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 Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart 

I’m so glad I started this series! Allie and Des find out they have a half-sister… and the trio is required to cooperatively restore an old theatre in order to get their inheritance after their dad’s death. Restoring a theatre – what fun!

Watching the three characters learn about each other and grow in themselves was great. Steward develops the characters evenly, even though the story is told through Cara’s eyes. The introduction of Allie’s daughter shows Allie’s heart – at a point in the story I had just about had it up to here with her! And Stewart’s illustration of Des’s flair for fashion gives positive personality to this third sister – and adds another light, fun aspect to the story. 

I love how open Cara is to new friendships with her sisters and the small-town neighbors watching them restore the theatre. Reading the story from Cara’s viewpoint was an exercise in optimism, hopefulness and adventure. And as I sit here writing this, I’m thinking I really can’t wait for the next book … so I’m signing off and checking the internet for Book Two’s pub date. 🙂

-calliope 

Buy THE LAST CHANCE MATINEE

Review: The Yard by Alex Grecian

13056152I’m not sure I enjoyed the mystery part of this novel. Parts of it were just too far-fetched. However, I loved the characters. I loved the going back in time to see an earlier time in the policeman’s lives. To see how they came to be members of the “Murder Squad”. The policemen themselves were interesting enough, but when you added the background stories they became larger than life. I really loved to see the bits of their past that motivates them in the pursuit of justice. I am a bit sad **SPOILER – KIND OF – NOT REALLY** that they won’t all be involved in the second book. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of all of them.

As always, these Victorian era novels fascinate me and I always find myself running to google to look up different things…this novel was no different! I’m really looking forward to reading more of this series and from the look of things, they only get better as the series continues!

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Yard by Alex Grecian

Review: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

8686068Errrrr….I’m speechless. Mr Higashino can certainly teach the world about devotion. And of tragedy as well. The last 5% of this book about ruined me. It was a perfect ending for me. Not because it was happy, but because it was so true to the book.

I won’t say more, except that this is one of the better mystery books I’ve read in a very long time. It is also one of the most aptly titled books I’ve ever encountered. You think the name is fitting, but just as the entire novel is full of misdirection, the brilliance of the title doesn’t truly show itself until the very end.

Well done, Mr Higashino…you now have a new devoted fan…

What a fantastic book…

*walks away slowly shaking her head in wonderment…wow…just wow…*

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

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

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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