Review: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I bought this book when it was first announced as an Oprah Book Club® Selection in 2001. I picked it up more than a few times and tried to read it. I just couldn’t get in to it. When I first bought a kindle in 2011, I again tried to read this novel…still couldn’t get into it. Picked it up again in 2016…you guessed it…STILL couldn’t get far…well if you don’t know me, it’s time you know…I’m hard headed. I’ve had so many of my mates tell me this is the best book ever…Every time I cried about giving up once again on reading the book I would have yet one more person tell me to try again. I became determined to finish this book…if only to ease the guilt I felt of letting other people that loved the book down.

FINALLY!!!!! I finished the book this year. I’m glad I finished it…now I can move on and put this troubled relationship behind me. I mean, seriously, it’s been over 15 years of me asking for fulfilment and getting nothing in return except wasted space and gathering dust…

The first 2/3 of the book continued to piss me off in more ways than I thought were possible. Every time something else happened I found my blood pressure building. However, the last 1/3 of the book was simply marvellous and I loved it so very much.

Does this review make you unsure how to proceed? Well, I don’t know what else to say except that you’ll have to deal with it and come to terms so you too can move on with your life…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

How does one review this book? Looking at near 250k ratings and over 10k reviews on Goodreads.com I reckon I don’t have to. However, you all know I’m a glutton for punishment so I will say a few words…

With all the foreshadowing in the first 100 pages of the book you can pretty much figure out how it’s to end…you might even think you know the whys. I mean it’s all there…however, as in life, this book demonstrates that it’s all in the details…and in perhaps what is never said as well…

This book made me laugh out loud in more than a few places. It’s a wonderful telling about two boys growing up. How they help one another in ways that they are unable to even ask for. I found at times I was a bit irritated with the back and forth of the memories. The 1st person narrator would have a memory and then the novel would go back in time to expand on that memory. As the novel progressed and I became used to this, it really proved interesting. Especially since many of the memories were reminisced over a few times. Experiencing something vs looking back at a memory vs looking back at a memory after a traumatic event can all be very different experiences for the same person. “After the fact” we can all imagine how things might have been different if we had picked up on the clues we were given.

I should note that this is a novel full of wonderful secondary characters. Some of them truly do help make this an extraordinary read.

I admit, Owen really annoyed me during much of the novel…however, some part of me thinks that’s part of the point.

I also leave myself wondering how different Johnny would be if Owen was still his best mate living down the street. Or if Owen hadn’t thrown that ball…

Finally, I have to say that at times I might have wished greatly that this book would just move along faster. The slow pace was just as annoying as Owen was. Reading this book really was a test of my discipline. Some novels are just like that for me…My reward wasn’t the ending….it was all the time spent with so many wonderful characters, getting to know them in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible if the novel was written any other way…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

There are many reasons why I stopped reading the blurbs listed for books. For one, I started seeing more than a few authors/publishers feel the need to give a detailed outline for the entire book in the blurbs published on Amazon and Goodreads. That’s the same reason I try not read any review or even publicity postings for books I intend to read. It’s always a fine line to walk to see what’s being talked about without hearing too much of the talk! The main reason, for me, to avoid blurbs is that I honestly sometimes feel like I no longer need/desire to read the book if I’ve read so much information and I don’t go into the story “blind”. This is something that’s happened in the last 5 or so years. So it’s true to say that I go into the majority of my reads with little more information that the title of the novel and the author’s name.

Why do I tell you all of this? The danger of this is that I often avoid a book far too long because I assume it’s something it isn’t. Bel Canto is one fine example of this. I’ve never read Ann Patchett before. I went into this thinking it would be…well I don’t want to label anything or make a label sound bad, when that isn’t my intention. But I basically thought this would be a family drama with some difficult every day issues to deal with and at the end of the day it would be a HEA.

This wasn’t at all like that. I really enjoyed this novel. Part of that love was that it was so opposite of what I was expecting.

If you’re looking for detailed descriptions on what occurs in this novel…well….go read the blurb or some of the reviews…hahahahahaha…

I will say I felt the ending was a bit abrupt…buuuuttttt….if it had ended any other way it would have just been because the book was exactly like the reason I avoided it for years in the first place…hahahaha…really, I’m not sure how the novel could have ended differently and stayed true to the story…

I certainly understand why some people love Patchett and others don’t care for her…I’m not so sure that everyone has a literary heart that is strong enough to take an ending such as this…so many of us use novels to escape the reality of the world…we want only HEA endings…

Some might see this novel as a HEA, many others will not…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

I’ve been on a historical romance kick for the past year. To make up for being a late in life reader I am trying to read as many books as I can and these types of books are like crack to me. I’m totally addicted. I can’t get enough. So when my book club girls rave about them, I am quick to jump on my Overdrive and see if they have them and if not I add them to my wishlist and save for them. I need all of them. I really do.

I must say, this is probably one of the most funny historical book, but not in an over the top way. The hero and heroine are positively hilarious together. The banter felt real and not forced. The snark was perfect. The romance was even more perfect. I don’t remember the last time I smiled so much while reading a book.

When a seamstress is made into a duchess, there’s bound to be few mishaps. Emma tried so hard to be a good wife and duchess, but with a prickly husband, she has to work harder than she ever imagined.

The Duke suffered greatly in the war and now wears those scars for all to see. He hides himself away from the world and would rather be in the dark than the sun. But he has no idea that this wife he chose was going to flip his world upside down. Do his scars affect her? Yes, but not in the way he thinks. All he wants is an heir then she’ll be off to another of his homes, but the more they are around each other, the more she can chip away at his shell and show him what real is about.

If the next books are anything like this one, this will be one of my most recommended series. My heart is happy.

~Melpomene

Buy The Duchess Deal http://amzn.to/2xw3D8Y

Review: Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

three-wishesHave you ever read a book by a new (to you) author and love it so much that you had to go out and buy something else by her? When I read What Alice Forgot (see my review here) I knew I had to read more from Moriarty. So I figured I would start with her first book.

Did I love the book? No, maybe not. But I didn’t hate it either…

The book really read (to me) like a first attempt at a book. Easy to tell it was a debut novel. It wasn’t a bad story…it just felt very disjointed to me and wasn’t always easy to follow. I loved the ending. However, it was complete chaos at times, but I reckon being a part of triplets can be that way in real life 😛 On to bigger and better reads, but really glad I made myself finish this one…and I really appreciate how far Moriarty has came as a writer….

Sometimes it’s scary when a debut novel is amazing and wonderful. I am a cynic at heart…It’s not that I wish the worst, I just prepare myself for the worst. It’s so much easier (so I lie to myself) to not be gutted when you’re disappointed. So when I read a fantastic debut, I also fear it’s a one hit wonder…I actually am more leery of reading a second book after a fantastic debut…so yea…I am glad this wasn’t a perfect novel…I am glad Moriarty is growing as a writer. As her books continue to come out, I still see her evolving…and that, my fellow book nerds, is a wonderful thing!

If anything, reading Moriarty’s first novel has sealed me as a true fan…

Until next time…
Urania

Buy it now Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

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