Urania Talks Book Lists…

So here is where I ramble on about a book list I ran across last week. It all started with an email I received from Off The Shelf containing this list (13 Books to Make You Ugly Cry)

Here are the books they listed. Watch the Vlog to hear my (RAMBLING) thoughts…

Buy Them Now
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
When Breath Become Air by Paul Kalanithi
Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik
Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Lucky by Alice Sebold
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Make sure to keep updated so you can see what I think of my two picks from this list…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review: Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

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What a tough read, this one was.  Still, compelling enough to keep me going.

June has it bad.  Her mom’s been dead for years, which is tragic enough.  But her stepmom makes it even worse.  She’s an evil stepmom in the most horrible way.  There’s abuse, both physical and emotional.  The saddest part is that her dad is oblivious to everything. Through it all, June retreats inside herself to escape.

And then she meets Blister.  On a walk through the woods one day, he’s just there.  And he becomes the most important person in her life.  His family becomes her safe haven as well.  Still, she can’t share her deepest darkest secrets with them.  Because if she had, maybe tragedy would have been averted…

A good story, both sad and hopeful at times.  Parts of it were hard to take, but it is what it is.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Paper Butterflies

 

Review: Any Day Now by Robyn Carr

Sierra shows up at Sullivan’s Crossing and finds more than just her brother and sister-in-law with welcoming arms. Sierra finds a father figure, some peace of mind, and Connie (Conrad) the firefighter. 

Carr did a wonderful job pacing the romance and the family dynamics, making the relationships realistic as they grew. I liked that Sierra and Connie had a support system, and that the people around them were part of the fabric of the story – not just background characters. 

I’m not exactly a fan of the “quirky drifters appearing at the campground” type setting of these Sullivan’s Crossing books … but the endearing characters make up for it. 

-Calliope 

Buy ANY DAY NOW

Review: Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

I love these quick and fun Willoughby Close novels. Trying circumstances send a person to Willoughby Close to rent a cottage on manor property. The person grows in various ways, gets a hand up if necessary, chooses a direction, and makes their life the best they can. Kiss Me is Ava’s story… and boy howdy does she need a cottage to live in after her rich husband dies and leaves her with next to nothing, not even one of their several homes. 

At Willoughby Close, Ava learns how to interact with people on a friendly and neighborly level, reach out when someone needs help, and show her true colors instead of putting on a façade. Ava finds more than just her strength at Willoughby… she also finds the handsome and sensitive alpha groundskeeper, throwing a wrench into all her plans to be independent. 

While Ava is surrounded by good people who want to help her, she does plenty of helping herself — and even taking the time for a young woman who could use a break. 

I love that Hewitt focuses on second chances, and it’s uplifting to see good people making something positive out of those chances. 

-Calliope

Buy KISS ME AT WILLOUGHBY CLOSE

Review: Return to Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

This installment of The Matchmakers series is just as good as the rest were – and fine to read as a standalone. What sets this one apart is the angst! Most of Beckstrand’s other books are fun and flip, adventuresome and whimsical. In Return to Huckleberry Hill, Reuben deals with the demon of pride, and though I didn’t feel bad for him in the least, I did sympathize with those around him. 

Fern King, too, deals with demons. Oh how I wanted to cry for her — trying to be strong, always showing a cheerful face, never complaining, yet truly dying inside. Fern endures so much, and I really almost couldn’t take it! (I’ll never forgive you, Ms. Beckstrand, if Barbara Schmucker doesn’t get her due.)  But Fern also gets to see Reuben and her brother John in a new environment – and witness their growth (or lack of it). 

Anna and Felty remain the cute elderly couple that gets in everyone’s business trying to make love connections. I haven’t tired of them yet, and I’m almost endeared to Anna’s creative cooking.  

This is a non-traditional Amish novel in that it doesn’t center around faith and obedience as much as some might; yet Beckstrand gives the main characters the gift of self-reflection… something that made me want to be best friends with Fern, and let me forgive Reuben for almost all of his trespasses. 

-Calliope

Buy RETURN TO HUCKLEBERRY HILL

Review: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

east-of-edenI realise I’m going to take a lot of smack from many friends for my low rating of this novel….but it really just isn’t the book for me. I just didn’t much care about any of it….I couldn’t get into it….and by the time I gave up hope of getting involved with the characters, I just wanted it to end….it took FOREVER for that to actually happen….but I did stick it though until the end…..now all I can think of is all those books I could have been reading…

I often avoided “classic novels” in the past, just because I was afraid I would hate them. However, I no longer worry about hating them. So if I think they might interest me, I read them. If a new thriller comes out I think I might like, I will read it too. Or a *fluff* book. I read for me. Me alone.

There are many classics I love, despite them being hundreds of years old and labeled as classic. I no longer feel inferior if I hate them. I’ve never been the type to feel superior if I love them either. Reading has never been about impressing others. It’s always been about trying to impress myself with the wonderment of words set to a page…to have those words move me…to entertain me…to show me the world in a different light…to take me to a different world…or maybe even to inspire me to change something in my life…be it my views or my actions…but it’s never been about lying to impress someone else…so there you have it…

I hated this book…

Until next time…
Urania

Buy it now East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Review: The Salt House by Lisa Duffy

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Full of beauty and sorrow at the same time.  Heartbreaking but also uplifting.  A tale of despair yet also one of hope.  All of these things together make this an unforgettable story.

Hope and Jack have a great life.  They have three beautiful daughters, a nice home, a successful business.  Happiness.  But then tragedy strikes. And they are left with just two daughters.  Each family member copes, or doesn’t, in their own way.

A year later, they are at a standstill.  Time has put distance between them and their grief, but they haven’t really moved on.  Jack loses himself in his lobster fishing.  Hope loses herself in the memories of her lost daughter.  And the younger girls just go on being kids.

Everything comes to a head when a forgotten part of Jack’s past shows up at their door.  High school rivalries are reignited, this time with adult consequences.  Through it all Hope and Jack struggle to move past their grief and save their family.

Tragedies happen, families have to find ways to deal with them.   Told from alternating perspectives, this book takes us deep inside one family’s grief and their attempts to overcome it.  Each family member is dealing with their own struggles along with the collective struggle of the family.  It’s beautifully written, almost poetically so.  A story I won’t soon forget!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Salt House