Review: Malevolent by Jana DeLeon

51bf4t0pbbL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_There’s something to be said for a good murder mystery. I hesitate to use the term “cozy mystery” because that’s always seemed like such a contradiction to me. But still. I’m not talking about one of the serious psychological thrillers full of blood and gore that leaves you sleeping with the lights on for a week. What I like from time to time is a well-written mystery with a little bit of murder thrown in for good measure. And this introduction to a new series from Jana DeLeon fits that description perfectly.

Shaye Archer is finally getting her life on track after a traumatic childhood, to say the least. And she’s realizing her dream of owning her own business with the opening of a private investigator business. But before all the furniture is even delivered, her first client shows up at her door. Emma has had trauma of her own, escaping her abusive husband only by killing him. So then how can he be stalking her if he’s dead? When she enlists Shaye to help her find the answers she so desperately needs, both of them find themselves in greater danger than they could ever have imagined.

This is a great mystery with great characters. The story moves along nicely, and there’s plenty of suspense along with a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I especially love the lead character, Shaye, and can’t wait to dive in to her next adventure coming out this fall!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Malevolent (Shaye Archer Series Book 1)

Cover Reveal: Like the Red Sky at Morning by Brielle Skye

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I really enjoyed Solitude of a Birdcage. After I finished the last page of the novel (See my review here!) I hoped that there would be a second book…so you can imagine my excitement when Ms Skye contacted me and confirmed my suspicions of a sequel! I’m so excited that I get to be one of the bloggers to share the cover for the new book with you!

I seriously can’t wait to read this new book! The release date will be October 27, 2015 so please make sure you mark your calendars!

The description has me wondering what is going to happen and I can’t wait to revisit Maxie, Van and Isaac again.

Synopsis
The story of Maxie and Isaac continues in the sequel to SOLITUDE OF A BIRDCAGE as the two lovers learn that some memories can’t be erased, and the past is never far behind.

She had a choice, and she chose him, only to be left guilt-ridden and heartbroken. Now Maxie Shannen is determined to move on from the past she shared with Isaac Cole—especially since he still doesn’t remember it.

Seeking comfort in a new job, dreams of becoming a chef, and a scheme that may be the very escape she needs, Maxie counts down the days until she’s out of the apartment she shares with Van and Isaac for good. But as she draws closer to her goals, she finds herself facing a new temptation as intoxicating—and as forbidden—as the last.

Torn between the past and the future, truth and pretense, a new love and the old, Maxie will once again be forced to make a decision that will leave her with everything she’s ever wanted, or nothing at all.

You can check out more on the book Like the Red Sky at Morning on Goodreads.

Can’t wait until October to dive into Like the Red Sky at Morning? If you leave a review of Book I of the Forget Me Not series, Solitude of a Birdcage, on Amazon, you’ll get an exclusive, first look at the first TEN CHAPTERS of Red Sky. For details, click here

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The author Brielle Skye is from New York where writing, reading, crocheting, and traveling keep her busy. She is the founder of the New York City Writers Network, an organization dedicated to uniting the very people who share her passion for words.

Look for my review in the months to come…and make sure you add both books to your TBR reading list!

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review: Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

17302690I usually don’t pay much attention to reviews. A contradiction, I know, coming from someone who shares my love of great stories by writing reviews. But let me clarify. I don’t pay much attention to reviews unless they come from someone whose opinion I know and trust, someone who enjoys the same types of stories that I do. So I hope that’s how you view us here at the Muses, trusted friends who offer a little bit of something for everyone.

Having cancer sucks, even more so when you’re seventeen years old. That’s just what Richie is facing. And even worse, he’s been moved to hospice. We all know what that means. He’s the youngest person on the hospice ward with the exception of Sylvie. So of course there’s a romance brewing. If the story ran on that alone, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. It’s the cast of supporting characters that adds so much more. There’s Richie’s crazy but fun uncle who manages to sneak him out for a night of fun on Halloween. There’s his grandma who is complicit in helping him sneak around with Sylvie. Sylvie’s dad, by the way is one scary dude. Staying out of his reach becomes a full-time challenge in itself for Richie. And then there are the nurses and staff members, all full of personality and compassion at the same time.

I think it’s unfair to compare this story to The Fault in Our Stars as so many reviews have done. Because let’s be honest, that was a one of a kind, once in a lifetime story. And I don’t say that to take anything away from this book. It’s a different kind of book that just happens to share a few common characteristics with TFIOS. But it’s just as good in its own way.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Somebody Up There Hates You: A Novel

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

41SS8CrR6yL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_So I read a lot of young adult books. Enough that there are times when I think that I’ve read every possible scenario involving teenage love-drama-angst-not fitting in-bullying-teasing-etc. And yes, the storylines can become stale and/or familiar from time to time. But books like this one are the reason I keep at it, the reason I keep reading almost anything I can get my hands on. Not all of them, however, reach the level of this one.

A teenager with OCD. That alone was enough to grab my attention. But that by itself is not enough to carry a story. This one has so much more.

On the outside, Samantha has it all. She’s part of the in-crowd, popular girls who have been friends since they were little. She has a good family, does well enough in school, and is a star swimmer. There’s more to Samantha than meets the eye, however. In addition to all these things, she has OCD. Her mind is consumed by obsessive thoughts-the number 3, questions she must find the answer to, people she can’t stop thinking about.

With the help of her family and excellent therapy, she does a good job of hiding it. Appearances can be deceiving, though. On the inside, she panics at the thought of losing the approval of her friends. Friends who, if she’s completely honest with herself, really aren’t that nice to begin with. But they provide her with a safety net, and that’s what she needs.

Then one day she meets Caroline, who is the complete opposite of what she’s used to. And more importantly, Caroline leads her to Poet’s Corner, a hidden little nook of people just like her. With Caroline’s encouragement, Samantha begins to branch out, to share parts of herself she’s never exposed to others.

And then there’s AJ. Because what would a young adult story be without a love interest? AJ is exactly what Samantha needs. He’s calming and comforting, and through his love she finds the courage to be herself. But the OCD is always there, lurking, threatening everything Samantha’s found. She can’t bring herself to tell AJ about her struggles because in his eyes she feels normal.

This book broke my heart. I cried inside thinking of everything that Samantha went through each and every day. And yes, I know that it’s fiction. But it’s truth for many young people. It’s full of sadness, and it’s full of hope. There’s friendship lost as well as friendship found. The inner struggle that Samantha faces is very real as are her feelings of loneliness. And at the end of the book is a story that you won’t soon forget.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Every Last Word

Review: Jack of Spades by Joyce Carol Oates

23281515Well, well, well….I asked a friend about this author as I was reading this book. Of course I’ve heard of Joyce Carol Oates, but this is the first I’ve read. I asked him if her writing was always so weird. After finishing the last page, I am completely flummoxed. I am also wondering if her writing is always so…well….weird.

It’s just from the very start this had a feeling of a sort of Stephen King short story feel to it. Then lo and behold, SK is mentioned over and over in the book. Again, it was weird. It reminded me of something Richard Bachman would write. So it got even weirder. As this book was *written* in the voice of a famous author that was using a pseudonym that no one was aware of. The weirdness just got weirder for me.

It’s like once the little seed had been planted the entire book was glaring at me with the whole SK/RB/pseudonym thing….Was this intentional? Yes, i think it was….Intentional I mean, well…..okay…..you have to read the book to understand what I mean….but I reckon the best way I can explain it is that I don’t think another JCO would read this way…That’s why I really enjoyed this book. It’s amazing that an author could change a writing style so much just to suit a book. I mean, seriously, how often have you read a book and knew that it read just like a XY&Z book? Authors have a certain style to their writing, but throughout this entire book, I kept thinking, she’s writing like this on purpose! Just to weird me out. So now I have to wonder about all of JCO’s other books.

Of course…if it wasn’t intentional, I am soooo going to be disappointed! But never mind….I shall just pretend it was! Hahahaha

I really enjoyed the ending….this is a short, quick read….go on and give it a try….I’m glad I’ve read it…even though….still……weird…..

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now Jack of Spades by Joyce Carol Oates

Review: Take Another Look by Rosalind Noonan

511PcSLyRdL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This latest thriller from Rosalind Noonan had me hooked from the very first page. From the opening scenes until the conclusion, I simply could not tear myself away.

It starts off as sort of a “What would you do?” When Jane finds herself pregnant with twins and in an unhealthy relationship, she makes the heart-wrenching decision to give one of the babies up for adoption. After struggling with just which twin to keep, she makes peace with herself and her choice. She moves away and starts a new life with baby Harper.

Several years later, her past comes back to haunt her when she unwittingly comes face to face with her long-lost daughter, Isabel. Everything she’s struggled to build for both herself and Harper is threatened when she must ‘fess up to Harper.

As if that wasn’t a hard enough task, Isabel’s arrival coincides with some strange happenings. Accidents, missing items, illnesses, truths disguised as lies…Jane doesn’t know who or what to believe. Are these just more of Harper’s typical teenage dramatic outbursts? Or is something more disturbing at play?

This is one of those stories where you might think you know what’s going on. I thought the same thing. And I was right. Partially. It’s a book that leads you on and keeps you guessing. And even when you’ve got it figured out, it’s still one heck of a story!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Take Another Look

Review: Solitude of a Birdcage by Brielle Skye

birdcageOkay…I won’t lie. There are parts of this book that really made my stomach turn….okay….the whole background of the novel did this. It bothered me. A great deal. The whole cheating thing just bothered me. The fact that it was an ongoing thing. I found myself getting very angry. Disgusted with the characters. Disbelief. You name it I felt it.

Having said that, I finally had to sit bak and take a breather. Once I did that, I had to remind myself that, again, I wasn’t there. Yes, so many things were wrong here, but I’m still not sure that any of it was done in malice. Yes, they made many mistakes. Who doesn’t? Yes, they should have done a million things differently…but isn’t hindsight always 20/20…

One thing is for sure….Brielle Skye made me *feel* during this book. I felt a wide range of emotions. After finishing the last page, I STILL feel a wide range of emotions. I did enjoy the book.

At the end of the day, the only thing I can fault Skye with is her portrayal of Van. She was often shown as a selfish and uncaring person. I almost felt that Skye did this to somehow allow the reader to ease some of the guilt that we might feel for wanting Max and Isaac to persevere. I see so many authors do this. Make one of the victims out to be a bad person…as if they somehow deserved to be wrong…

Let me be perfectly clear here….If you are dishonest with someone it ALWAYS…I repeat ALWAYS…says more about you than it does the person you were dishonest to…no matter how bad a person they may be. You can’t control other people and make them into a more generous, loving, caring person….but you can control your actions to that person…how you act ALWAYS says something about yourself….not the other way around….

I understand why Skye felt the need to do this…to give us a reason to perhaps dislike Van…but I stand firm in my own personal belief that it wasn’t necessary…or even fair to the reader….

Skye gave us a story full of tons of emotions….mixed emotions….she gave us tons of stuff to feel….tons to ponder…..tons to rage against….tons to fall in love with…..I just wish she would have given us credit to deal with it as well…instead of an easy out….

********Finally…this is where you STOP reading this review if you haven’t read the book….that’s right….STOP….click off now…..

However…if you have read it…..there will be a second book….I personally loved the ending of this book….even if I did feel a jerk reaction….and swore just a tiny bit…..

But here’s what I’m getting at….I’m guessing in the second book that the plot thickens and we find out the shooter’s name….and I am saying right now….I think that person is DG…I thought that from the first meeting of him….I’m not sure why…..but there it is…..I also think Van is lying about that bit at the end….************

Okay…that’s it…I hated this book in so many ways….but I mean that in a good way….I really loved it once it was said and done….I was forced outside of my comfort box…and again reminded that we can’t judge others if we aren’t in their shoes…no matter how black and white it appears…no matter how wrong we feel it is……This was a book I didn’t want to end…and I needed it to hurry up and end so I could see what happened….I guess Skye gave me both of those wishes…haha

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Solitude of a Birdcage by Brielle Skye