancy schmancy highbrow lit fic writer extraordinaire. Their ups and downs totally work.  The author talking to the reader via the characters is ingenious. Aaron Mite’s longtime girlfriend is bizarre … and maybe a necessary foil so Aaron could really find himself. 

The best thing Laurie Lee did for herself and her relationships was also my favorite part of the book: finding an expert to help improve her writing. He gave her so much more, and she knew it and appreciated it. I also ADORED the ending — a happily ever after, of course — and Gillespie wrote this one with aplomb. 

I read an advance copy, and there was an error (alluded instead of eluded) in a scene that references a famous movie. Reading incorrect vocabulary gets under my skin in general, but I kind of couldn’t believe I read this in a book about writing books. Fortunately, Gillespie’s lovely epilogue made me forget all about it. She tied up all the loose … ends; and that made it easy to grin and … bear it. 

-calliope 

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Review: A Time of Torment (Charlie Parker, #14) by John Connolly

25930352 (1)Another great book by Connolly. Again, the ending of this book left me with chills and excitement of things yet to come. I really really REALLY wish Connolly would stop tormenting us with hints of the daughters and what they are capable of. Ha! I’m sick and anxious over them…and a wee bit scared as well!

For those that haven’t read Connolly before, you don’t HAVE to read his prior books to enjoy his works…however, there is so much story and history in the previous works. You won’t get lost having not read the previous books, but you won’t understand all the good stuff either. The layers and layers of history and characters that Connolly has interwoven. Charlie Parker really inspired those around him. Not all of those inspirations are positive. Some of them are borderline worshiping. And all of them are relevant. Imagine these novels are going to a wonderful city…yes, you can enjoy the city no matter what, but only a true local knows all the ins and outs that the city can offer. Those places not found in the tourist attractions. The very same is true for Charlie Parker. You learn much from Parker himself, but so much can be gained by the people that surround him in life.

Finally, I have to say, these characters are getting so rich and so many that I am thinking about starting a Charlie Parker notebook…So many characters that show up from novel to novel and so much of their stories growing and expanding…even though I’ve read of them in the past, I still feel as if I am missing some stuff because I can’t remember them all in all the details.

Of course that might just be an excuse my mind is using to go back and reread all the books!

Please, go read some Charlie Parker books…you won’t be disappointed…he’s really turning out to be a long time favourite of mine!

Until next time…
Urania

ARC provided by netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now A Time of Torment by John Connolly

Review: Mr. President by Katy Evans

pres Matt Hamilton for President. That is all. Really. I wish I could just leave it at that, but that would be a crazy review, right?

Matt Hamilton never wanted to run for president. But life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. So when he finds himself running, he remembers receiving an intriguing letter from a girl eleven years ago and her promise to help him win if he ran. Little did he know this girl would have him questioning everything he believed.

Charlotte has zero desire for the spotlight of politics. She prefers working behind the scenes and living a quiet life. But when she receives an invitation to work for Matt Hamilton, she really wants to say, but something has her changing her mind. That something is Matt himself. He is powerful and he can win and she wants to help him do just that.

Matt remembers when his dad was president and how his job came before his family, so he is determined to run and win and not have one. Charlotte is the wrench in his plan. Their chemistry is combustible. No matter how hard they try, they can’t stay away from each other. But will his feelings of family keep them from being together? If he wins, what will happen to them? Will he let her go?

We’re a perfect couple, in the most imperfect situation.

I will admit, my nerves were twisting throughout this story. I wanted them together, but I knew they couldn’t be. Watching them sneak around had me on his alert. His passion for this job was noble. I would vote for him in heartbeat. No joke. I can’t wait for the next installment. I need to know what happens with these two!

~Melpomene

Buy Mr. President HERE