Review: Don’t You Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

18599667So this is one of those books that I had to sit back and think about for a time after finishing it. It’s more along the lines of, “What in the world did I just read?” And I absolutely mean that in the best possible way.

It’s the story of young Skylar, and to a slightly lesser extent her sister, Piper. They live in Gardnerville, at first glance an idyllic little town nestled in the mountains. But Gardnerville holds secrets both good and bad. And the bad definitely outweighs the good!

Every fourth year, the town’s teenagers are overcome with a compulsion to do very bad things. And Piper was one of those teens four years ago. Now Skylar is trying to come to terms with what happened. That means finding out where Piper is. Is she locked up in the town’s mysterious reformatory? Or did she make her escape that night four years ago high up on the train trestle?

To say this is a weird book would be quite an understatement. It’s the kind of story that had me stopping along the way to ponder what was happening. And, I found myself going back quite a bit to reread. It’s a challenging book because the answers are not given to you easily. There’s a ton of imagery which I’m still trying to sort out. There’s drug use, violence, and death. Still, the words are so beautifully put together that it was a joy to read even as I was trying to put it all together in my head. In this case, definitely judge a book by its cover because the words inside this one are just as appealing and beautiful as the outside package!


Buy It Now: (Don’t You) Forget About Me

Reveiw: The Bees by Laline Paull

TheBeesI was excited to get this one. The story line really intrigued me. I love bees.

After reading this one….well…..I’m not sure if it’s suppose to be a YA novel or not. If not….well….it should be (although, there are a few points that felt like a Disney movie…you know when you’re watching a movie with your kid and you both find a part funny….the kid…well who knows why, but you, the adult, get the hidden meanings in a joke)….I can’t really say that I enjoyed “The Bees”. I didn’t hate it….I just didn’t enjoy it. The writing style (to me) seemed very simplified. Although it has over 300 pages, it seemed like it was a very simple story. The main character never seemed to develop. By that, she seemed very naive and childlike….and by the end of the novel, even though she was much older….well, she still seemed very childlike and naive.

I would also like to point out that I’ve always imagined bees as being very intelligent and social insects. This book, in my opinion, portrayed them in one of two ways….blind and brainwashed, always following without question or as complete back-stabbing, evil, vindictive assholes. No in-between….and honestly, there isn’t much to cheer about with either type.

I’m not at all sure that I learned anything new about bees in this novel either….of course, it’s not a documentary on bees…I mean, seriously, even I didn’t believe that bees could talk or anything….it’s just I kinda hoped that I would learn more about these fascinating insects….instead what we have is a story about a bee that changed her bee busy hats on a daily basis…one day she was this, the next day she was something else….often changing back and forth, supposedly from one group to another….

So I feel silly saying it, but the way the main bee jumped about and how one-dimensional the characters were made it a very unbelievable book for me….yea yea yea….I *do* realise that this isn’t suppose to be real…but still…..I like to pretend sometimes and this book just made it impossible to do so…..

and whilst you’re laughing at that last bit, I want you to think back to “Charlotte’s Web”….yea….that’s right….go on and tell me Wilber wasn’t real!!!!!! Go on then!!!!!!!! Pssssffftttttttttt….

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Bees by Laline Paull

Review: Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

veryvalentineOh dear me…I love this type of book. I won’t lie and say that there were things about Valentine, the main character of this novel, that didn’t bother me….because there were. She was annoying in some ways. She was somewhat self-centered. However, that fit the character perfectly. It fit the family perfectly. There is just so much going on with this huge Italian family. Trigiani made them come to life! They all seemed real! It’s not every day that an author can make you a bit annoyed with the heroine, and yet you love her all the same. Trigiani is sure to be a new favourite of mine. I seriously can not wait to read the other books in this series! I am already sad that there is a wait list for the next book. I did not want this book to end. I can’t wait to read Trigiani’s other books as well! She’s been on my TBR list for so long…I am actually really pissed at myself for not reading anything by her sooner!

This book is the type that I really wish I could find more of. This is not bogged down with drama. It’s not bogged down with romance. It’s not bogged down with too many details. Nor is it stripped of all the details you want. It’s not bogged down with any one thing or lacking something else. it’s just enough of everything to keep you interested, but yet you don’t have to “think” too much. This is exactly the type of contemporary fiction I love….It’s like being at a very well done buffet Sunday dinner. Most buffets are total crap. Face it. Stuff sits under the lights too long. It’s undercooked, because many times the establishment knows it’s going to cook under the lights anyway….it’s over crowded. The staff couldn’t care less about your service. The food is bland. There’s too much salad. Or too much fried crap. It’s impossible to choose which dessert you want. So you just grab 3 different types. You feel rushed to eat as much as you can. As fast as you can. Like all the crap food is just going to disappear or something. You end up leaving bloated and over satisfied. But we keep going back. Why? Because every now and then, you find one…well…the food is perfect. They even cook your food choice to order. Your every need is seen to right away. You know exactly what you want and it’s right where it should be. You’re enjoying it so much that you actually take your time and enjoy every single bite….and you’re able to walk away with the knowledge that you can go back for more any time you want…..Well that is exactly how this book felt. It hit all the right spots for me…

And I love Adriana Trigiani’s writing style. Hell, I even enjoyed reading the details about making and designing the shoes. This is something I have not one iota of interest in! Yet, it was written so eloquently that I wanted it to keep on! Oh dear me…I have to shut up already…just go buy the damn book already and it give it a try!!!

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now: Very Valentine (Valentine #1), Brava, Valentine (Valentine #2), The Supreme Macaroni Company (Valentine #3)

Review: Nash(Marked Men #4), by Jay Crownover

01nas “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in the world.”-Lucille Ball

It’s hard to believe I waited so long to jump into this Marked Men series. But as I read the first three, I knew Nash’s story was going to be heartbreaking and emotional. And I also knew that he would need someone very special to hold on to him. I’m glad to see I was right.

Right from the start, this book got me. When I read the Dedication and Introduction, I knew I was going to love this book. And then I got to the Prologue and I was immediately thrust back into high school and then I knew how hard this book was going to be on me.

Nash was the best friend you could ever ask for. He was always giving of himself. He would do anything for those who loved him. In truth, he would do just about anything for love. After growing up, in a house that showed him no love, only cruel and hurtful words, he tried to find love in every place imaginable. He thought he was unworthy of it.

Saint Ford is a successful ER nurse who was not expecting to run into the man who, as a young teenager, destroyed her self esteem and self worth, without even knowing it. She wants nothing to do with him. He may not remember the hurt, but she does. But being a caring nurse, she can’t help wanting to be there for him, when his uncle Phil is brought into her ER.

My heart went out to Saint. The low self esteem and the teasing, as a teenager, I could totally relate with. And then when your crush is the one who causes the most damage to you, well, let’s just say, most of us have been there. So to have those feeling shape you, all the way to adulthood, it’s going to take a very strong person to make you realize how great you really are.

“All I can see is you. Why can’t you understand that? No one shines as bright as you in the sky I’m looking at. To me there is no sun, no moon, and no stars in the sky, just endless miles of storm clouds and pretty pretty grey.”

As Nash’s world, as he thought he knew it, starts changing and pushing at him from all sides, he wishes he could cling to Saint. But she still has feelings of inadequacy, and it will take a lot of patience and a very awkward moment to bring her right where he wants, and needs, her to be.

Learning to love yourself, and realizing that you are worthy of having someone love you in return, are very hard lessons. Everyone is worthy of love, no matter what their past may show.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”-Buddha


Buy Nash: A Marked Men Novel

Review and Giveaway: Capturing Peace, by Molly McAdams

01capture Well now, another winner from Molly McAdams. I gotta say, this little novella was quite a shock to me. I remember reading the first few pages, as a preview, and I was dying for more. And then, when I was given and ARC, I squealed and started it right away.

Coen Steele has spent the last five years serving his country. Now that he’s back, he’s finally ready to leave behind the chaos of the battlefield and pursue his lifelong dream. What he wasn’t expecting was the feisty sister of one of his battle buddies—who has made it obvious that she wants nothing to do with him—to intrigue him in a way no woman has before.

Reagan Hudson’s life changed in the blink of an eye six years ago when she found out she was pregnant and on her own. Since then, Reagan has vowed never to let another man into her life so that no one can walk out on her, or her son, again. But the more she runs into her brother’s hot and mysterious friend, the more he sparks something in her that she promised herself she wouldn’t feel again.

Can two people with everything to lose allow themselves to finally capture the love they both deserve?

Right from the start, I was intrigued with these characters. I knew this was a novella, so I really thought it wasn’t going to be an in depth story, but just a glimpse. I was totally wrong. While it was a quick read, it was just what I needed today. It had angst and romance and it left me completely satisfied. The instant connection between Coen and Reagan was totally believable. Love will strike you when you least expect it.

I am very happy I read this, cuz it gave me a glimpse into the next book. And I can honestly say, I probably would not have read it, with this novella. It touches on a very rough subject for me, and I needed this novella to give me that little push. So for that, I am grateful.

Now I can’t believe I’m about to say this. But while I really enjoyed the story, the pictures, on Molly’s website, are what brought it all together. I literally sat down and wept. It was like, I was looking inside Coen and my heart just crumbled. I’m picking the pieces up, as I type. Beautiful pictures that totally made the book more real.

I think I need another hug.


Buy Capturing Peace: A Novella

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Review ~ Carthage, by Joyce Carol Oates

18750474Have you a read a book where the words, the soul of it, the understanding, just completely resonated with you, and yet continually challenged your thinking?  How about a book, despite the fact that the narrative isn’t a free flowing, easy-on-the brain journey, yet keeps you engrossed and reading way past your bedtime.  Or perhaps even a book that leaves you speechless, but yet leaves you wanting to get up on the roof and sing its praises.    Yeah…  Those books are very rare indeed.    I am one of the lucky ones that have found a book that embodies all of the above experiences.   Carthage, the latest novel from Joyce Carol Oates, exceeded anything that I could have imagined.

Now, I am Oates virgin.   I of course had hear of her, but had never read any of her books.   Oates was one of those authors that I put into the “I must read something of theirs one day”.   When Carthage was released, I finally bit the bullet.   I wasn’t too sure what to expect; Oates is an extremely successful author and there was definitely an air of apprehensive mystery around her – in my opinion.   When I finally got my copy in the post, I was so excited and instantly began to read, or more accurately, devour.

Those that are knowledgeable in Ancient Greek history, will recognize that Carthage is the name of an ancient civilization, way back in the day.  So instantly, you have this connotation of potential tragedy brewing.   This of course, is before we even get to the names of some of the characters!  Zeno (a Greek philosopher who was known for his paradoxes) and his daughters, Cressida and Juliet (the main protagonists from Shakespeare’s tragedies Troilus and Cressida and Romeo and Juliet, respectively).  Now, I’ve seen other authors try and replicate their novels after tragic plays etc…, but Oates does it so subtly, yet delivers such a punch, that it doesn’t feel like a parody at all.   You feel the tragedy and the irony in such a profound way and indeed in such a contemporary fashion.

The plot focuses on the search for Cressida who has gone missing.  The blame is soon put onto Juliet’s ex-boyfriend, Brett, an injured soldier, recently returned from Iraq.   A fairly simple plot one may assume.   Well, yes, it is.  However, what makes it so complicated, and yet so fascinating, is the peppering of differing perspectives, and “truths” that Oates spreads throughout.   Where one character has a deep perspective on events, another character sees it in a completely different light; the reader is teased and led down the proverbial garden path, on more than occasion.

I really can’t say much else in case I inadvertently spoil it for someone, so all I’ll say is that you should go out and read, no scrap that, EXPERIENCE, this tour de force of a novel.    After reading this, I am going to have to buy some other novels by Oates.   Any suggestions, dear readers?

Well, I am going to go and sit in a book slump…..



Review: After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

after i'm goneThis is my first Laura Lippman book. I can safely say it won’t be my last!

Here we have one man who leaves behind 3 children, a wife, a mistress, a few close friends, a business, and a prison sentence….in a word…he leaves his entire life behind…..

What we have in the real novel is the aftermath of his leaving. We get to watch his daughters grow up. We listen in on the thoughts and feelings that his wife and his mistress have. We see the sacrifices that have to be made by the people left behind….Where his story ends, the real story just begins….

This is the type of book that makes me enjoy reading so much. I read books like this and I get excited. They re-awaken my passion for reading. They get me excited to try new (to me) authors. Along the way we also meet a cold case consultant and find that this is a wonderful murder mystery. We can perhaps figure out what happened, but the *why* is the real meat of this book….The twists and turns make this a thrilling and pleasing ride. Because of these reasons *why* you can’t help but to feel compassion for characters. You can’t help but to feel resentment for their circumstances, although they are no fault of your own. You wish them well…and then you realise that this is….after all….just a book…..

but no doubt…it won’t be my last book from Lippman….and I am excited that I found another fantastic author to follow…..books like this make it easier for me to forgive every crummy book I’ve read in search of a new favourite….It’s gems like this that keep real book lovers sane….and searching….

Until next time….

Urania xx

Review copy provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Buy it now After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

The EnchantedThis one now goes down as an all time favourite. No doubt about it. While reading it I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Now that I’m done I still can’t stop thinking about it. When I wake up it is on my mind, so I know it is also in my dreams.

However, I am still not sure how to review it.

Imagine the darkest fairytale you can imagine. It takes place not in the dense forest, but instead it takes place in the darkest dungeon you can imagine. Stained, dampened, dank walls. The smells are over powering. The sounds are horrifying. You can taste the bile-stale air in your mouth. You can feel the cold dampness of the air. You can smell the rot and defecation. The pain and suffering are tangible things you not only hear, but can also feel. They are so great that you can feel the heaviness of their weight.

Now imagine if you will, the narrator of this dark tell. No. It is not the beautiful child. The sweet innocent. The story-teller of this tale is the monster. And only he sees the enchantment. Only he sees the beauty around him.

He seduces you with his beautiful words. You want to trust him. You want to like him…you draw closer…when you are close enough to reach out and draw him near to you…a single ray of light shines upon his face and you can’t help but to draw back in horror. The intricate tale he has woven for you in the shadows is shattered by the light. You are suddenly faced with the reality of what a true monster looks like…you run as fast as you can. You try to escape….but as you are running away, you turn back. Just once. You see him as he just sits there. Looking at you. A sad knowing smile upon his lips. No he doesn’t chase you down as you fear. He allows you to simply walk away. But the price you must pay for your newfound freedom is the knowledge of all he has shared with you.

This is a horrible story. But it is full of beauty. It is full of unimaginable deep felt thoughts. Thoughts that I hope challenge you to seek the beauty and the good around you…no matter your circumstances. It would be a hopeless world if a single flower could never grow in the most unsuspecting places. But they do. Laughter can be found in places you expect only sorrow. One can find courage under the most frightening of circumstances. Perhaps, most importantly, we can also find love where there is too much hate and despair.

Here we have a story that is mostly told via the thoughts of one solitary death row prisoner locked in the dungeon of a nameless prison. Through his eyes we see glimpses of a kind-hearted warden. We meet a lost and discarded soul that is due to be executed in the near future. We see an unlikely hero in a young boy whose innocence was stolen. We encounter a fallen priest. And of course, we meet a lady. However, we also have to meet the villains of this tale. We must sit back and hear, feel and watch of all the evil that they do. This is perhaps truly the only way we can see the nature of the good….we must see how vile life can be to measure just how beautiful it can be as well…

There is so much darkness here. Seriously. You can feel it in your pores. Your ears are even plugged with it. You smell it. You taste it. This is how powerful Rene Denfeld’s writing is. You carry this as a dark shroud that you attempt to hide under. But there are moments when the light shines through and you are blinded by the brilliance. That blinding light is enough to allow hope, love and courage to grow. Even in places where you expect nothing but misery. Nothing but violence. Places where evil lives…If you look hard enough. Look deep enough. You too can find your enchanted place.

This is one of the best novels I have read. It is one that I believe will get better with a second reading. Or a third. I can’t believe how I stumbled upon this book. I want to share it with everyone. That is the only reason I have attempted to write a review that I know is undeserving of such a brilliant book…Perhaps I should just put insert a few quotes….sorry they are lengthy….but please understand…these are but a few…this book is overflowing with sorrow and heartbreak disguised in beautiful profound words…

There are some things I can never discuss. One is the bad thing I did after I was released from the mental hospital when I was eighteen. I wouldn’t want the idea of this thing to be in the world. Ideals are powerful things; we should take more care with them. I know there are some who would disagree — those who think ideas are like food they can taste and then spit out if they don’t like it. But ideas are stronger than that. You can get a taste of an idea inside you, and the next thing you know, it won’t leave. Until you do something about it.

As soulless as I am, I do not want others to do what I have done. Some ideas need to stay silent inside me, like the letters inside some words.

Long ago, in the library, I sat on the table under a cloud. The little dust motes would fly in the window and hang above me like a halo or God in the sunlight.

For a long time I though maybe those little sparks were creatures. They could be creatures almost too tiny to see, just a little taste on the tip of your tongue. Maybe God sent them, like fire creatures, like the sparks before the beginning of life, or maybe the dust that rises from your hair after you’re dead. I would stop reading and crane my neck back to watch them swarm above me. The other inmates would jab each other and point, but I didn’t care.

Later I read that there are things inside us too tiny to see. Not even a microscope can capture them. This got me thinking — if there are things inside us too tiny to see, might there be things outside too big to believe?

I think what it would feel like to be a corpse valet. To lift bodies and feel the weight of their passing. How odd it is, that the dead weigh more than the living. You would think it would be the opposite, but it isn’t. I think it is because souls give bodies lightness and air. When the soul leaves, the body has nothing left and is desperate to return to the earth. That’s why it’s so heavy.

Others might feel sorry for the corpse valets. They say once you’re a corpse valet and know so many terrible secrets, the prison cannot let you go.

I like to listen for the sounds of their creaking wheels late at night. I like to think about their passage across the dusty yards in the earliest of the morning, when the mist rises off the river and the geese come swooping in, crying at the wonder of life. What a beautiful thing that must be, to feel the weight of the dead even as the earth rises and is born again.

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now…RIGHT NOW!!! The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Four Weddings and a Fireman, by Jennifer Bernard

It takes a certain kind of man to stand out among the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel.
Firefighter Derek “Vader” Brown is one of a kind—six feet of solid muscle with the heart of a born hero. It’s that protective streak that has him pursuing a promotion to Captain to pay for his mother’s home care. And it’s why he intends to figure out why his sometime girlfriend Cherie Harper runs hot as hellfire one minute and pushes him away the next.
Cherie’s got it bad. Vader sweeps her off her feet—literally—and their chemistry is combustible. There’s just the little problem of a nightmare from her past she was desperate to escape. And then her sister Trixie arrives, causing havoc for Cherie and the male population of San Gabriel. Cherie doesn’t want her past to complicate Vader’s life or his career. But there’s nothing like a firefighter to break through all your defenses, one smoldering kiss at a time . . .

Have I told you how much I love firemen?? No? Well, I am obsessed with them. I think it’s the firewife in me that’s partly to blame, but I can’t get enough firemen books. So when I was given the chance to read Jennifer Bernard’s newest book, I just HAD to jump on it. I’ve read all of her Bachelor books, except for two. They’re some of the ones that staring at me, every time I turn on my Kindle. *sigh* Soon.

This book is about Derek “Vader” Brown. He’s the joker of the San Gabriel Fire department. And I was quite excited to read his story. He’s been dating Cherie, off and on, for over a year now. When he asks her to marry him, she turns him down, TWICE!! That’s right, he asks her on two separate occasions and both times he’s been denied. But he loves her and hopes that she’ll change her mind soon, before he loses his mind.

Cherie has loved Vader, since about two months into their crazy relationship, but she never told him. There are things in her past that she’s afraid of and doesn’t want him to be dragged into it. So when she thinks Vader is getting too close, she puts the rails on. But she knows she can’t keep doing this forever. She hates keeping secrets, but she knows he’s keeping some too. So she decides to let him go.

But soon, Cherie’s past catches up with her and Vader is dragged back into her life. Will their secrets finally get spilled? Will the curse of the San Gabriel Fire department strike again?? I do believe it will.


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Buy Four Weddings and a Fireman: A Bachelor Firemen Novel

Review – The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

15818333In 2013, the age of Instant Messaging, texting, face-iThingy, etc…, how many of us really know or speak to our neighbours anymore? Would you notice if two teenage girls were living with abusive and irresponsible parents? Would you notice if those parents were to disappear? Well, luckily for you, Lisa O’Donnell explores this conundrum in her debut novel, The Death of Bees. Set in present day Glasgow, O’Donnell presents the reader with Nelly and Marnie – two teenage girls growing up in some of the worse conditions imaginable. Their situation gets exponentially more precarious when their parents die, and they are suddenly left to fend for themselves. Don’t worry, I didn’t just give away a spoiler – you know this happens right from the get go. Marnie and Nelly’s quest for survival from both death, and the social services is the main focus of the story and along the way, we meet a host of interesting characters that intersect with Marnie and Nelly.
O’Donnell’s narrative is split between 3 people, and each one provides a different view point of events. At first it was a little jarring to read through the eyes of Nelly, as she has a very particular way of speaking. However, you soon get used to it and it really provides character. The amount of time spent on each narrative is perfect; you never once feel like you’ve been spending too long reading as one character. The language used by the characters is not pretty – but then life isn’t always pretty – it is honest, sparse, and real.
If you’re looking for your next unique read, I would highly recommend this one. It runs the gauntlet of emotions (it will even make you feel physically sick at one point!) and does not let up, but at the same time, it isn’t depressing for the sake of being depressing. There is light amongst these characters and it shines just as often as it is put out. It is a relatively short read, so if you can read it in one sitting, or even two, then that would be the way to do it so that you don’t lose the rhythm of the narration.
You can get this fresh, unique and honest story here – The Death of Bees: A Novel

~ Pegasus.