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

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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

Review: The Fireman by Joe Hill

25816688** spoiler alert ** This book started out fantastic! I mean I seriously loved every single minute of it! Then I hit the 60% or so mark. It was all downhill from there. The camp, the items that went missing, the tension between the players…all of that was fantastic. However, somewhere along the way Hill seemed to get lost. For starters, where did the love interest between two main characters come from? I mean, we saw the Fireman at the start…and then he just kinda disappeared for a good portion of the book…then when he reappeared there was this relationship that was going on…there just wasn’t a foundation for it. I also have to say that the husband and wife thing…it really pissed me off…it was so cliche…she was madly in love with him…then he turned on her….then she realised that she hadn’t loved him for years and he had never really loved her. Seriously? Like THAT’S never been done before in a book. Stuff like that really pisses me off…but regardless of that, I tried to ignore that let down and got on with enjoying the book…but then we have the whole no relationship thing until in a blink of an eye we have a serious relationship thing….no….I don’t like it when I feel an author is taking me for granted and expecting me to suspend reality…

The storyline was fine…I was even excited about the thief and who it turned out to be…

Then we have the escape…and wham bam….the author expects me to suspend reality again and believe all these miracle close calls…

Yep…there will be a second book…and the Fireman will be the lead (without even being in the majority of the book again, I bet) once again…

Joe Hill, I love your writing…NOS4A2 was simply amazing…it kept me up at night…this one? I was just well and truly gutted that a book that started out so fantastic just took an easy way out at the end…It totally seemed that Joe Hill was simply writing to finish the book and not to finish the story…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now The Fireman by Joe Hill

Review: Charged by Jay Crownover

01 ab1 “Some of us are born into a storm and some of us are born to chase after it.”

I really enjoyed where Jay went with Avett’s story. We’ve seen bits and pieces of her before, and none of it was really good. She’s a trouble maker, and she knows it, but she has a hard time stopping. But when she makes an EPIC mistake and lands herself in jail, she realizes that she needs to make a change before something really bad happens to those she loves.

Enter Quaid Jackson. He’s been called in to be this little pink haired spitfire’s lawyer and he has no idea what he’s in for. At first, all he sees is the crazy hair and sassy mouth, but the more he talks to her, the more he realizes that she’s totally different from his first impression. She doesn’t want to put anyone out. She takes full blame for her past and wants to do anything she can to clear her name.

The chemistry between Quaid and Avett was undeniable. They say opposites attract and, if you look at the surface, these two totally did.

That girl…there was just something about her. She made you want to help her, to heal her, to protect her, even as she blindly chased after the very things that would hurt her, the things that would leave wounds on her body, mind, and soul.

Quaid is this super flashy lawyer, but if you look deep enough there’s a lot more to him. I think that’s why he was drawn to Avett. She’s this little pixie of a girl, who doesn’t care about all his flashy things. But at the same time, she thinks that they won’t work, due to the very different worlds they come from. I wanted to smack both of them, at some point. It’s not about what you have on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. They needed to work on that.

I really liked Avett. She’s young and stupid, but she’s real. She makes mistakes and owns them. I like that Quaid takes her for her. The road isn’t smooth for these two but no one ever life was easy.

This book had a few heart stopping moments and quite a few swoon worthy ones as well. Very swoon worthy. I completely enjoyed this book. There’s also a few side characters I wouldn’t mind seeing books about either. In fact, I may be willing to beg for them.

In conclusion, I just gotta say this, pink haired girls are cool. I may be partial, but it’s true.

~Melpomene

Buy Charged

Read an excerpt here:

Quaid
I tapped the edge of my thumb on the black-and-white mug shot photo and couldn’t stop the grin from tugging at my mouth.
She tried to fire me.
She was five-foot-nothing, a lifetime younger than me, had multicolored hair that had seen better days, wild eyes that couldn’t decide if they wanted to be green, gold, or brown, while dressed in convict orange and obviously scared out of her ever loving mind, yet she still tried to fire me. If it had been any of my other clients—the cop accused of sexual battery, the frat boy accused of manslaughter over a bet on a football game gone wrong, the middle school teacher accused of pedophilia and having an inappropriate relationship with several of her students, or the pro football player accused of domestic abuse—I would have tipped my proverbial hat, wished them luck while I cut my losses, and walked away without a backward glance. People always committed crimes. People always needed a good defense, so it wasn’t like I was hurting for clients, but there was something about the girl. Something about the defiant tilt of her chin and the raw desperation in her tone when she begged me not to call her father.
“I don’t want your help. I don’t want anything from you.” She sounded like she meant it when she said it, but I figured she was too young and too scared to know exactly what she wanted or needed. Regardless, it was still refreshing to hear.
Everyone always wanted something from me and my help was usually the least of it.
I tapped the picture again, wondering why I found it so easy to believe that she really hadn’t been a part of the boyfriend’s plan to rob the bar. She wasn’t anyone’s idea of a model citizen and she had the shady track record to prove it. She was too young, and frankly too adorable, to have a file this thick. From what I could see, she had a set of parents always willing to ride to the rescue when she got herself into trouble. She looked like some kind of colorful woodland fairy from a Disney movie with her odd hair and delicate features. None of it added up, but the sincerity in her tone when she said she would never have gone with the boyfriend if she knew his intent and the fear in her eyes when I mentioned her father seemed genuine.
I learned long ago to treat everyone like they were guilty of whatever it was I was paid to defend them against. I didn’t want to know the truth. I didn’t want to know the circumstances. I wanted my clients to listen to me and let me do my job as I tried to convince the rest of the world they were innocent, regardless if they were or not. But this girl with her faded, rose colored hair and turbulent eyes oozed innocence through the cracks of a very guilty façade.
Because I was intrigued and actually believed the girl might be innocent, I wasn’t going to let her fire me. I was going to call her father and hope that he would help me keep her out of the slammer while I figured out how to plea bargain her charges down or get them dismissed altogether. Again, because a cop was involved in the robbery and because the boyfriend, junkie or not, was offering up a pretty plausible explanation for Avett’s involvement in the crime, nothing was a slam dunk, yet. I was going to help her whether she wanted me to or not.