Review: The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

valley-amazementI absolutely loved parts of this book, but then parts of it bored me to tears. Parts were well detailed, other parts seemed like hours and hours of wasted details, and yet others seemed lacking in details. I also felt strongly that Tan just invented a few parts of the novel to add more drama and those parts,for me, took away a great deal from the book.

I don’t begrudge Tan for making the book almost 600 pages long. However, I think the 600 pages had many parts that were missing and many that were not needed…the different storylines, although connected, just felt so out of balance.

The whole *****SPOILER**** man in the country basically holding the wives hostage and escaping over a mountainside just seemed so out of tune with the rest of the novel. Then we finally have this novel ending in a mad rush to tie everything together and reunite certain characters. We spend hundreds of pages with the finer details of what some of the women went though to have one of the main focal character summarize her life in a couple of pages saying how bad it was to virtual strangers…again, it just didn’t ring true with me.

As a massive Tan fan, this one left me feeling a bit flat…even more so because I genuinely started out loving it and loved so many parts of it…but at the end of the day, I can’t give it more than a mediocre rating…something I don’t like doing to a beloved author…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

When was the last time you finished a book and had to sit back and collect yourself before you started crying, because you were sucked into it from the very first page and felt like you were in the book, and when it was done you didn’t want it to end? Well, for me, it was this morning.

Hunted is the epitome of what the perfect YA fantasy book should be. Engaging from the very beginning, exciting and emotional throughout, and a very climactic ending that leaves you breathless and in tears.

One of the best parts about this book, besides it being a fabulous Beauty and the Beast retelling, is that it’s a standalone. I am in the midst of so many series that I just can’t take another one. But I heard a few early reviews and put it on hold at the library so fast. I needed to read this. I’m so glad that I can recommend this to everyone without them feeling like they need to invest the next few years of their lives to another series.

Yeva is you and me. She is looking for more. More what, she doesn’t know. Just more. And when her family is forced to leave their current situation and head for the woods of her childhood, she thinks this may help in her discovery. She’s longed for those woods. But as an adult she soon learns that the mysteries they hold, are much more than she ever dreamed or imagined. And finding the Beast is just one step in finding herself.

I can’t say any more except to hold on tight for this beautiful and heart twisting story.

~Melpomene

Buy Hunted here: http://amzn.to/2nrchSO

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: Lost Gods by Brom

28819821Wow…what a wild ride. Parts of this I never saw coming and I have to say they had me all up in arms and twitchy with nerves! Parts of it were downright scary to me!

This book blinded me with parts that were filled with brilliance. Other parts were just so outside the normal acceptable realm of imagination that I had a hard time wrapping my head around it.

That is entirely my fault, and of no fault of Brom.

Do you want to know how I know it was my fault and not Brom’s? Because as I read it, I had no problem believing that the characters he dreamed up were real…as my mind was almost stretched beyond belief, I kept thinking, does Brom really expect me to believe that was not freaking out whilst this happened? No doubt of the character…just the crazy circumstances that they were having to endure…

I can’t say I was 100% sure about this book as I read it. The Child Thief is an all time favourite of mine…From the first page to the last I loved every word. I loved this one as well, I just wasn’t sure I could accept it. I wasn’t sure I could believe it. I wasn’t sure if I would be glad I read this at the end of the day or feel like it was a wasted read…it started out just so wonderful and then I kind of stalled…again, simply because it was so far out there….

However, once I finished the last page (and I was reading at a mad pace to see what happened the last few chapters). I was very sad to see it end. Hell was a small price to pay to spend time with all of these wonderful characters Brom created….I knew as soon as I finished it that any doubts I had were unfounded…I loved this novel….even if it did seem almost impossible at times…

I’m still thinking about some of these characters long after I finished the last page…

Finally…the artwork! Hey, it’s Brom and you should expect nothing less…except expectations often fall flat…but Brom’s artwork ALWAYS blows me away…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy your copy here Lost Gods by Brom

Review The Girl in the Castle by Santa Montefiore

30370990My first Monteflore book and it wasn’t at all what I expected. I excepted a light read that would entertain me for a bit and then leave me quickly…

Instead I’ve falling in love with Ireland…a country I’ve never seen. I can’t say I really enjoyed the characters. I can’t say I didn’t either. There was love, hate, and anger for all. However, I take that as a sign of a really fantastic writer. The characters were real to me.

If I have one compliant it’s that this is labeled as a series. I don’t mind series. However, it really shouldn’t be labeled as such. I imagined it would be a story that was wrapped up for certain characters and then continued with new characters the next installment. Or perhaps focused on one character and then another the next novel….instead the reader is left with not just a cliffhanger…they are left with NO ANSWERS at all. Not one storyline was wrapped up. Honestly, I’m not even sure what to label this? An installment? Yes, I am disappointed. If you want me to read a beautiful story and I invest my time then at least give me something…Of course I’ve read books that had cliffhangers….but there was at least some closure…there was none here…it just seemed to stop in mid breath…and now I am left here…sad and lonely…and waiting…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Review copy provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy your copy now The Girl in the Castle by Santa Montefiore

Review: The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Series #1) by Bernard Cornwell

68527F’ing hell what a book. What in the world am I to read next as I can’t jump into book 2 right away. I need to savour this series and my beloved warrior, Uhtred Ragnarson…

That was all I could write when I finished this book and attempted to do a review. Really…I was just overwhelmed…now it has been several weeks and I still don’t know what to say…

Here is part of a conversation I had with with a mate when she told me she didn’t like historical reads:
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Really isn’t that different than some of the other stuff you’ve read honestly…except some of it is based on fact…King Alfred the great, the Danes and some of the battles…but people are people no matter the time…

Basically a young orphaned boy that discovers what it feels to loved and valued for the first time in the enemy’s camp…later his loyalties are tested time and time again…people want him to be educated, but he just wants to be a warrior…

A quote that won’t leave my mind from the book

‘Touch a harp,’ I said, ‘and it just makes noise, but play it and it makes music.’

The same is true about writing…put letters on a page and you just have words, but written by a gifted writer and true magic can happen….

Once again (never happens enough for me) a book I’ve read that is well deserving of its high ratings…
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That’s what this book was to me…true magic….I am ready to continue on with book 2…let’s be honest…I can’t stop thinking about book 1, even though it’s been near two months…I might as well follow my heart and carry on…

as testament to another quote from the book…

Destiny is everything

Until next time…

Urania xx

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Review: My American Duchess by Eloisa James

25817386This was my first Elosia James book…although I’ve been meaning to read her for years and have even purchased half a dozen or more of her books over the years (you have to love those Kindle book sales). I am glad I finally read one of her books. I really did enjoy this book. It was a charming fluffy book that entertained me and I didn’t have to strain to follow along. Some days, that’s really all you can want or need from a book. No it didn’t change my life, but it certainly made my day a happier place…

If I had one complaint it was only that the male character, Trent, fancied himself ready to propose less than 10 minutes after meeting the lovely Merry. I just always question how long a relationship will last in the long run when it is based on a start like that…

For me it’s the little things that make a book…and the eccentric Aunt and the adorable dogs…well….that did it for me…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now My American Duchess by Eloisa James