Review: Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

When was the last time you finished a book and immediately sat down and wrote out a list of people who MUST read this book? When I finished this, that’s exactly what I did. The first, my kids, then my homeschool co-op teens, then some moms of those teens, then a few scattered friends who I know would get a kick out of this. And then I pretty much went on IG and FB and shouted it from the rooftops there. THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING!!! Thought provoking and exciting and I can’t wait for everyone to read this.

When I first got Pacifica, I almost skipped the author’s note and went right to the story. I’m so glad I didn’t. The author’s note is where the magic begins. It’s where the background story comes from. It’s the first time your heart is squeezed. And it’s definitely not the last.

When you read dystopians, part of you thinks, “This could never happen. We won’t let it happen.” But when I was reading this book, I kept thinking, “Crap. This could totally happen. And that would be horrific.” Basically climate change and the affects it has on our planet. But that’s not the hardest part of this story. The people, and what’s happening right under their noses, that’s the hardest part. They thought the government knew what was best for them and they just went along with it. But when the story is uncovered, they realize it’s far from anything they’ve ever heard of.

I think the best part of this book was the friendships. I was cheering everyone on. Marin, who was a pirate’s daughter and Ross, the president’s son, set out to rescue Ross’ friend, Adam, the vice president’s son, and it is non stop action. Like stomach twisting action. I couldn’t stop reading, for fear of something happening and I miss it. 🙂 Silly, I know, but I was so invested in these characters, I wouldn’t stop until they found their way back to safety. Now there is a little bit of love brewing on the high seas, but can you blame them? People who’ve gone through traumatic experiences tend to react that way. But it’s teen friendly, so no worries.

I have never read a Kristen Simmons book, but if they’re anything like this one, she’s found a new fan and I’ve found a new autobuy author. This story is now added to my ever growing “You need to read these YA books!” list. And all those people who are on my list above, better act surprised when they all get copies for Christmas.


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Review: In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

Books about teens with mental illness are hit or miss for me. Usually not very good and full of cliches, but every now and then a true keeper comes along. This latest tale from Gae Polisner is definitely one of the latter.

Klee’s had a lot to deal with in his young life. Not only did his dad kill himself, but Klee was the one to find him afterwards. His mom, hoping for a fresh start, uproots them from his beloved New York City. He doesn’t really fit in at his new school and basically resigns himself to just getting by until he graduates and can begin a new life.

But then he meets Sarah. And everything changes. She becomes his reason for being. She’s his polar opposite. And he can’t imagine his life without her. Sarah, however, isn’t as commital. Eventually it all becomes too much for Klee and he makes a desperate attempt to end the pain he’s feeling.

This author does an outstanding job of taking us inside Klee’s head, imagining what he must be thinking and feeling. So much trauma at such a young age…leading up to the incident and his recovery period afterwards.

A word of warning: Although this one is classified as young adult, I’d suggest it for the older end of the spectrum. The message is important but it’s pretty sexually descriptive. An insightful story!


Buy It Now: In Sight of Stars

Review: Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden

Oh, my sweets, this book was so lovely!! Positively lovely.

Evangeline lived a life of luxury, but after the death of her parents and brothers, her younger sister and her are at the mercy of relatives. They make all the decisions for them and they must adhere to it. Women don’t have a lot of choices. If she wants to have access to her small inheritance she must do everything she is ordered to do, and do it perfectly. So she is separated from her sister and forced to be a teacher, even though she has zero experience. She is alone and sad but is determined to do a good job, to get in the good graces of her grandfather, so she can be reunited with her sister. I can’t even imagine how strong she must’ve been.

The part I love most about this was Dermot and Ronan. Dermot was this outsider, trying to make a living so he can care for his boy. Ronan was special. Autistic really. And I loved him. I loved the way he changed little by little under the care and love from Evangeline. She was learning right along with her students and she learned what he needed and how he needed it. I got chocked up at how those changes manifested themselves. Back in those days they didn’t know what autism was and I can only imagine what those poor children went through.

While she still struggled daily, her relationship with Dermot helped ease the loneliness. What started out as neighborly, turned into friendship, which then turned into more. And I loved it!! They had their moments of distress but that’s nothing compared to the love that shown through. He helped her grow and was with her as she got stronger and more independent, took control of her life, and that of her sister’s. They were so sweet to watch. We get both of their points of view, so it was lovely to see his thoughts about her. He wasn’t looking for a woman, but life likes to throw us curve balls every now and then.

As I’ve said before, I love these Proper Romance books. I love the sweetness and romance of it all. They tend to stay with me long after I’m done reading them. And Ashes on the Moor is no exception.


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Review: In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira

Within the first few pages of this book, I knew it was going to be a keeper. And then a bit deeper in, I knew that it was going to break my heart.

The story opens with Angie at age 17. She’s thinking of her dad. All she has to hold on to are a few old pictures. No memories because he died before she was born. Or at least that’s what she’s been told by her mom, Marilyn. So Angie is off to find out the truth, whatever that may be.

Marilyn, 18 years earlier…also age 17. She and HER mom are at a crossroads of sorts. Marilyn’s going to be the next big thing in Hollywood, according to her mom. So what if they have to struggle for a bit? And at the moment, that struggle includes moving in with not-so-dear Uncle Woody. The only thing that saves Marilyn is their new neighbor, James. Neither of them is looking for a serious relationship, but what they want doesn’t really matter.

These two perspectives are fleshed out over the remainder of the story until they finally converge at the very end in a dramatic conclusion that you maybe saw coming but not exactly. Both are lost souls searching for something. Both find what they’re looking for in very different yet similar ways.

Ava Dellaira writes one heck of a story. She makes you care about the characters, and her words stay in your soul long after you turn the last pages of the book. Another outstanding tale!


Buy It Now: In Search Of

Review: An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato

I really enjoyed this novel. The first thing that caught my eye was the cover…If the cover wasn’t enough once I read the title I knew I had to read it. A couple of my book mates pointed out that the cover was too much like The Goldfinch. However, I didn’t care, I loved it, damnit. Then the small blurbs on the cover! They had me even more intrigued than the name and the cover did. Reading those couple of little bits on the front cover had me wondering…

What happens once we are gone. Who remembers our stories? Who will discover the parts of our lives we never shared? Once we are gone does it even matter? Or is that when it matters most?

I have to say that now that I’ve finished it, I was exactly right. And that is why I loved this book so much. No it’s not really a mystery…I figured out pretty quickly what was going on. But I’m not sure that mattered at all. It certainly didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

After reading this novel I still am having conversations with myself. I wonder if how well we know those prominent in our life shape most of who we are. If we find out that we actually don’t know them as well as we first believed does that change who we are?

I am also left wondering who suffers the most when we keep part of our lives in the dark. When we, for whatever reasons, can’t be who we are completely in the light of day…well who suffers the most? The person that is hiding part of themselves, the loved ones that really have no clue who their loved ones are? Or is it, perhaps, the people in the shadows that are forced to live there to be with the ones they love?

When I leave a book with these types of questions…well, for me it’s a great day….books like these are why I live to read…sure, I had a few issues with the novel. But at the end of the day, it was thought-provoking. So few books these day are. There are also some really beautiful passages in this novel. Ones I felt compelled to share with others…

Perhaps my favourite quote from the novel:

My mother taught me to read. Not the mechanics of reading – no memorising of tricky words or how to sound out letters – she left all that to my teachers. The lesson she taught mew as a more enduring one. She showed me that it was possible to withdraw into literature: to find your place in a dream-rapt landscape. Her shelves at home were heavy with Victorian and twentieth-century novels, and Hardy was the weightiest of all; Tess of the d’Urbervilles was almost always splayed open by her bedside, where she nightly dipped in and out of Tess’s story. The tragedy of a young girl wronged by parent and man became a sort of talisman for her own life.

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato

Review: Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I’m not usually a historical fiction fan, but this book was terrific, with its focus on Nantucket and the Quaker religious sect. I grew up in Massachusetts, so reading this book put me back in grade school, on fun-filled field trips to Plymouth Rock, the whaling museum in New Bedford, and Sturbridge Village.

Phoebe isn’t your average young lady. She has a plan. The plan involves not hanging out with her poverty stricken dad who can’t finish a plan or a project. The plan involves not playing games with her childhood crush. The plan involves marrying a handsome, rich, prestigious Captain of a whaling boat.

Phoebe makes some headway on her plan, but the childhood crush crashes her party a couple times, and the Captain is much more (or way less) than he appears to be. Lucky for Phoebe, she has her great grandmother’s journal as her personal treasure map, leading Phoebe toward the light, the righteous, and the Divine. Phoebe takes her successes and multiplies them, much to the blessing of the rest of Nantucket.



Quick Review: City Under Siege by R.J. Prescott

I’ve read R.J.Prescott’s Hurricane series so I figured I’d read this one as well. Even though I have a hard time reading suspense books, I knew it was going to be good, so I would just have to hold on. And I was right. City under Siege had my heart racing and swooning. Perfect balance of suspense and romance.

Sarah has been put in charge of her family’s company, due to the unexpected loss of her father and brother. But as she’s learning the ropes, some secrets come forward that put her in a very dangerous position. She seeks the help of the SAS to get them straightened out and discovers that help comes in the form of a super hot Tom Harper. And as he’s helping protect her, they both realize that love can creep up in the most unexpected moments.

I think the reason I enjoyed this book so much was the romance aspect. Even in the midst of a very dangerous situation, and all the military actions, a slow burn relationship happens. Those are so fun to read honestly. It’s the last thing that Sarah and Tom want or need, but sometimes you can’t help who you fall for.

I’ll admit I got tripped up a bit with all the military lingo, but I learned quickly and was able to move on and enjoy this book. With all those hot military guys running around, how could I not? I’m holding out hope that they get a story also. The whole dynamic was fun to read.


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