Review: First Comes Love by Emily Griffin

first-comes-loveI’ve read many Emily Giffin books in my time…This was nothing like any of the previous books that I’ve read by her. If you’re looking for some silly lighthearted reading, this isn’t the book I would recommend to you.

I have to admit, I was looking for silly and lighthearted when I picked up this novel…so was a bit disappointed.

This is a hard book to review. Not just because it was different from I expected. I just found it extremely hard to get into. At about 20% I was wishing I hadn’t even started it. I can’t say there was much of anything I was enjoying. I didn’t like the characters. More so, I hated the way they treated one another.

At about 40% – 50% things turned around and I didn’t want to put the book down. However, I can’t stress this enough, I absolutely HATED one of the characters, and as much as I tried to make allowances for her behaviour, I simply could not set my dislike aside. Even as I finished the last page, I still was flabbergasted at an adult acting like she did.

I’m not sure if Griffin meant for me to feel that the character that was presented as the most unsettled and immature, in my opinion, turned out to be more mature than the majority of the others, including the one that was settled, smart, and level-headed. Perhaps it should be noted at this point that everyone that leads a *perfect* life might, in fact, be hiding just how messed up their life really is…and those that seem scattered, and unsettled, might in fact be solid, steady, and perfectly okay.

Yes, the second half of the book is really engaging and you’re invested in the characters, and was well worth the time of the reader…however, I don’t think it should take half a book for things to start being interesting.

The book is really full of some adults that over the process of 15 years seem to revert to selfish children. I don’t feel any of those things ultimately changed at the end of the novel…I wouldn’t want those type of people surrounding me in real life…and sadly, at the end of the day, I didn’t want them surrounding me in my literary life either…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now First Comes Love by Emily Griffin

Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

01-aThe Wallflowers was my first introduction to Lisa Kleypas, then I went on to The Ravenels. Without saying any spoilers, I will say that I highly recommend you reading those before you take a dive into this book. You’ll feel such a stronger connection once you realize who the story is about. Very exciting. She’s a fairly new to me author, so I haven’t had to wait long for this book, but I was no less excited for this story.

The main thing I like about this book was how different Pandora was. She’s not the usual swooning maiden who’s perfect in all things. She wanted to continue to be who she is and not have it all taken away if she got married. She wanted to maintain her identity and not have it stripped from her. Plus without sounding mean, she was less than “perfect” physically. She there were parts of her that just made her more human in my eyes. Again, there is no perfect person, I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

Gabriel was major swoon worthy in my eyes. He was smitten almost immediately and was willing to step up to the plate and be the man he needed to be, even if he never wanted this. He was trying to be the honorable man. I love seeing couples in the courting stages. It’s rather sweet. And let me tell you, Gabriel has all the right moves.

“You’re the reason the earth turns and morning follows night. You’re the meaning of primroses and why kissing was invented. You’re the reason my heart beats. God help me, I’m not strong enough to survive without you.”

I LOVED seeing Sebastian St. Vincent. He was just as amazing as he was in his own book. He still loves Evie, even after 30 years together, and it’s a great example for Gabriel. While he hasn’t always made the right decisions, he’s shown him what’s it like to be a good husband and protector. Plus he knows what to say when it’s needed.

“Dangerous creatures, wallflowers. Approach them with the utmost caution. They sit quietly in corners, appearing abandoned and forlorn, when in truth they’re sirens who lure men to their downfall. You won’t even notice the moment she steals the heart right out of your body-and then it’s hers for good. A wallflower never gives your heart back.”

I read that part three times with a silly grin on my face. Truer words never spoken.

And by the way, if the next book is going where I think it’s going, I’ll be barricading myself in my room all release day, just so I can get transported into this magical world that Lisa has created. I recommend you do the same.

~Melpomene

Buy Devil in Spring HERE

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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In spite of the wide range of tastes we Muses have in books, there have been several times two of us have read & reviewed the same book. But I do believe this may be the first threepeat.  And it’s one that’s well worthy of that distinction.

A nurse.  A new father. An up and coming attorney.  After the unexpected death of a newborn, their paths cross in a most unfortunate way.  Ruth has worked hard to get where she is, and as a much respected nurse she never expected to be on trial for murder.  But that’s just what happens when the white supremacist parents decide that she alone is responsible for the death of their baby.  Her only hope is Kennedy, a still wet-behind-the-ears public defender who has never defended a murder case.

If you’re interested in a story that just sticks to the plot outlined above, this is not the book for you.  But if you’re interested in something that goes deeper, to the very core of what we believe, then you’ll be pulled in from the very first page.  Whether you agree with the ideas presented by the author or not, it will no doubt make you question everything you believe.

Jodi Picoult never ceases to amaze me.  And she never shies away from controversial issues, taking them and weaving a story so compelling that you can’t put it down.  This one is no exception.  And as an aside, the Audible version of this one was outstanding with different narrators bringing the main characters to life for better or for worse.  A timely story from one of the best!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Small Great Things

Review: The Deep End by Kristen Ashley

01-de So many things are running through my head. First off, don’t let that cover fool ya. This may be a Kristen Ashley book, but it’s nothing like you’ve read before. So you’re expecting a nice sweet, and somewhat angst filled, romance, you’re going to be shocked. And if you’re like me, and like your romances a bit on the racy side, then this will be very nice surprise. Very nice. This had all the KA goodness but with a hefty dose of hot sauce.

SYNOPSIS
Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one’s darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.

When Amèlie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier’s past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.

Olly is this super sexy firefighter, who is also a alpha sub. I’ve never heard of those before, so it was rather eye opening. Here’s this super alpha guy needing a woman to decide his fate. I kinda liked that.

“You were searching for me.”

I’ll admit, I love Kristen Ashley something fierce, but when I heard she was writing an erotic series, I was nervous. Not everyone can pull it off without it being over the top extreme. Boy, was I wrong to even question it. This girl can write. The Deep End was hot. Plain and simple. In the beginning, their scenes seemed a little bit forced. They didn’t know each other, so the connection wasn’t there yet. But it didn’t take long for them to find that link, and once they did, there was heat. I’m talking full blown, four alarm fire. I needed to step away a few times. I gotta be honest, I needed to take a cold shower. This book was freaking hot. Now don’t get me wrong, they were’ the perfect couple. They had their flaws. But once they learned what each other truly needed out of this relationship, they found the balance and all was well.

As with all KA stories, the side characters are a whole other story. They bring much needed friendships and experiences to this story. I am looking forward to future Honey stories. I already know who I’m hoping for. I don’t normally review these intense BDSM stories, but this book was so much more than that.

~Melpomene

Preorder The Deep End HERE

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: A Necessary End by Holly Brown

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All Adrienne wants is a baby.  Is that too much to ask?  Unable to have one of her own, she and husband Gabe have jumped through every hoop to make their dream come true.  And it almost happened once.  Now that chance is here once again, and Adrienne’s not about to let this one slip away.  She’ll do anything to make it happen.  Even if the birth mother’s demands seem a bit….unusual.

So Leah moves in with Adrienne and Gabe.  And they craft a most nontraditional agreement.  Not only will she live with them for a year following the birth of the baby, she’ll also wait until the end of that year to sign the baby over to them.  Oh and she gets an allowance of several hundred dollars a month.  If that’s what it takes, though, Adrienne will do it even if Gabe is a bit less enthusiastic.

When the baby is born, she goes to increasingly sneaky lengths to keep the baby from Leah.  Meanwhile, Leah’s starting to pull away from Adrienne and form more of a bond with Gabe.  And then the baby daddy shows up, throwing everything into a tailspin.

There’s so much more going on with this book.  Leah has a secretive past.  Something bad happened with the previous birth mother, although we don’t find out the full details until the very end.  I have to say, I didn’t like any of these characters.  But in this case, that’s okay.  I think that was the author’s point.  A great little suspense of a story!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  A Necessary End