Review: Silent in the Sanctuary (Lady Julia Grey #2) by Deanna Raybourn

silent-sancI didn’t like this one nearly as much as I did the first book in the Lady Grey series. I have to admit, I started to give it a mediocre rating. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, I just felt it was missing some of the charm and the prepossessing nature of the first novel. Let’s also be honest and admit I felt some of the banter between Ms. Grey and Brisbane was missing…or there wasn’t enough of it. Julia Grey seemed a bit fickle at times, wanting her independence and then being a bit disappointed when Brisbane didn’t pressure her or demand answers. However, I have to be honest and say that’s often how it is in real life, is it not?

However, the few talks that Julia has with a few characters at the end really made me love this book. There really was some profound tidbits in there that made me sit back, stop the book, and marvel at how even a light, fun read can make you ponder life.

Now living in England, stories such as these really are a delight since I am familiar with many of the places that are mentioned. I was often able to see that some life long traditions and some favourite places of the characters are now some of my favourite traditions and places of my very own.

There were several storylines going on in this novel, so I shall leave the description and plot summary to the book’s cover and to other reviewers, and, instead, leave you with a few of my favourite quotes from this one…

I took a sip of my tea and averted my eyes. The tea was bitter now, and I put it down again.

‘Ah, the taste of regret,’ Magda said softly. ‘You wish you had not come. But you did, and you must let me finish the tale I have begun.’

Those are facts. Are they the truth? No, for they do not tell you of the heart, and that is where truth lives.

It is astonishing how words can cut one to the quick and yet leave no outward trace. One would have expected a lash like that to leave a mark.

Life is either far too short or far too long to make yourself miserable.

‘But surely such things are better left unknown, I too have the curious cousins, but we do not speak of them.’
‘That is the difficulty, my dear. In your family you do not speak of them. In my family, we celebrate them. In Italy, one must always be conscious of la bella figura, of presenting one’s best self. Among the Marches, we please ourselves and the devil take the rest.’

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn

Review: I Found You by Lisa Jewell

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I admit, mysteries and thrillers are probably my genre du jour.  And the more twisty and turny, the better.  This one was definitely that!

When Alice comes across a strange man on the beach, she immediately senses he needs help.  He has no memory, nothing to indicate where he came from.  So of course she takes him in until he can figure out just who he is.  And predictably, she falls for him along the way.

Meanwhile, young newlywed Lily is in a panic because her husband has disappeared without a trace.  He just went to work one day and never came home.  While trying to find him, she discovers he wasn’t who she thought he was.   In fact, the man she married doesn’t even exist.

Step back in time, now, to a tragic event that happened on the very same beach where Alice came across her handsome stranger.  Could these events possibly related?  And could Lily’s missing husband be connected?  But of course!   It wouldn’t be a thriller otherwise.

I love Lisa Jewell’s stories.  They rely heavily on characters and family connections while at the same time portraying them authentically.  Her latest is no different.  Grab it!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  I Found You

Review: Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey #1) by Deanna Raybourn

silent-graveI don’t know what it is but I truly love these Victorian mysteries. Perhaps it is because the ones I’ve read so far have been with ladies set as the main characters.

This one is no exception. Here we have Lady Grey trying to solve the mystery of what might have been her husband’s murder. She is determined to become the strong independent woman that she has always imagined she should be. It’s not always an easy thing to reconcile the person you imagine yourself to be with the person that shows themselves to the rest of the world. Especially when you have a dominate (albeit handsome) detective by your side. Add to that being a widow that should be in mourning in Victorian England…well, it certainly can add many complications to your life.

I was also happy when the mystery was solved. Raybourn did a really nice job of allowing the reader (and the lead characters as well) imagine several different scenario. I even imagined a few that I believe Raybourn was clever enough to desire me to conjure up so I could feel superior that I figured it all out on my own….alas, I was not….The ending was believable, but not any of the ones I imagined. Even better, I didn’t find it drop down jaw unbelievable either….I didn’t feel like she pulled the rug out from under me and went for something totally outrageous just for the drama factor. I really appreciate that from an author. Sometimes, I am often left to feel insulted…instead, Raybourn has made me delighted to follow Ms Grey into her next great adventure….

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Review: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

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A friend…a very good one.  Someone who knows you better than you know yourself.  Someone you can turn to in your darkest hour, to help you pick up the pieces.  What can be better?  Leah considers herself lucky to have such a person in Emmy.  She’s been there for her through it all, even after all the time they were out of touch.

And now, Emmy is willing to give up everything and start over for Leah.  Everything begins to unravel, however, when a local girl turns up beaten and left for dead.  And then Emmy goes missing.  Exactly when did Leah see her last, anyway?  As Leah digs deeper and deeper, she realizes that maybe she didn’t really know Emmy that well after all.

This is the perfect follow-up to Miranda’s last novel, All the Missing Girls.  It has just the right mix of intrigue, mystery, whodunit-ness to keep you guessing.  And even if you put pieces of the story together before the halfway mark, as did I, the last 30% is sure to take you for a ride.  That alone is enough of a reason to grab this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Perfect Stranger

Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

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I absolutely love Chevy Stevens.  She’s one of my go-to authors, one of the few whose new books are definite must reads.  This latest from her didn’t disappoint.

When Lindsey met Andrew, she thought all her dreams were finally coming true.  He was loving, attentive, wealthy, handsome…basically everything you could want in a husband.  And things were very good for awhile.  But then he began to change.  Or rather, his true personality began to show.  Controlling and abusive, this wasn’t the man she fell in love with.  As things get more and more dangerous, she starts to plan her escape.

Finally it happens.  She and her daughter get away, and Andrew is sent to prison for several years.  When he’s released, though, all those feelings come barreling back.  The paranoia, the fear that she’s being followed. And has someone been in her house, messing with her things and with her mind?  Andrew swears it’s not him, but clearly he’s not the most trustworthy individual. And lest you think you’ve got it all figured out, don’t blink.

In some ways this is your typical “wife leaves abusive husband” drama.  But then it becomes more.  Because Chevy Stevens.  She has a way of taking the ordinary and weaving it into a compelling story that you just can’t put down.  Don’t miss this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Never Let You Go

Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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A missing baby.  A maybe slightly psychotic mother.  A lying father.  Kinky next door neighbors.  They’re all there, a cast of characters to set you up for one heck of a story.

When their babysitter cancels at the last minute,  Anne’s first instinct is to skip the dinner party next door.  But somehow, her husband Marco convinces her that it’ll be okay to leave the sleeping baby home alone.  Their houses share a wall, after all.  And they’ll be checking up on Cora every thirty minutes.  What could possibly go wrong?

Of course it does go wrong.  Baby Cora goes missing.  And there are very few clues left behind.  It’s natural that suspicion would fall upon her parents.  Anne has been slightly depressed, after all. And Marco’s business isn’t doing so well. Was he so desperate for money that he’d stage a kidnapping and ransom demand?

But wait.  There’s more. There are also the shady dinner party neighbors, especially the wife Cynthia who has eyes for Marco.  And Anne’s dad? He’s got a ton of money, thanks to her mom.  Along with that, he has some questionable business dealings.  Or was it really just a random event, a crime of opportunity?  Somehow the detectives in charge don’t think so.  But the deeper they dig, the more twists and turns they find.

This was quite an enjoyable book.  There are so many characters who could be guilty that even when I found how who dunnit, I was still suspicious of the others.  And it’s very twisty and turny, right up until the very end.  Also to note, I listened to the audio version which had an excellent narrator.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Couple Next Door

 

Review: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

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Beautiful.  If I had to describe this story using just one word, that’s what it would be.  From the very beginning until the absolute end, it truly weeps with emotion on every page.

It begins with a baby left in a basket. Aptly named, Moses is a crack baby abandoned by his mother. But for the love and sacrifice of his grandmother, who knows where he would have ended up?  He and Georgia are unwillingly thrown together at a young age.  And even though they grow up together in a sense, they’re not really together.  Until one day, Georgia begins to feel something.  And she thinks Moses does, too, although he denies it. Georgia has a normal family life, Moses does not.  He’s damaged, at least in his mind.  But love is love, and love conquers all.  Sometimes.

This is a romance, a mystery, a book of suspense.  It’s a story of family, of life and loss and death.  It’s a story with good guys and bad guys, and sometimes they’re one in the same.  Very soon after I started this book, I was afraid it would break my heart.  And it did.  But that’s okay.  Because often those are the stories that stick with you the longest.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Law of Moses