Review, Blog Tour, & Giveaway: Friction by Sandra Brown

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**Be sure to check the links at the end to enter the giveaway**

25114548I haven’t read Sandra Brown in years. This book is a big reminder that I shouldn’t overlook authors just because I’ve read them and because they are well known….yes, there are some authors out there that I believe have gotten lax over the years and taken their popularity for granted, not putting out their best efforts, however, Brown has shown me in this novel that she isn’t one of them.

From the very first chapter, I couldn’t read fast enough to hear all of Crawford Hunt’s story. Hunt is a Texas Ranger that is seeking back custody of his five-year old daughter, Georgia. After an unexpected episode happens during the custody proceedings, Ranger Hunt finds himself as the rescuer of the sitting family court Judge Holly Spencer. Once this happens the action never stops.

I loved this book, but I couldn’t help to be to look for some unexpected twist. Some hidden motives behind the obvious that made some of the characters act out the way they did. That never really happened. However, that doesn’t mean I was disappointed. Sometimes, as in real life, people hold onto the past and let it dictate how they act in the present. So although I found some of the storyline a stretch, in other ways, I found that maybe at the end of the day, those stretches, in fact, kept the story real to life.

I believe Ranger Hunt’s behavior in the past was a bit “gun-ho” and, indeed, reckless. As much as it pains me to say, I found his behavior, many times, in this book the exact same way. I couldn’t believe how he handled some of the situations. TBF, yes, it would have been nice to see that he was less reckless now as the years went on…but is life really that way? I don’t imagine he will ever change. He will always be reckless, however, his heart is often in the right place, and his intentions always seem to be. The fact that I even say that about a fictional character just points out how much I really enjoyed this book!

Whilst I didn’t think Judge Spencer acted reckless in her past, I did find some of her behaviour in the present a bit reckless. Having said that, I can’t exactly say I wouldn’t have acted the exact same way if I were in the same situation. At the end of the day there were several characters I really enjoyed in the novel. I genuinely wanted things to turn out okay for them as well.

Bottom line, I started this book and couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed it from start to finish. Once I finished the novel I was sad that my adventure was over and I was already worried about trying to pick up another book that would leave me half as satisfied as this one did.

If you’re a Sandra Brown fan this book will not disappoint you. If you’ve never read Sandra Brown, this book should convince you to become a fan. Finally, if you’re like me and just a lax fan that’s been away for a few years, this book will remind you of what a fun writer she is! Don’t hesitate, run out and grab your copy now!!!

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley, Grand Central Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

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Review and Giveaway: The Forgotten Mountain by Heather Lyons

01for Oh my word….

This book takes place immediately after the previous one, The Hidden Library, and we all know how THAT one ended. Yelling, screaming, and a whole lot of “Oh No!!!” So be sure to read the first two books, The Collectors’ Society and The Hidden Library, before you venture into this one. You can thank me later.

SYNOPSIS
After years spent in Wonderland, Alice Reeve learned the impossible was quite possible after all. She thought she left such fantastical realities behind when she finally returned to England.

Now Alice has become a member of the clandestine Collectors’ Society, and the impossible has found her again in the form of an elusive villain set on erasing entire worlds. As she and the rest of the Society race to bring this mysterious murderer to justice, the fight becomes painfully personal.

Lives are being lost. Loved ones are shattered or irrevocably altered. Each step closer Alice gets to the shadowy man she hunts, the more secrets she unravels, only to reveal chilling truths. If she wants to win this war and save millions of lives, Alice must once more embrace the impossible and make the unimaginable, imaginable.

Sometimes, the rabbit hole leads to terrifying places.

Emotions runs high as Alice and her friends try to a way to heal their loved one all the while still searching for the evil mastermind who is determined to destroy their worlds, one at a time. Alice will be forced to trust her instincts and do whatever it takes to make this happen. A lot is riding on her shoulders, this time, but she is up for the task.

They’ll meet all sorts of new characters, some which turn out to be allies, while some enemies. Alice has to take so many risks, but she’s the only one who can do this. I love seeing the traditional characters in a new light. You may think you know them, but you really don’t. I love seeing which fairy tale characters pop up in each book. It brings back so many childhood memories seeing them here. The craziest thing about this book is that one of the characters is actually named after me. She is CRAZY. And I love her.

Heather has a way of spinning the “normal” fairy tale world into something way more complex and exciting. These are most definitely not your children’s stories. And this next addition is no exception. The Forgotten Mountain was filled with loads of excitement and adventure, a nice dose of romance and friendship, and of course, a nice sprinkling of “Oh no!!” Now I must sit here and wait patiently for the next book. I wonder if Mary has something to help me…..

~Melpomene

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Review and GIVEAWAY: Sharing You, by Molly McAdams

01sharLet me start out by saying that I hate cheating. Therefore, I HATE cheating books. They bother me like crazy. That being said, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this book. However, when I was reading the novella, Capturing Peace, you see a glimpse into Brody’s life and see the heartache and turmoil he deals with. So then I was curious how Sharing You was going to turn out.

Synopsis:
Twenty-three year old, Kamryn Cunningham has left all she’s ever known and moved to a small town where no one knows her name, who her parents are, or her social status in the horseracing world. Months after opening her own bakery and evading attempts of being set up by her new best friend, she meets Brody. Kamryn fights the instant pull between them because there’s a detail she can’t dismiss. Brody’s married.

To say that twenty-six year old, Brody Saco has had a rough marriage would be an understatement. After marrying his pregnant girlfriend, he spends the next six years in a relationship filled with hatred, manipulation and guilt involving a tragedy that happened five years earlier. When he keeps running into his sister-in-law’s best friend, Kamryn, he can’t ignore that she makes him feel more with just one look than his wife ever has; and soon he can’t continue fight his feelings for her.

When staying apart proves to be too difficult, Brody and Kamryn enter a relationship full of stolen moments and nights that end too soon while they wait for Brody to file for divorce. But the guilt that comes with their relationship may prove to be too much for Kamryn, and Brody might not be strong enough to face the tragedy from his past in order to leave his conniving wife.

Watching Brody suffer, at the hands of his evil witch of a wife, got me thinking that even though I don’t condone cheating, I’m almost willing to make an exception in this case.

KC(Kamryn) has made a brand new life for herself. She was beyond done with doing what her snobby parents wanted and expected her to do. She wanted freedom. She wanted a life of her choosing. And by golly, she was doing it.

She never told people her background, at the risk of them knowing who she was. She didn’t want them to have any preconceived ideas of how think she would be. Kamryn was nothing like her family or ex boyfriend. She was happy with the life she made for herself.

Since it’s only been a few months since she left, she wasn’t in a rush to start dating. After having a boyfriend for 6 years, she needed a break to discover herself and to just be content. So she was completely shocked at the instant attraction she had for Brody. And since he was married, she felt horrible. She didn’t want to have feelings for a married man. And most definitely did not want to act them.

Brody is miserable with his wife. He wants to get her help. She is always up and down and he would like to move on, but only if he doesn’t have to worry about her. She is manipulative and is always bringing up the accident and blames him for it. He blames himself enough, he doesn’t need her always doing it. But leaving her is hard when he doesn’t want another loss, on his shoulders.

When he meets KC, it’s a major shock to his system. He hasn’t had feelings for anyone in almost 5 years, and that includes his wife. But he was married and he has no right to act on these feelings. But sometimes you can’t help who you fall in love with.

Again, this was a hard one for me. But as I was reading, I was convinced soul mates do exist. Well done, Molly. Well done.

~Melpomene

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Review, Discussion, GIVEAWAY: Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

20140601-190211-68531752.jpg Want to win a copy of this book? Comment on this post on Facebook or twitter or on this blog (below). We will randomly choose a winner and mail you off a copy of this compelling read!

[The giveaway timeframe has ended. Thanks for the great comments!]

Calliope: This book definitely intrigued me. My eyes were gaping wide at every turn. I was astounded by everyone and everything. Would a doctor really DO that? Do doctors really THINK like that? Do wives actually turn such a blind eye to their husbands’ criminal behaviors? Is the human body truly so disgusting?
Pegasus: Whilst the rather extreme views that some characters possessed did interest me, I did feel as though some were completely unrealistic. I would give some examples, but wouldn’t want to spoil anything.

Calliope: I kinda couldn’t get over how graphic Marc was about the human body. Yes he’s a doctor, and I understand he would see things objectively, but he seemed so negative about it. The people I know in the healthcare field have an APPRECIATION for the human body, not contempt. So WHY? Why was he a doctor and why was he so grossed out by stuff?

Pegasus: I’m not easily grossed out by descriptions. Not at all. However, I felt physically sick with some of his musings regarding the human body. I kind of understand why the author chose to portray Marc like this, and to be fair it was very effective if it made me react in such a way.

Calliope: Not only was Marc a little odd, I couldn’t for the life of me understand the family dynamics. Any father I know would choke the life out of any grown man who laid a hand on his daughter. This guy was like Oh hey, it will be fine, let it be, let it be. And the mother went along with it! Maybe this happens when people are traumatized? I don’t know. It made me mad.
Pegasus: that whole scenario made me so mad! Unrealistic, and frustrating!

Calliope: The writing was great and the characters were interesting, but I thought the plot would be more thrilling. Instead it seemed to plod along, with complaints about bodies, complaints about other people, narration of the comings and goings of the children, and the acquiescence of the wives. The best I could come up with is that it’s not supposed to be exciting, rather maybe just social commentary? If so, everything makes a whole lot more sense! I was getting a little annoyed at how disrespectful everyone was. But then again, I’m used to reading Happily Ever After Chick Lit Romantic Comedies that make me laugh, then cry, then laugh, then cry happy tears. 🙂

Pegasus: I really have mixed feelings. On one hand, yes, I did think the writing was at least original, but on the other hand, I felt it did not flow properly. Maybe I just wasn’t In the right mood? Who knows. Calliope is right insofar as saying that this is social commentary. Society isn’t perfect I suppose, and there will always be factions of it with wich we don’t agree.

Calliope: By the end of the book I realized Summer House With Swimming Pool is more literary fiction. For one thing, the whole eye infection scene begged to be torn apart and analyzed. The enormity of that eye infection, the perspective of the doctor, the healing of the eye…. But I won’t analyze it here and ruin it for everyone else. For another thing, the tension between Ralph and Marc wasn’t anything I’ve seen in real life. It seemed like a metaphor. Ralph and Marc each represented something much more than themselves. And the treatment of women in Summer House With Swimming Pool was so egregious that, were I still an undergrad, I could write my senior thesis based on it. As a woman, I wanted to shake these guys out of their stupid stupors. *eyeroll* I’m getting fired up thinking about it.

Pegasus: This book was definitely more than what it portrays on the surface. A part of me felt like that it was trying to be too clever in some parts, and, in my opinion, that added to the feeling of it being disjointed. Also, because we’re not reading it in the original Dutch, translation may have been a contributing factor.

Calliope: In any case, this book spilled open some topics that are probably uncomfortable for most people to deal with: the human body, cancer, sexual immorality, the power of patriarchy… Heavy stuff told in a way that turned my stomach, made me question people’s motives, and made me wish that our world was nicer than it is.
Pegasus: I’m glad that I read this book, and it did definitely have it’s merits. Not too sure if I’ll be reading Koch’s next book, but we’ll see. However, opinions are like… Well, you know the phrase, so give this a read and hopefully you will enjoy it!

Remember, comment below for a chance to win a copy of Summer House With Swimming Pool!

-Pegasus and Calliope

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Review – The First Patient, by Michael Palmer.

1577458This week, I decided to try a book in a genre, or sub-genre I should say, that I’ve not tried before: a Medical Thriller. I did some research, and Michael Palmer seemed a popular choice. So I went to the library, and picked up The First Patient. This story looks at what happens when the White House doctor mysteriously disappears and the President asks Gabe, his old college roommate, to take over the role. When Gabe gets to the White House, it is not long before the President starts exhibiting bizarre symptoms that could end his presidency, or even worse, result in his death. It is up to Gabe and a host of supporting players to try and figure out the mystery illness and the reasons behind the disappearance of the previous doctor, before it’s too late.
As I’m in that frame of mind, I’d love to find a good book (fiction, or possibly non-fiction that isn’t too technical) that revolves around an organization such as the CDC, or something to do with a major virus/illness. I’m looking for a story that focuses more on the people trying to solve/prevent the catastrophe, than the actual effects of the illness. If any of my lovely readers could suggest a book to me, then next week I shall randomly pick a name and send you a yet to be determined prize!
Anyway, back to the review…

The First Patient is a fairly fun read. It keeps you guessing, and the pace is good. The characterization isn’t necessarily all that, but then what can you expect from a book, and indeed genre, that is purely plot driven? Dialogue and characters aside, it is a fun and easy read. I will definitely read another Palmer book as he is a doctor, and so in theory, knows what he is talking about. Maybe he has more medical medical thrillers (rather than political medical thrillers like this one is), which might be a better read. With all this strange flip flop weather we are all having, it might be an idea to curl up on the sofa with a nice easy read like this!
Remember to comment on the post (either via FB, Twitter, or the blog) for your chance to win a nice little prize!

Much love,

Pegasus.

The First Patient

Review and Giveaway: Capturing Peace, by Molly McAdams

01capture Well now, another winner from Molly McAdams. I gotta say, this little novella was quite a shock to me. I remember reading the first few pages, as a preview, and I was dying for more. And then, when I was given and ARC, I squealed and started it right away.

Synopsis
Coen Steele has spent the last five years serving his country. Now that he’s back, he’s finally ready to leave behind the chaos of the battlefield and pursue his lifelong dream. What he wasn’t expecting was the feisty sister of one of his battle buddies—who has made it obvious that she wants nothing to do with him—to intrigue him in a way no woman has before.

Reagan Hudson’s life changed in the blink of an eye six years ago when she found out she was pregnant and on her own. Since then, Reagan has vowed never to let another man into her life so that no one can walk out on her, or her son, again. But the more she runs into her brother’s hot and mysterious friend, the more he sparks something in her that she promised herself she wouldn’t feel again.

Can two people with everything to lose allow themselves to finally capture the love they both deserve?

Right from the start, I was intrigued with these characters. I knew this was a novella, so I really thought it wasn’t going to be an in depth story, but just a glimpse. I was totally wrong. While it was a quick read, it was just what I needed today. It had angst and romance and it left me completely satisfied. The instant connection between Coen and Reagan was totally believable. Love will strike you when you least expect it.

I am very happy I read this, cuz it gave me a glimpse into the next book. And I can honestly say, I probably would not have read it, with this novella. It touches on a very rough subject for me, and I needed this novella to give me that little push. So for that, I am grateful.

Now I can’t believe I’m about to say this. But while I really enjoyed the story, the pictures, on Molly’s website, are what brought it all together. I literally sat down and wept. It was like, I was looking inside Coen and my heart just crumbled. I’m picking the pieces up, as I type. Beautiful pictures that totally made the book more real.

I think I need another hug.

~Melpomene

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