Review and Revisit: Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery

20140419-225500.jpgCalliope has already reviewed this novel a while back. I waited several months to include mine…one because I wanted her review to stand out as she is the true “HEA” reader between the two of us, whilst I am merely an imposter that pretends to from time to time (reel your neck in…I don’t pretend to love anything…hahahahahaha, so this review is a true reflection of how I felt about the book). I also waited in the hopes of perhaps reminding you to pick up this book if you have forgotten to do so after all the new release excitement has dissipated (yes I really am that thoughtful…you’re welcome).

In this novel we have the continuation of Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series. If you’re familiar and love the series then this one won’t disappoint. This is the story of Sam and Dellina. They are forced to work together after a misunderstanding that has caused them to avoid one another for months. Once they are forced to confront each other it’s only a matter a of time before they are forced to confront their feelings for each other as well. Sam’s parents are a bit over the top, but perhaps there *really* are people out in the world like them….I just haven’t been fortunate (or…errrr…unfortunate) enough to have met them.

There are plenty of hints throughout the novel of more names and romances to come as this series continues….Before long Fool’s Gold will be a booming metropolis!

Until next time,
Urania xx

ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Buy it now Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery

Review: The Seekers (Book 1 of The Amish Cooking Class series) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Amish couple Heidi and Lyle live a simple life on their farm, but with Lyle out most of the day and no children to care for, Heidi finds her days empty. When Heidi advertises a cooking class – that she will teach in her home kitchen – an unexpected variety of participants arrives. They’re nervous to start cooking, but also nervous about being judged by a new group of people. 

The Seekers is very predictable, and an easy, straightforward read. I kind of needed something like that when I read this, so I appreciated the no-effort, feel-good experience! The Seekers wasn’t overly simplistic, though. The author wrote in a few characters that I myself judged … and by the end she had taught me a little lesson about that. *hangs head in shame* 

Once in a while it’s necessary to get back to basics, on an Amish farm, with a cooking class worthy of The Breakfast Club, and a lesson much more important than the pie crust turning out. I found that in The Seekers. 

-calliope

Buy THE SEEKERS

Review: A Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell

pale-horsemanThis series is just breathtaking. Seriously, I kid you naught, it left me breathless more than once. I won’t say that Cornwell’s battle scenes are g rated, but I have read much more graphic…however Cornwell does have me having to slow myself down, alternately, afraid of what I am about to read, whilst at the same time trying to rush ahead to see what happens next. At one point in the novel, I think I actually said, “HOLY SHIT” in the middle of the night.

But before you wander off, thinking this isn’t the story for me because you hate that type of thing, let me remind you that this isn’t just about battles. In fact, there are only a few that take place in this novel. This is a novel about a young warrior named Uhtred. Northerner nobleman by birth, English by circumstance, Dane by force, Pagan by choice, but warrior at heart.

One has to be reminded time and time again that Uhtred is only a young man in this, the second novel, of the Saxon Stories. He is still battling with his choices, his conscious, his loyalties, his religion and most definitely with his warrior soul.

Watching Uhtred make his journey into adulthood and trying to weave his way through all that he faces, be it strategical, personal, or political, is in of itself, well worth the time it takes to read this series. You will be hard pressed to find someone who inspires or moves you as much as Uhtred does.

More than that though, this is an amazing retelling of history through fiction. I find myself searching for Alfred the Great and reading more about these battles and the locations. Of the defeats and the obsession of religion. Of how he came to be…and of how he came not to be..This is a story that inspires one to learn more about what came before.

I have always found England fascinating. From time to time, I’ve asked people, here in England, how does it feel to know that you walk where kings and knights have walked? On the very same ground. Where legends were born and countries were made? They often look at me like I am either daft or a lunatic. Here, however, is the proof. The very same places that I see around me are here, mentioned in this novel. The chalk grounds I see are where blood was spilled in the wars between the Saxons and the Danes.

That is what great story telling is about. As I went to sleep each night reading this novel, I awoke, not in the 21st century, but in the 9th. In England as it must have been then, the damp, the sound of battle cries in my head, the smell of fires, the bitter cold, and the knowledge that we fight for a cause…and her name is England…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now A Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell

Review: Night School by Lee Child

night-schoolQuickly…This Reacher book has lots of players in it. At times, I thought maybe a few too many. But Child has made it work. Many times in the past when Reacher is part of a team, it ends up being a book I am not a big fan of, however, I really enjoyed this book.

I was a bit disturbed by the ending. I didn’t dislike it, but it bothers me. The bit of fact layered in with the fiction has me unsettled. It’s gave me too much to think about really. One more reason to stay up late at night worrying about things I can’t possibly change. The choice that Reacher makes at the end….well…uffta….I won’t go into that…again, so many implications…

Finally, I need to say, I’ve been reading Reacher from the start. Nearly 20 years I’ve been waiting month after month, year after year, for new installments. A few of the later ones have…well…they haven’t exactly lived up to my high expectations.

When I started reading this one, at one point, I was like, “wow, this is like a modern-day marriage” I have felt like just walking away recently from Reacher. I’ve stayed out of loyalty to the past. At one point, I saw a glimpse of the man I used to love so much.

I feel like I’ve known all of Reacher’s habits, bad and good, that I’ve taken them for granted….and perhaps even been a bit annoyed with them.

Isn’t this what happens in long-term (hey!!! ALMOST 20 YEARS!!!! REMEMBER???) People change…they get bored…I’ve changed…and Reacher hasn’t…but that’s my side of the story. There are always two sides. Reacher has changed as well. And we’ve both remained the same…

So I really enjoyed this book…but now I question everything. Did I hate some of the others because I was in a dull spot in our relationship? Did I love this one because I’ve missed our relationship?

Yea, I know…I’ve went way off base here and tangents galore…but bottom line is, I’m glad I’ve stuck with Reacher…and I don’t plan on bailing ship anytime soon…I’m in it for the long run…even if sometimes I get bored…and annoyed…and I question his motives…I trust at the end of the day, Reacher is Reacher and just doing the things he does to provide his sort of justice…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Night School by Lee Child

Review: A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell, #2) by Deanna Raybourn

30008834I didn’t just fall in love with this novel like I did the first in the series. However, after finishing it, I think I do appreciate this one much more.

In Veronica we now see someone that has grown a bit since we last saw her. She isn’t nearly as annoying as she was in the first book. She seems to no longer feel the need to let everyone else she knows everything…yes, she still believes she’s more clever than most, but she isn’t determined to prove it in this novel.

Stoker…damn, he was so attractive to me in the first novel…he was no less in this one.

This mystery wasn’t as engaging as the last one was (for me). There also is much less *tension* between Veronica and Stoker. However, what Raybourn has managed to do is simply amazing.

What do I mean by this? Veronica and Stoker are both very independent people. Often authors present us with what they believe independent people, but at the same time, they are actually very dependent. They go out of their way to prove to their independence when all they really want to do is be dependent. It’s what I find most annoying about romantic novels. Women or men that are suppose to be so strong and then overnight become weak and hopeless waiting on someone to rescue them. I’m not trying to be mean here…I’m just giving my viewpoint…

But this? Veronica and Stoker are fast friends and best mates, but they are still independent thinkers. I don’t see that changing. Somehow Raybourn has managed to keep the characters true to themselves. Veronica and Stoker are a united front against the world. We all know that eventually they will be together (YES YES YES) however, I don’t believe they will ever fit in with society’s norm to do so. I don’t believe they will ever find it necessary to become dependent on each other…yes, of course they will depend on each other…they do that now…but you’ll never find one sniveling and hiding in the corner and acting the fool to win the other’s love…they won’t need to…they truly are secure in their own identity…

I know this is probably my worst review EVER!!! But I place all the blame on just how much I love what Raybourn has created in these two characters. Two people that have very checkered pasts, two people that aren’t holding themselves pure and chaste for the perfect love, two people that are self confident enough to not try to manipulate (although they both have no problem doing so to get to the truth of the matter in their investigations) each other…and yet they trust each other 100% and don’t feel a need to give one iota of a care to what anyone else thinks about their relationship. This novel might not be the best…this mystery might not be the best…but this relationship is so refreshing to me that I am just at a loss of words…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Review: The Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy

Sometimes you just want some easy reading. Maybe you just finished something heavy, or maybe your life is a little crazy and an effortless read is just what the doctor ordered. The Cottage at Firefly Lake is your medicine, baby. 

After her mother’s death, Charlotte returns to her family’s summer cottage to get it ready for the real estate market. She runs into teenage sweetheart Sean, whose family business is in town – has always been and will forever be. Their past love is now colored by adult responsibilities and expectations… and emotional baggage. 

Though the plot and writing were very simple, I enjoyed the way Gilroy seamlessly wove in the lakeside setting and that vacation-y feeling.  She also did a great job including Charlotte and Sean’s families. Even though the main plot line was about a possible romance between the couple, Gilroy gave the supporting characters meaningful and fun roles. 

I think Gilroy went a little heavy on trite romance novel phrases, but I can forgive that for a first-in-a-series. With a little more originality, Gilroy could have a series that sits up with Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books. I sure hope so! 

-calliope

Buy THE COTTAGE AT FIREFLY LAKE

Review: Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) by Anne Rice

2924362First, I can’t believe this book was written almost 40 years ago!

Second, I can’t believe I haven’t bothered to read it up until now.

Third, it is worth all the hype.

Finally, a message to my dear Louis –

Louis, Louis, Louis…you are not a tortured soul…you’re just a big fat whiner…..get over yourself man…..

Bwhahahahahahahahaha

Brilliant book. Amazing really….

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice