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: White Sand, Blue Sea by Anita Hughes 

Anita Hughes does it again – takes me on a luxurious vacation where ladies drip with diamonds, succulent dinners abound, and you can almost taste the salt of the sea. 

Olivia and Finn vacation in St. Bart’s with Olivia’s mom and step dad… and Olivia hopes Finn will finally propose. But the love story is just part of the plot. There’s Sebastian, the long-absent father making an insincere attempt at redeeming himself, Felix the stepdad, trying to be perfect for everyone, and Hadley the mom, a little bit jaded and disappointed about the way her golden years are turning out. 

Hughes did a great job with the characters of Olivia, Hadley and Sebastian. It was harder to get to know the others, but I don’t know that character development mattered too much in this story. I like to read Hughes because she whisks me away from real life — April showers, bills to pay, and a house to clean – into the luxury of a fancy vacation. Reading Hughes, I get to virtually stay in the best villas, go to the best beaches, wear the most expensive cocktail dresses, and eat the fanciest food. 

I’ll take that escape any day. 

-calliope

Buy WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA

Blog Tour & Review: Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

I finished this book in less than 24 hours. 5 years ago this might not have seemed like a big deal…these days it’s a huge deal! I didn’t want to put it down. It hooked me from the first chapter and continued to do so right up to the very end.

Hannah Monroe comes home from an all day business meeting to find her that her house she shared with her boyfriend, Matt Stone is empty. Not only has he moved out, but he has seemingly disappeared into thin air, leaving no trace of the life they shared behind. It’s as if the past 4 years never took place.

For three months Hannah becomes more and more obsessed on trying to find Matt and to figure out what went wrong. Where is he? Is he safe? Why did he leave?

At first I was saddened for Hannah. I couldn’t imagine what she must have been feeling. That sadness soon turned to shock and dismay as I watched her continue to spiral out of control with her obsession on trying to sort out what had happened. Watching her try to come to terms with this all, without any answers was painful. Then, I admit it, I started to become annoyed with her. However it didn’t change the fact that I had started to become obsessed with finding Matt as well! I needed to know what was happening. I had a dozen different scenarios. I suspected a half a dozen people.

When the big reveal happened, I honestly didn’t have a clue. Even as it happened, I was still trying to figure out what was behind all of this, because I didn’t comprehend the truth.

I soon realized it was staring me in the face the entire time! All of the unbelievable suddenly became very clear and very much believable. The farfetched wasn’t so farfetched after all…

Read this book as soon as it comes out. Not only is it full of suspense and a sense of you NEEDING to know what happens, it’s also a very important book. About a subject matter that isn’t discussed nearly enough…I sincerely hope this book is roaring success…not only because Ms Torjussen has written such a thriller of a book, but also because she has written about a subject matter that seems almost taboo.

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley for an honest review

BUY THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW http://amzn.to/2gZekso

 

How far would you go to find the one that got away?

 

From the imprint that published Fiona Barton’s instant New York Times bestseller The Widow and Clare Mackintosh’s global phenomenon I Let You Go, comes Mary Torjussen’s GONE WITHOUT A TRACE (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; 978-0-399-58501-2; April 11, 2017; $16.00)—an electric, compulsive thriller about a boyfriend’s unexplained disappearance, and its corrosive effects on the woman he left behind.

 

In GONE WITHOUT A TRACE, young professional Hannah returns from work to find her live-in boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It’s as though their last four years together never happened. As she struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows she’ll do anything to get answers. Where has he gone? Why has he left?

 

Then the messages start—cryptic and creepy texts and videos—and Hannah realizes that someone is watching her every move. And there are signs that someone has been in her house.

As her search for Matt progresses, Hannah treads further into madness and obsession—and the only way out is to come to terms with the one shocking truth she just can’t accept. . .

 

For anyone who has ever asked “Was it something I did?” GONE WITHOUT A TRACE brings to chilling light the doubt, fear, and obsession that can lie dormant in our most intimate relationships.

 

Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, says: “Gone Without a Trace has one of the most interesting narrators I’ve ever come across.”

The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton

Sara loves her grandmother Maggie, but her eccentricity created some distance between them. Now that Sara has a flourishing business in New Orleans, she doesn’t get back to Mobile, Alabama as often as she should… until Maggie dies, leaves a ramshackle inn to Sara in her will, and has her attorney convey a request for Sara to renovate the place while allowing Maggie’s old friends to remain living there for a while. 

That’s the plot set-up. But the vibe is even better. Sara’s shop assistant Allyn was a BRILLIANT character- vibrant, grab-life-by-the-horns, supportive without being smothering, and so, so intuitive. Denton did a remarkable job juxtaposing Allyn with Sara, who was reserved, all-business, and pretty much living a superficial life while coping with a whole bunch of emotional baggage. Well, until she goes to Mobile and unravels her baggage along with Maggie’s past. *dunt dunt dunt*

Enter stage left: a panel of senior citizens who loved Maggie and want to love Sara, a local contractor – sensitive yet manly – who wants to help rebuild the inn… and build a relationship, and a slimy land developer who wants to ruin it all. 

This story is beautifully written, deeper than standard chick lit but light enough for a beach read. You’ll root for Sara every step of the way, and in the (very well done) flashbacks, you might find yourself rooting for Maggie, too. 

-calliope

Buy THE HIDEAWAY

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: Red Clover Inn by Carla Neggers

Carla Neggers writes strong and unique main characters in Red Clover Inn. Charlotte is a tough marine archaeologist who is taking some time off to attend her cousin’s wedding … and mentally recover from a diving scare. Greg is a diplomatic security agent attending the same wedding and recovering from a gunshot wound. 

I was pleasantly surprised that these two took time to develop a sturdy friendship before having a physical relationship. I enjoyed watching them maintain their cool facades – what they’re used to in their jobs – while intuitively seeing what’s really underneath in the other person. Neggers managed to write the push and pull without being annoying or cliche – outstanding!

While Charlotte and Greg leave the wedding in London and fo their separate ways, they coincidentally end up in the same inn in Massachusetts. They fall in to solving a couple of little mysteries and meeting some of the many locals who are related in convoluted ways. Neggers could have done without trying to explain how everyone was related – I skipped over those parts because they weren’t necessary to the plot, and they held me up. 

I do think the writing is classic Carla Neggers – a really good plot but technically uneven. The creative storyline and intriguing characters made up for it, and I couldn’t put down my kindle because I needed to know what was happening next! 

-calliope

Buy RED CLOVER INN