Review: The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

luckiest-girl-alive-9781476789637Most of the time, when I finish a book I’m able to talk about it right away. But every now and then a book comes along that makes me hesitate, sit back and think about it a bit. This debut novel by Jessica Knoll is one of those books.

Meet Ani. She’s a young women living in New York, not yet thirty and already an established contributor to The Women’s Magazine. She’s the epitome of success. Ani knows how to dress, how to walk and talk, how to order at a restaurant. And she’s engaged. Not just any average Joe will do. Luke comes from old money, a well-to-do and highly respected family. He’s her ticket to security. Does she love him? Does it even matter?

But Ani is hiding a secret from most of the world. Something from her past has come back to tarnish the image she’s worked so hard to cultivate. Everyone thinks they know what happened when she was a student at the prestigious Bradley School, but now it’s time for Ani to tell her side of the story.

I’m the first to admit, it took me more than my typical 10% to get into this story. Even after 20%, I was still skeptical. But I knew, just felt even, that something was going to happen to make it worth my while. So I stuck with it. And I’m glad I did. Because it paid off.

This is a dark, sarcastic, humorous, witty story. There’s a depressing sadness that comes from finally hearing what happened to Ani. But at the same time, she’s not always a very likable character. She’s kind of mean, biting, cruel even. Once you hear her story, however, you understand. And you find yourself pulling for her, even cheering her on as the story reaches its ending. It’s a story that I think will leave people pondering for a bit, wondering about what they just read. And it’s a book that I believe people will recommend to others, just like I’m now recommending it to you!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel

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Review: Cocktails in Chelsea by Nikki Moore



If you like chick lit, this is a perfect lunchtime read. One hour of fun-filled romantic tension, with relatable main characters and a setting that holds your interest. The alpha male has personality, tenderness, and toughness. Sofia’s efforts to impress provide some laughs, and her eventual return to “herself” warms the heart. 

Cocktails in Chelsea grabbed me right out of reality for a while, ordering cocktails in a posh bar, and falling in like at first sight with a guy who’s much more than the bartender. 

-calliope

Only 99¢!!!

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Review: The Prince by Sylvain Reynard

01prince Well now. That was a quick little glimpse into a new series, and I think I’m gonna like it. I think I’m gonna like it a lot.

SYNOPSIS
The unveiling of a set of priceless illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy at the Uffizi Gallery exposes the unsuspecting Professor Gabriel Emerson and his beloved wife, Julianne, to a mysterious and dangerous enemy.

Unbeknownst to the Professor, the illustrations he secretly acquired years ago were stolen a century earlier from the ruler of Florence’s underworld. Now one of the most dangerous beings in Italy is determined to reclaim his prized artwork and exact revenge on the Emersons, but not before he uncovers something disturbing about Julianne …

Set in the city of Florence, “The Prince” is a prequel novella to “The Raven,” which is the first book in the new Florentine Series Trilogy by Sylvain Reynard.

“The Prince” can be read as a standalone but readers of The Gabriel Series may be curious about the connection between The Professor’s world and the dark, secret underworld of “The Prince.”

I remember seeing this character in Gabriel’s Redemption and he seemed “otherworldly” to me. So when this new series was announced, and it was said to be a sort of spin off, I knew EXACTLY who it was going to be about. Now, you don’t need to read the Gabriel’s Inferno series, to read this. But, personally, to get the full experience, I highly recommend that you do. You can thank me later.

I was mesmerized by how this Prince was intrigued with the Emersons. Well, mostly he wanted to kill the professor. But seeing a few scenes, from his eyes, made me fall for the Professor all over again, even if he’s a jerk sometimes. We see quite a few scenes with the Emersons, as he watches them and plans their demise.

But right when the Prince is ready to follow through with his plan, a new threat creeps into his city and now he must deal with this first.

I am so excited to read The Raven and find out what happens next. Part of me wants more of the professor, but then to see him means that the Prince is out to harm him. So maybe, I’m not in a rush to see him quite yet.

~Melpomene

EXCERPT
In the distance, the Prince could hear voices and muffled sounds.

He approached silently, almost floating across the floor.

Desperate groans and the rustling of fabric filled his ears, along with the twin sounds of rapidly beating hearts. He could smell their scents, the aromas heightened due to their sexual arousal.

He growled in reaction.

The corridor was shrouded in darkness but the Prince could see that the professor had his wife up against a window between two statues, her legs wrapped around his waist.

Her voice was breathy as she spoke, but the Prince tuned out her words, moving closer so he could catch a glimpse of her lovely face.

At the sight of it, flushed with passion, his old heart quickened and he felt the stirrings of arousal.

It was not his custom to observe rather than participate. But on this occasion, he decided to make an exception. Careful to remain in the darkness, he moved to the wall opposite the couple.

The woman squirmed in her lover’s arms, her high heels catching on his tuxedo jacket. Her fingers flew to his neck, undoing his bow tie and tossing it carelessly to the floor.

She unbuttoned his shirt, and her mouth moved to his chest, as murmurs of pleasure escaped his lips.

The Prince felt more than desire as he watched the woman’s eager movements. He caught a glimpse of her exquisite mouth and the toss of her long hair that would no doubt feel like silk between his fingers.

She lifted her head to smile at the man who held her close and he could see love in her eyes.

CLoRavenQuote

Pre-order The Prince
Release date 1-20-15
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Pre-order The Raven-Book 1 in The Florentine Series
Release date 2-3-15
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Prison Noir edited by Joyce Carol Oates

*1This is a collection of short stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates. The authors of the stories are all prisoners in the United States prison system.

If you’re a fan of short stories, this is well worth your time. If you’re not a huge fan of that genre but are interested in the correctional systems, again this is well worth your time.

Some of these stories are *really* good! They are so good that it is easy to forget that they were all written by inmates. Having said that, what the hell does that even mean? Like it is unheard of that an inmate can actually write….psssffffttttt…..

It really made me stop and think about society’s narrow-minded view…..about my own narrow mindedness….I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting when I started this book. What I expected the stories to be like….however, it wasn’t what I was expecting….

I can only be reminded of a line from Charlie Chaplin’s great dictator speech “You are not cattle. You are men.”

Yep…pretty much sums it up for me. Regardless of how they got there…or why they are there….Prisoners are not just numbers. They are not just some faceless shadow on a wall that we dare not look at….

These stories demand that we take a look at them….they demand that we look eye to eye….sure, you might not like what you see….if might not change your feelings one way or the other….but damnit…you will at least see them…..

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now Prison Noir edited by Joyce Carol Oates

Review: Happenstance 2, by Jamie Mcguire

01hap

“There’s only one you.”

If you haven’t read the first Happenstance, you must go and do that now. I can wait….

Done? Good.

Erin is trying to still work through all of the information she has received, while living with her real parents. Having caring and attentive parents is something she has never had, so it’s hard for her to adjust. She just wants love, not things. But she is slowly growing closer to her real parents, while still battling the bullies at school, who don’t seem to care who she really is.

Weston is still her constant, throughout all of this. He will take one anyone who chooses to cause her trouble. But soon she makes a discovery that may change the way she looks at him and the way she looks at herself. As if her life hasn’t been flipped upside down already.

“She doesn’t need us to fix this for her. We’ll just love her through it.”

This was a nice little story. I can’t to see how she handles this information she has been given, in the next book. Thank God she has loyal parents, who would give her the moon if they could, and her boyfriend, who would wrestle dragons.

~Melpomene

Buy Happenstance: A Novella Series (Part Two)

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Review: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

maladiesFirst I need to tell you guys something….are you ready for my confession? Okay, here goes….I am not a fan of short stories. After Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature this past week, I figured it was time that I downloaded one of her books to try it. See, I am not so set in my ways that I can’t try something I know I probably won’t like….so that brings me to this book….I had some stuff going on this past weekend, so in a haste to pick out a book, I picked out a short book that I’ve had on my kindle for a while….I had been wanting to try Lahiri for a while as well….Since she is up for the Man Booker Prize, I thought this would be a good time to try her…..

How does all this fit in together? Well, I am the type that rarely reads book descriptions….Soooooo….imagine my surprise of finding out that this book was a collection of short stories! What!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate short stories! Sure, I was willing to try Munro…but NOT now….I was gonna put it off for months….I….don’t…..like….shorts!!!!!!

Seriously, I couldn’t be bothered to try to pick out another book from the hundreds I have on my kindle…it was after 10 pm. I was tried, darn it…..So, I went ahead and started to read….imagine my surprise…..I was hooked from page one….not just from the first story…but from every single one! I have to say, I take back every bad thing I have ever mumbled about short stories….these were brilliant.

I am telling you now….don’t be an arse like me….Don’t tell yourself that you never read “____?____”. Ask yourself….what do you read? Do you usually read thriller books? Romance? Mysteries? Non-fiction? Okay….for the sake of argument, let’s say you read only romance.

So, tell me….the last romance you read….was it brilliant? Did it suck? Was it just okay? Boring? Exciting? Okay, the one before that? And yes, before that?

Do you see my point? Oh, come on now…don’t make me write it out! Okay….you win….here goes….

Not every book you read it guaranteed to be brilliant. Not even if it’s from a genre you absolutely love. Same goes for your favorite author. One day, they might disappoint you….You might have loved every book they have ever penned, but maybe one day you won’t.

This book has taught me a great lesson….I will try very hard to stop judging books by their genre. I mean, I don’t like non fiction, but there are a couple of non fiction books that are some of the best books I’ve ever read. I don’t like fantasy, but a few of my all time favorites are just that! The same with romance….Do you see my point here?

So I can tell you right now…with great confidence….a great story is a great story! No matter the genre it is told in. In these short 200 pages, Jhumpa Lahiri gives us 9 great stories. It’s impossible for me to pick a favorite. Do the few short pages they take up encompass a massive story? Do they have a beginning, a middle and an ending? Maybe not….but what they do have is some uncanny ability to draw you into the characters lives and make you feel for them. You feel their loneliness. You feel their pain. You feel their emotions. You relate to them. You spend a short moment of time with them and you feel as if their lives matter to you. You care about them. Finally, long after their pages end, you still think of them and you wonder how they are…so I am telling you right now…if you say a short story can’t encompass a massive story…well it’s like saying one short life doesn’t matter when you look at someone who has led a long life. That’s just bullshit. These stories matter. Short or not, they really matter…

I simply can not wait to try another one of Lahiri’s books. I won’t even mind if it’s *only* a collection of short stories….and seriously….I no longer hate short stories anyway….so who cares if they are a collection of shorts…hell, I almost hope they are!

Until next time….

– Urania xx

Buy it now Interpreter of Maladies