Review: A Hard and Heavy Thing by Matthew J Hefti

26542105This is a story about those left behind by war. It just so happens to be that instead of the family left behind it is about the man who was at war who one day finds himself left behind. How he attempts to pick up the pieces after his combat days are over. A story where the young man finds out that although he might have left the war, he now finds himself in a different type of combat…now with enemy soldiers, but with his own personal demons and his feelings about himself. Novels like this do much to show how the image some see of people are never the images that they see of themselves. It also makes it clear that although War Heroes do exist, it is rarely the hero himself that views it as heroism.

Was this the best book I’ve read this year? No, sorry to say it’s not even close. However, it is an important book and I’m glad I invested the time to read it. Does it change my views on war and the destruction it causes? Not on the enemy, lands, or even countries. or on the men and women themselves. But it does reinforce my belief that not everyone can be judged by the outside image they display. Nor can they be defined by the labels that have been placed upon them. We should all give just a moments more time to really try to see and to help the people before us. Lest the masks they wear for us truly hide them until they are suddenly gone as is the person that wore them…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now A Hard and Heavy Thing by Matthew J Hefti

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Review: Like the Red Sky at Morning (Forget Me Not #2) by Brielle Sky

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If you go back to my review of the first book and have now read both, I would just like a moment to gloat that I was, in fact, correct about my predictions.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…teehee…

I did enjoy this book. Perhaps not as much as the first one…wait….maybe I need to clarify that…I HATED what was going on in the first book (My review of Book 1) but the fact that it made me so angry and feel so passionate about what was happening really made me appreciate the book. I didn’t feel outrage and anger during the reading of this novel, so I’m sad to say, it didn’t move me as much…but don’t think I didn’t enjoy it! I did enjoy it.

***Spoilers without spoilers*** If I had any complaints it would only be that I don’t necessarily see how Isaac could know the things he knew about the man Max was dating at the end and just leave it at that…regardless of the past or anything else…

I also wish that this book had been wrapped up nicely in this 2nd installment…It’s pretty obvious to me that there will be a third book (provided this one does well and I hope it does) to finally wrap up the ending. If not we’re all doomed to loose countless nights worrying about people that might or might not come back to ruin the HEA ending…

I saw everything coming in this book…even if Max didn’t…I saw the betrayals that many she considered closest to her were committing…all throughout both books…does that make it any less of a good book? Perhaps….

However, did it make me enjoy it less or wish I hadn’t bothered with it? Not at all! I really enjoyed this book and I am still waiting on Brielle Skye’s next book! I’ll be sure to crack it open almost as soon as I get word about it…just as I did this one…There’s not many books that don’t spend some time on my TBR piles (I just have so many great choices!!!! It’s not the books’ fault!!!!) However, Ms. Skyes books have never resided there…they are always quickly read…as I’m sure the next one will be…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by the author for an honest review

Buy it now Like the Red Sky at Morning by Brielle Skye

Review: Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel #1) by Connie Willis

24983What the hell! How many rewards did this book win? How many of my most reliable reading mates loved it? Have I lost my mind? Have I lost my book mojo? SOBS!!!! I JUST DON’T GET IT!!!!!!

This under 600 page novel read like it was just under 6000 pages! I didn’t think it would EVER end! It just went onandonandonandonandonandonandonandon.

I loved the bits we spent with Kivrin in the past. However, to get there we seemed to be going back in time in slow motion…for every step they took in the “current” future time where Kivrin came from, it just seemed to be on a slow motion loop. We covered the same stuff over and over in tiny little bits of detail that were fed to us like we were wee babes unable to digest a full meal.

2oo pages would have made a difference between a fantastic read and a “eh” read…sadly the numbers were not in this books favour this time….

Arrggggghhhhhhhhhhhh! I usually LOVE long books as well….

so frustrating…

Until next time…

Urania

Buy it now Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Review (revisited) and Blog Tour: “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” by Katarina Bivald (translated by Alice Menzies)

RBW-Blog-Tour-Graphic 9781492623441-300_RBGThis book was previous reviewed by our very own Calliope (see her review here) a little while ago. It was a cute book though, so why not review it again for our readers! Besides, it’s always interesting to see what different people think about books!

This was a cute and often funny book. It was also predictable. I don’t mind predictable. Sometimes we all need that in our lives. Heck at one point the author points out that very thing. However, my complaint with this novel is that at times the author really seemed to “force” quirkiness into this novel. For me it felt almost as if Bivald sought out some quirky traits that everyone would love and forced them into the characters of the novel, instead of making characters that we would all love and filling them with quirky traits….I realise that for many readers there might not be a difference, however for me there was. That is where the book let me down.

Regardless of that I loved the story. So many wonderful quotes as well. Some of the quotes were well worth the time it took for me to read this novel.

I don’t know if this was a debut novel for Katarina Bivald or not, but regardless, it read like one to me….in saying that I hope I don’t take away from someone wanting to check out the book, because it simply means that I look forward to reading more by this author. I can’t wait to see her grow more confident with her talent and going with that. Perhaps she forced nothing and it’s just the way the book turned out…however, it’s something I expect won’t be there in future novels….

Perhaps, my review left you uninspired to pick up this novel. I hope not. It really was a fun read. To prove it I’ll hopefully tantalize you with some quotes, just so you know that Bivald really does have some promising talent…

Sara had never believe that you had to meet friends—many of her most rewarding relationships had been with people who didn’t even exist—

It’s funny, the way we talk about terrorism nowadays as though only Muslims and Arabs threaten our society. I’m afraid my understanding of terrorism was shaped long before September 11. It was the fear, the arbitrariness, the violence that affected people indiscriminately—even those who said they didn’t want to get involved or had no intention of fighting against segregation. For me, terrorism is still the image of white men, people active in society, standing over the charcoal, lynched body of a black man and looking pleased with their work. John says I think about historic injustices too much. Maybe he’s right, but it’s just that it doesn’t feel historic to me. We never seem to be able to accept responsibility for these injustices. First, we say that’s just how things are, then we shrug our shoulders and say that’s just how things were, that things are different now. No thanks to us, I want to reply, but no one ever seems to want to hear that….That day I got him drunk, he said it was the first place he hadn’t felt afraid. Do you understand now? How can something like that be forgiven?

It was, in many ways, her dream bookshop. Not least because all the books had already been read. Books that had already been read were the best. She hadn’t always thought that.

Books or people you ask…I can’t for the life of me explain why I have the bad sense to prefer people. If you went purely by numbers, then books would win hands down. I’ve loved maybe a handful of people in my entire life, compared with tens or maybe even hundreds of books (and here I’m counting only those books I’ve really loved, the kind that make you happy just to look at them, that make you smile regardless of what else is happening in your life, that you always turn back to like an old friend and can remember exactly where you first “met” them—I’m sure you know just what I’m talking about). But that handful of people you love…they’re surely worth just as much as all of those books.

Finally, this gem…

There’s always a person for every book. And a book for every person.

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by NetGallery for an honest review

buy it here Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Review: The Body at the Tower (The Agency #2) by YS Lee

7507889Even better than the first! Straight on to book number three! I really enjoyed the first Agency book. I was very happy to find myself enjoying this one even more! This installment picks up with Mary a year after we left her. She’s had more training but is still lacking in self-confidence. It’s often hard to remember how young Mary is. When we are reminded, it’s so great to see her try to step up, face her fears, and go forth with more confidence.

I especially like that Mary is more or less disguised as a young lad in this novel. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always enjoyed novels where the heroine is disguised as a young lad. Why is that? Ha! This story has Mary revisiting a rougher life in London and she is once again plagued with the history of her past. She really seems to want to know more about her family’s history, but at the same time, she is afraid of what this will mean in regards to her future at the Agency and how others react to her. I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.

Of course, It wouldn’t be fun without, James, our hero from the first novel. You can be sure that he shows up in this one….and right from the moment they see one another, it’s perfectly clear that neither James nor Mary have forgotten the other…regardless of the amount of time that has lapsed….

Finally, I must say, since I am new to England (just under 2 years now) that I especially enjoy seeing London as it was 150 years. I’m just as fascinated with the time period and the location as I am with Mary and the Agency. I can’t wait to read the next book. I’ve already bought it and am about to dive right in! No break in-between these books…I can’t wait!!!!!

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Body at the Tower by YS Lee

Review: A Spy in the House (The Agency #1) by YS Lee

6698199What can I say? I am absolutely smitten with mystery novels set in Victorian England of late. I finished one prior to this and just fell in absolute love. So I rushed out to find another. Although the two books were different, this spy mystery did not disappoint me!

I’ve always loved stories that have a disadvantaged young person that is suddenly given a second chance in life. This novel starts with a very young Mary Lang about to be hanged for house burglary. In the days that follow Mary suddenly finds herself in unusual circumstances and is given a second chance in life. As she grows up into a young adult she finds that, although she is very thankful for her second chance, she is somewhat unfulfilled at her current occupation of teaching at a school for young ladies. Once she confesses this, her life is suddenly sent in an entirely different direction.

As much as I loved this book, I did find parts of the mystery and the story to be somewhat farfetched. By all of that aside, I loved the characters and the banter between the two main players, Mary and James. I also appreciate the fact that YS Lee did not find it necessary to turn a young 17-year-old Mary into some wonder spy that conquers the world and makes all the right decisions. The fact that she accepts helps from others, even seeks out advice at times, makes many mistakes and perhaps uses bad judgement really lends to the fact that Mary is, after all, only 17 years old.

This series is 4 books long and even before I finished the last sentence in this first installment I was already excited to begin starting the second book.

Finally I have to say that the most intriguing part of the book is the barely touched upon background of Mary’s own past. I look forward to most of the solving of Mary’s own history…..I was also sooo excited to see the “friend” Mary met in the warehouse at night might end up making an appearance in the later books as one of Mary’s closest companions….or at least I hope that is the case…..but I can’t say anymore, as I must be off to meet up with Mary and her next spy adventure!!!

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now A Spy in the House by YS Lee

Review: Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti by Olivia Wildenstein

25242652If you’re into YA genre this book is perfect for you. Predictable in parts, but not in others. I appreciate that Wildenstein kept this book honest all the way through. She didn’t try to make us feel better at the end and protect her readers from real life as so many others do.

If I have any complaints, I suppose that I wish she had left out some of the smaller side-stories and focused more on Ghostboy. The concept of “Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti” was brilliant. I absolutely loved it and how it came about. I feel the smaller side-stories going on with all of the friends, perhaps took away from the main focus of this novel. It’s not that I minded them. I just felt at times that we could have better understood the connection between Ghostboy and Duke and Chameleon if we had more time to share with them and to see the relationship develop. I would have liked to see another 200 pages of the adults in the story and the three main characters….

I realise that 320ish pages is the magic number for novels for the last 20 years…I just wish this one gave us a wee bit more….As much as I enjoyed this story, I just left it feeling a little sad and unsatisfied. Not because of the ending but because of the lack of depth I felt from the characters. Just like Ghostboy fades and goes invisible, I knew that all these wonderful characters were there, but they too were fading in and out of focus…I just needed more to solidify them forever in my heart…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review…

Buy it now Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti by Olivia Wildenstein