Review: Franco by Kim Holden

francoThis is a book about love, determination, friendship and family. The Bright Side family is the best family out there. In fact, I wish I was a part of this family. I want people in my life like this. They know when to joke, when to give advice and when to just be there. Gah! This story was filled with the full range of emotions. Plus, I loved seeing Gus and how he’s doing. I love him.

SYNOPSIS

Franco Genovese is the drummer for world renowned American rock band, Rook. He’s got it all. A killer smile. Tattoos. Talent. Razor sharp wit and humor. And a heart as big, and generous, as they come.
Life is good. Steady. Uncomplicated. Just the way he likes things.
Until one night at an unassuming L.A. bar changes everything.
Enter Gemma Hendricks.
She’s a successful young architect from Northern England with an adorable smile, sarcasm for days, and an unparalleled trusting heart.
The attraction is instant.
So is their friendship.
It’s also temporary because they’ll both be heading home, thousands of miles apart from each other, in a few days.
Or is it?
There’s something Gemma wants more than anything else.
And when Franco propositions her to provide what she’s looking for, everything changes.
Will it transform friendship into love, or will it be their ruin?

From the moment I was inside Franco’s head, I loved him. What attracted me to him was his attitude toward women and his friends. Seriously. He knows what he likes and isn’t shallow in his feelings. Immediately I was hooked and I wanted to see who he was going to end up with. Every girl should want a Franco in their life. And when he thinks about his friends, he embraces their differences and quirks and loves them for it. I want a Franco in my life.

Gemma was the absolute best. THE BEST. I want to meet her and be her friend. She is strong and resilient. She makes me think of Kate and how, no matter what life throws at her, she takes it head on and keeps going. I wanted to reach in a hug her so many times. She is going through something so difficult, I can’t even imagine how she’s hanging on. I don’t know if I could be that strong.

“Do you think dream are better left as dreams because they still hold possibility and wonder and there’s no room for failure.”

“No. I believe that dreams fuel life. And it’s when you’re chasing them that you’re most alive. There’s no reward in settling for status quo.”

Franco and Gemma’s connection was instant. Their relationship was both sexy and sweet. I had a blast watching them grow together and experience what life had in store for them. They were made for each other. The best of friends that grew into more.

She’s my other half. Like for the first time in my life, I know what being unquestionably whole feels like.
And I realize that the notion that my heart beats for me alone is a lie.
It beats for us.

This is one of those books that’s hard to review without saying to much. What I can say is that I woke up at 3:30 am to finish this book before I had to wake up my kids. I needed to know what happened. I laughed and cried and squealed at one certain part. You’ll know it when you read it, if you know me at all. It was so exciting. This story had my heart overflowing until it was a puddle on the floor.

~Melpomene

You don’t need to read Bright Side or Gus to fully enjoy this book, but I really wish you would. Your heart will thank you. Trust me.

Buy Franco HERE
Buy Bright Side HERE
Buy Gus HERE

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Review: Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

When Kate unexpectedly gets a job in the admissions department of a Manhattan private school, she finally pulls out of a year-long slump caused by an emotional break-up. 

I loved the premise of a lost girl landing a high visibility position at a fancy prep school. The interaction between Kate and her superiors sort of reminded me of The Devil Wears Prada. For chick lit, the mood was a little gloomy for me, though. I like my rom coms light and fluffy… and this tended toward slightly dark and quite eccentric.  I liked Kate’s relationships with her besties, but not the constant worrying and correcting by her domineering older sister. I liked the idea of Kate’s academic, hippy-ish parents, but not their devil-may-care attitude toward their daughter’s welfare. 

I was totally annoyed with the italicized chapters written from Chloe’s point of view. They jarred me from the flow of the story- and I kept having to consciously tell myself whose point of view I was reading at the moment. 

I most enjoyed the interviews with prospective students and parents. Who wouldn’t like to be a fly on the wall in an admissions office?! I would have loved more of those entertaining, slice-of-adolescent-life clips that made me nod knowingly … or, astonished, bug my eyes out. 

-calliope

Buy SMALL ADMISSIONS

Review: Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) by Anne Rice

2924362First, I can’t believe this book was written almost 40 years ago!

Second, I can’t believe I haven’t bothered to read it up until now.

Third, it is worth all the hype.

Finally, a message to my dear Louis –

Louis, Louis, Louis…you are not a tortured soul…you’re just a big fat whiner…..get over yourself man…..

Bwhahahahahahahahaha

Brilliant book. Amazing really….

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

Review: Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

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What a great mystery this book was.  I can’t remember the last time I read a story with so many twists and turns.  And then those twists and turns had twists and turns.

Small towns are hard, especially if you’re a teenager with a secret.  When Hattie Hoffman goes missing, it’s all anyone can talk about.  And when her body is found a short time later, the rumors begin flying.  Hattie was a good girl from a good family with everything going for her and a bright future ahead.  But even good girls have secrets, and good girls may not be who we think they are.

Told from three points of view alternating between past and present, we find out that Hattie wasn’t who she pretended to be.  And the bad person may or may not be who we think it is.  Even when you think you know who it is, it really isn’t.

Again, a very vague review.  But do you really want me to spoil it for you?  Of course you don’t.  So just trust me and read it.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Everything You Want Me To Be

Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

2163164Not only did I love the writing style of Mohsin Hamid, I absolutely loved this story. Yes, I even loved the ending that I just KNOW many people will absolutely abhor.

I won’t do a long review on this book. I wouldn’t want my political opinions to effect how you go into reading this book. I wouldn’t want them to effect how you feel about this book.

I will only say, with all the distrust and bias towards Muslims this day and age post 911, people seem to forget that they are, in fact, individuals. They are not an idea, a symbol, or some inanimate objects. I think that society in general has taken them as just that. Inanimate objects or like a small child that has no idea what others are saying right in front of them.

That, no matter what your views are, is heartbreaking. It is also widening the chasm of ignorance that is the base root of so many problems.

The ending of this novel just confirms this.

So read it…and then tell me….what do you believe really happened at the end? What facts do you have to support that belief?

Brilliant book….

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Review: Gregor the Underland Chronicles

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As a teacher, I’m often asked for kids’ book recommendations.  And I’m always looking for great books to offer to kids.  One series that always gets top mention is the Gregor Chronicles.

Written by Suzanne Collins of The Hunger Games fame, this is a milder, gentler series for younger readers not quite ready for that world.  With Gregor as our hero, we are taken to a world hidden deep beneath the streets of New York City.  His adventures bring him into contact with giant rats, bats, and roaches among others.  There are legends to be followed, and destinies to be realized.

It’s not without violence, however, as there are deaths along the way.  However, I was able to read and recommend this series to second graders with no hesitation. And older readers have no fear. This is still one of my favorites to read MYSELF.

The boxed set makes an excellent gift and truly should only be bought that way as eager eyes are sure to zip through the first volume and immediately look for the next.  Happy reading!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Gregor the Underland Chronicles

Review and Giveaway: For All The Evers by Debra Anastasia

for-all-the-evers-ebook-cover For those who know me well, know that I don’t normally read blurbs of books. I feel it gives too much away, so I stay away. But when I saw this cover and heard snippets of what the story was about, I had to read the blurb, and once I did, I knew this book was going to be a winner. And I was right. See for yourself.

Synopsis
Fallen Billow should be in college like most of her friends, but instead she’s raising her brother and working as a housekeeper at a vintage local hotel. It’s back-breaking work, but not nearly as challenging as fending off unwanted advances from the hotel’s owner.

Thomas McHugh is fighting for our country, across the globe and decades before Fallen Billow was even born. So there’s no way they’re soul mates. There’s no way he can be desperate to see her, hold her, kiss her. Except there is.

Is it a dream when he inks his name on her skin? Is it a delusion when she puts her hands on his face and says she loves him? Nothing has ever felt more real.

Fate has etched paths for Thomas and Fallen that even time cannot touch. A Purple Heart proclaims Thomas’ valor and bravery. And his death. But Fallen dares to dream of the impossible. She wants Thomas to stay. Just stay.

A tribute to all who have served our country, this novel honors the impossible beauty of love and the endless power of hope. Come open your heart and celebrate the many facets of bravery with Fallen and Thomas.

This book I picked up and read in one sitting. I was completely sucked in from the very first chapter. For all the Evers held my attention and completely had me on pins and needles the entire time. It has a fantasy feel at times, but yet it was so real. It was very tense and heart twisting, and breaking, all at the same time. There were times I needed to step away and get control over myself. I was a mess. A full range of emotions ran through me. And I loved every moment of it. In fact, as I reread my notes, I’m getting all choked up again. So emotional.

“If you loved me, you’d stay.”

“Dream girl…I love you enough to die for you.”

The connection between Fallen and Thomas was instant and addicting. I never wanted to look away. Fallen has had such a hard time lately and seeing her find a bit of happiness in Thomas, even if it was only in her dreams. She needed those moments to get her through her real life.

Debra wrote this book in honor of her late great Uncle Thomas, who died in WWII and I think she did a magnificent job. It’s been a while since she dragged these emotions out of me. I think she’s been saving up all the tension and let it all loose on this story.

~Melpomene

By For All The Evers HERE

Enter the giveaway HERE

Excerpt:
“I bet you were adorable.” He put his knuckle under her chin and encouraged her to lift her head. She rolled back over and settled against his shoulder.

“I don’t want to be adorable. I want to be impossible.”

“How do you mean?” He kissed her forehead.

“I want to be impossible for you to forget, impossible for you to keep your hands off of.” She leaned up for a kiss.

“You’re my impossible then. Have no fear.” He tenderly reminded her he was her impossible, too, with his lips.

She put her hand against his stomach and snuggled in. “This is my spot. Right here. With you—it’s home.”

He swallowed before talking to the ceiling. “My heart was like a fist. Where I am? It’s not a place you plan to survive. I’ve been there for years, and it’s not about skill; it’s not even about luck. You get strapped into a machine, and fate’s driving. You can’t get out even if you want to. So you submit to it. You harden your soul. You get ready to die.”

He shifted, rolling on top of her. She sighed in contentment. Being beneath him made her feel safe and secure.

He kissed her lips, then the tip of her nose, before continuing. “But with you, it’s like my heart’s opening up, and I’m terrified to feel, after all this time. Yet I don’t have a choice. No matter where I am, I draw your face whenever I get a scrap of paper.”

He laughed a little. “We found a puppy, and I named it Fallen, just so I could say your name over and over. The guys think I’m crazy—such a strange name for a dog. But I don’t care. I’m gasping for you every moment I’m awake. And I’m making choices to keep me alive through the week.”

His eyes searched hers. “What if I’m not as tough as I was in the beginning? God, I hope no one is affected by my distraction with this. But in the end there’s you. Only you. Do what you have to to get back to me when you’re awake. You have to. I need you more than air, more than life right now. The softness of you, the tenderness in your eyes when you see me. I’m trying to force fate to throw me in your direction. To hurl me at you somehow. I don’t know if it will work. But I’m praying for it.”

Fallen touched his face, then his neck. “I will do everything I can to find you.”