Review: The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel

I love, love, love historical fiction. And I love Kristin Harmel. So what could be better than this one?

When Ruby moves to Paris with her new husband, she has no idea what’s in store for the both of them. Sure, war is knocking on the door. But things can’t get that bad, can they? After all, she’s an American so she’ll undoubtedly be safe. As she soon finds out, however, nobody is truly safe in these uncertain times.

She naturally assumes the worst when her husband begins to sneak around, to disappear for days at a time. She could never imagine, though, what he’s actually involved in. And soon she finds herself involved as well.

This was a very enjoyable story. It’s beautiful and epic and emotional and so many other things along with quite an ending!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Room on Rue Amélie

Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Sometimes, not nearly enough times, mind you, but sometimes a book comes along and it changes you.

It doesn’t just break your heart, it crumbles it. It grinds it to bits. Sure you can gather all the bits and try to put them back together again, but it will never be the same. Just like crumbled biscuits you can gather them all together and make an amazing biscuit pudding (here’s a recipe! goo.gl/rPn9JF ) but no matter how hard you try to imagine it is hard to remember what the biscuits started out as.

That is my heart now. Different than it was before I started this novel. Perhaps a bit bigger, maybe even a bit better, maybe not, but certainly forever changed.

In the vast history of discrimination in the USA it is sometimes easy to focus on some types, whilst brushing the others under the straw mats of backwoods shacks.

Kya is beautiful. She is mysterious. She is a treasure. Not because she is different, but because she is the same. We all have that need to be seen and to be loved. Even whilst we run from these things, we often are just trying to see if someone will ‘stick’ regardless of it all.

I could go on and on about how an entire (except for a select VERY few) failed Kya. Instead I will challenge everyone, myself included, to see beyond the perceived facts we make about those we know not, and instead, see to the person that actually exists. The richness we find ourselves in or out of in this life, the country we live in, the religion we believe, the religion we scoff at, the colour of our skin, the education we have, well, so oftentimes, it’s just a roll of the dice. We have no control over it. It is decided before we are even born. We are all privileged in some way that another is not. Does that privilege make us a better, or a more worthy person? Or does it mean we need to try harder to be conscious of this and look deeper at those that aren’t so ‘fortunate’ as ourselves? If nothing else, I hope this book shows us that at the end of the day, we are not just cheating those we cast aside, but also ourselves by our inability to see the treasures right before our eyes.

Read this book. I could hardly put it down.

My heart is still ebbing with every rise and fall of the tides…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it here

Review: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson

I seem to be on a roll with these kinds of stories lately. Stories so far outside of the norm that it’s hard to wrap your brain around them. But so good that you can’t pull yourself away…

When seventeen-year-old Eleanor wakes up in the river, she’s not quite sure what happened. A strong sense of choking, water filling her lungs, being held down, all these things soon add up to the realization that she was drowned. And that she died. But, inexplicably, she’s not completely dead. Sure, there are some annoying things she can no longer do. Like eat. Or sleep. Or feel anything. Oh and she’s always cold, even though it’s the middle of the summer. Still, she’s determined to find out what happened to her that night in the river. All the while knowing that not everyone wants her to discover the truth.

I loved this story. It’s much easier to follow than it may seem. It’s very intriguing and twisty, one I couldn’t put down!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker

Review: The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young

We should all be so lucky to have a Sasha in our lives. Best friends since elementary school, she and Raquel are inseparable. Even when Sasha is dealing with a cancer diagnosis, Raquel is by her side through it all. She thinks she’s prepared for anything, but really she’s not. When Sasha eventually dies, Raquel is lost. Until the letter arrives.

It seems that, while Sasha was preparing herself for her eventual death, she was also preparing Raquel for life without her. And not just Raquel, but also her brother who she hasn’t seen since they were adopted by different families as very young children. Through a series of letters, Sasha helps them come to terms with her death.

This was such a heartbreaking story while at the same time being so full of hope and optimism. Raquel’s sadness at losing Sasha, her happiness at discovering Sasha’s letters and clues…my emotions were all over the place with this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Last Wish of Sasha Cade

Review: You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart

I tried. Really I did. But I just couldn’t do it. No matter how badly I wanted to stay awake into the wee hours of the morning to finish this thriller, my eyes just wouldn’t cooperate. So I did what any self-respecting book worm would do. I reached for it as soon as I woke up the next morning and didn’t get out of bed until it was finished.

In the blink of an eye, Jessica Chamberlain finds her world turned upside down. With one phone call, life as she knows it is forever changed. Even though she and Evan were separated, in her heart she always believed that eventually they’d find their way back to each other. But his unexpected death put those hopes to rest.

So she tries to move on, if nothing else then for the sake of her two young sons. Something was going on with Evan, though. Something that involved their youngest son, Gabe, and his birth mother. Jessica is determined to find out what Evan was working on and how it led to his death.

This book has been described as a “race to the finish” drama and that’s no lie. I honest to goodness didn’t know what was going to happen until almost the very end. Trust me, you want to read this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: You Were Always Mine

Review: Providence by Caroline Kepnes

If you loved other books by Caroline Kepnes, you must read this one. And if you’ve never read any of her work, this one’s a great place to start.

Jon and Chloe are very different, but they share an unbreakable bond. Best friends during childhood, that bond is almost broken when Jon is abducted. Chloe is devastated at first but is eventually able to move on and form some sort of a normal life. But then Jon returns. Although four long years have passed, that bond is still there. Jon’s different, though. Not only in appearance, but in something deeper. He now possesses a terrifying power, the power to hurt people with just a look. And it’s not something he can fully control. So he runs as far away as he can, hoping to keep Chloe and his family safe.

While he’s on the run, he’s also looking for answers. What happened during those four lost years? Because he doesn’t remember anything, only being taken and then waking up years later. The secret to this power he doesn’t want lies with his abductor, if he can find him.

This book is very much like the author’s previous books while at the same time being very different. It has that same element of suspense, that thread of obsession running through it. But it veers off that familiar course into sci fi territory although not so far off the path that the main story is lost. A great one for summer!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Providence

Review: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa jPalombo

I adore stories like this one. A classic, well-known tale retold in a new way. You think you know the story, but you’ve never heard it told like this.

Everyone knows the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. But in this version, all other characters take a backseat to Katrina Van Tassel. This is her story, and it’s a good one. The old familiars are all there, Ichabod and a ghostly apparition wearing a jack o’lantern for a head and a small 18th century village. Katrina’s voice, however, is the one that we hear. Through her heart and soul we hear a different perspective. We hear of love and hope, loss and despair.

I loved this book for so many reasons. The original tale is one of my favorite classics, and this version is an excellent companion. Katrina is a character for the ages, strong and confident and everything you’d want a female lead to be. Read the original if you haven’t, and then definitely read this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Have you ever just really, really disliked a character in a book? Admit it, even though they’re fictional, sometimes these “people” are just so very unlikable. That was the case for me with this one. I just didn’t like her. But then she redeemed herself. Not gonna tell you how because that would be too spoilerish.

When Cass makes a seemingly minor choice on her way home late one rainy night, things will never be the same. Her decision to NOT stop and help a stranded motorist begins to haunt her as soon as she finds out that the motorist, a woman traveling alone, was murdered that same night. She torments herself with thoughts of what if…

And then she begins to forget things, to misplace things, to question her sanity. It doesn’t help matters any that her mom suffered from dementia. So Cass is certain that she’s going down that same path.

This is one of those stories that’s hard to review without giving too much away. The story drags a bit in places, and as I mentioned earlier I really didn’t like Cass for much of the story. But because I’ve loved the author’s other books, I stuck with it. And I’m glad I did. You kind of see what’s coming near the end but that last twist is something else.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Breakdown

Review: Dane’s Storm by Mia Sheridan

This is a book about survival, mentally and physically. From the prologue, I was instantly sucked in. I knew this was going to be a doozy of a story. My heart was in my stomach after those couple of pages. Whew!

Dane and Audra’s story is a heartbreaking one. What started out as a whirlwind romance eventually turned into heartbreak and resentment. What they went through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The unimaginable pain they have lived with through the years is more than most can bare. They never imagined they’d get a second chance. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

“You weren’t my just my first love. You were my once-in-a-lifetime.”

When circumstances bring them together, Dane offers to fly them back home to resolve an issue, but no one expected his plane would go down and they would be fighting for their lives. While they’re trying to survive they are forced to come to terms with what made them break all those years ago. I wish it didn’t take a plane crash to bring them to this point, but sometimes fate likes to rattle us.

This story is told from both POVs and in the end, I found myself feeling more for Audra than I initially thought. She tends to be rough and tough and hold things inside, but it’s a defense mechanism. She knows once she opens herself up, all her walls will come crashing down. I am thankful that Dane took initiative and started to chip at her defenses. She wasn’t the only one hurting. Once she realized that her heart could start to heal.

“You must bloom.”

This is a standalone which was released as an audible first, but I’m reviewing the ebook. I haven’t listened to it yet. Not sure if this a fast read, since I’m a speed reader, but all I know is that I couldn’t stop. I needed to know they would be okay. I needed to know they would be healed, inside and out. I needed it. And I’m glad I found out. Mia Sheridan has this way of writing that makes you feel it all. All the pain and sadness, and then the joy. Can you epilogue? My heart is happy.

~Melpomene

Buy Dane’s Storm https://amzn.to/2oEcSib

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

I’ve enjoyed other stories by Courtney Summers so it’s a logical assumption that her newest one would be a winner for me as well. And that assumption would be correct.

Sadie is on a mission. Some might call it a death wish. She prefers to look at it as a revenge mission, finding and killing the person responsible for her younger sister’s death.

Unlucky enough to have a neglectful mother, but lucky enough to have each other, Maddie was everything she lived for. Her purpose in life was to protect Maddie, to give her as normal of an upbringing as possible. Tragically, in the end she couldn’t save her. But she can punish her sister’s killer.

There are two stories going on at once here. We hear Sadie’s tale as she travels across the country hunting down a murderer. But we also hear West McCray’s voice as he narrates his podcast after Sadie disappears. He takes us back in time as Sadie takes us forward until they meet in the middle.

A good story, although I wasn’t especially crazy about Sadie for some reason. It took me a bit to get into the flow of things, reading excerpts from West’s interviews. The ending was a bit predictable but there were a few surprises along the way.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Sadie